Novel breakthroughs in research can have a dramatic impact on scientific discovery but face some distinct disadvantages in getting wider recognition. Jian Wang, Reinhilde Veugelers, Paula Stephan present an overview of their findings which suggest an inherent bias in bibliometric measures against novel research. The bias is of particular concern given the increased reliance funding agencies place on classic bibliometric indicators in making funding […]
Open science has finally hit the mainstream. Alex Lancaster looks at the emerging criticisms leveled against how we publish and disseminate science and argues it may be time to reframe the open science project. Rather than relying on instrumentalist language of “carrot-and-sticks” and “rewards-and-incentives” we should instead focus on the actual working conditions for scientists and the political economy in […]
Blockchain technology has the capacity to make digital goods immutable, transparent, and provable. Sönke Bartling and Benedikt Fecher look at the technical aspects of blockchain and also discuss its application in the research world. Blockchain could strengthen science’s verification process, helping to make more research results reproducible, true, and useful.
Currently blockchain is being hyped. Many claim that the blockchain […]
Developing SocArXiv — a new open archive of the social sciences to challenge the outdated journal system.
While STEM disciplines have developed a number of mechanisms to challenge the time-lags and paywalls of traditional academic publishing, options in the social sciences remain few and far between. Philip Cohen of the University of Maryland argues a cultural shift is taking place in the social sciences. He introduces SocArxiv, a fast, free, open paper server to encourage wider open […]
Cameron Neylon (Curtin University), David Michael Roberts (University of Adelaide) and Mark C Wilson (University of Auckland) have conducted a large-scale survey of what mathematicians think of their scholarly publishing options and what improvements are required. Covering topics like open access, peer review and editorial processes, the survey findings reveal some fascinating insights into the scholarly communication system as […]
SAGE Open five years on: Lessons learned and future thoughts on open access in humanities and social sciences.
SAGE Open is celebrating its 5th birthday. When SAGE Publishing launched SAGE Open in 2010, the humanities and social sciences were still grappling with how to approach open access (OA). Through its mega-journal, well over 1000 articles have now been published OA, and it is one of SAGE’s most-used journals. Dave Ross looks back at the journal’s growth and lessons […]
Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci
The MSF Scientific Days are a round of conferences looking at how humanitarian action can be improved by scientific research and innovation. On behalf of the organisers, Sarah Venis presents an overview. This year will feature a strong focus on the effects of the Syrian conflict and the resultant refugee and migration crisis. Another theme will also look at how […]
Elsevier purchase SSRN: Social scientists face questions over whether centralised repository is in their interests.
The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), an online repository for uploading preprint articles and working papers, has been recently acquired by publishing giant Elsevier. Thomas Leeper looks at what this purchase, and for-profit academic services more generally, mean for the scholarly community. Many regular users may not be aware that SSRN has been run by a privately held corporation since its founding […]
Drawing on citation data that spans disciplines and time periods, Elliott Green has identified the most cited publications in the social sciences. Here he shares his findings on the 25 most cited books as well as the top ten journal articles. The sheer number of citations for these top cited publications is worth noting as is the fact that […]
Are the ‘gatekeepers’ becoming censors? On editorial processes and the interests of the scholarly community.
Questions about the proper role of learned journals and of publishers are brought to the fore in a recent exchange over suggested edits to a book review. William St Clair shares his experience and the review in question and wonders whether some learned journals are becoming afraid to facilitate discussion of academic issues.
In 2015, I was invited by the […]
Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?
The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]
How to deal with being “scooped”: The vast majority of science is a process of derivative, incremental advance.
Researchers are under increasing pressure to deliver novel research findings and as such, it can be incredibly disheartening when another team publishes ahead of you on a similar topic. But is this competitive mentality true to the scientific process? Chris Chambers argues there are several positive sides to being “scooped” and by focusing on these positives, researchers can overcome […]
How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.
Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]
Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.
It is impossible to work in a university and avoid coming into contact with copyright at some point, especially given the ease with which online content can be copied, pasted, streamed, downloaded and shared. Chris Morrison and Jane Secker provide a helpful explainer of copyright in universities and break down the complexity of how copyright works in practice.
The Association […]
Five Minutes with Timothy Gowers: “Academics can publish journals of the highest quality without a commercial entity”
Fields Medal-winning Cambridge mathematician Sir Timothy Gowers and a team of colleagues have recently launched a new editor-owned Open Access (OA) journal for mathematics. Discrete Analysis is an arXiv overlay journal, which means articles are submitted and hosted via the preprint server arXiv first. The journal coordinates peer-review and publishes via Scholastica with no cost to reader or author. Gowers reflects here […]
Yesterday Steven Hill spoke at the University Press Redux conference in Liverpool on the role of policy in shaping the academic book of the future. This post is a summary of the argument of his talk. While there is much potential for innovation, the uptake seems slow. Even when we see the benefits of innovation, the change in process […]
The University Press Redux: Balancing traditional university values with a culture of digital innovation.
This week the first UK conference on the state and future of university presses is taking place. The university press concept has regained strength in recent years and in the last 12 months alone a host of new presses have been launched in the UK. Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press shares his thoughts on the changing landscape of […]
Enabling authors to pay for open access – The Gold Open Access market and the role of an institutional central fund.
Having tracked and analysed the usage data of one university’s central open access fund over an eight year period, Stephen Pinfield shares findings from a detailed case study of the paid-for Gold Open Access market. Mandates, particularly if accompanied by funding, have played a very important role in encouraging uptake of Gold OA. Communication was a crucial factor in making potential users of […]
Academics generally recognise that the scholarly publishing business model is flawed, the impact factor does not point to quality, and open access is a good idea. And yet, academics continue to submit their work to the same for-profit journals. Philip Moriarty looks at what is keeping academics from practicing what they preach. Despite many efforts to counter the perception, journal ‘branding’ […]