Guidelines for Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) in Journal Policies and Practices “The TOP Guidelines”

Authors: Brian Nosek et al

Abstract: The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee met in November 2014 to address one important element of the incentive systems – journals’ procedures and policies for publication. The outcome of the effort is the TOP Guidelines. There are eight standards in the TOP guidelines; each move scientific communication toward greater openness. These standards are modular, facilitating adoption in whole or in part. However, they also complement each other, in that commitment to one standard may facilitate adoption of others. Moreover, the guidelines are sensitive to barriers to openness by articulating, for example, a process for exceptions to sharing because of ethical issues, intellectual property concerns, or availability of necessary resources.

Citation: Nosek, Brian A et al. “Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines.” Open Science Framework, 28 Aug. 2017. https://osf.io/9f6gx/

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Stop this waste of people, animals and money

Author: David Moher et al

Abstract: Predatory journals are easy to please. They seem to accept papers with little regard for quality, at a fraction of the cost charged by mainstream open-access journals. These supposedly scholarly publishing entities are murky operations, making money by collecting fees while failing to deliver on their claims of being open access and failing to provide services such as peer review and archiving.

Despite abundant evidence that the bar is low, not much is known about who publishes in this shady realm, and what the papers are like. Common wisdom assumes that the hazard of predatory publishing is restricted mainly to the developing world. In one famous sting, a journalist for Science sent a purposely flawed paper to 140 presumed predatory titles (and to a roughly equal number of other open-access titles), pretending to be a biologist based in African capital cities. At least two earlier, smaller surveys found that most authors were in India or elsewhere in Asia. A campaign to warn scholars about predatory journals has concentrated its efforts in Africa, China, India, the Middle East and Russia. Frequent, aggressive solicitations from predatory publishers are generally considered merely a nuisance for scientists from rich countries, not a threat to scholarly integrity.

Our evidence disputes this view. We spent 12 months rigorously characterizing nearly 2,000 biomedical articles from more than 200 journals thought likely to be predatory. More than half of the corresponding authors hailed from high- and upper-middle-income countries as defined by the World Bank.

Citation: Moher, David, et al. “Stop This Waste of People, Animals and Money.” Nature 549, 23–25. http://doi.org/10.1038/549023a

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Write up! A Study of Copyright Information on Library-Published Journals

Author: Melanie Schlosser

Abstract: Libraries have a mission to educate users about copyright, and library publishing staff are often involved in that work. This article investigates a concrete point of intersection between the two areas – copyright statements on library-published journals.  Journals published by members of the Library Publishing Coalition were examined for open access status, type and placement of copyright information, copyright ownership, and open licensing.  Journals in the sample were overwhelmingly (93%) open access. 80% presented copyright information of some kind, but only 30% of those included it at both the journal and the article level. Open licensing was present in 38% of the journals, and the most common ownership scenario was the author retaining copyright while granting a nonexclusive license to the journal or publisher. 9% of the sample journals included two or more conflicting rights statements. 76% of the journals did not consistently provide accurate, easily-accessible rights information, and numerous problems were found with the use of open licensing, including conflicting licenses, incomplete licenses, and licenses not appearing at the article level.

Citation: Schlosser, M. (2016). Write up! A Study of Copyright Information on Library-Published Journals. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 4, eP2110. DOI: http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2110

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Reviewers are blinkered by bibliometrics

Authors: Paula Stephan, Reinhilde Veugelers& Jian Wang

Abstract: There is a disconnect between the research that reviewers purport to admire and the research that they actually support. As participants on multiple review panels and scientific councils, we have heard many lament researchers’ reluctance to take risks. Yet we’ve seen the same panels eschew risk and rely on bibliometric indicators for assessments, despite widespread agreement that they are imperfect measures1–6.

The review panels we observed last year were using bibliometrics in much the same way as they did before the 2015 Leiden Manifesto4, the 2012 San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which Nature is signing, and similar exhortations against their use. After all, bibliometric measures offer a convenient way to help evaluate a large number of proposals and papers.

Although journal impact factors (JIFs) were developed to assess journals and say little about any individual paper, reviewers routinely justify their evaluations on the basis of where candidates have published. Panel members judge applicants by Google Scholar results and use citation counts to score proposals for new research. This practice prevails even at agencies such as the European Research Council (ERC), which instructs reviewers not to look up bibliometric measures.

As economists who study science and innovation, we see engrained processes working against cherished goals. Scientists we interview routinely say that they dare not propose bold projects for funding in part because of expectations that they will produce a steady stream of papers in journals with high impact scores. The situation may be worse than assumed. Our analysis of 15 years’ worth of citation data suggests that common bibliometric measures relying on short-term windows undervalue risky research7.

How can we move beyond declarations and wean reviewers off bibliometric indicators that bias decisions against bold work?

