Aileen Fyfe, Noah Moxham, Julie McDougall-Waters, and Camilla Mørk Røstvik (2022) A History of Scientific Journals: Publishing at the Royal Society 1665-2015. UCL Press. https://www.uclpress.co.uk/collections/ro_homepage_products/products/187262
Modern scientific research has changed so much since Isaac Newton’s day: it is more professional, collaborative and international, with more complicated equipment and a more diverse community of researchers. Yet the use of scientific journals to report, share and store results is a thread that runs through the history of science from Newton’s day to ours. Scientific journals are now central to academic research and careers. Their editorial and peer-review processes act as a check on new claims and findings, and researchers build their careers on the list of journal articles they have published. The journal that reported Newton’s optical experiments still exists. First published in 1665, and now fully digital, the Philosophical Transactions has carried papers by Charles Darwin, Dorothy Hodgkin and Stephen Hawking. It is now one of eleven journals published by the Royal Society of London.
Unrivalled insights from the Royal Society’s comprehensive archives have enabled the authors to investigate more than 350 years of scientific journal publishing. The editorial management, business practices and financial difficulties of the Philosophical Transactions and its sibling Proceedings reveal the meaning and purpose of journals in a changing scientific community. At a time when we are surrounded by calls to reform the academic publishing system, it has never been more urgent that we understand its history.
“The Royal Society, the UK’s national science academy, and ResearchGate, the professional network for researchers, announced today a content syndication partnership that will see the addition of 5,000 open access (OA) articles from journals Open Biology and Royal Society Open Science to ResearchGate.
The goal of the partnership is to increase the visibility, accessibility, and consumption of Royal Society gold open access publications in alignment with the Society’s purpose to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity….”
Preprints are manuscripts posted on a public server that do not yet have formal certification of peer review from a scholarly journal. The increasingly prominent online repositories for these preprints provide a means of rapidly making scientific results accessible to all with an Internet connection. We here describe the catalysis and subsequent development of a successful new process to solicit preprints for consideration for publication in Proceedings B. We present preliminary comparisons between the focal topics and geographic origin of submitting authors of papers submitted in the traditional (non-solicited) route versus solicited preprints. This analysis suggests that the solicitation process seems to be achieving one of the primary goals of the preprint solicitation endeavour: broadening the scope of the papers featured in Proceedings B. We also use an informal survey of the early-career scientists that are or have been involved with the Preprint Editorial Team to find that these scientists view their participation positively with respect to career development and knowledge in their field. The inclusion of early-career researchers from across the world in the preprint solicitation process could also translate into social justice benefits by providing a career-building opportunity and a window into the publishing process for young scientists.
“In an exciting new chapter for its scientific publishing, the Royal Society sets out how it will transition its primary research journals to open access and make more of its world-leading research available to all.
Following a review by its Council, the Royal Society has committed to ‘flipping’ the journals Biology Letters, Interface, Proceedings A, and Proceedings B to a fully open access model when 75% of articles are being published open access.
This transition will be driven chiefly by the expansion of Read & Publish agreements with major research institutions, enabling their scientific research output to be published open access in the Society’s journals.
The process is already well underway, the Society launched Royal Society Read & Publish in January 2021 and has pioneered new agreements – including a shared funding arrangement announced this year with the University of California….”
“It has become a fact of academic life, that when researchers publish papers in academic journals, they sign away the copyright to their research, or licence it for distribution. However, from a historical perspective this practice is a relatively recent phenomenon. In this post Aileen Fyfe, explores how copyright has become intertwined with scholarly publishing and presents three insights from the history of the Royal Society that inform ongoing debates around openness in research and scholarly communication….”
“We recognise the power of publishing peer review information and several of our journals have signed up to doing this through theASAPBio open letter. Following a positive response from the communities we serve,Proceedings B andRoyal Society Open Scienceplan to make the editorial process of papers as transparent as possible by mandating the publication of peer review reports on all manuscripts submitted from 2 January 2019….”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors.”
“Open access for monographs and book chapters is a relatively new area of publishing, and there are many ways of approaching it. With this in mind, a recent publication from the Wellcome Trust aims to provide some guidance for publishers to consider when developing policies and processes for open access books. The Wellcome Trust recognises that implementation around publishing monographs and book chapters open access is in flux, and invites publishers to email Cecy Marden at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions for further guidance that would be useful to include in this document. ‘Open Access Monographs and Book Chapters: A practical guide for publishers’ is available to download as a pdf from the Wellcome Trust website.”
