Reflecting on motivations: How reasons to publish affect research behaviour in astronomy

Author : Julia Heuritsch

Recent research in the field of reflexive metrics, which analyses the effects of the use of performance indicators on scientific conduct, has studied the emergence and consequences of evaluation gaps in science.

The concept of evaluation gaps captures potential discrepancies between what researchers value about their research, in particular research quality, and what metrics measure. In the language of rational choice theory, an evaluation gap persists if motivational factors arising out of the internal component of an actor’s situation are incongruent with those arising out of the external components.

The aim of this research is therefore to study and compare autonomous and controlled motivations to become an astronomer, to do research in astronomy and to publish scientific papers. This study is based on a comprehensive quantitative survey of academic and non-academic astronomers worldwide with 3509 responses.

By employing verified instruments to measure perceived publication pressure, distributive & procedural justice, overcommitment to work and observation of scientific misconduct, this paper also investigates how these different motivational factors affect research output and behaviour.

I find evidence for an evaluation gap and that controlled motivational factors arising from evaluation procedures based on publication record drives up publication pressure, which, in turn, was found to increase the likelihood of perceived frequency of misbehaviour.

URL : Reflecting on motivations: How reasons to publish affect research behaviour in astronomy


Biomedical supervisors’ role modeling of open science practices

AuthorsTamarinde L Haven, Susan Abunijela, Nicole Hildebrand

Supervision is one important way to socialize Ph.D. candidates into open and responsible research. We hypothesized that one should be more likely to identify open science practices (here publishing open access and sharing data) in empirical publications that were part of a Ph.D. thesis when the Ph.D. candidates’ supervisors engaged in these practices compared to those whose supervisors did not or less often did.

Departing from thesis repositories at four Dutch University Medical centers, we included 211 pairs of supervisors and Ph.D. candidates, resulting in a sample of 2062 publications. We determined open access status using UnpaywallR and Open Data using Oddpub, where we also manually screened publications with potential open data statements. Eighty-three percent of our sample was published openly, and 9% had open data statements.

Having a supervisor who published open access more often than the national average was associated with an odds of 1.99 to publish open access. However, this effect became nonsignificant when correcting for institutions. Having a supervisor who shared data was associated with 2.22 (CI:1.19–4.12) times the odds to share data compared to having a supervisor that did not.

This odds ratio increased to 4.6 (CI:1.86–11.35) after removing false positives. The prevalence of open data in our sample was comparable to international studies; open access rates were higher. Whilst Ph.D. candidates spearhead initiatives to promote open science, this study adds value by investigating the role of supervisors in promoting open science.

URL : Biomedical supervisors’ role modeling of open science practices


Ups and downs on “r/science” — exploring the dynamics of science communication on Reddit

Authors : Jonas Kaiser, Birte Fähnrich, Laura Heintz

This exploratory study analyzed user-generated science communication on Reddit from May 2007 to October 2018 (n = 694.147 posts). We used automated content analyses and topic modelling to explore patterns that the user-generated communication exhibits.

Results indicate that science communication on r/science refers to a broad range of different topics and disciplines. Specific upvote features of Reddit result in increased attention to sources and topics.

Especially, social media sources and content that is self-referential to Reddit lead to high controversy in discussions.

URL : Ups and downs on “r/science” — exploring the dynamics of science communication on Reddit


Citation differences across research funding and access modalities

Authors : Pablo Dorta-González, María Isabel Dorta-González

This research provides insight into the complex relationship between open access, funding, and citation advantage. It presents an analysis of research articles and their citations in the Scopus database across 40 subject categories.

The sample includes 12 categories from Health Sciences, 7 from Life Sciences, 10 from Physical Sciences & Engineering, and 11 from Social Sciences & Humanities. Specifically, the analysis focuses on articles published in 2016 and the citations they received from 2016 to 2020.

Our findings show that open access articles published in hybrid journals receive considerably more citations than those published in gold open access journals. Articles under the hybrid gold modality are cited on average twice as much as those in the gold modality, regardless of funding.

Furthermore, we found that funded articles generally obtain 50 % more citations than unfunded ones within the same publication modality. Open access repositories significantly increase citations, particularly for articles without funding. Thus, articles in open access repositories receive 50 % more citations than paywalled ones.

