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.


Autorité scientifique et épistémique à l’épreuve de la mesure des citations

Auteur/Author : Evelyne Broudoux

Cet article est basé sur une communication donnée le 18 mars 2016 à l’occasion du Colloque « Médiations informatisées de l’autorité : nouvelles écritures, nouvelles pratiques de la reconnaissance ? », organisé à l’ISCC par le Gripic/Celsa.

Cet article fait le point sur la construction de l’autorité scientifique dans la communication scientifique en examinant sous l’angle du repérage des autorités épistémique et scientifique : le champ social des disciplines scientifiques, les études réalisées autour de l’analyse des citations et ses mesures, l’usage croissant du web social et l’auto-référence, la sémantisation des citations.

L’objectif étant de regarder les enjeux actualisés de la communication scientifique.


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

Social Media Attention Increases Article Visits: An Investigation on Article-Level Referral Data of PeerJ

Authors : Xianwen Wang, Yunxue Cui, Qingchun Li, Xinhui Guo

In order to better understand the effect of social media in the dissemination of scholarly articles, employing the daily updated referral data of 110 PeerJ articles collected over a period of 345 days, we analyze the relationship between social media attention and article visitors directed by social media.

Our results show that social media presence of PeerJ articles is high. About 68.18% of the papers receive at least one tweet from Twitter accounts other than @PeerJ, the official account of the journal.

Social media attention increases the dissemination of scholarly articles. Altmetrics could not only act as the complement of traditional citation measures but also play an important role in increasing the article downloads and promoting the impacts of scholarly articles. There also exists a significant correlation among the online attention from different social media platforms.

Articles with more Facebook shares tend to get more tweets. The temporal trends show that social attention comes immediately following publication but does not last long, so do the social media directed article views.


“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


Retraction Notices: Who Authored Them?

Authors : Shaoxiong Brian Xu, Guangwei Hu

Unlike other academic publications whose authorship is eagerly claimed, the provenance of retraction notices (RNs) is often obscured presumably because the retraction of published research is associated with undesirable behavior and consequently carries negative consequences for the individuals involved.

The ambiguity of authorship, however, has serious ethical ramifications and creates methodological problems for research on RNs that requires clear authorship attribution. This article reports a study conducted to identify RN textual features that can be used to disambiguate obscured authorship, ascertain the extent of authorship evasion in RNs from two disciplinary clusters, and determine if the disciplines varied in the distributions of different types of RN authorship.

Drawing on a corpus of 370 RNs archived in the Web of Science for the hard discipline of Cell Biology and the soft disciplines of Business, Finance, and Management, this study has identified 25 types of textual markers that can be used to disambiguate authorship, and revealed that only 25.68% of the RNs could be unambiguously attributed to authors of the retracted articles alone or jointly and that authorship could not be determined for 28.92% of the RNs.

Furthermore, the study has found marked disciplinary differences in the different categories of RN authorship. These results point to the need for more explicit editorial requirements about RN authorship and their strict enforcement.

URL : Retraction Notices: Who Authored Them?

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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