University journals. Consolidating institutional repositories in a digital, free, open access publication platform for all scholarly output

Authors : Saskia Woutersen-Windhouwer, Eva Méndez Rodríguez, Jeroen Sondervan, Frans J. Oort

Funders increasingly mandate researchers to publish their scientific articles in open access and to retain their copyright. Universities all over the world have set up institutional repositories and use repositories for the preservation and dissemination of academic production of their institutions, including scientific articles, reports, datasets, and other research outputs.

However, in general, authors do not find institutional repositories very attractive and accessible as an open access publication platform since repositories and open access are not part of the rewarding system.

We expect that researchers are more likely to publish and deposit their scientific papers in a repository, once they have the appearance, recognition and dissemination of a scientific journal.

That is why we took the initiative to set up a repository based journal ‘University Journals’ in which universities collaborate. The paper will explain the University Journals project and how the involved universities want to facilitate a valuable alternative publication platform that complies with Plan S principles and enables publication and dissemination of all research outcomes.

By establishing University Journals as a publication platform, university libraries are instrumental (and crucial) in achieving the ambitions of Open Science, and universities gain control over the publication process.

URL : University journals. Consolidating institutional repositories in a digital, free, open access publication platform for all scholarly output


On the Potential of Preprints in Geochemistry: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Authors : Olivier Pourret, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Jonathan P. Tennant

In recent years, the pace of the dissemination of scientific information has increased. In this context, the possibility and value of sharing open access (OA) online manuscripts in their preprint form seem to be growing in many scientific fields. More and more platforms are especially dedicated to free preprint publishing.

They are published, non-peer-reviewed scholarly papers that typically precede publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They have been a part of science since at least the 1960s.

In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web to help researchers share knowledge easily. A few months later, in August 1991, as a centralized web-based network, arXiv was created. arXiv is arguably the most influential preprint platform and has supported the fields of physics, mathematics and computer science for over 30 years.

Since, preprint platforms have become popular in many disciplines (e.g., bioRxiv for biological sciences) due to the increasing drive towards OA publishing, and can be publisher- or community-driven, profit or not for profit, and based on proprietary or free and open source software. A range of discipline-specific or cross-domain platforms now exist, with exponential growth these last five years.

While preprints as a whole still represent only a small proportion of scholarly publishing, a strong community of early adopters is already beginning to experiment with such value-enhancing tools in many more disciplines than before.

The two main options for geochemists are EarthArXiv and ESSOAr. A “one size fits all” model for preprints would never work across the entire scientific community. The geochemistry community needs to develop and sustain their own model.

URL : On the Potential of Preprints in Geochemistry: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


The growth of open access publishing in geochemistry

Authors : Olivier Pourret, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Jonathan P. Tennant, Andrew Hursthouse, Eric D. van Hullebusch

In this communication, we look at Open Access (OA) publishing practices in geochemistry.

We examine a list of 56 journals and assess whether Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Journal Impact Factors (JIFs) appear to influence publication or not. More than 40% of articles in 2018-2019 were published OA, and about 70% of that portion in fully OA journals.

These had a mean APC of US$ 900, whereas the remaining were published in hybrid journals with a higher mean APC of more than $US 1,800. A moderate and positive correlation is found between the number of OA articles published in hybrids journals and their JIF, whereas there is a stronger positive relationship between the number of OA articles published in fully OA journals and the APC.

For OA articles published in hybrid journals, it seems that the proportion of OA articles tends to increase in journals with higher JIF.


The Democratisation Myth: Open Access and the Solidification of Epistemic Injustices

Author : Marcel Knöchelmann

Open access (OA) is considered to solve an accessibility problem in scholarly communication. But this accessibility is restricted to consumption of Western knowledge.

Epistemic injustices inhering in the scholarly communication of a global production of knowledge remain unchanged. This underscores that the commercial and “big deal” OA dominating Europe and North America has little revolutionary potential to democratise knowledge.

