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

Openness of Spanish scholarly journals as measured by access and rights

Authors : Remedios Melero, Mikael Laakso, Miguel Navas-Fernández

Metrics regarding Open Access (OA) availability for readers and the enablers of redistribution of content published in scholarly journals, i.e. content licenses, copyright ownership, and publisher-stipulated self-archiving permissions are still scarce.

This study implements the four core variables (reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights) of the recently published Open Access Spectrum (OAS) to measure the level of openness in all 1728 Spanish scholarly journals listed in the Spanish national DULCINEA database at the end of 2015.

In order to conduct the analysis additional data has been aggregated from other bibliographic databases and through manual data collection (such data includes the journal research area, type of publisher, type of access, self-archiving and reuse policy, and potential type of Creative Commons (CC) licence used).

79% of journals allowed self-archiving in some form, 13.5% did not specify any copyright terms and 37% used CC licenses. From the total journals (1728), 1285 (74.5%) received the maximum score of 20 in reader rights. For 72% of journals, authors retain or publishers grant broad rights which include author reuse and authorisation rights (for others to re-use).

The OAS-compliant results of this study enable comparative studies to be conducted on other large populations of journals.

URL : https://digital.csic.es/handle/10261/142458

Opening the Publication Process with Executable Research Compendia

Authors : Daniel Nüst, Markus Konkol, Marc Schutzeichel, Edzer Pebesma, Christian Kray, Holger Przibytzin, Jörg Lorenz

A strong movement towards openness has seized science. Open data and methods, open source software, Open Access, open reviews, and open research platforms provide the legal and technical solutions to new forms of research and publishing.

However, publishing reproducible research is still not common practice. Reasons include a lack of incentives and a missing standardized infrastructure for providing research material such as data sets and source code together with a scientific paper. Therefore we first study fundamentals and existing approaches.

On that basis, our key contributions are the identification of core requirements of authors, readers, publishers, curators, as well as preservationists and the subsequent description of an executable research compendium (ERC). It is the main component of a publication process providing a new way to publish and access computational research.

ERCs provide a new standardisable packaging mechanism which combines data, software, text, and a user interface description. We discuss the potential of ERCs and their challenges in the context of user requirements and the established publication processes.

We conclude that ERCs provide a novel potential to find, explore, reuse, and archive computer-based research.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1045/january2017-nuest

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

Helping journals to improve their publishing standards: a data analysis of DOAJ new criteria effects

Authors : Andrea Marchitelli, Paola Galimberti, Andrea Bollini, Dominic Mitchell

In 2013, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) expanded and updated its inclusion criteria and its journal evaluation process, ultimately removing a large number of journals that failed to submit an updated application.

The present study examined the results of the new process and its capability to improve the quality of the directory and the reliability of the information contained in it. A dataset of 12.595 journals included in DOAJ, since its launch in 2003 until May 15th 2016, was examined and compared to other data.

The number of journals deleted from DOAJ during this period is 3776; the majority of them (2851 journals) were excluded because publishers failed to complete the reapplication on time; 490 had ceased publication or were otherwise inactive; 375 were excluded for ethical issues; 53 because they were no longer open access or the content was embargoed, the final 7 were removed for other reasons.

The top five countries in terms of the percentage of journals removed are: Japan (74% of journals removed); Pakistan (60%); Canada (51%); United States (50%); and Mexico (49%). Our study has shown that 158 of the removed journals are included in Beall’s lists; 1130 journals indexed in DOAJ are included in Scopus and/or JCR.

Our analysis demonstrates that, thanks to the new acceptance criteria, to the improved screening process performed by national groups under the direction of the new management, there is a noticeable quality improvement of the journals indexed in DOAJ.

URL : Helping journals to improve their publishing standards: a data analysis of DOAJ new criteria effects

Alternative location : http://leo.cineca.it/index.php/jlis/article/view/12052

Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals

Author : Jeff C. Clements

The accumulation of evidence that open access publishing can increase citation rates highlights one benefit of universal accessibility to scholarly works. However, studies investigating the effect of open access publishing on citations are typically conducted across a wide variety of journals and disciplines, introducing a number of potential issues and limiting their utility for specific disciplines.

Here, I used three primary marine ecology journals with an open access option as a “microcosm” of scientific publishing to determine whether or not open access articles received more citations than non-open access articles during the same time frame, controlling for self-citations, article type, and journal impact factor.

I also tested for the effects of time since publication and the number of authors. Citations were positively correlated with time since publication and differed across the three journals. In addition, open access articles received significantly more citations than non-open access articles.

Self-citations increased with author number and were affected by a complex interaction between open access, journal, and time since publication. This study demonstrates that open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals, although the causal factors driving this trend are unknown.

URL : Open access articles receive more citations in hybrid marine ecology journals

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/facets-2016-0032