Quantifying the distribution of editorial power and manuscript decision bias at the mega-journal PLOS ONE

Author : Alexander M. Petersen

We analyzed the longitudinal activity of nearly 7,000 editors at the mega-journal PLOS ONE over the 10-year period 2006-2015. Using the article-editor associations, we develop editor-specific measures of power, activity, article acceptance time, citation impact, and editorial renumeration (an analogue to self-citation).

We observe remarkably high levels of power inequality among the PLOS ONE editors, with the top-10 editors responsible for 3,366 articles — corresponding to 2.4% of the 141,986 articles we analyzed. Such high inequality levels suggest the presence of unintended incentives, which may reinforce unethical behavior in the form of decision-level biases at the editorial level.

Our results indicate that editors may become apathetic in judging the quality of articles and susceptible to modes of power-driven misconduct. We used the longitudinal dimension of editor activity to develop two panel regression models which test and verify the presence of editor-level bias.

In the first model we analyzed the citation impact of articles, and in the second model we modeled the decision time between an article being submitted and ultimately accepted by the editor.

We focused on two variables that represent social factors that capture potential conflicts-of-interest: (i) we accounted for the social ties between editors and authors by developing a measure of repeat authorship among an editor’s article set, and (ii) we accounted for the rate of citations directed towards the editor’s own publications in the reference list of each article he/she oversaw.

Our results indicate that these two factors play a significant role in the editorial decision process. Moreover, these two effects appear to increase with editor age, which is consistent with behavioral studies concerning the evolution of misbehavior and response to temptation in power-driven environments.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1701.04906

Laying Tracks as the Train Approaches: Innovative Open Access Book Publishing at Heidelberg University from the Editors’ Point of View

Authors : Andrea Hacker, Elizabeth Corrao

In April 2016, Heidelberg University’s newly founded open access publisher heiUP launched the first volume of the new book series Heidelberg Studies in Transculturality.

This article reports on the challenges, accomplishments, and setbacks that informed the entire editorial production process, not only of the first volume but also of the series and the publishing enterprise overall.

The authors offer insights on crucial issues that any new open access publishing endeavour at an institution might face, namely acquiring manuscripts, designing and building workflows, and collaborating with partners to build an outlet for hosting the finished product.

This article also illustrates how the goal of providing a new digital reading experience through an innovative HTML format, in addition to print-on-demand and PDF versions of each manuscript, affected the progress of the entire project. Finally, we report on what it took to deliver results.

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jsp.48.2.76

A Different Shade of Green: A Survey of Indonesian Higher Education Institutional Repositories

Author : Toong Tjiek Liauw, Paul Genoni


Institutional repositories (IRs) are an accepted part of the open access landscape, and they have a particular role to play in supporting scholarly communication in developing countries, such as Indonesia.


Content analysis was conducted of 52 Indonesian higher education institutional repository websites between November 2014 and February 2015. Assessment included the degrees of “openness” of repositories, the types of works collected, software used, exploration tools, existence of links to institutional website, the language used for access points, and the standard of metadata.

The study also gathered qualitative indicators of local practices in the management and population of repositories.


Only 26.9% of the surveyed IRs provide all or most documents in full-text; the most widely included types of work are Theses and Dissertations (84.6%) and Published Works (80.8%), but there is also a high representation of Unpublished Works and University Records. Most IRs (90.3%) provide access points in the form of standardized subject headings, and English is widely used.


The characteristics of the content of the IRs surveyed suggests that many Indonesian IRs were conceived as a corporate information management system rather than as a genuine attempt to support open access.


The findings lead the authors to speculate that institutional repositories serving Indonesian higher education institutions are in their early adoption phase; and that initial drivers for them have been corporate information management, institutional prestige, and the need to combat plagiarism.

URL : A Different Shade of Green: A Survey of Indonesian Higher Education Institutional Repositories

DOI : http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2136

La place des données publiques dans la communication territoriale : le cas des données liées aux transports et déplacements dans la métropole de Grenoble

Auteur/Author : Mouhameth Beye

L’objectif de ce mémoire est d’analyser l’historicité de l’ouverture des données publiques au niveau local précisément à la métropole de Grenoble. Il propose l’analyse de deux corpus relatifs à la mise à disposition de l’information publique locale : le magazine de la métropole de Grenoble de 1996 à 2015 et le portail « open data » de ladite métropole.

Ce présent travail se donnera pour mission de s’interroger sur la temporalité de cette pratique d’ouverture des données publiques matérialisées aujourd’hui par les portails du même nom.

