Open Access Temptations: Buyer Beware

Backlash against « megapublishers” which began in mathematics a decade ago has led to an exponential growth in open access journals. Their increasing numbers and popularity notwithstanding, there is evidence that not all open access journals are legitimate.

The nature of the « gold open access » business model and increasing prevalence of « publish or perish » culture in academia has given rise to a dark underbelly in the world of scientific publishing which feeds off academics’ professional needs.

Many such « predatory publishers » and journals not only seem to originate out of India but also seem to have been patronized by academics in the country. This article is a cautionary note to early-career academics and administrators in India to be wary of this « wild west » of the internet and exercise due discretion when considering/ evaluating open-access journals for scholarly contributions.

URL : http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/assets/snippets/workingpaperpdf/10046630992016-03-49.pdf

Current state of open access to journal publications from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine

AIMS

To identify the share of open access (OA) papers in the total number of journal publications authored by the members of the University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM) in 2014.

METHODS

Bibliographic data on 543 UZSM papers published in 2014 were collected using PubMed advanced search strategies and manual data collection methods. The items that had « free full text » icons were considered as gold OA papers.

Their OA availability was checked using the provided link to full-text. The rest of the UZSM papers were analyzed for potential green OA through self-archiving in institutional repository. Papers published by Croatian journals were particularly analyzed.

RESULTS

Full texts of approximately 65% of all UZSM papers were freely available. Most of them were published in gold OA journals (55% of all UZSM papers or 85% of all UZSM OA papers). In the UZSM repository, there were additional 52 freely available authors’ manuscripts from subscription-based journals (10% of all UZSM papers or 15% of all UZSM OA papers).

CONCLUSION

The overall proportion of OA in our study is higher than in similar studies, but only half of gold OA papers are accessible via PubMed directly. The results of our study indicate that increased quality of metadata and linking of the bibliographic records to full texts could assure better visibility. Moreover, only a quarter of papers from subscription-based journals that allow self-archiving are deposited in the UZSM repository.

We believe that UZSM should consider mandating all faculty members to deposit their publications in UZSM OA repository to increase visibility and improve access to its scientific output.

URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26935617

Open Access Publishing in Higher Education: Charting the Challenging Course to Academic and Financial Sustainability

The benefits, pitfalls, and sustainability of open access publishing are hotly debated. Commercial publishers dominate the marketplace and oppose alternative publishing models that threaten their bottom line. Scholars’ use of open access remains relatively limited due to awareness and perceived benefits to their professional goals.

Readership of open access publications is generally strong, but some people disagree that more readers leads to increased citations and research impact. Libraries have grown their influence by supporting and promoting open access, but these efforts come with significant financial costs.

Today, open access has flourished most significantly as a philosophy: the belief that the world’s scholarship should be freely available to readers and that publicly funded research, in particular, should be accessible to the taxpayers who paid for it.

Transforming a moral good into a sustainable publishing model rests with lawmakers, scholars, and institutions of higher education. Without laws designed to ensure participation by authors and publishers, Green Open Access cannot effectively replace journal subscriptions.

Scholars need to call upon each other to archive their work, utilize open access repository web sites to find quality content, and embrace Gold Open Access journals as a professionally beneficial publishing venue.

Institutions must allocate additional internal resources to spur more and better institutional and disciplinary archives, new Gold Open Access journals, and myriad other professional, technical, and financial services necessary to promote open access as a fiscally and academically sustainable publishing solution.

URL : http://cedar.wwu.edu/jec/vol10/iss1/5/

Researchers’ Adoption of an Institutional Central Fund for Open-Access Article-Processing Charges : A Case Study Using Innovation Diffusion Theory

This article analyzes researchers’ adoption of an institutional central fund (or faculty publication fund) for open-access (OA) article-processing charges (APCs) to contribute to a wider understanding of take-up of OA journal publishing (“Gold” OA). Quantitative data, recording central fund usage at the University of Nottingham from 2006 to 2014, are analyzed alongside qualitative data from institutional documentation.

The importance of the settings of U.K. national policy developments and international OA adoption trends are considered. Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) is used as an explanatory framework. It is shown that use of the central fund grew during the period from covering less than 1% of the University’s outputs to more than 12%. Health and Life Sciences disciplines made greatest use of the fund.

