Technical and social issues influencing the adoption of preprints in the life sciences

Authors : Naomi C Penfold, Jessica K Polka

Preprints are gaining visibility in many fields. Thanks to the explosion of bioRxiv, an online server for preprints in biology, versions of manuscripts prior to the completion of journal-organized peer review are poised to become a standard component of the publishing experience in the life sciences.

Here we provide an overview of current challenges facing preprints, both technical and social, and a vision for their future development, from unbundling the functions of publication to exploring different communication formats.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27954v1

How much research shared on Facebook is hidden from public view? A comparison of public and private online activity around PLOS ONE papers

Authors : Asura Enkhbayar, Stefanie Haustein, Germana Barata, Juan Pablo Alperin

Despite its undisputed position as the biggest social media platform, Facebook has never entered the main stage of altmetrics research. In this study, we argue that the lack of attention by altmetrics researchers is not due to a lack of relevant activity on the platform, but because of the challenges in collecting Facebook data have been limited to activity that takes place in a select group of public pages and groups.

We present a new method of collecting shares, reactions, and comments across the platform-including private timelines-and use it to gather data for all articles published between 2015 to 2017 in the journal PLOS ONE.

We compare the gathered data with altmetrics collected and aggregated by Altmetric. The results show that 58.7% of papers shared on the platform happen outside of public view and that, when collecting all shares, the volume of activity approximates patterns of engagement previously only observed for Twitter.

Both results suggest that the role and impact of Facebook as a medium for science and scholarly communication has been underestimated. Furthermore, they emphasise the importance of openness and transparency around the collection and aggregation of altmetrics.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.01476

Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship

Authors : Thomas Franssen, Paul Wouters

The cognitive and social structures, and publication practices, of the humanities have been studied bibliometrically for the past 50 years. This article explores the conceptual frameworks, methods, and data sources used in bibliometrics to study the nature of the humanities, and its differences and similarities in comparison with other scientific domains.

We give a historical overview of bibliometric scholarship between 1965 and 2018 that studies the humanities empirically and distinguishes between two periods in which the configuration of the bibliometric system differs remarkably.

The first period, 1965 to the 1980s, is characterized by bibliometric methods embedded in a sociological theoretical framework, the development and use of the Price Index, and small samples of journal publications from which references are used as data sources.

The second period, the 1980s to the present day, is characterized by a new intellectual hinterland—that of science policy and research evaluation—in which bibliometric methods become embedded.

Here metadata of publications becomes the primary data source with which publication profiles of humanistic scholarly communities are analyzed. We unpack the differences between these two periods and critically discuss the analytical avenues that different approaches offer.

URL : Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24206

Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study

Authors : Andrew J Cohen, German Patino, Puneet Kamal, Medina Ndoye, Anas Tresh, Jorge Mena, Christi Butler, Samuel Washington, Benjamin N Breyer

Background

Predatory journals fail to fulfill the tenets of biomedical publication: peer review, circulation, and access in perpetuity. Despite increasing attention in the lay and scientific press, no studies have directly assessed the perceptions of the authors or editors involved.

Objective

Our objective was to understand the motivation of authors in sending their work to potentially predatory journals. Moreover, we aimed to understand the perspective of journal editors at journals cited as potentially predatory.

Methods

Potential online predatory journals were randomly selected among 350 publishers and their 2204 biomedical journals. Author and editor email information was valid for 2227 total potential participants.

A survey for authors and editors was created in an iterative fashion and distributed. Surveys assessed attitudes and knowledge about predatory publishing. Narrative comments were invited.

Results

A total of 249 complete survey responses were analyzed. A total of 40% of editors (17/43) surveyed were not aware that they were listed as an editor for the particular journal in question.

A total of 21.8% of authors (45/206) confirmed a lack of peer review. Whereas 77% (33/43) of all surveyed editors were at least somewhat familiar with predatory journals, only 33.0% of authors (68/206) were somewhat familiar with them (P<.001). Only 26.2% of authors (54/206) were aware of Beall’s list of predatory journals versus 49% (21/43) of editors (P<.001).

