A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk, Cenyu Shen, Mikael Laakso

Open Access (OA) is nowadays increasingly being used as a business model for the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals, both by specialized OA publishing companies and major, predominantly subscription-based publishers.

However, in the early days of the web OA journals were mainly founded by independent academics, who were dissatisfied with the predominant print and subscription paradigm and wanted to test the opportunities offered by the new medium.

There is still an on-going debate about how OA journals should be operated, and the volunteer model used by many such ‘indie’ journals has been proposed as a viable alternative to the model adopted by big professional publishers where publishing activities are funded by authors paying expensive article processing charges (APCs).

Our longitudinal quantitative study of 250 ‘indie’ OA journals founded prior to 2002, showed that 51% of these journals were still in operation in 2014 and that the median number of articles published per year had risen from 11 to 18 among the survivors.

Of these surviving journals, only 8% had started collecting APCs. A more detailed qualitative case study of five such journals provided insights into how such journals have tried to ensure the continuity and longevity of operations.

URL : A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1990

State of Data Guidance in Journal Policies: A Case Study in Oncology

Author: Deborah H. Charbonneau, Joan E. Beaudoin

This article reports the results of a study examining the state of data guidance provided to authors by 50 oncology journals. The purpose of the study was the identification of data practices addressed in the journals’ policies.

While a number of studies have examined data sharing practices among researchers, little is known about how journals address data sharing. Thus, what was discovered through this study has practical implications for journal publishers, editors, and researchers.

The findings indicate that journal publishers should provide more meaningful and comprehensive data guidance to prospective authors. More specifically, journal policies requiring data sharing, should direct researchers to relevant data repositories, and offer better metadata consultation to strengthen existing journal policies.

By providing adequate guidance for authors, and helping investigators to meet data sharing mandates, scholarly journal publishers can play a vital role in advancing access to research data.

URL : State of Data Guidance in Journal Policies: A Case Study in Oncology

Alternative location : http://www.ijdc.net/index.php/ijdc/article/view/10.2.136

Measuring, Rating, Supporting, and Strengthening Open Access Scholarly Publishing in Brazil

This study assesses the extent and nature of open access scholarly publishing in Brazil, one of the world’s leaders in providing universal access to its research and scholarship. It utilizes Brazil’s Qualis journal evaluation system, along with other relevant data bases to address the association between scholarly quality and open access in the Brazilian context.

Through cross tabulation among these various data sets, it is possible to arrive at a reasonably accurate picture of journals, systems, ratings, and disciplines.

The study establishes reliable measures and counts of Brazilian scholarly publications, the proportion and types of open access, and journals ratings and by disciplinary field. It finds that the better the Brazilian journal, the more likely it is to be open access.

It also finds that Qualis ranks Brazilian journals lower overall than the international journals in which Brazilian authors publish, most notably in the field of the biological sciences.

The study concludes with a consideration of the policy implications for building on the country’s global leadership in open access to strengthen the quality of its global contribution to knowledge.

URL : Measuring, Rating, Supporting, and Strengthening Open Access Scholarly Publishing in Brazil

Alternative location : http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/2391

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