Peer Review of Scholarly Research Gets an AI Boost – IEEE Spectrum

“Open-access publisher Frontiers has debuted an AI tool called the Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant (AIRA), which purports to eliminate much of the grunt work associated with peer review. Since the beginning of June 2020, every one of the 11,000-plus submissions Frontiers received has been run through AIRA, which is integrated into its collaborative peer-review platform. This also makes it accessible to external users, accounting for some 100,000 editors, authors, and reviewers. Altogether, this helps “maximize the efficiency of the publishing process and make peer-review more objective,” says Kamila Markram, founder and CEO of Frontiers.

AIRA’s interactive online platform, which is a first of its kind in the industry, has been in development for three years.. It performs three broad functions, explains Daniel Petrariu, director of project management: assessing the quality of the manuscript, assessing quality of peer review, and recommending editors and reviewers. At the initial validation stage, the AI can make up to 20 recommendations and flag potential issues, including language quality, plagiarism, integrity of images, conflicts of interest, and so on. “This happens almost instantly and with [high] accuracy, far beyond the rate at which a human could be expected to complete a similar task,” Markram says….

The AI’s job is to flag concerns; humans take the final decisions….”

Frontiers 2020: a third of journals increase prices by 45 times the inflation rate | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

A third of the journals published by Frontiers in 2019 and 2020 (20 / 61 journals) have increased in price by 18% or more (up to 55%). This is quite a contrast with the .4% Swiss inflation rate for 2019 according to ; 18% is 45 times the inflation rate. This is an even more marked contrast with the current and anticipated economic impact of COVID; according to Le News, “A team of economic experts working for the Swiss government forecasts a 6.7% fall in GDP”. (Frontiers’ headquarters is in Switzerland).

The International Journal of Public Health transitions to Open Access – Science & research news | Frontiers

“The International Journal of Public Health is pleased to announce that from January 2021 it will transition from a subscription model to Gold Open Access. 

The journal, which celebrates its 100th anniversary soon, will also be transferring from its current publisher Springer Nature to Frontiers, a leading Gold Open Access publisher offering tailored services and a highly technologically advanced platform.

Owned by the Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), the School is proud to announce the transition….”

PLOS Joins Other Publishers and Societies in Support of the Proposed White House Policy Regarding Federally Funded Research

Note: PLOS and other prominent organizations delivered the following letter to the Trump Administration on January 17, 2020. We encourage all publishing organizations and scholarly societies who would like to join us in support of OA in the USA to reach out to us at — we can prepare an expanded letter with more signatories as necessary. Please also consider voicing your support on social media with the hashtag #OAintheUSA.

Frontiers and Robert-Jan Smits emails reveal how Plan S was conceived – For Better Science

Guess what. After pestering the EU Commission and the European Ombudsman for exactly NINE months (since November 2018) the baby is born and I got the emails between the former EU Special Envoy for Open Access (OA), Robert-Jan Smits, and the Swiss, Lausanne-based, OA publisher Frontiers, namely its CEO Kamila Markram, who founded Frontiers together with her husband, the EPFL professor and brain simulator Henry Markram.

I previously published an analysis of same emails where, aside of addressee, sender and date only the subject line was made available. That was enough to establish the influence of Frontiers over Plan S conception. The finally released emails are still heavily censored yet even more revealing. We learn that the Frontiers vision of the OA future mediated to Smits neatly translated into what became on 4 September 2018 his Plan S, with one initial exception: The caps for Article Processing Charges (APC) were put in place, though not specified. Much of the email exchange between Smits and Markram was about APC caps, which the latter protested against, so the free market and innovation are not impeded. Frontiers highest APC is currently at €2440 or $2950, and Markram conceded to Smits to accept a cap of €3000. Soon after Plan S was announced, Smits turned to speaking of caps as not being necessary; at the revised Plan S, all talk of capping APC ended.Plan S was designed to flip scholarly publishing first in Europe, then in the world, to full OA, by banning all scientists from publishing in subscription journals and even by punishing them for attempting to do so. That is, all scientists who receive funding from Plan S-subscribing cOAition S members of national and EU funders as well as charities. Learned societies were ordered to flip their journals to OA and to cease using the publishing revenue for any outreach, training and community activities not directly related to publishing….”

UC Davis and Frontiers form open access publishing agreement – Science & research news | Frontiers

The University of California, Davis supports its researchers in making their research more widely available. As part of this support, UC Davis Library has entered an institutional agreement with Frontiers. Under the terms of this agreement, UC Davis-affiliated corresponding authors will benefit from a 7.5% membership discount on article processing charges (APCs) when publishing in any of Frontiers’ open access journals, irrespective of what fund covers the APC….”

Why Beall’s List Died — and What It Left Unresolved About Open Access – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why, after toiling so hard for five years — and creating a resource cherished by scientists wary of exploitative publishers — did the University of Colorado at Denver’s Jeffrey Beall abruptly give it all up? Who, or what, forced his hand?

There are several prime suspects:

  • His fellow university librarians, whom Mr. Beall faults for overpromoting open-access publishing models.
  • A well-financed Swiss publisher, angry that Mr. Beall had had the temerity to put its journals on his list.
  • His own university, perhaps fatigued by complaints from the publisher, the librarians, or others.
  • The broader academic community — universities, funders of research, publishers, and fellow researchers, many of whom long understood the value of Mr. Beall’s list but did little to help him out.
  • Mr. Beall himself, who failed to recognize that a bit of online shaming wouldn’t stop many scientists from making common cause with journals that just don’t ask too many questions.

In the end, all played important roles in the demise of Beall’s List. On one level, Mr. Beall’s saga is just another tale of warring personalities. On another, though, it points to a broader problem in publishing: Universities still have a long way to go to create systems for researchers to share and collaborate with one another, evaluate one another’s work, and get credit for what really matters in research….”

Frontiers and the National Library of Sweden sign Open Access Framework Agreement

In addition to a centralised invoicing process that covers the publishing fees (article processing charges), researchers at participating organisations benefit from a discount.  This is the first Nordic agreement of its kind and follows the Austrian Open Access framework publishing agreement between Frontiers, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the University of Vienna in late 2017.  The Agreement is open to all participating organisations of the Bibsam Consortium, which includes universities, university colleges and government-funded research institutions. Twenty organisations have already joined, including leading universities. All new participating organisations will benefit from the same terms and conditions, regardless of size or research output.

New Open Access publishing deal for Austrian researchers – Science & research news | Frontiers | Open-access publisher

“Under a landmark Open Access Publishing Framework Agreement signed today between Frontiers, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the University of Vienna, Austrian researchers affiliated with or funded by these institutions can now publish their articles in Frontiers’ open access journals through a simplified process that covers article processing charges. In addition to a national discount and centralized invoicing process, the signatory institutions benefit from transparent, comprehensive reporting on expenditures and research outputs at an institutional and national level.”