Blogs selected for Week November 18, 2019 to November 24, 2019 -

1. Is PLOS running Out of time? Financial statements suggest urgency to innovate

Time may be running out for the Public Library of Science (PLOS). The San Francisco-based, non-profit open access (OA) publisher released its latest financials, disclosing that it ran a US $5.5 million dollar deficit in 2018 on $32M dollars of revenue. In order to cover this loss, it dug deep into its savings and sold off nearly $5M in financial investments. This is not the first time the publisher spent more than it earned. Indeed, the last time PLOS made surpluses was 2015, when it had $30.6M in the bank. By 2017, PLOS’ savings had been cut nearly in half to $17M, and fell again to $11M in 2018. At the same time, 2018 salaries and other employee compensation went up by $1.8M (8%) from 2017, despite publishing 11% fewer papers. The publisher is committed to financial sustainability. How it achieves it is an open question, notes Phil Davis, in his post in the in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): While it is clear that PLOS needs to reinvent itself, it is not clear how it can. In several recent meetings, the publisher has expressed a loss of faith in the Article Processing Charge (APC) as a sustainable, fair, and equitable model for funding science publishing. Sara Rouhi, Director of Strategic Partnerships at PLOS wrote that her organisation is looking into alternate funding models, such as bundling APCs (a model that resembles a defunct PLOS institutional membership model), a consortial support model, or transitioning to a new, but unspecified, model, “understanding that maybe the next model is one we haven’t thought of yet.”...........(Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Working to the rule – How bibliometric targets distorted Italian research

As Goodhart’s law states: ‘when a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure’. Using bibliometrics to measure and assess researchers has become increasingly common, but does implementing these policies therefore devalue the metrics they are based on? In this post in the LSE Impact Blog, Alberto Baccini, Giuseppe De Nicolao and Eugenio Petrovich, present evidence from a study of Italian researchers revealing how the introduction of bibliometric targets into the Italian academy has changed the way Italian academics cite and use the work of their colleagues.

The Blog post says (quote): Italy in the years following the introduction of new research evaluation procedures in 2010 is a spectacular case in point. Since 2010, the Italian system has assigned a key role to bibliometric indicators for the hiring and promotion of professors. To achieve the National Scientific Habilitation (ASN), required to become associate and full professor, a candidate’s work must reach definite “bibliometric thresholds,” calculated by the governmental Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research (ANVUR). Only if her citations, h-index, and number of journal articles exceed two thresholds out of three, is the candidate admitted to the final step, i.e. evaluation by a committee of peers..............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Why engage with preprints?

Preprints enable authors to share their work early, openly, and in a way that is free from journal influence or stylistic preferences. They also open up possibilities for pre-publication commentary that have previously been limited to a group of trusted confidants and hand-selected (often anonymous) peer reviewers invited by the editors. This post, co-written by Dan Morgan, Rebecca Kirk, Madison Crystal, and Veronique Kiermer, in the Plos Blog, notes that the opening up of comments via email, Twitter, or on the preprint server has the potential to expand the number of voices involved in the peer review of manuscripts, to allow the development of a preprint in parallel with the formal peer review, and to accelerate the research process.

The Blog post says (quote): The three strategic directions above focus on how engaging with preprints and comments may improve the publishing and reviewing process itself, and move it closer to a fully equitable, community-driven practice. But it would be remiss to not also mention the importance of the increased potential for credit for all research activity, which we will focus on in a future blog post. In short, and in advance, there are many ways that these preprint initiatives are natural extensions of our passion for surfacing credit for all researchers in their activities, already including the CRediT taxonomy and ORCID for Reviewers..............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Guest Post — Attending an International Seminar from the Comfort of your own Boardroom: A Publisher’s Experience with Virtual Meetings

As a not-for-profit scholarly publisher, it can be challenging to fly representatives out to important industry conferences and presentations. Travel is expensive, budgets are tight, and then there’s the uncomfortable question of who gets to go? Such was the dilemma faced when they first heard of the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s (SSP’s) New Directions in Scholarly Publishing Models: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly seminar. Amber Dilabbio, in this guest post in the in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, discusses the University of Toronto Press’ experience with virtual attendance at a publishing meeting.

The Blog post says (quote): The hosting platform had a comment section where we were able to introduce ourselves and see other industry colleagues watching remotely. It was also a great place to post feedback and add questions to the Q&A session. Where we especially found a meaningful connection with in-person attendees and speakers was on Twitter. Several of us on our team participated in the tweet storm under the #sspND2019 hashtag, commenting on the seminar, replying to other attendees, and following other industry professionals who have much to say beyond the seminar..............(Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. How to Write a Peer Review: 12 things you need to know

Learning how to peer review is no small feat. You are responsible for protecting the public from false findings and research flaws, while at the same time helping to uncover legitimate breakthroughs. You are also asked to constructively critique the research of your peers. Jo Wilkinson, in his post in the Publons Blog, puts together 12 tips to help with peer review.

The Blog post says (quote): Peer review not only helps to maintain the quality and integrity of literature in your field, it’s key to your own development as a researcher. It’s a great way to keep abreast of current research, impress editors at elite journals, and hone your critical analysis skills. It teaches you how to review a manuscript, spot common flaws in research papers, and improve your own chances of being a successful published author...........(Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

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