How do scientific papers with different levels of journals spread online? Exploring the temporal dynamics in the diffusion processes

Authors : Renmeng Cao, Xiaoke Xu, Yunxue Cui, Zhizhao Fang, Xianwen Wang

Social media has become an important channel for publicizing academic research, which provides an opportunity for each scientific paper to become a hit.

Employing a dataset of about 10 million tweets of 584,264 scientific papers from 2012 to 2018, this study investigates the differential diffusion of elite and non-elite journal papers (divided by Average journal impact factor percentile).

We find that non-elite journal papers are diffused deeper and farther than elite journal papers, showing a diffusion trend with multiple rounds, sparse, short-duration and small-scale bursts.

In contrast, the bursts of elite journals are characterized by a small number of persistent, dense and large-scale bursts. We also discover that elite journal papers are more inclined to broadcast diffusion while non-elite journal papers prefer viral diffusion.

Elite journal papers are generally disseminated to many loosely connected communities, while non-elite journal papers are diffused to several densely connected communities.


Attitudes toward open peer review among stakeholders of a scholar-led journal in Brazil

Authors : Leonardo Ferreira Fontenelle, Thiago Dias Sarti

Scholarly journals should consider the attitudes of their communities before adopting any of the seven traits of open peer review. Unfortunately, surveys from the Global North might not apply to the Global South, where double-blind peer review is commonplace even among natural sciences and medicine journals.

This paper reports the findings of a survey on attitudes toward open peer review among four stakeholder groups of a scholar-led medical journal in Brazil: society members, journal readers, authors, and reviewers.

Compared to a previous survey, which mostly recruited natural sciences researchers from Europe, this survey found similar support for open peer review in general and for most of its traits.

One important exception was open identities, which were considered detrimental by most participants, even more in this survey than in the previous one. Interestingly, participants were more dismissive of open identities as a whole than of statements about its specific consequences.

Because preprints are increasingly popular but incompatible with double-blind review, future research should examine the effects of transitioning from double-blind to open identities, especially on gender bias.

Meanwhile, scholarly journals with double-blind review might prefer to begin by adopting other traits of open review or to make open identities optional at first.

URL : Attitudes toward open peer review among stakeholders of a scholar-led journal in Brazil


Will Academic Library Publishing Break OER? A Diffusion of Innovations Study

Authors : Kathy Essmiller, Tutaleni Asino

Academic libraries are among the organizations advocating for open educational resources (OER), often playing a key campus role in education, advocacy, and support of their creation and publication. Publication of OER resonates with the role of the academic library.

Because “incongruence in perceptions” (Chtena 2019: 24) can cause difficulties and unforeseen challenges with implementation and use of OER, organizations involved in OER initiatives need familiarity with how OER and organizational values align.

The goal of this exploration was to investigate how academic libraries enact academic library publishing programs and the ramification that has in the diffusion process of OER in higher education. Data collected in this single case study research project was analyzed through the lens of Diffusion of Innovations Theory.

The findings from the study suggest that, if academic libraries are to enact the creation and publication of OER in ways appropriate to their conception, those involved will need to be intentional about ensuring enactment of the values foundational to OER.

Future suggested research includes a multiple-case study comparative research study looking at academic library publication of OER, exploration of how opinion leaders and attributes of innovations impact academic library publication of OER, and investigation into the impact of organizational structure on the diffusion of OER creation and publication.

URL : Will Academic Library Publishing Break OER? A Diffusion of Innovations Study


Journals in Beall’s list perform as a group less well than other open access journals indexed in Scopus but reveal large differences among publishers

Authors : Henk F. Moed, Carmen Lopez-Illescas, Vicente P. Guerrero-Bote, Felix de Moya-Anegon

The list of potential, possible or probable predatory scholarly open access (OA) publishers compiled by Jeffrey Beall was examined to determine the effect of their inclusion upon authors, and a possible bias against OA journals.

Manually collected data from the publication archives of a sample of 250 journals from Beall publishers reveals a strong tendency towards a decline in their article output during 2012–2020. A comparison of the subset of 506 Beall journals indexed in Scopus with a benchmark set of other OA journals in Scopus with similar characteristics shows that Beall journals reveal as a group a strong decline in citation impact over the years, and reached an impact level far below that of their benchmarks.

The Beall list of publishers was found to be heterogeneous in terms of bibliometric indicators but to be clearly differentiated from OA journals not included in the list. The same bibliometric comparison against comparable non-OA journals reveal similar, but less marked, differences in citation and publication growth.

