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UK Projekt DEAL and Springer Nature reach understanding on world's largest transformative OA agreement - 22 Aug 2019

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between MPDL Services, on behalf of Projekt DEAL, and Springer Nature, sets the scene for the world’s most comprehensive open access (OA) agreement to be finalised later this year.

Reaching such an understanding has been possible through acknowledgement of the common commitment of both parties to the principle of open science: Projekt DEAL’s vision and enablement of open access to German research on a large-scale and Springer Nature’s position as the largest OA publisher and their expertise as a pioneer of transformative deals. The agreement is expected to see well over 13,000 articles a year from German researchers published OA, meaning they will be freely and universally available for the world’s students, scholars and scientists to read, share, use and reuse from the moment of publication.

The transformative two-part agreement will encompass a fully OA element and a Publish and Read (PAR) element. This will enable eligible authors to publish OA in both Springer Nature’s fully OA journals, the largest OA portfolio in the world with over 600 titles, and Springer Nature’s collection of 1,900 hybrid journals, which collectively already publish one in four of all OA articles. In addition, the model provides the academic community of the participating institutions with permanent reading access to content in Springer, Palgrave, Adis, and Macmillan academic journals published during the term of the contract.

The final contract will run from 2020 to 2022 with an option to extend to 2023. For 2020, the PAR component is based on OA publication of at least 9,500 articles and grants participating institutions with permanent reading access to 1,900 journals in the Springer, Palgrave, Adis and Macmillan portfolios. The costs for reading access and OA publishing in the PAR component will be reflected in a per-article PAR fee of €2,750.

Springer Nature will offer a 20% discount on the list price for OA publishing in BMC and SpringerOpen titles for all institutions; list price increases of article processing charges will not exceed 3.5 % per journal title per year calculated based on the 2020 list price. The PAR element does not include Nature and Nature branded subscription journals or purely professional journals as well as magazines, such as Scientific American or Spektrum der Wissenschaft.

Participating institutions will have complimentary backfile access to issues of included journals during the contract period back to 1997. Springer Nature and Projekt DEAL also aim to close the gaps in access to archive content from all Springer Nature journals covered by the MoU.

Projekt DEAL was set up by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany representing the vast majority of the most important science and research organisations in Germany. The consortium includes more than 700 mostly publicly funded academic institutions in Germany such as universities, universities of applied sciences, research institutions and state and regional libraries. As part of the project, national licensing agreements are to be implemented for the entire portfolio of electronic journals of large academic publishers.

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UK British Ecological Society’s extensive study to test if ‘blinding’ can reduce bias in science publishing - 22 Aug 2019

A two-year randomised controlled trial in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology will be the largest of its kind to date to assess whether hiding author details during peer review reduces bias against under-represented groups in the science publishing process.

Scientific papers go through a peer-review process before they are accepted for publication in a journal. They are sent to two or more independent researchers for comments. Those researchers are asked to assess the robustness of the methods used and the conclusions drawn, as well as the novelty of the study. The reviewers’ comments play an important role in determining which papers get accepted and published.

Currently the most common process in ecology journals is single blind peer review. The authors of a submitted research paper are not told who the reviewers are: they are ‘blind’ to their identity. The reviewers, however, do see the authors’ details on the papers they check.

This has led to concerns that, consciously or unconsciously, knowledge of an author’s gender, university position or nationality could influence how reviewers assess the research reported in the paper.

For example, there is some mixed evidence to suggest research led by female authors may not score as highly in peer review. On the other hand, papers by well-known authors or those from prestigious institutions may get an easier ride.

As a result, some journals have introduced ‘double-blinding’. This is where the reviewers are ‘blinded’ as well: the list of authors is removed from the paper they look at.

Beginning September 5, the British Ecological Society will conduct a large-scale randomised controlled trial over the next two years to compare the two approaches to peer review. An estimated 2500 research papers submitted to the journal Functional Ecology will be randomly allotted into two workflows: single- or double-blind peer review. The study will assess whether author characteristics affect peer-review scores and acceptance of papers, as well as the effectiveness of the blinding process.

In particular, the study will examine whether double-blinding reduces variation in peer review scores and acceptance rates among authors of different genders, geographic locations, first languages (English vs. other), university prestige, career stages (junior vs. senior) and publishing histories (more prolific, higher prestige).

