Scholarly Communication and the Dilemma of Collective Action : Why Academic Journals Cost Too Much

Author : John Wenzler

Why has the rise of the Internet – which drastically reduces the cost of distributing information – coincided with drastic increases in the prices that academic libraries pay for access to scholarly journals?

This study argues that libraries are trapped in a collective action dilemma as defined by economist Mancur Olson in The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups.

To truly reduce their costs, librarians would have to build a shared online collection of scholarly resources jointly managed by the academic community as a whole, but individual academic institutions lack the private incentives necessary to invest in a shared collection.

Thus, the management of online scholarly journals has been largely outsourced to publishers who have developed monopoly powers that allow them to increase subscription prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Many librarians consider the Open Access Movement the best response to increased subscription costs, but the current strategies employed to achieve Open Access also are undermined by collective action dilemmas. In conclusion, some alternative strategies are proposed.

URL : http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2016/06/02/crl16-897.full.pdf

 

Open Access, Innovation, and Research Infrastructure

Authors : Benedikt Fecher, Gert G. Wagner

In this article we argue that the current endeavors to achieve open access in scientific
literature require a discussion about innovation in scholarly publishing and research infrastructure.

Drawing on path dependence theory and addressing different open access (OA) models and recent political endeavors, we argue that academia is once again running the risk of outsourcing the organization of its content.

URL : Open Access, Innovation, and Research Infrastructure

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/4/2/17

Twittering About Research: A Case Study of the World’s First Twitter Poster Competition

Authors : Edward P. Randviir, Samuel M. Illingworth, Matthew J. Baker, Matthew Cude, Craig E. Banks

The Royal Society of Chemistry held, to our knowledge, the world’s first Twitter conference at 9am on February 5 th, 2015. The conference was a Twitter-only conference, allowing researchers to upload academic posters as tweets, replacing a physical meeting.

This paper reports the details of the event and discusses the outcomes, such as the potential for the use of social media to enhance scientific communication at conferences. In particular, the present work argues that social media outlets such as Twitter broaden audiences, speed up communication, and force clearer and more concise descriptions of a researcher’s work.

The benefits of poster presentations are also discussed in terms of potential knowledge exchange and networking.

This paper serves as a proof-of-concept approach for improving both the public opinion of the poster, and the enhancement of the poster through an innovative online format that some may feel more comfortable with, compared to face-to-face communication.

URL : Twittering About Research: A Case Study of the World’s First Twitter Poster Competition

Alternative location : http://f1000research.com/articles/4-798/v3

Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Author : John P. A. Ioannidis

There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field.

In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance.

Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias. In this essay, I discuss the implications of these problems for the conduct and interpretation of research.

URL : Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

Alternative location : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

Small scholar-led scholarly journals: Can they survive and thrive in an open access future?

Author : Heather Morrison

This article presents early results of a research project designed to further our understanding of how to ensure that small scholar-led journals can survive and thrive in a global open access knowledge commons.

This phase of the research focuses on generation of ideas through interviews and focus groups with 15 participants involved in producing small scholar-led journals that either are or would like to become open access.

Although a couple of journals reported that they could survive in an open access future based on existing resources, most were concerned about survival and none expressed confidence that they could thrive in an open-access future.

These journals are far more diverse than one might imagine. Comparing the costs of article production from one journal with another might not make sense. A number of avenues for further research are discussed.

URL : Small scholar-led scholarly journals: Can they survive and thrive in an open access future?

Alternative location : http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/leap.1015/full

The effects of an editor serving as one of the reviewers during the peer-review process

Authors : Marco Giordan, Attila Csikasz-Nagy, Andrew M. Collings

Background

Publishing in scientific journals is one of the most important ways in which scientists disseminate research to their peers and to the wider public.

Pre-publication peer review underpins this process, but peer review is subject to various criticisms and is under pressure from growth in the number of scientific publications.

Methods

Here we examine an element of the editorial process at eLife, in which the Reviewing Editor usually serves as one of the referees, to see what effect this has on decision times, decision type, and the number of citations.

We analysed a dataset of 8,905 research submissions to eLife since June 2012, of which 2,750 were sent for peer review, using R and Python to perform the statistical analysis.

Results

The Reviewing Editor serving as one of the peer reviewers results in faster decision times on average, with the time to final decision ten days faster for accepted submissions (n=1,405) and 5 days faster for papers that were rejected after peer review (n=1,099).

There was no effect on whether submissions were accepted or rejected, and a very small (but significant) effect on citation rates for published articles where the Reviewing Editor served as one of the peer reviewers.

Conclusions

An important aspect of eLife’s peer-review process is shown to be effective, given that decision times are faster when the Reviewing Editor serves as a reviewer. Other journals hoping to improve decision times could consider adopting a similar approach.

URL : The effects of an editor serving as one of the reviewers during the peer-review process

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.8452.1

Quality Assessment of Studies Published in Open Access and Subscription Journals: Results of a Systematic Evaluation

Authors : Sonja Milovanovic, Jovana Stojanovic, Ljupcho Efremov, Rosarita Amore, Stefania Boccia

Introduction

Along with the proliferation of Open Access (OA) publishing, the interest for comparing the scientific quality of studies published in OA journals versus subscription journals has also increased.

With our study we aimed to compare the methodological quality and the quality of reporting of primary epidemiological studies and systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in OA and non-OA journals.

Methods

In order to identify the studies to appraise, we listed all OA and non-OA journals which published in 2013 at least one primary epidemiologic study (case-control or cohort study design), and at least one systematic review or meta-analysis in the field of oncology.

For the appraisal, we picked up the first studies published in 2013 with case-control or cohort study design from OA journals (Group A; n = 12), and in the same time period from non-OA journals (Group B; n = 26); the first systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in 2013 from OA journals (Group C; n = 15), and in the same time period from non-OA journals (Group D; n = 32).

We evaluated the methodological quality of studies by assessing the compliance of case-control and cohort studies to Newcastle and Ottawa Scale (NOS) scale, and the compliance of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) scale.

The quality of reporting was assessed considering the adherence of case-control and cohort studies to STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist, and the adherence of systematic reviews and meta-analyses to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) checklist.

Results

Among case-control and cohort studies published in OA and non-OA journals, we did not observe significant differences in the median value of NOS score (Group A: 7 (IQR 7–8) versus Group B: 8 (7–9); p = 0.5) and in the adherence to STROBE checklist (Group A, 75% versus Group B, 80%; p = 0.1).

The results did not change after adjustment for impact factor. The compliance with AMSTAR and adherence to PRISMA checklist were comparable between systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in OA and non-OA journals (Group C, 46.0% versus Group D, 55.0%; p = 0.06), (Group C, 72.0% versus Group D, 76.0%; p = 0.1), respectively).

Conclusion

The epidemiological studies published in OA journals in the field of oncology approach the same methodological quality and quality of reporting as studies published in non-OA journal.

URL : Quality Assessment of Studies Published in Open Access and Subscription Journals: Results of a Systematic Evaluation

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154217