Blogs selected for Week September 21 to September 27, 2020 -

1. Achieving an equitable transition to open access

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Over the past two decades, the Research For Life ( initiative has sought to close the world’s knowledge gap. A global coalition of UN entities, NGOs, publishers, and universities, Research For Life now provides free or very low-cost access to thousands of research publications, books, and online resources in lower- and middle-income countries, from Armenia to Vietnam. Produced by the International Center for the Study of Research at Elsevier, in collaboration with the International Association of STM Publishers, the report, ‘Achieving an Equitable Transition to Open Access’, suggests actions that publishers and institutions can take to support researchers and to ensure that the emerging research publishing paradigm is more inclusive.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Are preprints a problem? 5 ways to improve the quality and credibility of preprints

Author: Joeri Tijdink, Mario Malicki, Gowri Gopalakrishna, and Lex Bouter

Preprints are research reports that have not yet been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They have increased rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, high profile discredited studies have led to concerns that speed has been prioritised over the quality and credibility of evidence. Joeri Tijdink, Mario Malicki, Lex Bouter, and Gowri Gopalakrishna argue that all stakeholders of the science system have a responsibility in improving the quality and credibility of pre-prints. They outline five steps by which this can be achieved. The increasing number of preprints and their use in shaping public health policy make improvements in their quality urgent and important. This is a joint responsibility of all stakeholders of the science system. In the report, a few implementable steps are outlined for effectively improving the quality and credibility of preprints.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Trust as an ethic and a practice in peer review

Author: Alice Meadows, Jasmine Wallace, and Karin Wulf

It is critical to both research and dissemination that review is trusted. The classic peer review process, of a piece of research for publication, involves the identification of appropriate reviewers, ethical review of the research by the reviewers, and editorial oversight of the reviewers’ selection and conclusions. However, trust is baked into a much larger set of review practices, from grant funding to awards and more. The practices and processes, while never a certain guarantee, will both minimise risks and add quality. There is often a tendency to equate the practice of peer review to the process of peer review. However, the practice provides more than the process.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Long live peer review – Expand and differentiate

Author: Pavel Baev

What can be done to restore the confidence in the mark ‘peer-reviewed,’ which on occasion graces publications that are clearly below par of academic rigor and integrity? The demand for publishing in open access journals in the intransigent Plan S has deepened the confusion, as many new journals have rushed to answer the demand, often with very relaxed approaches to the long-established norms of academic evaluation. The problem is certainly wider than just the journal market, and concerns book proposals, particularly edited volumes, and electronic publishing, particularly institutional platforms and blogs. In the environment of information overload and proliferating fake news, the need for reliable peer review is greater than ever, and the task of overcoming the confusion about the real value of the ‘peer-reviewed’ stamp looms large for international academia.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. The high cost of academic publishing leaves Africa behind

Author: Maddie Bender

Researchers are calling for urgent reform in open access publishing as African scientists face the choice to either pay pricey fees out of pocket, or not publish at all. Many scientists at Western institutions rely on funding from their program or external grants to cover the fees, but researchers in Africa often do not have the funding sources. Fee waivers for article processing charges are available but arbitrarily decided by individual journals, and many waiver policies are based on the per capita income of a country.

The full entry can be read: Here.

6. The importance of trust in peer review

Author: Rochelle Carr

Peer Review Week brings together institutions, publishers, organisations and individuals to highlight the essential role peer reviewers play. 2020’s theme is all about trust in peer review, a process that is paramount to scholarly publishing and to all involved. It is found that when it comes to trust, communication from everyone involved in the peer review process is key for a good relationship.

The full entry can be read: Here.

7. Guest Post — What is wrong with preprint citations?

Author: Sylvia Izzo Hunter, Igor Kleshchevich, and Bruce Rosenblum

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an explosion of postings on preprint servers to meet the critical need for rapid dissemination of new biomedical and clinical research findings. Citations to the preprints, both in other preprints and in peer-reviewed articles, have also exploded, as the research–cite–publish cycle shortens to weeks or even days, and citing the most up-to-date information becomes vital. The preprint explosion created an urgent need for development work at Inera–the ability to process preprint citations went quickly from a nice-to-have feature to an imperative. As COVID-19 increased the prevalence of preprint citations during the spring of 2020, the Scholarly Publishing uncovered one technical challenge after another.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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