Global Trends in Knowledge Production and the Evolving Peer Review Process

Author : Steven Witt

This essay thus seeks to provide further critique and clarity to the peer review process and the ways in which management of peer review is evolving. These changes occur within a context of massive growth in the knowledge production process: global trends, information technologies, and policies that encourage more people globally to take part in the research process.

Associated with these global changes are stressors on the peer review process and particularly questions about who gets to be a peer reviewer and who has the right to produce knowledge under these processes.

Less a formal review and analysis of peer review across LIS, this essay takes the form of an autoethnographic narrative that that seeks to draw upon the researcher’s personal observations, experience, and reflections to critically examine changes to the peer review system that are taking place.

URL : Global Trends in Knowledge Production and the Evolving Peer Review Process


Neither Computer Science, nor Information Studies, nor Humanities Enough: What Is the Status of a Digital Humanities Conference Paper?

Authors : Laura Estill, Jennifer Guiliano

This paper explores the disciplinary and regional conventions that surround the status of conference papers throughout their lifecycle from submission/abstract, review, presentation, and in some cases, publication.

Focusing on national and international Digital Humanities conferences, while also acknowledging disciplinary conferences that inform Digital Humanities, this paper blends close readings of conference calls for papers with analysis of conference practices to reckon with what constitutes a conference submission and its status in relationship to disciplinary conventions, peer review, and publication outcomes.

Ultimately, we argue that the best practice for Digital Humanities conferences is to be clear on the review and publication process so that participants can gauge how to accurately reflect their contributions.

URL : Neither Computer Science, nor Information Studies, nor Humanities Enough: What Is the Status of a Digital Humanities Conference Paper?


Le contexte et l’hypertexte. Tentative de transposition des pratiques documentaires contributives d’un tiers-lieu aux enjeux des sciences participatives

Auteur : Victor Ecrement

Ce mémoire rend compte d’une enquête réalisée auprès du tiers-lieu la Myne, à Lyon, où je me suis intéressé à la manière dont ses membres écrivent et mobilisent des documents numériques partagés.

J’y défends que certaines de ces pratiques peuvent soutenir la production de connaissances scientifiques en collectif, bien que peu des projets de cette association tiennent des sciences participatives. Je m’appuie sur les théories des technologies intellectuelles, des travaux en sciences de la documentation et en études des sciences, pour essayer d’identifier ce que le logiciel d’écriture en ligne utilisé à la Myne change aux formes documentaires et à la production de connaissances.

J’essaye de rendre compte de la complexité du rapport entre paroles, écrits, gestes et techniques, dans une posture de participation observante, en mobilisant des entretiens, des observations, des analyses de corpus et des visualisations de données numériques.

Je conclus en identifiant des usages dont pourraient bénéficier les initiatives de sciences participatives et en proposant des directions pour la conception de futurs outils d’écriture qui soutiendraient la production de connaissances en collectif.

URL : Le contexte et l’hypertexte. Tentative de transposition des pratiques documentaires contributives d’un tiers-lieu aux enjeux des sciences participatives

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Close to open—Factors that hinder and promote open science in ecology research and education

Authors  : Christian B. Strømme, A. Kelly Lane, Aud H. Halbritter, Elizabeth Law, Chloe R. Nater, Erlend B. Nilsen, Grace D. Boutouli, Dagmar D. Egelkraut, Richard J. Telford, Vigdis Vandvik, Sehoya H. Cotne

The Open Science (OS) movement is rapidly gaining traction among policy-makers, research funders, scientific journals and individual scientists. Despite these tendencies, the pace of implementing OS throughout the scientific process and across the scientific community remains slow. Thus, a better understanding of the conditions that affect OS engagement, and in particular, of how practitioners learn, use, conduct and share research openly can guide those seeking to implement OS more broadly.

We surveyed participants at an OS workshop hosted by the Living Norway Ecological Data Network in 2020 to learn how they perceived OS and its importance in their research, supervision and teaching. Further, we wanted to know what OS practices they had encountered in their education and what they saw as hindering or helping their engagement with OS.

The survey contained scaled-response and open-ended questions, allowing for a mixed-methods approach. We obtained survey responses from 60 out of 128 workshop participants (47%). Responses indicated that usage and sharing of open data and code, as well as open access publication, were the most frequent OS practices.

Only a minority of respondents reported having encountered OS in their formal education. A majority also viewed OS as less important in their teaching than in their research and supervisory roles. The respondents’ suggestions for what would facilitate greater OS engagement in the future included knowledge, guidelines, and resources, but also social and structural support.

These are aspects that could be strengthened by promoting explicit implementation of OS practices in higher education and by nurturing a more inclusive and equitable OS culture. We argue that incorporating OS in teaching and learning of science can yield substantial benefits to the research community, student learning, and ultimately, to the wider societal objectives of science and higher education.

