Emerald academic culture survey 2020: Openness & transparency

“Our survey revealed a significant shift towards publishing through open access and sharing links to supporting datasets as the type of change that researchers are considering – from 29% in 2019 to 51% in 2020….

On the topic of open data, it was unsurprising that half of all respondents (and as many as 61% in North America) were concerned over datasets that contain sensitive or personal information that is inappropriate or unethical to share openly.

 

For some, there also appears to be a lack of clarity on how to share data, with 7% of respondents admitting that they did not know how to do this. At the regional level, this increases to 16% of respondents in the Middle East and North Africa who were unfamiliar with data sharing….”

Researchers’ attitudes and perceptions towards data sharing and data reuse in the field of food science and technology – Melero – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  This work analyses the perception and practice of sharing, reusing, and facilitating access to research data in the field of food science and technology. The study involved the coordination of a focus group discussion and an online survey, to understand and evince the behaviour of researchers regarding data management in that field. Both the discussion group and the survey were performed with researchers from several institutes of the Spanish National Research Council. The lack of a data sharing culture, the fear of being scooped, and confusion between the concepts of the working plan and the data management plan were some of the issues that emerged in the focus group. Respondents’ previous experience with sharing their research data has been mainly in the form of appendices to peer?reviewed publications. From the survey (101 responses), the most important motivations for publishing research data were found to be facilitating the reproducibility of the research, increasing the likelihood of citations of the article, and compliance with funding body mandates. Legal constraints, intellectual property, data ownership, data rights, potential commercial exploitation, and misuse of data were the main barriers to publishing data as open data. Citation in publications, certification, compliance with standards, and the reputation of the data providers were the most relevant factors affecting the use of other researchers’ data. Being recent or recently updated, well documented, with quality metadata and ease of access were the most valued attributes of open research data.

 

Scholarly publishing and journal targeting in the time of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: a cross-sectional survey of rheumatologists and other specialists | SpringerLink

Abstract:  The evolving research landscape in the time of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic calls for greater understanding of the perceptions of scholars regarding the current state and future of publishing. An anonymised and validated e-survey featuring 30 questions was circulated among rheumatologists and other specialists over social media to understand preferences while choosing target journals, publishing standards, commercial editing services, preprint archiving, social media and alternative publication activities. Of 108 respondents, a significant proportion were clinicians (68%), researchers (60%) and educators (47%), with median 23 publications and 15 peer-review accomplishments. The respondents were mainly rheumatologists from India, Ukraine and Turkey. While choosing target journals, relevance to their field (69%), PubMed Central archiving (61%) and free publishing (59%) were the major factors. Thirty-nine surveyees (36%) claimed that they often targeted local journals for publishing their research. However, only 18 (17%) perceived their local society journals as trustworthy. Occasional publication in the so-called predatory journals (5, 5%) was reported and obtaining support from commercial editing agencies to improve English and data presentation was not uncommon (23, 21%). The opinion on preprint archiving was disputed; only one-third believed preprints were useful. High-quality peer review (56%), full and immediate open access (46%) and post-publication social media promotion (32%) were identified as key anticipated features of scholarly publishing in the foreseeable future. These perceptions of surveyed scholars call for greater access to free publishing, attention to proper usage of English and editing skills, and a larger role for engagement over social media.

 

The Wikipedia research conundrum: Is it citable?

“A total of 99 participants mentioned Wikipedia’s contribution model, and 70 thought this characteristic was undesirable. As mentioned above, one might think that those who mention the open model, and especially those who mention it as a bad thing, would be less likely to consider Wikipedia a helpful resource. As it turns out, this is not the case.

More than 50% of the students who mentioned Wikipedia’s contribution model still selected it as helpful. This number is not significantly different from the 54% among those who did not mention the fact that anyone is free to edit the resource. Even those who viewed the authorship model negatively do not appear to differ in any statistically significant way in their general likelihood to select Wikipedia as helpful. Quite simply, our results do not provide any evidence that paying attention to the open contribution model of Wikipedia impacts the way that people evaluate its helpfulness….”

Meta-Research: Evaluating the impact of open access policies on research institutions | eLife

Abstract:The proportion of research outputs published in open access journals or made available on other freely-accessible platforms has increased over the past two decades, driven largely by funder mandates, institutional policies, grass-roots advocacy, and changing attitudes in the research community. However, the relative effectiveness of these different interventions has remained largely unexplored. Here we present a robust, transparent and updateable method for analysing how these interventions affect the open access performance of individual institutes. We studied 1,207 institutions from across the world, and found that, in 2017, the top-performing universities published around 80-90% of their research open access. The analysis also showed that publisher-mediated (gold) open access was popular in Latin American and African universities, whereas the growth of open access in Europe and North America has mostly been driven by repositories.

 

News & Views: Preprints and COVID-19: Findings from our PRW Survey – Delta Think

“In anticipation of Peer Review Week 2020, and in consideration of the theme ‘Trust in Peer Review’, Delta Think surveyed broadly across a two-week period in August to determine whether COVID-19 has impacted perceptions of preprints. The survey was open to everyone – from Publishers to Librarians to Researchers to the Lay Public with an interest in scientific output.

We entered into the survey with open minds, though a few recurring themes circulating in news outlets were on our minds including: the idea that both traditional journal submissions and articles posted to preprint servers have spiked in the last six months, owing to COVID-19; and the hunch that perhaps increased traffic indicated a correlated spike in trust, or conversely, that challenged findings making their way into mainstream news might have reduced trust. Was the reputation associated with preprints in jeopardy? Or could they play a critical role in speeding up science at a time so critical for the global health community? With these early loose hypotheses and questions, we launched the survey.

