Peerage of Science

A couple of weeks ago BioMed Central wrote in one of their blogs that they are now accepting manuscripts which have gone through a peer review by Peerage of Science community. I think this is very interesting because this initiative makes the research world and peer review process more open and transparent compared to the traditional peer review process. This means also that journals do not have to put as much of their energy into finding reviewers which might lead to faster publishing process.

Peerage of Science was started about a year ago Peerage-of-Science1
by a couple of Finnish researcher. With this initiative the review process in itself becomes more important. You are able to build your research career and reputation by giving high quality reviews. You have the possibility to review rather than weed out all requests to review from journals. The idea with the service is simple: create a group of peers who all have signed up for making the review process more transparent.

As a researcher you may send a manuscript to Peerage of Science without being a member but you may become a member. There are two ways for this: either you already have a track record of published articles or your manuscript receives favorable reviews.

Read also BMC series blog on how Peerage of Science works.

Text: Pieta Eklund

Short news about research and publishing

A lot of things has happened in research and publishing world. Here is a short summary of some of them.

All research funders are facing the same challenges such as assessing the quality and potential of research applications they receive. This is one of the reasons why a meeting on the subject was organized. During the Global Summit on Merit Review leaders for research financers from more than 50 countries met to discuss how evaluation according to peer review should be done. They were able to agree on six principles and take the first steps toward a global understanding on assessment of research applications. These principles are on expert assessment, transparency, impartiality, appropriateness, confidentiality and integrity and ethical considerations. Next meeting will be held in Berlin 2013 and the topics then will be open access and research ethics. Read the principles they agreed upon: Statement of Principles for Scientific Merit Review.

In the begining of april representatives from different parts of the university and research world met for a workshop organized by Luleå University of Technology and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond to discuss how to manage research data. They agreed that national policy and guidelines are needed for all universities and other concerned parties. They also agreed on that an infrastructure should be developed for research data. Universities are responsible to archive research data but an accepted model and system for archiving this material is missing. A report was published from the workshop (in Swedish).

Representatives from the University visited Brussels during the spring to learn more about EU Horizon 20/20, an EU project for research and innovation and how the university could receive a part of the €80 billion budget. What is good news is that they support open access (either green or gold) and see it as the standard way of publishing. Neelie Kroes, vice president for EU commission responsible for digital agenda has said in connection to Horizon 20/20: ”First, when research is funded by the EU, we will require open access to the results. Whether by ”green” or ”gold” routes.” Read Neelie Kroes speach here.

At the same time as there is lobbying process going on to lobby White house to work for open access, especially for the research paid by taxpayers a federal court has ruled against the publishers and given Georgia State University right in all but five accounts. The teachers at the University had distributed material under copyright protection electronically to their students. The university means that this case “highlights the importance of fair use in providing academic faculty a cost-effective, legal way to spread important knowledge to their students.” So the use of copyright law varies a lot and the publishers are now saying they “hope that this decision will start us down a path where librarians, teachers, and publishers can work together to chart a course through this evolving landscape.” Chronicle of Higer Education has written about the court’s decision.

Text: Pieta Eklund

Bibliometrics at the Crossroads – seminar in Gothenburg

Bibliometrics is in focus for many universities at the moment and has been for a while. This is partly due to the report about performance based resource allocation for universities by Anders Flodström and partly because scientific publishing with peer-reviewed articles is going though changes. All communication is changing and getting faster, so also scientific communication. The changes occur for instance in the way new scientific results are spread though blogs, institutional repositories, open access journals and open access monographs. How can we then measure the scientific performance?

The Swedish School of Library and Information Science and Chalmers Library arrange a half-day seminar on bibliometrics and scientific publishing on May 23rd in Gothenburg. Professor Blaise Cronin from the School of Library and Information Science, Indiana University, USA will be talking about the changing conditions of scientific communication and Gustaf Nelhans from the University of Gothenburg and the University of Borås will talk about impact and indicators in the humanities and social sciences. The seminar will end with a panel discussion where the two previously named men will be accompanied by Ulf Cronman, the coordinator for openaccess.se, Tore Lund, biblometrician at Chalmers and Mats Viberg, first vice president at Chalmers University of Technology.

