The need and drive for open data in…

The need and drive for open data in biomedical publishing :

“The concept of open data goes beyond making data freely available. Data must also be free to reuse and build upon without legal or technical impediments. Funder and journal policies for data sharing and the growing open science movement are helping open data to spread across biomedical sub-disciplines. Editors should embrace open data to ensure that their decisions can stand up to close scrutiny; journals need open data to help them fulfil their stated goals, and publishers should utilize open data and data publication to serve the growing sector of the scientific community requiring it as a service, and to continue developing novel forms of scholarly communication in an increasingly data-intensive scholarly communication environment.”

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Peer Review in Academic Promotion and Publishing: Its Meaning, Locus, and Future

Since 2005, and with generous support from the A.W. Mellon Foundation, The Future of Scholarly Communication Project at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) has been exploring how academic values—including those related to peer review, publishing, sharing, and collaboration—influence scholarly communication practices and engagement with new technological affordances, open access publishing, and the public good.

The current phase of the project focuses on peer review in the Academy; this deeper look at peer review is a natural extension of our findings in Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines (Harley et al. 2010), which stressed the need for a more nuanced academic reward system that is less dependent on citation metrics, the slavish adherence to marquee journals and university presses, and the growing tendency of institutions to outsource assessment of scholarship to such proxies as default promotion criteria.

This investigation is made urgent by a host of new challenges facing institutional peer review, such as assessing interdisciplinary scholarship, hybrid disciplines, the development of new online forms of edition making and collaborative curation for community resource use, heavily computational subdisciplines, large-scale collaborations around grand challenge questions, an increase in multiple authorship, a growing flood of low-quality publications, and the call by governments, funding bodies, universities, and individuals for the open access publication of taxpayer-subsidized research, including original data sets.

The challenges of assessing the current and future state of peer review are exacerbated by pressing questions of how the significant costs of high-quality scholarly publishing can be borne in the face of calls for alternative, usually university-based and open access, publishing models for both journals and books.

There is additionally the insidious and destructive “trickle down” of tenure and promotion requirements from elite research universities to less competitive and non-research-intensive institutions.

The entire system is further stressed by the mounting—and often unrealistic—government pressure on scholars in developed and emerging economies alike to publish their research in the most select peer-reviewed outlets, ostensibly to determine the distribution of government funds (via research assessment exercises) and/or to meet national imperatives to achieve research distinction internationally.

The global effect is a growing glut of low-quality publications that strains the efficient and effective practice of peer review, a practice that is, itself, primarily subsidized by universities in the form of faculty salaries. Library budgets and preservation services for this expansion of peer-reviewed publication have run out. Faculty time spent on peer review, in all of its guises, is being exhausted.

As part of our ongoing research, CSHE hosted two meetings to address the relationship between peer review in publication and that carried out for tenure and promotion. Our discussions included: The Dominant System of Peer Review: Types, Standards, Uses, Abuses, and Costs; A Very Tangled Web: Alternatives to the Current System of Peer Review; Creating New Models: The Role of Societies, Presses, Libraries, Information Technology Organizations, Commercial Publishers, and Other Stakeholders; and Open Access “Mandates” and Resolutions versus Developing New Models.

This report includes (1) an overview of the state of peer review in the Academy at large, (2) a set of recommendations for moving forward, (3) a proposed research agenda to examine in depth the effects of academic status-seeking on the entire academic enterprise, (4) proceedings from the workshop on the four topics noted above, and (5) four substantial and broadly conceived background papers on the workshop topics, with associated literature reviews.

The document explores, in particular, the tightly intertwined phenomena of peer review in publication and academic promotion, the values and associated costs to the Academy of the current system, experimental forms of peer review in various disciplinary areas, the effects of scholarly practices on the publishing system, and the possibilities and real costs of creating alternative loci for peer review and publishing that link scholarly societies, libraries, institutional repositories, and university presses.

We also explore the motivations and ingredients of successful open access resolutions that are directed at peer-reviewed article-length material. In doing so, this report suggests that creating a wider array of institutionally acceptable and cost-effective alternatives to peer reviewing and publishing scholarly work could maintain the quality of academic peer review, support greater research productivity, reduce the explosive growth of low-quality publications, increase the purchasing power of cash-strapped libraries, better support the free flow and preservation of ideas, and relieve the burden on overtaxed faculty of conducting too much peer review.”


