Authorship conflicts in academia: an international cross‑discipline survey

Authors : Elizaveta Savchenko, Ariel Rosenfeld

Collaboration among scholars has emerged as a significant characteristic of contemporary science. As a result, the number of authors listed in publications continues to rise steadily. Unfortunately, determining the authors to be included in the byline and their respective order entails multiple difficulties which often lead to conflicts. Despite the large volume of literature about conflicts in academia, it remains unclear how exactly these are distributed over the main socio-demographic properties, as well as the different types of interactions academics experience.

To address this gap, we conducted an international and cross-disciplinary survey answered by 752 academics from 41 fields of research and 93 countries that statistically well-represent the overall academic workforce. Our findings are concerning and suggest that conflicts over authorship credit arise very early in one’s academic career, even at the level of Master and Ph.D., and become increasingly common over time.

URL : Authorship conflicts in academia: an international cross‑discipline survey

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-024-04972-x

The impact of researchers’ perceived pressure on their publication strategies

Authors : David Johann, Jorg Neufeld, Kathrin Thomas, Justus Rathmann, Heiko Rauhut

This article investigates researchers’ publication strategies and how their perceived pressure to publish and to obtain external funding are related to these strategies. The analyses rely on data from the Zurich Survey of Academics (ZSoA), an online survey representative of academics working at higher education institutions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The results suggest that academics pursue both instrumental and normative publication strategies.

The main finding is that academics who perceive high pressure to publish tend to employ instrumental publication strategies rather than normative ones: they are more likely to focus on the journal’s reputation and the speed of publication when selecting an outlet for peer review. Publishing results in open-access outlets or in native languages other than English is less important for those under pressure.

However, the extent to which researchers’ perceived pressure affects publication strategies also depends on other factors, such as the discrepancy between the time available for research and the time actually desired for research.

URL : The impact of researchers’ perceived pressure on their publication strategies

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvae011

On the Fast Track to Full Gold Open Access

Author : Robert Kudelić

The world of scientific publishing is changing; the days of an old type of subscription-based earnings for publishers seem over, and we are entering a new era. It seems as if an ever-increasing number of journals from disparate publishers are going Gold, Open Access that is, yet have we rigorously ascertained the issue in its entirety, or are we touting the strengths and forgetting about constructive criticism and careful weighing of evidence?

We will therefore present the current state of the art, in a compact review/bibliometrics style, of this more relevant than ever hot topic and suggest solutions that are most likely to be acceptable to all parties–while the performed analysis also shows there seems to be a link between trends in scientific publishing and tumultuous world events, which in turn has a special significance for the publishing environment in the current world stage.

URL : On the Fast Track to Full Gold Open Access

Arxiv : https://arxiv.org/abs/2311.08313

May contain English – The assessment effect on language in publications and how this has manifested over a decade of DOAB titles

Authors : Danny Kingsley, Ronald Snijder

Research assessment in a major driver of research behaviour. The current emphasis on journal citations in a limited number of journals with an English focus have multiple effects. The need to publish in English even when it is not the local language affects the type of research undertaken and further consolidates the global North-centric view of scientific approach.

The bibliometric databases on which assessments of universities and journals are based are owned by two large corporate organisations, and this concentration of the market has in turn concentrated the research environment. Open infrastructure offers an alternative option for the research endeavour.

The OAPEN online open access library and the Directory of Open Access Books form part of this infrastructure and we consider the pattern of languages present in the directories over time.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/c8yq3

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 ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Author : W. Benedikt Schmal

The high relevance of top-notch academic journals turns them into ‘must stock’ products that assign its often commercial owners with extraordinary market power. Intended to tackle this, university consortia around the globe negotiate so-called ‘transformative agreements’ with many publishing houses. It shall pave the way towards standard open-access publishing.

While several contract designs exist, the ‘publish-and-read’ (PAR) scheme is the one that comes closest to the ideal of an entirely open access environment: Publishers are paid a fixed case-by-case rate for each publication, which includes a fee for their extensive libraries. In turn, all subscription payments are waived.

I theoretically derive that this contract design benefits the included publishers regardless of whether the number of publications in these publishers’ journals grows or declines. Consequently, widespread PAR contracts are likely to raise entry barriers for new (open-access) competitors even further. Intending to lower costs for the universities, their libraries, and, ultimately, the taxpayers, this PAR fee contract design of transformative agreements might cause the opposite.

URL : The ‘Must Stock’ Challenge in Academic Publishing: Pricing Implications of Transformative Agreements

Arxiv : https://arxiv.org/abs/2403.03597

Mega-authorship implications: How many scientists can fit into one cell?

Author : Daniel S. Dotson

The past 20 years has seen a significant increase in articles with 500 or more authors. This increase has presented problems in terms of determining true authorship versus other types of contribution, issues with database metadata and data output, and publication length. Using items with 500+ authors deemed as mega-author titles, a total of 5,533 mega-author items were identified using InCites. Metadata about the items was then gathered from Web of Science and Scopus.

Close examination of these items found that the vast majority of these covered physics topics, with medicine a far distant second place and only minor representation from other science fields. This mega-authorship saw significant events that appear to correspond to similar events in the Large Hadron Collider’s timeline, indicating that the projects for the collider are driving this heavy output. Some solutions are offered for the problems resulting from this phenomenon, partially driven by recommendations from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

URL : Mega-authorship implications: How many scientists can fit into one cell?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1080/08989621.2024.2318790