Do altmetric scores reflect article quality? Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework 2021

Authors : Mike Thelwall, Kayvan Kousha, Mahshid Abdoli, Emma Stuart, Meiko Makita, Paul Wilson, Jonathan Levitt

Altmetrics are web-based quantitative impact or attention indicators for academic articles that have been proposed to supplement citation counts. This article reports the first assessment of the extent to which mature altmetrics from and Mendeley associate with individual article quality scores.

It exploits expert norm-referenced peer review scores from the UK Research Excellence Framework 2021 for 67,030+ journal articles in all fields 2014–2017/2018, split into 34 broadly field-based Units of Assessment (UoAs). Altmetrics correlated more strongly with research quality than previously found, although less strongly than raw and field normalized Scopus citation counts.

Surprisingly, field normalizing citation counts can reduce their strength as a quality indicator for articles in a single field. For most UoAs, Mendeley reader counts are the best altmetric (e.g., three Spearman correlations with quality scores above 0.5), tweet counts are also a moderate strength indicator in eight UoAs (Spearman correlations with quality scores above 0.3), ahead of news (eight correlations above 0.3, but generally weaker), blogs (five correlations above 0.3), and Facebook (three correlations above 0.3) citations, at least in the United Kingdom.

In general, altmetrics are the strongest indicators of research quality in the health and physical sciences and weakest in the arts and humanities.

URL : Do altmetric scores reflect article quality? Evidence from the UK Research Excellence Framework 2021

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The Transformation of the Green Road to Open Access

Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Stéphane Chaudiron, Bernard Jacquemin, Eric Kergosien, Hélène Prost, Florence Thiault

(1) Background: The 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative recommended on self-archiving of scientific articles in open repositories as the “green road” to open access. Twenty years later, only one part of the researchers deposits their publications in open repositories; moreover, one part of the repositories’ content is not based on self-archived deposits but on mediated nonfaculty contributions. The purpose of the paper is to provide more empirical evidence on this situation and to assess the impact on the future of the green road.

(2) Methods: We analyzed the contributions on the French national HAL repository from more than 1,000 laboratories affiliated to the ten most important French research universities, with a focus on 2020, representing 14,023 contributor accounts and 166,939 deposits.

(3) Results: We identified seven different types of contributor accounts, including deposits from nonfaculty staff and import flows from other platforms. Mediated nonfaculty contribution accounts for at least 48% of the deposits. We also identified difference between institutions and disciplines.

(4) Conclusions: Our empirical results reveal a transformation of open repositories from self-archiving and direct scientific communication towards research information management. Repositories like HAL are somewhere in the middle of the process. The paper describes data quality as the main issue and major challenge of this transformation.

URL : The Transformation of the Green Road to Open Access


Publishers, funders and institutions: who is supporting UKRI-funded researchers to share data?

Authors : Beth Montague-Hellen, Kate Montague-Hellen

Researchers are increasingly being asked by funders, publishers and their institutions to share research data alongside written publications, and to include data availability statements to support their readers in finding this data.

In the UK, UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) is one of the largest funding bodies and has had data-sharing policies for several years. This article investigates the reasons why a researcher may or may not share their data and assesses whether funders, publishers and institutions are supporting data-sharing behaviour through their policies and actions.

A survey with 166 responses gave an indicative assessment of researcher opinions around data sharing, and a corpus of 3,277 journal articles retrieved from four UK institutions was analysed using multivariate logistic regression models to provide empirical evidence as to researcher behaviour around data sharing.

The regression models provide insight into how this is affected by the funder, institution and publisher of the research. This study identifies that those publishers and funders who give clear guidance in their policies as to which data should be shared, and where this data should be shared, are most likely to encourage good practice in researchers.

URL : Publishers, funders and institutions: who is supporting UKRI-funded researchers to share data?


The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways for Viable Open Access Models

Author : Iva Melinščak Zlodi

1) Background: Open access to scholarly works is globally recognized as a goal to be achieved as soon as possible; however, there is not yet a general understanding of how to achieve open access for books. In considering the most appropriate models of transition, an accurate and detailed insight into national and regional specifics can be of great importance.

The aim of this research is to show the current state of scholarly book publishing in Croatia: recognising the key stakeholders, their characteristics, and the current level of open access to scholarly books.

