Meticulous self-evaluative practices in the offices of academic periodicals can be helpful in reducing widespread uncertainty about the quality of scholarly journals. This paper summarizes the results of the second part of a qualitative worldwide study among 258 senior editors of scholarly journals across disciplines. By means of a qualitative questionnaire, the survey investigated respondents’ perceptions of needed changes in their own editorial workflow that could, according to their beliefs, positively affect the quality of their journals. The results show that the most relevant past improvements indicated by respondents were achieved by: (a) raising the required quality criteria for manuscripts, by defining standards for desk rejection and/or shaping the desired qualities of the published material, and (b) guaranteeing a rigorous peer review process. Respondents believed that, currently, three areas have the most pressing need for amendment: ensuring higher overall quality of published articles (26% of respondents qualified this need as very high or high), increasing the overall quality of peer-review reports (23%), and raising reviewers’ awareness of the required quality standards (20%). Bivariate analysis shows that respondents who work with non-commercial publishers reported an overall greater need to improve implemented quality assessment processes. Work overload, inadequate reward systems, and a lack of time for development activities were cited by respondents as the greatest obstacles to implementing necessary amendments.
Accessing quality research when not part of an academic institution can be challenging. Dating back to the 1980s, open access (OA) was a response to journal publishers who restricted access to publications by requiring a subscription and limited access to knowledge. Although the OA movement seeks to remove costly barriers to accessing research, especially when funded by state and federal governments, it remains the subject of continuous debates. After providing a brief overview of OA, this article summarizes OA statutory and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels regarding free and open access to research. It compares similarities and differences among enacted and proposed legislation and describes the advantages and disadvantages of these laws. It analyzes the effects of these laws in higher education, especially on university faculty regarding tenure and promotion decisions as well as intellectual property rights to provide recommendations and best practices regarding the future of legislation and regulation in the United States.