Journal research data sharing policies: a study of highly-cited journals in neuroscience, physics, and operations research

Authors : Antti M. Rousi, Mikael Laakso

The practices for if and how scholarly journals instruct research data for published research to be shared is an area where a lot of changes have been happening as science policy moves towards facilitating open science, and subject-specific repositories and practices are established.

This study provides an analysis of the research data sharing policies of highly-cited journals in the fields of neuroscience, physics, and operations research as of May 2019. For these 120 journals, 40 journals per subject category, a unified policy coding framework was developed to capture the most central elements of each policy, i.e. what, when, and where research data is instructed to be shared.

The results affirm that considerable differences between research fields remain when it comes to policy existence, strength, and specificity. The findings revealed that one of the most important factors influencing the dimensions of what, where and when of research data policies was whether the journal’s scope included specific data types related to life sciences which have established methods of sharing through community-endorsed public repositories.

The findings surface the future research potential of approaching policy analysis on the publisher-level as well as on the journal-level. The collected data and coding framework is provided as open data to facilitate future research and journal policy monitoring.


Open Sesame? Open access priorities, incentives, and policies among higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates

Authors : Mohamed Boufarss, Mikael Laakso

Higher education institutions (HEIs) have an instrumental role in the move towards Open Access (OA) by shaping the national strategies, policies, and agendas.

This study sets out to explore the role of HEIs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) OA uptake and reflect on the ongoing international initiatives pushing for universal OA to research.

The study is based on an online survey targeted at UAE higher education institutions research management units. In order to measure the institutional views, only one response was solicited from each institution.

A total of 19 valid responses were received, making up 47% of HEIs included in the population of organisations. Our results suggest that there is low commitment to OA among UAE HEIs as attested by the low number of OA policies, scarce OA funding, limited proliferation of institutional repositories, perceived lack of urgency to migrate from current access models, and little consideration of OA for promotion purposes.

The study is the first of its kind in the UAE, Arab and Middle Eastern countries, providing rare insight into a growing phenomenon that is global, yet most vocally discussed from a western perspective and context.

The study contributes to the debate on the role of HEIs in the transition to OA and in shaping national and regional OA policies, as well as informing international initiatives about the current status of OA in the region.


The Two-Way Street of Open Access Journal Publishing: Flip It and Reverse It

Authors : Lisa Matthias, Najko Jahn, Mikael Laakso

As Open access (OA) is often perceived as the end goal of scholarly publishing, much research has focused on flipping subscription journals to an OA model. Focusing on what can happen after the presumed finish line, this study identifies journals that have converted from OA to a subscription model, and places these “reverse flips” within the greater context of scholarly publishing.

In particular, we examine specific journal descriptors, such as access mode, publisher, subject area, society affiliation, article volume, and citation metrics, to deepen our understanding of reverse flips.

Our results show that at least 152 actively publishing journals have reverse-flipped since 2005, suggesting that this phenomenon does not constitute merely a few marginal outliers, but instead a common pattern within scholarly publishing.

Notably, we found that 62% of reverse flips (N = 95) had not been born-OA journals, but had been founded as subscription journals, and hence have experienced a three-stage transformation from closed to open to closed.

We argue that reverse flips present a unique perspective on OA, and that further research would greatly benefit from enhanced data and tools for identifying such cases.

URL : The Two-Way Street of Open Access Journal Publishing: Flip It and Reverse It 


Opening Academic Publishing – Development and application of systematic evaluation criteria

Authors : Anna Björk, Juho-Matti Paavola, Teemu Ropponen, Mikael Laakso, Leo Lahti

This report summarizes the development of a standardized scorecard for evaluating the openness of academic publishers. The assessment was completed in January 2018 as part of the Open Science and Research Initiative of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture.

The project complements the previous reports published by the Open Science and Research Initiative and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, which have covered (i) the openness of universities and polytechnics, (ii) the overall situation of OA publishing costs in Finland, and (iii) research organization and research funding organizations, including selected European research funders.

