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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Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance

Authors: Gil Yolanda, Cedric H. David, Ibrahim Demir, Bakinam T. Essawy, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Jonathan L. Goodall, Leif Karlstrom, Huikyo Lee, Heath J. Mills, Ji-Hyun Oh, Suzanne A. Pierce, Allen Pope, Mimi W. Tzeng, Sandra R. Villamizar, Xuan Yu

Abstract: Geoscientists now live in a world rich with digital data and methods, and their computational research cannot be fully captured in traditional publications. The Geoscience Paper of the Future (GPF) presents an approach to fully document, share, and cite all their research products including data, software, and computational provenance. This article proposes best practices for GPF authors to make data, software, and methods openly accessible, citable, and well documented. The publication of digital objects empowers scientists to manage their research products as valuable scientific assets in an open and transparent way that enables broader access by other scientists, students, decision makers, and the public. Improving documentation and dissemination of research will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by improving the ability of others to build upon published work.

Citation: Gil, Y., et all (2016). Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance. Earth and Space Science, 3, 388-415. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015EA000136 

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Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage

Author: Bastian Greshake

Abstract: Despite the growth of Open Access, potentially illegally circumventing paywalls to access scholarly publications is becoming a more mainstream phenomenon. The web service Sci-Hub is amongst the biggest facilitators of this, offering free access to around 62 million publications. So far it is not well studied how and why its users are accessing publications through Sci-Hub. By utilizing the recently released corpus of Sci-Hub and comparing it to the data of  ~28 million downloads done through the service, this study tries to address some of these questions. The comparative analysis shows that both the usage and complete corpus is largely made up of recently published articles, with users disproportionately favoring newer articles and 35% of downloaded articles being published after 2013. These results hint that embargo periods before publications become Open Access are frequently circumnavigated using Guerilla Open Access approaches like Sci-Hub. On a journal level, the downloads show a bias towards some scholarly disciplines, especially Chemistry, suggesting increased barriers to access for these. Comparing the use and corpus on a publisher level, it becomes clear that only 11% of publishers are highly requested in comparison to the baseline frequency, while 45% of all publishers are significantly less accessed than expected. Despite this, the oligopoly of publishers is even more remarkable on the level of content consumption, with 80% of all downloads being published through only 9 publishers. All of this suggests that Sci-Hub is used by different populations and for a number of different reasons, and that there is still a lack of access to the published scientific record. A further analysis of these openly available data resources will undoubtedly be valuable for the investigation of academic publishing.

Citation:  Greshake B.Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage.” F1000Research 2017, 6:541. (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11366.1) .

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Open Science: a revolution in sight?

Author: Bernard Rentier

Abstract: Purpose
This paper aims to describe the evolution of scientific communication, largely represented by the publication process. It notes the disappearance of the traditional publication on paper and its progressive replacement by electronic publishing, a new paradigm implying radical changes in the whole mechanism. It aims also at warning the scientific community about the dangers of some new avenues and why, rather than subcontracting an essential part of its work, it must take back full control of its production.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper reviews the emerging concepts in scholarly publication and aims to answer frequently asked questions concerning free access to scientific literature as well as to data, science and knowledge in general.

Findings
The paper provides new observations concerning the level of compliance to institutional open access mandates and the poor relevance of journal prestige for quality evaluation of research and researchers. The results of introducing an open access policy at the University of Liège are noted.

Social implications
Open access is, for the first time in human history, an opportunity to provide free access to knowledge universally, regardless of either the wealth or the social status of the potentially interested readers. It is an essential breakthrough for developing countries.

Originality/value
Open access and Open Science in general must be considered as common values that should be shared freely. Free access to publicly generated knowledge should be explicitly included in universal human rights. There are still a number of obstacles hampering this goal, mostly the greed of intermediaries who persuade researchers to give their work for free, in exchange for prestige. The worldwide cause of Open Knowledge is thus a major universal issue for the twenty-first century.

Citation: Bernard Rentier, (2016) “Open science: a revolution in sight?”, Interlending & Document Supply, Vol. 44 Issue: 4, pp.155-160, doi: 10.1108/ILDS-06-2016-0020

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