(IUCr) 75 years of IUCr Journals: 1948 to 2023, an Editor-in-Chief’s perspective

“The IUCr came into being 75 years ago in 1948 and others will recount the history of its origins as part of these 75th Anniversary celebrations. Also, please see earlier histories of the IUCr (Kamminga, 1989) and of the IUCr journals, especially on their 60th anniversary (Authier, 2009). Right from the start, the IUCr recognized the importance of high-quality publication of crystallographic research and structural data with its own journal, Acta Crystallographica (Acta Cryst.). Acta Cryst. remained the sole IUCr journal for some 20 years, but in 1968, it was expanded into two sections: Acta Cryst. A for crystal physics, diffraction, and theoretical and general crystallography, and Acta Cryst. B for structural crystallography and crystal chemistry. At around this same time (and following a decision made earlier at the 1963 IUCr General Assembly) a new journal was founded: Journal of Applied Crystallography for reporting methods, apparatus, problems and discoveries in applied crystallography. In 1983, Acta Cryst. was further expanded into three sections with the founding of Acta Cryst. C to handle crystal structure communications, and in 1993 it was expanded again with Acta Cryst. D to provide a needed home for the increasing number of biological crystallography submissions. The following year, in October 1994, another new IUCr journal was founded: the Journal of Synchrotron Radiation for submissions across the whole remit of synchrotron science (and later free-electron laser X-ray sources).A key development was the introduction of online journal versions in 1999. Up to this point, both the review process and journal publication, itself, took place almost exclusively in hardcopy form, and this author can just remember (as a new Co-editor in 2002) inheriting a `Not for publication – for review only’ stamp to use on hardcopy submissions received and then sent out to review. Over the following five years or so, the review system became entirely electronic and eventually web-based. A number of other important changes came to the journals in this period, such as the advent of an open-access option for authors in 2004. Partly to take advantage of these changes, two new sections were added to Acta Cryst.: Acta Cryst. E in 2001 to carry structure reports online, and Acta Cryst. F in 2005 for rapid structural biology communications. In 2008, Acta Cryst. E became the first IUCr journal to flip to `open-access only’ while in 2014 all the IUCr journals went to online publication only. Also, coinciding with the United Nations declaration of the International Year of Crystallography in 2014, the IUCr launched a new fully open-access journal, IUCrJ, to attract high-quality cross-cutting papers of broad scientific significance from all areas of structural science and crystallography. IUCrJ now covers seven main subject areas with papers pre-selected by the Main Editors prior to review.Completing the complement of IUCr journals is IUCrData, fully open access from its inception in 2016, at least initially to take data reports formerly submitted to Acta Cryst. E. This was associated with the transformation of Acta Cryst. E from a journal focused on Structure Reports Online to one more focused on Crystallographic Communications. The transformation of Acta Cryst. E was necessitated in part by its removal from the main journal citation index in 2012. Both journals have continued to develop and evolve over the years with a Raw Data Letters section recently started in IUCrData, while Acta Cryst. E has become fully re-i

Five years of Plan S: a journey towards full and immediate Open Access | Plan S

“In September 2018, a group of national research funding organizations, with the support of the European Commission, rallied behind an initiative to make research publications openly accessible to all:  Plan S. These visionary organizations came together as cOAlition S, and adopted a set of 10 principles that were intended to function as a catalyst for the accelerated transition to full and immediate Open Access. For most cOAlition S members, the policies and tools that support the implementation of Plan S came into effect in 2021. 

Although the full impact of these policies will still take several years to unfold, it is a good moment to reflect on what has been achieved so far. I joined cOAlition S exactly one year after its inception, as its Executive Director, and have therefore been privileged to participate in the journey that the cOAlition S community – Experts, Leaders, Ambassadors, Supporters, and Office –  have undertaken, and the remarkable progress we have achieved together.

In five years, cOAlition S has grown from a dozen to a network of 28 funders. What is remarkable is that this reach extends beyond Europe, encompassing agencies from the US, Australia and South Africa. This expansion has sparked a ripple effect, with even non-cOAlition S funders developing policies that are largely aligned with Plan S. This is evident in the US with the August 2022 Nelson memo, Canada, India, Germany and elsewhere. Governments in Europe and beyond have also become more vocal about Open Access to research results, as evidenced in the European Council Conclusions and the G7 Science and Technology Ministers declaration of last May. Plan S and cOAlition S have certainly contributed to a consensus among research funding agencies worldwide that Open Access to research results is a priority that requires international alignment.