A report of the AAUP Task Force on…

A report of the AAUP Task Force on Economic Models for Scholarly Publishing :

“Within the scholarly communications ecosystem, scholarly publishers are a keystone species. University presses—as well as academic societies, research institutions, and other scholarly publishers—strive to fulfill our mission of “making public the fruits of scholarly research” as effectively as possible within that ecosystem. While that mission has remained constant, in recent years the landscape in which we carry out this mission has altered dramatically.

The expertise residing within university presses can help the scholarly enterprise prosper in both influence and impact as it moves ever more fully digital. However, the simple product-sales models of the twentieth century, devised when information was scarce and expensive, are clearly inappropriate for the twenty-first century scholarly ecosystem.

This report a) identifies elements of the current scholarly publishing systems that are worth protecting and retaining throughout this and future periods of transition; b) explores business models of existing projects which hold promise; c) outlines the characteristics of effective business models; d) addresses the challenges of the transitional period we are entering; and e) arrives at recommendations that might allow us to sustain high-quality scholarship at a time when the fundamental expectations of publishing are changing.


Le JCR facteur d’impact (IF) et le SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR) des revues françaises : une étude comparative

Auteurs/Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Hélène Prost

Une des fonctions principales des revues scientifiques est de contribuer à l’évaluation de la recherche et des chercheurs. Depuis plus de 50 ans, le facteur d’impact (IF) de l’Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) est devenu l’indicateur dominant de la qualité d’une revue, malgré certaines faiblesses et critiques dont notamment la sur-représentation des revues anglophones. Cela est un handicap aussi bien pour les chercheurs français que pour les éditeurs francophones ; publier en français n’est pas valorisant.

Or, il existe depuis 2007 une alternative sérieuse à l’IF : le nouveau SCImago Journal Rank Indicator (SJR) qui applique l’algorithme de Google (PageRank) aux revues de la base bibliographique SCOPUS dont la couverture est plus large que celle de l’ISI.

Le but de notre étude est de comparer ces deux indicateurs par rapport aux titres français. L’objectif est de répondre à trois questions : Quelle est la couverture pour les titres français indexés par l’ISI et par SCOPUS (nombre de revues, domaines scientifiques) ? Quelles sont les différences des deux indicateurs IF et SJR par rapport aux revues françaises (classement) ? Quel est l’intérêt du SJR pour l’évaluation, en termes de représentativité des titres français ?

Les résultats de notre analyse de 368 revues françaises avec IF et/ou SJR sont plutôt encourageants pour une utilisation du nouvel indicateur SJR, du moins en complémentarité au IF :

(1) Couverture : 166 revues sont indexées par l’ISI (45 %), 345 revues par SCOPUS (94 %), 143 revues par les deux (39 %). 82% des revues sont issus des domaines STM, 18% des domaines SHS. La couverture de SCOPUS est meilleure surtout en médecine et pharmacologie.

(2) Classement : Pour les titres avec IF et SJR, la corrélation entre les deux indicateurs est significative (0,76). En termes de classement (ranking), l’IF différencie mieux les revues que le SJR (155 vs. 89 rangs). En revanche, du fait de la couverture plus exhaustive de SCOPUS, le SJR rend visible au niveau international davantage de titres.

(3) Représentativité : L’intérêt de SCOPUS et du SJR réside dans la couverture plus représentative de l’édition française (19% vs 9% pour ISI/IF), notamment en STM (38% vs 19 %), beaucoup moins en SHS (6% vs 2 %). Sont indexés surtout les titres de quelques grands éditeurs français ou internationaux ; la plupart des éditeurs français (80 %–90 %) n’ont aucun titre dans le JCR et/ou SCOPUS, même si de nouveau SCOPUS est plus représentatif (avec 17% des éditeurs vs 10% pour le JCR).

