Attitudes, behaviours and experiences of authors of COVID-19 preprints

Abstract:  The COVID-19 pandemic caused a rise in preprinting, apparently triggered by the need for open and rapid dissemination of research outputs. We surveyed authors of COVID-19 preprints to learn about their experience of preprinting as well as publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. A key aim was to consider preprints in terms of their effectiveness for authors to receive feedback on their work. We also aimed to compare the impact of feedback on preprints with the impact of comments of editors and reviewers on papers submitted to journals. We observed a high rate of new adopters of preprinting who reported positive intentions regarding preprinting their future work. This allows us to posit that the boost in preprinting may have a structural effect that will last after the pandemic. We also saw a high rate of feedback on preprints but mainly through “closed” channels – directly to the authors. This means that preprinting was a useful way to receive feedback on research, but the value of feedback could be increased further by facilitating and promoting “open” channels for preprint feedback. At the same time, almost a quarter of the preprints that received feedback received comments resembling journal peer review. This shows the potential of preprint feedback to provide valuable detailed comments on research. However, journal peer review resulted in a higher rate of major changes in the papers surveyed, suggesting that the journal peer review process has significant added value compared to preprint feedback.

 

Insight into Faculty Open Access Perceptions: A Quantitative Analysis Among UAE Faculty: New Review of Academic Librarianship: Vol 0, No ja

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publishing presents university librarians, administrators, and faculty researchers with a paradox of both opportunities and challenges. For faculty researchers in particular, the decision of whether to pursue OA publication of their scholarship is driven by their perceptions of the credibility and quality of OA publishing. While there is a variety of extant literature broaching these perceptions, there are few quantitative analyses with an n greater than 100 respondents, and a notable lack of research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study mitigates this gap in scholarship regarding OA publishing, offering a quantitative analysis of a survey sample of 134 UAE faculty researchers. We find statistically significant findings regarding the relationship between one’s position on OA and length of publishing career and professorial rank. Similarly, we find that those with favourable views of OA publishing are more likely to believe that OA journals are peer reviewed, increase likelihood of being cited, allow authors to repost content, and are a more principled alternative to traditional publishers. Those who believe that their research should be freely available to all readers or that OA publishing broadens their research impact were also highly likely to hold favourable views of OA publishing. Finally, our findings suggest that support for OA publishing at the departmental and institutional level remains ambiguous, with findings yielding contradicting results on the matter. The study contributes to content regarding scholarship, library science, and university administration.

 

Factors influencing Canadian HASS researchers’ open access publishing practices: Implication for the future of scholarly communication | Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes du congrès annuel de l’ACSI

Despite increasing awareness and support for open access (OA) publishing, and the advantages of doing so, there is still a low uptake of OA in some disciplines. We surveyed 228 early and mid-career researchers from 15 public universities in Canada. The Social Exchange Theory provided a theoretical foundation that informed factors investigated in this study. Correlation and regression analyses were used to test research hypotheses, while one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed to test level of effect sizes within subjects. Findings show that altruism (r =.352, ? = .331) influenced researchers’ OA publishing practices whereas visibility and prestige do not, even though they are positively correlated. Furthermore, ANOVA results showed that researchers’ career stages have significant effect on their OA publishing practices as mid-career researchers published more in OA outlets. Therefore, building structures and policies that spur researchers’ altruism towards publishing OA should be a continuous and future approach to achieving the ideals of OA in Canada.

Lack of grants from funding agencies biggest barrier to OA publishing in the physical sciences, study finds – AIP Publishing LLC

 

Over half (53%) of physical science researchers want to publish open access (OA) but 62% say a lack of monies from funding agencies prevents them from doing so.

