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.

HAL : https://cnrs.hal.science/hal-04492274

The Nexus of Open Science and Innovation: Insights from Patent Citations

Author : Abdelghani Maddi

This paper aims to analyze the extent to which inventive activity relies on open science. In other words, it investigates whether inventors utilize Open Access (OA) publications more than subscription-based ones, especially given that some inventors may lack institutional access.

To achieve this, we utilized the (Marx, 2023) database, which contains citations of patents to scientific publications (Non-Patent References-NPRs). We focused on publications closely related to invention, specifically those cited solely by inventors within the body of patent texts. Our dataset was supplemented by OpenAlex data.

The final sample comprised 961,104 publications cited in patents, of which 861,720 had a DOI. Results indicate that across all disciplines, OA publications are 38% more prevalent in patent citations (NPRs) than in the overall OpenAlex database.

In biology and medicine, inventors use 73% and 27% more OA publications, respectively, compared to closed-access ones. Chemistry and computer science are also disciplines where OA publications are more frequently utilized in patent contexts than subscription-based ones.

HAL : https://cnrs.hal.science/hal-04454843

Fast, Furious and Dubious? MDPI and the Depth of Peer Review Reports

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri

Peer review is a central component of scholarly communication as it brings trust and quality control for scientific knowledge. One of its goals is to improve the quality of manuscripts and prevent the publication of work resulting from dubious or misconduct practices.

In a context marked by a massification of scientific production, the reign of Publish or Perish rule and the acceleration of research, journals are leaving less and less time to reviewers to produce their reports. It is therefore is crucial to study whether these regulations have an impact on the length of reviewer reports.

Here, we address the example of MDPI, a Swiss Open Access publisher, depicted as a Grey Publisher and well known for its short deadlines, by analyzing the depth of its reviewer reports and its counterparts. For this, we used Publons data with 61,197 distinct publications reviewed by 86,628 reviewers.

Our results show that, despite the short deadlines, when they accept to review a manuscript, reviewers assume their responsibility and do their job in the same way regardless of the publisher, and write on average the same number of words.

Our results suggest that, even if MDPI’s editorial practices may be questionable, as long as peer review is assured by researchers themselves, publications are evaluated similarly.

URL : Fast, Furious and Dubious? MDPI and the Depth of Peer Review Reports

DOI : https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-3027724/v1

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

DOI : https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2357492/v1


Does Open Access Really Increase Impact? A Large-Scale Randomized Analysis

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

The Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA) has been a major topic of discussion in the literature over the past twenty years. In this paper, we propose a method to constitute a control group to isolate the OACA effect. Thus, we compared citation impact (MNCS) of 2,458,378 publications in fully OA journals to that (weighted MNCS) of a control group of non-OA publications (#10,310,842).

Similarly, we did the same exercise for OA publications in hybrid journals (#1,024,430) and their control group (#11,533,001), over the period 2010-2020. The results showed that there is no OACA for publications in fully OA journals, and that there is rather a disadvantage. Conversely, the OACA seems to be a reality in hybrid journals, suggesting that a better accessibility tends to improve the impact of publications.

The lack of OACA for publications in fully OA journals is to be expected, as a great proportion of OA journals are newly created and less attractive to high-impact senior researchers. Another striking result of this paper is the fall of the OACA from 2016.

The citation advantage fell from 70% to 9% between 2016 and 2020 (for publications in hybrid journals). We wonder if this fall is linked to the increase in the notoriety of pirate sites (eg Sci-Hub) from 2016.

In other words, the democratization of pirate sites instantly cancels the positive effect of OA publication insofar as the question of access to scientific content no longer arises.

URL: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03694666

Article Processing Charges, Altmetrics and Citation Impact: Is there an economic rationale?

Authors : Abdelghani Maddi, David Sapinho

The present study aims to analyze 1) the relationship between Citation Normalized Score of scientific publications and Article Processing Charges (APCs) of Gold Open Access (OA) publications 2) the determinants of APCs.

To do so, we used APCs information provided by the OpenAPC database, citation scores of publications from the WoS database and, for Altmetrics, data from Altmetrics.com database, over the period from 2006 to 2019 for 83,752 articles published in 4751 journals belonging to 267 distinct publishers.

Results show that contrary to common belief, paying high APCs does not necessarily increase the impact of publications. First, large publishers with high impact are not the most expensive. Second, publishers with the highest APCs are not necessarily the best in terms of impact.

Correlation between APCs and impact is moderate. Regarding the determinants, results indicate that APCs are on average 50% higher in hybrid journals than in full OA journals. The results also suggest that Altmetrics do not have a great impact: OA articles that have garnered the most attention on internet are articles with relatively low APCs.

Another interesting result is that the “number of readers” indicator is more effective as it is more correlated with classic bibliometrics indicators than the Altmetrics score.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03576911

Game theory and scholarly publishing: premises for an agreement around open access

Author : Abdelghani Maddi

Stakeholders in research and scientific publishing are gradually joining the Open-Access (OA) movement, which is gaining momentum to become nowadays at the heart of scientific policies in high-income countries.

The rise of OA generates profound changes in the chain of production and dissemination of knowledge. Free access to peer-reviewed research methods and results has contributed to the dynamics of science observed in recent years.

The modes of publication and access have also evolved; the classic model, based on journal subscriptions is gradually giving way to new economic models that have appeared with the arrival of OA.

The objective of this article is twofold. First, propose a model for the publishing market based on the literature as well as on changes in open science policies. Second, analyze publishing strategies of publishers and institutions.

To do so, we relied on game theory in economics. Results show that in the short term, the publisher’s equilibrium strategy is to adopt a hybridpublishing model, while the institutions’ equilibrium strategy is to publish in OA.

This equilibrium is not stable and that in the medium/long term, the two players will converge on an OA publishing strategy. The analysis of the equilibrium in mixed-strategies confirms this result.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03265171v2