Benefits of Citizen Science for Libraries

Authors : Dolores Mumelaš, Alisa Martek

Participating in collaborative scientific research through citizen science, a component of open science, holds significance for both citizen scientists and professional researchers. Yet, the advantages for those orchestrating citizen science initiatives are often overlooked. Organizers encompass a diverse range, including governmental entities, non-governmental organizations, corporations, universities, and institutions like libraries.

For libraries, citizen science holds importance by fostering heightened civic and research interests, promoting scientific publishing, and contributing to overall scientific progress. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the specific ways in which citizen science can benefit libraries and how libraries can effectively utilize citizen science to achieve their goals.

The paper is based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed articles that discuss the direct benefits of citizen science on libraries. A list of the main benefits of citizen science for libraries has been compiled from the literature. Additionally, the reasons why it is crucial for libraries to communicate the benefits of citizen science for their operations have been highlighted, particularly in terms of encouraging other libraries to actively engage in citizen science projects.

URL : Benefits of Citizen Science for Libraries


On The Peer Review Reports: Does Size Matter?

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, Luis Miotti

Amidst the ever-expanding realm of scientific production and the proliferation of predatory journals, the focus on peer review remains paramount for scientometricians and sociologists of science. Despite this attention, there is a notable scarcity of empirical investigations into the tangible impact of peer review on publication quality.

This study aims to address this gap by conducting a comprehensive analysis of how peer review contributes to the quality of scholarly publications, as measured by the citations they receive. Utilizing an adjusted dataset comprising 57,482 publications from Publons to Web of Science and employing the Raking Ratio method, our study reveals intriguing insights. Specifically, our findings shed light on a nuanced relationship between the length of reviewer reports and the subsequent citations received by publications.

Through a robust regression analysis, we establish that, beginning from 947 words, the length of reviewer reports is significantly associated with an increase in citations. These results not only confirm the initial hypothesis that longer reports indicate requested improvements, thereby enhancing the quality and visibility of articles, but also underscore the importance of timely and comprehensive reviewer reports.

Furthermore, insights from Publons’ data suggest that open access to reports can influence reviewer behavior, encouraging more detailed reports. Beyond the scholarly landscape, our findings prompt a reevaluation of the role of reviewers, emphasizing the need to recognize and value this resource-intensive yet underappreciated activity in institutional evaluations.

Additionally, the study sounds a cautionary note regarding the challenges faced by peer review in the context of an increasing volume of submissions, potentially compromising the vigilance of peers in swiftly assessing numerous articles.


Science communication objectives and actual practices of science news websites as a showcase for gaps between theory and practice

Authors : Ifat Zimmerman, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Tali Tal

This study contributes to the growing body of science communication research showing gaps between theory and practice objectives, focusing on one particular understudied and emerging science communication innovation.The objectives and practices of four Israeli science news websites were analyzed considering three science communication models: “Dissemination”, “Dialogue”, and “Participation.”

Using concurrent parallel mixed methods, we examined the perspectives of website administrators (n=8) and readers (n=20) through interviews, a content analysis of news items (n=298), discussion threads (n=507), and reader questionnaires (n=89). Findings indicate limited adoption of two-way communication about how science is applied in society. The scant implementation of the dialogue model suggests its promises are not concretized in practice on these science news websites.

URL : Science communication objectives and actual practices of science news websites as a showcase for gaps between theory and practice


Group authorship, an excellent opportunity laced with ethical, legal and technical challenges

Authors : Mohammad Hosseini, Alex O. Holcombe, Marton Kovacs, Hub Zwart, Daniel S. Katz, Kristi Holmes

Group authorship (also known as corporate authorship, team authorship, consortium authorship) refers to attribution practices that use the name of a collective (be it team, group, project, corporation, or consortium) in the authorship byline. Data shows that group authorships are on the rise but thus far, in scholarly discussions about authorship, they have not gained much specific attention.

Group authorship can minimize tensions within the group about authorship order and the criteria used for inclusion/exclusion of individual authors. However, current use of group authorships has drawbacks, such as ethical challenges associated with the attribution of credit and responsibilities, legal challenges regarding how copyrights are handled, and technical challenges related to the lack of persistent identifiers (PIDs), such as ORCID, for groups.

We offer two recommendations: 1) Journals should develop and share context-specific and unambiguous guidelines for group authorship, for which they can use the four baseline requirements offered in this paper; 2) Using persistent identifiers for groups and consistent reporting of members’ contributions should be facilitated through devising PIDs for groups and linking these to the ORCIDs of their individual contributors and the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) of the published item.

URL : Group authorship, an excellent opportunity laced with ethical, legal and technical challenges


The ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Author : W. Benedikt Schmal

The high relevance of top-notch academic journals turns them into ‘must stock’ products that assign its often commercial owners with extraordinary market power. Intended to tackle this, university consortia around the globe negotiate so-called ‘transformative agreements’ with many publishing houses. It shall pave the way towards standard open-access publishing.

While several contract designs exist, the ‘publish-and-read’ (PAR) scheme is the one that comes closest to the ideal of an entirely open access environment: Publishers are paid a fixed case-by-case rate for each publication, which includes a fee for their extensive libraries. In turn, all subscription payments are waived.

I theoretically derive that this contract design benefits the included publishers regardless of whether the number of publications in these publishers’ journals grows or declines. Consequently, widespread PAR contracts are likely to raise entry barriers for new (open-access) competitors even further. Intending to lower costs for the universities, their libraries, and, ultimately, the taxpayers, this PAR fee contract design of transformative agreements might cause the opposite.

URL : The ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Arxiv :

Mega-authorship implications: How many scientists can fit into one cell?

Author : Daniel S. Dotson

The past 20 years has seen a significant increase in articles with 500 or more authors. This increase has presented problems in terms of determining true authorship versus other types of contribution, issues with database metadata and data output, and publication length. Using items with 500+ authors deemed as mega-author titles, a total of 5,533 mega-author items were identified using InCites. Metadata about the items was then gathered from Web of Science and Scopus.

Close examination of these items found that the vast majority of these covered physics topics, with medicine a far distant second place and only minor representation from other science fields. This mega-authorship saw significant events that appear to correspond to similar events in the Large Hadron Collider’s timeline, indicating that the projects for the collider are driving this heavy output. Some solutions are offered for the problems resulting from this phenomenon, partially driven by recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

URL : Mega-authorship implications: How many scientists can fit into one cell?


Choice of Open Access in Elsevier Hybrid Journals

Author : Sumiko Asai

Open access articles in hybrid journals have recently increased despite high article processing charges. This study investigated the impacts of grants and transformative agreements on authors’ choice of open and non-open access articles by comparing two article types. The samples were hybrid journals launched independently by Elsevier.

The results revealed that the authors who received more grants in countries with transformative agreements were more likely to choose open access articles. By contrast, authors in developing countries were likely to publish non-open access articles.

These findings imply that authors’ choices depend on the funding systems and open access policies in individual countries. Consequently, open access may become a barrier to the dissemination of work for researchers who have financial difficulty choosing open access, although it enables everyone to access articles free of charge.

URL : Choice of Open Access in Elsevier Hybrid Journals