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    A librarian perspective on Sci-Hub: the true solution to the scholarly communication crisis is in the hands of the academic community, not librarians

A librarian perspective on Sci-Hub: the true solution to the scholarly communication crisis is in the hands of the academic community, not librarians

Sci-Hub is a pirate website that provides free access to millions of research papers otherwise locked behind paywalls. Widespread dissatisfaction with scholarly communications has led many to overlook or dismiss concerns over the site’s legality, praising its disruptive technology and seeing justification in the free access it affords people all over the world. Ruth Harrison, Yvonne Nobis and Charles […]

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    “Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

“Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

Interdisciplinarity is the talk of the town. Funding agencies favour interdisciplinary research proposals, teaching programmes focus on developing interdisciplinary courses, and the publication of interdisciplinary studies has surged over recent decades. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair considers whether interdisciplinarity remains a strategy to surpass the limits of the methodological tools, theories, and views offered by a single discipline or has instead […]

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    Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Early-career researchers are subject to higher levels of scrutiny than ever before, with publication in academic journals essential to how they are funded and evaluated, and how their careers will be built. Margaret K. Merga, Shannon Mason and Julia E. Morris share insights from their own experiences of navigating the journal submission and publication process as ECRs, emphasising the […]

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    The growing, high-stakes audit culture within the academy has brought about a different kind of publishing crisis

The growing, high-stakes audit culture within the academy has brought about a different kind of publishing crisis

The spate of high-profile cases of fraudulent publications has revealed a widening replication, or outright deception, crisis in the social sciences. To Marc Spooner, researchers “cooking up” findings and the deliberate faking of science is a result of extreme pressures to publish, brought about by an increasingly pervasive audit culture within the academy.

By now most readers will have heard […]

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    For genuinely open social science texts, the disguised elitism of citing paywall sources is no longer good enough

For genuinely open social science texts, the disguised elitism of citing paywall sources is no longer good enough

Drawing on their experience in producing a new open access textbook/handbook of UK politics, Patrick Dunleavy and Alice Park outline some inescapable dilemmas around referencing paywalled materials, and how they can be overcome. They also outline how creative design changes can enhance the advantages of a fully digital, open access book for citizens, students, and teachers.

What does doing genuinely […]

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    Flipping a journal to open access will boost its citation performance – but to what degree varies by publisher, field and rank

Flipping a journal to open access will boost its citation performance – but to what degree varies by publisher, field and rank

Many observers have drawn the logical conclusion that the increased exposure and visibility afforded by open access leads to improved citation performance of open access journals. Yang Li, Chaojiang Wu, Erjia Yan and Kai Li report on research examining the perceived open access advantage, paying particular attention to journals which have “flipped” to open access from a subscription model. […]

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    ScholarLed collaboration: a powerful engine to grow open access publishing

ScholarLed collaboration: a powerful engine to grow open access publishing

The rise of open access publishing has created an opportunity for the scholarly community to have greater influence over how the research it produces is disseminated, by enabling the growth of a diverse group of publishers beyond the handful of large, powerful, commercial players currently dominating the academic landscape. Lucy Barnes outlines the vision of ScholarLed, a consortium of […]

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    OpenAPC – transparent reporting on article processing charges reveals the relative costs of open access publishing

OpenAPC – transparent reporting on article processing charges reveals the relative costs of open access publishing

OpenAPC compiles a dataset aggregating all available institutional reporting on article processing charges paid for open access publications. Dirk Pieper describes how this openly available data can provide greater transparency and context to discussions around the overall costs of academic publishing, and also potentially set in motion cost-limiting mechanisms.

