Tag Archives: journals

Open Access May Remedy Traditional Journal Publishing’s Dysfunctional Aspects via Transparency

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-02
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-can-contribute-to-remedying-the-dysfunctional-aspects-of-journal-publishing-if-it-adds-to-transparency/

As both criticisms of academic journal publication practices and recent empirical results suggest, transparency that Open Access (OA) tends to promote is likely to be associated with journal quality, since latest journal citation reports have shown that a significant share of highest-ranking scientific journals in medicine are published in OA.


Excerpt

In his extensive critique of the journal publication industry made available online in 2013, Mathias Binswager argues against the homogenization of higher education and scientific research that has been taking place in recent decades around the world, such as in Germany and Europe more generally, as quantitative measures of university excellence have become widely regarded as primary indicators on which institutional and governmental decision making has become based. This particularly applies to the journal publication procedures, since scholars and researchers receive appointments, funds and promotions primarily based on their publishing in high-ranking scientific journals, while a regular output of academic output has become widely expected in the academia.

However, given that the majority of top-ranking journals are subscription-based and most journals apply either single- or double-blind peer-review procedures to submitted manuscripts, arguably in order to increase the quality of the articles that they publish, this status quo has led to a large degree of non-transparency about the manner in which scientific journals operate. In Binswager’s view, this situation leads to deleterious effects on science, while impairing the validity of quantitative indicators of academic excellence, such as journal impact factors and article citation counts, since, provided the de facto gate-keeping functions of non-transparent peer-review procedures, scientific authors resort to tactics that are specifically targeted at increasing their chances of being published in selective journals the rejection rate of which can reach 95%. These tactics can include the strategic citation of possible reviewers, flatteringly positive assessments of approaches linked to scholars likely to act as reviewers, limited readiness to deviate from accepted theories and the reduction in the novelty of article manuscripts.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Though Arguments for Open Science are Aplenty, Institutional Barriers to Its Implementation Remain

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-29
URL: http://openscience.com/though-arguments-for-open-science-are-aplenty-institutional-barriers-to-its-implementation-remain/

As a latest Montreal-based initiative in neuroscience and the European “Horizon 2020” program show, despite efforts promoting it, Open Science continues to be exposed to budgeting and resources shortfalls.


Excerpt

As Giusppe Valiate reports, from 2016, based at Canada’s McGill University, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNIH) has been applying Open Science principles to its artificial intelligence research. As part of implementing Open Access in various fields of scientific inquiry, Open Science does not suffer from a lack of definitions, schools of thoughts or academic articles proffering arguments in its favor as Benedikt Fecher and Sascha Friesike discuss in detail in their book chapter published in 2014. Perhaps due to the heteroclite nature of this phenomenon, as Open Science can refer to its technological infrastructure, knowledge creation accessibility, alternative impact metrics, knowledge access democratization, and collaborative research practices, its application in the research and scientific community continues to be divergent. Moreover, as far as academic journals are concerned, this term largely refers to Open Access.

Thus, what the MNIH initiative primarily boils down to is making its empirical, clinical and research data, such as brain imaging, biological sample and cellular data, available in Open Access. This contribution to Open Science is aimed at promoting drug discovery and development, e.g., via the facilitation of medicine tests, as part of the drive to openly share research data. At the same time, given that this field of research demands large-scale data sets, technical infrastructure for their storage and corresponding financial resources, this Open Science project also seeks to encourage a transition to Open Access, as an effort to cut costs. Similarly, Canadian researchers and scholars express increasing resistance to subscription-based journals of large publishers, such as by refusing to review their manuscripts and creating rival Open Access journals, e.g., the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Asian Countries Demonstrate a Strong Presence of Open Access Policies, Repositories and Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-17
URL: http://openscience.com/asian-countries-demonstrate-a-strong-presence-of-open-access-policies-repositories-and-journals/

As a latest survey shows, in Asia Open Access enjoys robust state and institutional support for repositories, consortia memberships and article processing charges funds.


