Quantifying the changing role of past publications

Our current societies increasingly rely on electronic repositories of collective knowledge. An archetype of these databases is the Web of Science (WoS) that stores scientific publications. In contrast to several other forms of knowledge — e.g., Wikipedia articles — a scientific paper does not change after its « birth ».

Nonetheless, from the moment a paper is published it exists within the evolving web of other papers, thus, its actual meaning to the reader changes.

To track how scientific ideas (represented by groups of scientific papers) appear and evolve, we apply a novel combination of algorithms explicitly allowing for papers to change their groups. We (i) identify the overlapping clusters of the undirected yearly co-citation networks of the WoS (1975-2008) and (ii) match these yearly clusters (groups) to form group timelines.

After visualizing the longest lived groups of the entire data set we assign topic labels to the groups. We find that in the entire Web of Science multidisciplinarity is clearly over-represented among cutting edge ideas. In addition, we provide detailed examples for papers that (i) change their topic labels and (ii) move between groups.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1605.00509

Open Access – the better access? Academic publishing and its politics

Open Access to scholarly literature seems to dominate current discussions in the academic publishing, research funding and science policy arenas. Several international initiatives have been recently started calling for a large-scale transformation of the majority of scholarly journals from subscription model to Open Access.

Such a massive transition would indeed affect not only business models and related cash flows but might be also expected to generate new inequalities in distributing resources among different regions or research fields.

Thus, the paper at hand aims to serve as an input statement for the upcoming discussion and to provide some background information on Open Access debates.

URL : http://eprints.rclis.org/29269/

Tackling complexity in an interdisciplinary scholarly network: Requirements for semantic publishing

Scholarly communication is complex. The clarification of concepts like “academic publication”, “document”, “semantics” and “ontology” facilitates tracking the limitations and benefits of the media of the current publishing system, as well as of a possible alternative medium.

In this paper, requirements for such a new medium of scholarly communication, labeled Scholarly Network, have been collected and a basic model has been developed. An interdisciplinary network of concepts and assertions, created with the help of Semantic Web technologies by scholars and reviewed by peers and information professionals, can provide a quick overview of the state of research.

The model picks up the concept of Nanopublications, but maps information in a more granular way. For a better understanding of which problems have to be solved by developing such a publication medium, e.g., inconsistency, theories of Radical Constructivism are of great help.

URL : http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6102/5510

Stability and Longevity in the Publication Careers of U.S. Doctorate Recipients

Since the 1950s, the number of doctorate recipients has risen dramatically in the United States. In this paper, we investigate whether the longevity of doctorate recipients’ publication careers has changed.

This is achieved by matching 1951–2010 doctorate recipients with rare names in astrophysics, chemistry, economics, genetics and psychology in the dissertation database ProQuest to their publications in the publication database Web of Science.

Our study shows that pre-PhD publication careers have changed: the median year of first publication has shifted from after the PhD to several years before PhD in most of the studied fields. In contrast, post-PhD publication career spans have not changed much in most fields.

The share of doctorate recipients who have published for more than twenty years has remained stable over time; the shares of doctorate recipients publishing for shorter periods also remained almost unchanged.

Thus, though there have been changes in pre-PhD publication careers, post-PhD career spans remained quite stable.

URL : Stability and Longevity in the Publication Careers of U.S. Doctorate Recipients

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154741

Comparing Published Scientific Journal Articles to Their Pre-print Versions

Academic publishers claim that they add value to scholarly communications by coordinating reviews and contributing and enhancing text during publication.

These contributions come at a considerable cost: U.S. academic libraries paid $1.7 billion for serial subscriptions in 2008 alone. Library budgets, in contrast, are flat and not able to keep pace with serial price inflation.

We have investigated the publishers’ value proposition by conducting a comparative study of pre-print papers and their final published counterparts.

This comparison had two working assumptions: 1) if the publishers’ argument is valid, the text of a pre-print paper should vary measurably from its corresponding final published version, and 2) by applying standard similarity measures, we should be able to detect and quantify such differences.

Our analysis revealed that the text contents of the scientific papers generally changed very little from their pre-print to final published versions. These findings contribute empirical indicators to discussions of the added value of commercial publishers and therefore should influence libraries’ economic decisions regarding access to scholarly publications.

URL : http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.05363

A Journal is a Club: A New Economic Model for Scholarly Publishing

A new economic model for analysis of scholarly publishing—journal publishing in particular—is proposed that draws on club theory. The standard approach builds on market failure in the private production (by research scholars) of a public good (new scholarly knowledge).

In that model publishing is communication, as the dissemination of information. But a club model views publishing differently: namely as group formation, where members form groups in order to confer externalities on each other, subject to congestion.

A journal is a self-constituted group, endeavouring to create new knowledge. In this sense ‘a journal is a club’. The knowledge club model of a journal seeks to balance the positive externalities due to a shared resource (readers, citations, referees) against negative externalities due to crowding (decreased prospect of publishing in that journal).

A new economic model of a journal as a ‘knowledge club’ is elaborated. We suggest some consequences for the management of journals and financial models that might be developed to support them.

URL : http://ssrn.com/abstract=2763975

Open peer review : from an experiment to a model. A narrative of an open peer review experimentation

This article narrates the development of the experimentation of an open peer review and open commentary protocols. This experiment concerns propositions of articles for the environmental sciences journal VertigO, digital and open access scientific publication.

This experiment did not last long enough (4 months) and was not deployed on a large enough corpus (10 preprints) to lead to firm quantitative conclusions. However, it highlights practical leads and thoughts about the potentialities and the limitations of the open review processes – in the broadest sense – for scientific publishing.

Based on the exemplary of the experiment and a participant observation as a copy-editor devoted to open peer review, the article finally proposes a model from the experimented prototype.

This model, named OPRISM, could be implemented on other publishing contexts for social sciences and humanities. Central and much debated activity in the academic world, peer review refers to different practices such as control, validation, allocation and contradiction exercised by the scientific community for itself.

Its scope is wide: from the allocation for funding to the relevance of a recruitment. According to common sense, the control of the scientific community by itself is a guarantee of scientific quality.

This issue became even more important in an international context of competition between universities and between scholars themselves.

URL : Open peer review : from an experiment to a model

Alternative location : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01302597