Open access megajournals: The publisher perspective (Part 2: Operational realities)

Authors : Simon Wakeling ,Valérie Spezi, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Stephen Pinfield, Peter Willett

This paper is the second of two Learned Publishing articles in which we report the results of a series of interviews, with senior publishers and editors exploring open access megajournals (OAMJs).

Megajournals (of which PLoS One is the best known example) represent a relatively new approach to scholarly communication and can be characterized as large, broad-scope, open access journals, which take an innovative approach to peer review, basing acceptance decisions solely on the technical or scientific soundness of the article. B

ased on interviews with 31 publishers and editors, this paper reports the perceived cultural, operational, and technical challenges associated with launching, growing, and maintaining a megajournal.

We find that overcoming these challenges while delivering the societal benefits associated with OAMJs is seen to require significant investment in people and systems, as well as an ongoing commitment to the model.

URL : Open access megajournals: The publisher perspective (Part 2: Operational realities)

Alternative location : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.1118/full

 

Open access megajournals: The publisher perspective (Part 1: Motivations)

Authors : Simon Wakeling ,Valérie Spezi , Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Stephen Pinfield, Peter Willett

This paper is the first of two Learned Publishing articles in which we report the results of a series of interviews with senior publishers and editors exploring open access megajournals (OAMJs).

Megajournals (of which PLoS One is the best known example) represent a relatively new approach to scholarly communication and can be characterized as large, broad-scope, open access journals that take an innovative approach to peer review, basing acceptance decisions solely on the technical or scientific soundness of the article.

This model is often said to support the broader goals of the open science movement. Based on in-depth interviews with 31 publishers and editors representing 16 different organizations (10 of which publish a megajournal), this paper reports how the term ‘megajournal’ is understood and publishers’ rationale and motivations for launching (or not launching) an OAMJ.

We find that while there is general agreement on the common characteristics of megajournals, there is not yet a consensus on their relative importance. We also find seven motivating factors that were said to drive the launch of an OAMJ and link each of these factors to potential societal and business benefits.

These results suggest that the often polarized debate surrounding OAMJs is a consequence of the extent to which observers perceive publishers to be motivated by these societal or business benefits.

URL : Open access megajournals: The publisher perspective (Part 1: Motivations)

Alternative location : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.1117/full

 

 

Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry , Stephen Pinfield, Valerie Spezi

Open-Access Mega-Journals (OAMJs) are a relatively new and increasingly important publishing phenomenon. The journal Medicine is in the unique position of having transitioned in 2014 from being a ‘traditional’ highly-selective journal to the OAMJ model.

This study compares the bibliometric profile of the journal Medicine before and after its transition to the OAMJ model. Three standard modes of bibliometric analysis are employed, based on data from Web of Science: journal output volume, author characteristics, and citation analysis.

The journal’s article output is seen to have grown hugely since its conversion to an OAMJ, a rise driven in large part by authors from China. Articles published since 2015 have fewer citations, and are cited by lower impact journals than articles published before the OAMJ transition.

The adoption of the OAMJ model has completely changed the bibliometric profile of the journal, raising questions about the impact of OAMJ peer-review practices. In many respects, the post-2014 version of Medicine is best viewed as a new journal rather than a continuation of the original title.

URL : Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications5020007

Open-access mega-journals: The future of scholarly communication or academic dumping ground? A review

Purpose

Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs) represent an increasingly important part of the scholarly communication landscape. OAMJs, such as PLOS ONE, are large scale, broad scope journals that operate an open access business model (normally based on article-processing charges), and which employ a novel form of peer review, focussing on scientific “soundness” and eschewing judgement of novelty or importance.

The purpose of this paper is to examine the discourses relating to OAMJs, and their place within scholarly publishing, and considers attitudes towards mega-journals within the academic community.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a review of the literature of OAMJs structured around four defining characteristics: scale, disciplinary scope, peer review policy, and economic model. The existing scholarly literature was augmented by searches of more informal outputs, such as blogs and e-mail discussion lists, to capture the debate in its entirety.