Excerpt

In their recent survey of Open Access activities in Asia conducted on behalf of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories published in June, 2017, Kathleen Shearer, Kostas Repanas and Kazu Yamaji have put Open Access policies in the context of the rapidly growing scientific profile that Asian countries have, which, according to the 2015 UNESCO World Science Report have their share of global economic output match their proportion of world’s research and development spending standing at 45% and 42% respectively. As China is poised to become a global leader in the number of scientific research articles published in short order, an increase in the coherence of Open Access practices, funding, and policies backed by both institutional and technological infrastructures across Asian states is likely to have far-reaching consequences both regionally and globally.

Yet, at present 50% out of Asian countries surveyed, e.g., Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, have no Open Access funding policies, even though in the other half of these states funding agencies supporting Open Access are present. By contrast, 70% of these Asian states have Open Access policies promulgated on either institutional or university levels, whereas in only 5 countries no policies of that type have been found to be present. This indicates a proactive stance of academic and research institutions in regard to the promotion of Open Access primarily through repositories for theses and dissertations, journal articles and other local and other language content.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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German Academic and Research Institutions Increasingly Make Open Access their Default Option

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-01
URL: http://openscience.com/german-academic-and-research-institutions-increasingly-make-open-access-their-default-option/

Over 140 German university and institute consortia members cancel their subscription contracts with Elsevier, while making publishing in Open Access a requirement for German researchers.


Excerpt

In Germany, universities and research institutions spearhead the transition to Open Access in the framework of the Projekt DEAL consortium tasked with negotiating the terms of subscription contracts with large journal publishers. By August 2017, in Germany 50 universities, 50 research organizations, 34 higher education institutions and 3 regional libraries do not have contracts with Elsevier for the coming year, while either interim journal access arrangements or no access to pay-wall protected journals are in place, as a recent article by Leonhard Dobusch states. Though among the large-scale scientific societies, the Max Planck Society and Fraunhofer Society are not directly involved in this initiative that has been gathering momentum in Germany, they provide indirect support to the demands of the Projekt DEAL via the Alliance of Scientific Organizations.

As a consequence of this, a transition to Open Access may take place since, as Christian Gutknecht’s blog post on a Swiss survey conducted by ETH Zürich in March 2017 indicates, up to 72% of scholars are likely to be willing to forgo consulting subscription-based journals, especially if their publishers apply access pricing approaches that may be deemed unacceptable. Around 91%-93% of researchers participating in this study have indicated that they do not object to the prospect of not serving on an editorial board or acting as a reviewer for journals belonging to publishers demanding unjustifiably high subscription fees. In other words, in Switzerland not only 90% of surveyed scholars express stable levels of support for Open Access, as compared to a 2011 survey by the SOAP project that have demonstrated that 89% of sampled scientific community members are in favour of Open Access, but also that high levels of readiness to apply negative sanctions, such as resigning from editorial boards, exist, which under auspicious circumstances can translate into a wide-spread adoption of Open Access in the journal publishing sector.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Subscription-Based Journals May Be Facing the Music Industry Predicament due to File-Sharing Platforms

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-18
URL: http://openscience.com/subscription-based-journals-may-be-facing-the-music-industry-predicament-due-to-file-sharing-platforms/

As large publishers fight via legal means illegal scientific article downloading, such as via Sci-Hub, empirical findings show that over 85% of paywall-protected article catalogues are accessible through no-fee, controversial repositories.


Excerpt

While legislative initiatives seek to strike a balance between the interests of academic journal publishing industry and those of scientific communities, such as by setting quotas for Open Access to publicly supported research publications, as has recently been proposed in Germany, they can be perceived as falling short of researcher needs that continue to be largely covered by scholarly journal subscriptions that university libraries and research institutions acquire on a regular basis. At the same time, digitization may be poised to unleash in the scientific journal publishing industry changes similar to those that illegal music download platforms have instigated in the music industry. […]

Likewise, journal publishing may be in the throes of a similar transformation, as digitization-related factors make pirated scholarly papers accessible for illegal downloading, such as through Sci-Hub, at no cost. Reachable through a series of websites providing access to direct, albeit illegal, downloading of academic papers from several repositories, Sci-Hub has been founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, Kazakhstan national who could not afford article access fees that large publishers charge, in 2011. In 2015, Elsevier, one of major international scientific journal publishers, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Sci-Hub and other article downloading platforms, such as Library Genesis, in New York, while demanding 15 million USD in damages. Though a New York court has decided this legal case in favor of Elsevier in June 2017, this publisher has been increasing its Open Access portfolio holdings in recent years, which can indicate a change in its business model.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Open Access Affects Business Models of Large Publishers as Elsevier Acquires a Digital Commons Platform

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-10
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-affects-business-models-of-large-publishers-as-elsevier-acquires-a-digital-commons-platform/

As resistance to subscription deals grows, Elsevier takes over Bepress providing Open Access storage to faculty- and student-generated materials.


