Model(s) of the future? Overlay journals as an overlooked and emerging trend in scholarly communication | The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science

Abstract: Overlay journals, a potentially overlooked model of scholarly communication, have seen a resurgence due to the increasing number of preprint repositories and preprints on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related topics. Overlay journals at various stages of maturity were examined for unique characteristics, including whether the authors submitted their article to the journal, whether the peer reviews of the article were published by the overlay journal, and whether the overlay journals took advantage of opportunities for increased discovery. As librarians and researchers seek new, futuristic models for publishing, overlay journals are emerging as an important contribution to scholarly communication.


The Gaping Problem At The Heart Of Scientific Research – CodeBlue

“But the very need for these groups to call for research to be made available in the middle of a global emergency demonstrates the failure of the current publishing system.

Making research immediately free to read, which, when combined with the use of an open publishing licence, is known as ‘open access’ — is a hot topic in science. Global health bodies know how important open research is, especially in times of emergency, which is why they have repeatedly called for research to be made open. 

The latest plaintive request came in August 2022 from the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for mpox research to be made open. Previous global calls were in 2016 for Zika and in 2018 for Ebola. 

The consequences of lack of access to research can be dire. In 2015 a group of African researchers claimed that an earlier Ebola outbreak could have been prevented if research on it had been published openly.

The past 12 months have seen a flurry of changes in open access globally and from January 2023, the high profile journal Science will allow published research to be immediately placed in publicly-accessible repositories at no cost to scientists.

In August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum to all US research funding agencies that by January 1, 2026, they must make all the research they fund immediately publicly available, along with the data behind that research….

As 2023 unfolds, it seems that the benefits of open access have been proved beyond doubt. The next emergency in front of us, climate change, is much more complex, and there too are calls for open access.

Serious investment in a variety of approaches is essential to ensure a diverse, equitable, open access future.”

OASPA Open Access License Types

“The charts show numbers of articles published in fully OA journals (left), and OA articles in hybrid journals (right), color-coded by license type. The most permissive licenses are at the bottom (CC BY), through to least permissive at the top, except for the tiny amount of CC0.

The volume of publications from OASPA continues to grow. Just under 4M articles were published by members in the period 2000-2021.
Just under 1M of the cumulative total were published in 2021, representing a growth of around 46% over the previous year and around one quarter of total recorded output.
The total number of articles reported by members has more than doubled since 2018, and grown around 20x over the last decade.
Publications in fully OA journals continue to dominate output, at around 4x that in hybrid.
CC BY licenses (Creative Commons attribution only) dominate. They account for almost three quarters of members’ total output, and for 81% of their output in fully OA journals….”

How was the transition to open access advanced in 2022? | Research Information

“Undoubtedly, 2022 has been a year of growth for open access (OA). Funder policies and deadlines have come into play and, as a result of the pandemic, the impact and benefits of open research and open access are now better understood by people beyond academia. 

Overall, two themes featured strongly – the need for OA take up to become more global and the importance for authors to remain able to publish in their journal of choice. Taken together these themes were instrumental to enabling OA growth in 2022….

And when we look at the policy developments that have taken place this year with a number of countries reviewing their approach to OA and considering policy recommendations to speed up the transition, this move beyond Europe is likely to continue:

US- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)) has updated the US policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost

Australia – Australian funding agency, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has introduced the requirement that scholarly publications arising from the research it funds be made freely available and accessible

India – the Ministry of Education has announced the deadline for the launch of the “One Nation, One Subscription” (ONOS) policy for scientific research papers and academic journals from April 2023 to ensure countrywide access for researchers and the broader public.


Come 2023, we are likely to see even greater take up by authors of OA. Moreover publishers, such as Springer Nature, continue to be ready to work with funders and others to ensure that these policies drive the OA transition in a sustainable way while ensuring the needs of the researchers continue to be met. For a long time we have had the ‘supply’ (the ability to publish OA), what we have been waiting for is the ‘demand’ (authors wanting to publish OA)….”

