Open science and modified funding lotteries can impede the natural selection of bad science | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  Assessing scientists using exploitable metrics can lead to the degradation of research methods even without any strategic behaviour on the part of individuals, via ‘the natural selection of bad science.’ Institutional incentives to maximize metrics like publication quantity and impact drive this dynamic. Removing these incentives is necessary, but institutional change is slow. However, recent developments suggest possible solutions with more rapid onsets. These include what we call open science improvements, which can reduce publication bias and improve the efficacy of peer review. In addition, there have been increasing calls for funders to move away from prestige- or innovation-based approaches in favour of lotteries. We investigated whether such changes are likely to improve the reproducibility of science even in the presence of persistent incentives for publication quantity through computational modelling. We found that modified lotteries, which allocate funding randomly among proposals that pass a threshold for methodological rigour, effectively reduce the rate of false discoveries, particularly when paired with open science improvements that increase the publication of negative results and improve the quality of peer review. In the absence of funding that targets rigour, open science improvements can still reduce false discoveries in the published literature but are less likely to improve the overall culture of research practices that underlie those publications.

Why we publish where we do: Faculty publishing values and their relationship to review, promotion and tenure expectations | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Using an online survey of academics at 55 randomly selected institutions across the US and Canada, we explore priorities for publishing decisions and their perceived importance within review, promotion, and tenure (RPT). We find that respondents most value journal readership, while they believe their peers most value prestige and related metrics such as impact factor when submitting their work for publication. Respondents indicated that total number of publications, number of publications per year, and journal name recognition were the most valued factors in RPT. Older and tenured respondents (most likely to serve on RPT committees) were less likely to value journal prestige and metrics for publishing, while untenured respondents were more likely to value these factors. These results suggest disconnects between what academics value versus what they think their peers value, and between the importance of journal prestige and metrics for tenured versus untenured faculty in publishing and RPT perceptions.

A cohort study of how faculty in LIS schools perceive and engage with open-access publishing – Wilhelm Peekhaus,

Abstract:  This article presents results from a survey of faculty in North American Library and Information Studies (LIS) schools about their attitudes towards and experience with open-access publishing. As a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2013, the article also outlines the differences in beliefs about and engagement with open access that have occurred between 2013 and 2018. Although faculty in LIS schools are proponents of free access to research, journal publication choices remain informed by traditional considerations such as prestige and impact factor. Engagement with open access has increased significantly, while perceptions of open access have remained relatively stable between 2013 and 2018. Nonetheless, those faculty who have published in an open-access journal or are more knowledgeable about open access tend to be more convinced about the quality of open-access publications and less apprehensive about open-access publishing than those who have no publishing experience with open-access journals or who are less knowledgeable about various open-access modalities. Willingness to comply with gold open-access mandates has increased significantly since 2013.

A single, open access journal may prevent the primary publishing problems in the life sciences: Accountability in Research: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Herein, we discuss a novel way to knit current life sciences publishing structures together under the scope of a single life science journal that would countermand many of the issues faced in current publishing paradigms. Such issues include, but are not limited to, publication fees, subscription fees, impact factor, and publishing in more “glamorous” journals for career health. We envision a process flow involving (i) a single, overall, life sciences journal, (ii) divided into sections headed by learned societies, (iii) to whom all scientific papers are submitted for peer review, and (iv) all accepted scientific literature would be published open access and without author publication fees. With such a structure, journal fees, the merit system of science, and unethical aspects of open access would be reformed for the better. Importantly, such a journal could leverage existing online platforms; that is to say, it is conceptually feasible. We conclude that wholly inclusive publishing paradigms can be possible. A single, open access, online, life sciences journal could solve the myriad problems associated with current publishing paradigms and would be feasible to implement.

What Will the Future of Scientific Publishing Look Like? | The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

“Recently though, there have been more and more attempts to change that system and find a new way of measuring scholarly achievements other than via the impact factor. But to change the status quo, what exactly needs to change and how can this be achieved? These are just three of the many issues that were discussed during a Panel Discussion on Wednesday afternoon of the 68thLindau Nobel Laureate Meeting….”

 

Plan S, the Verschlimmbesserung of Scholarly Information

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Germany steered clear of signing on to Plan S. If you can create the word verschlimmbesserung to describe an attempted improvement that actually makes things worse, you are probably pretty good at spotting and avoiding a verschlimmbesserung more quickly than you can say it….