Western academia, driven by politics of progressive neoliberalism, can even reinforce its hegemonic power by solidifying and legitimating the contemporary hierarchies of scholarly communication through OA.

I approach the accessibility problem dialectically to arrive at a critique of the commercial large-scale implementations of OA. I propose a threefold conceptualisation of epistemic injustices comprising of testimonial injustice, hermeneutical injustice, and epistemic objectification.

As these injustices prevail, the notion of a democratisation of knowledge through OA is but another form of technological determinism that neglects the intricacies of culture and hegemonial order.

URL : The Democratisation Myth: Open Access and the Solidification of Epistemic Injustices


Where Does Open Science Lead Us During a Pandemic? A Public Good Argument to Prioritise Rights in The Open Commons

Author : Benjamin Capps

During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, open science has become central to experimental, public health and clinical responses across the globe.

Open science is described as an open commons, in which a right to science avails all possible scientific data for everyone to access and use.

In this common space, capitalist platforms now provide many essential services and are taking the lead in public health activities.

These neoliberal businesses, however, have a central role in the capture of public goods. This paper argues that the open commons is a community of rights, consisting of people and institutions whose interests mutually support the public good.

If OS is a cornerstone of public health, then reaffirming the public good is its overriding purpose, and unethical platforms ought to be excluded from the commons and its benefits.


Open access publishers: The new players

Authors : Rosângela Schwarz Rodrigues, Ernest Abadal, Breno Kricheldorf Hermes de Araújo

The essential role of journals as registries of scientific activity in all areas of knowledge justifies concern about their ownership and type of access. The purpose of this research is to analyze the main characteristics of publishers with journals that have received the DOAJ Seal.

The specific objectives are a) to identify publishers and journals registered with the DOAJ Seal; b) to characterize those publishers; and c) to analyze their article processing fees.

The research method involved the use of the DOAJ database, the Seal option and the following indicators: publisher, title, country, number of articles, knowledge area, article processing charges in USD, time for publication in weeks, and year of indexing in DOAJ.

The results reveal a fast-rising oligopoly, dominated by Springer with 35% of the titles and PLOS with more than 20% of the articles.

We’ve identified three models of expansion: a) a few titles with hundreds of articles; b) a high number of titles with a mix of big and small journals; and c) a high number of titles with medium-size journals.

We identify a high number of titles without APCs (27%) in all areas while medicine was found to be the most expensive area.

Commercial publishers clearly exercise control over the scope of journals and the creation of new titles, according to the interests of their companies, which are not necessarily the same as those of the scientific community or of society in general.

URL : Open access publishers: The new players


Innovative Strategies for Peer Review

Author : Edward Barroga

Peer review is a crucial part of research and publishing. However, it remains imperfect and suffers from bias, lack of transparency, and professional jealousy. It is also overburdened by an increasing quantity of complex papers against the stagnant pool of reviewers, causing delays in peer review.

Additionally, many medical, nursing, and healthcare educators, peer reviewers, and authors may not be completely familiar with the current changes in peer review. Moreover, reviewer education and training have unfortunately remained lacking.

This is especially crucial since current initiatives to improve the review process are now influenced by factors other than academic needs. Thus, increasing attention has recently focused on ways of streamlining the peer review process and implementing alternative peer-review methods using new technologies and open access models.

This article aims to give an overview of the innovative strategies for peer review and to consider perspectives that may be helpful in introducing changes to peer review. Critical assessments of peer review innovations and incentives based on past and present experiences are indispensable.

A theoretical appraisal must be balanced by a realistic appraisal of the ethical roles of all stakeholders in enhancing the peer review process.

As the peer review system is far from being perfect, identifying and developing core competencies among reviewers, continuing education of researchers, reviewer education and training, and professional engagement of the scientific community in various disciplines may help bridge gaps in an imperfect but indispensable peer review system.

URL : Innovative Strategies for Peer Review