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….”

Predatory behaviour in publication ethics | COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics

“We’ve recently been seeing a lot of attention to predatory publishers, especially with reference to lists of predatory journals, and ‘safe lists’ (see COPE’s Officers’ Statement on identifying fake journals). Here, we offer an overview of how this issue intersects with a number of other problems in scholarly publishing.

At COPE it is clear that predatory publishing is just one aspect of a wider network of unethical activities. The different elements of this network seek to profit from a system which dilutes the scholarly literature, either dupes authors or actively promotes their unethical behaviour, and wastes millions of pounds of research funding. These actors capitalise on the easy circulation of information across national boundaries on the internet, the pressures to publish in academia, and the growth of Open Access publishing models which can make authors more open to believe offers of rapid publication and low article processing charges (APCs)….”

Paper mills research | COPE: Committee on Publication Ethics

“Recommended actions

A major education exercise is needed to ensure that Editors are aware of the problem of paper mills, and Editors/editorial staff are trained in identifying the fake papers.
Continued investment in tools and systems to pick up suspect papers as they are submitted.
Engagement with institutions and funders to review incentives for researchers to publish valid papers and not use services that will give quick but fake publication.
Investigation of protocols that can be put in place to impede paper mills from succeeding in their goals.
Review the retraction process to take account of the unique features of paper mill papers.
Investigate how to ensure retraction notices are applied to all copies of a paper such as preprint servers and article repositories….”

How open access diamond journals comply with industry standards exemplified by Plan S technical requirements

This study investigated how well current open access (OA) diamond journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and a survey conform to Plan S requirements, including licenses, peer review, author copyright, unique article identifiers, digital archiving, and machine-readable licenses.
Data obtained from DOAJ journals and surveyed journals from mid-June to mid-July 2020 were analyzed for a variety of Plan S requirements. The results were presented using descriptive statistics.
Out of 1,465 journals that answered, 1,137 (77.0%) reported compliance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) principles. The peer review types used by OA diamond journals were double-blind (6,339), blind (2,070), peer review (not otherwise specified, 1,879), open peer review (42), and editorial review (118) out of 10,449 DOAJ journals. An author copyright retention policy was adopted by 5,090 out of 10,448 OA diamond journals (48.7%) in DOAJ. Of the unique article identifiers, 5,702 (54.6%) were digital object identifiers, 58 (0.6%) were handles, and 14 (0.1%) were uniform resource names, while 4,675 (44.7%) used none. Out of 1,619 surveyed journals, the archiving solutions were national libraries (n=170, 10.5%), Portico (n=67, 4.1%), PubMed Central (n=15, 0.9%), PKP PN (n=91, 5.6%), LOCKSS (n=136, 8.4%), CLOCKSS (n=87, 5.4%), the National Computing Center for Higher Education (n=6, 0.3%), others (n=69, 4.3%), no policy (n=855, 52.8%), and no reply (n=123, 7.6%). Article-level metadata deposition was done by 8,145 out of 10,449 OA diamond journals (78.0%) in DOAJ.
OA diamond journals’ compliance with industry standards exemplified by the Plan S technical requirements was insufficient, except for the peer review type.

FORCE11 and COPE Release Recommendations on Data Publishing Ethics for Publishers and Repositories: A Discussion with the Working Group Leadership – The Scholarly Kitchen

“FORCE11 was formed out of a community of researchers, publishers, librarians and software developers who found common cause in attempting to rethink the ecosystem of scholarly communications and get the community to leverage the benefits of electronic scholarship.  Over the years, the group has been at the forefront of initiatives such as data citation, the FAIR initiative, software citation and its use in scholarship, as well as researcher rights among others. Partnerships have also been core to FORCE11’s mission with many of these initiatives being joint efforts across the community including with the Research Data Alliance (RDA), Research Software Alliance (ReSA), UCLA, and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).  

Last fall, the joint FORCE11 & COPE Research Data Publication Ethics Working Group published recommendations for the ethical handling of research data publication. The group has built on the recommendations and released policy templates for journals and publishers, as well as data repositories. Both are freely available via the FORCE11 website. The leaders of this group, Daniella Lowenberg and Iratxe Puebla, along with group member Matthew Cannon, shared their reflections on the project, its goals, and what the group has accomplished ….”