The journal will also investigate how anonymising authors influences the publishing process – in its ability to recruit reviewers, the quality of reviews received, the average rating given to papers and the ability of reviewers to identify authors. Finally, authors and reviewers will be asked to complete a survey of their opinions on single- and double-blind peer review.

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US SSP webinar offerings discuss Plan S, AI Use Cases, and Content Distribution - 22 Aug 2019

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) webinar series covers timely topics and delivers highly informative and thought-provoking sessions designed to challenge and stimulate discussion.

Building on earlier topics in the 2019 series, SSP is offering the following webinars through the end of the year: Plan S: Opportunities for the Future of Scholarly Publishing – September 17, 2019; Are There Finally Real Use Cases for AI? – October 23, 2019; and The Scholarly Kitchen Webinar – The Future of Content Distribution: Licensing or Leakage – November 19, 2019.

SSP is also offering a free webinar for Early Career professionals – Falling into a Scholarly Publishing Career, on September 26, 2019. Webinars are an affordable way to stay on top of industry developments. Programming is aimed at professions across the scholarly publishing field, including editorial, production, sales, marketing, product or project management, publishing IT or digital content technology.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing is a CAE Approved Provider. SSP programs designated with the CAE Approved icon meet the requirements for fulfilling the professional development requirements to earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. Every program which qualifies for CAE credit will clearly identify the number of CAE credits granted for full participation, and SSP will maintain records of participation in accord with CAE policies.

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US Zynx Health Introduces new clinical decision support reporting solution for optimising the use of evidence-based standards - 22 Aug 2019

Evidence- and experience-based clinical improvement solutions provider Zynx Health™ has announced the release of a new clinical decision support reporting solution to help hospitals target the interventions that drive improved patient care. The reporting feature extends the power of Knowledge Analyzer, Zynx Health’s knowledge management solution that maximises the value of EHRs and aligns organisations’ clinical decision support (CDS) with their clinical and financial goals.

Healthcare organisations are universally committed to achieving good patient outcomes, yet most lack the necessary tools to identify whether their existing standards of care support their patient care goals. According to Dr. Howard Willson, Senior Vice President, Zynx Health, their new Knowledge Analyzer reporting solution helps hospitals identify changes that ensure clinical decision support tools are well aligned and that interventions are appropriately prioritized to drive the biggest, positive impact on patient outcomes.

Nashville, Tennessee-based Ardent Health Services, which operates 30 hospitals and other medical facilities in six states, recently implemented Zynx Health’s reporting solution to expand the capabilities of Knowledge Analyzer.

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US McGraw-Hill expands its Connect Master suite of course materials - 22 Aug 2019

McGraw-Hill, the leader in learning science and digital learning tools, has announced the expansion of its Connect Master® suite of course materials, with more than 60,000 college students expected to use these innovative, digital-first products this fall. Built with McGraw-Hill's adaptive technology, Connect Master courses provide affordable active learning experiences to improve students' engagement, critical thinking skills and ability to apply knowledge to real-world challenges.

Connect Master products are currently available in six course areas – Non-Majors Biology, Economics, Principles of Marketing, Introduction to Business, Computer Concepts and Student Success. Additional courses, including Introduction to Communication and Principles of Management, are expected to be added in 2020, and the company has plans to continue the expansion to cover more than 35 top course areas within the next few years.

Built to align with instructional goals using adaptive, modular technology, Connect Master gives instructors the flexibility to configure and tailor material by topic or key learning objective. Course content is dynamic, highly interactive and continually updated to ensure it is current. Key concepts are enhanced by adaptive questions, individualised study tools, practical assessments and other learning resources for students.

Through this active, application-based learning approach, students are empowered to practice and demonstrate what they know, progressing through the course as they master each topic.

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Digital learning tools/solutions

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France EPJ Photovoltaics now indexed in Ei Compendex - 22 Aug 2019

OA journal EPJ Photovoltaics is now indexed in the Ei Compendex , joining over 3,600 high-quality peer-reviewed journals. These journals cover a vast number of areas, such as, materials science, applied physics and optics, and instrumentation and nanotechnology.

Ei Compendex claims to be the broadest and most complete engineering literature database. It provides a truly holistic and global view of peer-reviewed and indexed publications with over 20 million records from 77 countries across 190 engineering disciplines.

EPJ Photovoltaics is an open access journal which publishes original, peer-reviewed papers focused in the field of photovoltaic solar energy conversion. It is a key journal in EDP Sciences’ portfolio of Materials Science, Engineering and Technology journals.

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