Let It Flow: The Monopolization of Academic Content Providers and How It Threatens the Democratization of Information

Author : Dana Lachenmayer

The monopolization of academic journal publishers concentrates power and valuable information into the hands of a few players in the marketplace. It has detrimental effects on how information flows and is accessed.

This, in turn, has profound effects on how a nation progresses. Placed in a theoretical framework, utilizing the marketplace of ideas and the economies that coincide, this article takes a look at the history of Elsevier in order to chart this course toward monopolization.

It exhibits the effect it has already had on the academic community, while offering two models of Open Access as a much sounder option.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1080/0361526X.2018.1556189

Data objects and documenting scientific processes: An analysis of data events in biodiversity data papers

Authors : Kai Li, Jane Greenberg, Jillian Dunic

The data paper, an emerging scholarly genre, describes research datasets and is intended to bridge the gap between the publication of research data and scientific articles. Research examining how data papers report data events, such as data transactions and manipulations, is limited.

The research reported on in this paper addresses this limitation and investigated how data events are inscribed in data papers. A content analysis was conducted examining the full texts of 82 data papers, drawn from the curated list of data papers connected to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Data events recorded for each paper were organized into a set of 17 categories. Many of these categories are described together in the same sentence, which indicates the messiness of data events in the laboratory space.

The findings challenge the degrees to which data papers are a distinct genre compared to research papers and they describe data-centric research processes in a through way.

This paper also discusses how our results could inform a better data publication ecosystem in the future.

URL : Data objects and documenting scientific processes: An analysis of data events in biodiversity data papers

Alternative location : https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.06215

Potential predatory journals are colonizing the ICMJE recommendations list of followers

Authors : Dal-Ré R., Marušić A.

BACKGROUND

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) has expressed its concerns about predatory journals using the list of ICMJE Recommendations (ICMJE-R) followers to “gain the appearance of legitimacy.”

We assessed the presence of potential predatory journals on the ICMJE-R list and their adherence to ICMJE recommendations.

METHODS

A random sample of 350 journals from the estimated 3,100-3,200 biomedical journals listed as ICMJE-R followers was chosen. Data collected from the ICMJE and journal webpages in English were: adherence to six ICMJE-R policies/requirements, year of journal’s listing as ICMJE-R follower, discipline covered, publisher and its country of origin and existence of article processing charge.

Potential predatory journal was considered as one open access journal not being a member of a recognized listing in COPE, DOAJ, OASPA, AJOL and/or INASP.

RESULTS

Thirty-one percent of journals were considered to be potentially predatory; 94% of them were included in the ICMJE-R list in 2014-2018. Half were published in the United States and 62% were devoted to medicine.

Adherence to five of the six policies/requirements was infrequent, ranging from 51% (plagiarism) to 7% (trial registration). Seventy-two percent of journals mentioned a policy on authors’ conflicts of interest. Information on article processing charge was available for 76% journals and could not be found for 22%.

Authorship policy/ instructions were significantly more present in journals with publishers from India than from the USA (53% vs 30%; p = 0.047), with no differences in the other five policies.

CONCLUSION

Predatory journals should be deleted from the ICMJE-R list of followers to prevent misleading authors. ICMJE-R following journals need to be reevaluated with pre-defined published criteria.

URL : http://www.njmonline.nl/getpdf.php?id=2093

Ten myths around open 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 R López​​, Tony Ross-Hellauer​​, Susanne Sattler​​, Paul Thacker​​, MarcVanholsbeeck

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

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

The aim of this article is 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 preprints and scooping, the practice of copyright transfer, the function of peer review, and the legitimacy of ‘global’ databases.

The presented facts and data will be a powerful tool against misinformation across wider academic research, policy and practice, and may be used to inform changes within the rapidly evolving scholarly publishing system.

URL : Ten myths around open scholarly publishing

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27580v1

Who Is (Likely) Peer-Reviewing Your Papers? A Partial Insight into the World’s Top Reviewers

Authors : Francesco Pomponi, Bernardino D’Amico, Tom Rye

Scientific publishing is experiencing unprecedented growth in terms of outputs across all fields. Inevitably this creates pressure throughout the system on a number of entities.

One key element is represented by peer-reviewers, whose demand increases at an even higher pace than that of publications, since more than one reviewer per paper is needed and not all papers that get reviewed get published.

The relatively recent Publons platform allows for unprecedented insight into the usual ‘blindness’ of the peer-review system. At a time where the world’s top peer-reviewers are announced and celebrated, we have taken a step back in order to attempt a partial mapping of their profiles to identify trends and key dimensions of this community of ‘super-reviewers’.

This commentary focuses necessarily on a limited sample due to manual processing of data, which needs to be done within a single day for the type of information we seek. In investigating the numbers of performed reviews vs. academic citations, our analysis suggests that most reviews are carried out by relatively inexperienced academics.

For some of these early career academics, peer-reviewing seems to be the only activity they engage with, given the high number of reviews performed (e.g., three manuscripts per day) and the lack of outputs (zero academic papers and citations in some cases). Additionally, the world’s top researchers (i.e., highly-cited researchers) are understandably busy with research activities and therefore far less active in peer-reviewing.

Lastly, there seems to be an uneven distribution at a national level between scientific outputs (e.g., publications) and reviews performed. Our analysis contributes to the ongoing global discourse on the health of scientific peer-review, and it raises some important questions for further discussion.

URL : Who Is (Likely) Peer-Reviewing Your Papers? A Partial Insight into the World’s Top Reviewers

URL : https://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/7/1/15

Peer Review Bias: A Critical Review

Authors : Samir Haffar, Fateh Bazerbachi, M. Hassan Murad

Various types of bias and confounding have been described in the biomedical literature that can affect a study before, during, or after the intervention has been delivered.

The peer review process can also introduce bias. A compelling ethical and moral rationale necessitates improving the peer review process. A double-blind peer review system is supported on equipoise and fair-play principles.

Triple- and quadruple-blind systems have also been described but are not commonly used. The open peer review system introduces “Skin in the Game” heuristic principles for both authors and reviewers and has a small favorable effect on the quality of published reports.

In this exposition, we present, on the basis of a comprehensive literature search of PubMed from its inception until October 20, 2017, various possible mechanisms by which the peer review process can distort research results, and we discuss the evidence supporting different strategies that may mitigate this bias.

It is time to improve the quality, transparency, and accountability of the peer review system.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2018.09.004

Is open access affordable? Why current models do not work and why we need internet‐era transformation of scholarly communications

Author : Toby Green

Progress to open access (OA) has stalled, with perhaps 20% of new papers ‘born‐free’, and half of all versions of record pay‐walled; why? In this paper, I review the last 12 months: librarians showing muscle in negotiations, publishers’ Read and Publish deals, and funders determined to force change with initiatives like Plan S. I conclude that these efforts will not work.

For example, flipping to supply‐side business models, such as article processing charges, simply flips the pay‐wall to a ‘play‐wall’ to the disadvantage of authors without financial support.

I argue that the focus on OA makes us miss the bigger problem: today’s scholarly communications is unaffordable with today’s budgets. OA is not the problem, the publishing process is the problem.

To solve it, I propose using the principles of digital transformation to reinvent publishing as a two‐step process where articles are published first as preprints, and then, journal editors invite authors to submit only papers that ‘succeed’ to peer review.

This would reduce costs significantly, opening a sustainable pathway for scholarly publishing and OA. The catalyst for this change is for the reputation economy to accept preprints as it does articles in minor journals today.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1219