URL : Journals in Beall’s list perform as a group less well than other open access journals indexed in Scopus but reveal large differences among publishers


Promoting a culture of openness: Institutional open access policy development and evaluation at a Canadian university

Authors : Alison J. Moore, Jennifer Zerkee, Kate Shuttleworth, Rebecca Dowson, Gwen Bird

Institutional open access (OA) policies can act as a solid foundation on which to build university-wide support for open access. This is the first paper to reflect on the entire process of developing, implementing, and reviewing an institutional open access policy at a Canadian post-secondary institution.

Simon Fraser University (SFU) is one of a few Canadian universities with an institutional open access policy. As a leader in open access, SFU is well positioned to share observations of our experiences in the first three years of our OA policy.

Throughout this paper, we reflect on the role that the policy plays in the broader culture of openness at SFU and on the OA resources and supports provided to SFU researchers.

Other institutions may find our observations and adoption of the SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, results) appreciative inquiry framework useful as they explore future policy development or review and work to promote a culture of open access within their university community.

URL: Promoting a culture of openness: Institutional open access policy development and evaluation at a Canadian university


Peer Review in Law Journals

Authors : Jadranka Stojanovski, Elías Sanz-Casado, Tommaso Agnoloni, Ginevra Peruginelli

The field of law has retained its distinctiveness regarding peer review to this day, and reviews are often conducted without following standardized rules and principles. External and independent evaluation of submissions has recently become adopted by European law journals, and peer review procedures are still poorly defined, investigated, and attuned to the legal science publishing landscape.

The aim of our study was to gain a better insight into current editorial policies on peer review in law journals by exploring editorial documents (instructions, guidelines, policies) issued by 119 Croatian, Italian, and Spanish law journals.

We relied on automatic content analysis of 135 publicly available documents collected from the journal websites to analyze the basic features of the peer review processes, manuscript evaluation criteria, and related ethical issues using WordStat.

Differences in covered topics between the countries were compared using the chi-square test. Our findings reveal that most law journals have adopted a traditional approach, in which the editorial board manages mostly anonymized peer review (104, 77%) engaging independent/external reviewers (65, 48%).

Submissions are evaluated according to their originality and relevance (113, 84%), quality of writing and presentation (94, 70%), comprehensiveness of literature references (93, 69%), and adequacy of methods (57, 42%).

The main ethical issues related to peer review addressed by these journals are reviewer’s competing interests (42, 31%), plagiarism (35, 26%), and biases (30, 22%). We observed statistically significant differences between countries in mentioning key concepts such as “Peer review ethics”, “Reviewer”, “Transparency of identities”, “Publication type”, and “Research misconduct”.

Spanish journals favor reviewers’ “Independence” and “Competence” and “Anonymized” peer review process. Also, some manuscript types popular in one country are rarely mentioned in other countries.

Even though peer review is equally conventional in all three countries, high transparency in Croatian law journals, respect for research integrity in Spanish ones, and diversity and inclusion in Italian are promising indicators of future development.

URL : Peer Review in Law Journals


The production of scientific and societal value in research evaluation: a review of societal impact assessment methods

Authors : Jorrit P Smit, Laurens K Hessels

Over the past two decades, several methods have been developed to evaluate the societal impact of research. Compared to the practical development of the field, the conceptual development is relatively weak.

This review article contributes to the latter by elucidating the theoretical aspects of the dominant methods for evaluating societal impact of research, in particular, their presuppositions about the relationship between scientific and societal value of research. We analyse 10 approaches to the assessment of the societal impact of research from a constructivist perspective.

The methods represent different understandings of knowledge exchange, which can be understood in terms of linear, cyclical, and co-production models. In addition, the evaluation methods use a variety of concepts for the societal value of research, which suggest different relationships with scientific value.

While some methods rely on a clear and explicit distinction between the two types of value, other methods, in particular Evaluative Inquiry, ASIRPA, Contribution Mapping, Public Value Mapping, and SIAMPI, consider the mechanisms for producing societal value integral to the research process.

We conclude that evaluation methods must balance between demarcating societal value as a separate performance indicator for practical purposes and doing justice to the (constructivist) science studies’ findings about the integration of scientific and societal value of research.

Our analytic comparison of assessment methods can assist research evaluators in the conscious and responsible selection of an approach that fits with the object under evaluation. As evaluation actively shapes knowledge production, it is important not to use oversimplified concepts of societal value.

URL : The production of scientific and societal value in research evaluation: a review of societal impact assessment methods