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    What’s the matter with ebooks? In our praise for print, we forget the great virtues of digital formats.

What’s the matter with ebooks? In our praise for print, we forget the great virtues of digital formats.

Do print versions still have an advantage over electronic formats? Ebook sales may be reaching a plateau but Dan Cohen argues there may be much more dark reading going on than the stats are showing. A huge and growing percentage of ebooks are being sold by indie publishers or authors themselves, and a third of them don’t even have ISBNs, the universal ID used to track […]

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    Gold open access in practice: How will universities respond to the rising total cost of publication?

Gold open access in practice: How will universities respond to the rising total cost of publication?

Are universities able to shoulder the costs of the open access transition? Stephen Pinfield presents findings on the current state of institutional costs. The total cost of publication is defined as existing subscription costs, article processing charges (APCs) and the costs of administering them. So is the total cost of publication rising for universities overall? In the short term at […]

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    The Academic Book of the Future: exploring academic practices and expectations for the monograph.

The Academic Book of the Future: exploring academic practices and expectations for the monograph.

What does the future hold for academic books? Rebecca Lyons introduces The Academic Book of the Future, a two-year project funded by the AHRC in collaboration with the British Library in which a cross-disciplinary team from University College London and King’s College London explores how scholarly work in the Arts and Humanities will be produced, read, shared, and preserved […]

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    Beyond Beall’s List: We need a better understanding of predatory publishing without overstating its size and danger.

Beyond Beall’s List: We need a better understanding of predatory publishing without overstating its size and danger.

Although predatory publishers predate open access, their recent explosion was expedited by the emergence of fee-charging OA journals. Monica Berger and Jill Cirasella argue that librarians can play an important role in helping researchers to avoid becoming prey. But there remains ambiguity over what makes a publisher predatory. Librarians can help to counteract the misconceptions and alarmism that stymie the acceptance […]

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    Academia is a reputation economy — data-sharing policies should take incentives into account.

Academia is a reputation economy — data-sharing policies should take incentives into account.

Data sharing has the potential to facilitate wider collaboration and foster scientific progress. But while 88% of researchers in a recent study confirmed they would like to use shared data, only 13% had actually made their own data publicly available. Benedikt Fecher, Sascha Friesike, Marcel Hebing, Stephanie Linek, and Armin Sauermann look at the mismatch between ideal and reality and argue that academia is a reputation […]

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    Why the ban on p-values? Understanding sampling error is key to improving the quality of research.

Why the ban on p-values? Understanding sampling error is key to improving the quality of research.

The weight placed on p-values and significance testing has come under increasing criticism, with one social psychology journal banning their use entirely. Nicole Radziwill argues that many of the issues come down to sampling errors. Inferential statistics is good because it lets us make decisions about a whole population based on one sample. But inferential statistics is bad if your sample size is […]

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    A blog may get you street credibility, but for formal academic recognition, books are still the preferred medium.

A blog may get you street credibility, but for formal academic recognition, books are still the preferred medium.

Could blogs replace books? Michael Piotrowski reflects on the current scholarly debate surrounding immediacy and impact of academic work. A significant issue for blogs is the lack of formal recognition, largely down to the general lack of pre-publication peer review. Books are more formal in all respects, but this doesn’t disqualify blogs per se. Blogs and books have different strengths and […]

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    Book Review: Rank Hypocrisies: the Insult of the REF by Derek Sayer.

Book Review: Rank Hypocrisies: the Insult of the REF by Derek Sayer.

Publication of the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework evaluation of the quality of work undertaken in all UK universities last December attracted much attention, as league tables of university and department standings were constructed and estimates of the financial consequences of the achieved grades were assessed. Soon after that, a book was published savagely criticising the peer […]

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    Unbundling is Over-rated: On the value of contributing to an edited book

Unbundling is Over-rated: On the value of contributing to an edited book

Terry Clague sheds reasonable doubt on the assertion that contributing to edited book chapters is a waste of time. The sole aim of publication isn’t necessarily to maximise citations. If citations are the only measure of academic value then there’s a danger that academic research becomes the X-Factor. Furthermore, edited collections can also aid discovery of new material where […]

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    The nuts and bolts of peer review: what are the benefits for an early career researcher?