A powerful publishing infrastructure, maintained by actors such as publishers, professional […]

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    Plan S[how me the money]: why academic-led initiatives represent a more equitable, less costly publishing future

Plan S[how me the money]: why academic-led initiatives represent a more equitable, less costly publishing future

Plan S, announced last month, represents an exciting example of the scholarly community mobilising to create funding requirements that could lead to an open access future. However, the plan has also raised a number of legitimate concerns, not least the absence of any incentive for publishers to lower journal costs. Brian Cody suggests how simple adjustments to the proposed […]

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    Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

The whole reasoning around open access for books is now aligned to a commercial agenda, where authors invest in openness with the prospect of greater downloads, citations, and impact in return. Marcel Knöchelmann argues that the free market paradigm is particularly ill-suited to humanities and social sciences book publishing and its many diverse scholarly communities. Equitable foundations for open […]

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Do we need to “fail fast” to achieve open access?

Progress to open access has stalled. After two decades of trying, the proportion of born-free articles is stuck at 20%. Kicking off the Impact Blog’s Open Access Week coverage, Toby Green suggests the solution to our financially unsustainable scholarly publishing system may lie in rethinking traditional processes using internet-era norms. Embracing the principle of “fail fast”, all papers should […]

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    Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing

Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing

Over recent years, Knowledge Unlatched has harnessed the effectiveness of its consortial funding model to become the largest gatekeeper to open access for scholarly books. But as Marcel Knöchelmann describes, the changing of its status from that of a community interest company to a German GmbH or public limited company, and that it is now fully owned by the […]

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    The expansion of open access is being driven by commercialisation, where private benefit is adopting the mantle of public value

The expansion of open access is being driven by commercialisation, where private benefit is adopting the mantle of public value

Plan S is the latest initiative to propose that all publicly funded science should be available in open access formats from the day of first publication. However, John Holmwood argues it is important to recognise that open access is itself being promoted in the name of commercial interests, including new, for-profit disrupters but also the large publishing conglomerates capturing the […]

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    The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access

The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access

A recent investigation led by an international group of journalists raised concerns over the scale of the problem of deceptive publishing practices, with many researchers of standing and reputation found to have published in “predatory” journals. However, while the findings of this investigation garnered significant media attention, the robustness of the study itself was not subject to the same […]

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    How information about library collections represents a treasure trove for research in the humanities and social sciences

How information about library collections represents a treasure trove for research in the humanities and social sciences

WorldCat, an aggregate database of library catalogues worldwide, was primarily set up to aid libraries in carrying out their work in areas such as cataloguing or resource sharing. But the information it carries about much of the world’s accumulated published output is also a a unique source of information for answering a wide range of questions about world literature […]

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    Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong

Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong

The attrition of women from STEM careers has been attributed to many factors, such as work/life balance, biased hiring committees, and prejudiced editorial boards. But might it also be that women still do not see themselves as “real” scientists, or lack female role models? Miranda Hart reports on research examining women’s visibility in two high-profile scientific publications. Not only […]

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    Not all academics are comfortable with the idea of open peer review

Not all academics are comfortable with the idea of open peer review

There are many arguments in favour of open peer review, from anticipated improvements to the speed and quality of reviews brought about by the greater accountability, through to the likely reduction in unfair or illogical decisions because of the system’s transparency. Despite this, not all academics are comfortable with open peer review and remain fearful of their comments and […]

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    A privilege, a gift, and a reason for gratitude: appreciating the human dimension of peer review

A privilege, a gift, and a reason for gratitude: appreciating the human dimension of peer review

The shortcomings of the peer review process are well-documented, with it being variously described as too slow, conservative, and even unkind. But amidst fevered discussion of its logistical merits, the inherent humanistic value of peer review is often overlooked. Keren Dali and Paul T. Jaeger encourage reviewers to remember that each peer review opportunity offers an incredible human experience […]

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    Predatory publishers threaten to consume public research funds and undermine national academic systems – the case of Brazil

Predatory publishers threaten to consume public research funds and undermine national academic systems – the case of Brazil

An unintended consequence of the open access movement, predatory publishers have appeared in many countries, offering authors a quick and easy route to publication in exchange for a fee and usually without any apparent peer review or quality control. Using a large database of publications, Marcelo S. Perlin, Takeyoshi Imasato and Denis Borenstein analyse the extent of this problem […]

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