Oman’s COVID-19 publication trends: A cross-sectional bibliometric study – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic led researchers and clinicians to stretch their capacities in conducting, writing, reviewing, and publishing a wealth of pandemic-related research. Oman scholars, researchers, and clinicians are no different in their quest for rapid dissemination of relevant scientific knowledge, which is of paramount importance nationally and internationally. Given the intense international interest in COVID-19 research. The study aim is to describe the COVID-19 research output in Oman in relation to publication type, journal impact factor, collaboration, author affiliation and compared it with national scholarly output over the decade. Study Design: We carried out a bibliometric cross-sectional study. Methods: We included all Oman COVID-19 publications for the period February 14 and 25, February 2021. Data retrieved using search engines PubMed, Google Scholar and Directory of Open Access Journals. Results: The COVID-19 publications search generated 210 articles. There were 36.7% review articles and 30% original articles. Of note, 2.4% randomized controlled trials articles were produced during the search period, 1.4% systematic and meta-analysis articles. The 85.7% of the publications were in journals with defined impact factor (IF) and 89.4% of articles with IF < 5. There was 53.8% international collaboration. Conclusion: The need to increase research published in journals with high impact factors and there was a high international collaboration in reviews and report articles, which may require building national research capacity.


Charting variety, scope, and impact of open access diamond journals in various disciplines and regions: a survey-based observational study

Purpose: The variety, scope, and impact of open access (OA) diamond journals across
disciplines and regions from July 22 to September 11, 2020 were charted to characterize
the current OA diamond landscape.

Methods: The total number of diamond journals was estimated, including those outside the
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The distribution across regions, disciplines, and
publisher types was described. The scope of journals in terms of authorship and readership
was investigated. Information was collected on linguistic diversity, journal dynamics and life
cycle, and their visibility in scholarly databases.

Results: The number of OA diamond journals is estimated to be 29,000. OA diamond journals
are estimated to publish 356,000 articles per year. The OA diamond sector is diverse in terms of
regions (45% in Europe, 25% in Latin America, 16% in Asia, and 5% in the United States/Cana-
da) and disciplines (60% humanities and social sciences, 22% sciences, and 17% medicine). More
than 70% of OA diamond journals are published by university-owned publishers, including uni-
versity presses. The majority of OA diamond journals are small, publishing fewer than 25 articles
a year. English (1,210), Spanish (492), and French (342) are the most common languages of the
main texts. Out of 1,619 journals, 1,025 (63.3%) are indexed in DOAJ, 492 (30.4%) in Scopus,
and 321 (19.8%) in Web of Science.

Conclusion: The patterns and trends reported herein provide insights into the diversity and im-
portance of the OA diamond journal landscape and the accompanying opportunities and chal-
lenges in supporting this publishing model.

News & Views: Publishers and Market Consolidation – Part 2 of 2 – Delta Think

Last month we examined the large degree of consolidation in journals publishing. We saw that 95% of publishers publish 10 journals or fewer, but account for barely one fifth of articles published. Meanwhile, half of total scholarly output is published by just 10 publishers, those with the largest numbers of journals.

We can further analyze the market’s consolidation by comparing annual growth rates in the numbers of publishers, journals and articles….

By looking at the trends, some clear patterns emerge.

The numbers of publishers (in blue) grew more quickly in the mid-teens than before or since. This is consistent with the S-shaped curve in the numbers of publishers we noted last month. So it seems the market showed signs of fragmentation in the mid-teens, followed by consolidation more recently.
Growth in numbers of journals (in orange) accelerated until about 2017, then started to fall off. This happened in tandem with the slowing growth in the numbers of publishers.
The rate of growth in numbers of articles (in grey) seems to run counter to the trends above. On average it was flat (at around 5%-6%) until 2018/2019, but then it accelerated. We think much this is because of the unusually high levels of submission in the wake of COVID (as we discussed in our market sizing analysis last year)….

The data also suggest that growth in publisher and journal numbers has slowed, while growth in output has accelerated. Over the last few years – irrespective of Covid effects – it seems the larger publishers are producing larger journals, and the smaller publishers smaller ones. Larger organizations may be able to produce things more efficiently than smaller ones. Meanwhile, the rise of Open Access and reduction in reliance on print works removes constraints on publication sizes….”

