arXiv e-prints and the journal of record: An analysis of roles and relationships

Authors : Vincent Larivière, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Benoit Macaluso, Staša Milojević, Blaise Cronin, Mike Thelwal

Since its creation in 1991, arXiv has become central to the diffusion of research in a number of fields. Combining data from the entirety of arXiv and the Web of Science (WoS), this paper investigates (a) the proportion of papers across all disciplines that are on arXiv and the proportion of arXiv papers that are in the WoS, (b) elapsed time between arXiv submission and journal publication, and (c) the aging characteristics and scientific impact of arXiv e-prints and their published version.

It shows that the proportion of WoS papers found on arXiv varies across the specialties of physics and mathematics, and that only a few specialties make extensive use of the repository.

Elapsed time between arXiv submission and journal publication has shortened but remains longer in mathematics than in physics. In physics, mathematics, as well as in astronomy and astrophysics, arXiv versions are cited more promptly and decay faster than WoS papers.

The arXiv versions of papers – both published and unpublished – have lower citation rates than published papers, although there is almost no difference in the impact of the arXiv versions of both published and unpublished papers.”


‘Héloïse’: towards a co-ordinated ecosystem approach for the archiving of scientific publications?

Authors : Hans Dillaerts, Ghislaine Chartron

With the continued development of open access policies, it is important to promote consensus-building projects with the various stakeholders. This article gives an account of how such collaboration has facilitated the construction of the project Héloïse.

This project is a French information service dedicated to describing the policies of French publishers on the self-archiving of scientific publications. Héloïse represents a real tool of mediation whose development involved much debate between publishers and research stakeholders.

This article seeks to demonstrate that the development of trust between the actors involved in the project was a major component of its success.


Facilitating access to free online resources: challenges and opportunities for the library community

The volume of online content continues to grow exponentially, and much of it is freely available. Some of this content is of potentially significant value for teaching, learning and research purposes. However, ‘free to access’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘easy to find’. Taylor & Francis have conducted a research programme to help explore the issues relating to free online content discoverability from the perspective of librarians.

Our research included several focus groups, teledepth interviews and an online survey ; which together have helped build a picture of the challenges associated with surfacing free online content within an institution for educational and research purposes


Types of Open Access Publishers in Scopus

This study assessed characteristics of publishers who published 2010 open access (OA) journals indexed in Scopus. Publishers were categorized into six types; professional, society, university, scholar/researcher, government, and other organizations. Type of publisher was broken down by number of journals/articles published in 2010, funding model, location, discipline and whether the journal was born or converted to OA. Universities and societies accounted for 50% of the journals and 43% of the articles published. Professional publisher accounted for a third of the journals and 42% of the articles.

With the exception of professional and scholar/researcher publishers, most journals were originally subscription journals that made at least their digital version freely available. Arts, humanities and social science journals are largely published by societies and universities outside the major publishing countries. Professional OA publishing is most common in biomedicine, mathematics, the sciences and engineering.

Approximately a quarter of the journals are hosted on national/international platforms, in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia largely published by universities and societies without the need for publishing fees. This type of collaboration between governments, universities and/or societies may be an effective means of expanding open access publications.


The web as exception: the rise of new media publishing cultures

This dissertation offers a history of web exceptionalism – or the notion that the web is a source of radical change and that it is inherently different from its ‘mass’ and ‘mainstream’ media predecessors – as well as its role in various innovations in web publishing. Web exceptionalism combines a discourse of the displacement of older media with the articulation of specific media practices, technologies and forms as “web-native,” i.e. as somehow reflective of the web’s essence or nature. Its expressions range from early visions of the web as a virtual space and ideal public sphere to the concept of Web 2.0 and recent discussion of social media as a new form of decentralized, citizen-powered journalism.

Here, I examine manifestations of such ideas in new media publishing cultures in the 1990s and early 2000s, arguing that while these narratives of exceptionalism portray the web’s development in terms of rupture, or sudden break from the past, they paradoxically shape web culture as a site and source of historical continuity. The aim of this study is not to debunk claims of the web’s exceptional nature. Rather, it is concerned with how a closer investigation of web exceptionalism, focused on the conditions of its emergence, serves to reveal the various historical and cultural legacies that shape the web and our perceptions of it.

In the first part of the dissertation, I explore the roots of web exceptionalism by returning to the influential conceptualization of the web as cyberspace in the early 1990s. In its most utopian configurations, the-web-as-cyberspace would be a space of ‘pure information’ that would free its users from physical, social, cultural and economic constraints on identity, community and enterprise. As much as cyberspace symbolized a radically different future, however, the concept was also the site of a remarkable connection between cybercultural utopianism and cybernetics, or the science of communication and control, which developed in military-related research during the 1940s and 1950s.