URL : Close to open—Factors that hinder and promote open science in ecology research and education


On the culture of open access: the Sci-hub paradox

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

Shadow libraries have gradually become key players of scientific knowledge dissemination, despite their illegality in most countries of the world. Many publishers and scientist-editors decry such libraries for their copyright infringement and loss of publication usage information, while some scholars and institutions support them, sometimes in a roundabout way, for their role in reducing inequalities of access to knowledge, particularly in low-income countries. Although there is a wealth of literature on shadow libraries, none of this have focused on its potential role in knowledge dissemination, through the open access movement.

Here we analyze how shadow libraries can affect researchers’ citation practices, highlighting some counter-intuitive findings about their impact on the Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA). Based on a large randomized sample, this study first shows that OA publications, including those in fully OA journals, receive more citations than their subscription-based counterparts do.

However, the OACA has slightly decreased over the seven last years. The introduction of a distinction between those accessible or not via the Sci-hub platform among subscription-based suggest that the generalization of its use cancels the positive effect of OA publishing. The results show that publications in fully OA journals (and to a lesser extent those in hybrid journals) are victims of the success of Sci-hub.

Thus, paradoxically, although Sci-hub may seem to facilitate access to scientific knowledge, it negatively affects the OA movement as a whole, by reducing the comparative advantage of OA publications in terms of visibility for researchers. The democratization of the use of Sci-hub may therefore lead to a vicious cycle against the development of fully OA journals.

URL : On the culture of open access: the Sci-hub paradox



Do open-access dermatology articles have higher citation counts than those with subscription-based access?

Authors : Fangyi Xie, Sherief Ghozy, David F. Kallmes, Julia S. Lehman


Open-access (OA) publishing is increasingly prevalent in dermatology, and many journals now offer hybrid options, including conventional (subscription-based access [SA]) publishing or OA (with an author publishing charge) in a subscription journal. OA publishing has been noted in many disciplines, but this has been rarely studied in dermatology.


Using the Clarivate Journal Citation Report, we compiled a list of English-language dermatology hybrid OA journals containing more than 5% OA articles. We sampled any OA review or original research article in 4 issues from 2018 to 2019 and matched an equal number of SA articles. Citation count, citation count excluding self-citations and view counts found using Scopus and Altmetrics score were recorded for each article. Statistical analyses were performed using logistic and negative binomial models using R software.


Twenty-seven hybrid dermatology journals were found, and 538 articles were sampled (269 OA, 269 SA). For both original research and review articles, OA articles had significantly higher mean citation counts (mean 13.2, standard deviation [SD] 17.0) compared to SA articles (mean 7.9, SD 8.8) (odds ratio [OR] 1.04; 95% CI 1.02–1.05; P < .001) including when adjusted for time from publication.

Original research OA articles had significantly higher citation counts than original research SA articles (excluding self-citations; OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.01–1.05; P = .003), and review articles also had OA citation advantage than review SA articles (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.11; P = .008). There was, however, no significant difference in citation counts between review articles and original research articles (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.19–5.31; P = 1.000).

There was no significant difference seen in view counts (OA: mean±SD 17.7±10.8; SA: mean±SD 17.1±12.4) and Altmetric score (OA: mean±SD 13.2±47.8; SA: mean±SD 6.3±25.0) between OA and SA articles. Potential confounders included the fact that more OA articles were published in Europe than in Asia, and pharmaceutical-funded articles were more likely to be published OA.


We noted a higher citation count for OA articles than SA articles in dermatology hybrid journals. However, dermatology researchers should take into account confounding factors when deciding whether to increase the impact of their work by selecting OA over SA publishing.

URL : Do open-access dermatology articles have higher citation counts than those with subscription-based access?


The Preprint Club – A cross-institutional, community-based approach to peer reviewing

Authors : Felix Clemens Richter, Ester Gea-Mallorquí, Nicolas Ruffin, Nicolas Vabret

The academic community has been increasingly using preprints to disseminate their latest research findings quickly and openly. This early and open access of non-peer reviewed research warrants new means from the scientific community to efficiently assess and provide feedback to preprints. Yet, most peer review of scientific studies performed today are still managed by journals, each having their own peer review policy and transparency.

However, approaches to uncouple the peer review process from journal publication are emerging. Additionally, formal education of early career researchers (ECRs) in peer reviewing is rarely available, hampering the quality of peer review feedback.

Here, we introduce the Preprint Club, a cross-institutional, community-based approach to peer reviewing, founded by ECRs from the University of Oxford, Karolinska Institutet and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Over the past two years and using the collaborative setting of the Preprint Club, we have been discussing, assessing, and providing feedback on recent preprints in the field of immunology.

In this article, we provide a blueprint of the Preprint Club basic structure, demonstrate its effectiveness, and detail the lessons we learned on its impact on peer review training and preprint author’s perception.