Challenges of scholarly communication: bibliometric transparency and impact

Abstract:  Citation metrics have value because they aim to make scientific assessment a level playing field, but urgent transparency-based adjustments are necessary to ensure that measurements yield the most accurate picture of impact and excellence. One problematic area is the handling of self-citations, which are either excluded or inappropriately accounted for when using bibliometric indicators for research evaluation. In this talk, in favour of openly tracking self-citations, I report on a study of self-referencing behaviour among various academic disciplines as captured by the curated bibliometric database Web of Science. Specifically, I examine the behaviour of thousands of authors grouped into 15 subject areas like Biology, Chemistry, Science and Technology, Engineering, and Physics. In this talk, I focus on the methodological set-up of the study and discuss data science related problems like author name disambiguation and bibliometric indicator modelling. This talk bases on the following publication: Kacem, A., Flatt, J. W., & Mayr, P. (2020). Tracking self-citations in academic publishing. Scientometrics, 123(2), 1157–1165. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-020-03413-9

 

From library budget to information budget: fostering transparency in the transformation towards open access

The discussion on the transformation of scholarly journals to open access (OA) increasingly concerns financial aspects. Considering the variety of funding strategies for article processing charge (APCs), the array of cost types for scientific information and the need for data monitoring to promote cost transparency, an integrated view of the financial dimension of the OA transition is needed. This commentary describes the need for implementing an information budget that looks beyond just the library budget and comprehensively targets all financial flows from universities and other research performing organizations to publishers. An information budget promotes an integrated perspective on the distributed costs at a given institution. This centralized approach of assessing financial flows can be used to strengthen the position of research institutions when negotiating with publishers.

From library budget to information budget: fostering transparency in the transformation towards open access

The discussion on the transformation of scholarly journals to open access (OA) increasingly concerns financial aspects. Considering the variety of funding strategies for article processing charge (APCs), the array of cost types for scientific information and the need for data monitoring to promote cost transparency, an integrated view of the financial dimension of the OA transition is needed. This commentary describes the need for implementing an information budget that looks beyond just the library budget and comprehensively targets all financial flows from universities and other research performing organizations to publishers. An information budget promotes an integrated perspective on the distributed costs at a given institution. This centralized approach of assessing financial flows can be used to strengthen the position of research institutions when negotiating with publishers.

Open Science: Following the Roadmap for Research – Focus on Transparency | Temerty Faculty of Medicine

“This is the second session in the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) hosted virtual series, Open Science: Following the Roadmap for Research. This session will Focus on Transparency.

Sharing scientific outputs at different points across the research cycle and in ways that allow for discovery, access, and reuse is fundamental to increasing transparency in science. This session will examine the importance of sharing research findings to allow for public access and engagement, particularly for results that inform decision-making and impact public policy.”

Making Research a Global Enterprise – The Scholarly Kitchen

“As we publishers publish articles on transparency and accountability of numerous systems ? from enterprises to national governments to global coordinating bodies ? can we be more open about our article processing charges (APCs) – how are they calculated and how much are they based on actual expenses versus charging for the journal’s perceived brand value ? …”

Four Urgent Recommendations for Open Access Negotiations with Publishers – LIBER Europe

The Four Urgent Recommendations

100% open access under fair conditions, or no agreement
Pricing of open access publishing services must be fair and transparent
Define strategies to support a diversity of open publishing venues
Engage stakeholders in the process of transition

 

ARL Supports cOAlitionS Call for Publisher Transparency and Reduced Author Burden for Immediate Open Access – Association of Research Libraries

“The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) endorses the cOAlition S call to publishers asking for greater clarity and transparency in manuscript submission processes, enabling authors to exercise the right to retain their copyright and to meet Plan S grant obligations for immediate open access (OA) dissemination of their research articles. Urgent global challenges underscore a growing consensus on the benefits of immediate open access. In a time of experimentation with business models to achieve that goal, transparency is critically important for all stakeholders—including funders, research institutions, and their libraries—to make data-informed decisions with the resources they steward. What cOAlition S proposes will also reduce author burden with respect to decision-making and publication workflow as researchers navigate the policy environment to realize immediate OA. In alignment with cOAlition S’s request to publishers, ARL works for optimal institutional and public policies–including a balanced copyright regime–that expand access to knowledge. Our member libraries partner on implementation of those policies in the research ecosystem, including consultation on open licensing, publishing, and other open research practices….”

