The gendered nature of authorship

Authors : Chaoqun Ni, Elise Smith, Haimiao Yuan, Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Authorship is the primary form of symbolic capital in science. Despite this, authorship is rife with injustice and malpractice, with women expressing concerns regarding the fair attribution of credit. Based on an international survey, we examine gendered practices in authorship communication, disagreement, and fairness.

Our results demonstrate that women were more likely to experience authorship disagreements and experience them more often. Their contributions to research papers were more often devalued by both men and women.

Women were more likely to discuss authorship with coauthors at the beginning of the project, whereas men were more likely to determine authorship unilaterally at the end. Women perceived that they received less credit than deserved, while men reported the opposite.

This devaluation of women’s work in science creates cumulative disadvantages in scientific careers. Open discussion regarding power dynamics related to gender is necessary to develop more equitable distribution of credit for scientific labor.

URL : The gendered nature of authorship


More readers in more places: the benefits of open access for scholarly books

Authors : Cameron Neylon, Alkim Ozaygen, Lucy Montgomery, Chun-Kai (Karl) Huang, Ros Pyne, Mithu Lucraft, Christina Emery

Open access to scholarly contents has grown substantially in recent years. This includes the number of books published open access online. However, there is limited study on how usage patterns (via downloads, citations and web visibility) of these books may differ from their closed counterparts. Such information is not only important for book publishers, but also for researchers in disciplines where books are the norm.

This article reports on findings from comparing samples of books published by Springer Nature to shed light on differences in usage patterns across open access and closed books. The study includes a selection of 281 open access books and a sample of 3,653 closed books (drawn from 21,059 closed books using stratified random sampling).

The books are stratified by combinations of book type, discipline and year of publication to enable likewise comparisons within each stratum and to maximize statistical power of the sample.

The results show higher geographic diversity of usage, higher numbers of downloads and more citations for open access books across all strata. Importantly, open access books have increased access and usage for traditionally underserved populations.

URL : More readers in more places: the benefits of open access for scholarly books


Journal citation reports and the definition of a predatory journal: The case of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)

Author : M. Ángeles Oviedo-García

The extent to which predatory journals can harm scientific practice increases as the numbers of such journals expand, in so far as they undermine scientific integrity, quality, and credibility, especially if those journals leak into prestigious databases.

Journal Citation Reports (JCRs), a reference for the assessment of researchers and for grant-making decisions, is used as a standard whitelist, in so far as the selectivity of a JCR-indexed journal adds a legitimacy of sorts to the articles that the journal publishes.

The Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) once included on Beall’s list of potential, possible or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers, had 53 journals ranked in the 2018 JCRs annual report.

These journals are analysed, not only to contrast the formal criteria for the identification of predatory journals, but taking a step further, their background is also analysed with regard to self-citations and the source of those self-citations in 2018 and 2019.

The results showed that the self-citation rates increased and was very much higher than those of the leading journals in the JCR category. Besides, an increasingly high rate of citations from other MDPI-journals was observed.

The formal criteria together with the analysis of the citation patterns of the 53 journals under analysis all singled them out as predatory journals. Hence, specific recommendations are given to researchers, educational institutions and prestigious databases advising them to review their working relations with those sorts of journals.

URL : Journal citation reports and the definition of a predatory journal: The case of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)


Dawning of a new age? Economics journals’ data policies on the test bench

Author : Sven Vlaeminck

In the field of social sciences and particularly in economics, studies have frequently reported a lack of reproducibility of published research. Most often, this is due to the unavailability of data reproducing the findings of a study.

However, over the past years, debates on open science practices and reproducible research have become stronger and louder among research funders, learned societies, and research organisations.

Many of these have started to implement data policies to overcome these shortcomings. Against this background, the article asks if there have been changes in the way economics journals handle data and other materials that are crucial to reproduce the findings of empirical articles.

For this purpose, all journals listed in the Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Reports edition for economics have been evaluated for policies on the disclosure of research data.

The article describes the characteristics of these data policies and explicates their requirements. Moreover, it compares the current findings with the situation some years ago.

The results show significant changes in the way journals handle data in the publication process. Research libraries can use the findings of this study for their advisory activities to best support researchers in submitting and providing data as required by journals.

URL : Dawning of a new age? Economics journals’ data policies on the test bench


The state of social science research on COVID-19

Authors : Yan-Li Liu, Wen-Juan Yuan, Shao-Hong Zhu

Research on COVID-19 has proliferated rapidly since the outbreak of the pandemic at the end of 2019. Many articles have aimed to provide insight into this fast-growing theme. The social sciences have also put effort into research on problems related to COVID-19, with numerous documents having been published.

Some studies have evaluated the growth of scientific literature on COVID-19 based on scientometric analysis, but most of these analyses focused on medical research while ignoring social science research on COVID-19.

This is the first scientometric study of the performance of social science research on COVID-19. It provides insight into the landscape, the research fields, and international collaboration in this domain. Data obtained from SSCI on the Web of Science platform was analyzed using VOSviewer.

The overall performance of the documents was described, and then keyword co-occurrence and co-authorship networks were visualized. The six main research fields with highly active topics were confirmed by analysis and visualization. Mental health and psychology were clearly shown to be the focus of most social science research related to COVID-19.

The USA made the most contributions, with the most extensive collaborations globally, with Harvard University as the leading institution. Collaborations throughout the world were strongly related to geographical location.

Considering the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this scientometric study is significant for identifying the growth of literature in the social sciences and can help researchers within this field gain quantitative insights into the development of research on COVID-19.

The results are useful for finding potential collaborators and for identifying the frontier and gaps in social science research on COVID-19 to shape future studies.


The impact of geographical bias when judging scientific studies

Authors : Marta Kowal, Piotr Sorokowski, Emanuel Kulczycki, Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz

The beauty of science lies within its core assumption that it seeks to identify the truth, and as such, the truth stands alone and does not depend on the person who proclaims it. However, people’s proclivity to succumb to various stereotypes is well known, and the scientific world may not be exceptionally immune to the tendency to judge a book by its cover.

An interesting example is geographical bias, which includes distorted judgments based on the geographical origin of, inter alia, the given work and not its actual quality or value. Here, we tested whether both laypersons (N = 1532) and scientists (N = 480) are prone to geographical bias when rating scientific projects in one of three scientific fields (i.e., biology, philosophy, or psychology).

We found that all participants favored more biological projects from the USA than China; in particular, expert biologists were more willing to grant further funding to Americans. In philosophy, however, laypersons rated Chinese projects as better than projects from the USA. Our findings indicate that geographical biases affect public perception of research and influence the results of grant competitions.

URL : The impact of geographical bias when judging scientific studies


Are Conference Posters Being Cited?

Authors : Nick Haupka, Cäcilia Schröer, Christian Hauschke

We present a small case study on citations of conference posters using poster collections from both Figshare and Zenodo. The study takes into account the years 2016–2020 according to the dates of publication on the platforms.

Citation data was taken from DataCite, Crossref and Dimensions. Primarily, we want to know to what extent scientific posters are being cited and thereby which impact posters potentially have on the scholarly landscape and especially on academic publications.

Our data-driven analysis reveals that posters are rarely cited. Citations could only be found for 1% of the posters in our dataset. A limitation in this study however is that the impact of academic posters was not measured empirical but rather descriptive.

URL : Are Conference Posters Being Cited?