Citation: Paula Stephan, Reinhilde Veugelers& Jian Wang. Reviewers are blinkered by bibliometrics : Nature News & Comment. Nature 544, 411–412 (doi:10.1038/544411a

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Research output availability on academic social networks: implications for stakeholders in academic publishing

Authors: Mikael Laakso, Juho Lindman, Cenyu Shen, Linus Nyman, and Bo-Christer Björk

Abstract: A recent disruption in academic publishing are Academic Social Networks (ASN), i.e. web platforms such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu that have provided new ways for researchers to disseminate, search for, and retrieve research articles. ASNs are still a grey area in terms of implications for involved stakeholders, and research on them has so far been scarce. In an effort to map out factors related to ASN use this article provides a multi-method case study of one business school (Hanken School of Economics, Finland) that incorporates 1) a bibliometric analysis on the full-text availability of research output on ASNs for research published 2012–2014 by Hanken affiliated authors, 2) semi-structured interviews with faculty active in publishing in order to gain insight into motivations for use and use patterns, and 3) a survey distributed to all research-active faculty and doctoral students in order to gain a wider perspective on ASN use. ASNs have for many become the primary way to provide access to one’s research output, outpacing all other types of online locations such as personal websites and repositories. Based on the case study findings, earlier research, and recent industry developments, the article concludes with a discussion about the implications that the current trajectory of ASN use has on major stakeholders in academic publishing.

Citation: Laakso, M., Lindman, J., Shen, C., Nyman, L., & Björk, B-C. (2017). Research output availability on academic social networks: Implications for stakeholders in academic publishing. Electronic Markets, 27(2), 125-133. doi:10.1007/s12525-016-0242-1

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Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Author: Stephen Buranyi

Abstract: It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell.

Citation: Buranyi, S. (2017, June 27). Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jun/27/profitable-business-scientific-publishing-bad-for-science 

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A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals

Author: Bo-Christer Björk, Cenyu Shen, & Mikael Laakso

Abstract: Open Access (OA) is nowadays increasingly being used as a business model for the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals, both by specialized OA publishing companies and major, predominantly subscription-based publishers. However, in the early days of the web OA journals were mainly founded by independent academics, who were dissatisfied with the predominant print and subscription paradigm and wanted to test the opportunities offered by the new medium. There is still an on-going debate about how OA journals should be operated, and the volunteer model used by many such ‘indie’ journals has been proposed as a viable alternative to the model adopted by big professional publishers where publishing activities are funded by authors paying expensive article processing charges (APCs). Our longitudinal quantitative study of 250 ‘indie’ OA journals founded prior to 2002, showed that 51% of these journals were still in operation in 2014 and that the median number of articles published per year had risen from 11 to 18 among the survivors. Of these surviving journals, only 8% had started collecting APCs. A more detailed qualitative case study of five such journals provided insights into how such journals have tried to ensure the continuity and longevity of operations.

Citation: Björk, B.-C., Shen, C., & Laakso, M. (2016). A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals. PeerJ, 4, e1990. https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1990

A model open access journal publication agreement

Author: Stuart Shieber
Abstract: This blog post from 2014 provides language that can serve as a model for publication agreements between an open access journal and authors submitting their work to it. Rather than the traditional approach requiring the author to grant all rights in the work to the journal, this language has the author granting only what the journal needs to publish, and keeping all other rights for the creator of the work. The post explains what each paragraph in the agreement aims to do, and how it will protect the interests of both the author and the publisher while making the work open access. The comment section below the post also has useful discussion that further explains the reasoning behind some of the clauses.
Citation: Shieber, Stuart. “A model OA journal publication agreement.” Blog post. The Occasional Pamphlet. Harvard Blogs, 19 February 2014. https://blogs.harvard.edu/pamphlet/2014/02/19/a-model-oa-journal-publication-agreement/

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Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

Authors: Alex Humphreys, Christina Spencer, Laura Brown, Matthew Loy, Ronald Snyder

Abstract: Scholarly books are increasingly available in digital form, but the online interfaces for using these books often allow only for the browsing of PDF files. JSTOR Labs, an experimental product-development group within the not-for-profit digital library JSTOR, undertook an ideation and design process to develop new and different ways of showing scholarly books online, with the goal that this new viewing interface should be relatively simple and inexpensive to implement for any scholarly book that is already available in PDF form. This paper documents that design process, including the recommendations of a working group of scholars, publishers, and librarians convened by JSTOR Labs and the Columbia University Libraries in October 2016. The prototype monograph viewer developed through this process — called “Topicgraph” — is described herein and is freely available online at https://labs.jstor.org/topicgraph.

Citation: Alex Humphreys, Christina Spencer, Laura Brown, Matthew Loy, Ronald Snyder (2017) Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers. JSTOR Labs White Paper. Available online: https://labs.jstor.org/download/JSTORLabsMonographJune2017.pdf

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Source: Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

Live Discussion on Open Access — Cultural Anthropology

Author: Grant Jun Otsuki

Abstract: These are the questions and comments from the March 20th, 2013, discussion on Open Access with SCA President Brad Weiss, and CA Editor Charles Piot.

Citation: Otsuki, Grant Jun. “Read the Transcript of our March 20th Live Discussion on Open Access.” SCA News, Cultural Anthropology website, March 21, 2013. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/151-read-the-transcript-of-our-march-20th-live-discussion-on-open-access

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Source: Live Discussion on Open Access — Cultural Anthropology