“The purpose of this post is to shed some light on a specific issue in the transition to open access that particularly affects small and low-cost publishers and to suggest one strategy to address this issue. In the words of one Resource Requirements interviewee: ‘So the other set of members that we used to have about forty library members , but when we went to open access online, we lost the whole bunch of libraries. Yeah, so basically we sent everybody ,you know, a letter saying we are going to open access online, the annual membership is only $30, we hope you will continue to support us even though there are no longer print journals, and then a whole flu of cancellations came in from a whole bunch of libraries, which we had kind of thought might happen but given how cheap we are, I have to say I was really disappointed when it indeed did happen especially from whole bunch of [deleted] libraries [for which our journal is extremely relevant]. I was going, seriously $30?’ Comments: for a university library, a society membership fee, when not required for journal subscriptions, may be difficult to justify from an accounting perspective. $30 is a small cost; however, for a university the administrative work of tracking such memberships and cutting a check every year likely exceeds the $30 cost. With 40 library members at a cost of $30, the total revenue for this journal from this source was $1,200. A university or university library could sponsor this amount at less than the cost of many an article processing charge. The university and library where the faculty member is located have a support program for open access journals; clearly the will, and some funding, is there. One of the challenges is transitioning subscription dollars to support for open access, as I address in my 2013 First Monday article. Following is one suggestion for libraries, or for faculty to suggest to their libraries: why not engage your faculty who are independent or society publishers to gain support for cancellations or tough negotiations and lower prices for the big deals of large, highly profitable commercial publishers that I argue are critical to redirect funding to our own publishing activities? Here is one scenario that may help to explain the potential …”
[From Google’s English] “UKB , the consortium of thirteen university libraries and the National Library, the objectives of The Hague Declaration endorsed by signing the joint declaration. All signatories state that there are no copyright restrictions are scientific results and research data. Everyone should be able to freely analyze facts and data.Licensing and copyright rules may not raise barriers before. The knowledge economy has an interest in global open access or open science. According to the statement must be contained in the European copyright rules that authors the right to (re) use of data and texts not lose by signing a contract with a publisher …”
” Demand for a service to help institutions capture their research outputs remains unabated, and any drive to help automate it will need to break challenging new ground. Jisc Publications Router is now set for a new phase of development as it seeks to do just that. It aims to become a permanent service in 2016, expanding at an accelerated pace the range of content it can deliver … It’s difficult for institutions to identify accepted research articles by their academics, according to a recent report to Jisc, as they seek to make progress in implementing the open access policy for the next REF. Jisc Publications Router is a system that gathers information about journal articles from content providers such as publishers. By looking at the affiliations of the co-authors, it then sends a notification to the relevant institution(s). This could be at or near the point of acceptance, for example, or final publication. It could consist of metadata only, or it could include full-text files as well, depending on what the content provider can send. The institutions can then capture this information onto their systems, including their open repositories. In some cases, the metadata will include details of an embargo period the repository should respect before it makes the full text freely available. The initial Router project, funded by Jisc and operated by EDINA (University of Edinburgh) aimed to demonstrate a prototype system. That has been a success: the system has delivered real articles to real institutions in ways that they have used and found helpful, saving them time and effort …”
“To advance the University of Iowa’s longstanding commitments to open inquiry, the free exchange of ideas, and public access to scholarly works, the staff of the University of Iowa Libraries have adopted an open access policy that will make their publications freely available and ensure their long-term preservation and findability. This policy complements the Libraries’ support of open access to freely accessible scholarship, advances the diverse roles staff play as producers and preservers of scholarly and professional literature, and reflects the values of the University of Iowa Libraries’ mission statement. All University of Iowa Libraries staff members grant the University of Iowa the right to archive and make publicly accessible the full texts of their professional publications. These include traditional productions such as journal articles and book chapters and extends to documents in other formats, such as conference presentation slides and audio and video recordings of public talks. This agreement provides the University of Iowa the non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to preserve and redistribute the work. Staff members will submit electronic versions of their works to the University of Iowa’s institutional repository, Iowa Research Online (IRO), within thirty days of each work’s publication, presentation, or transmission, respecting publishers’ requests for embargoes. Ideally the submitted version will be the publisher’s final version or the author’s final accepted manuscript. On a case-by-case basis, including cases in which a publisher refuses to accommodate the terms of this policy, staff members may opt-out of this agreement by sending a message to the Chair of the Scholarly Publishing Team (see membership at https://sharepoint.uiowa.edu/sites/libraries/sc/scc/default.aspx). The Scholarly Publishing Team will be responsible for interpreting the policy, resolving related problems, and revising it as necessary. The Scholarly Publishing Team will review this policy one year after its adoption and report its findings to the University Librarian.”
“The reproducibility problem in science is a familiar issue, not only within the scientific community, but with the general public as well. Recent developments in social psychology (such as fraudulent research by D. Stapel) and cell biology (the Amgen Inc. and Bayer AG reports on how rarely they could reproduce published results) have become widely known. Nearly every field is affected, from clinical trials and neuroimaging, to economics and computer science. Obvious solutions include more research on statistical and behavioral fixes for irreproducibility, activism for policy changes, and demanding more pre-registration and data sharing from grantees. Two Perspectives in this issue (pp. 1420and 1422) describe how journals and academic institutions can foster a culture of reproducibility. Transparency is central to improving reproducibility, but it is expensive and time-consuming. What can be done to alleviate those obstacles? Most scientists aspire to greater transparency, but if being transparent taps into scarce grant money and requires extra work, it is unlikely that scientists will be able to live up to their own cherished values. Thus, one of the most effective ways to promote high-quality science is to create free open-source tools that give scientists easier and cheaper ways to incorporate transparency into their daily workflow: from open lab notebooks, to software that tracks every version of a data set, to dynamic document generation. Moreover, scientists who use open-source software are not locked into proprietary software platforms with unclear monetization plans. If philanthropy or government funds new tools that the open-source community can iterate and improve on, the per-dollar return on investment can far exceed the costs. Infrastructural tools are now available, or in development, that should help to catalyze a change in scientific transparency. One example is the Open Science Framework (OSF), a free and open-source software platform for managing scientific workflow (supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in partnership with the Center for Open Science). Among its many features, this platform can enable scientists to easily track the history of all versions of every document or data set and the exact contributions made by each team member. All project materials can be given persistent identifiers, and the tracking of provenance allows any subsequent research project to give proper credit to the original. Projects using this platform include the Shared Access Research Ecosystem project of the Association of Research Libraries and its partners …”