Les problèmes méthodologiques et les perspectives pour une évaluation multidimensionnelle sont discutés. L’étude compare le IF et le SJR par rapport aux 368 titres français avec IF et/ou SJR. Les résultats : La couverture du SJR est plus large que celle de l’IF (94% vs 45%) et meilleure surtout dans les sciences médicales. Pour les titres avec IF et SJR, la corrélation entre les deux indicateurs est significative (0,76). En termes de classement (ranking), l’IF différencie mieux les revues que le SJR (155 vs 89 rangs). L’intérêt du SJR réside dans la couverture plus représentative de l’édition française (19% vs 9% avec IF), notamment en STM (38% vs 19 %), moins en SHS (6% vs 2 %).


Open Access monographic publishing in th…

Open Access monographic publishing in the humanities :

“In recent years, it has become widely recognized that in the case of monographs, the traditional business model for books is losing its sustainability. Academic publishers have been forced to become more selective in the books they publish, and authors, in particular young researchers and first time authors, have found it harder to find a press willing to publish their work. In response to the economic restraints of printed monographs, many publishers and academic institutes, in particular research libraries, have started to experiment with digital and Open Access publication of monographs.

OAPEN is the first international project to develop an Open Access model for publishers and stakeholders in scholarly communication. OAPEN stands for Open Access Publishing in European Networks. It is a 30 month project co-funded by the European Union, to develop and implement an Open Access (OA) publication model for peer reviewed academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).”


Support for gold open access publishing …

Support for gold open access publishing strategies at QUT :

INTRODUCTION : Since the introduction of its QUT ePrints institutional repository of published research outputs, together with the world’s first mandate for author contributions to an institutional repository, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has been a leader in support of green road open access. With QUT ePrints providing our mechanism for supporting the green road to open access, QUT has since then also continued to expand its secondary open access strategy supporting gold road open access, which is also designed to assist QUT researchers to maximise the accessibility and so impact of their research.

METHODS : QUT Library has adopted the position of selectively supporting true gold road open access publishing by using the Library Resource Allocation budget to pay the author publication fees for QUT authors wishing to publish in the open access journals of a range of publishers including BioMed Central, Public Library of Science and Hindawi. QUT Library has been careful to support only true open access publishers and not those open access publishers with hybrid models which “double dip” by charging authors publication fees and libraries subscription fees for the same journal content. QUT Library has maintained a watch on the growing number of open access journals available from gold road open access publishers and their increased rate of success as measured by publication impact.

RESULTS : This paper reports on the successes and challenges of QUT’s efforts to support true gold road open access publishers and promote these publishing strategy options to researchers at QUT. The number and spread of QUT papers submitted and published in the journals of each publisher is provided. Citation counts for papers and authors are also presented and analysed, with the intention of identifying the benefits to accessibility and research impact for early career and established researchers.

CONCLUSIONS : QUT Library is eager to continue and further develop support for this publishing strategy, and makes a number of recommendations to other research institutions, on how they can best achieve success with this strategy.”


Rethinking The Role and Funding of Acade…

Rethinking The Role and Funding of Academic Book Publishing :

“500 years ago the Cambridge University had a collection of 122 volumes, each of which cost as much as a vineyard. Today, a book costs as much as a bottle of wine. With the advent of online publishing, customers want books that cost only as much as a glass of wine, and some times, not even that much. However, producing quality content comes with a cost.

This ho-hum attitude of expecting everything for less (or even for free) has discouraged the sales of monographs. As a result, the production of these pieces of scholarly work has become less viable. This is especially true of long-form publications such as those in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) where there is reliance on the book form as the required length to convey an idea or present an argument.

What would be an economically sustainable business model to make these publications available as open access journals? Who would fund such a venture? Following the Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) model of publication where the author pays to have the article published is not agreeable as the costs of getting to first copy (in long form publication) are prohibitive. Migrating all monographs to ebook form will not solve the problem either.

A new business model is needed. While options abound, none of them are economically justified. Frances Pinter thinks she has cracked the puzzle, with a bit of help from Albert Greco and Harold Wharton who gave her the idea. Her proposal is to form a coalition of libraries, pool the money from their budgets and use that money to pay the publishers to meet the first copy costs, let the publisher publish the content as open access, and then sell POD versions. By the way, here’s a brain teaser. If you can come up with a better name than International Library Coalition for Open Access Books (ILCOAb) for the library consortia she envisions, she promises to send you a bottle of champagne.”