The seminar is open for all staff and students at the University of Borås but you have to RSVP by 11 May to stina.johansson@chalmers.se

Read more about the programme for Bibliometrics at the Crossroads.

Visualize research

Have you ever thought that it would be interesting to see which patterns exists within the scientific publishing? Maybe you need to find both historic and new trends within your research area for your student thesis or your research article? Or maybe you just want to localize the experts within your area of interest?

Then you could use Springer’s AuthorMapper (Maybe we should not be promoting Springer anymore than we do Elsevier but Springer at least is not working against open access and researcher’’s rights the same way as Elsevier is doing.) Anyway, back to AuthorMapper. You could start by doing a search or maybe you just want to browse among the subjects. Just remember that this service only covers Springer Journals and Springer Books, which means that the results do not probably cover everything but they may give you an indication of how research looks within your specific area.

In this picture below a search for University of Boråås has been done. The results show which researchers have been collaborating, which articles have been written, you can even see bibliographic data for the articles. You cannot access the articles directly if you are not somewhere in the University’’s buildings and the library also has to have a subscription to the journal. You can also see in which journals most articles within a field are published, which researchers have written the most etc.

For your sake and for the University’’s sake it is very important to use the name University of Boråås and the official name of your department when writing your address information when publishing articles and not any other names. If we search for University of Boråås in AuthorMapping we would get a different result than if we searched for University College of Boråås. Try searching in AuthorMapping with the different university names and compare the results. You will notice that results differ. This is a good example of how difficult it can be to find all research from a department. It also shows the importance of using uniform names.

In addition to searching institutions you can also search author name, subject, journal name, country, publisher (within Springer’’s umbrella) and you may limit your search by year and to only include articles from open access journals. If you start writing a keyword like bio soon words where bio is a part of will be loaded, e.g. biomedicine, biochemistry or evolutionary biology. You can choose between them and add more keywords if you want.

In this picture (statistik.jpg) a search with keyword biomedicine was done. You can see on the left of the picture which institution has produced most scientific publications where the term biomedicine is present. You can also see which researcher has written most and which journal is the main journal within the area. This type of data may help you to form an opinion about your research area and which important actors there are on the field. This is easy, basic and valuable bibliometrics!

Text: Pieta Eklund

Recent news in the publishing world

There is a lot happening at the moment in the world of publishing, both internationally and nationally.

Elsevier is a big publishing house with over 2 000 academic journals and at the moment there are over 4 400 (2012-02-08) researchers all over the world protesting and boycotting Elsevier. According to the researchers there are three main reasons for the boycott: 1) journal prices are unreasonably high  2) Elsevier exploits libraries because due to the high journal prices the libraries agree to buy big bundles which all include journals that libraries do not actually want and Elsevier makes a huge profit and exploits their most valuable journals and 3) They support bills like SOPA, PIPA and the Research Works Act (RWA) which all aims to restrict the free exchange of information. You can protest on this page. Here you can read an interesting blog post about the RWA where both publisher’s and researcher’s perspective is taken into account. What is interesting here is that researchers are protesting against Elsevier when most of the big global publishers are acting the exact same way. It is not completely true that Elsevier makes libraries to buy these big bundles to get access to specific journals and they are not the only publishers supporting SOPA, PIPA or RWA. Elsevier is a big and visible part of the publishing world and maybe that is the reason they are the target for the boycott?

COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) is an organisation which works for co-operation between institutional archives and for open access and they think that open access has a big impact on academic publishing. They have written an open letter to Elsevier in which they criticize Elsevier’s business model which complicates open access publishing. They share the opinion of many that Elsevier is actively working against the researcher’s right to parallel publish and therefore are acting as an obstacle to slow down the open access movement. Elsevier demands that those institutions which have an open access mandate must sign a special agreement for the researcher to be able to deposit their post-print work (the accepted version or the article before it goes to print) in their institutional archive.