The Twitter accounts of scientific journals: a dataset

Abstract:  Twitter harbours dense networks of academics, but to what extent do scientific journals use that platform? This article introduces a dataset of 3,485 Twitter accounts pertaining to a sample of 13,821 journals listed in Web of Science’s three major indices (SCIE, SSCI and AHCI). The summary statistics indicate that 25.2% of the journals have a dedicated Twitter presence. This number is likely to grow, as, on average, every one and a half days sees yet another journal setting up a new profile. The share of Twitter presence, however, varies strongly by publisher and discipline. The most active discipline is political science, which has almost 75% of its journals on Twitter, while other research categories have zero. The median account issues 116 messages a year and it interacts with distinct other users once in two to three Tweets. Approximately 600 journals refer to themselves as ‘peer-reviewed’, while 263 journals refer to their citation-based impact (like the impact factor) in their profile description. All in all, the data convey immense heterogeneity with respect to the Twitter behaviour of scientific journals. As there are numerous deceptive Twitter profile names established by predatory publishers, it is recommended that journals establish their official accounts lest bogus journals mislead the public about scientific findings. The dataset is available for use for further scientometric analyses.

When research data is shared freely

“In Norway, the proportion of research being published openly has increased considerably in the past ten years. While less than 40% of Norwegian research articles were published openly in 2013, in 2021 that proportion had increased to around 75%, according to the OA barometer from the service provider, Sikt.

Sharing data is not quite as common….

Wenaas and Gulbrandsen also believe that data sharing is a question of culture. It is new to many, for others it may have been the practice for a long time….”


SDG 13-Climate Action & Open Science: Accelerating Practices

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and open science are symbiotic processes. No SDG reveals this connection more strongly than SDG 13-Climate Action. This perspective uses the SDGs as a lens to explore open science practices and prospects. It illustrates, through the concept of Net-Zero, how open science has been an accelerator of SDG 13-Climate Action. It also shows how open science can be further advanced in the context of SDG 13, discussing related SDGs such as Goal 9-Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Goal 16-Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; and Goal 17-Partnerships for the Goals. In these ways, this perspective describes opportunities for open science and SDG-Climate Action to support and accelerate one another.”

Discover DOCI, the index of open citations from DataCite – OpenCitations blog

“We’re excited to introduce DOCI, the OpenCitations Index of Datacite open DOI-to-DOI citations, a new tool containing citations derived from publications bearing DataCite DOIs to other DOI-identified publications, harvested from DataCite. The citations available in DOCI are treated as first-class data entities, with accompanying properties including the citations timespan, modelled according to the OpenCitations Data Model. 

Currently, DOCI’s December 2022 release contains 169,822,752 citations from 1,753,860  bibliographic resources, and is based on the last dump of DataCite dated 22 October 2021 provided by the Internet Archive. …”

1 Million Strong! – Open Knowledge Maps

“Calling one, calling all, calling… one million? Yes, you read that right, – over 1 million knowledge maps have been created on the Open Knowledge Maps website!

Of course, we rather proudly share this achievement with our immensely multifaceted and curious users. We are grateful and send a big thank you to all the researchers, students, librarians, educators, practitioners, and purely inquisitive people. With the help of this ever-growing community, OKMaps has reached yet another extraordinary milestone in our mission of empowering the world with knowledge one map at a time!

Fun fact: the users of OKMaps hail from nearly every corner of the world. This year alone, we have welcomed visitors from 213 countries and territories. Our busiest hour is between 2pm and 3pm UTC, where users from all over join us in their quest for scientific knowledge. These diverse knowledge-seekers search for myriad terms across all disciplines, creating new maps along the way….”

How to move open science from the periphery to the centre

“There have been a number of projects, primarily with a bottom-up approach, designed to promote the importance of open science among the academic sector and to increase public understanding of open science.

