Journal data policies: Exploring how the understanding of editors and authors corresponds to the policies themselves

Authors : Thu-Mai Christian, Amanda Gooch, Todd Vision, Elizabeth Hull

Despite the increase in the number of journals issuing data policies requiring authors to make data underlying reporting findings publicly available, authors do not always do so, and when they do, the data do not always meet standards of quality that allow others to verify or extend published results.

This phenomenon suggests the need to consider the effectiveness of journal data policies to present and articulate transparency requirements, and how well they facilitate (or hinder) authors’ ability to produce and provide access to data, code, and associated materials that meet quality standards for computational reproducibility.

This article describes the results of a research study that examined the ability of journal-based data policies to: 1) effectively communicate transparency requirements to authors, and 2) enable authors to successfully meet policy requirements.

To do this, we conducted a mixed-methods study that examined individual data policies alongside editors’ and authors’ interpretation of policy requirements to answer the following research questions.

Survey responses from authors and editors along with results from a content analysis of data policies found discrepancies among editors’ assertion of data policy requirements, authors’ understanding of policy requirements, and the requirements stated in the policy language as written.

We offer explanations for these discrepancies and offer recommendations for improving authors’ understanding of policies and increasing the likelihood of policy compliance.

URL : Journal data policies: Exploring how the understanding of editors and authors corresponds to the policies themselves

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230281

Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community

Authors : Daisy Larios, Thomas M. Brooks, Nicholas B.W. Macfarlane, Sugoto Roy

Access to the scientific literature is perceived to be a challenge to the biodiversity conservation community, but actual level of literature access relative to needs has never been assessed globally.

We examined this question by surveying the constituency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a proxy for the conservation community, generating 2,285 responses. Of these respondents, ∼97% need to use the scientific literature in order to support their IUCN-related conservation work, with ∼50% needing to do so at least once per week.

The crux of the survey revolved around the question, “How easy is it for you currently to obtain the scientific literature you need to carry out your IUCN-related work?” and revealed that roughly half (49%) of the respondents find it not easy or not at all easy to access scientific literature.

We fitted a binary logistic regression model to explore factors predicting ease of literature access. Whether the respondent had institutional literature access (55% do) is the strongest predictor, with region (Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and gender (male) also significant predictors.

Approximately 60% of respondents from Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have institutional access compared to ∼50% in Asia and Latin America, and ∼40% in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Nevertheless, accessing free online material is a popular means of accessing literature for both those with and without institutional access.

The four journals most frequently mentioned when asked which journal access would deliver the greatest improvements to the respondent’s IUCN-related work were Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Nature, and Science.

The majority prefer to read journal articles on screen but prefer to read books in hard copy. Overall, it is apparent that access to the literature is a challenge facing roughly half of the conservation community worldwide.

URL : Access to Scientific Literature by the Conservation Community

GitHub Repositories with Links to Academic Papers: Open Access, Traceability, and Evolution

Authors : Supatsara Wattanakriengkrai, Bodin Chinthanet, Hideaki Hata, Raula Gaikovina Kula, Christoph Treude, Jin Guo, Kenichi Matsumoto

Traceability between published scientific breakthroughs and their implementation is essential, especially in the case of Open Source Software implements bleeding edge science into its code. However, aligning the link between GitHub repositories and academic papers can prove difficult, and the link impact remains unknown.

This paper investigates the role of academic paper references contained in these repositories. We conducted a large-scale study of 20 thousand GitHub repositories to establish prevalence of references to academic papers. We use a mixed-methods approach to identify Open Access (OA), traceability and evolutionary aspects of the links.

Although referencing a paper is not typical, we find that a vast majority of referenced academic papers are OA. In terms of traceability, our analysis revealed that machine learning is the most prevalent topic of repositories. These repositories tend to be affiliated with academic communities. More than half of the papers do not link back to any repository.

A case study of referenced arXiv paper shows that most of these papers are high-impact and influential and do align with academia, referenced by repositories written in different programming languages. From the evolutionary aspect, we find very few changes of papers being referenced and links to them.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/2004.00199

Digital Objects – FAIR Digital Objects: Which Services Are Required?

Author : Ulrich Schwardmann

Some of the early Research Data Alliance working groups reused the notion of digital objects as digital entities described by metadata and referenced by a persistent identifier. In recent times the FAIR principles became a prominent role as framework for the sustainability of scientific data.

Both approaches had always machine actionability, the capability of computational systems to use services on data without human intervention, in their focus. The more technical approach of digital objects turned out to provide a complementary view on several aspects of the policy framework of FAIR from a technical perspective.

