The Future of Data in Research Publishing: From Nice to Have to Need to Have?

Authors : Christine L. Borgman, Amy Brand

Science policy promotes open access to research data for purposes of transparency and reuse of data in the public interest. We expect demands for open data in scholarly publishing to accelerate, at least partly in response to the opacity of artificial intelligence algorithms.

Open data should be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR), and also trustworthy and verifiable. The current state of open data in scholarly publishing is in transition from ‘nice to have’ to ‘need to have.’

Research data are valuable, interpretable, and verifiable only in context of their origin, and with sufficient infrastructure to facilitate reuse. Making research data useful is expensive; benefits and costs are distributed unevenly.

Open data also poses risks for provenance, intellectual property, misuse, and misappropriation in an era of trolls and hallucinating AI algorithms. Scholars and scholarly publishers must make evidentiary data more widely available to promote public trust in research.

To make research processes more trustworthy, transparent, and verifiable, stakeholders need to make greater investments in data stewardship and knowledge infrastructures.


Demographics of scholarly publishing and communication professionals

Authors : Albert N. Greco, Robert M. Wharton, Amy Brand

Scholarly publishing plays a pivotal role in the dissemination of research. While a great deal is known about the companies active in this sector, we need to know more about the employees of the firms that edit, produce, market, and distribute today’s scholarly books and journals.

To achieve this goal, the researchers conducted an international survey in late 2014 and early 2015 of approximately 6,121 scholarly publishing employees in 33 nations. The researchers received 828 usable questionnaires.

Some of the substantive findings about the respondents include: 90.79% identified themselves as white; 85.07% worked in scholarly publishing for more than 5 years; 60% held graduate or professional degrees; and 49% worked in editorial departments.

Key suggestions include the need for annual surveys of this type and that the majority of scholarly publishing firms need to address the issue of diversity.