Tag Archives: Science

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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Open Science Continues to Evolve as Preprint Repositories for Specialized Fields of Scientific Inquiry Multiply

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-25
URL: http://openscience.com/open-science-continues-to-evolve-as-preprint-repositories-for-specialized-fields-of-scientific-inquiry-multiply/

As Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr) is inaugurated, open peer feedback to, rapid research output sharing of and digital object identifiers (DOIs) for pre-prints indicate a growing acceptance for Open Access in science.


Excerpt

On September 24, 2017, American Geophysical Union and Atypon have announced the launch of their ESSOAr initiative for the Open Access dissemination of earth and space science findings on a community-maintained preprint and conference presentation server. Similar to scholarly journals, this initiative will sport scientific community involvement, an international advisory board, and associations with scientific societies in the fields of earth and space sciences. Furthermore, this initiative receives its initial support from Wiley, one the world’s largest journal publishers. As a partner to this project, Atypon that provides hosted software-as-a-service publishing solutions to academic presses, societies and journals, such as Oxford University Press, will be developing this Open Access initiative on the basis of Literatum, its e-publishing platform for the monetization of online content usually geared to enterprise solutions and commercialization needs. Among the notable clients of Atypon are ElsevierSAGE Publications and Taylor & Francis Group.

Additionally, as an Open Access publishing initiative slated to start its full operation in 2018, ESSOAr expands the definition of a scientific manuscript by allowing for the archiving of elaborate conference presentations, posters and multimedia materials. This development corroborates the point that Sönke Bartling and Sascha Friesike make in their introduction to OpeningScience book published by SpringerOpen in 2014. In their book chapter entitled “Towards Another Scientific Revolution,” Bartling and Friesike, possibly bombastically, claim that the adoption of the principles of Open Access by the scientific community is likely to amount to a revolution in the manner in which contemporary science operates. Namely, these authors credit publication in Open Access, which they term as Open Science, as a likely trigger for a far-reaching change in the manner in which scientific knowledge is disseminated. Among the harbingers of this transformation that Bartling and Friesike mention is ResearchGate, an online community for scholars, scientists and researchers, where publications, ideas and data can be discussed and researched.

By Pablo Markin


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

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The Journal Publishing Market Between Supply- and Demand-Side Models: The Case of Open Access in Germany

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-25
URL: http://openscience.com/the-journal-publishing-market-between-supply-and-demand-side-models-the-case-of-open-access-in-germany/

Without significant support for Open Access journals, large-scale transitions to Open Access may be slow to come, as the German case indicates.


Excerpt

In their recent news item for the Science Magazine, Gretchen Vogel and Kai Kupferschmidt have expressed their expectation that a concerted negotiation front that German university libraries and research institutions present to large publishers, such as Elsevier, Wiley, and SpringerNature, may produce a nation-wide, disruptive switch to Open Access with possible momentous consequences globally. Contracts with these publishers may include provisions for both publishing in the journals they manage and accessing the collections they make available, which refers to the supply and demand sides of the academic articles market. This is part of the reason for which the possible transition to Open Access takes place at a slower pace than it can be expected, since different market forces are at play as far as producers and consumers of scientific knowledge in the form of articles are concerned.

While multiple reports on the per-article revenues of large publishers exist, such as that of Schimmer, Geschuhn and Vogler (2015) evocatively entitled “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access”, it is important to keep in mind that publishers are also likely to bear significant costs to sustain their business models and that dividing industry-wide revenues by article output for subscription-based journals produces estimates before the costs of not only producing new articles, but also ensuring their accessibility and delivering distribution solutions are taken into account. This creates the supply and demand sides to the publishing market in which publishers, their institutional clients, funding bodies and governments are involved. In the subscription model, universities and institutes effectively stimulate the supply of academic articles, while facilitating the transfer of copy rights and intellectual property to publishers that put results of scientific research behind paywalls. Especially German universities with stagnant budgets and rising costs are likely to be interested in capping their constantly growing subscription fees by opting out of subscription agreements and choosing Open Access as a default option.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Media Question the Practices of Large Journal Publishers and their Effect on Science

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-10
URL: http://openscience.com/media-question-the-practices-of-large-journal-publishers-and-their-effect-on-science/


On June 27, 2017, The Guardian has published a long-read piece by Stephen Buranyi on the reported nefarious effects of the traditional publishing models on science by scrutinizing the business practices of Elsevier as a large journal exemplary of both the profitability of academic publishing and its attendant antinomies, such as the unpaid work of editors and reviewers that supports its fee-based model. Furthermore, Buranyi traces the historical development of the modern-day academic journal publishing business that has not only registered a steady rate of growth over the course of the twentieth century, but also monopolized the communication of scientific research results. […]

 

In this respect, despite the emergence of Open Access as a rival publishing model and its support by scientific and non-profit foundations, such as the Austrian Science Fund, Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, scientific articles published in Open Access represent approximately 25% of all scholarly articles published. The implications of this are that large publishers are likely to be unwilling to change their highly profitable business practices, especially given their not infrequent further incorporation into financial holdings that are likely to favor the retention of existing business models as against the incorporation of Open Access models associated with lower profitability levels but higher long-term sustainability for the scientific community, e.g., the 37% profit margin of Elsevier in 2016.

By Pablo Markin


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