It is widely accepted that academic papers are rarely cited or even read. But what kind of data lies behind these assertions? Dahlia Remler takes a look at the academic research on citation practices and finds that whilst it is clear citation rates are low, much confusion remains over precise figures and methods for determining accurate citation analysis. In […]
To argue against open access on the grounds that it damages the reach of research is to undersell research.
In this article, Ben Johnson posits that the frequently asked questions concerning open access implementation for particular disciplines arise from an incomplete conception of the nature of openness more generally. This conception neglects one vital component of openness: connection. Connection requires moving beyond a view of open access as a disruptive process towards a more nuanced picture of the interrelationship between openness, […]
The global scope and popularity of Wikipedia make it an ideal medium for researchers to share expertise. But it has been difficult to find an efficient way to link accessible scholarly work into the edits. Martin Poulter describes how the journal PLOS Computational Biology has tackled this issue by inviting submissions of review papers on a specific topic or research technique that has no […]
Accelerating the revolution in political science publishing: shorter, faster, more transparent and freely available.
Editors of the recently launched journal Research and Politics, Catherine de Vries and Bernard Steunenberg, provide background on why publishing in political science requires a reboot. Time lags in conventional publishing and the limited accessibility of articles can undermine researchers’ attempts to maximise the impact of their work. It is time to add to the publishing repertoire tools and formats that are both […]
Designing ‘attention points’ in academic work: Four principles for improving tables, graphs, charts and diagrams.
Attention points in a written text help to focus readers’ attention on the key points of the research findings. While the inclusion of such points are generally recognised as vital, Patrick Dunleavy finds that in practice, many scholarly writers struggle with basic design strategies. He identifies four top-level design principles to consider when constructing tables, charts, graphs, or diagrams. Particularly in a digital era […]
HEFCE announces Open Access policy for the next REF in the UK: Why this Open Access policy will be a game-changer.
With the final consultation period now over, the Open Access policy for the next REF has been released. Alma Swan looks at the rollout which requires the deposit of articles into repositories and finds this is pragmatic but good policymaking. With that simple requirement, the culture in British universities can be shifted towards open access. Swan also notes areas where […]
What exactly do book publishers bring to the table when academics look to reach wider audiences? Francine O’Sullivan reflects on the shifting priorities of academic book publishers in the digital age and the need to ensure added value to the overall process. She provides a list of things an author or editor should expect a high quality academic book […]
Wellcome Trust’s Open Access spend 2012-13: Are fees charged by major publishers creating a new serials crisis?
Publishers have reacted to open access mandates by offering hybrid “Open” options through Article Processing Charges. Ernesto Priego digs into the data released by the Wellcome Trust on the highest and lowest article processing charge expenditures in 2012-2013 and finds these figures reveal a mere inversion of the business model. Enabling Open Access costs money. But does it cost as much as […]
The impact of research data is now of definitive importance for universities, funders and disciplines themselves. Similar to the wave of preprint repositories established for journal articles that helped preserve access to papers in disciplines not otherwise catered for, we are now seeing a steady stream of institutional data repositories emerging. Alex Ball provides the background for a Jisc project looking to […]
Book Review: Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, edited by Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry & Rumona Dickson
Writing a systematic review is one of the most challenging aspects of the academic process. With Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry and Rumona Dickson aim to offer a detailed and effective guide to writing a successful systematic review. This takes the book beyond the usual “How to…” literature, and makes it a valuable resource for both […]
Making it Free, Making it Open: Crowdsourced transcription project leads to unexpected benefits to digital research.
The Transcribe Bentham project, a benchmark achievement for digital humanities research, relies on volunteer transcribers in order to make Jeremy Bentham’s writings more well known, accessible, and searchable, over the long term. Melissa Terras discusses the project’s underpinning ethos which emphasised “co-creation” rather than academic broadcast. This open ethos is also reflected in their approach to making the preprint of their journal article available […]
Experiment in open peer review for books suggests increased fairness and transparency in feedback process.
Over two-thirds of Palgrave Macmillan authors thought academic publishers should be experimenting with alternative peer review methods. Hazel Newton, the Head of Digital Publishing at Palgrave Macmillan describes their current peer review pilot investigating how open feedback functions in monograph publishing, from the initial proposal to the finished result. Reflections from Katherine Cartmell and Shepard Masocha, a reviewer and an author in this […]
Regardless of the rhetoric about more openness in academic research, institutions appear to be failing to address some of the deeper issues. In order to stave off the steady rise of regulation and monitoring and to present a coherent alternative to instrumental views about research, it falls to researchers themselves to define the ethos of openness. Andrew C. Rawnsley discusses the moral substance of claims about […]
Opening Science: The evolving guide on how the Internet is changing research, collaboration and scholarly publishing.
Open research practices seek to make scientific practice more efficient and accessible. A new book offers an overview of the Open Science landscape. Benedikt Fecher, Sönke Bartling, Sascha Friesike outline why ‘research on research’ is necessary and also demonstrate how to contribute to the collection via GitHub. A cultural shift in how science can be done is under way as a result of […]
Due to unequal funding streams and leadership structures, dominant frameworks emerge within interdisciplinary departments. Elizabeth Dzeng shares her experience in the field of medical social science where the drive to publish in high impact journals pushes researchers to conform to predominantly objectivist definitions of quality, rather than more interpretive frameworks. Cross-fertilization of ideas will remain limited unless we redefine quality to include […]
Impact Round-Up 15th February: In gratitude to Stuart Hall, #publishperish14 and the fallacy of web objectivity.
Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. In gratitude to Stuart Hall, a socialist intellectual who taught us to confront the political with a smile by Ben Carrington at Africa is a Country: Hall is also the figure that most makes apparent the critical distinction between […]
Circulation patterns show books in STEM and social sciences are accessed just as much as humanities books.
Drawing from comprehensive circulation data showing how monographs are accessed across disciplines at the University of Notre Dame library, Parker Ladwig and Thurston Miller challenge the assumption that STEM and social science books are accessed less frequently over time than monographs in the humanities. This data and similar studies can help to improve library services by providing a more informed understanding […]
Improving on “Access to Research”: Restrictive access and licensing fail to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Major academic publishers have supported an initiative equipping public libraries with free access to a number of subscription journal articles. Cameron Neylon argues this Access to Research scheme is an empty political gesture that fails to meet the needs of the UK public. By web scraping the information provided by the initiative’s site, Neylon shows that the scope of the service […]
Impact Round-Up 8th February: Love warfare, copyright assignment, and illuminating Persian manuscripts.
Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. Timing perfectly with the run-up to Valentine’s Day, Love and Other Secondhand Emotions by Jacqui Shine at Chronicle Vitae and In the Name of Love by Miya Tokumitsu in the most recent issue of Jacobin both discuss issues with the rhetoric of love […]