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing – OASPA

“The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organisations that have seen an increase in the number, and broad range in the quality, of membership applications. Our organisations have collaborated to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications and to clarify that these principles form the basis of the criteria by which suitability for membership is assessed by COPE, DOAJ and OASPA, and part of the criteria on which membership applications are evaluated by WAME. Each organisation also has their own, additional criteria which are used when evaluating applications. The organisations will not share lists of or journals that failed to demonstrate that they met the criteria for transparency and best practice.

This is the third version of a work in progress (published January 2018); the first version was made available by OASPA in December 2013 and a second version in June 2015. We encourage its wide dissemination and continue to welcome feedback on the general principles and the specific criteria. Background on the organisations is below….”

Revised principles of transparency and best practice released | OASPA

A revised version of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing has been released by four key scholarly publishing organizations today. These guiding principles are intended as a foundation for best practice in scholarly publishing to help existing and new journals reach the best possible standards. 

The fourth edition of the Principles represents a collective effort between the four organizations to align the principles with today’s scholarly publishing landscape. The last update was in 2018, and the scholarly publishing landscape has changed. Guidance is provided on the information that should be made available on websites, peer review, access, author fees and publication ethics. The principles also cover ownership and management, copyright and licensing, and editorial policies. They stress the need for inclusivity in scholarly publishing and emphasize that editorial decisions should be based on merit and not affected by factors such as the origins of the manuscript and the nationality, political beliefs or religion of the author.


Open and Shut?: Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity: Mistaking intent for action?

“The recent launch of the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) has attracted both plaudits (e.g. here and here) and criticism (e. g. here and here).

What is COPE? It is a call to universities and research funding agencies to “recognise the crucial value of the services provided by scholarly publishers, the desirability of open access [OA] to the scholarly literature, and the need for a stable source of funding for publishers who choose to provide open access to their journals’ contents.”

Signatories to COPE are asked to commit to, “the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication charges for articles written by its faculty and published in fee-based open-access journals and for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.”

Specifically, signatories are invited to create Gold OA Funds to assist researchers to pay to publish their papers in OA journals — which instead of charging readers to read (via a subscription), impose an author-side article processing fee (APC). The deal is that by paying a fee an author can ensure that the publisher will make his or her paper freely available on the Web for anyone to read, and thereby increase its impact.

COPE is the brain child of Harvard’s Stuart Shieber, a professor of computer science, and director of the university’s Office for Scholarly Communication. Shieber outlined the thinking behind COPE in an article published in August in PLoS Biology. COPE is necessary, he explained, because OA journal publishing is currently “at a systematic disadvantage relative to the traditional [subscription, or Toll Access (TA)] model”.

The implication is that authors would be willing to publish their papers in an OA journal, if someone else was prepared to pay the associated publishing fee.

Universities need to support OA publishing, concluded Shieber, in order for it to become “a sustainable, efficient system”. Only then, he added, can the two journal publishing systems (OA and TA) “compete on a more level playing field.”

To date five universities have signed up to COPE, including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell, University of California at Berkeley, and Dartmouth University. …”

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.


Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing – more language versions now available – OASPA

“We are pleased to say that DOAJ has recently made more language versions of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing available, bringing the total number to eighteen.

The Principles are available below and here and all translated versions are available on the DOAJ site at the following links: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian….”

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing – more language versions now available – OASPA

“We are pleased to say that DOAJ has recently made more language versions of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing available, bringing the total number to eighteen.

The Principles are available below and here and all translated versions are available on the DOAJ site at the following links: Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Dutch, English, Farsi, Finnish, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian….”

» How universities can support open-access journal publishing The Occasional Pamphlet

“As a university administrator or librarian, you may see the future in open-access journal publishing and may be motivated to help bring that future about.1 I would urge you to establish or maintain an open-access fund to underwrite publication fees for open-access journals, but to do so in a way that follows the principles that underlie the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE). …”