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Peer review


OUP journals compliant with RCUK and Wellcome Trust open access policies
- 05 Apr 2013

Academic publisher Oxford University Press (OUP) has announced that from April 1, 2013 Oxford journals will be compliant with the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Wellcome Trust policies on open access (OA). OUP claims to be mission-driven to facilitate the widest possible dissemination of high-quality research.

The publisher embraces both 'gold' and 'green' OA publishing to support this mission. It is reportedly committed to work with the society partners to support sustainable OA for each community, and has consulted with each of its partners to decide on the best route to compliance for each journal.

OUP's OA programme, Oxford Open, dates back to 2004. It publishes 13 fully OA titles, and over 120 'hybrid' titles. In total through these two channels OUP published over 3,200 open access papers in 2012. With the new funding policies in place, it wants to ensure it meets the needs of its authors and will be extending OA options to virtually all its journals.

The RCUK's OA policy requires authors to comply either by publishing 'gold' OA using a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY), or by 'green' OA after embargo periods specified by the RCUK and laid out in the Publishers' Association flow chart.

Authors will be able to comply via both routes with OUP. Under Gold OA, the vast majority of its titles will offer authors the option of making their paper immediately available by payment of an APC (Article Processing Charge). Authors will be able to choose between various Creative Commons licences, including CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, and CC-BY-NC-ND. The exact choice of licences will be dependent on individual journal policy.

The another route is Green OA, wherein the embargo periods for OUP journals will largely comply with the RCUK/Wellcome policies, as laid out in the RCUK and government endorsed flow chart.

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RSC responds to UK Science and Technology Committee report on peer review
- 29 Jul 2011

RSC Publishing has announced that its acting managing director, Dr. James Milne, has responded to the UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee report on peer review.

The report is said to clearly highlight and confirm the essential role of pre-publication peer review, a view shared and supported by the RSC. According to Dr. Milne, the suggested experimentation with post publication peer review to supplement pre-publication review is an area the RSC regularly evaluates, with linking from articles to most social networking sites.

The report highlights the need for work to be scientifically sound and reproducible, suggesting this should be the gold standard for all referees and editors to aim for. While the RSC supports this as a baseline requirement, Dr. Milne said that there is a need to include assessment of additional factors such as novelty, application and ethical integrity too, which remains vital in identifying and publishing the highest quality research.

The RSC recently launched a new journal - RSC Advances - with the goals of assessing papers against the baseline standards suggested. The journal will publish high quality papers that are judged to be scientifically sound, from across the breadth of the chemical sciences. It is claimed to be the first online 'subject repository style journal' for this field, with strong submissions to date.

The RSC, through its free chemical database ChemSpider, is open to support the goal of making data associated with publically funded research freely available. Researchers can be encouraged to deposit chemical structures in this database that already holds more than 26 million compounds. The RSC supports this free chemical structure database as a service to the community.

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Online publication seen to facilitate easier publication of sound scientific articles
- 12 May 2011

Online publication may reduce delays and ease the publication of sound science, according to a report in Times Higher Education quoting Ronal Laskey, VP of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Professor Emeritus at Cambridge University. It is expected to stem the "dramatic" rise in the amount of time authors are obliged to spend defending their papers from criticism by referees, Prof. Laskey informed the first hearing of the UK's Commons Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into peer review. The engine of peer review had not seized but was misfiring, he was quoted as saying.

There has been a dramatic rise in referees' demands over the past decade. The facility offered by e-publishing for supplementary material to be added is said to part of the reason for the rise in referees' demands. According to Prof. Laskey, the use of publications for "proxy" purposes, such as promotion decisions, meant that scientists were under severe pressure to publish in journals with high impact factors. The high rejection rate of such journals resulted in excessive effort going into trying to satisfy editors and referees, rather than pursuing the highest priority science.

He also expressed concern that at least some of the requests for extra experiments were motivated by unscrupulous reviewers attempting to slow down a rival's research. While some journals were beginning to introduce limits on supplementary materials, he doubted that this would be a complete answer. Emergence of journals such as PLoS ONE, an online journal that is stated to review papers solely for their soundness rather than their impact, could also help, he said.

On the select committee's inquiry, he said that the peer review system deserved attention. But he added that fear of a legislative response explained the 'cautious' treatment of the committee's questions by the witnesses at the first hearing, all of whom represented learned societies.

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Continue with existing peer review process, ALPSP says in response to UK enquiry
- 11 Mar 2011

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) has submitted its response to the UK government's House of Commons Science and Technology Committee enquiry into the operation and effectiveness of the peer review process.

Peer review is seen to be an important process in the dissemination of scientific information, and as being highly valued by the scientific community. It has evolved to suit the individual requirements of different communities and is firmly established. While various attempts have been made to reinvent it, ALPSP believes that it would be more appropriate to continue to support and enhance the existing process, making use of established and developing tools and technologies.

Peer review varies across different scientific disciplines. This is a natural evolution of the process, in order to address specific needs of individual research communities, according to ALPSP. The peer review process is not a one-size-fits-all procedure, the Association noted.

According to ALPSP, though peer review has its critics, at the current time, no credible replacement has been identified. The process is evolving and will continue to do so. Rather than trying to disrupt this established process, ALPSP believes it is more useful to supplement and support it. This can be done by utilising tools such as CrossCheck and CrossMark17, graphics analysis, usage statistics, appropriate citation statistics or other article level metrics, and by encouraging continued scientific debate once the literature is published.

The full submission can be accessed online at: http://www.alpsp.org/ForceDownload.asp?id=1800.

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