OpenAIRE survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers

Authors: Tony Ross-Hellauer; Arvid Deppe; Birgit Schmidt

Abstract: Open peer review (OPR) is a cornerstone of the emergent Open Science agenda. Yet to date no large-scale survey of attitudes towards OPR amongst academic editors, authors, reviewers and publishers has been undertaken. This paper presents the findings of an online survey, conducted for the OpenAIRE2020 project during September and October 2016 that sought to bridge this information gap in order to aid the development of appropriate OPR approaches by providing evidence about attitudes towards and levels of experience with OPR. The results of this cross-disciplinary survey, which received 3,062 full responses, show the majority of respondents to be in favour of OPR becoming mainstream scholarly practice, as they also are for other areas of Open Science, like Open Access and Open Data. We also observe surprisingly high levels of experience with OPR, with three out of four (76.2%) respondents reporting having taken part in an OPR process as author, reviewer or editor. There were also high levels of support for most of the traits of OPR, particularly open interaction, open reports and final-version commenting. Respondents were against opening reviewer identities to authors, however, with more than half believing it would make peer review worse. Overall satisfaction with the peer review system used by scholarly journals seems to strongly vary across disciplines. Taken together, these findings are very encouraging for OPR’s prospects for moving mainstream but indicate that due care must be taken to avoid a “one-size fits all” solution and to tailor such systems to differing (especially disciplinary) contexts. More research is also needed. OPR is an evolving phenomenon and hence future studies are to be encouraged, especially to further explore differences between disciplines and monitor the evolution of attitudes.

Citation: Ross-Hellauer, Tony, Deppe, Arvid, & Schmidt, Birgit. (2017, May 2). OpenAIRE survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers. Zenodo. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.570864

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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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Updated Figures on the Scale and Nature of Researchers’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Networks – The Scholarly Kitchen

Author: Charlie Rapple

Abstract: My last post was about institutional conservatism in relation to research evaluation and reward. I illustrated it with a brick wall bearing the words “insert head here” because so many wicked problems in scholarly communications today can be traced back to this underlying cause, and its immutability is therefore so frustrating to those trying to tackle its symptoms.

One of the many symptoms is that publishers and researchers are inextricably linked, mutually dependent, and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Evaluation processes — even those that are evolving away from simplistic publication counts or Impact Factor-based points systems — still mean that publication in an established journal is important for researchers, much as quality submissions are important for publishers. It is into this stasis that “scholarly collaboration networks” (SCNs) have emerged, originally as places for researchers to form connections (à la LinkedIn) but increasingly used for “content swapping” and / or “quasi-legal downloading of research papers

Source: Updated Figures on the Scale and Nature of Researchers’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Networks – The Scholarly Kitchen

Citation: Rapple, Charlie. “Updated Figures on the Scale and Nature of Researchers’ Use of Scholarly Collaboration Networks ” – The Scholarly Kitchen [Online] April 7, 2017 https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/04/07/updated-figures-scale-nature-researchers-use-scholarly-collaboration-networks/.

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Critical thinking in a post-Beall vacuum

Author: Andy Nobles

Abstract: For many years, Jeffrey Beall single-handedly fought his own (often controversial) battle against ‘predatory’ publishers, mostly via his ‘Scholarly Open Access’ blog (AKA Beall’s List) – a battle he ultimately seemed to have lost when the blog was taken offline in mysterious circumstances in January.

Since then, the chit-chat in the scholarly community has been about what to do now that Beall’s List has gone.

Citation: Nobles, Andy. Critical thinking in a post-Beall vacuum. Research Information. April/May 2017. Published online 29 March 2017.

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Organization and Delivery of Scholarly Communications Services by Academic and Research Libraries in the United Kingdom: Observations from Across the Pond

Author: Christine Fruin

Abstract: The U.K. library community has implemented collaborative strategies in key scholarly communication areas such as open access mandate compliance, and U.S. librarians could benefit from learning in greater detail about the practices and experiences of U.K. libraries with respect to how they have organized scholarly communication services. METHODS In order to better understand the scholarly communication activities in U.K. academic and research libraries, and how U.S. libraries could apply that experience in the context of their own priorities, an environmental scan via a survey of U.K. research libraries and in-person interviews were conducted. RESULTS U.K. libraries concentrate their scholarly communication services on supporting compliance with open access mandates and in the development of new services that reflect libraries’ shifting role from information consumer to information producer. DISCUSSION Due to the difference in the requirements of open access mandates in the U.K. as compared to the U.S., scholarly communication services in the U.K. are more focused on supporting compliance efforts. U.S. libraries engage more actively in providing copyright education and consultation than U.K. libraries. Both U.K. and U.S. libraries have developed new services in the areas of research data management and library publishing. CONCLUSION There are three primary takeaways from the experience of U.K. scholarly communication practitioners for U.S. librarians: increase collaboration with offices of research, reconsider current organization and delegation of scholarly communication services, and increase involvement in legislative and policy-making activity in the U.S. with respect to access to research.

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