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

Networking Social Scholarship…Again

Author : Shawn Martin

This paper proposes to answer several questions that arise from the actions of American scientists between 1840 and 1890. How did the broader organization of science in the late nineteenth century create a system of professional disciplines?

Why did the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) form, and why did specialized societies like the American Chemical Society (ACS) later found an organization separate from the AAAS?

Why did these professional societies create journals, and how did these journals help to communicate science? This paper combines both quantitative textual analysis and qualitative historical and sociological methods within the context of nineteenth-century American science.

It is hoped that by broadening the methods used, and by better understanding the early deliberations of scientists before there was a formal scholarly communication system, it may be possible to contextualize current debates about the need for changes in the scholarly communication system.

URL : Networking Social Scholarship…Again

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/kula.47

Access, preservation and analysis in a consortial journal archive: the evolution of Scholars Portal Journals

Authors : Sabina Pagotto, Wei Zhao

This article discusses Scholars Portal Journals (SP Journals), a library consortium-run platform that aggregates and archives licensed scholarly journal content in the province of Ontario, Canada.

Born in the early days of e-journals out of a need to provide consistent and long-term access to scholarly materials in the sometimes volatile world of online publishing, SP Journals has evolved into a major digital repository and archive.

With over 55 million full-text articles and serving a student population of just under half a million, SP Journals represents a major investment in access to online scholarship.

This article explains the lifecycle of content on the platform, from initial publisher negotiations to delivering usage reports, and discusses considerations of running a locally hosted journal platform.

URL : Access, preservation and analysis in a consortial journal archive: the evolution of Scholars Portal Journals

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.458

Library publisher resources: Making publishing approachable, sustainable, and values-driven

Authors : Jenny Hoops, Sarah Hare

The Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) defines library publishing as the “creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly, creative, and/or educational works” by college and university libraries.

While providing a publishing platform, hosting, and services for editorial teams is key to any library publishing initiative, library publishing is also centered on furthering core library values.

Thus library publishing activities are mission-driven, centered on education, and focused on finding and promoting sustainable approaches to open access publishing and building cooperative open infrastructure.

URL : Library publisher resources: Making publishing approachable, sustainable, and values-driven

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5860/crln.80.2.74