Nous faisons l’hypothèse que l’ouverture des données publiques, au niveau local, constituerait un renouvellement de l’information service, pratique déjà existante historiquement dans les supports de communication des collectivités territoriales et que les transformations qu’elle apporte ne sont pas à la hauteur des discours qui l’accompagnent, faisant de lui une « révolution » dans la manière de gérer l’information publique locale.

Ce travail s’inscrit totalement dans les sciences de l’information et de la communication (SIC) dans la mesure où il questionne l’information publique, partie intégrante de la communication publique.

URL : https://dumas.ccsd.cnrs.fr/dumas-01373242

Open Science: a revolution in sight?

Author : Bernard Rentier


This article aims at describing the evolution of scientific communication, largely represented by the publication process. It notes the disappearance of the traditional publication on paper and its progressive replacement by electronic publishing, a new paradigm implying radical changes in the whole mechanism.

It aims also at warning the scientific community about the dangers of some new avenues and why, rather than subcontracting an essential part of its work, it must take back a full control of its production.


The article reviews the emerging concepts in scholarly publication and aims to answer frequently asked questions concerning free access to scientific literature as well as to data, science and knowledge in general.


The article provides new observations concerning the level of compliance to institutional open access mandates and the poor relevance of journal prestige for quality evaluation of research and researchers. The results of introducing an open access policy at the University of Liège are noted.

Social implications

Open access is, for the first time in human history, an opportunity to provide free access to knowledge universally, regardless of either the wealth or the social status of the potentially interested readers. It is an essential breakthrough for developing countries.


Open access and Open Science in general must be considered as common values that should be shared freely. Free access to publicly generated knowledge should be explicitly included in universal human rights.

There are still a number of obstacles hampering this goal, mostly the greed of intermediaries who persuade researchers to give their work for free, in exchange for prestige. The worldwide cause of Open Knowledge is thus a major universal issue for the 21st Century.

URL : http://orbi.ulg.ac.be/handle/2268/198865

A Resonant Message: Aligning Scholar Values and Open Access Objectives in OA Policy Outreach to Faculty and Graduate Students

Author : Jane Johnson Otto


Faculty contribution to the institutional repository is a major limiting factor in the successful provision of open access to scholarship, and thus to the advancement of research productivity and progress.

Many have alluded to outreach messages through studies examining faculty concerns that underlie their reluctance to contribute, but specific open access messages demonstrated to resonate most with faculty have not been discussed with sufficient granularity.

Indeed, many faculty benefits and concerns are likely either unknown to the faculty themselves, or unspoken, so the literature’s record of faculty benefits and perceptions of open access remains incomplete at best.


At Rutgers University, we have developed a targeted message that both addresses these unspoken/unknown concerns and benefits and speaks to the promise and inevitability of open access in a changing scholarly communication landscape.

This paper details that message and its rationale, based on a critical review of the literature currently informing outreach programs, in order to provoke further discussion of specific outreach messages and the principles underlying them.


A robust scholarly communication organization, open access policy advisory board, expanded outreach, and sustained momentum will be critical to ensuring success with measurable outcomes.

Metrics used to evaluate both OA policy implementation efforts and institutional repositories should be reevaluated in light of the governing objectives of open access outreach efforts and tools. It is hoped that a reassessment of the message and the metrics will better align both with the true promise and prerequisites of open access.

URL : A Resonant Message: Aligning Scholar Values and Open Access Objectives in OA Policy Outreach to Faculty and Graduate Students

DOI : http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2152

Use of the Paid Open Access Option in Hybrid Open Access Journals in Agriculture: A Mixed-Methods Study

Authors : Megan Kocher, Julie Kelly

We explore the use and usefulness of the hybrid open access publishing model in agricultural sciences using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods.

To ascertain the level of usage of the paid open access option in hybrid open access journals in agriculture, we studied the agriculture-related journals published by six commercial publishers.

These publishers offer authors the option of paying a fee, often close to $3,000 per article, to make their article immediately freely available, usually with a Creative Commons license. We defined agriculture broadly but also assigned each journal to a subspecialty (e.g., animal science) in order to see if there were differences based on these subdivisions.

For each journal we gathered data for 2014-2015 and noted the total number of research articles and the number of those that were made freely available by authors paying the open access fee.

To give context to our results we also surveyed local faculty in agricultural sciences, asking their reasons for considering the paid open access options and the sources of the funds to pay for it. Survey respondents were asked about their academic position and rank to see if there were differences to be noted.

We also investigated the findability of the open access articles, noting if each individual publisher offered a way to easily locate all the freely available articles in a particular journal and if there are other avenues to easily locate these articles.

URL : http://istl.org/16-fall/refereed2.html