The Association of Vietnam’s Universities and Colleges (AVUC) was one of the first organisations to actively promote open science and open education. Over the past 10 years, a team of open science and education experts at AVUC led by Le Trung Nghia has held over 100 training workshops and seminars to teach junior faculty members and librarians about the global movement toward open science and education and how to take advantage of it. At the moment, AVUC is in charge of a website that focuses on sharing and promoting open science and open education to the wider community. Another high-profile initiative is a research group at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research at Phenikaa University in Hanoi, which has launched an open database on Vietnam’s social scientists for public use….”

Scholastica at 10: Betting on democratization over consolidation in scholarly publishing

“It’s 2022, and Scholastica is turning 10 years old this year! …

We started with our flagship peer review product and, in those early days, began working with smaller social science, humanities, and law journals. We knew we wanted to support the growing Open Access movement, so we introduced Open Access journal hosting software in 2015. More recently, we added our machine-learning-augmented article production service to make it possible for journals of any size to publish content in machine-readable HTML and XML in addition to PDF. All together, the three products now amount to an end-to-end solution for journals, from peer review to article production to publication/hosting.

Since 2012, we’ve grown on many fronts:

1,100 journals now use Scholastica’s peer review software, together receiving hundreds of thousands of submissions each year
200 Open Access journals have published 25,000 articles on Scholastica’s OA hosting platform
50 journals use Scholastica’s article production service to generate XML, PDF, and HTML versions of their articles
Our team has grown from the three co-founders to 16 full time and 4 part time employees, all based in the US. It’s amazing to look at those early hires and see them still with the company: George, Danielle, Anna, Raquel, Tatum. More members of our team are now approaching their 5-year anniversaries, and it’s heartwarming to see their professional growth over time….”

MDPI Journals: 2015 -2021 | Dan Brockington

“In this blog I report on growth of MDPI journals and papers from 2015-2021. It updates previous blogs on the same topic (the most recent is here) that looked at growth up to 2020….

By every measure MDPI’s growth continues to be remarkable. The rate of revenue increase has slowed in the last two years, to just over 50%, but even that remains extraordinary.  Note that the proportion of submissions that are published has increased, from around 44% two years ago to over 55% currently (Table 1; Figure 1)….

The growth in publications is partly sustained by lower rejection rates. The journals with the lowest rejection rates used to count for only a minority of publications and fees (Tables 2-4). Now figures for 2021 show that journals with low rejection rates are producing a higher proportion of MDPI publications….

MDPI itself has been aware of the dangers of being too inclusive. In its 2015 annual report it noted that the overall rejection rate had increased since last year (from 52 to 54%). This achievement was listed in one of the key performance indicators as a sign of progress….

Because acceptance and rejection data are no longer available on the MDPI website, we will not know what is happening to rejection rates. We cannot know, at the level of each journal, how inclusive they are, or are becoming. This points to a wider need for all publishing houses to be more transparent with the data of their journals to allow researchers to make informed choices about their journals. MDPI’s transparency had been welcome. It is now, unfortunately, following the standards set by the other publishing houses….”

MIT Press Direct to Open books downloaded more than 176,312 times in ten months

In 2021, the MIT Press launched Direct to Open (D2O), a bold, innovative model for open access (OA) to scholarship and knowledge. To date, about 50 of the 80 scholarly monographs and edited collections in the Direct to Open model in 2022 have been published and these works have been downloaded over 176,000 times. 

Expanding your institutional repository: Librarians working with faculty – ScienceDirect

“Since a successful institutional repository will contain a higher percentage of the contributors’ materials, we implemented a system to upload faculty publications more effectively to our academic library’s institutional repository. This article acts as an explanation of that system, in the hopes that other scholars or libraries can implement similar systems to increase the popularity of their own institutional repositories. Our method enables a maximum level of materials inputted with minimal required effort from faculty or scholars. We utilize student workers and the resources of the institutional repository manager to get materials uploaded. The success of this method is indicated by the increase in articles that have been uploaded to our institutional repository; as a result of the implementation of this program, the number of publications in our university’s institutional repository by these authors has increased 174 %.