Most people have probably heard about SOPA and PIPA but there are probably not so many who have heard about the Research Works Act (RWA). It is a bill presented in the House of Representatives in December 2011. The purpose of the bill is to forbid government agencies to demand open access for the research that they finance. RWA aims to forbid the government agencies to do anything that might result in making published research available, although the government agencies finance the research with taxpayer money, unless the publisher agrees to making it openly accessible.

Nationally there is some positive news, especially for people living in Stockholm. Stockolm city who owns the rights to Alva and Gunnar Myrdal’s* literary remains have digitized some of the books and they have decided to make them available as e-books at the Stockholm city library. Later on they will even be print-on-demand. At the moment it is 15 titles that have been digitized and more might come. When the technical solution is done these books will even be available to everyone is Sweden via Libris.

*Alva Myrdal was a Swedish sociologist and politician. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, sociologist and politician. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974.

Text: Pieta Eklund

Plan Your Publishing

Already when you send in your grant proposal you should start planning for publishing, e.g. by including in the budget an amount to cover the possible APC for publishing in Open Access journals. There are several aspects to consider when choosing a journal to send a manuscript to. You have to consider the probability of your manuscript getting accepted, which impact the article might have and also the journal’s credibility, reputation and visibility. There are also philosophical and ethical aspects to consider, such as does the author have to transfer his/her rights to the publisher, does the publisher treat authors equal and what are the costs for libraries. In addition to these considerations there are other aspects such as the peer review process and possible delays in the publishing process, which can be months. This is why the selection of publishing channel is critical for success in publishing.

In an article by Knight and Steinbach*  the authors try to create a model for choosing a journal to publish in. They have identified five areas to consider when planning for publishing: 1) probability for the manuscript to be accepted, 2) journal reputation, 3) article visibility and possible impact, and 4) probability for getting the article published in the right time and 5) philosophical and ethical aspects such as free access.

Open Access journals have matured so you do not have to sacrifice the benefits of the traditional journals if you choose an Open Access journal. Many of the Open Access journals have developed impact factor, citing frequency and reputation comparable to similar traditional journals. They have a well organized peer review process, in some cases even tougher process than the traditional journals. Open Access journals have the benefits of the knowledge spreading quicker to all interested parties not just those who can afford to subscribe to the journal. Read the article to get more tips on how to choose a journal to publish in.

If you have to equivalent journals to choose from take into consideration the publishers attitude towards Open Access in general and self-archiving in particular. You should always choose journals which allow self-archiving or are Open Access. When your manuscript has been accepted you should sign a publications agreement. Make sure that you keep the right to self-archive in BADA but also that you have the right to use the article in e.g. a future compilation dissertation and in future teaching. If you have written a book or a book chapter you can ask your publisher about self-archiving possibilities a year or two after publication. Use the author addendum if the publishers’ agreement is not satisfactory.

Use DOAJ to find suitable Open Access journals.

You can even use Journal Citation Report (JCR) to check how the different scientific journals are rated. JCR is a part of Thomson Reuters Web of Science and it is a tool to compare and evaluate scientific journals among plethora of subject areas. There is citation data from over 8 000 journals and over 3 000 publishers in JCR. Contact Library & learning resources for help to use the database. Thomson Reuters has earlier in October released its book citation index for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Now it is possible to search among 25 000 books but before the year is out they aim to cover 30 000 central books published 2005 and after within these three subject areas. Their on-going goal will be to add 10 000 books a year.

*Knight, L.V. & Stenbach, T.A. (2008). Selecting an appropriate publication outlet: a comprehensive model for journal selection criteria for researchers in a broad range of academic disciplines. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, vol 3, ss. 59-79.