The changing role of research publishing: a case study from Springer Nature

Author : Steven Inchcoombe

Using Springer Nature as a case study this article explores the future of research publishing, with the guiding objective of identifying how such organizations can better serve the needs of researchers and those that support researchers (particularly academic institutions, institutional libraries, research funding bodies and academic societies) as we work together to help advance discovery for the benefit of all.

Progress in four key areas is described: improving the publishing process, innovating across science communication, driving the growth and development of open research and adding value beyond publishing.

The aim of this article is thus to set out a clear vision of what research publishers can achieve if they especially focus on addressing researchers’ needs and apply their considerable resources and expertise accordingly.

If delivered with care, this vision should enable research publishers to help advance discovery, publish more robust and insightful research, support the development of new areas of knowledge and understanding, and make these ideas and this information accessible, usable and reusable by humans and machines alike.

URL : The changing role of research publishing: a case study from Springer Nature



Assessing the utility of an institutional publications officer: a pilot assessment

Authors : Kelly D. Cobey, James Galipeau, Larissa Shamseer, David Moher


The scholarly publication landscape is changing rapidly. We investigated whether the introduction of an institutional publications officer might help facilitate better knowledge of publication topics and related resources, and effectively support researchers to publish.


In September 2015, a purpose-built survey about researchers’ knowledge and perceptions of publication practices was administered at five Ottawa area research institutions. Subsequently, we publicly announced a newly hired publications officer (KDC) who then began conducting outreach at two of the institutions.

Specifically, the publications officer gave presentations, held one-to-one consultations, developed electronic newsletter content, and generated and maintained a webpage of resources. In March 2016, we re-surveyed our participants regarding their knowledge and perceptions of publishing.

Mean scores to the perception questions, and the percent of correct responses to the knowledge questions, pre and post survey, were computed for each item. The difference between these means or calculated percentages was then examined across the survey measures.


82 participants completed both surveys. Of this group, 29 indicated that they had exposure to the publications officer, while the remaining 53 indicated they did not. Interaction with the publications officer led to improvements in half of the knowledge items (7/14 variables).

While improvements in knowledge of publishing were also found among those who reported not to have interacted with the publications officer (9/14), these effects were often smaller in magnitude. Scores for some publication knowledge variables actually decreased between the pre and post survey (3/14).

Effects for researchers’ perceptions of publishing increased for 5/6 variables in the group that interacted with the publications officer.


This pilot provides initial indication that, in a short timeframe, introducing an institutional publications officer may improve knowledge and perceptions surrounding publishing.

This study is limited by its modest sample size and temporal relationship between the introduction of the publications officer and changes in knowledge and perceptions. A randomized trial examining the publications officer as an effective intervention is needed.

URL : Assessing the utility of an institutional publications officer: a pilot assessment


L’édition scientifique au prisme des enjeux territoriaux

Auteur/Author : Édith Laviec

Cette communication s’intéresse au positionnement des régions sur les plans scientifique et du développement des technologies du numérique, et sa traduction auprès des secteurs professionnels comme l’édition d’ouvrages scientifiques.

Nous cherchons à comprendre dans quelle mesure le numérique peut susciter des attentes voire des promesses notamment au niveau politique, qui vont se heurter aux logiques et attentes propres à l’édition de sciences.

Ce travail de recherche relève à la fois de l’industrialisation de la culture, de la communication scientifique articulées à la territorialisation des politiques publiques. Il s’appuie sur une série d’entretiens semi-directifs auprès d’éditeurs d’ouvrages scientifiques et des acteurs politiques de la région Rhône-Alpes.

Les premiers résultats indiquent que, bien que les différentes catégories d’acteurs semblent avoir des stratégies communes, les moyens mobilisés et les objectifs sous-jacents diffèrent et ne permettent pas une rencontre des acteurs.


Peer reviewing: a private affair between the individual researcher and the publishing houses, or a responsibility of the university?

Authors : Leif Longva, Eirik Reierth, Lars Moksness, Bård Smedsrød

Peer reviewing is mandatory for scientific journals as quality control of submitted manuscripts, for universities to rank applicants for scientific positions, and for funding agencies to rank grant applications.

In spite of this deep dependency of peer reviewing throughout the entire academic realm, universities exhibit a peculiar lack of interest in this activity.

The aim of this article is to show that by taking an active interest in peer reviewing the universities will take control over the management and policy shaping of scientific publishing, a regime that is presently largely controlled by the big publishing houses.

The benefits of gaining control of scientific publishing policy include the possibility to implement open access publishing and to reduce the unjustifiably high subscription rates currently charged by some of the major publishing houses.

