Decoding Academic Fair Use: Transformative Use and the Fair Use Doctrine in Scholarship

Author : Matthew D. Bunker

Fair use in copyright law is an enormously complex legal doctrine. Although much scholarly attention has been paid to fair use in the context of teaching — particularly in on-line education — relatively little research exists on the problem of fair use in scholarship.

This article analyzes reported federal cases on fair use in scholarly contexts, with a particular emphasis on the transformative use doctrine that has become enormously influential in fair use determinations.

The article explores insights from this body of case law that may assist future scholars wishing to fairly use copyrighted expression in their scholarship.

URL : Decoding Academic Fair Use: Transformative Use and the Fair Use Doctrine in Scholarship


Implementing publisher policies that inform, support and encourage authors to share data: two case studies

Authors: Leila Jones, Rebecca Grant, Iain Hrynaszkiewicz

Open research data is one of the key areas in the expanding open scholarship movement. Scholarly journals and publishers find themselves at the heart of the shift towards openness, with recent years seeing an increase in the number of scholarly journals with data-sharing policies aiming to increase transparency and reproducibility of research.

In this article we present two case studies which examine the experiences that two leading academic publishers, Taylor & Francis and Springer Nature, have had in rolling out data-sharing policies.

We illustrate some of the considerations involved in providing consistent policies across journals of many disciplines, reflecting on successes and challenges.

URL : Implementing publisher policies that inform, support and encourage authors to share data: two case studies


From closed to open access: A case study of flipped journals

Authors : Fakhri Momeni, Nicholas Fraser, Isabella Peters, Philipp Mayr

In recent years, increased stakeholder pressure to transition research to Open Access has led to many journals “flipping” from a toll access to an open access publishing model. Changing the publishing model can influence the decision of authors to submit their papers to a journal, and increased article accessibility may influence citation behaviour.

The aim of this paper is to show changes in the number of published articles and citations after the flipping of a journal. We analysed a set of 171 journals in the Web of Science (WoS) which flipped to open access.

In addition to comparing the number of articles, average relative citation (ARC) and normalized impact factor (IF) are applied, respectively, as bibliometric indicators at the article and journal level, to trace the transformation of flipped journals covered.

Our results show that flipping mostly has had positive effects on journal’s IF. But it has had no obvious citation advantage for the articles. We also see a decline in the number of published articles after flipping.

We can conclude that flipping to open access can improve the performance of journals, despite decreasing the tendency of authors to submit their articles and no better citation advantages for articles.


Highly cited references in PLOS ONE and their in-text usage over time

Authors : Wolfgang Otto, Behnam Ghavimi, Philipp Mayr, Rajesh Piryani, Vivek Kumar Singh

In this article, we describe highly cited publications in a PLOS ONE full-text corpus. For these publications, we analyse the citation contexts concerning their position in the text and their age at the time of citing.

By selecting the perspective of highly cited papers, we can distinguish them based on the context during citation even if we do not have any other information source or metrics.

We describe the top cited references based on how, when and in which context they are cited. The focus of this study is on a time perspective to explain the nature of the reception of highly cited papers.

We have found that these references are distinguishable by the IMRaD sections of their citation. And further, we can show that the section usage of highly cited papers is time-dependent.

The longer the citation interval, the higher the probability that a reference is cited in a method section.


Ten principles for machine-actionable data management plans

Authors : Tomasz Miksa, Stephanie Simms, Daniel Mietchen, Sarah Jones

Data management plans (DMPs) are documents accompanying research proposals and project outputs. DMPs are created as free-form text and describe the data and tools employed in scientific investigations. They are often seen as an administrative exercise and not as an integral part of research practice.

There is now widespread recognition that the DMP can have more thematic, machine-actionable richness with added value for all stakeholders: researchers, funders, repository managers, research administrators, data librarians, and others.

The research community is moving toward a shared goal of making DMPs machine-actionable to improve the experience for all involved by exchanging information across research tools and systems and embedding DMPs in existing workflows.

This will enable parts of the DMP to be automatically generated and shared, thus reducing administrative burdens and improving the quality of information within a DMP.

This paper presents 10 principles to put machine-actionable DMPs (maDMPs) into practice and realize their benefits. The principles contain specific actions that various stakeholders are already undertaking or should undertake in order to work together across research communities to achieve the larger aims of the principles themselves.

We describe existing initiatives to highlight how much progress has already been made toward achieving the goals of maDMPs as well as a call to action for those who wish to get involved.

URL : Ten principles for machine-actionable data management plans


Revisiting the Term Predatory Open Access Publishing

Author : Aamir Raoof Memon

Since the 1990s, scholarly publishing has been transformed from subscription print-based paradigm to an open access and digital publishing model, but this transformation has been accompanied by unethical and predatory publishing practices.

‘Pay-to-publish’ predatory journals abuse the open-access publishing model, and their main intention is to make money out of authors for their editor–owners. The defining characteristic of predatory journals is the lack of a proper peer review process, despite their claims to the contrary.

The spectrum of victims of predatory journals varies widely and includes inexperienced, early-career and naive researchers from both developing and high- to upper middle-income countries, together with experienced researchers.

To circumvent this, several black and whitelists have been created. Beall’s list of potential or probable predatory journals remained the go-to list until its sudden closure.

Later, similar lists such as the Stop Predatory Journals website (, and institutional lists such as those published by the University Grants Commission (UGC) India, and several other commercial bodies and associations appeared; however, they have been criticized for several reasons, including their poor methodology and lack of transparency.

The world of scholarly publishing is not purely black and white, and there are always some grey areas; therefore, we cannot rely on any such listings.

URL : Revisiting the Term Predatory Open Access Publishing


Online division of labour: emergent structures in Open Source Software

Authors : María J. Palazzi, Jordi Cabot, Javier Luis Cánovas Izquierdo, Albert Solé-Ribalta, Javier Borge-Holthoefer

The development Open Source Software fundamentally depends on the participation and commitment of volunteer developers to progress. Several works have presented strategies to increase the on-boarding and engagement of new contributors, but little is known on how these diverse groups of developers self-organise to work together.

To understand this, one must consider that, on one hand, platforms like GitHub provide a virtually unlimited development framework: any number of actors can potentially join to contribute in a decentralised, distributed, remote, and asynchronous manner.

On the other, however, it seems reasonable that some sort of hierarchy and division of labour must be in place to meet human biological and cognitive limits, and also to achieve some level of efficiency.

These latter features (hierarchy and division of labour) should translate into recognisable structural arrangements when projects are represented as developer-file bipartite networks.

In this paper we analyse a set of popular open source projects from GitHub, placing the accent on three key properties: nestedness, modularity and in-block nestedness -which typify the emergence of heterogeneities among contributors, the emergence of subgroups of developers working on specific subgroups of files, and a mixture of the two previous, respectively.

These analyses show that indeed projects evolve into internally organised blocks. Furthermore, the distribution of sizes of such blocks is bounded, connecting our results to the celebrated Dunbar number both in off- and on-line environments.

Our analyses create a link between bio-cognitive constraints, group formation and online working environments, opening up a rich scenario for future research on (online) work team assembly.