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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the fast development of open access publishing worldwide, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals, has been recognized for its high criteria in facilitating high quality open access scholarly publishing and used as the portal for accessing quality open access journals.
While the numbers of journal application to be inclusion in DOAJ in Asia are kept increasing dramatically, many editors of these journals are not very clear about the idea or concept of the open access which have been embedded in the application form containing 58 questions falling into several different criteria categories.
The very commonly seen misunderstanding of the required item, inaccurate or vague or incomplete and even missing information, poorly organized website, non-transparent process of publishing, especially no open access statement and copyright statement, or conflicts between the policy statements would cause much more communication between the reviewer and the editor and delay the completion of the review.
This article gives an in depth introduction to DOAJ criteria and detailed introduction to the general process on how to register to DOAJ, suggestions based on application review also is given for journal editors to better prepare for this application.
And it is the most important for editors to keep in mind that to be indexed by DOAJ is not just about filling a form, it is about truly change and adapt to best practices in open access publishing.
Authors : Stephen Pinfield, Jennifer Salter, Peter A. Bath
This paper reports analysis of data from higher education institutions in the UK on their experience of the open-access (OA) publishing market working within a policy environment favouring ‘Gold’ OA (OA publishing in journals).
It models the ‘total cost of publication’ – comprising costs of journal subscriptions, OA article-processing charges (APCs) and new administrative costs – for a sample of 24 institutions. APCs are shown to constitute 12% of the ‘total cost of publication’, APC administration, 1%, and subscriptions, 87% (for a sample of seven publishers).
APC expenditure in institutions rose between 2012 and 2014 at the same time as rising subscription costs. There was disproportionately high take up of Gold options for Health and Life Sciences articles.
APC prices paid varied widely, with a mean APC of £1,586 in 2014. ‘Hybrid’ options (subscription journals also offering OA for individual articles on payment of an APC) were considerably more expensive than fully-OA titles, but the data indicate a correlation between APC price and journal quality (as reflected in the citation rates of journals).
The policy implications of these developments are explored particularly in relation to hybrid OA and potential of offsetting subscription and APC costs.
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.
While the business models used in most segments of the media industry have been profoundly changed by the Internet surprisingly little has changed in the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals. Electronic delivery has become the norm, but the same publishers as before are still dominating the market, selling content to subscribers.
This article asks the question why Open Access (OA) to the output of mainly publicly funded research hasn’t yet become the mainstream business model. OA implies a reversal of revenue logic from readers paying for content to authors paying for dissemination via universal free access.
The current situation is analyzed using Porter’s five forces model. The analysis demonstrates a lack of competitive pressure in this industry, leading to so high profit levels of the leading publishers that they have not yet felt a strong need to change the way they operate.
OA funded by article publishing charges (APCs) might nevertheless start rapidly becoming more common. The driving force currently consists of the public research funders and administrations in Europe, which are pushing for OA by starting dedicated funds for paying the APCs of authors from the respective countries.
This has in turn lead to a situation in which publishers have introduced “big deals” involving the bundling of (a) subscription to all their journals, (b) APCs for their hybrid journals and (c) in the future also APCs to their full OA journals.
This appears to be a relatively risk free strategy for the publishers in question to retain their dominance of the market and high profit levels also in the future.
Authors : David Nicholas, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Jie Xu, Anthony Watkinson, Abdullah Abrizah, Eti Herman, Marzena Świgon
This article presents findings from the first year of the Harbingers research project started in 2015. The project is a 3-year longitudinal study of early career researchers (ECRs) to ascertain their current and changing habits with regard to information searching, use, sharing, and publication.
The study recruited 116 researchers from seven countries (UK, USA, China, France, Malaysia, Poland, and Spain) and performed in-depth interviews by telephone, Skype, or face-to-face to discover behaviours and opinions.
This paper reports on findings regarding discovery and access to scholarly information. Findings confirm the universal popularity of Google/Google Scholar. Library platforms and web-scale discovery services are largely unmentioned and unnoticed by this user community, although many ECRs pass through them unknowingly on the way to authenticated use of their other preferred sources, such as Web of Science.
ECRs are conscious of the benefits of open access in delivering free access to papers. Social media are widely used as a source of discovering scholarly information. ResearchGate is popular and on the rise in all countries surveyed. Smartphones have become a regularly used platform on which to perform quick and occasional searches for scholarly information but are only rarely used for reading full text.