Supporting diamond open access journals. Interest and feasibility of direct funding mechanisms

Authors : Quentin Dufour, David Pontille, Didier Torny

More and more academics and governements consider that the open access model based on Article Processing Charges (APC) is problematic, not only due to the inequalities it generates and reinforces, but also because it has become unsustainable and even opposed to open access values.

They consider that scientific publishing based on a model where both authors and readers do not pay, the so-called Diamond, or non-APC model, should be developed and supported. However, beyond the display of such a support on an international scale, the landscape of Diamond journals is rather in the form of loosely connected archipelagos, and not systematically funded.

This article explores the practical conditions to implement a direct funding mechanism to such journals, that is reccurent money provided by a funder to support the publication process.

Following several recommendations from institutional actors in the open access world, we consider the hypothesis that such a funding would be fostered by research funding organizations (RFOs), which have been essential to the expansion of the APC model, and now show interest in supporting other models.

Based on a questionnaire survey sent to more thant 1000 Diamond Open Access journals, this article analyzes their financial needs, as well as their capacity to interact with funders. It is structured around four issues regarding the implementation of a direct funding model: do Diamond journals really make use of money, and to what end? Do they need additional money?

Are they able to engage monetary transactions? Are they able to meet RFOs visibility requirements? We show that a majority of OA Diamond journals could make use of a direct funding mechanism with certain adjustments. We conclude on the challenges that such a financial stream would spur.

URL : Supporting diamond open access journals. Interest and feasibility of direct funding mechanisms


Investigating the division of scientific labor using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)

Authors : Vincent Larivière, David Pontille, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Contributorship statements were introduced by scholarly journals in the late 1990s to provide more details on the specific contributions made by authors to research papers.

After more than a decade of idiosyncratic taxonomies by journals, a partnership between medical journals and standards organizations has led to the establishment, in 2015, of the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT), which provides a standardized set of 14 research contributions.

Using the data from Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals over the 2017–2018 period (N = 30,054 papers), this paper analyzes how research contributions are divided across research teams, focusing on the association between division of labor and number of authors, and authors’ position and specific contributions.

It also assesses whether some contributions are more likely to be performed in conjunction with others and examines how the new taxonomy provides greater insight into the gendered nature of labor division. The paper concludes with a discussion of results with respect to current issues in research evaluation, science policy, and responsible research practices.

URL : Investigating the division of scientific labor using the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT)


Beyond Fact Checking: Reconsidering the Status of Truth of Published Articles

Authors : David Pontille, Didier Torny

Since the 17th century, scientific knowledge has been produced through a collective process, involving specific technologies used to perform experiments, to regulate modalities for participation of peers or lay people, and to ensure validation of the facts and publication of major results.

In such a world guided by the quest for a new kind of truth against previous beliefs various forms of misconduct – from subtle plagiarism to the entire fabrication of data and results – have largely been considered as minimal, if not inexistent.

Yet, some “betrayers of the truth” have been alleged in many fraudulent cases at least from the 1970s onward and the phenomenon is currently a growing concern in many academic corners. Facing numerous alerts, journals have generalized dedicated editorial formats to notify their readers of the emerging doubts affecting articles they had published.

This short piece is exclusively focused on these formats, which consists in “flagging” some articles to mark their problematic status.The visibility given to these flags and policies undermine the very basic components of the economy of science: How long can we collectively pretend that peer-reviewed knowledge should be the anchor to face a “post-truth” world?


Les classements à l’international des revues en SHS

Auteurs/Authors : David Pontille, Didier Torny

Bien que plusieurs classements de revues aient été élaborés dès les années 1970, le caractère inédit de ceux qui ont émergé au cours des années 2000 réside dans leur statut d’instrument de politique publique. C’est le cas de l’Australie, du Brésil, de la France, de la Flandre, de la Norvège, et des Pays-Bas où cette technologie d’évaluation est en vigueur pour certains domaines – notamment en sciences humaines et sociales (SHS).

Dans cet article, nous analysons les modes d’existence de cette technologie d’évaluation spécifique. Bien que la formule générique du « classement de revues » se propage au plan international , différentes versions se développent parallèlement : leurs modalités de production, les valeurs défendues par leurs promoteurs et leurs usagers, aussi bien que leurs formes concrètes sont extrêmement variées.

Nous montrons que l’espace de variations des classements de revues en SHS est toujours bordé par deux options : favoriser une « bonne recherche » qui, sous l’effet d’avantages cumulatifs, risque de conduire à une science (hyper)normale soutenant des dispositions de conformité sociale chez les chercheurs ; encourager l’émergence des communautés minoritaires (linguistiques, disciplinaires, interdisciplinaires) et promouvoir la diversité des méthodes, théories et objets, au risque de mener à des formes de relativisme ou d’archipelisation de la recherche.