Open Access and the Theological Imagination

Authors : Talea Anderson, David Squires

The past twenty years have witnessed a mounting crisis in academic publishing. Companies such as Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, and Taylor and Francis have earned unprecedented profits by controlling more and more scholarly output while increasing subscription rates to academic journals.

Thus publishers have consolidated their influence despite widespread hopes that digital platforms would disperse control over knowledge production. Open access initiatives dating back to the mid-1990s evidence a religious zeal for overcoming corporate interests in academic publishing, with key advocates branding their efforts as archivangelism.

Little attention has been given to the legacy or implications of religious rhetoric in open access debates despite its increasing pitch in recent years. This essay shows how the Protestant imaginary reconciles–rather than opposes–open access initiatives with market economics by tracing the rhetoric of openness to free-market liberalism.

Working against the tendency to accept the Reformation as an analogy for the relationship between knowledge production, publishers, and academics, we read Protestantism as a counterproductive element of the archivangelist inheritance.


Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

Author : Sumiko Asai

Although open access has steadily developed with the continuous increase in subscription journal price, the effect of open access articles on citations remains a controversial issue. The present study empirically examines the factors determining authors’ choice to provide open access and the effects of open access on downloads and citations in hybrid journals.

This study estimates author’s choice of open access using a probit model, and the results show that the cost of open access is an important factor in the decision. After a test for endogeneity of open access choice, the equation for downloads is estimated with the variables representing characteristics of articles and authors.

The results of estimating downloads by ordinary least squares show that open access increases the number of downloads in hybrid journals. On the other hand, from citation estimations using a negative binominal model, this study found that the effect of open access on the number of citations differs among hybrid journals.

It is a good practice for authors to consider a balance between article processing charges and the benefits that will be gained from open access when deciding whether to provide open access.

URL : Open Access Determinants and the Effect on Article Performance

DOI : 10.11648/j.ijber.20170606.11

“Let the community decide”? The vision and reality of soundness-only peer review in open-access mega-journals

Authors : Valerie Spezi, Simon Wakeling, Stephen Pinfield, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Peter Willett


The purpose of this paper is to better understand the theory and practice of peer review in open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs typically operate a “soundness-only” review policy aiming to evaluate only the rigour of an article, not the novelty or significance of the research or its relevance to a particular community, with these elements being left for “the community to decide” post-publication.


The paper reports the results of interviews with 31 senior publishers and editors representing 16 different organisations, including 10 that publish an OAMJ. Thematic analysis was carried out on the data and an analytical model developed to explicate their significance.


Findings suggest that in reality criteria beyond technical or scientific soundness can and do influence editorial decisions. Deviations from the original OAMJ model are both publisher supported (in the form of requirements for an article to be “worthy” of publication) and practice driven (in the form of some reviewers and editors applying traditional peer review criteria to OAMJ submissions). Also publishers believe post-publication evaluation of novelty, significance and relevance remains problematic.


The study is based on unprecedented access to senior publishers and editors, allowing insight into their strategic and operational priorities.

The paper is the first to report in-depth qualitative data relating specifically to soundness-only peer review for OAMJs, shedding new light on the OAMJ phenomenon and helping inform discussion on its future role in scholarly communication. The paper proposes a new model for understanding the OAMJ approach to quality assurance, and how it is different from traditional peer review.

URL : “Let the community decide”? The vision and reality of soundness-only peer review in open-access mega-journals


Advancing Scientific Knowledge: Ethical Issues in the Journal Publication Process

Author : Richard H. McCuen

The goal of this paper is to assess the journal publication process from value and ethical perspectives.

The specific objectives are: (1) To define fundamental values relevant to scientific journal publication; (2) To identify stakeholders involved in professional journals and their value rights and responsibilities; (3) To discuss the steps of the journal publication process where ethical dilemmas arise and the potential influences of such dilemmas on the advancement of knowledge; and (4) To summarize actions that can minimize unethical practices throughout the steps of the publication process.

Values such as honesty, efficiency, accountability, and fairness will be discussed. Issues related to the various stakeholders such as self-citation, plagiarism, dual publication, a lack of timeliness, and issues related to authorship will be a primary focus.

URL : Advancing Scientific Knowledge: Ethical Issues in the Journal Publication Process


Monitoring the transition to open access: December 2017

The studies on which this report is based were undertaken by a team led by Michael Jubb and comprising Andrew Plume, Stephanie Oeben and Lydia Brammer, Elsevier; Rob Johnson and Cihan Bütün, Research Consulting; Stephen Pinfield, University of Sheffield.

Following the Finch Report in 2012, Universities UK established an Open Access Coordination Group to support the transition to open access (OA)  for articles in scholarly journals. The Group  commissioned an initial report published in 2015 to gather evidence on key features of that transition.

This second report aims to build on those findings, and to examine trends  over the period since the major funders of research in the UK established new policies to promote OA.

URL : Monitoring the transition to open access: December 2017

“It’s Not the Way We Use English”—Can We Resist the Native Speaker Stranglehold on Academic Publications?

Author : Pat Strauss

English dominates the academic publishing world, and this dominance can, and often does, lead to the marginalisation of researchers who are not first-language speakers of English.

There are different schools of thought regarding this linguistic domination; one approach is pragmatic. Proponents believe that the best way to empower these researchers in their bid to publish is to assist them to gain mastery of the variety of English most acceptable to prestigious journals.

Another perspective, however, is that traditional academic English is not necessarily the best medium for the dissemination of research, and that linguistic compromises need to be made.

They contend that the stranglehold that English holds in the publishing world should be resisted.

This article explores these different perspectives, and suggests ways in which those of us who do not wield a great deal of influence may yet make a small contribution to the levelling of the linguistic playing field, and pave the way for an English lingua franca that better serves the needs of twenty-first century academics.

URL : “It’s Not the Way We Use English”—Can We Resist the Native Speaker Stranglehold on Academic Publications?

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Analyser l’autorité dans les publications scientifiques

Auteur/Author : Evelyne Broudoux

Les usages de l’autorité dans les écrits scientifiques sont peu analysés en sciences de l’information et de la communication, la littérature se concentrant sur l’analyse de citations d’articles pour mesurer statistiquement leur influence.

A partir de définitions reconnues dans différentes disciplines, nous proposons de modéliser l’autorité selon ses modes d’expression. Le premier concerne les entités sociales nommées qui se décomposent en autorité énonciative et autorité institutionnelle.

Les autorités épistémique et cognitive concernent les connaissances ; la médiatisation des écrits se déroule sous l’autorité du support-logiciel et l’autorité du public visé.

Une première mise en pratique de la grille d’analyse ainsi constituée indique que ses trois modes d’autorité peuvent se superposer sans s’exclure selon les objectifs poursuivis par les auteurs.