But if we widen the aperture to align with the mission of Plan S funders and consider whether Plan S is good for science, medicine, humanities, and knowledge, the focus changes, and we can see that Plan S could well actually make things worse….

Plan S undermines this complex ecosystem, making the more selective and curated subscription outlets less viable. In doing so, Plan S flattens the multitude of venues where scholarly information appears, and funnels research towards high-volume, low-cost, less-discerning outlets. …

Plan S is not really about advancing science, or OA, but about harming large commercial publishers (I made this argument here). …

[W]e may find that low-margin society publishers, who are dedicated to advancing their fields, find Plan S makes their operations unsustainable and are forced to divest their publishing assets. As a result, we may well see large commercial players become even larger, and while there be some margin compression in traversing to a Plan S-catalyzed flipped world, net profits of commercial players could well grow….”

Plan S: the final cut – The Lancet

Plan S now emphasises changing the scientific reward and incentive system. And it calls for transparency regarding the publishing services offered in exchange for an article processing charge. Again, we agree. Publishers should explain the added value they bring to the scientific publishing process. In one aspect of Plan S, we differ. Plan S partners argue that they will not pay for “brand value”. But journals such as The Lancet are not neutral publishing platforms. We stand for values and activities beyond publication—campaigning, for example, for the right to health, health equity, and social justice. Publishing in (or subscribing to) a Lancet title brings authors (and readers) inside this community of values. Deeming those values irrelevant is harmful to health and medical science. Coalition S partners must respect and protect those values during the welcome acceleration to a more open access world.”

How to avoid borrowed plumes in academia

Abstract:  Publications in top journals today have a powerful influence on academic careers although there is much criticism of using journal rankings to evaluate individual articles. We ask why this practice of performance evaluation is still so influential. We suggest this is the case because a majority of authors benefit from the present system due to the extreme skewness of citation distributions. “Performance paradox” effects aggravate the problem. Three extant suggestions for reforming performance management are critically discussed. We advance a new proposal based on the insight that fundamental uncertainty is symptomatic for scholarly work. It suggests focal randomization using a rationally founded and well-orchestrated procedure.

Open and closed – What do reverse flips tell us about the scholarly publishing landscape? | Impact of Social Sciences

“The progress of Open Access (OA) is often measured by the proportion of journals that have transitioned to OA publication models. However, a number of journals have made the opposite choice and moved from open to closed access models. In this post Lisa Matthias, Najko Jahn and Mikael Laakso report on findings from the first study of journals that have made this reverse flip and assess what this phenomenon says about the wider ecosystem of research communication….

One key issue here might be that OA journals that do not charge APCs, or have low APCs, are seen to be ‘low quality’, or even ‘predatory’, in comparison to the more prestigious (higher price) journals associated with larger publishers and societies. It is difficult to project an image of higher quality while giving away your services for free, especially within a culture that is addicted to journal brands and prestige. This factor might partially explain why at least 21 currently hybrid journals operated by a learned society flipped from an APC-free ‘diamond OA’ model to one leveraging APCs in excess of $1,500.

Although launching OA journals seems to be relatively easy, consistent and stable publication over several years is not, especially if financial support is lacking and the journal is largely dependent on the voluntary labor of scholars. Developing and strengthening support mechanisms for the sustainability and growth of existing scholar-led OA journals is essential in this regard.

Moreover, we also found that in some cases, research articles originally published as OA were put behind a paywall when the journal reverse-flipped. This was not the main focus of our study, but we do want to raise the issue of proper content licensing and emphasize its importance to increase the likelihood that materials remain in open circulation and decrease uncertainties regarding their reusability.

We suspect, the OA model is not the root cause of these problems, but rather other problematic aspects of the scholarly publishing system; for example, the prestige-driven evaluation system, and the increasing concentration of journals within a few large commercial entities. However, with initiatives such as Plan S, it is clear that for many scholarly publishers it will no longer be business as usual. As new stakeholder groups, including researchers, policymakers, NGOs, and academic and library consortia become increasingly engaged with scholarly communication, it remains critical that we have a sound, evidence-informed view of how the landscape is changing. Reverse-flip journals represent one small but critical part of this and we encourage others to pool their resources, efforts, and data to help to create a more holistic understanding of the global scholarly publishing ecosystem, and ultimately a more sustainable open scholarly infrastructure….”