Findings

While the academic literature relating specifically to OAMJs is relatively sparse, discussion in other fora is detailed and animated, with debates ranging from the sustainability and ethics of the mega-journal model, to the impact of soundness-only peer review on article quality and discoverability, and the potential for OAMJs to represent a paradigm-shifting development in scholarly publishing.

Originality/value

This paper represents the first comprehensive review of the mega-journal phenomenon, drawing not only on the published academic literature, but also grey, professional and informal sources. The paper advances a number of ways in which the role of OAMJs in the scholarly communication environment can be conceptualised.

URL : Open-access mega-journals: The future of scholarly communication or academic dumping ground? A review

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JD-06-2016-0082

Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Stephen Pinfield, Valérie Spezi

In this paper we present the first comprehensive bibliometric analysis of eleven open-access mega-journals (OAMJs).

OAMJs are a relatively recent phenomenon, and have been characterised as having four key characteristics: large size; broad disciplinary scope; a Gold-OA business model; and a peer-review policy that seeks to determine only the scientific soundness of the research rather than evaluate the novelty or significance of the work. Our investigation focuses on four key modes of analysis: journal outputs (the number of articles published and changes in output over time); OAMJ author characteristics (nationalities and institutional affiliations); subject areas (the disciplinary scope of OAMJs, and variations in sub-disciplinary output); and citation profiles (the citation distributions of each OAMJ, and the impact of citing journals).

We found that while the total output of the eleven mega-journals grew by 14.9% between 2014 and 2015, this growth is largely attributable to the increased output of Scientific Reports and Medicine.

We also found substantial variation in the geographical distribution of authors. Several journals have a relatively high proportion of Chinese authors, and we suggest this may be linked to these journals’ high Journal Impact Factors (JIFs).

The mega-journals were also found to vary in subject scope, with several journals publishing disproportionately high numbers of articles in certain sub-disciplines.

Our citation analsysis offers support for Björk & Catani’s suggestion that OAMJs’s citation distributions can be similar to those of traditional journals, while noting considerable variation in citation rates across the eleven titles.

We conclude that while the OAMJ term is useful as a means of grouping journals which share a set of key characteristics, there is no such thing as a “typical” mega-journal, and we suggest several areas for additional research that might help us better understand the current and future role of OAMJs in scholarly communication.

URL : Open-Access Mega-Journals: A Bibliometric Profile

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165359

Entre science légitime et science amateur : le devenir trivial d’une information scientifique sur Internet

À partir de l’exemple d’un article scientifique publié dans la revue américaine en ligne PLoS ONE, on montre que la circulation d’une information scientifique sur le Net peut rapidement et massivement déborder des cadres habituels de la diffusion de la culture scientifique (médias, passeurs individuels et collectifs labellisés…). Cette recherche interroge ce que le « devenir trivial » d’une information scientifique dit des relations connaissances scientifiques/vulgarisation, science légitime/science amateur et plus généralement sciences/société.

Car si la circulation d’un « être culturel » hors de son champ de pertinence trouve un terreau fécond au sein même de la sphère scientifique, ses frontières avec les sphères profanes sont également autant des coupures que des coutures.

URL : http://lesenjeux.u-grenoble3.fr/2015-supplementA/31-Boure-Lefebvre/index.html

Peer review in megajournals compared with traditional scholarly journals: Does it make a difference?

A megajournal is an open-access journal that publishes any manuscript that presents scientifically trustworthy empirical results, without asking about the potential scientific contribution prior to publication. Megajournals have rapidly increased their output and are currently publishing around 50,000 articles per year.

We report on a small pilot study in which we looked at the citation distributions for articles in megajournals compared with journals with traditional peer review, which also evaluate articles for contribution and novelty.We found that elite journals with very low acceptance rates have far fewer articles with no or few citations, but that the long tail of articles with two citations or less was actually bigger in a sample of selective traditional journals in comparison with megajournals.

This indicates the need for more systematic studies, because the results raise many questions as to how efficiently the current peer review system in reality fulfils its filtering function.

URL : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.1007/abstract