During those five years, publishers have changed tack as well. They seem to increasingly recognise that it is no longer about whether they should flip to Open Access, but how they should flip to Open Access. Some of them have made changes to their policies to comply with Plan S principles, or they are exploring new models such as Subscribe to Open, Diamond Open Access, and other non-APC models….”

PsyArXiv Preprints | Concerns about Replicability, Theorizing, Applicability, Generalizability, and Methodology across Two Crises in Social Psychology

Abstract:  Twice in the history of social psychology has there been a crisis of confidence. The first started in the 1960s and lasted until the end of the 1970s, and the second crisis dominated the 2010s. In both these crises, researchers discussed fundamental concerns about the replicability of findings, the strength of theories in the field, the societal relevance of research, the generalizability of effects, and problematic methodological and statistical practices. On the basis of extensive quotes drawn from articles published during both crises, I explore the similarities and differences in discussions across both crises in social psychology.

A decade of surveys on attitudes to data sharing highlights three factors for achieving open science | Impact of Social Sciences

“Over a 10 year period Carol Tenopir of DataONE and her team conducted a global survey of scientists, managers and government workers involved in broad environmental science activities about their willingness to share data and their opinion of the resources available to do so (Tenopir et al., 2011, 2015, 2018, 2020). Comparing the responses over that time shows a general increase in the willingness to share data (and thus engage in Open Science)….

The most surprising result was that a higher willingness to share data corresponded with a decrease in satisfaction with data sharing resources across nations (e.g., skills, tools, training) (Fig.1). That is, researchers who did not want to share data were satisfied with the available resources, and those that did want to share data were dissatisfied. Researchers appear to only discover that the tools are insufficient when they begin the hard work of engaging in open science practices. This indicates that a cultural shift in the attitudes of researchers needs to precede the development of support and tools for data management….

Mandated requirements to share data really do work. However, this effect was shown in the surveys as government researchers were consistently far more willing to share data than those in academia or corporations, and this willingness to share increased substantially from 2011 to 2019….

Researchers working in academia were less willing to share than those in government, but did show significant increases in willingness to share from 2011 to 2015. Researchers in the commercial sector were, unsurprisingly, the least willing to share their data….

government involvement and funding play an important role in improving the attitudes researchers have towards open science practices. The organisational influence of government funding and mandates shifts individual incentives. Researchers then realize that they lack the knowledge, tools, and training they need to properly share data, which can push the social change needed to drastically change the way that science is done for the better.”

Metascience Since 2012: A Personal History – by Stuart Buck

“This essay is a personal history of the $60+ million I allocated to metascience starting in 2012 while working for the Arnold Foundation (now Arnold Ventures).

Click and keep reading if you want to know:

How the Center for Open Science started

How I accidentally up working with the John Oliver show

What kept PubPeer from going under in 2014

How a new set of data standards in neuroimaging arose

How a future-Nobel economist got started with a new education research organization

How the most widely-adopted set of journal standards came about

Why so many journals are offering registered reports

How writing about ideas on Twitter could fortuitously lead to a multi-million grant

Why we should reform graduate education in quantitative disciplines so as to include published replications

When meetings are useful (or not)

Why we need a new federal data infrastructure

I included lots of pointed commentary throughout, on issues like how to identify talent, how government funding should work, and how private philanthropy can be more effective. The conclusion is particularly critical of current grantmaking practices, so keep reading (or else skip ahead)….”