Excerpt

The recent acquisition by Elsevier of Bepress announced in early August 2017 can signify a growing accommodation by large publishers, such as Springer/Nature, Wiley, SAGE and Taylor & Francis, of Open Access as a publication model. At the same time, while this move can signify a growing corporate presence in Open Access as a university- and library-oriented solution, it is worth noting that Bepress has facilitated the outsourcing of content digitization by academic institutions, such as research result, data set, electronic journal, open textbook and archival material storage. In this respect, Bepress combines the features of institutional repositories with those of book and journal publishers, as it has an extensive list of both peer-reviewed and non-reviewed, student and narrowly focused journals in Open Access and behind pay-walls.

Thus, as a hybrid-model platform, Bepress has already developed fee-based services and offerings that capitalize on Open Access content that it hosts, which indicates that prior to its acquisition it already sported a sustainable business model. For Elsevier that continues to face multiplying demands that it accommodate Open Access as part of large-scale subscription deals it closes with universities and libraries, such as in Germany, broadening the scope of its operations to include this institutional repository makes business sense. Moreover, this take-over also indicates a wider-ranging change in Elsevier’s strategy after it has acquired SSRN, Social Science Research Network representing one of the world’s largest repositories for conference papers, pre-prints and unpublished research in both Open Access and fee-based formats especially in the fields of economics and law, in May 2016. Consequently, through these take-overs Elsevier has become one of the major global players in the field of Open Access journal publishing and institutional repositories.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Journals Transitioning to Open Access May Have Limited Sustainability Absent Revenue Streams

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-06
URL: http://openscience.com/journals-transitioning-to-open-access-may-have-limited-sustainability-absent-revenue-streams/

Reliance on foundation or contingency funding does not substitute for viable revenue models that journals switching to Open Access may need to maintain quality.


Excerpt

As the editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics have announced the termination of their contracts to Springer, the publisher behind the journal, in June 2017, it has been a move coordinated with the journal’s editorial board, to establish a rival Open Access journal Algebraic Combinatorics. The declared impetus for this transition to Open Access has been the importance of fairly priced Open Access options for the scientific community, in accordance with which the prospective journal plans to refrain from high Article Processing Charges (APCs) and profit-driven practices of the fee-based journal publisher, especially given that academic journals rely significantly on the volunteer labor of the scientific community.

This transition to Open Access has been inspired by the successful flipping of several linguistics journals from subscription-based to Open Access models, as part of the LingOA project. A similar initiative has been launched in the field of mathematics, e.g., Mathematics in Open Access (MathOA), that seeks to facilitate the transition of mathematics-related journals to Open Access. This is illustrated by the recent developments at the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics the editorial staff of which has opted for Open Access as Springer has proved not as forthcoming as concerns the integration of Open Access into its business models as the editorial staff of the journal had expected, such as according to the principles of the Fair Open Access Alliance.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Open Access Leads to the Reorganization of Traditional Publishing Rather than its Decline

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-04
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-leads-to-the-reorganization-of-traditional-publishing-rather-than-its-decline/


Excerpt

[…] as recent developments in the field of Open Access textbooks demonstrate, such as the Canadian BC Open Textbook Project, open access solutions have demonstrated the ability to maintain a quality control of their offerings, while turning them into viable contenders in the publishing market. In Canada, provincial governments have made significant investments into the development of high-quality peer-reviewed online content in the Open Access format for the education sector. The British Columbia’s Open Access initiative has been emulated by the Open Textbook Library for Ontario project aimed at the creation of professionally composed textbooks in numerous academic areas, while attracting multi-million provincial-level investments. In other words, rather than decreasing the inflow of financial resources into the educational publishing market, these Open Access initiatives have acted as catalysts for further support for their business models, as developing these initiatives obviate the necessity of end-users and academic institutions to pay copyright-related fees for their educational materials in perpetuity.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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