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    Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.

Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.

Peer review is flawed. Look no further than the storm of attention over sexist reviewer comments. A new index proposes a simple way to create transparency and quality control mechanisms. Shane Gero and Maurício Cantor believe that giving citable recognition to reviewers can improve the system by encouraging more participation but also higher quality, constructive input, without the need for a […]

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    Why perpetuate a 300-year-old anachronism? Reincarnating the research article into a ‘living document’.

Why perpetuate a 300-year-old anachronism? Reincarnating the research article into a ‘living document’.

Online publication provides us with new freedom to update, amend and extend the research article as we know it. Daniel Shanahan presents a vision of the evolution of the article beyond the limits of the printed page. Creating a living document for a single research project, updated in real time, would lead to it being evaluated based on the […]

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    Empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancy between journal reputation and perceived relevance in economics.

Empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancy between journal reputation and perceived relevance in economics.

Using survey data on the evaluations of 150 economics journals, a recent study explored the relationship between economics journals’ reputation and perceived relevance amongst economists working in the field. Justus Haucap shares some of the headline findings from the analysis based on the survey data. The findings suggest that a journal’s relevance is driven by average article quality, while reputation depends […]

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    How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

In principle, length limits should help with the accessibility and readability of a scientific paper. But in practice these limits often achieve the opposite effect. Now that journals are becoming online-only, Dorothy Bishop argues, lengths limits are far less relevant. Yes, we should encourage authors to be succinct, but not so succinct that scientific communication is compromised.

There was an interesting exchange a […]

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    Data is King: Tracking internal performance metrics at your journal

Data is King: Tracking internal performance metrics at your journal

Academic journals can improve their publishing and review services by understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of their internal processes. Danielle Padula shares insights from a collection on academic journal management and identifies some key performance indicators that journal staff should be tracking. Authors could also consider these metrics when choosing the best outlet for their research.

If you’re like most editors, […]

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    Self-host a scientific journal with eLife Lens: open source software to power open publishing systems.

Self-host a scientific journal with eLife Lens: open source software to power open publishing systems.

The open access journal eLife has an ongoing commitment to not only making their research articles free to read, reuse and remix, but also their publishing software. By making these underlying resources available, academic communities can explore and embrace their own open digital platforms. Michael Aufreiter introduces the key features of the eLife Lens software. With this simple setup publishers can self-host […]

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    Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaboration holds great promise for social science disciplines, but simply replicating practices from STEM disciplines will not necessarily lead to greater quality research. Each discipline has its own language and set of assumptions, argues Jenny Lewis and ground work must be done to set the stage for a successful exchange of ideas. Disciplines that rest on strongly contested knowledge bases […]

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