Plenary: Recombinant Scholarly Publishing: Challenges, Trends, and Emerging Strategies – Science Editor

“1. The Age of Syndication Has Begun…

2. Large-Scale Approaches to Infrastructure Are Maturing…

3. The Business Models for Open Access Are Solidifying…

4. Scientific Openness is Receding From its Global Peak…

5. Trust in Science Is Eroding…

6. The Scholarly Record Is Fragmenting…

7. A Different Type of Merger Has Come to Characterize the Industry…”







Plenary: Recombinant Scholarly Publishing: Challenges, Trends, and Emerging Strategies | Science Editor

If you’re a member of CSE, you may be familiar with The Scholarly Kitchen, the official blog of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, which has established itself as a rich repository of information and an open forum for dynamic discourse that promotes collaborative, educational encounters among scholarly publishing professionals. Among the Scholarly Kitchen’s many designated “chefs” (i.e., regular writers) are Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Roger Schonfeld, both of whom possess a uniquely comprehensive, global perspective spanning the fields of scholarly publishing, scientific research, communication, academic libraries, and higher education. As joint plenary speakers at the 2022 CSE Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Hinchliffe and Schonfeld shared their insights and observations about several recent trends and trajectories they’ve identified in the scholarly publishing industry.


OA Trends in Academic Libraries

“Library Journal will launch the second session of the series by presenting the results of its 2022 Open Access Survey, providing a snapshot of OA in academic libraries today and calling out trends indicated by the data. Then, panelists will share insights from their own experiences promoting OA, including Open Educational Resources (OER), in libraries. Join to assess whether your library is on trend, ahead of the curve or playing catch up….”

Should Open Access Lead to Closed Research? The Trends Towards Paying to Perform Research

Open Access (OA) emerged as an important transition in scholarly publishing worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research process and thereby necessary to perform research. This study analyses the global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different OA policies: the USA, China, the UK, France, the Netherlands, and Norway. The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business model. Research publishing will be closed to those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.

Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research

Abstract:  Open  Access  (OA)  emerged  as  an  important  transition  in  scholarly  publishing  worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research  process  and  thereby  necessary  to  perform  research.  This  study  analyses  the  global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different  OA  policies:  the  USA,  China,  the  UK,  France,  the  Netherlands,  and  Norway.  The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business  model.  Research publishing will be closed  to  those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.

The future of research revealed | | April 20, 2022

“The research ecosystem has been undergoing rapid and profound change, accelerated by COVID-19. This transformation is being fueled by many factors, including advances in technology, funding challenges and opportunities, political uncertainty, and new pressures on women in research. At Elsevier, we have been working with the global research community to better understand these changes and what the world of research might look like in the future. The results were published today in Elsevier’s new Research Futures Report 2.0. The report is free to read and download….”

Aligning the Research Library to Organizational Strategy – Ithaka S+R

“Open access has matured significantly in recent years. The UK and EU countries have committed largely to a “gold” version of open access, driven largely by transformative agreements with the major incumbent publishing houses.[14] The US policy environment has been far more mixed, with a great deal of “green” open access incentivized by major scientific funders, although some individual universities pursued transformative agreements. Both Canadian and US libraries have benefitted from the expansion of free and open access in strengthening their position at the negotiating table with major publishers.[15]

Progress on open access has radically expanded public access to the research literature. It has also brought with it a number of second-order effects. Some of them are connected to the serious problems in research integrity and the growing crisis of trust in science.[16] Others can be seen in the impacts on the scholarly publishing marketplace and the platforms that support discovery and access.[17]

While open access has made scientific materials more widely available, it has not directly addressed the challenges in translating scholarship for public consumption. Looking ahead, it is likely that scholarly communication will experience further changes as a result of computers increasingly supplanting human readership. The form of the scientific output may decreasingly look like the traditional journal article as over time standardized data, methods, protocols, and other scientific artifacts become vital for computational consumption….”

