Improving the Measurement of Scientific Success by Reporting a Self-Citation Index

Authors : JustinW. Flatt, Alessandro Blasimme, Effy Vayena

Who among the many researchers is most likely to usher in a new era of scientific breakthroughs? This question is of critical importance to universities, funding agencies, as well as scientists who must compete under great pressure for limited amounts of research money.

Citations are the current primary means of evaluating one’s scientific productivity and impact, and while often helpful, there is growing concern over the use of excessive self-citations to help build sustainable careers in science.

Incorporating superfluous self-citations in one’s writings requires little effort, receives virtually no penalty, and can boost, albeit artificially, scholarly impact and visibility, which are both necessary for moving up the academic ladder.

Such behavior is likely to increase, given the recent explosive rise in popularity of web-based citation analysis tools (Web of Science, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Altmetric) that rank research performance.

Here, we argue for new metrics centered on transparency to help curb this form of self-promotion that, if left unchecked, can have a negative impact on the scientific workforce, the way that we publish new knowledge, and ultimately the course of scientific advance.

URL : Improving the Measurement of Scientific Success by Reporting a Self-Citation Index


The Surge in New University Presses and Academic- Led Publishing: An Overview of a Changing Publishing Ecology in the UK

Authors : Janneke Adema, Graham Stone

This article outlines the rise and development of New University Presses and Academic-Led Presses in the UK or publishing for the UK market. Based on the Jisc research project, Changing publishing ecologies: a landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing, commonalities between these two types of presses are identified to better assess their future needs and requirements.

Based on this analysis, the article argues for the development of a publishing toolkit, for further research into the creation of a typology of presses and publishing initiatives, and for support with community building to help these initiatives grow and develop further, whilst promoting a more diverse publishing ecology.

URL : The Surge in New University Presses and Academic- Led Publishing: An Overview of a Changing Publishing Ecology in the UK


Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

Author : Teresa Schultz

The open access movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study open access (OA) continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open.

This project set out to study just how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and how library and information science authors compare to other disciplines researching this field.

Because of the growth of tools available to help researchers find open versions of articles, this study also sought to compare how these new tools compare to Google Scholar in their ability to disseminating OA research.

From a sample collected from Web of Science of articles published since 2010, the study found that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not.

A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In looking at the copyright of these articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors were more likely to retain copyright ownership if they printed in an open journal compared to authors in hybrid journals.

Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

URL : Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research



Extracting Core Claims from Scientific Articles

Authors : Tom Jansen, Tobias Kuhn

The number of scientific articles has grown rapidly over the years and there are no signs that this growth will slow down in the near future. Because of this, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest developments in a scientific field.

To address this problem, we present here an approach to help researchers learn about the latest developments and findings by extracting in a normalized form core claims from scientific articles.

This normalized representation is a controlled natural language of English sentences called AIDA, which has been proposed in previous work as a method to formally structure and organize scientific findings and discourse.

We show how such AIDA sentences can be automatically extracted by detecting the core claim of an article, checking for AIDA compliance, and – if necessary – transforming it into a compliant sentence.

While our algorithm is still far from perfect, our results indicate that the different steps are feasible and they support the claim that AIDA sentences might be a promising approach to improve scientific communication in the future.


Against capital

Author : Stuart Lawson

The ways in which scholars exchange and share their work have evolved through pragmatic responses to the political and economic contexts in which they are embedded.

So rather than being designed to fulfil their function in an optimal way, our methods of scholarly communication have been distorted by the interests of capital and by neoliberal logic.

If these two interlinked political forces – that suffuse all aspects of our lives – are the reason for the mess we are currently in, then surely any alternative scholarly communication system we create should be working against them, not with them. The influence of capital in scholarly publishing, and the overwhelming force of neoliberalism in our working practices, is the problem.

So when the new ‘innovative disrupters’ are fully aligned with the political forces that need to be dismantled, it is questionable that the new way of doing things is a significant improvement.



A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Jonathan M. Dugan, Daniel Graziotin, Damien C. Jacques, François Waldner, Daniel Mietchen, Yehia Elkhatib, Lauren B. Collister, Christina K. Pikas, Tom Crick, Paola Masuzzo, Anthony Caravaggi, Devin R. Berg, Kyle E. Niemeyer, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Sara Mannheimer, Lillian Rigling, Daniel S. Kat, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Nazeefa Fatima, Marta Poblet, Marios Isaakidis, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Sébastien Renaut, Christopher R. Madan, Lisa Matthias, Jesper Nørgaard Kjær, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Cameron Neylon, Sarah Kearns, Manojkumar Selvaraju, Julien Colomb

Peer review of research articles is a core part of our scholarly communication system. In spite of its importance, the status and purpose of peer review is often contested. What is its role in our modern digital research and communications infrastructure?

Does it perform to the high standards with which it is generally regarded? Studies of peer review have shown that it is prone to bias and abuse in numerous dimensions, frequently unreliable, and can fail to detect even fraudulent research.

With the advent of Web technologies, we are now witnessing a phase of innovation and experimentation in our approaches to peer review. These developments prompted us to examine emerging models of peer review from a range of disciplines and venues, and to ask how they might address some of the issues with our current systems of peer review.

We examine the functionality of a range of social Web platforms, and compare these with the traits underlying a viable peer review system: quality control, quantified performance metrics as engagement incentives, and certification and reputation.

Ideally, any new systems will demonstrate that they out-perform current models while avoiding as many of the biases of existing systems as possible. We conclude that there is considerable scope for new peer review initiatives to be developed, each with their own potential issues and advantages.

We also propose a novel hybrid platform model that, at least partially, resolves many of the technical and social issues associated with peer review, and can potentially disrupt the entire scholarly communication system.

Success for any such development relies on reaching a critical threshold of research community engagement with both the process and the platform, and therefore cannot be achieved without a significant change of incentives in research environments.

URL : A multi-disciplinary perspective on emergent and future innovations in peer review