The coverage of Microsoft Academic: Analyzing the publication output of a university

Authors : Sven E. Hug, Martin P. Brändle

This is the first in-depth study on the coverage of Microsoft Academic (MA). The coverage of a verified publication list of a university was analyzed on the level of individual publications in MA, Scopus, and Web of Science (WoS).

Citation counts were analyzed and issues related to data retrieval and data quality were examined. A Perl script was written to retrieve metadata from MA. We find that MA covers journal articles, working papers, and conference items to a substantial extent. MA surpasses Scopus and WoS clearly with respect to book-related document types and conference items but falls slightly behind Scopus with regard to journal articles.

MA shows the same biases as Scopus and WoS with regard to the coverage of the social sciences and humanities, non-English publications, and open-access publications. Rank correlations of citation counts are high between MA and the benchmark databases.

We find that the publication year is correct for 89.5% of all publications and the number of authors for 95.1% of the journal articles. Given the fast and ongoing development of MA, we conclude that MA is on the verge of becoming a bibliometric superpower. However, comprehensive studies on the quality of MA data are still lacking.


Who support open access publishing? Gender, discipline, seniority and other factors associated with academics’ OA practice

Author : Yimei Zhu

This paper presents the findings from a survey study of UK academics and their publishing behaviour. The aim of this study is to investigate academics’ attitudes towards and practice of open access (OA) publishing.

The results are based on a survey study of academics at 12 Russell Group universities, and reflect responses from over 1800 researchers. This study found that whilst most academics support the principle of making knowledge freely available to everyone, the use of OA publishing among UK academics was still limited despite relevant established OA policies.

The results suggest that there were differences in the extent of OA practice between different universities, academic disciplines, age and seniorities. Academics’ use in OA publishing was also related to their awareness of OA policy and OA repositories, their attitudes towards the importance of OA publishing and their belief in OA citation advantage.

The implications of these findings are relevant to the development of strategies for the implementation of OA policies.

URL : Who support open access publishing? Gender, discipline, seniority and other factors associated with academics’ OA practice

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How Do You Like Your Books: Print or Digital? An Analysis on Print and E-book Usage at The Graduate School of Education

Author : Dana Haugh

The shift from physical materials to digital holdings has slowly infiltrated libraries across the globe, and librarians are struggling to make sense of these intangible, and sometimes fleeting, resources. Materials budgets have shifted to accommodate large journal and database subscriptions, single-title article access, and most recently, e-book holdings.

This analysis measures the impact of digital acquisitions in an academic setting during a highly transformative period of library practices. The study finds that both electronic and print books are valuable to the academic research community at GSE.


Distance informationnelle scientifique : le risque d’une altérité informationnelle ?

Auteur/Author : Christian Marcon

A partir de l’hypothèse selon laquelle les chercheurs et laboratoires qui ne développent pas une politique de mise en ligne de leurs publications et données de recherche se mettent à l’écart du mouvement international d’open data scientifique en accroissant la distance informationnelle avec leurs travaux, cette communication présente les conclusions de l’étude des pratiques des laboratoires en sciences humaines de l’université de Poitiers en matière de données de recherche.


Research Access and Discovery in University News Releases: A Case Study

Author : Philip Young


Many universities promote the peer-reviewed articles of their researchers in online news releases. However, access to the articles by the public can be limited, and information for locating articles is sometimes lacking.

This exploratory study quantifies article access, the potential for immediate article archiving, and the presence of discovery aids in news releases at a large research university.


A random sample of 120 news releases over an 11-year period were evaluated.


At publication, 33% of the peer-reviewed articles mentioned in news releases were open access. Immediate archiving in the institutional repository could potentially raise the access rate to 58% of the articles.

Discovery aids in news releases included journal titles (96%), hyperlinks (67%), article titles (44%), and full citations (3%). No hyperlink was in the form of a referenceable digital object identifier (DOI).


Article availability is greater than published estimates, and could result from the university’s STEM focus or self-selection. Delayed access by journals is a significant source of availability, and provides an additional rationale for hyperlinking from news releases.


Most articles promoted in the university’s news releases cannot be accessed by the public. Access could be significantly increased through immediate archiving in the institutional repository. Opportunities for facilitating article discovery could increase the credibility and outreach value of news releases.

URL : Research Access and Discovery in University News Releases: A Case Study

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An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

Authors : Barbara McDonald, Ian Gibson, Elizabeth Yates, Carol Stephenson


This exploratory study was intended to shed light on Canadian academics’ participation in, knowledge of and attitudes towards Open Access (OA) journal publishing. The primary aim of the study was to inform the authors’ schools’ educational and outreach efforts to faculty regarding OA publishing.

The survey was conducted at two Canadian comprehensive universities: Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario) in 2014.


A web-based survey was distributed to faculty at each university. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Limitations: Despite the excellent response rates, the results are not generalizable beyond these two institutions.


The Brock response rate was 38%; the Laurier response rate was 23% from full-time faculty and five percent from part-time faculty. Brock and Laurier faculty members share common characteristics in both their publishing practices and attitudes towards OA.

Science/health science researchers were the most positive about OA journal publishing; arts and humanities and social sciences respondents were more mixed in their perceptions; business participants were the least positive. Their concerns focused on OA journal quality and associated costs.


While most survey respondents agreed that publicly available research is generally a good thing, this study has clearly identified obstacles that prevent faculty’s positive attitudes towards OA from translating into open publishing practices.

URL : An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

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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.