One of the key ideas that emerged from cybernetics – that social and cultural phenomena are essentially formalizable (and thus computable) systems of information and feedback – is extended in the basic assumption underlying cybercultural utopianism, that the world might be made anew within the electronic frontier of cyberspace. This underlying assumption may also be seen to resonate with more recent articulations of the web as an exceptional medium: despite the disappearance of a utopian notion of cyberspace, similar computational metaphor is found in concepts such as the social graph, which carries the promise of a universal mapping of social relations.
In addition to the concept of cyberspace, cybercultural utopianism may be typified by its primary mode of delivery, the cool tech-culture magazines such as Mondo 2000 and Wired that entered mainstream culture in the early 1990s. As I argue in a case study of Mondo 2000, the magazine’s mix of irony, rebellious attitude and unconventional production practices was closely aligned with its depictions of the cybercultural future, which oscillated between enthusiastic and negative visions of the potential for empowerment and authentic experience through new media. Mondo’s ambivalent “cool” not only represented a particular new media publishing form, but was in part produced by the rupture-talk at the center of Mondo 2000’s identity. Like the computational metaphor, I argue, Mondo’s new media cool may be seen to resonate with later manifestations of web exceptionalism, where a similar ambivalence about the effects of new media endures.

The second part of the dissertation comprises three case studies of web exceptionalism, each of which emphasizes the interplay between rupture-talk and the establishment of novel media practices, technologies and forms. The first concerns the promise of a “new publishing paradigm” at HotWired, the web-only publication launched by the creators of Wired magazine in 1994. At HotWired, questions of site design and editorial practice were addressed in terms of the web’s promise and what the new medium required. Embedded in these ideas about the web’s exceptional status and the resulting practices, however, were a series of cultural influences – from the New Journalism of the 1970s to the Bay Area rave scene of the 1990s – that tied HotWired’s production to past media practice.

The second case revisits what appeared to be the arrival of a new age of “open news,” a narrative of exceptionalism spurred by the rapid rise to prominence of the tech-news website and forum Slashdot in 1998. With its reader-submitted stories and intricate commenting infrastructure, Slashdot seemed to embody principles of open-source software production, where engineering work is delegated to a dispersed, self-organized group of volunteers. In this new context, ‘openness’ meant spreading the work of news production and distribution among diverse participants and providing an alternative to the closed process of decision-making by traditional gatekeepers. A closer look at the emergence of Slashdot’s unique technological infrastructure, however, suggests a different lineage involving the early online culture of Bulletin Board Systems. And rather than a critical intervention in news production, the site’s history sooner resonates with accounts of the introduction of information technology in the workplace, as its central thread is the automation and increased visibility of production tasks. The third case study deals with the emergence of blogging as a popular web publishing format in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Taking as a starting point the influential definition of blogging as “web-native,” I show how blogging was defined by early practitioners as both a solution to perceived problems in mainstream media and an extension of some of its worst excesses. Most of all, I argue, the articulation of blogging as “web-native” was aligned with what I call blogging’s logic of exposure, extending conventional publishing values and practices related to publicity into a novel web cultural form.

Overall, the case studies demonstrate how significant innovations in web publishing were simultaneously a product of narratives of the web as an exceptional medium as well as a range of cultural influences. In doing so, they support the dissertation’s central claim, that rupture-talk paradoxically shapes web-native culture as a site and source of historical continuity.”


Access, accommodation, and science: Knowledge in an “open” world

“The rising popularity of open access (OA) publishing in scholarly communities is purportedly leading to increased public knowledge. At least, that’s a key piece of the OA moral argument. This is especially true for discussions of scientific research.

We argue, however, that while there have been significant moves to provide better material/technological access to research, OA advocates must still tackle the issue of making original scientific research conceptually accessible. Despite being freely available on the Internet, articles are not also by default linguistically, conceptually, or ideologically accessible to the global public(s) they are intended to reach.

In this article, we examine how OA coupled with innovative scientific communication practices can help align the ideals of OA with the realities of complex, specialized genres of writing to provide better, more “open,” access to research.

We look to PLOS ONE and the PLOS Blog Network to discuss how the innovative material access of PLOS ONE coupled with the communication strategies of PLOS Bloggers can work together toward more openly accessible original scientific research articles.”


The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer: The Effect of Open Access on Cites to Science Journals Across the Quality Spectrum

An open-access journal allows free online access to its articles, obtaining revenue from fees charged to submitting authors. Using panel data on science journals, we are able to circumvent some problems plaguing previous studies of the impact of open access on citations.

We find that moving from paid to open access increases cites by 8% on average in our sample, but the effect varies across the quality of content. Open access increases cites to the best content (top-ranked journals or articles in upper quintiles of citations within a volume) but reduces cites to lower-quality content.

We construct a model to explain these findings in which being placed on a broad open-access platform can increase the competition among articles for readers’ attention. We can find structural parameters allowing the model to fit the quintile results quite closely.