IARLA endorses cOAlition S call for greater transparency from publishers – IARLA

“IARLA, representing the research libraries of Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, and the United States, endorses cOAlition S’s March 1, 2022 letter to publishers requesting more transparent policies and contracts for authors at the point of submission.  We remain strongly supportive of authors exercising their rights using the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy. 

cOAlition S requests that publishers make their policies and contracts more transparent at the outset of the submission process. The request outlined in the letter that was sent today to a large number of publishers is intended to make publisher submission workflows and processes as clear and straightforward as possible for authors and to help them meet their pre-existing grant conditions.”

Nature is trialling transparent peer review — the early results are encouraging

“In an attempt to change things, Nature Communications has since 2016 been encouraging authors to publish peer-review exchanges. In February 2020, and to the widespread approval of Twitter’s science community, Nature announced that it would offer a similar opportunity. Authors of new manuscript submissions can now have anonymous referee reports — and their own responses to these reports — published at the same time as their manuscript. Those who agree to act as reviewers know that both anonymous reports and anonymized exchanges with authors might be published. Referees can also choose to be named, should they desire.

A full year’s data are now in, and the results are encouraging. During 2021, nearly half (46%) of authors chose to publish their discussions with reviewers, although there is variation between disciplines (see ‘Peer review opens up’). Early data suggest more will do so in 2022. This is a promising trend. And we strongly encourage more researchers to take this opportunity to publish their exchanges. Last year, some 69% of Nature Communication’s published research articles were accompanied by anonymous peer-review reports together with author–reviewer exchanges, including manuscripts in life sciences (73% of published papers), chemistry (59%), physics (64%) and Earth sciences (77%)….

The benefits to research are huge. Opening up peer review promotes more transparency, and is valuable to researchers who study peer-review systems. It is also valuable to early-career researchers more broadly. Each set of reports is a real-life example, a guide to how to provide authors with constructive feedback in a collegial manner….”

Enabling Open Access through clarity and transparency: a request to publishers

 

cOAlition S is delighted to see many publishers making moves to increase Open Access (OA) for research publications. However, some publishers’ practices still cause difficulties for authors who wish to exercise their right to make their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) open access immediately on publication using the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy.

To address this issue, cOAlition S requests that publishers make their policies and contracts more transparent at the outset of the submission process. The request outlined in the letter that was sent today to a large number of publishers is intended to make publisher submission workflows and processes as clear and straightforward as possible for authors and to help them meet their pre-existing grant conditions.

 

Guidelines for Transformative Agreements – ESAC Initiative

“Below are some of the fundamental guidelines of transformative agreements, as defined by the ESAC Initiative community; a listing of the specific requirements that have been adopted by national consortia and other organizations can be found here https://esac-initiative.org/guidelines/. …”

Transparency | OurResearch

“We think that organizations working for Open should be sure that they’re being open themselves–with their code and data, and with the details of their operation. We’re doing our best to live up to that, and this page is part of that effort. If you’ve got feedback, drop us a line!

All monetary figures are in US dollars.”

OA and fiscal sponsorship: Interview with SPARC’s Heather Joseph

“The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) was founded in 1998 as a program area within The Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Since then it has gone on to become the world’s most influential open access advocacy group.

As SPARC’s activities grew, however, there were concerns that its success could jeopardise ARL’s tax-exempt status. In 2014, therefore, it signed an administrative agreement with New Venture Fund (NVF), a non-profit fiscal sponsorship organisation located in Washington, DC.

Although this change took place eight years ago, I have seen little or no commentary about it until recently (although I may simply have missed it).

At the end of last year, however, a disgruntled OA advocate pointed me to some tweets critical of SPARC and its association with NVF; and earlier this month I was alerted to a post published in 2018 that also seems to be critical of SPARC.”

cOAlition S starts building its Journal Comparison Service to help create visibility of publishing services and prices | Plan S

“cOAlition S is pleased to announce that work has commenced on building the Journal Comparison Service to help the research community better understand if the publishing fees they pay are commensurate with the services delivered and to gain better insight into the elements of those services.

After concluding the tender process, the European Science Foundation (ESF), on behalf of cOAlition S, has assigned to Cottage Labs the task to build and provide the technical support for the Journal Comparison Service. Cottage Labs, a UK data services and software company with solid experience in providing open access services for academia, will deliver the work in partnership with Antleaf consultancy.

Under the contract, Cottage Labs will build a secure, multi-factor authentication web-based service which will enable academic publishers to upload data in accord with one of the approved cOAlition S Price and Service Transparency Frameworks. At the same time, approved users will be able to determine what services are provided and at what price for a given journal or compare the services offered and prices charged by several journals. …”