After a deeper analysis and integration of these concepts by a group of European data experts the discussion intensified on so called FAIR digital objects. But they need to be accompanied by services as building blocks for automated processes. We will describe the components of this framework and its potentials here, and also which services inside this framework are required.

URL : Digital Objects – FAIR Digital Objects: Which Services Are Required?

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2020-015

A tale of two ‘opens’: intersections between Free and Open Source Software and Open Scholarship

Authors : Jonathan Tennant, Ritwik Agarwal, Ksenija Baždarić, David Brassard, Tom Crick, Daniel Dunleavy, Thomas Evans, Nicholas Gardner, Monica Gonzalez-Marquez, Daniel Graziotin, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Daniel Gunnarsson, Johanna Havemann, Mohammad Hosseini, Daniel Katz, Marcel Knöchelmann, Christopher Madan, Paolo Manghi, Alberto Marocchino, Paola Masuzzo, Peter Murray-Rust, Sanjay Narayanaswamy, Gustav Nilsonne, Josmel Pacheco-Mendoza, Bart Penders, Olivier Pourret, Michael Rera, John Samuel, Tobias Steiner, Jadranka Stojanovski, Alejandro Uribe-Tirado, Rutger Vos, Simon Worthington, Tal Yarkoni

There is no clear-cut boundary between Free and Open Source Software and Open Scholarship, and the histories, practices, and fundamental principles between the two remain complex.

In this study, we critically appraise the intersections and differences between the two movements. Based on our thematic comparison here, we conclude several key things.

First, there is substantial scope for new communities of practice to form within scholarly communities that place sharing and collaboration/open participation at their focus.

Second, Both the principles and practices of FOSS can be more deeply ingrained within scholarship, asserting a balance between pragmatism and social ideology.

Third, at the present, Open Scholarship risks being subverted and compromised by commercial players.

Fourth, the shift and acceleration towards a system of Open Scholarship will be greatly enhanced by a concurrent shift in recognising a broader range of practices and outputs beyond traditional peer review and research articles.

In order to achieve this, we propose the formulation of a new type of institutional mandate. We believe that there is substantial need for research funders to invest in sustainable open scholarly infrastructure, and the communities that support them, to avoid the capture and enclosure of key research services that would prevent optimal researcher behaviours.

Such a shift could ultimately lead to a healthier scientific culture, and a system where competition is replaced by collaboration, resources (including time and people) are shared and acknowledged more efficiently, and the research becomes inherently more rigorous, verified, and reproducible.

URL : A tale of two ‘opens’: intersections between Free and Open Source Software and Open Scholarship

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/2kxq8

Prevalence of Potentially Predatory Publishing in Scopus on the Country Level

Authors : Tatiana Savina, Ivan Sterligov

We present the results of a large-scale study of potentially predatory journals (PPJ) represented in the Scopus database, which is widely used for research evaluation. Both journal metrics and country, disciplinary data have been evaluated for different groups of PPJ: those listed by Jeffrey Beall and those delisted by Scopus because of “publication concerns”.

Our results show that even after years of delisting, PPJ are still highly visible in the Scopus database with hundreds of active potentially predatory journals. PPJ papers are continuously produced by all major countries, but with different shares. All major subject areas are affected. The largest number of PPJ papers are in engineering and medicine.

On average, PPJ have much lower citation metrics than other Scopus-indexed journals. We conclude with a brief survey of the case of Kazakhstan where the share of PPJ papers at one time amounted to almost a half of all Kazakhstan papers in Scopus, and propose a link between PPJ share and national research evaluation policies (in particular, rules of awarding academic degrees).

The progress of potentially predatory journal research will be increasingly important because such evaluation methods are becoming more widespread in times of the Metric Tide.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/2003.08283

Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences

Author: Scott Taylor

The University of Manchester Library has established a key role in facilitating scholarly discourse through its mediated open access (OA) services, but has little track record in intentionally taking OA research outputs to non-academic audiences.

This article outlines recent exploratory steps the Library has taken to convince researchers to fully exploit this part of the scholarly communication chain. Driving developments within this service category is a belief that despite the recent rise in OA, the full public benefit of research outputs is often not being realized as many papers are written in inaccessibly technical language.

Recognizing our unique position to help authors reach broader audiences with simpler expressions of their work, we have evolved our existing managed OA services to systematically share plain-English summaries of OA papers via Twitter.

In parallel, we have taken steps to ensure that our commercial analytics tools work harder to identify and reach the networked communities that form around academic disciplines in the hope that these simpler expressions of research will be more likely to diffuse beyond these networks.

URL : Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.499