A common international clean-up action is needed to move this pivotal element of scientific publishing from the dark hiding places of the scientific journals to where it should be managed: namely, at the universities.

In addition to the economic benefits, we postulate that placing peer reviewing at the universities will improve the quality of published research.


A Multi-dimensional Investigation of the Effects of Publication Retraction on Scholarly Impact

Authors : Xin Shuai, Isabelle Moulinier, Jason Rollins, Tonya Custis, Frank Schilder, Mathilda Edmunds

Over the past few decades, the rate of publication retractions has increased dramatically in academia. In this study, we investigate retractions from a quantitative perspective, aiming to answer two fundamental questions.

One, how do retractions influence the scholarly impact of retracted papers, authors, and institutions? Two, does this influence propagate to the wider academic community through scholarly associations?

Specifically, we analyzed a set of retracted articles indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science (WoS), and ran multiple experiments to compare changes in scholarly impact against a control set of non-retracted articles, authors, and institutions.

We further applied the Granger Causality test to investigate whether different scientific topics are dynamically affected by retracted papers occurring within those topics.

Our results show two key findings: first, the scholarly impact of retracted papers and authors significantly decreases after retraction, and the most severe impact decrease correlates to retractions based on proven purposeful scientific misconduct; second, this retraction penalty does not seem to spread through the broader scholarly social graph, but instead has a limited and localized effect.

Our findings may provide useful insights for scholars or science committees to evaluate the scholarly value of papers, authors, or institutions related to retractions.


Research Articles in Simplified HTML: a Web-first format for HTML-based scholarly articles

Authors : Silvio Peroni, Francesco Osborne, Angelo Di Iorio, Andrea Giovanni Nuzzolese, Francesco Poggi, Fabio Vitali, Enrico Motta


This paper introduces the Research Articles in Simplified HTML (or RASH), which is a Web-first format for writing HTML-based scholarly papers; it is accompanied by the RASH Framework, i.e. a set tools for interacting with RASH-based articles. The paper also presents an evaluation that involved authors and reviewers of RASH articles, submitted to the SAVE-SD 2015 and SAVE-SD 2016 workshops.


RASH has been developed in order to: be easy to learn and use; share scholarly documents (and embedded semantic annotations) through the Web; support its adoption within the existing publishing workflow.


The evaluation study confirmed that RASH can already be adopted in workshops, conferences and journals and can be quickly learnt by researchers who are familiar with HTML.

Research limitations

The evaluation study also highlighted some issues in the adoption of RASH, and in general of HTML formats, especially by less technical savvy users. Moreover, additional tools are needed, e.g. for enabling additional conversion from/to existing formats such as OpenXML.

Practical implications

RASH (and its Framework) is another step towards enabling the definition of formal representations of the meaning of the content of an article, facilitate its automatic discovery, enable its linking to semantically related articles, provide access to data within the article in actionable form, and allow integration of data between papers.

Social implications

RASH addresses the intrinsic needs related to the various users of a scholarly article: researchers (focussing on its content), readers (experiencing new ways for browsing it), citizen scientists (reusing available data formally defined within it through semantic annotations), publishers (using the advantages of new technologies as envisioned by the Semantic Publishing movement).


RASH focuses strictly on writing the content of the paper (i.e., organisation of text + semantic annotations) and leaves all the issues about it validation, visualisation, conversion, and semantic data extraction to the various tools developed within its Framework.


Enjeux des « revues hypermédiatisées » pour l’édition scientifique

Auteurs/Authors : Lise Verlaet, Hans Dillaerts

Au sein de cet article nous nous intéresserons aux nouvelles formes de revues scientifiques numériques. Les mutations induites par le numérique ont en effet un impact fondamental sur le secteur de la communication scientifique (Dillaerts, 2012).

Comme nous le démontrerons dans une première partie à travers l’exposé de l’état de l’art, ces dernières se limitent bien souvent dans un premier temps à une simple transposition de la version papier. Toutefois de nouveaux modèles de diffusion sont apparus, notamment le Libre Accès (accès gratuit avec la possibilité de réutiliser et redistribuer l’article) ou encore la science ouverte laquelle prône une démarche scientifique ouverte, des modèles de peer review innovants (open peer review et les méga-revues).

Fort de ces observations et constats, nous développerons ensuite le concept de « revue hypermédiatisée » que nous présenterons au regard du développement de la revue COSSI (Communication, Organisation, Société du Savoir et Information). Inspiré de l’idée de « site médiateur » (Davallon & Jeanneret, 2004), une revue hypermédiatisée propose une redocumentarisation (Pédauque, 2006 ; Salaün, 2007) de son corpus pour en dégager un sens inédit.