An Index, A Publisher and An Unequal Global Research Economy | CGHE

“This is the story of how a publisher and a citation index turned the science communication system into a highly profitable global industry. Over the course of seventy years, academic journal articles have become commodities, and their meta-data a further source of revenue. It begins in Washington at the end of a second World War, when the US Government agrees a massive increase in funding for research, after Vannevar Bush champions basic research as the ‘pacemaker of technological progress’. The resulting post-war growth in scientific publishing creates opportunities for information scientists and publishers alike. During the 1950s, two men – Robert Maxwell and Eugene Garfield – begin to experiment with their blueprint for the research economy. Maxwell created an ‘international’ publisher – Pergamon Press – charming the editors of elite, not-for-profit society journals into signing commercial contracts. Garfield invented the science citation index to help librarians manage this growing flow of knowledge. Over time, the index gradually became commercially viable as universities and publishers used it to measure the ‘impact’ of their researchers and journals.

Sixty years later, the global science system has become a citation economy, with academic credibility mediated by the currency produced by the two dominant commercial citation indexes: Elsevier’s Scopus and Clarivate’s Web of Science. The reach of these citation indexes and their data analytics is amplified by digitisation, computing power and financial investment. Scholarly reputation is now increasingly measured by journal rankings, ‘impact factors’ and ‘h-indexes’. Non-Anglophone journals are disproportionately excluded from these indexes, reinforcing the stratification of academic credibility geographies and endangering long established knowledge ecosystems. Researchers in the majority world are left marginalised and have no choice but to go ever faster, resorting to research productivism to keep up. The result is an integrity-technology ‘arms race’. Responding to media stories about a crisis of scientific fraud, publishers and indexes turn to AI tools to deal with what is seen as an epidemic of academic ‘gaming’ and manipulation.

Does the unfettered growth in publishing ‘outputs’, moral panics over research integrity and widening global divides signal a science system in crisis? And is the ‘Open Science’ vision under threat, as the ‘author-pays’ publishing business model becomes dominant? With the scientific commons now largely reliant on citations as its currency, the future of science communication is far from certain.”

What do eels teach about open access, medical education and professional ethics? The inception of Peripheral Nerve Stimulation in ancient Rome – Brain Stimulation: Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research in Neuromodulation

“In conclusion, Largus offers a dual lesson for the 21st century. In an era when knowledge is often gated behind paywalls, Largus’s Compositiones underscore the importance of providing less privileged healthcare professionals with open access to evidence-based resources. Although the concept of open access is relatively new in medical scholarship and to our knowledge there is no concrete proof of a relevant discourse, the fact the he used colloquial language was already a breakthrough in this regard….”

The replication crisis has led to positive structural, procedural, and community changes | Communications Psychology

Abstract:  The emergence of large-scale replication projects yielding successful rates substantially lower than expected caused the behavioural, cognitive, and social sciences to experience a so-called ‘replication crisis’. In this Perspective, we reframe this ‘crisis’ through the lens of a credibility revolution, focusing on positive structural, procedural and community-driven changes. Second, we outline a path to expand ongoing advances and improvements. The credibility revolution has been an impetus to several substantive changes which will have a positive, long-term impact on our research environment.

From the body of the article: “An academic movement collectively known as open scholarship (incorporating Open Science and Open Research) has driven constructive change by accelerating the uptake of robust research practices while concomitantly championing a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible psychological science….”

DOAB celebrates its 10th anniversary! – OAPEN – supporting the transition to open access for academic books

“This year, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), led by OpenEdition and OAPEN Foundation, celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its inception, DOAB has evolved from an idea for indexing high quality peer-reviewed open access books and chapters to a globally used and open directory serving not only researchers and the wider scholarly community, but also the public. …”


Mid-summer reflections on our five years’ journey…

“OA Switchboard has been live as operational solution since 1 January 2021 (17 consortia and multi-site participants, 154 institutions, 31 publishers, more than 5,100 ‘organisations’, over half a million ‘messages’), supporting two use cases for journal article publications and a variety of business models, including non-APC based models. It operates a sustainable governance and funding model via Stichting (‘foundation’) OA Switchboard, founded by OASPA in October 2020. Security and privacy is ensured via technology and contracts. All participants in OA Switchboard sign the same Service Agreement that the General Terms & Conditions are an integral part of….”

A Year of Open Science, A Lifetime Commitment for NLM – NLM Musings from the Mezzanine

“In January 2023, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a federal Year of Open Science. NIH became one of more than a dozen agencies celebrating this Year of Open Science, which is designed to advance open and equitable science and promote access to the results of federally funded research. It has been a big year for NIH so far on the open science policy front with the NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy going into effect in January and the announcement of the NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access to the Results of NIH-Supported Research….

