Monday, July 3, 2017

Modern history of scholarly publishing

St Andrews School of History is engaged in a research project concerning scholarly publishing: "
Publishing the Philosophical Transactions The Economic, Social and Cultural History of a Learned Journal, 1665-2015"
Since it was 350 years ago in 2015 that the first scientific journal - Philosophical Transactions - published the concept of a scientific journal more or less stayed the same.

Bur especially after World War II things started to change in the commerical and publishing practices of scientific journals.
You can read about it in a report "Untangling AcademicPublishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research" by Dr Aileen Fyfe.

Until then most of the scientific papers were published by scientific societies, but after the war commercial publishers start taking over and made scientific publishing a highly profitable business.

In a long read in The Guardian you can read about the role of Robert Maxwell and Pergamon publishers in making publishing profitable. "Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientificpublishing bad for science?"
The concept of peer review emerged and the impact factor made scientific publishing into a winning business. Pergamon became Elsevier and the profits raised to 40%.

Business seemed to flaw a bit with the digitization, but Elsevier invented the 'big deals' to make this profitable business payable for the university libraries.
With the rise of the Open Access movement there came more  discussion on the organisation of scholarly publishing. Unfortunately mainly between libraries and publishers.
The general argument of the report is that it is time to look again at whether learned societies should be taking more of a role in research dissemination and maybe financially supporting it, with particular criticism of those learned societies who contract out production of their publications to commercial publishers and do not pay attention to those publishers’ policies and behaviour.

Read also the blog by Robert Harrington in Scholarly Kitchen to urge learned societies to be more critical to commercial publishers and even to move toward an open access publisher.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sharing your article

Next to the emerging trend of open access publishing, publishers are working on ways  of improved scholarly sharing.

Scholarly sharing started with the academic social networks like ResearchGate, Academia.Edu, Mendeley. These academic social networks - or so called 'scholarly collaborating networks' try to connect researchers and have them exchange their research.
They all offer the opportunity to share and exchange publications.

The International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers, created the “How Can I Share It site to advise scientists on sharing within the existing guidelines.
There you can read what is allowed for what king of publication version and on what kind of network.

Most articles can be shared using the preprint version, using for example a preprint server. Check out the list of preprint servers, most famous of course arXiv, but also important bioRxiv, PeerJ Preprint and F1000Research.

For the general publication permissions you can check the Sherpa Romeo site. This is a JISC -service (British service to support higher education). It gives information on publishers copyright policies and self-archiving.

Springer Nature now has it "SharedIt", so that authors can share links to view-only versions of their articles. 

Please also read about the ways to find open access versions of the research article you are looking for. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

How to find scientific papers including the green open access ones?

Not all scientific papers are readily available. Traditional publishers are still publishing the majority of their articles behind paywalls (= restricting access to Internet content via a paid subscription).
Since the emerging of the Open Access Movement it has become more common for universities and other parties to publish the text of scientific articles in their repositories for free = so called green open access (= self-archiving). These are usually the manuscript versions (.i.e. the version that is not lay outed yet by the publisher).
It is not always easy to find especially these green open access versions, if the publisher’s version is paywalled.

However, there are some initiatives to make it easier for you to find these papers.

BASE : Bielefeld Academic Search Engine. 

We are indexing the metadata of all kinds of academically relevant resources - journals, institutional repositories, digital collections etc. -, which provide an OAI interface and use OAI-PMH for providing their contents.
Unpaywall add-on for Chrome and Firefox
Millions of researchers are currently uploading their own fulltext PDFs to preprint servers and institutional repositories worldwide, making them free for anyone to read.
The people of Impactstory have created a browser extension that suggest you to find an unpaywalled version of your article. Next to the journal appears a small icon, if it is green you can click on it and find the free version. 

OAdoi: Leap over tall paywalls in a single bound.
Go to the website and paste in a doi: An oaDOI link is like a DOI, with a useful difference: if there's an open access version of the article, the oaDOI URL will send you there, instead of the paywalled article landing page.
These are all legal uploads made available via  green open access.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

New impact factor for journals: Citescore

Elsevier launched a new metric to measure a journal's impact.PuzzlePieces_850x425.jpgCiteScore

