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


FAIRness of Research Data in the European Humanities Landscape

Authors : Ljiljana Poljak Bilić, Kristina Posavec

This paper explores the landscape of research data in the humanities in the European context, delving into their diversity and the challenges of defining and sharing them. It investigates three aspects: the types of data in the humanities, their representation in repositories, and their alignment with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

By reviewing datasets in repositories, this research determines the dominant data types, their openness, licensing, and compliance with the FAIR principles. This research provides important insight into the heterogeneous nature of humanities data, their representation in the repository, and their alignment with FAIR principles, highlighting the need for improved accessibility and reusability to improve the overall quality and utility of humanities research data.

URL : FAIRness of Research Data in the European Humanities Landscape


Notebooks et science ouverte : FAIR mieux

Authors: Mariannig Le Béchec, Célya Gruson-Daniel, Clémence Lascombes, Émilien Schultz

Les notebooks sont aujourd’hui largement adoptés dans les pratiques numériques de recherche. Malgré leur omniprésence croissante, leurs caractéristiques, les rôles et usages associés aux notebooks ont pour le moment donné lieu à peu d’investigations dans une perspective d’études des sciences et des techniques (STS).

Dans cet article, nous proposons une synthèse de travaux empiriques menés sur les notebooks afin d’identifier les principaux résultats existants, que cela concerne la classification de types de notebooks, les pratiques installées, les limites et améliorations proposées.

Dans la continuité de cette synthèse qui souligne surtout l’existence de travaux dans le domaine de la science des données (data science) et non pas des pratiques de recherche en contextes académiques, nous discutons le rôle des notebooks comme vecteur et levier des principes FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) associés à la science ouverte.


Does it pay to pay? A comparison of the benefits of open-access publishing across various sub-fields in biology

Authors : Amanda D. Clark, Tanner C. Myers, Todd D. Steury, Ali Krzton et al.

Authors are often faced with the decision of whether to maximize traditional impact metrics or minimize costs when choosing where to publish the results of their research. Many subscription-based journals now offer the option of paying an article processing charge (APC) to make their work open.

Though such “hybrid” journals make research more accessible to readers, their APCs often come with high price tags and can exclude authors who lack the capacity to pay to make their research accessible.

Here, we tested if paying to publish open access in a subscription-based journal benefited authors by conferring more citations relative to closed access articles. We identified 146,415 articles published in 152 hybrid journals in the field of biology from 2013–2018 to compare the number of citations between various types of open access and closed access articles.

In a simple generalized linear model analysis of our full dataset, we found that publishing open access in hybrid journals that offer the option confers an average citation advantage to authors of 17.8 citations compared to closed access articles in similar journals.

After taking into account the number of authors, Journal Citation Reports 2020 Quartile, year of publication, and Web of Science category, we still found that open access generated significantly more citations than closed access (p < 0.0001).

However, results were complex, with exact differences in citation rates among access types impacted by these other variables. This citation advantage based on access type was even similar when comparing open and closed access articles published in the same issue of a journal (p < 0.0001).

However, by examining articles where the authors paid an article processing charge, we found that cost itself was not predictive of citation rates (p = 0.14). Based on our findings of access type and other model parameters, we suggest that, in the case of the 152 journals we analyzed, paying for open access does confer a citation advantage.

For authors with limited budgets, we recommend pursuing open access alternatives that do not require paying a fee as they still yielded more citations than closed access. For authors who are considering where to submit their next article, we offer additional suggestions on how to balance exposure via citations with publishing costs.

URL : Does it pay to pay? A comparison of the benefits of open-access publishing across various sub-fields in biology