Can Publishers Maintain Control of the Scholarly Record? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“More recently, as Oya and Roger analyzed in the spring, an alternative vision for preprints has emerged, one pursued by all of the major commercial publishers, among others. In this new model, publishers are promoting preprints but at the same time working to domesticate them, bringing them within their article submission workflows and linking preprints and versions of record in a way that will over time serve to deprecate the ability of the former to disrupt the latter. By restructuring the place of preprints less as part of a global research community (for example, for high energy physics) and instead linked directly with journal brands, publishers hope they will reinforce the existing value proposition. It remains to be seen how this vision will dovetail with, or perhaps over time impede, the mandate of community-based preprint services such as arXiv and bioRxiv to provide publisher-neutral platforms, decoupling the early sharing of research from the formal publishing stage in a way that enables authors to avoid having their findings associated exclusively with specific journals. …

 

If anything, the landscape for research data is more complicated than that for preprints. It has come to include domain-specific structures, cross-institutional generalist structures, and increasingly substantial institutional investments. There are also some interesting new models developing for dataset discovery and capturing datasets within records associated with researcher identity. …

 

The scholarly record is fracturing, as shown by these twin examples of preprints and research datasets. Publishers are pursuing an effort to integrate preprints into their workflows and value propositions, but whether they will succeed in doing so remains to be seen. They seem to be far less certain of how to similarly integrate research data, which does make sense given that datasets correspond less directly to the published article than does a preprint….

For the publishing sector, this fracture seems to pose challenges. Those parties that are concerned about consolidation and profit margins in publishing might see in these challenges an opportunity. While perhaps unrealistic, as a thought exercise, we wonder what it would look like to make a large-scale capital investment in promoting the fracture? Might scholarly societies or others interested in stewarding research communities find a way to promote a refactored scholarly record? ”