Opening Up of Editorials Activities at Chemistry Journals. What Does Editorship Mean and What Does It Involve?

Author : Marianne Noel

The article unpacks the publishing practices and focuses on the curating work carried out by the editors of chemistry journals. Based on a qualitative analysis of multiple sources in two publishing houses (the American Chemical Society, ACS and Nature Research), it first shows that the role of editor-in-chief covers a wide range of realities and is far from being limited to that of a gatekeeper (the most common metaphor in the literature).

In journals that are part of the Nature Research portfolio, in-house editors, who are no longer active scientists, work full time for the journals. The article describes the professional trajectories and skills required to join the publishing house.

Interviews highlight collective identity-based actions, attention to the growth and the flow of manuscripts, but also specific epistemic properties of outputs in chemistry. Besides tasks that editors outline “as really the same as they were 100 years ago,” as they spend most of their time handling manuscripts and providing quality assurance, they also travel to conferences to support journals and encourage submissions, visit labs where researchers pitch their work or ask questions about journals, and “educate the actors themselves” about new fields.

In both cases studied, the publishing houses partner with institutions to offer events (ACS on Campus programme, Nature masterclass) that a university or department can freely host or buy, where editors organize workshops on all aspects of manuscript preparation. Second, publishing houses, whether non-for-profit or commercial, have embraced a catalog logic, where the journals are not necessarily in competition and have an assumed place and hierarchy.

At Nature Research, editors-in-chief head business units inscribed in the company’s organization. Despite standardized processes imposed by the procedural chain, there is still room to maneuver in these relatively autonomous structures that are ultimately evaluated on their results (the annual production of a certain number of high-quality papers).

On the other hand, ACS is seen as a vessel whose course cannot easily be deviated. The conclusion calls for extending this type of investigation to other contexts or types of journals.

URL : Opening Up of Editorials Activities at Chemistry Journals. What Does Editorship Mean and What Does It Involve?

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What Are the Characteristics of Canadian Independent, Scholarly Journals? Results from a Website Analysis

Authors : Jessica Lange, Sarah Severson

The dominance of commercial publishers (Larivière, Haustein, and Mongeon 2015) has led to a discussion in Canada focusing on alternative models for supporting independent, non-commercial, scholarly journals.

Although small in number, these journals represent an important contribution to Canadian and global scholarship. They also act as a counterbalance to the increasingly for-profit nature of scholarly publishing. Despite their importance, there exists no definitive list of journals of this nature in Canada, making analysis and understanding of their characteristics difficult.

In order to address this gap, the researchers undertook an analysis of the websites of 485 Canadian, independent, scholarly journals. Independent was defined as journals which are not affiliated with a commercial publisher.

The researchers gathered data for each journal on their access type (e.g., closed, open access), subject area, size and composition of the editorial team, and any affiliation(s). This data was then analyzed to create a portrait of these journals with these themes.

The researchers found that most of these journals were affiliated with at least one organization, with over half being associated with two or more. They also discovered that affiliations varied depending on the discipline and that the size of the editorial team was correlated to the access type.

Journals were predominantly in the humanities and social sciences, and the majority were open access (OA) without article processing charges (APCs).

While the focus of this study is on Canadian journals, this article provides a framework for other researchers to examine non-commercial, independent publishing in their own countries.

Its results also provide preliminary data which may inspire future avenues of research, particularly into models for non-APC, open access journals as well as the editorial board structure and size for independent journals.


Why do journals discontinue? A study of Australian ceased journals

Authors : Hamid R. Jamali, Simon Wakeling, Alireza Abbasi

Little is known about why journals discontinue despite its significant implications. We present an analysis of 140 Australian journals that ceased from 2011 to mid-2021 and present the results of a survey of editors of 53 of them. The death age of journals was 19.7 (median = 16) with 57% being 10 years or older.

About 54% of them belonged to educational institutions and 34% to non-profit organizations. In terms of subject, 75% of the journals belonged to social sciences, humanities and arts. The survey showed that funding was an important reason for discontinuation, and lack of quality submission and lack of support from the owners of the journal also played a role.

Too much reliance on voluntary works appeared to be an issue for editorial processes. The dominant metric culture in the research environment and pressure for journals to perform well in journal rankings negatively affect local journals in attracting quality submissions.

A fifth of journals indicated that they did not have a plan for the preservation of articles at the time of publication and the current availability of the content of ceased journals appeared to be sub-optimal in many cases with reliance on the website of ceased journals or web-archive platforms.

URL : Why do journals discontinue? A study of Australian ceased journals


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


Le numérique facilite-t-il l’accès ouvert aux communs scientifiques ?

Auteur/Author : Nicolas Jullien

L’économie de la science et des revues scientifiques est complexe. Pour mieux comprendre les trajectoires de basculement vers les publications ouvertes, cet article propose de décrire leur « modèle économique » et ce qu’Internet a changé.

Après un rapide rappel des questions soulevées par l’accès ouvert, nous proposons d’étudier la revue scientifique comme un « commun de connaissance ». Cela nous fournit un cadre afin de structurer les enjeux pour chaque acteur de la revue, et ainsi de décrire les différents types de revues scientifiques existantes, autour de l’adéquation format-lectorat d’une part et système de validation scientifique d’autre part.

Selon les modèles, le format d’accès ouvert peut varier, mais l’enjeu global est plus au niveau de l’accès aux bases de données d’articles (comme données ouvertes), que sur l’évolution du fonctionnement des revues scientifiques.


Web analytics for open access academic journals: justification, planning and implementation

Authors : Alex Vitela Caraveo, Cristóbal Urbano

An overview is presented of resources and web analytics strategies useful in setting solutions for capturing usage statistics and assessing audiences for open access academic journals.

A set of complementary metrics to citations is contemplated to help journal editors and managers to provide evidence of the performance of the journal as a whole, and of each article in particular, in the web environment.

The measurements and indicators selected seek to generate added value for editorial management in order to ensure its sustainability. The proposal is based on three areas: counts of visits and downloads, optimization of the website alongside with campaigns to attract visitors, and preparation of a dashboard for strategic evaluation.

It is concluded that, from the creation of web performance measurement plans based on the resources and proposals analysed, journals may be in a better position to plan the data-driven web optimization in order to attract authors and readers and to offer the accountability that the actors involved in the editorial process need to assess their open access business model.