Social Networking Sites and their role in Scholarly…

Social Networking Sites and their role in Scholarly Communications :

“The study was originally defined in a specification document produced by the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham, in which the Centre indicated it wished for a report on social networking sites and their role in scholarly communication […] In particular, the Centre was interested to determine to what extent social networking sites are usurping the role of Open Access repositories and to what extent they are likely to do so in the future. The study therefore naturally needed to consider the relationship between Open Access repositories and social networking sites, both now and in the future. Furthermore, the study needed to examine the behaviour patterns of researchers in using different web locations for research communications and to attempt to predict future trends.”


Paper Tigers Rethinking the Relationship between Copyright and…

Paper Tigers: Rethinking the Relationship between Copyright and Scholarly Publishing :

“Discontent is growing in academia over the practices of the proprietary scholarly publishing industry. Scholars and universities criticize the expensive subscription fees, restrictive access policies, and copyright assignment requirements of many journals. These practices seem fundamentally unfair given that the industries’ two main inputs – articles and peer-review – are provided to it free of charge. Furthermore, while many publishers continue to enjoy substantial profit margins, many elite university libraries have been forced to triage their collections, choosing between purchasing monographs or subscribing to journals, or in some cases, doing away with “non-essential” materials altogether. The situation is even more dire for non-elite schools, individual scholars, and members of the general public. There is a growing sense within the scholarly community that change is needed, but change, thus far, has come slowly.

In this Article, I attempt to neutralize the part of the problem that deals with copyright issues by showing that, at least with respect to copyright, scholarly publishers are “paper tigers”: the legal basis of their copyright claims is less secure than is commonly assumed. In so doing, I hope to offer universities an alternative approach to promoting change within scholarly publishing.

In Part I, I explain how, despite customary practice and common (mis)understanding, universities in fact own the copyrights in faculty-created works under the work-for-hire doctrine.13 While a common law “teacher exception” existed at one time to exempt teachers from the operation of the work-for-hire doctrine, Congress’ failure to codify the exception in the 1976 revisions to the Copyright Act extinguished the old common law rule. In Part II, I describe how, in response, universities developed various policy “solutions” in an attempt to circumvent the application of the work-for-hire doctrine. However, these solutions fail to satisfy the requirements set forth in the Copyright Act. I argue that while these policy failures have damaging implications for the proprietary scholarly publishing industry, the potential effect on the public’s interest in open access to scholarly works is quite promising. In Part III, I explore some of the implications of this revised understanding of the law and address concerns expressed by some scholars and commentators that faculty-creators will be harmed by university ownership of copyright. Finally, I conclude with a series of recommendations that universities could undertake to reduce reliance on the proprietary scholarly publishing industry and empower faculty while promoting open access.”


Science and Technology Committee Eighth Report Peer review…

Science and Technology Committee – Eighth Report : Peer review in scientific publications :

“Peer review in scholarly publishing, in one form or another, has always been regarded as crucial to the reputation and reliability of scientific research. In recent years there have been an increasing number of reports and articles assessing the current state of peer review. In view of the importance of evidence-based scientific information to government, it seemed appropriate to undertake a detailed examination of the current peer-review system as used in scientific publications. Both to see whether it is operating effectively and to shine light on new and innovative approaches. We also explored some of the broader issues around research impact, publication ethics and research integrity.

We found that despite the many criticisms and the little solid evidence on the efficacy of pre-publication editorial peer review, it is considered by many as important and not something that can be dispensed with. There are, however, many ways in which current pre-publication peer-review practices can and should be improved and optimised, although we recognise that different types of peer review are suitable to different disciplines and research communities. Innovative approaches—such as the use of pre-print servers, open peer review, increased transparency and online repository-style journals—should be explored by publishers, in consultation with their journals and taking into account the requirements of their research communities. Some of these new approaches may help to reduce the necessary burden on researchers, and also help accelerate the pace of publication of research. We encourage greater recognition of the work carried out by reviewers, by both publishers and employers. All publishers need to have in place systems for recording and acknowledging the contribution of those involved in peer review.

Publishers also have a responsibility to ensure that the people involved in the peer-review process are adequately trained for the role that they play. Training for editors, authors and reviewers varies across the publishing sector and across different research institutions. We encourage publishers to work together to develop standards—which could be applied across the industry—to ensure that all editors, whether staff or academic, are fully equipped for the job that they do. Furthermore, we consider that all early-career researchers should be given the option for training in peer review; responsibility for this lies primarily with the funders of research.

Funders of research have an interest in ensuring that the work they fund is both scientifically sound and reproducible. We consider that it should be a fundamental aim of the peer-review process that all publications are scientifically sound. Reproducibility should be the gold standard that all peer reviewers and editors aim for when assessing whether a manuscript has supplied sufficient information to allow others to repeat and build on the experiments. As such, the presumption must be that, unless there is a strong reason otherwise, data should be fully disclosed and made publicly available. In line with this principle, data associated with all publicly funded research should, where possible, be made widely and freely available. The work of researchers who expend time and effort adding value to their data, to make it usable by others, should be acknowledged and encouraged.

