What Does Open Access Mean #icanhazPDF

Posted in Research on February 12th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Like many who are cajoled to publish and share, I’ve conducted part of my professional life using assets from the internet’s pirate queen, Alexandra Elbakyan. That’s because I can’t afford to access the vast libraries of academic research behind extortionate paywalls. For most of my professional life, I’ve seen the value of sharing and sharing alike …” (more)

[Inside View, 8 February]

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Will other countries follow Germany into battle with Elsevier?

Posted in Research on February 1st, 2018 by steve

“Germany is thought to be saving more than €10 million (£8.7 million) a year in journal subscription fees after calling the bluff of the world’s biggest academic publisher during a negotiation stand-off. Elsevier, long criticised by some academics for what they see as its excessive profits and resistance to open access, is now afraid to cut off German universities’ access to its journals even though their contracts have expired, according to an outspoken negotiator for the German side …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

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UCL to launch open-access megajournal

Posted in Research on January 18th, 2018 by steve

“UCL is to launch an open-access megajournal to contend with the likes of Plos One and Scientific Reports as the landscape of scholarly publishing moves increasingly online. The as-yet-unnamed journal platform from UCL Press will be a first for a UK university: Plos One is run by the Public Library of Science, while Scientific Reports is produced by the publisher of Nature …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education, 17 January]

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Scientific peer review: an ineffective and unworthy institution

Posted in Research on December 12th, 2017 by steve

“Given the entirely appropriate degree of respect that science has for data, the ongoing discussion of peer review is often surprisingly data-free and underlain by the implicit assumption that peer review – although in need of improvement – is indispensable …” (more)

[Les Hatton and Gregory Warr, Times Higher Education, 9 December]

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Germany edges towards brink in dispute with Elsevier

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on December 9th, 2017 by steve

“With less than a month to go until some of Germany’s biggest universities and research institutes sever their contracts with the Dutch publishing giant Elsevier, there is still no sign of a deal to allow continued access to the publisher’s research. The publisher has said that although a deal was still ‘possible’, the two sides are divided over how German institutions should pay …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 6 December]

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Academics back authorship statements to stamp out ‘abuse’

Posted in Research on December 3rd, 2017 by steve

International“Three-quarters of researchers believe that authors should be required to declare exactly what they contributed to published journal articles in a bid to boost transparency and stamp out authorship ‘abuse’, according to a Times Higher Education poll …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 30 November]

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The Fallacy of Open-Access Publication

Posted in Research on November 19th, 2017 by steve

International“Information is more accessible than ever. If you are curious about the cast of a TV show from 1975, or lyrics to your favorite ‘80s pop song, you’ll be satisfied in seconds. Yet if you want to read scientific research articles, you are likely to come up empty-handed. And that ‘open access’ model that was supposed to offer a solution? It’s created new problems …” (more)

[Andrew V Suarez and Terry McGlynn, Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 November]

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Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals

Posted in Research on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

“Call it a classic case of supply meeting demand. Universities, colleges, even community colleges insist that faculty publish scholarly research, and the more papers the better. Academics and the schools they teach at rely on these publications to bolster their reputations, and with an oversupply of PhDs vying for jobs, careers hang in the balance …” (more)

[Gina Kolata, New York Times, 30 October]


German academics step down from posts on Elsevier journals

Posted in Research on October 31st, 2017 by steve

“A group of professors have resigned from editorial positions at Elsevier journals amid the continuing stand-off between German research organisations and the academic publisher. A statement from Projekt Deal lists 14 academics who have resigned their positions as editors and members of editorial and advisory boards at Elsevier journals in support of the ongoing negotiations on access to electronic journals …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 31 October]

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Senior academics ‘take too much credit’ in co-authorship

Posted in Research on October 30th, 2017 by steve

International“Junior academics are being ‘held back’ in their careers as a consequence of more senior research partners being over-credited on co-authored papers, the results of a global study suggest. While co-authorship between two or more researchers is most frequent in the sciences and medicine, the survey of 894 researchers working in the humanities and social sciences in 62 countries found that co-authorship is becoming increasingly common in these fields as well …” (more)

[Times Higher Education, 27 October]

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The peer review system has flaws. But it’s still a barrier to bad science

Posted in Research on September 20th, 2017 by steve

International“Democracy and scientific peer review have something in common: it’s a ‘system full of problems but the least worst we have’. That’s the view of Richard Smith, a medical doctor and former editor of the illustrious British Medical Journal …” (more)

[Brenda Wingfield, The Conversation, 20 September]

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Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

Posted in Research on September 16th, 2017 by steve

“As flaws in the peer review process are highlighted and calls for reform become more frequent, it may be tempting for some to denigrate and dismiss the contributions of the reviewers themselves. Maxine David has been witness to this and here makes an appeal to give space to recognise those who offer their time and expertise voluntarily and generously …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 16 September]

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Germany’s strategy for life without Elsevier

Posted in Research on September 10th, 2017 by steve

“German universities have coped ‘easily’ when cut off from Elsevier journals and do not need to rely on pirate article-sharing sites such as Sci-Hub, according to a negotiator from Germany’s biggest network of research centres …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 5 September]

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‘Almost half’ of recent research papers now open access

Posted in Research on August 22nd, 2017 by steve

International“Nearly half of all recently published journal articles are freely available online, according to researchers who claim that institutions may be approaching a tipping point where they cancel their subscriptions to paywalled periodicals …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times High Education, 15 August]

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Biology’s Roiling Debate Over Publishing Research Early

Posted in Research on July 8th, 2017 by steve

International“Five years ago, Daniel MacArthur set out to build a massive library of human gene sequences – one of the biggest ever. The 60,706 raw sequences, collected from colleagues all over the globe, took up a petabyte of memory …” (more)

[Megan Molteni, Wired, 8 July]

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Our obsession with eminence warps research

Posted in Research on July 5th, 2017 by steve

International“We can quantify exactly how much faster Usain Bolt is than the next-fastest sprinter. It’s much harder to say who is the best scientist, let alone how much better they are than the next-best scientist. Deciding who deserves recognition is, at least in part, a judgement call. On my optimistic days, I can believe that, despite all the noise, there’s still a reliable signal …” (more)

[Simine Vazire, Nature News, 4 July]


Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Posted in Research on June 28th, 2017 by steve

International“In 2011, Claudio Aspesi, a senior investment analyst at Bernstein Research in London, made a bet that the dominant firm in one of the most lucrative industries in the world was headed for a crash …” (more)

[Stephen Buranyi, Guardian, 27 June]


My wall of rejection and why it matters

Posted in Research on June 23rd, 2017 by steve

“If I had a magic wand and could change something about academia, I would make it commonplace for people to share their rejections – on blogs, by emailing colleagues, by running to their office neighbours, print-out in hand, saying ‘You won’t believe how awful the review I got this morning was! Come and laugh at it with me over coffee!’ …” (more)

[Nick Hopwood, 21 June]


Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Posted in Research on June 1st, 2017 by steve

“Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research …” (more)

[Andrew Preston and Tom Culley, Impact of Social Sciences, 1 June]

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It’s not just you: science papers are getting harder to read

Posted in Research on March 31st, 2017 by steve

International“Modern scientific texts are more impenetrable than they were over a century ago, suggests a team of researchers in Sweden. It’s easy to believe that …” (more)

[Philip Ball, Nature News, 30 March]