A Multi-dimensional Investigation of the Effects of Publication Retraction on Scholarly Impact

Authors : Xin Shuai, Isabelle Moulinier, Jason Rollins, Tonya Custis, Frank Schilder, Mathilda Edmunds

Over the past few decades, the rate of publication retractions has increased dramatically in academia. In this study, we investigate retractions from a quantitative perspective, aiming to answer two fundamental questions.

One, how do retractions influence the scholarly impact of retracted papers, authors, and institutions? Two, does this influence propagate to the wider academic community through scholarly associations?

Specifically, we analyzed a set of retracted articles indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science (WoS), and ran multiple experiments to compare changes in scholarly impact against a control set of non-retracted articles, authors, and institutions.

We further applied the Granger Causality test to investigate whether different scientific topics are dynamically affected by retracted papers occurring within those topics.

Our results show two key findings: first, the scholarly impact of retracted papers and authors significantly decreases after retraction, and the most severe impact decrease correlates to retractions based on proven purposeful scientific misconduct; second, this retraction penalty does not seem to spread through the broader scholarly social graph, but instead has a limited and localized effect.

Our findings may provide useful insights for scholars or science committees to evaluate the scholarly value of papers, authors, or institutions related to retractions.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1602.09123

Anticipated effects of an open access policy at a private foundation

Author : Eesha Khare, Carly Strasser

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) was interested in understanding the potential effects of a policy requiring open access to peer-reviewed publications resulting from the research the foundation funds.

To explore this question, we collected data on more than 2000 publications in over 500 journals that were generated by GBMF grantees since 2001. We then examined the journal policies to establish how two possible open access policies might have affected grantee publishing habits.

We found that 99.3% of the articles published by grantees would have complied with a policy that requires open access within 12 months of publication. We also estimated the annual costs to GBMF for covering fees associated with « gold open access » to be between $250,000 and $2,500,000 annually.

URL : http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/04/18/128413

Metrics for openness

Authors : David M. Nichols, Michael B. Twidale

The characterization of scholarly communication is dominated by citation-based measures. In this paper we propose several metrics to describe different facets of open access and open research.

We discuss measures to represent the public availability of articles along with their archival location, licenses, access costs, and supporting information. Calculations illustrating these new metrics are presented using the authors’ publications.

We argue that explicit measurement of openness is necessary for a holistic description of research outputs.

URL : http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10842

What Constitutes Peer Review of Data: A survey of published peer review guidelines

Author : Todd A Carpenter

Since a number of journals specifically focus on the review and publication of data sets, reviewing their policies seems an appropriate place to start in assessing what existing practice looks like in the ‘real world’ of reviewing and publishing data.

This article outlines a study of the publicly available peer review policies of 39 scientific publications that publish data papers to discern which criteria are most and least frequently referenced. It also compares current practice with proposed criteria published in 2012.

URL : What Constitutes Peer Review of Data: A survey of published peer review guidelines

Alternative location : https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.02236

Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication

Authors : Stefania Manca, Maria Ranieri

Research on scholars’ use of social media suggests that these sites are increasingly being used to enhance scholarly communication by strengthening relationships, facilitating collaboration among peers, publishing and sharing research products, and discussing research topics in open and public formats.

However, very few studies have investigated perceptions and attitudes towards social media use for scholarly communication of large cohorts of scholars at national level.

This study investigates the reasons for using social media sites for scholarly communication among a large sample of Italian university scholars (N=6139) with the aim of analysing what factors mainly affect these attitudes.

The motivations for using social media were analysed in connection with frequency of use and factors like gender, age, years of teaching, academic title, and disciplinary field. The results point out that for the most used tools the influence of the variables examined was higher in shaping scholars’ motivations.

In fact, frequency of use, age, years of teaching, and disciplinary field were found to be relevant factors especially for LinkedIn and ResearchGate-Academia.edu, while gender and academic title seemed to have a limited impact on scholars’ motivations for all social media sites considered in the study.

Considerations for future research are provided along with limitations of the study.

URL : Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i2.2859

Looking Into Pandora’s Box: The Content Of Sci-Hub And Its Usage

Author : Bastian Greshake

Despite the growth of Open Access, illegally circumventing paywalls to access scholarly publications is becoming a more mainstream phenomenon. The web service Sci-Hub is amongst the biggest facilitators of this, offering free access to around 62 million publications.

So far it is not well studied how and why its users are accessing publications through Sci-Hub. By utilizing the recently released corpus of Sci-Hub and comparing it to the data of ~28 million downloads done through the service, this study tries to address some of these questions.

The comparative analysis shows that both the usage and complete corpus is largely made up of recently published articles, with users disproportionately favoring newer articles and 35% of downloaded articles being published after 2013.

These results hint that embargo periods before publications become Open Access are frequently circumnavigated using Guerilla Open Access approaches like Sci-Hub. On a journal level, the downloads show a bias towards some scholarly disciplines, especially Chemistry, suggesting increased barriers to access for these.

Comparing the use and corpus on a publisher level, it becomes clear that only 11% of publishers are highly requested in comparison to the baseline frequency, while 45% of all publishers are significantly less accessed than expected.

Despite this, the oligopoly of publishers is even more remarkable on the level of content consumption, with 80% of all downloads being published through only 9 publishers. All of this suggests that Sci-Hub is used by different populations and for a number of different reasons and that there is still a lack of access to the published scientific record.

A further analysis of these openly available data resources will undoubtedly be valuable for the investigation of academic publishing.

URL : Looking Into Pandora’s Box: The Content Of Sci-Hub And Its Usage

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1101/124495

Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine

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

Open-Access Mega-Journals (OAMJs) are a relatively new and increasingly important publishing phenomenon. The journal Medicine is in the unique position of having transitioned in 2014 from being a ‘traditional’ highly-selective journal to the OAMJ model.

This study compares the bibliometric profile of the journal Medicine before and after its transition to the OAMJ model. Three standard modes of bibliometric analysis are employed, based on data from Web of Science: journal output volume, author characteristics, and citation analysis.

The journal’s article output is seen to have grown hugely since its conversion to an OAMJ, a rise driven in large part by authors from China. Articles published since 2015 have fewer citations, and are cited by lower impact journals than articles published before the OAMJ transition.

The adoption of the OAMJ model has completely changed the bibliometric profile of the journal, raising questions about the impact of OAMJ peer-review practices. In many respects, the post-2014 version of Medicine is best viewed as a new journal rather than a continuation of the original title.

URL : Transitioning from a Conventional to a ‘Mega’ Journal: A Bibliometric Case Study of the Journal Medicine

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications5020007