A total of 30.1% of authors (62/206) believed their publication was published in a predatory journal. After defining predatory publishing, 87.9% of authors (181/206) surveyed would not publish in the same journal in the future.

Conclusions

Authors publishing in suspected predatory journals are alarmingly uninformed in terms of predatory journal quality and practices. Editors’ increased familiarity with predatory publishing did little to prevent their unwitting listing as editors.

Some suspected predatory journals did provide services akin to open access publication. Education, research mentorship, and a realignment of research incentives may decrease the impact of predatory publishing.

URL : Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study

DOI : https://doi.org/10.2196/13769

The limitations to our understanding of peer review

Authors : Jonathan P. Tennant, Tony Ross-Hellauer

Peer review is embedded in the core of our scholarly knowledge generation systems, conferring legitimacy on research while distributing academic capital and prestige on individuals.

Despite its critical importance, it curiously remains poorly understood in a number of dimensions. In order to address this, we have programmatically analysed peer review to assess where the major gaps in our theoretical and empirical understanding of it lie.

We distill this into core themes around editorial accountability, the subjectivity and bias of reviewers, the function and quality of peer review, the role of the reviewer, the social and epistemic implications of peer review, and regarding innovations in open peer review platforms and services.

We use this to present a guide for the future of peer review, and the development of a new research discipline based on the study of peer review. Such a field requires sustained funding and commitment from publishers and research funders, who both have a commitment to uphold the integrity of the published scholarly record.

This will require the design of a consensus for a minimal set of standards for what constitutes peer review, and the development of a shared data infrastructure to support this.

We recognise that many of the criticisms attributed to peer review might reflect wider issues within academia and wider society, and future care will be required in order to carefully demarcate and address these.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/jq623

Workflows Allowing Creation of Journal Article Supporting Information and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR)-Enabled Publication of Spectroscopic Data

Authors : Agustin Barba, Santiago Dominguez, Carlos Cobas, David P. Martinsen, Charles Romain, Henry S. Rzepa; Felipe Seoane

There is an increasing focus on the part of academic institutions, funding agencies, and publishers, if not researchers themselves, on preservation and sharing of research data. Motivations for sharing include research integrity, replicability, and reuse.

One of the barriers to publishing data is the extra work involved in preparing data for publication once a journal article and its supporting information have been completed.

In this work, a method is described to generate both human and machine-readable supporting information directly from the primary instrumental data files and to generate the metadata to ensure it is published in accordance with findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR) guidelines.

Using this approach, both the human readable supporting information and the primary (raw) data can be submitted simultaneously with little extra effort.

Although traditionally the data package would be sent to a journal publisher for publication alongside the article, the data package could also be published independently in an institutional FAIR data repository.

Workflows are described that store the data packages and generate metadata appropriate for such a repository. The methods both to generate and to publish the data packages have been implemented for NMR data, but the concept is extensible to other types of spectroscopic data as well.

URL : Workflows Allowing Creation of Journal Article Supporting Information and Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable (FAIR)-Enabled Publication of Spectroscopic Data

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.8b03005

Is Scholarly Publishing Like Rock and Roll?

Author : David W. Lewis

This article uses Alan B. Krueger’s analysis of the music industry in his book Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us About Economics and Life as a lens to consider the structure of scholarly publishing and what could happen to scholarly publishing going forward.

Both the music industry and scholarly publishing are facing disruption as their products become digital. Digital content provides opportunities to a create a better product at lower prices and in the music industry this has happened. Scholarly publishing has not yet done so.

Similarities and differences between the music industry and scholarly publishing will be considered. Like music, scholarly publishing appears to be a superstar industry. Both music and scholarly publishing are subject to piracy, which threatens revenue, though Napster was a greater disrupter than Sci-Hub seems to be.

It also appears that for a variety of reasons market forces are not effective in driving changes in business models and practices in scholarly publishing, at least not at the rate we would expect given the changes in technology. After reviewing similarities and differences, the prospects for the future of scholarly publishing will be considered.

URL : Is Scholarly Publishing Like Rock and Roll?

URL : http://hdl.handle.net/1805/20430