While pre-publication peer review (the first records of which date back to the 17th century) continues to play an important role in ensuring that the scientific record is sound, the growth of post-publication peer review and commentary represents an enormous opportunity for experimentation with new media and social networking tools. Online communications allow the widespread sharing of links to articles, ensuring that interesting research is spread across the world, facilitating rapid commentary and review by the global audience. They also have a valuable role to play in alerting the community to potential deficiencies and problems with published work. We encourage the prudent use of online tools for post-publication review and commentary as a means of supplementing pre-publication review.

On the subject of impact, it was clear to us that the publication of peer-reviewed articles, particularly those that are published in journals with high Impact Factors, has a direct effect on the careers of researchers and the reputations of research institutions. Assessing the impact or perceived importance of research before it is published requires subjective judgement. We therefore have concerns about the use of journal Impact Factor as a proxy measure for the quality of individual articles. While we have been assured by research funders that they do not use this as a proxy measure for the quality of research or of individual articles, representatives of research institutions have suggested that publication in a high-impact journal is still an important consideration when assessing individuals for career progression. We consider that research institutions should be cautious about this approach as there is an element of chance in getting articles accepted in such journals. We have heard in the course of this inquiry that there is no substitute for reading the article itself in assessing the worth of a piece of research.

Finally, we found that the integrity of the peer-review process can only ever be as robust as the integrity of the people involved. Ethical and scientific misconduct—such as in the Wakefield case—damages peer review and science as a whole. Although it is not the role of peer review to police research integrity and identify fraud or misconduct, it does, on occasion, identify suspicious cases. While there is guidance in place for journal editors when ethical misconduct is suspected, we found the general oversight of research integrity in the UK to be unsatisfactory. We note that the UK Research Integrity Futures Working Group report recently made sensible recommendations about the way forward for research integrity in the UK, which have not been adopted. We recommend that the Government revisit the recommendation that the UK should have an oversight body for research integrity that provides “advice and support to research employers and assurance to research funders”, across all disciplines. Furthermore, while employers must take responsibility for the integrity of their employees’ research, we recommend that there be an external regulator overseeing research integrity. We also recommend that all UK research institutions have a specific member of staff leading on research integrity.”


Has the Revolution in Scholarly Communication Lived Up…

Has the Revolution in Scholarly Communication Lived Up to Its Promise? :

“In the late 1990s the need for an overhaul in the approach to scholarly publishing was recognized. A drastic change would revise the economic model on which publishing was based, give authors rights to their own works in open access repositories and enable consumers across the world to access scholarly materials, building a flow of valuable information for the common good. The revolution has yet to materialize, though small but welcome achievements have been made. The open access business model has gained a foothold with the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and scientists receiving grants through the National Institutes of Health must submit manuscripts to the PubMed Central digital archive. Several universities mandate that faculty members deposit their scholarly articles in institutional repositories, and the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity promotes open publishing by supporting authors. Librarians are both part of the problem and part of the solution. Instead of worrying about paying rising subscription fees, they could use their position to influence authors to take advantage of open access channels despite publish-or-perish pressures. Recent legislative and presidential initiatives, geared to disseminating publicly funded research, may be effective in moving open access closer to transforming the traditional system of scholarly communication.”


How should editors respond to plagiarism? COPE discussion paper

This paper aims to stimulate discussion about how editors should respond to plagiarism. Different types of plagiarism are described in terms of their: extent, originality of the copied material, context, referencing, intention, author seniority, and language. Journal responses to plagiarism are also described including: educating authors, contacting authors’ institutions, issuing corrections, and issuing retractions. The current COPE flowcharts recommend different responses to major and minor plagiarism. Possible, more detailed, definitions of these are proposed for discussion. Decisions about when to use text-matching software are also outlined. The appendix describes other systems for classifying plagiarism and links to related documents and resources.


Online Access and the Scientific Journal Market An…

Online Access and the Scientific Journal Market: An Economist’s Perspective (Draft Report for the National Academy of Sciences) :

In Section 1 of the report I will focus on the most basic unit of analysis – the scientific journal as a communication platform – and then discuss the behavior of publishers, authors, libraries, etc. Once this is accomplished, I can address the questions identified earlier: in Section 2, the journals crisis, and in Section 3, the impact of online access on citations. Finally, Section 4 summarizes the main conclusions of the report, considers the policy implications and offers some directions for future research.”


Owning the Right to Open Up Access to…

Owning the Right to Open Up Access to Scientific Publications :

“Whether the researchers themselves, rather than the institution they work for, are at all in a position to implement OA principles actually depends on the initial allocation of rights on their works. Whereas most European Union Member States have legislation that provides that the copyright owner is the natural person who created the work, the copyright laws of a number European countries, including those of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, establish a presumption, according to which the copyright of works made in the course of employment belongs initially to the employer, which in this case would be the university. In France, a similar presumption applies to works created by employees of the State. Even if researchers are in a position to exercise the rights on their works, they may, nevertheless, be required to transfer these to a publisher in order to get their article or book published. This paper, therefore, analyses the legal position of researchers, research institutions and publishers respectively, and considers what the consequences are for the promotion of OA publishing in light of the principles laid down in the Berlin Declaration and the use of Creative Commons licenses.”