Publishing of COVID-19 preprints in peer-reviewed journals, preprinting trends, public discussion and quality issues | SpringerLink

Abstract:  COVID-19-related (vs. non-related) articles appear to be more expeditiously processed and published in peer-reviewed journals. We aimed to evaluate: (i) whether COVID-19-related preprints were favored for publication, (ii) preprinting trends and public discussion of the preprints, and (iii) the relationship between the publication topic (COVID-19-related or not) and quality issues. Manuscripts deposited at bioRxiv and medRxiv between January 1 and September 27 2020 were assessed for the probability of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and those published were evaluated for submission-to-acceptance time. The extent of public discussion was assessed based on Altmetric and Disqus data. The Retraction Watch Database and PubMed were used to explore the retraction of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 articles and preprints. With adjustment for the preprinting server and number of deposited versions, COVID-19-related preprints were more likely to be published within 120 days since the deposition of the first version (OR?=?1.96, 95% CI: 1.80–2.14) as well as over the entire observed period (OR?=?1.39, 95% CI: 1.31–1.48). Submission-to-acceptance was by 35.85 days (95% CI: 32.25–39.45) shorter for COVID-19 articles. Public discussion of preprints was modest and COVID-19 articles were overrepresented in the pool of retracted articles in 2020. Current data suggest a preference for publication of COVID-19-related preprints over the observed period.


A Decade of MOOCs: A Review of Stats and Trends for Large-Scale Online Courses in 2021 | EdSurge News

“In 2021, two of the biggest MOOC providers had an “exit” event. Coursera went public, while edX was acquired by the public company 2U for $800 million and lost its non-profit status.

Ten years ago, more than 300,000 learners were taking the three free Stanford courses that kicked off the modern MOOC movement. I was one of those learners and launched Class Central as a side-project to keep track of these MOOCs.

Now, a decade later, MOOCs have reached 220 million learners, excluding China where we don’t have as reliable data, . In 2021, providers launched over 3,100 courses and 500 microcredentials….”

The black crow of science and its impact: analyzing Sci-Hub use with Google Trends | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

In 2016, Bohannon published an article analyzing the download rate of the top ten countries using the illegal Sci-Hub website. Four years later, this study approaches the search behavior of these ten countries as they query about Sci-Hub in Google’s search engine, the world’s most widely used search engine. The authors also tracked the possible consequences of using Sci-Hub, such as plagiarism.


The search terms “Sci-Hub”, “Plagiarism” and “Plagiarism Checker” were explored with Google Trends. The queries were performed globally and individually for the ten target countries, all categories and web searches. The time range was limited between 1/1/2016 (after the date of publication of Bohannon’s work) and 29/03/2020. Data were extracted from Google Trends and the findings were mapped.


Searching for the word Sci-Hub on Google has increased nearly eightfold worldwide in the last four years, with China, Ethiopia and Tunisia having the most searches. Sci-Hub’s search trends increased for most of the T10C, with Brazil and Iran having the highest and lowest average searches, respectively.


Access to the research literature is required to the progress of research, but it should not be obtained illegally. Given the increasing incidence of these problems in countries at any level of development, it is important to pay attention to ethics education in research and establish ethics committees. A comprehensive review of the research process is required to reduce the urge to circumvent copyright laws and includes training and educating research stakeholders in copyright literacy. To address these goals, national and international seriousness and enthusiasm are essential.

Surveillance Publishing

Abstract:  This essay develops the idea of surveillance publishing, with special attention to the example of Elsevier. A scholarly publisher can be defined as a surveillance publisher if it derives a substantial proportion of its revenue from prediction products, fueled by data extracted from researcher behavior. The essay begins by tracing the Google search engine’s roots in bibliometrics, alongside a history of the citation analysis company that became, in 2016, Clarivate. The point is to show the co-evolution of scholarly communication and the surveillance advertising economy. The essay then refines the idea of surveillance publishing by engaging with the work of Shoshana Zuboff, Jathan Sadowski, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, and Aziz Huq. The recent history of Elsevier is traced to describe the company’s research-lifecycle data-harvesting strategy, with the aim to develop and sell prediction products to universities and other customers. The essay concludes by considering some of the potential costs of surveillance publishing, as other big commercial publishers increasingly enter the predictive-analytics mark. It is likely, I argue, that windfall subscription-and-APC profits in Elsevier’s “legacy” publishing business have financed its decade-long acquisition binge in analytics, with the implication that university customers are budgetary victims twice over. The products’ purpose, I stress, is to streamline the top-down assessment and evaluation practices that have taken hold in recent decades, in tandem with the view that the university’s main purpose is to grow regional and national economies. A final pair of concerns is that publishers’ prediction projects may camouflage and perpetuate existing biases in the system—and that scholars may internalize an analytics mindset, one already encouraged by citation counts and impact factors.