Guest Post – Reputation and Publication Volume at MDPI and Frontiers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Until recently, MDPI and Frontiers were known for their meteoric rise. At one point, powered by the Guest Editor model, the two publishers combined for about 500,000 papers (annualized), which translated into nearly USD $1,000,000,000 annual revenue. Their growth was extraordinary, but so has been their contraction. MDPI has declined by 27% and Frontiers by 36% in comparison to their peak.

Despite their slowdown, MDPI and Frontiers have become an integral part of the modern publishing establishment. Their success reveals that their novel offering resonates with thousands of researchers. Their turbulent performance, however, shows that their publishing model is subject to risk, and its implementation should acknowledge and mitigate such risk….”

Never mind predatory publishers… what about ‘grey’ publishers? | Profesional de la información

Abstract:  The Harbingers project, which studied the working lives and scholarly communication behaviour of early career researchers (ECRs) over 6 years, found evidence of changing attitudes to questionable (grey) publishing. Thus, whilst predatory publishers have come to be treated with equanimity, as a problem easily dealt with, there was growing concern with the high volume of low-grade research being generated, some of which by ‘grey’ open access publishers for want of a better name (questionable and non-standard have also been used). With the recent announcement (2023) that the government of Malaysia (a Harbinger case country) is not providing Article Processing Charges (APCs) for articles published by MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi on quality and cost grounds, we set out to see what lay behind this decision and whether other countries exhibited similar concerns. Information was obtained by asking Harbinger country leads, mostly embedded in research universities, from Australia, China, France, Israel, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, UK, and the US to conduct desk research to establish what is happening. It was found that countries, like ECRs, appear to have formed into two different camps, with China, Poland, France, and Spain joining Malaysia in the camp of those who felt concerned about these publishers and the UK, US, Israel, and Australia belonging to the camp of the unconcerned. Explanations for the split are furnished and whether the Malaysian position will prevail elsewhere is considered. Finally, in this paper, we have aired issues/concerns, rather than provided robust, systematic data. For a systematic study we shall have to wait for the fuller study we are hoping to conduct.

Open access: In conversation with Frontiers’ Dr Marie Souliere – Science & research news | Frontiers

“What are the main issues open access publishers face right now regarding publication ethics? How have these changed in recent years? 

Throughout the industry, the main changes have been the increase in complexity and sophistication of fraud. Anything from text reuse to data manipulation, authorship-for-sale, fake peer review and identity theft, has scaled up. While all publishers face these issues, open access publishers face more scrutiny from readers as all published articles are freely accessible to all. This has the advantage of allowing some ethical issues to come to light more quickly and for open access publishers to correct the scientific record fast….”

Public access to published science is under threat in the US | InPublishing

Eight science publishers have signed a letter to the House Appropriations subcommittee to raise the dangers of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill’s draft language.

Frontiers says The US House Appropriations Committee has released its 2024 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. It proposes new spending of $58 billion and seeks to “rein in the Washington bureaucracy by right-sizing agencies and programs.”

A group of eight science publishers have signed a letter to the House Appropriations subcommittee to raise the dangers of the bill’s draft language. If enacted, it would block federally funded research from being freely available to American taxpayers without delay on publication.

Individual Americans would be prevented from seeing the full benefits of the more than $90 billion in scientific research they fund each year via taxes. Science for the few who can access it – as opposed to the many who pay for it – is inefficient as scientific or democratic governmental policy.



Guest Post – The Nelson Memo and Public Access are Under Attack – Will Powerful Incumbents Come to its Rescue? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“On July 14, the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives released the Fiscal Year 2024 bill for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Section 552 of the bill, if passed into law, would effectively freeze the Nelson Memo for a year (specifically, through the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2024)….

To restate the question: will influential incumbents now fight for the Nelson Memo and its funding? Or will they see a chance to put it on ice or water it down, as they may have when the principles of Plan S in the UK and Europe were successfully (if controversially) implemented? …”

Frontiers welcomes new partnership with World Economic Forum | STM Publishing News

“As part of the new agreement, Frontiers will join the WEF’s Centre for New Society and Economy and will champion open science across the network. Supporting global initiatives in the field, Frontiers will work with its WEF partners to share and promote the evidence-based benefits of open science and to influence global thinking on its positive impact on society.   

Kamila Markram, Frontiers’ chief executive officer said: ‘our track record of collaboration with the World Economic Forum is one that we have long valued and becoming a Platform Partner is a natural transition for us. We share a common vision on how to address the challenges faced by society and I look forward to combining our efforts in support of this.’ …”

Clarivate’s former publisher relations expert joins Frontiers | Research Information

“Research publisher Frontiers appoints Tom Ciavarella as head of public affairs and advocacy for North America to strategise and execute advocacy initiatives to support Frontiers’ mission and accelerate transition to open science.

Tom has 20 years’ experience in relationship management, business development, and content strategy. After an early career in copy-editing and writing, he worked at F.A. Davis Company, an independent medical publisher in the US, where he acquired and developed new medical textbooks and helped bring print-only resources into the digital world. In 2015, Tom joined Clarivate Analytics (now Clarivate) as a publisher relations manager for Web of Science Group with a focus on content and communication strategy. 

Most recently, Tom managed large strategic accounts for the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), a non-profit that helps publishers and other copyright holders coordinate content delivery, licensing, and open access workflows. Tom also served as a liaison to CCC’s government relations team, which works to guide policymakers on copyright modernisation and related topics. …”

Inflationary adjustment to Frontiers’ Article Processing Charges – Science & research news | Frontiers

“At Frontiers, APCs are paid in US dollars, the value of which has recently been under strong inflationary pressure.  Against international cost-of-living indicators, the dollar has lost 13% of its value since the last time we adjusted APCs at the end of 2017.  