The nuts and bolts of peer review: what are the benefits for an early career researcher?

For many early career researchers, the trepidation in submitting a first review is hard to overcome. Jillian Hart shares her thoughts following a workshop run by Sense About Science aimed at uncovering the peer review process and tackling those anxieties. She reflects on the benefits for researchers, collectively and individually, in being part of a community of peer reviewers. In this age of consumerism […]

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    The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

Given the enormous amount of new knowledge produced every day, keeping up-to-date on all the literature is increasingly difficult. Peter Kraker argues that visualizations could serve as universal guides to knowledge domains. He and colleagues have come up with an interactive way of automating the visualisations of entire fields along with relevant articles. Through similarity measures identified in a Mendeley-powered data-set, a researcher can see the […]

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    Reference rot in web-based scholarly communication and link decoration as a path to mitigation

Reference rot in web-based scholarly communication and link decoration as a path to mitigation

The failure of a web address to link to the appropriate online source is a significant problem facing scholarly material. Martin Klein and Herbert Van de Sompel together with their collaborators have investigated the extent of reference rot on scholarly domains and their results show an alarming link rot ratio. The authors also explore ways to mitigate it through more systematic […]

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    Self-archived articles receive higher citation counts than non-OA articles from same political science journals.

Self-archived articles receive higher citation counts than non-OA articles from same political science journals.

The low level of research funding for the social sciences in the US is likely to have a direct and negative effect on researchers’ ability to pay the article processing charges associated with the most common Gold OA business model. But there are other options. Amy Atchison and Jonathan Bull look at the benefits of Green Open Access. Their research indicates self-archived/ Green […]

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    Are the natural sciences missing out by not embracing the monograph like the humanities and social sciences?

Are the natural sciences missing out by not embracing the monograph like the humanities and social sciences?

According to a recent HEFCE-commissioned report on monographs and open access, books in the humanities and social sciences are a valuable vehicle for research communication and the synthesis of complex research ideas. Steven Hill welcomes the report’s contributions and also reflects on whether the natural sciences are missing out by not more widely embracing the monograph as part of their own disciplinary practice.

One […]

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    The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

Systematic reviews are widely accepted as a ‘gold standard’ in evidence synthesis and the meta-analysis within provides a powerful means of looking across datasets. Neal Haddaway argues that while certain fields have embraced these reviews, there is a great opportunity for their growth in other fields. One way to encourage secondary synthesis is for researchers to ensure their data is reported in […]

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    Obstacles to innovation in digital publishing can be easily overcome by opening up legal channels for experimentation

Obstacles to innovation in digital publishing can be easily overcome by opening up legal channels for experimentation

When researchers are asked what innovation they need/want in publishing, they can be unimaginative in their responses for new technology. Martin Eve argues that by concentrating innovation into the hands of an ever-decreasing number of publishers, innovation and improvement become the responsibility of a market-driven publishing industry, and are therefore limited. Rather, when people are legally free to experiment, good […]

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    Disciplinary identities are tightly bound by exclusion. What would scholarship based on inclusion look like?

Disciplinary identities are tightly bound by exclusion. What would scholarship based on inclusion look like?

The politics of distinct disciplinary communities have shaped and arranged scholarly communication filters around practices of exclusion. Whilst these negative filters may have once served a useful purpose, Cameron Neylon argues that the digital world offers an opportunity to build better filters, positive filters – filters that enrich, instead of filters that exclude.

There’s an argument I often hear that brings me […]

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Unravelling the true cost of publishing in open access

Universities must continue to monitor and track the variety of associated spending related to journal publishing and access, argues Lorraine Estelle. Many universities are forecasting that their APCs will more than double in number by 2018. Much of the difficulty in assessing the costs arises from the fact that the market is not transparent. Furthermore, the price of the APC is just one part of the […]

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    Scholarly communities face crucial social challenges in maintaining digital networks that can sustain participation.

Scholarly communities face crucial social challenges in maintaining digital networks that can sustain participation.

If we are going to take full advantage of the affordances that digital networks provide—facilitating forms of scholarly communication from those as seemingly simple as the tweet to those as complex as the journal article, the monograph, and their born-digital descendants— Kathleen Fitzpatrick argues we must focus as much on the social challenges that these networks raise as we […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.