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

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

Google Scholar Citations

Google has opened up its newest thing aimed mostly to the researchers: Google Scholar Citations ( It is a tool which is used to tie your publications to your profile. Google has already identified which publications are yours but you can quickly confirm which actually are yours and you can find publications which Google has not identified as yours to add them to your list. After you have identified which publications are yours citations data is collected and shown in a graph and some other citation measurements are calculated.* The number of citations are updated automatically each time a new citation to your article is found.

If you choose to make your profile open for everyone it will be shown in Google Scholar when someone searches for your name. This can be used by your colleagues around the world to follow your work and vise versa. Here you can take a look at how it looks and first impressions about the tool. As Jonas writes in Chalmers blog it will probably not take long until this will become interesting for different raking lists (in Swedish). That’s why it is important that you as a researcher at the University of Borås create your public profile and write “University of Borås” as affiliation. Will you be the first researcher at the University of Borås to create your own profile?

It is easy to get started with Google Scholar Citations. There are only three quick steps: 1) fill in your information, 2) verify which publications are yours and 3) update your information. Click here to get started. You need a google-account to use this tool which you can get here. In this tool you can easily choose the publications that are yours and search for those Google Scholar might have missed. The benefit of this tool compared to others like Web od Science or Scopus is that Google Scholar covers much more. WoS covers about 10 000 journals, some conference proceedings and, since a couple of months back, about 30 000 books. Scopus has about 20 000 journals, a handful of conference proceedings and almost no books. The drawback with Google Scholar is that we are not quite sure which resources are included. Another benefit on the other hand is that you can easily correct your own information and you receive a fixed link which can be used in different places, like your CV.

Read a longer blog post about Google Scholar Citations.

(*Google Scholar Citations uses measurements such as general number of citations, h-index and i10-index. h-index tries to measure both productivity and impact of the published works of a researcher. The index is based on the researcher’s most cited work and number of citations they have received in other publications. It can also be used to measure productivity of an entire institution. i10 is a number that shows the number of publications with at least 10 citations.)

By: Pieta Eklund, pieta.eklund(at)

Publish Open Access

Open Access publishing means that a researcher chooses to publish his/her article in an Open Access journal. These journals are available free of charge for everyone with an internet connection for reading, downloading and citing. Research results are available to everyone not just those who can afford to pay for subscriptions. With Open Access your article will be more visible and receive more citations which give it more impact.

To publish Open Access does not affect quality since the articles go through the same peer review process as articles in traditional scientific journals. One main difference is that the author retains Copyright; it is not transferred to the publisher.

Open Access journals were started as an alternative to the traditional journals. Costs for publishing are usually financed by article processing charge (APC), membership, support from research institutions and, to some extent, advertising. APC varies and can be between $US 1 000 to $US 3 000. It is possible to apply for means to cover the APC or you can include APC cost in your research grant application.

You can find Open Access journals via DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). Thousands of journals are listed there. Be observant and examine the publishers since there are some unreliable publishers. These publishers seem to be Open Access but in reality they sell expensive subscriptions to libraries or contact the researcher directly to get hold of the APC-money. You can read (in Swedish) about the unreliable publishers in the latest issue (15/11) of Universitetsläraren. In the article, Caroline Sutton, presents different criteria to help you  recognize a serious OA publisher and a serious OA journal. Caroline Sutton is the chairman of OASPA, an international branch organization for OA-publishers. She means that at least the following information must be visible from the publisher’s or journal’s web site:

  1. Clear information about the ownership, who is the owner, and in which country and in which country the organization is located.
  2. Well documented peer review process (most important point)
  3. Full names and name of home university of those in the editorial board.
  4. Licensing conditions need to be clear and visible next to the article so that the reader can directly see what can be done with the article when found online
  5. There should be a contact person whom can be contacted for possible complains and questions. (Universitetsläraren, 2011, 15/11)

A few other points to take into consideration are: is the invitation to write an article well written, which other authors have published in the journal and how well-spread are other articles and books from the publisher.

Both Lund University and Blekinge Institute of technology have informative web pages on gray zone Open Access publishers. If you have been contacted by a publisher you do not know or are uncertain of, do not hesitate to contact Library and learning resources.

Self-archiving is also a way to publish Open Access. This means that you make your peer reviewed article available online free of charge by using BADA. Self-archiving is also a way to meet research funders’ demands on Open Access. There are studies that say that self-archiving increases an article’s citations frequency. It is also good to know that 90 % of publishers allow, without any additional permission, for authors to self-archive in the repository of their home institution. It is the author’s last version that may be submitted to the repository, not the publisher’s version. There might be an embargo period which means that the article may be self-archived after a certain time period but all that is taken care of by BADA. If you want to read publishers’ policies visit Sherpa/Romeo.

Open Access Week 24-28/10

It is time for Open Access week again. Last year we had an exhibition about what journals really cost for libraries. It was shown that the four most expensive journals cost us more than 1 500 SEK/number. We also explained a number of important concepts in connection with Open Access. You can find them here.

Open Access week is a global annual event, which is held for the fourth time. The main purpose of the week is to raise awareness in the academic community and among others about the benefits of Open Access in scientific communication. In short, Open Access can be defined as online access to research literature, free of charge and free of copyright and other licensing limitations. Open Access has the potential to change how research is done and spread. With Open Access research is spread quicker and some studies even indicate that when research is freely available it receives more citations, which in turn indicates that the research has reached more people. In time this might mean that there are more researchers that can build on your research and vice versa. You might realize that there is no need to conduct a particular study and this allows you to concentrate on something that is more interesting to you. There are even more benefits to Open Access and during the coming week we will publish more about Open Access in this blog. Before that you can visit the official site of Open Access week.