Although highly variable, average APC prices rose during the period, with fully OA publishers setting lower average APCs. APCs were paid largely from internal funds, but external funding became increasingly important. Key factors in adoption are identified to be increasing awareness and changing perceptions of OA, communication, disciplinary differences, and adoption mandates.

The study provides a detailed longitudinal analysis of one of the earliest central funds to be established globally with a theoretically informed explanatory model to inform future work on managing central funds and developing institutional and national OA policies.

URL : Researchers’ Adoption of an Institutional Central Fund for Open-Access Article-Processing Charges

DOI: 10.1177/2158244015625447

Pour qui écrivons-nous ?

Cet article revient sur 10 ans de discussions en France autour de l’accès ouvert aux publications scientifiques, en poursuivant deux objectifs. D’une part, il tente de clarifier certains termes du débat. Il s’agit en particulier de distinguer les nombreuses manières de mettre un article en ligne (par l’auteur ou par la revue, sur un site personnel, dans une archive ouverte ou sur un portail de revues, etc.).

Il s’agit également d’envisager une variété de modèles économiques possibles. L’article distingue notamment, outre le modèle classique de l’abonnement, celui de l’auteur-payeur et celui du freemium (financement volontaire par certaines institutions).

D’autre part, l’auteure prend position en faveur de l’accès ouvert. Elle souligne qu’il est déjà largement pratiqué en France, tandis que les revues de bien d’autres pays ne deviennent jamais, même plusieurs années après parution, librement accessibles.

Elle insiste enfin sur l’enjeu que représente pour les auteur.e.s comme pour les revues de sciences humaines et sociales l’ouverture d’un lectorat immensément plus large que celui des pairs.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01309291

Peer Review Quality and Transparency of the Peer-Review Process in Open Access and Subscription Journals

Background

Recent controversies highlighting substandard peer review in Open Access (OA) and traditional (subscription) journals have increased the need for authors, funders, publishers, and institutions to assure quality of peer-review in academic journals. I propose that transparency of the peer-review process may be seen as an indicator of the quality of peer-review, and develop and validate a tool enabling different stakeholders to assess transparency of the peer-review process.

Methods and Findings

Based on editorial guidelines and best practices, I developed a 14-item tool to rate transparency of the peer-review process on the basis of journals’ websites. In Study 1, a random sample of 231 authors of papers in 92 subscription journals in different fields rated transparency of the journals that published their work. Authors’ ratings of the transparency were positively associated with quality of the peer-review process but unrelated to journal’s impact factors.

In Study 2, 20 experts on OA publishing assessed the transparency of established (non-OA) journals, OA journals categorized as being published by potential predatory publishers, and journals from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Results show high reliability across items (α = .91) and sufficient reliability across raters. Ratings differentiated the three types of journals well.

In Study 3, academic librarians rated a random sample of 140 DOAJ journals and another 54 journals that had received a hoax paper written by Bohannon to test peer-review quality. Journals with higher transparency ratings were less likely to accept the flawed paper and showed higher impact as measured by the h5 index from Google Scholar.

Conclusions

The tool to assess transparency of the peer-review process at academic journals shows promising reliability and validity. The transparency of the peer-review process can be seen as an indicator of peer-review quality allowing the tool to be used to predict academic quality in new journals.

URL : Peer Review Quality and Transparency of the Peer-Review Process in Open Access and Subscription Journals

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147913

Open Access Publishing of Health Research: Does Open Access Publishing Facilitate the Translation of Research into Health Policy and Practice?

Health practitioners and policy makers translate health research into practice and policy. However, these end users have limited access to full versions of peer-reviewed literature in subscription journals. Thus, the essential information bypasses the people it is designed to help and the health benefits of medical research are limited and delayed. Open access (OA) publishing is one strategy to facilitate the translation of research to improve health. This review explores the evidence that OA publishing is an effective strategy to facilitate the translation of research and improve health.

The review examines citation benefit, knowledge translation, diffusion impact, self-archiving and regional responses, and found entrenched views about OA publishing but little empirical research.The many biases and flaws in published research lead to a high level of waste and limit the ability to find innovative solutions to the burgeoning health costs. Evidence is presented here that OA publishing would facilitate a reduction in these flaws and biases, reduce waste in research and facilitate innovation. Although there are positive signs of change, more action and more research are needed.

URL : Open Access Publishing of Health Research: Does Open Access Publishing Facilitate the Translation of Research into Health Policy and Practice?

URL : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/4/1/2