Revisiting ‘the 1990s debutante’: scholar-led publishing and the pre-history of the open access movement

Author : Samuel Moore

The movement for open access publishing is often said to have its roots in the scientific disciplines, having been popularised by scientific publishers and formalised through a range of top-down policy interventions. But there is an often-neglected pre-history of open access that can be found in the early DIY publishers of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Managed entirely by working academics, these journals published research in the humanities and social sciences and stand out for their unique set of motivations and practices.

This article explores this separate lineage in the history of the open access movement through a critical-theoretical analysis of the motivations and practices of the early scholar-led publishers.

Alongside showing the involvement of the humanities and social sciences in the formation of open access, the analysis reveals the importance that these journals placed on experimental practices, critique of commercial publishing and the desire to reach new audiences.

Understood in today’s context, this research is significant for adding complexity to the history of open access, which policymakers, advocates and publishing scholars should keep in mind as open access goes mainstream.


Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Harry Crane, Tom Crick, Jacinto Davila, Asura Enkhbayar, Johanna Havemann, Bianca Kramer, Ryan Martin, Paola Masuzzo,  Andy Nobes, Curt Rice, Bárbara Rivera-López, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Susanne Sattler, Paul D. Thacker, Marc Vanholsbeeck

The changing world of scholarly communication and the emerging new wave of ‘Open Science’ or ‘Open Research’ has brought to light a number of controversial and hotly debated topics.

Evidence-based rational debate is regularly drowned out by misinformed or exaggerated rhetoric, which does not benefit the evolving system of scholarly communication.

This article aims to provide a baseline evidence framework for ten of the most contested topics, in order to help frame and move forward discussions, practices, and policies.

We address issues around preprints and scooping, the practice of copyright transfer, the function of peer review, predatory publishers, and the legitimacy of ‘global’ databases.

These arguments and data will be a powerful tool against misinformation across wider academic research, policy and practice, and will inform changes within the rapidly evolving scholarly publishing system.

URL : Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing


A decade of empirical research on research integrity: what have we (not) looked at?

Authors : Noémie Aubert Bonn, Wim Pinxten

In the past decades, increasing visibility of research misconduct scandals created momentum for discourses on research integrity to such an extent that the topic became a field of research itself.

Yet, a comprehensive overview of research in the field is still missing. Here we describe methods, trends, publishing patterns, and impact of a decade of research on research integrity.

To give a comprehensive overview of research on research integrity, we first systematically searched SCOPUS, Web of Science, and PubMed for relevant articles published in English between 2005 and 2015.

We then classified each relevant article according to its topic, several methodological characteristics, its general focus and findings, and its citation impact.

We included 986 articles in our analysis. We found that the body of literature on research integrity is growing in importance, and that the field is still largely dominated by non-empirical publications.

Within the bulk of empirical records (N=342), researchers and students are most often studied, but other actors and the social context in which they interact, seem to be overlooked.

The few empirical articles that examined determinants of misconduct found that problems from the research system (e.g., pressure, competition) were most likely to cause inadequate research practices.

Paradoxically, the majority of empirical articles proposing approaches to foster integrity focused on techniques to build researchers’ awareness and compliance rather than techniques to change the research system.

Our review highlights the areas, methods, and actors favoured in research on research integrity, and reveals a few blindspots. Involving non-researchers and reconnecting what is known to the approaches investigated may be the first step to generate executable knowledge that will allow us to increase the success of future approaches.

URL : A decade of empirical research on research integrity: what have we (not) looked at?


Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis

Author: Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo

Open access publishing has frequently been proposed as a solution to the serials crisis, which involved unsustainable budgetary pressures on libraries due to hyperinflation of subscription costs. The majority of open access articles are published in a minority of journals that levy article processing charges (APCs) paid by authors or their institutions upon acceptance.

Increases in APCs is proceeding at a rate three times that which would be expected if APCs were indexed according to inflation. As increasingly ambitious funder mandates are proposed, such as Plan S, it is important to evaluate whether authors show signs of price sensitivity in journal selection by avoiding journals that introduce or increase their APCs.

Examining journals that introduced an APC 4-5 years after launch or when flipping from a subscription model to immediate open access model showed no evidence that APC introduction reduced article volumes.

Multilevel modelling of APC sensitivity across 319 journals published by the four largest APC-funded dedicated commercial open access publishers (BMC, Frontiers, MDPI, and Hindawi) revealed that from 2012 to 2018 higher APCs were actually associated with increased article volumes.

These findings indicate that APC hyperinflation is not suppressed through market competition and author choice. Instead, demand for scholarly journal publications may be more similar to demand for necessities, or even prestige goods, which will support APC hyperinflation to the detriment of researchers, institutions, and funders.

URL : Article Processing Charge Hyperinflation and Price Insensitivity: An Open Access Sequel to the Serials Crisis


Are Research Datasets FAIR in the Long Run?

Authors : Dennis Wehrle, Klaus Rechert

Currently, initiatives in Germany are developing infrastructure to accept and preserve dissertation data together with the dissertation texts (on state level – bwDATA Diss, on federal level – eDissPlus).

In contrast to specialized data repositories, these services will accept data from all kind of research disciplines. To ensure FAIR data principles (Wilkinson et al., 2016), preservation plans are required, because ensuring accessibility, interoperability and re-usability even for a minimum ten year data redemption period can become a major challenge.

Both for longevity and re-usability, file formats matter. In order to ensure access to data, the data’s encoding, i.e. their technical and structural representation in form of file formats, needs to be understood. Hence, due to a fast technical lifecycle, interoperability, re-use and in some cases even accessibility depends on the data’s format and our future ability to parse or render these.

This leads to several practical questions regarding quality assurance, potential access options and necessary future preservation steps. In this paper, we analyze datasets from public repositories and apply a file format based long-term preservation risk model to support workflows and services for non-domain specific data repositories.

URL : Are Research Datasets FAIR in the Long Run?