Innovations in scholarly communication – global survey on research tool usage

Many new websites and online tools have come into existence to support scholarly communication in all phases of the research workflow. To what extent researchers are using these and more traditional tools has been largely unknown.

This 2015-2016 survey aimed to fill that gap. Its results may help decision making by stakeholders supporting researchers and may also help researchers wishing to reflect on their own online workflows. In addition, information on tools usage can inform studies of changing research workflows.

The online survey employed an open, non-probability sample. A largely self-selected group of 20663 researchers, librarians, editors, publishers and other groups involved in research took the survey, which was available in seven languages.

The survey was open from May 10, 2015 to February 10, 2016. It captured information on tool usage for 17 research activities, stance towards open access and open science, and expectations of the most important development in scholarly communication.

Respondents’ demographics included research roles, country of affiliation, research discipline and year of first publication.

URL : Innovations in scholarly communication – global survey on research tool usage

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.8414.1

On the Marginal Cost of Scholarly Communication

We assessed the marginal cost of scholarly communication from the perspective of an agent looking to start an independent, peer-reviewed scholarly journal. We found that various vendors can accommodate all of the services required for scholarly communication for a price ranging between $69 and $318 per article.

In contrast, if an agent had access to software solutions replacing the services provided by vendors, the marginal cost of scholarly communication would be reduced to the cloud infrastructure cost alone and drop to between $1.36 and $1.61 per article.

Incidentally, DOI registration alone accounts for between 82% and 98% of this cost. While vendor cost typically decreases with higher volume, new offerings in cloud computing exhibit the opposite trend, challenging the notion that large volume publishers benefit from economies of scales as compared to smaller publishers.

Given the current lack of software solutions fulfilling the functions of scholarly communication, we conclude that the development of high quality “plug-and-play” open source software solutions would have a significant impact in reducing the marginal cost of scholarly communication, making it more open to experimentation and innovation.

URL : https://research.science.ai/article/on-the-marginal-cost-of-scholarly-communication

Big Publishers, Bigger Profits: How the Scholarly Community Lost the Control of its Journals

Despite holding the potential to liberate scholarly information, the digital era has, to the contrary, increased the control of a few for-profit publishers. While most journals in the print era were owned by academic institutions and scientific societies, the majority of scientific papers are currently published by five for-profit publishers, which often exhibit profit margins between 30%-40%.

This paper documents the evolution of this consolidation over the last 40 years, discusses the peculiar economics of scholarly publishing, and reflects upon the role of publishers in today’s academe.

URL : Big Publishers, Bigger Profits: How the Scholarly Community Lost the Control of its Journals

Alternative location : http://www.mediatropes.com/index.php/Mediatropes/article/view/26422

Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing

« Public access to publicly funded research » has been one of the rallying calls of the global open access movement. Governments and public institutions around the world have mandated that publications supported by public funding sources should be publicly accessible. Publishers are experimenting with new models to widen access.

Yet financial flows underpinning scholarly publishing remain complex and opaque. In this paper we present work to trace and reassemble a picture of financial flows around the publication of journals in the UK in the midst of a national shift towards open access.

We contend that the current lack of financial transparency around scholarly communication is an obstacle to evidence-based policy-making – leaving researchers, decision-makers and institutions in the dark about the systemic implications of new financial models.

We conclude that obtaining a more joined up picture of financial flows is vital as a means for researchers, institutions and others to understand and shape changes to the sociotechnical systems that underpin scholarly communication.

URL : http://ssrn.com/abstract=2690570

Making Open Access work: The “state-of-the-art” in providing Open Access to scholarly literature

Purpose

 The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of one of the most important and controversial areas of scholarly communication: Open Access publishing and dissemination of research outputs. It identifies and discusses recent trends and future challenges for various stakeholders in delivering Open Access (OA) to the scholarly literature.

Design/methodology/approach

 The study is based on a number of interrelated strands of evidence which make up the current discourse on OA, comprising the peer-reviewed literature, grey literature and other forms of communication (including blogs and e-mail discussion lists). It uses a large-scale textual analysis of the peer-reviewed literature since 2010 (carried out using the VOSviewer tool) as a basis for discussion of issues raised in the OA discourse.

Findings

 A number of key themes are identified, including the relationship between “Green” OA (deposit in repositories) and “Gold” OA (OA journal publication), the developing evidence base associated with OA, researcher attitudes and behaviours, policy directions, management of repositories, development of journals, institutional responses and issues around impact and scholarly communication futures. It suggests that current challenges now focus on how OA can be made to work in practice, having moved on from the discussion of whether it should happen at all.

Originality/value

 The paper provides a structured evidence-based review of major issues in the OA field, and suggests key areas for future research and policy development.

URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/OIR-05-2015-0167

Open Access publishing and scholarly communications in non-scientific disciplines

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an overview of the current state of debates surrounding Open Access (OA) in non-STEM disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a selective literature review and discussion methodology to give a representative summary of the state of the art.

Findings

Non-STEM disciplines persistently lag behind scientific disciplines in their approach to OA, if the teleology towards open dissemination is accepted. This can be attributed to a variety of economic and cultural factors that centre on the problem of resource allocation with respect to quality.

Originality/value

This paper will be of value to policymakers, funders, academics and publishers. The original aspect of the paper pertains to the identification of an anxiety of irrelevance in the humanities disciplines and a focus on “quality” in Open-Access publishing debates.

URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/OIR-04-2015-0103

The role of arXiv, RePEc, SSRN and PMC in formal scholarly communication

Purposes 

The four major Subject Repositories (SRs), arXiv, Research Papers in Economics (RePEc), Social Science Research Network (SSRN) and PubMed Central (PMC), are all important within their disciplines but no previous study has systematically compared how often they are cited in academic publications. In response, this article reports an analysis of citations to SRs from Scopus publications, 2000 to 2013.

Design/methodology/approach

Scopus searches were used to count the number of documents citing the four SRs in each year. A random sample of 384 documents citing the four SRs was then visited to investigate the nature of the citations.

Findings

Each SR was most cited within its own subject area but attracted substantial citations from other subject areas, suggesting that they are open to interdisciplinary uses. The proportion of documents citing each SR is continuing to increase rapidly, and the SRs all seem to attract substantial numbers of citations from more than one discipline.

Research limitations/implications

Scopus does not cover all publications, and most citations to documents found in the four SRs presumably cite the published version, when one exists, rather than the repository version.

Practical implications

SRs are continuing to grow and do not seem to be threatened by Institutional Repositories (IRs) and so research managers should encourage their continued use within their core disciplines, including for research that aims at an audience in other disciplines.

Originality/value

This is the first simultaneous analysis of Scopus citations to the four most popular SRs.

URL : http://www.yorku.ca/lixuemei/The_role_of_subject_repositories_AslibPreprint.docx