In February 2000, NLM launched PubMed Central, an open access repository of full-text biomedical and life sciences journal literature. By making these articles freely available, NLM ensures that researchers worldwide have unrestricted access to critical scientific findings—accelerating the pace of discovery and innovation. This open access helps democratize science by making the results of federally funded research available to all….


You may have noticed that I have referred to it as a Year of Open Science and not the Year of Open Science because our efforts toward providing equitable access to scientific research don’t end when the calendar flips to 2024. Open science is a long-term commitment for NLM, central to our mission to serve as a platform for biomedical discovery and data-powered health. As we continue to celebrate this Year of Open Science, how will you help open access to the results of scientific research?”

Blog | Directory of Open Access Books

“This year, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), led by OpenEdition and OAPEN Foundation, celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its inception, DOAB has evolved from an idea for indexing high quality peer-reviewed open access books and chapters to a globally used and open directory serving not only researchers and the wider scholarly community, but also the public. …

The State of the Scholarly Journal Publishing Industry in 2000 | SpringerLink

Abstract:  By 2000, scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journal publishing was a well-established component of the entire academic and research sector publishing high quality and “must have, need to know information” journals with high citation impact indices for an expanding number of universities, research centers, academics, researchers, and students. STM journals traditionally required paid annual subscriptions; and many libraries complained about the high subscription fees causing a “serials crisis” for hard-pressed libraries. The development of the internet sparked interest in preprints, digital journals, hybrid journals, and gold OA journals. And many publishers “bundled” a cluster of journals, a procedure called the “big deal,” which sparked a backlash. However, overall, the future looked rather promising for STM publishers at the start of the twenty-first century.


The Changing Medical Publishing Industry: Economics, Expansion, and Equity | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Medical journal publishing has changed dramatically over the past decade. The shift from print to electronic distribution altered the industry’s economic model. This was followed by open access mandates from funding organizations and the subsequent imposition of article processing charges on authors. The medical publishing industry is large and while there is variation across journals, it is overall highly profitable. As journals have moved to digital dissemination, advertising revenues decreased and publishers shifted some of the losses onto authors by way of article processing charges. The number of open access journals has increased substantially in recent years. The open access model presents an equity paradox; while it liberates scientific knowledge for the consumer, it presents barriers to those who produce research. This emerging “pay-to-publish” system offers advantages to authors who work in countries and at institutes with more resources. Finally, the medical publishing industry represents an unusual business model; the people who provide both the content and the external peer review receive no payment from the publisher, who generates revenue from the content. The very unusual economic model of this industry makes it vulnerable to disruptive change. The economic model of medical publishing is rapidly evolving and this will lead to disruption of the industry. These changes will accelerate dissemination of science and may lead to a shift away from lower-impact journals towards pre-print servers.


My thanks to all sharing books online | Everybody’s Libraries

“Two score and twelve years ago, Michael Hart sat down at a terminal at the University of Illinois and typed in the text of the Declaration of Independence. He shared the file he created with other users of the computer time-sharing system he was using, and spread it over what would eventually become the Internet as we know it today.

Thirty years ago this summer, Robert Stockton decided to adapt some of the electronic texts that Michael Hart’s Project Gutenberg had been putting online, and created some of the first illustrated hypertext books on the then-new World Wide Web. I’d just set up a web server at Carnegie Mellon, where he and I were at the time, and I set up a web page with links to his web editions, as well as to other books from Project Gutenberg and other early electronic text sites. That was the beginning of The Online Books Page, which, like Project Gutenberg, is still going today.

I’ve kept the service going for a number of reasons, some of which I recently discussed in an article Renata Ewing wrote for the University of California’s HathiTrust service. I’ve been motivated in part by the opportunities The Online Books Page provides for prototyping and demonstrating ways to discover, organize, and link information about books and serials (some of which can then be also used to increase the usefulness of library collections more broadly). But I’ve also been motivated by the opportunities to publicize and encourage the work of lots of people who share literature, and knowledge about literature, with readers across the world on the internet….”