URL : Citation differences across research funding and access modalities


Making science public: a review of journalists’ use of Open Science research

Authors : Alice Fleerackers, Natascha Chten, Stephen Pinfield, Juan Pablo Alperin, Germana Barata, Monique Oliveira, Isabella Peters

Science journalists are uniquely positioned to increase the societal impact of open science by contextualizing and communicating research findings in ways that highlight their relevance and implications for non-specialist audiences.

Through engagement with and coverage of open research outputs, journalists can help align the ideals of openness, transparency, and accountability with the wider public sphere and its democratic potential.

Yet, it is unclear to what degree journalists use open research outputs in their reporting, what factors motivate or constrain this use, and how the recent surge in openly available research seen during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the relationship between open science and science journalism.

This literature review thus examines journalists’ use of open research outputs, specifically open access publications and preprints. We focus on literature published from 2018 onwards—particularly literature relating to the COVID-19 pandemic—but also include seminal articles outside the search dates.

We find that, despite journalists’ potential to act as critical brokers of open access knowledge, their use of open research outputs is hampered by an overreliance on traditional criteria for evaluating scientific quality; concerns about the trustworthiness of open research outputs; and challenges using and verifying the findings.

We also find that, while the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged journalists to explore open research outputs such as preprints, the extent to which these explorations will become established journalistic practices remains unclear.

Furthermore, we note that current research is overwhelmingly authored and focused on the Global North, and the United States specifically.

Finally, given the dearth of research in this area, we conclude with recommendations for future research that attend to issues of equity and diversity, and more explicitly examine the intersections of open science and science journalism.

URL : Making science public: a review of journalists’ use of Open Science research


Assessing the publishing priorities and preferences among STEM researchers at a large R1 institution

Authors : Ibraheem Ali, Jason Burton, M. Wynn Tranfield

The cost of academic publishing has increased substantially despite the ease with which information can be shared on the web. Open Access publishing is a key mechanism for amplifying research access, inclusivity, and impact.

Despite this, shifting to a free-to-read publishing environment requires navigating complex barriers that vary by career status and publishing expectations. In this article, we investigate the motivations and preferences of researchers situated within our large research institution as a case study for publishing attitudes at similar institutions.

We surveyed the publishing priorities and preferences of researchers at various career stages in STEM fields as they relate to openness, data practices, and assessment of research impact. Our results indicate that publishing preferences, data management experience and research impact assessment vary by career status and departmental approaches to promotion.

We find that open access publishing is widely appreciated regardless of career status, but financial limitations and publishing expectations were common barriers to publishing in Open Access journals.

Our findings shed light on publishing attitudes and preferences among researchers at a major R1 research institution, and offer insight into advocacy strategies that incentivize open access publishing.

URL : Assessing the publishing priorities and preferences among STEM researchers at a large R1 institution


A scoping review on the use and acceptability of preprints

Authors : Amanda Blatch-Jones, Alejandra Recio Saucedo, Beth Giddins


Preprints are open and accessible scientific manuscript or report that has not been submitted to a peer reviewed journal. The value and importance of preprints has grown since its contribution during the public health emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funders and publishers are establishing their position on the use of preprints, in grant applications and publishing models.

However, the evidence supporting the use and acceptability of preprints varies across funders, publishers, and researchers. The purpose of this scoping review was to explore the current evidence on the use and acceptability of preprints by publishers, funders, and the research community throughout the research lifecycle.


A scoping review was undertaken with no study or language limits. The search strategy was limited to the last five years (2017-2022) to capture changes influenced by COVID-19 (e.g., accelerated use and role of preprints in research). The review included international literature, including grey literature, and two databases were searched: Scopus and Web of Science (24 August 2022).


379 titles and abstracts and 193 full text articles were assessed for eligibility. Ninety-eight articles met eligibility criteria and were included for full extraction. For barriers and challenges, 26 statements were grouped under four main themes (e.g., volume/growth of publications, quality assurance/trustworthiness, risks associated to credibility, and validation).

For benefits and value, 34 statements were grouped under six themes (e.g., openness/transparency, increased visibility/credibility, open review process, open research, democratic process/systems, increased productivity/opportunities).


Preprints provide opportunities for rapid dissemination but there is a need for clear policies and guidance from journals, publishers, and funders. Cautionary measures are needed to maintain the quality and value of preprints, paying particular attention to how findings are translated to the public. More research is needed to address some of the uncertainties addressed in this review.