“No comment”?: A study of commenting on PLOS articles

Authors : Simon Wakeling, Peter Willett, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Stephen Pinfield, Valerie Spezi, Marc Bonne, Christina Founti, Itzelle Medina Perea

Article commenting functionality allows users to add publically visible comments to an article on a publisher’s website. As well as facilitating forms of post-publication peer review, for publishers of open-access mega-journals (large, broad scope, OA journals that seek to publish all technically or scientifically sound research) comments are also thought to serve as a means for the community to discuss and communicate the significance and novelty of the research, factors which are not assessed during peer review.

In this paper we present the results of an analysis of commenting on articles published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), publisher of the first and best-known mega-journal PLOS ONE, between 2003 and 2016.

We find that while overall commenting rates are low, and have declined since 2010, there is substantial variation across different PLOS titles. Using a typology of comments developed for this research we also find that only around half of comments engage in an academic discussion of the article, and that these discussions are most likely to focus on the paper’s technical soundness.

Our results suggest that publishers have yet to encourage significant numbers of readers to leave comments, with implications for the effectiveness of commenting as a means of collecting and communicating community perceptions of an article’s importance.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0165551518819965

Plurality in multi-disciplinary research: multiple institutional affiliations are associated with increased citations

Authors : Paul Sanfilippo​, Alex W. Hewitt, David A. Mackey


The institutional affiliations and associated collaborative networks that scientists foster during their research careers are salient in the production of high-quality science. The phenomenon of multiple institutional affiliations and its relationship to research output remains relatively unexplored in the literature.


We examined 27,612 scientific articles, modelling the normalized citation counts received against the number of authors and affiliations held.


In agreement with previous research, we found that teamwork is an important factor in high impact papers, with average citations received increasing concordant with the number of co-authors listed.

For articles with more than five co-authors, we noted an increase in average citations received when authors with more than one institutional affiliation contributed to the research.


Multiple author affiliations may play a positive role in the production of high-impact science. This increased researcher mobility should be viewed by institutional boards as meritorious in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

URL : Plurality in multi-disciplinary research: multiple institutional affiliations are associated with increased citations

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5664

Is together better? Examining scientific collaborations across multiple authors, institutions, and departments

Authors : Lovenoor Aulck, Kishore Vasan, Jevin West

Collaborations are an integral part of scientific research and publishing. In the past, access to large-scale corpora has limited the ways in which questions about collaborations could be investigated. However, with improvements in data/metadata quality and access, it is possible to explore the idea of research collaboration in ways beyond the traditional definition of multiple authorship.

In this paper, we examine scientific works through three different lenses of collaboration: across multiple authors, multiple institutions, and multiple departments. We believe this to be a first look at multiple departmental collaborations as we employ extensive data curation to disambiguate authors’ departmental affiliations for nearly 70,000 scientific papers.

We then compare citation metrics across the different definitions of collaboration and find that papers defined as being collaborative were more frequently cited than their non-collaborative counterparts, regardless of the definition of collaboration used.

We also share preliminary results from examining the relationship between co-citation and co-authorship by analyzing the extent to which similar fields (as determined by co-citation) are collaborating on works (as determined by co-authorship).

These preliminary results reveal trends of compartmentalization with respect to intra-institutional collaboration and show promise in being expanded.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1809.04093

Ethical Concerns in the Rise of Co-Authorship and Its Role as a Proxy of Research Collaborations

Author : Sameer Kumar

Increasing specialization, changes in the institutional incentives for publication, and a host of other reasons have brought about a marked trend towards co-authored articles among researchers.

These changes have impacted Science and Technology (S&T) policies worldwide. Co-authorship is often considered to be a reliable proxy for assessing research collaborations at micro, meso, and macro levels.

Although co-authorship in a scholarly publication brings numerous benefits to the participating authors, it has also given rise to issues of publication integrity, such as ghost authorships and honorary authorships.

The code of conduct of bodies such as the American Psychological Association (APA) and the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) make it clear that only those who have significantly contributed to the study should be on the authorship list.

Those who have contributed little have to be appropriately “acknowledged” in footnotes or in the acknowledgement section. However, these principles are sometimes transgressed, and a complete solution still remains elusive.

URL : Ethical Concerns in the Rise of Co-Authorship and Its Role as a Proxy of Research Collaborations

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications6030037

Whose Infrastructure? Towards Inclusive and Collaborative Knowledge Infrastructures in Open Science

Authors : Angela Okune, Rebecca Hillyer, Denisse Albornoz, Alejandro Posada, Leslie Chan

The current discourse around Open Science has tended to focus on the creation of new technological platforms and tools to facilitate sharing and reuse of a wide range of research outputs.

There is an assumption that once these new tools are in place, researchers—and at times, members of the general public—will be able to participate in the creation of scientific knowledge in more accessible and efficient ways.

While many of these new tools have indeed assisted in the ease of collaboration through online spaces and mechanisms, the narrowness of how infrastructure is imagined by open science practitioners tends to put the use of technology ahead of the issues that people are actually trying to solve and fails to acknowledge the systemic constraints that exist within and between some communities.

Drawing on an analytical framework grounded in Black feminist intersectionality (Noble 2016), this paper highlights the need for more inclusive knowledge infrastructures, particularly in the context of sustainable development. Three case studies from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet), are outlined in order to illustrate the importance of moving beyond a definition of infrastructure as merely a technical or physical entity.

These cases, arising from research conducted in South Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean, demonstrate how more sustainable and nuanced forms of collaboration and participation may be enabled through broader understandings of knowledge infrastructures.

This paper further argues that leveraging the feminist concept of intersectionality when conceptualizing the development of knowledge infrastructures could be one way to move from narrow assumptions about standardized knowledge “users” towards more inclusive reimaginings of how knowledges can be produced and shared via networked technologies.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01816808

Global Scholarly Collaboration: from Traditional Citation Practice to Direct Communication

Authors : Sergey Parinov, Victoria Antonova

The development of recent research information systems allows a transformation of citations in the full text of research papers into interactive elements. Such interactivity in some cases works as an instrument of direct scholarly communications between citing and cited authors.

We discuss this challenge for research e-infrastructure development including opportunities for improvements in research cooperation and in collaboration mechanisms for the global research community.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01816700

Collaboration Diversity and Scientific Impact

Authors : Yuxiao Dong, Hao Ma, Jie Tang, Kuansan Wang

The shift from individual effort to collaborative output has benefited science, with scientific work pursued collaboratively having increasingly led to more highly impactful research than that pursued individually.

However, understanding of how the diversity of a collaborative team influences the production of knowledge and innovation is sorely lacking. Here, we study this question by breaking down the process of scientific collaboration of 32.9 million papers over the last five decades.

We find that the probability of producing a top-cited publication increases as a function of the diversity of a team of collaborators—namely, the distinct number of institutions represented by the team.

We discover striking phenomena where a smaller, yet more diverse team is more likely to generate highly innovative work than a relatively larger team within one institution.

We demonstrate that the synergy of collaboration diversity is universal across different generations, research fields, and tiers of institutions and individual authors.

Our findings suggest that collaboration diversity strongly and positively correlates with the production of scientific innovation, giving rise to the potential revolution of the policies used by funding agencies and authorities to fund research projects, and broadly the principles used to organize teams, organizations, and societies.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.03694