CiteScore is powered by SCOPUS and calculateds the citations from documents from the previous 3 years.
In the subject area of Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics the list is headed by Systematic Biology followed by Annual Review of Entomology. These are not in the JCR-index of Ecology journals.
But on the third place in both lists is” Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics”. The CitesScore is 11.86 en de JIF is 17.547. The highest in JCR in the subject category “Ecology” is “Trends in Ecology and Evolution”(30,421) and this journal has a CiteScore of (11,11).  In both indexes followed by “Ecology Letters”( 25,887 resp. 10,86)  and ISME Journal (13,569 resp.  9.64).
In Nature a preliminary comparison was made and they concluded:
“When it comes to their underlying formulae, CiteScore and JIF are near-doppelgängers. To score any journal in any given year, both tot up the citations received to documents that were published in previous years, and divide that by the total number of documents. The most popular version of the JIF looks at research articles published in the previous two years, whereas CiteScore stretches back to the previous three.  But one significant difference leads some high-JIF journals, such as Nature, Science and The Lancet, to do worse in CiteScore. The new metric counts all documents as potentially citable, including editorials, letters to the editor, corrections and news items. These are less cited by scholars, so they drag down the average. “

Scholars from the University of Washington at also performed some comparison and wrote about it in their blog: “Comparing Impact Factor and Scopus CiteScore”.

One of the things they found is that CiteScore does give a better result for the Elsevier journals than for other journals.

Their conclusion: 
If our preliminary analyis is correct, it means that Scopus has chosen a metric that quite strongly favors the portfolio of journals held by its parent company Elsevier. To be clear, we are not arguing that Scopus has cooked the numbers in any nefarious way. That strikes us as very unlikely. What they may have done, it appears at this early stage, is to cleverly employ the many degrees of freedom that one has when designing a metric, so as make the Elsevier journals look very good.”
Analysis will continue.

The additional benefits of the CiteScore impact factor are listed by Elsevier in a table:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Journal Impact Factor Discussion

Recently a discussion about the value of the impact factor intensified - the discussion on the JIF is already as old as its existence (1961 and in 1969 the first ranking).
 It is well known that there is a skewed distribution of citations in most fields. The so-called 80/20 phenomenon applies, in that 20% of articles may account for 80% of the citations
The skewness of citations is well known and repeated as a mantra by critics of the impact factor. The key determinants of impact factor are not the number of authors or articles in the field but, rather, the citation density and the age of the literature cited.
Says Eugene Garfield in a 2006 article on ' The history and meaning of the  Journal Impact Factor' .
Publishers of high impact factor journals, mainly interdisciplinary now come with a proposal for a different way of presenting citation counting.

The article 'A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions'  by V. Lariviere et. al was published in the preprint-server bioRxiv on July 5, 2016.

They propose to present the journal citation distribution of that journal.
For example in a graph plotting the number of citations against the number af articles 

The authors attach two protocols on how to calculate this citation distribution for a Web of Science output and for use with Scopus.

In Nature News this paper was discussed : 'Beat it, impact factor! Publishing elite turns against controversial metric' , and on July 12 a small news item appeared in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Orcid - Pure Integration

March 7, 2016 Elsevier & OrRCID organized a webinar: "The power of the Pure and ORCID connection".
 - If you have a login with Brighttalk you can watch the recorded session -

The webinar was divided into 3 parts:
- 1). Josh Brown : "Indentifiers and Pure" on the why of the unique identifiers and the description of ORCID as a kind of Identifier Hub.

- 2) Professor Thomas Ryberg  "Pure and Orcid - a happy marriage: - a researchers perspective" with a little critical remarks on the reasons for forcing researchers into systems, without clear benefits for the researchers themselves.

- 3) Manya Buchan : "Pure integration with ORCID" on the one-sided integration with ORCID in release 5.5, where you can export Pure research output to your ORCID.

The question is: "What is the benefit from an export from Pure to ORCID?" . Unfortunately this question was not answered, so it remains unclear why this feature in Pure would be an improvement. But Elsevier promised they are working on the integration the other way around.
The main conclusion can be - in agreement with Thomas Ryberg - that it is necessary to be more concerned about the benefits for the researchers, not only for the managers and system-builders.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Emerging Sources Citation Index

Since release 5.20 in November 2015 the Web of Science Core Collection has another source:
the Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).

To include a new journal into the Web of Science it can take some time.
A journal needs to meet some important criteria:
- Journal Publishing standards: like peer review, ethical publiching practices, timeliness, international
- Editorial Content: is it a niche, coverage etc.
- International Focus: international audience & authors
- Citation Analysis

The total evaluation process can sometimes be too long to give credit to a real innovating new journal. That is why Thoms Reuters came up with a 2-phase evaluation proces.
First phase is the technical and basic evaluation, Second phase is the indepth evaluation.
After the first phase evaluation the journal can be elected into the ESCI.
Then it is indexed inthe Web of Science Core Collection and it can be found in Web of Science, including all of its citations.
Later after phase 2 has been finished the journal can be added to one of the Web of Science Core Collections (Science Citation Index, Social Science Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index.

This will be the procedure:

Read the press release.