Which Factors Drive Open Access Publishing? A Springer Nature Case Study

Open Access (OA) facilitates access to articles. But, authors or funders often must pay the publishing costs preventing authors who do not receive financial support from participating in OA publishing and citation advantage for OA articles. OA may exacerbate existing inequalities in the publication system rather than overcome them. To investigate this, we studied 522,664 articles published by Springer Nature. Employing statistical methods, we describe the relationship between authors affiliated with countries from different income levels, their choice of publishing (OA or closed access), and the citation impact of their papers. A machine learning classification method helped us to explore the association between OA-publishing and attributes of the author, especially eligibility for APC-waivers or discounts, journal, country, and paper. The results indicate that authors eligible for the APC-waivers publish more in gold-OA-journals than other authors. In contrast, authors eligible for an APC discount have the lowest ratio of OA publications, leading to the assumption that this discount insufficiently motivates authors to publish in a gold-OA-journal. The rank of journals is a significant driver for publishing in a gold-OA-journal, whereas the OA option is mostly avoided in hybrid journals. Seniority, experience with OA publications, and the scientific field are the most decisive factors in OA-publishing.

Journal prestige is still important in how scholars judge one another

“Aside from an individual’s personal interactions with another academic, the perceived quality of the journal where a researcher publishes is the most influential factor when forming an opinion on their academic standing, with almost half (49 percent) of 9,609 respondents saying it is important and 12 percent saying it is most important.

Asked about citation metrics, 24 percent say a scholar’s h-index and other similar measures are important, and 5 percent say they are the most crucial factor….

Last month more than 350 organizations from more than 40 countries signed a new compact, building on the 2015 Leiden Manifesto, which would see research evaluated mainly on qualitative measures and the journal-based metrics abandoned. That agreement came nearly 10 years after the signing of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, which sought to phase out the use of journal-based metrics when making funding, appointment and promotion decisions, and which has now been signed by almost 20,000 individuals and 2,600 institutions worldwide….”

Guest Post – Why Transformative Agreements Should Offer Unlimited Open Access Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“According to figures from the ESAC initiative, there has been a 60% year on year increase in TAs. In 2021, 184 TAs were made worldwide compared to 114 in 2020, and the upward trend is continuing as 103 TAs have been listed in the first four months of this year. TAs, which have been gaining ground in Europe for several years, are now also appearing in the US and Canada and spreading across other countries around the world. In January next year, the first TA with the Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) consortium which represents mainly Lower-Middle-Income Countries, will come into effect….

So, the interest is clear, and so is the uptake. But are all TAs made equal and do they make good on their promises? TAs set out to ‘transition’ or ‘transform’ existing library spend on subscriptions to academic journals towards OA publication fees. I’ve taken a closer look across the industry and assessed the aspirations of various TAs and compared them to our own TA approach here at IOP Publishing (IOPP).

 

For TAs to deliver on their promise of enabling OA at scale they must deliver on the basic notion of transformation as a first principle. Looking at restricted or capped TA models, where the number of articles that can be published under the agreement is limited, we believe that the transition to full and immediate OA at scale will not be achieved….

So, whilst many approaches and models exist, we believe that the one that offers the most effective shift to a more open future at scale is a TA that offers inclusive and unlimited publishing. It provides a simple and transparent framework to accelerate the move to open access in a way that is sustainable for both libraries and publishers. Genuine transformative agreements must maximize OA publishing capability, remove payment barriers for authors, move subscription funds to publishing, and increase efficacy for library staff. We believe that author choice should remain the north star in the evolution of open access publishing models. Simplicity in a world of complexity should be admired and not avoided.”

A guide to preprinting for early-career researchers | Biology Open | The Company of Biologists

Abstract:  The use of preprints, research manuscripts shared publicly before completing the traditional peer-review process, is becoming a more common practice among life science researchers. Early-career researchers (ECRs) benefit from posting preprints as they are shareable, citable, and prove productivity. However, preprinting a manuscript involves a discussion among all co-authors, and ECRs are often not the decision-makers. Therefore, ECRs may find themselves in situations where they are interested in depositing a preprint but are unsure how to approach their co-authors or advisor about preprinting. Leveraging our own experiences as ECRs, and feedback from the research community, we have constructed a guide for ECRs who are considering preprinting to enable them to take ownership over the process and to raise awareness about preprinting options. We hope that this guide helps ECRs to initiate conversations about preprinting with co-authors and encourage them to preprint their future research.