Unlike other publishers, we have not made annual adjustments to the costs of our services during that period.

As of August 2022, we will raise APCs by 9.32% to help partially offset the recent inflationary losses to the value of the dollar. This will allow us to continue to reinvest in our operations while offering the highest quality, sustainable publishing services. We employ an international team of over 1,700 publishing professionals, who provide the expertise and technology skills to maintain and expand our editorial program and help make more science, open science….”

It is not transformation if nothing changes – Science & research news | Frontiers

“The substantial benefits of open access (OA) publishing are within our reach, but legacy publishers are employing commercial tactics to delay the necessary transition.

This paper exposes several of the negative, often unintended, consequences of “transformative agreements” (TAs).  It argues that these agreements, sold as a pathway to open science, in fact reinforce the status quo.  TAs maintain paywalled access as the standard financial model in publishing.  They are negotiated in the absence of basic competition and procurement rules.  And by concentrating resources into silos for a few incumbents only, they pose a threat to the diversity of the publishing ecosystem, locking out innovators, including the very players who demonstrate the benefits of OA publishing.  Deployed as a commercial tactic, these agreements will stall the establishment of a transparent and competitive marketplace for professional editorial services….:”

Switzerland and Frontiers reach national open access agreement | Research Information

“The Swiss research community has strengthened its commitment to open access through a new national publishing agreement with the Lausanne-based open-access publisher Frontiers.

The one-year pilot supports authors from 18 institutions, including hospitals, who are now able to publish in Frontiers’ broad portfolio of 146 journals, hosted on Frontiers’ open-science platform. Paid in advance by the institutions through the Consortium of Swiss Academic Libraries (CSAL), the arrangement enables the authors to enjoy better research visibility and supports rapid dissemination of their studies across the 1,100 academic disciplines covered by Frontiers’ journals….”

Frontiers for Young Minds celebrates 15 million article views!

Reaching 15 million article views is an exciting moment for us at Frontiers for Young Minds. It means that we are reaching more and more kids, teachers, and other interested people around the world, who now have the opportunity to learn about topics they care about from a reliable scientific resource. This year our journal team went from a team of two to a team of six and we have launched our flagship Noble Collection, which are certainly the two biggest highlights. Did you know that Frontiers for Young Minds also has Hebrew (451 translated articles) and Arabic (150 translated articles) versions? More languages are certainly on our radar in the near future too!

Five Nobel Prize winners publish scientific article collection for children – Science & research news | Frontiers

Written for young people aged eight to 15, the collection has been published in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds. With the help of a science mentor, each article in the Nobel Collection has been reviewed by kids themselves to ensure it is understandable, fun, and engaging before publication. By sparking an interest in science from a young age, the Nobel Collection aims to improve young people’s scientific worldview. Its objective is to equip them with a scientific mindset and appreciation of the central role of science in finding solutions to today’s growing catalogue of global challenges. 

MyScienceWork to index award winning open access scholarly publisher Frontiers | EurekAlert! Science News

Research management tech provider MyScienceWork (MSW) is pleased to announce Frontiers research articles are now indexed in the MyScienceWork platform. Effective from June 2021, this partnership will enhance the research experience for academics, granting unrestricted access to an additional 200,000 rigorously certified research articles across 103 journals, spanning 866 academic disciplines to be read, cited and built upon.

Frontiers Policy Labs Mission Statement — Frontiers Policy Labs

“The Frontiers Policy Labs initiative seeks to strengthen the connection between robust scientific research and informed policymaking. The challenges we face today are as stark as they are complex; the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency are just two among many that we must now address. Now is the time to look to science as a tool to enable better, more holistic decision making; an interface through which policy is driven by evidence. To enable that, science must be open, science must be trusted, and science must be accessible. 

Insights will be added regularly, and we encourage you to listen, learn, and perhaps most importantly, join the debate.  …”

2020 in review: A year in Open Science policy  – Science & research news | Frontiers

“How to begin to summarize what 2020?has?meant for policy and science? It feels like a decade’s worth of catastrophic news and disruption, followed by unprecedented innovative responses.  It was also the year that proved?beyond?doubt?that access to scientific knowledge must be free and immediately open to effectively address the challenges faced by society….

However,?progress was made in Open Science in 2020: ? 

In the US,?meetings with stakeholders?and?a public round of evidence gathering?occured?to prepare for an?executive order mandating OA?for?federally funded research.?No tangible result has emerged, yet?it catalyzed grassroots support for: #OAintheUSA. Expectations are that the incoming Biden administration will pick up the initiative.? 

UNESCO conducted a?global consultation of the academic community?over the summer?to prepare a?Recommendation on?Open Science, for adoption in 2021.?Similarly,?in October,?the World Health?Organization?(WHO), UNESCO,?and the?UN High Commissioner for Human Rights?statement?issued a?joint call for Open Science,?to which we offered our support.?? 

In November, the UN launched a new partnership of publishers committed to the Sustainable Development Goals,?the SDG Publishers Compact. Frontiers and other signatories committed?to promoting research and education and to work inside and outside the company to support the SDGs.  

Frontiers joined?the Initiative for?Open Abstracts (I4OA),?which advocates for the?unrestricted availability of abstracts in scholarly communications.?By joining I4OA, our abstracts will be deposited on?Crossref, adding a layer of support to the OA community’s mission to make all science open.? …”