The Second Wave of Preprint Servers: How Can Publishers Keep Afloat? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Preprint servers have been growing explosively over the last ten years: over 60 platforms are currently available worldwide, and the sharing of research outputs prior to formal peer-review and publication is increasing in popularity. Preprint servers have a long history in fields such as high energy physics, where extensive collaboration and co-authorship are the norm, and economics, with its lengthy review and publication process. Services like arXiv and RePEC emerged in the 1990s as a means of enabling early-sharing of research results in these disciplines, and have co-existed with traditional journals for decades….

Over the last 12 months we’ve been working on a project commissioned by Knowledge Exchange to explore the role of preprints in the scholarly communication process, speaking with researchers, research performing organizations, research funding organizations, and preprint service providers. Our interviews with authors indicate that early and fast dissemination is the primary motive behind preprint posting. In addition, the increased scope for feedback seems to be highly valued, with much of this interaction taking place via Twitter and email, rather than via direct comments on preprint servers. Early career researchers see particular advantages: the inclusion of preprints on CVs or funding applications enables them to demonstrate credibility in a field much sooner than would otherwise be the case….

In fields with a longstanding preprint culture, such as economics, scholarly practice has evolved to the point where ‘the working paper [on RePEc] is downloaded many times more than the article’. Similar patterns have been observed in mathematics, where arXiv-deposited articles appear to receive a citation advantage but see a reduction in downloads, and there are early indications of citation and altmetric advantages to biological science papers deposited in bioRxiv….

Journals with strong brands, or in fields that have yet to show much interest in preprints, may therefore find that a wait-and-see strategy serves them best. It remains unclear how many of the new crop of preprint servers will be able to develop a sustainable business model, and the recent decision by PeerJ to stop accepting new preprints lends credence to a cautious approach. Having established the first dedicated services for preprints in biology and life science, PeerJ’s management team have now opted to focus solely on peer-reviewed journals – effectively conceding the territory to not-for-profit preprint servers such as BioRxiv. As PeerJ’s CEO Jason Hoyt observes: ‘What we’re learning is that preprints are not a desired replacement for peer review, but a welcome complement to it.’

 

The second wave of preprint servers has much to offer the researcher community, but those expecting it to wash away existing scientific journals are liable to be disappointed. In our view, the biggest threat to academic publishers will come, not from preprint servers, but from other publishers that do a better job of addressing authors’ desire for accelerated dissemination, feedback and scholarly credit. This might be achieved through improved internal workflows, acquisition or strategic partnerships. In each case, seeing the integration of preprints into the research workflow as an opportunity, rather than a disruptive threat, is likely to offer publishers the best hope of continuing to identify and attract high-quality content.

bioRxiv: the preprint server for biology | bioRxiv

Abstract:  The traditional publication process delays dissemination of new research, often by months, sometimes by years. Preprint servers decouple dissemination of research papers from their evaluation and certification by journals, allowing researchers to share work immediately, receive feedback from a much larger audience, and provide evidence of productivity long before formal publication. Launched in 2013 as a non-profit community service, the bioRxiv server has brought preprint practice to the life sciences and recently posted its 64,000th manuscript. The server now receives more than four million views per month and hosts papers spanning all areas of biology. Initially dominated by evolutionary biology, genetics/genomics and computational biology, bioRxiv has been increasingly populated by papers in neuroscience, cell and developmental biology, and many other fields. Changes in journal and funder policies that encourage preprint posting have helped drive adoption, as has the development of bioRxiv technologies that allow authors to transfer papers easily between the server and journals. A bioRxiv user survey found that 42% of authors post their preprints prior to journal submission whereas 37% post concurrently with journal submission. Authors are motivated by a desire to share work early; they value the feedback they receive, and very rarely experience any negative consequences of preprint posting. Rapid dissemination via bioRxiv is also encouraging new initiatives that experiment with the peer review process and the development of novel approaches to literature filtering and assessment.

Simba Information: Scientific & Technical Publishing Bucked Headwinds, Posted Strong Growth in 2018

“The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.

The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers….”

The Writing on the Unpaywall | Library Babel Fish

“Since it’s Open Access Week, I finally got around to reading a paper I’d bookmarked a few weeks back, “The Future of OA: A Large-Scale Analysis Projecting Open Access Publication and Readership.” Written by Heather Piwowar, Jason Priem, and Richard Orr, the wizards behind Our Research, a non-profit devoted to developing infrastructure for open research, it makes a measured assessment of how much open access research is being read, what form it takes, and whether being published in an open access form makes a difference in readership and (by extension) in impact. Their analysis is based on the Unpaywall data set and access logs from the handy browser extension that lets you see if there is a legit open access version of a paper. (In other words, it doesn’t include papers publishers want to keep behind a paywall, just papers that are open access from the start, open access after a period of time, or open access because the publisher gave authors the explicit right to post them openly.)

