Blogs selected for Week September 30, 2019 to October 6, 2019 -



1. Why Scholarly Societies are vitally important to the Academic Ecosystem

We live in a world where bigger is better, scale matters, and those with the largest coffers and most profitable businesses have an outsized influence on policy. Robert Harington, in his post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, suggests that despite the critical role of scholarly societies in publishing and academia, the sad reality is it is the big corporate publishers who win. Further, he attempt to explain the critical role of scholarly societies, bearing in mind these societies vary enormously — in terms of the culture of the discipline and scale.

The Blog post says (quote): societies can demonstrate their value, then a financial model that allows subscriptions to thrive and promotes openness, such as Subscribe to Open, or joining initiatives such as Research4Life (as we at the AMS recently have) that are paired with subscriptions, societies will be stronger than ever before. The unity in collective action is what societies provide for their communities. This kind of unity is not achieved if the business of society publishing and policy positions on openness are subsumed by a corporate partner with differing ideals from society governance.......... (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

2. Highlight negative results to improve science

When negative results aren’t published in high-impact journals, other scientists can’t learn from them and end up repeating failed experiments, leading to a waste of public funds and a delay in genuine progress. Publishers, reviewers and other members of the scientific community must fight science’s preference for positive results — for the benefit of all, notes Devang Mehta, in this post in the Nature Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): The problem is worsened by funding agencies that reward only those researchers who publish positive results, when, in his view, it’s the scientists who report negative results who are more likely to move a field forward. They need reviewers and publishers to commit to publishing negative results in their journals. They need academic conferences to embrace honest discussions of failed experiments. They need funding agencies to support scientists who produce sound negative results. And, as scientists, we must acknowledge that all important work should be recognized, irrespective of its outcome.......... (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

3. Ramifications of the downward pressure on pricing

Downward pricing pressure is happening regardless of the business model of the journal. The Plan S intention to cap Article Processing Charges (APCs) is currently fueling some cost speculation; the main goal of the OA movement was to make more content accessible to all with liberal reuse rights. Journals are now starting to require data availability and compliance with FAIR data principles, all good for science and reproducibility, all requiring staff resources, notes this post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog by Angela Cochran.

The Blog post says (quote): Publishers and digital platform vendors are investing in new functionality such as allowing users to click on a figure to access the code and the data used to create that figure. This is increasingly useful to users. Inline reference tagging, high-quality recommendation widgets, annotating, and sharing features are also highly rated by end users........... (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

4. Why should academics trust "lecture capture" to enhance teaching?

Everytime lecture capture is introduced into an institution there is always one key barrier to adoption; staff concern. Until staff feel that their worries over lecture capture have been listened to, adoption rates will always be low, regardless of institutional policy. By acknowledging the academics' concerns around "lecture capture", placing the power firmly in their hands (while minimising an increase in their workload) and focusing the introduction of the technology on a wider aspect of "learning capture", it is possible to alleviate staff concerns and help them to become comfortable with this sometimes controversial technology, notes Duncan MacIver in his post in the Jisc Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): Given the workload our academics have to undertake, it is important that we don't add to this needlessly, so it is important to provide the academic with very simple processes that require minimal engagement when they are making these decisions. Our approach has been to avoid creating central processes, but rather put the decision process in the hands of local academic leadership, either at the programme or school level. These decisions must be pedagogic in nature, and the academic should be at the heart of that process.......... (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

5. Repairing an institutional reputation tarnished by fraudulent publishing

Given the reality of fraudulent publishers and their deceptive practices, will institutions consider more strongly guiding author choice of publishing venue in order to protect institutional reputation? Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court ruled that publisher and conference organizer Srinubabu Gedela and his companies OMICS, iMedPub, and Conference Series violated the U.S. FTC Act "by making deceptive claims regarding their academic journals and scientific conferences, and by failing to adequately disclose their publishing fees." The Court imposed a number of requirements as well as a judgment of $50.1 million. In this post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe reflects on the implications that this ruling may have for institutions — those that employ researchers and those that fund researchers, especially as this will by no means be the last enforcement action taken against publishers accused of deceptive practices.

The Blog post says (quote): From an ethos of care perspective, institutions may also wish to reach out to their authors and alert them that their research reputation may be tarnished if they have been the victims of fraudulent publishers. Institutions might also provide support for authors who wish to try and withdraw their publications or seek refunds of any payments they made to a publisher. Institutions may wish to put in place more proactive strategies for guiding authors when they are making their decisions about which journals to submit their manuscripts to. Such could be framed as an optional support service. Institutions may also wish to explore options for refusing to process payments to certain publishers to avoid being complicit in fraudulent activity.......... (unquote)

The full entry can be read Here.

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