Blogs selected for Week January 13 to January 19, 2020 -

1. Let Authors Choose How to Pay for Peer Review and Publication

The United States Office for Science Technology and Policy (OSTP) is rumoured to be gearing up to release an Open Access (OA) policy, and like cOAlition S before it, both the funders involved and the researchers affected will need to consider different approaches to covering the costs of Article Processing Charges (APCs) that the majority of journals will charge to make an article OA. Very selective journals need to charge a lot of money for APCs, mainly because the rare article that is accepted for Tim Vines, in this post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, discusses the numerous benefits of givng authors a choice between submission fees and APCs.

The Blog post says (quote): A crude way to approximate the effect of these choices on revenue is to divide authors into two groups. One group is ‘confident’ and submits work that is likely to be accepted (acceptance rate = 45%), and another group is ‘less confident’ and submits research that only rarely gets accepted (acceptance rate = 5%). If the journal receives 500 articles from each group, the overall acceptance rate is still 0.25. Again, the APC is $2250, the submission fee is $350, and the publication fee $850............ (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. The benefits of peer-review publishing beyond the tenure-track

In the course of completing a graduate degree, students may be keen to dip their toes into the world of peer-reviewed academic publishing. Building an established record of publications could make all the difference for someone who is attempting to secure grant funding or find a job in academia. However, for those of us considering a career outside of the professoriate, the very notion of publishing in an academic journal may not seem worthwhile or relevant. Why then should we concern ourselves with peer-review publishing, a feat that requires considerable effort and yields marginal rewards outside of academia? This is the question Nandini Maharaj is trying to address through this post in the University Affairs Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): Aside from the general public, academic research plays a vital role in the teaching and training of emerging scholars. Instructors regularly assign journal articles as recommended or required reading for their students. Similarly, participating in the preparation and publication of a manuscript not only helps researchers develop skills in project management but also provides an occasion for mentoring between senior and junior trainees. This spirit of mentorship can cultivate a research community that strives for collaboration, quality in peer review, and synergy among researchers with similar interests.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. For the humanities to play a stronger role in public policy making, they must move from individual to institutional engagement

What should society expect from the humanities? This question has become pressing in the debate around interdisciplinary research in support of public policy that aims to tackle societal issues. To influence that policy effectively, in this post in the LSE Impact Blog, Frans Brom argues that the humanities must transcend individualism. This would mean not only abandoning “outsider” perspectives focusing solely on criticism of power through individual political action, but also setting up institutions to pursue systematic dialogue with policymakers and the other sciences and to develop the expertise needed to conduct those conversations.

The Blog post says (quote): In the science for policy community it is becoming clear that good science-based strategic policy advice needs a broad academic perspective. For science to influence public policy, more is needed than simple factual evidence. It is necessary to understand contexts, stakeholder perceptions, the norms and values at stake and the hopes and fears surrounding the issue at hand. This is core business for the humanities, which can provide the expertise necessary to contextualise decontextualised scientific advice.......... (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Three ways to combat peer review bias

New peer review models show promising results but need careful consideration. Effective peer review is a key component of scholarly communication. It evaluates research through close scrutiny by experts and funders and journals rely on it to determine the robustness of research findings or grant proposals. While the peer review process continues to play a pivotal role in validating research results, it has also been widely criticised - it slows down the dissemination of research findings, sometimes fails to detect errors and studies suggest that it can introduce many types of bias. New peer review models are winning ground, but it is important to examine the benefits and potential biases that newer open systems of peer review may introduce, notes Verena Weigert, in her post in the Jisc Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): We also looked at whether a reviewer based in a specific country would assess the work of an author based in the same country more positively. We found a slight tendency for this. The most likely reason for this bias is that reviewers could be more likely to help or avoid problems with other researchers who they know. While the results of our study are tentative and would need to be compared with other peer review models, we hope that it will contribute to an evidence base to inform decisions on how open peer review could be best applied............. (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. Predatory-journal papers have little scientific impact

Papers published in ‘predatory’ journals attract little attention from scientists, and get cited much less than those in reputable publications, an analysis shows. Predatory journals are those that charge authors high article-processing fees but don’t provide expected publishing services, such as peer review or other quality checks. Researchers and publishers have long voiced fears that these practices could be harming research by flooding the literature with poor-quality studies notes Dalmeet Singh Chawla, in this post in the nature Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): The researchers picked 250 predatory journals from the more than 10,000 titles included on a list of such publications curated by Cabells, a publishing analytics company in Beaumont, Texas. They then selected one paper published in 2014 from each of the 250 journals. Using the Google Scholar search engine, they manually checked how many times each paper had been cited in the five years since its publication............ (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

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