(2) Methods: The existing data from two different sources were used: the data about the public subsidies for book publishers by the Ministry of Science and Education and the data on published books from the Croatian Scientific Bibliography CROSBI, both for the period from 2018 to 2021.

(3) Results: In the four-year period, 224 Croatian publishers were awarded subsidies to publish 2359 book titles. The majority of the publishers received support for only a small number of titles and relatively low amounts of subsidies. More than half of the titles are published by small private commercial publishers.

However, the uptake of digital publishing among commercial publishers is very modest. Open access to scholarly books is almost entirely in the domain of non-commercial publishers. Most open access titles are available on the websites of their publishers.

(4) Conclusions: The analysis of the data from these two sources have resulted in an overview of the current state of book publishing in Croatia. Such an overview provides a good basis for designing future measures and creating a national open science plan and can also be a useful contribution to international discussions.

URL : The Landscape of Scholarly Book Publishing in Croatia: Finding Pathways for Viable Open Access Models


On the geopolitics of academic publishing: the mislocated centers of scholarly communication

Authors : Franciszek Krawczyk, Emanuel Kulczycki

Knowledge production is an important factor in establishing the geopolitical position of countries. In the recent heated discussion on predatory publishing, the geopolitical dimension of this topic is often ignored or treated superficially.

In this paper, we introduce the term “mislocated centres of scholarly communication” to help better understand the emergence of predatory journals, and journals that bear similarities to them, in geopolitical peripheries. Mislocated centers of scholarly communication are perceived in the peripheries as legitimized by the center but are in fact invisible or illegitimate in the center.

Thus, we argue the importance of viewing these mislocated centers as the result of unequal power relations in academia. To support our argument, we summarize the research on the topic of predatory publishing and demonstrate that predatory journals are a geopolitical problem because the geopolitical peripheries of science are much more often harmed by them than the center.

Unlike predatory journals, mislocated centers of scholarly communication are not necessarily fraudulent but rather they are geopolitical roles imposed on some journals by a dynamic between center and peripheries. Our approach could help to criticize this system without discriminating against peripheral scholars or journals.

URL : On the geopolitics of academic publishing: the mislocated centers of scholarly communication


Transparency in conducting and reporting research: A survey of authors, reviewers, and editors across scholarly disciplines

Authors : Mario Malički, IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Lex Bouter, Adrian Mulligan, Gerben ter Riet

Calls have been made for improving transparency in conducting and reporting research, improving work climates, and preventing detrimental research practices. To assess attitudes and practices regarding these topics, we sent a survey to authors, reviewers, and editors. We received 3,659 (4.9%) responses out of 74,749 delivered emails.

We found no significant differences between authors’, reviewers’, and editors’ attitudes towards transparency in conducting and reporting research, or towards their perceptions of work climates. Undeserved authorship was perceived by all groups as the most prevalent detrimental research practice, while fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, and not citing prior relevant research, were seen as more prevalent by editors than authors or reviewers.

Overall, 20% of respondents admitted sacrificing the quality of their publications for quantity, and 14% reported that funders interfered in their study design or reporting. While survey respondents came from 126 different countries, due to the survey’s overall low response rate our results might not necessarily be generalizable.

Nevertheless, results indicate that greater involvement of all stakeholders is needed to align actual practices with current recommendations.

URL : Transparency in conducting and reporting research: A survey of authors, reviewers, and editors across scholarly disciplines


Recherche et dogmatisme : de l’improductivité du productivisme

Auteur.ices/Authors : Enka Blanchard, Zacharie Boubli

Le renforcement du discours de l’urgence dans nos sociétés accroît la mise sous tension de la recherche. Elle fait l’objet d’attentes croissantes, parmi lesquelles se distingue une demande perpétuelle de productivité. Celle-ci postule, d’une part, la mesurabilité de la productivité scientifique et, d’autre part, la capacité des politiques publiques à moduler la productivité de manière efficace et efficiente.

Nous proposons une critique de ces postulats fondée sur des études empiriques provenant de multiples domaines et analysant l’organisation de la recherche dans des champs variés. Le constat d’une efficacité douteuse des politiques de recherche contemporaines nous conduit à proposer l’explication d’un fondement culturel et idéologique à cet état de fait, tout en offrant des pistes pour en sortir.

URL : Recherche et dogmatisme : de l’improductivité du productivisme