Here’s the tl;dr version: more research will be open in future, and research that is open access is more likely to be read. This should surprise no one, but it’s good to have data to back it up….”

The Writing on the Unpaywall | Library Babel Fish

“Since it’s Open Access Week, I finally got around to reading a paper I’d bookmarked a few weeks back, “The Future of OA: A Large-Scale Analysis Projecting Open Access Publication and Readership.” Written by Heather Piwowar, Jason Priem, and Richard Orr, the wizards behind Our Research, a non-profit devoted to developing infrastructure for open research, it makes a measured assessment of how much open access research is being read, what form it takes, and whether being published in an open access form makes a difference in readership and (by extension) in impact. Their analysis is based on the Unpaywall data set and access logs from the handy browser extension that lets you see if there is a legit open access version of a paper. (In other words, it doesn’t include papers publishers want to keep behind a paywall, just papers that are open access from the start, open access after a period of time, or open access because the publisher gave authors the explicit right to post them openly.)

Here’s the tl;dr version: more research will be open in future, and research that is open access is more likely to be read. This should surprise no one, but it’s good to have data to back it up….”

News & Views: Have We Reached Peak Hybrid? – Delta Think

“Although it’s still not perfect, the data about scholarly output has improved over the last couple of years. We recently analyzed all 110m records in the Unpaywall data set to see if we could determine the uptake of OA at scale and set it in the context of non-OA output. The results might surprise you….

Even allowing for different methodologies, like-for-like underlying trends appear consistent. It seems that even before the effects of Plan S have fully manifested, hybrid share of output is slowing. Note that the overall number of hybrid articles continues to grow – it’s just that other content types are growing more quickly.

 

There could be a number of reasons for this. For example, most of the funders pushing for OA rolled out their mandates over the last few years. We may therefore be seeing a natural slow-down as localized silos of OA uptake are nearing saturation. Meanwhile, until mandates in other areas of the world change or appear, further wholesale shift is unlikely….

Further deep analysis of the data lies outside the scope of this piece. But we leave you with one thought. If hybrid share is already in decline, but transformative agreements are on the rise, then will Plan S have the effect of slowing down the very change it’s trying to accelerate?…”

CORE update for July to September 2019 – CORE

“Highlights

CORE releases CORE Discovery in Mozilla and Opera browsers
CORE presents its full texts growth and introduces eduTDM at Open Science Fair 2019
CORE gives an invited talk at the OAI-11 CERN-UNIGE Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communications
CORE explores collaboration with the National Institute of Informatics (NII), Tokyo
CORE Statistics…”

The Future of OA: A large-scale analysis projecting Open Access publication and readership | bioRxiv

Understanding the growth of open access (OA) is important for deciding funder policy, subscription allocation, and infrastructure planning. This study analyses the number of papers available as OA over time. The models includes both OA embargo data and the relative growth rates of different OA types over time, based on the OA status of 70 million journal articles published between 1950 and 2019. The study also looks at article usage data, analyzing the proportion of views to OA articles vs views to articles which are closed access. Signal processing techniques are used to model how these viewership patterns change over time. Viewership data is based on 2.8 million uses of the Unpaywall browser extension in July 2019. We found that Green, Gold, and Hybrid papers receive more views than their Closed or Bronze counterparts, particularly Green papers made available within a year of publication. We also found that the proportion of Green, Gold, and Hybrid articles is growing most quickly. In 2019:- 31% of all journal articles are available as OA. – 52% of article views are to OA articles. Given existing trends, we estimate that by 2025: – 44% of all journal articles will be available as OA. – 70% of article views will be to OA articles. The declining relevance of closed access articles is likely to change the landscape of scholarly communication in the years to come.

 

Trends in Preprints | The Official PLOS Blog

“It’s not only PLOS-facilitated preprinting that is on the up, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of authors telling us they’ve already posted a preprint of their manuscript before submitting to a PLOS journal….

PLOS’ preprint posting service appears to be very popular among scientists based in African institutions. While we have posted the highest volume of preprints from the USA, China and European countries, it is African countries that dominate our opt ins – with eight of the ten highest opt in rates. At the top of the list are Uganda and Tanzania, where over 30% of corresponding authors chose to post a preprint at submission….”

 

SPARC Releases Connect OER Annual Report for 2018-2019 – SPARC

“SPARC is pleased to release our 2018-2019 Connect OER Annual Report, which offers insights about OER activities across North America. This year’s report examines the current state of OER activities featuring data from 132 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Our intent is that these insights will help inform SPARC members, open education advocates, and the library community about current trends, best practices, and the collective impact being achieved through OER at participating institutions….”