 

Early sharing not the only driver for preprint use | Research Information

“But what is interesting, is that while early sharing came out as important for authors, it is not their only driving motivator when using and selecting such services and adopting more open research practices. Authors are looking for more integrated services and want those platforms to offer multiple features that not only enhance the sharing, development and discoverability of their work, but also enable them to track and monitor its progress:   

Transparency was the top feature for authors when selecting an integrated preprint service:

71 per cent of authors said that greater transparency of the peer review process at journals was useful. Through its integration with peer review, In Review enables authors to see specific details of peer review and track their article, providing a high level of transparency into an often ‘hidden’ process.

50 per cent of authors said that the more transparent the service was, the more they felt it was credible, as it enabled greater accountability for the journal

Integrated early sharing – authors surveyed stated that ease of use (69 per cent) and being able to share their manuscript as a preprint at the same time as submitting it to a journal (BMC/ Springer journals) (83 per cent) had an impact on where they choose to take their work. We also learnt that this type of integrated solution is attractive for researchers in LMICs and early career researchers….”

Many researchers say they’ll share data — but don’t

“Most biomedical and health researchers who declare their willingness to share the data behind journal articles do not respond to access requests or hand over the data when asked, a study reports1. …

But of the 1,792 manuscripts for which the authors stated they were willing to share their data, more than 90% of corresponding authors either declined or did not respond to requests for raw data (see ‘Data-sharing behaviour’). Only 14%, or 254, of the contacted authors responded to e-mail requests for data, and a mere 6.7%, or 120 authors, actually handed over the data in a usable format. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology on 29 May….

Puljak’s results square with those of a study that Danchev led, which found low rates of data sharing by authors of papers in leading medical journals that stipulate all clinical trials must share data2. …

Past research suggests that some fields, such as ecology, embrace data sharing more than others. But multiple analyses of COVID-19 clinical trials — including some from Li4,5 and Tan6 — have reported that anywhere from around half to 80% of investigators are unwilling or not planning to share data freely….

To encourage researchers to prepare their data, Li says, journals could make data-sharing statements more prescriptive. They could require authors to detail where they will share raw data, who will be able to access it, when and how.

 

Funders could also raise the bar for data sharing. The US National Institutes of Health, in an effort to curb wasteful, irreproducible research, will soon mandate that grant applicants include a data-management and sharing plan in their applications. Eventually, they will be required to share data publicly….”

What do researchers think about paying to publish open access – Findings from a global survey | Impact of Social Sciences

“According to the results of our international survey on attitudes towards the pay-to-publish model, this would be a fairly common conversation amongst academic researchers on the subject of article processing charges (APCs), the pay to publish mode of academic publishing. Authors have warned about the potentially detrimental consequences of this new business model. And, as we have explored, most scholars worldwide share such concern. At least, in relation to the global, general consequences of this system, rather than the particular ones.

Globally speaking, participants stated that they at least partially agree with the idea that paying to publish ‘damages or slows scientific advancement’. Yet, when we asked them if they felt that this model ‘has slowed or damaged my scientific career’, their opinion was less emphatic, and most of them did not feel particularly affected by the APC model: they neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. Thus, it would seem most scholars seem to think that other people are suffering the worst consequences of this publication system, while they are among the lucky ones….

The perception of the pay to publish model is also conditioned by the income level of the country where the researchers work. Those from nations from the lower ranks in the World Bank Income Yearly Report state hold lower opinions towards pay to publish. Once again, we interpret that lacking access to external funding leads to expressing a worse opinion of the pay-to-publish model, as 60% of researchers from low-income countries have to pay these publication fees with their own money as they lack external funding.

Younger scholars also tended to be more critical. Early career researchers tend to have less access to financial aid, they therefore distrust this system, as they are less inclined to buy into and accept this model. Beyond the economic frame, we also found that the reluctance between younger scholars is deeper among those aged 26-35. We hypothesize that this demographic has acquired some experience in the scientific environment, enough that they are aware of the structural consequences of the pay-to publish model, while most of them are not tenured nor have regular access to external funding, thereby sharpening their initial criticism….”