We explore the survey results below. In the spirit of transparency, we will make the data collected available within the next few weeks. It’s also important to note that while this was a quick survey, and is not meant to include a representative sample from the participating audiences, it provides interesting top-level findings and points to areas that may be ripe for a further investigation or a deeper dive in future….”

Conceptions of digital libraries: an African perspective | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper was to explore African conceptions of digital libraries from the perspective of the historical literature. This paper argues that the concept of digital libraries is a western creation and that there was a need for developing societies to develop their own conceptions to guide their own digital library development agenda.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a literature review. The paper makes use of publicly-available literature on the theme of digital libraries from both the Western and African perspectives. The search terms used were “digital libraries”, “Africa digital libraries”, “electronic libraries”, “information communication technologies/libraries” and “institutional repositories”. A total of 89 publications were examined for this purpose.

Findings

The analysis revealed that most of the initial digital library initiatives in Africa emanated from the west with African countries benefiting from international initiatives to expand access to information resources to bridge the global digital divide. However, due to a number of contextual challenges such as lack of sustainable funding and inadequate capacity and strategy, the development of digital libraries was hampered. Thus, even though digital libraries enjoy considerable goodwill, there remain negative conceptions of digital libraries in Africa.

Practical implications

Information institutions in African countries must evolve a unified conception of digital libraries as this would largely drive the direction of digital library development towards achieving the developmental goals of the continent.

Supporting Research in Languages and Literature | Ithaka S+R

“In general, language and literature scholars do not prioritize publishing in open access journals and are reluctant to pay article processing charges (APCs) to make their articles in hybrid journals open access. A few subfields, such as video game studies and digital humanities, have many open access journals and may represent exceptions to this trend.

Numerous interviewees expressed positive sentiments around the idea of their research being openly available, although they often conflated “open access”—free access to published, peer-reviewed articles—with other forms of online dissemination, such as digital archives and Academia.edu. However, these interviewees usually did not report having taken concrete actions to make their research open access. The pressure to publish in prestige journals—which are usually not open access—and the cost of article processing charges[56] contravenes any desire to make their work open.[57] As one unusually well-informed interviewee explained, “I would like [my work] to be copyrighted under a Creative Commons [open access copyright license] and I have absolutely no way of doing that because of the tenure system. . . . After I get tenure I’ll start to try to push that forward.” This resonates with findings from the Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018, which showed that younger faculty members across disciplines place less of a priority on publishing in open access journals than older faculty members.[58]

The continuing supremacy of the monograph within the field of languages and literature may also contribute to scholars’ ambivalence toward open access publishing, since the open access movement broadly focuses on journal articles. Although some publishers are experimenting with open access monographs—at least one interviewee reported having published a book both in print and in a free online version—this was not a priority for the scholars interviewed for this project.

Only a few interviewees reported that they had uploaded preprints of their articles to their campus repositories. Many scholars simply do not understand that they are able to do this or why they should. Others are confused about whether and how the copyright terms of their own work allow them to share it on platforms outside the publisher’s website.[59] Several interviewees reported that they share PDFs of their articles on Academia.edu, Facebook groups, or, less commonly, their personal websites; only some of these scholars mentioned paying attention to the copyright status of their work when doing so….

Most interviewees who spoke about public humanities in relation to digital outputs did not articulate a vision for how they would measure or promote public engagement with these outputs, other than making them available. It is also important to note that language and literature scholars generally do not view open access publishing as a proxy for public engagement; there is an implicit sense that traditional scholarly research outputs are inappropriate for wider audiences….”

Guest Post – Assessing User Perceptions of an Open Access Subvention Fund – The Scholarly Kitchen

“After eight years of funding open access (OA) articles, University Libraries at Virginia Tech has a wealth of quantitative data on article processing charges (APC). However, we lacked qualitative information on authors’ perceptions about funding OA articles, how this funding supports research in specific disciplines, and how authors view OA publishing in general. Since the fund’s inception, the Library’s expenditures on APCs has increased over 500%, prompting us to ask authors about their perceptions of the Open Access Subvention Fund (OASF) as we consider its future development and sustainability….

In fall 2019 we conducted a survey of all the VT authors and co-authors who had requested APC support between August 2012 and October 2019….

As context for understanding respondents’ views on the OASF, we wanted to learn about their views on the value of OA publishing more generally. Overall the attitudes were positive (perhaps not surprising given that those receiving the survey were seeking funding to publish OA) but the nuances are useful to understand.

 

56% of respondents felt that OA publishing should be a positive factor in promotion and tenure (P&T) considerations. But, 58% said it had not been discussed by any P&T committee they served on.
63% of the respondents received no special recognition from their departments for publishing an OA article.
Only 20% of authors reported that they deposited their articles in VTechWorks (our institutional repository). This indicates they may not be aware of the added exposure that the repository could provide for their work. Or, they may believe that by publishing the work OA, there is no need to provide a duplicate a copy in VTechWorks. (Note: OASF-supported articles are deposited in VTechWorks by Scholarly Communication Department staff if the authors do not deposit them.)
Authors are spreading the word about the OASF to their colleagues. While the Library uses a number of communication channels to advertise the fund, word of mouth seems to be very  effective. Nearly 80% indicated that they passed on information they got from a Library session, and 49% of respondents said they learned about the fund from a colleague.
Authors report encouraging others to publish in OA journals, including colleagues at VT (37%) and other universities (20%), graduate students (34%), and occasionally undergraduate students (8%)….”

Exploring Current Attitudes Toward Preprints Survey

“Delta Think is surveying broadly to determine whether COVID-19 has had an impact on perceptions of Preprints. The survey is open to everyone – from Publishers to Librarians to Researchers to the Lay Public with and interest in scientific output. For each survey completed, we will donate $5 to Project HOPE, up to $1,000. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete….”