The project mapped and evaluated the openness of selected major academic publishers: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Chemical Society (ACS), Elsevier, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE), Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins (LWW), Sage, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley-Blackwell. The dimensions of publisher openness were summarized in a scorecard of seven key factors, providing a new tool for systematic and standardized evaluation.

We used data from the publisher websites to compare the key factors of openness, and the publishers were given a chance to provide comments on the collected information. As complementary sources, we utilized data from commonly acknowledged, open databases: Directory of OA Journals (DOAJ), Gold OA Journals 2011-2016 (GOAJ2), Scopus (title list + Scimago), and Sherpa / Romeo.

The main results include the scorecard and the evaluation of openness of the selected major academic publishers. These are based on seven key factors: (i) Fraction of open access (OA) journals and their articles of the total publication output, (ii) costs of OA publishing (article processing charges, APC), (iii) use of Creative Commons (CC) licensing, (iv) self-archiving policies, (v) access to text and data mining (TDM), (vi) openness of citation data, and (vii) accessibility of information relating to OA practices.

To take a look beyond the publisher level into journal level practices we also sampled individual journals. We use the samples to discuss the distribution of journals according to APCs, their licensing and three impact metrics (CiteScore 2016, Scimago Journal & Country Ranks (SJR) 2016, and Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016).

The evaluation of the selected publishers with the scorecard indicates, for example, that the fraction of OA journals and their articles of the total publication output runs low within this group. In our sample of journals, the most expensive OA journals also seem to bear the highest impact metrics.

A definite view on the matter, however, would require more extensive data and further research. We
conclude by discussing key aspects and complexities in quantitative evaluation and in the design of a standardized assessment of publisher openness, and note also further factors that could be included in future versions of the scorecard.

URL : Opening Academic Publishing – Development and application of systematic evaluation criteria

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Openness of Spanish scholarly journals as measured by access and rights

Authors : Remedios Melero, Mikael Laakso, Miguel Navas-Fernández

Metrics regarding Open Access (OA) availability for readers and the enablers of redistribution of content published in scholarly journals, i.e. content licenses, copyright ownership, and publisher-stipulated self-archiving permissions are still scarce.

This study implements the four core variables (reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights) of the recently published Open Access Spectrum (OAS) to measure the level of openness in all 1728 Spanish scholarly journals listed in the Spanish national DULCINEA database at the end of 2015.

In order to conduct the analysis additional data has been aggregated from other bibliographic databases and through manual data collection (such data includes the journal research area, type of publisher, type of access, self-archiving and reuse policy, and potential type of Creative Commons (CC) licence used).

79% of journals allowed self-archiving in some form, 13.5% did not specify any copyright terms and 37% used CC licenses. From the total journals (1728), 1285 (74.5%) received the maximum score of 20 in reader rights. For 72% of journals, authors retain or publishers grant broad rights which include author reuse and authorisation rights (for others to re-use).

The OAS-compliant results of this study enable comparative studies to be conducted on other large populations of journals.


How subscription-based scholarly journals can convert to open access: A review of approaches

Authors : Mikael Laakso, David Solomon, Bo-Christer Björk

This article reviews the ways through which subscription-based scholarly journals have converted to open access. The methodology included a comprehensive literature review of both published and ‘grey’ literature, such as blog posts and press releases.

Eight interviews were also conducted with stakeholders representing different parts of the scholarly publishing landscape. Strategies of conversion for different types of journals are presented at multiple levels (publishers, national, research funders, organizational, and so on).

The identified scenarios are split into two main categories, those that rely heavily on article processing charges and those that can operate without relying on author-side financing.

Despite there being interesting and important shared traits among many converted journals, individual circumstances largely dictate what options for conversion are viable for a journal. There is no single solution that works for every journal but rather a broad selection of different solutions, among which selection should be well informed.

URL : How subscription-based scholarly journals can convert to open access: A review of approaches

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