Reading Peer Review : PLOS ONE and Institutional Change in Academia

Authors : Martin Paul Eve, Cameron Neylon, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Samuel Moore, Robert Gadie, Victoria Odeniyi, Shahina Parvin

This Element describes for the first time the database of peer review reports at PLOS ONE, the largest scientific journal in the world, to which the authors had unique access.

Specifically, this Element presents the background contexts and histories of peer review, the data-handling sensitivities of this type of research, the typical properties of reports in the journal to which the authors had access, a taxonomy of the reports, and their sentiment arcs.

This unique work thereby yields a compelling and unprecedented set of insights into the evolving state of peer review in the twenty-first century, at a crucial political moment for the transformation of science.

It also, though, presents a study in radicalism and the ways in which PLOS’s vision for science can be said to have effected change in the ultra-conservative contemporary university.

URL : Reading Peer Review : PLOS ONE and Institutional Change in Academia

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Individuation through infrastructure: Get Full Text Research, data extraction and the academic publishing oligopoly

Author : Samuel Moore

This article explores the recent turn within academic publishing towards ‘seamless access’, an approach to content provision that ensures users do not have to continually authenticate in order to access journal content.

Through a critical exploration of Get Full Text Research, a service developed collaboratively by five of the world’s largest academic publishers to provide such seamless access to academic research, the article shows how publishers are seeking to control the ways in which readers access publications in order to trace, control and ultimately monetise user interactions on their platforms.

Theorised as a process of individuation through infrastructure, the article reveals how publishers are attempting an ontological shift to position the individual, quantifiable researcher, rather than the published content, at the centre of the scholarly communication universe.

The implications of the shift towards individuation are revealed as part of a broader trend in scholarly communication infrastructure towards data extraction, mirroring a trend within digital capitalism more generally.

URL : Individuation through infrastructure: Get Full Text Research, data extraction and the academic publishing oligopoly


Revisiting ‘the 1990s debutante’: scholar-led publishing and the pre-history of the open access movement

Author : Samuel Moore

The movement for open access publishing is often said to have its roots in the scientific disciplines, having been popularised by scientific publishers and formalised through a range of top-down policy interventions. But there is an often-neglected pre-history of open access that can be found in the early DIY publishers of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

Managed entirely by working academics, these journals published research in the humanities and social sciences and stand out for their unique set of motivations and practices.

This article explores this separate lineage in the history of the open access movement through a critical-theoretical analysis of the motivations and practices of the early scholar-led publishers.

Alongside showing the involvement of the humanities and social sciences in the formation of open access, the analysis reveals the importance that these journals placed on experimental practices, critique of commercial publishing and the desire to reach new audiences.

Understood in today’s context, this research is significant for adding complexity to the history of open access, which policymakers, advocates and publishing scholars should keep in mind as open access goes mainstream.