Will the pandemic permanently alter scientific publishing?

“Anna Obenauf had never posted her results to a preprint server, but she decided to make the jump in April. She was racing against another team to get findings on a rare skin cancer out quickly, so she uploaded her manuscript to bioRxiv — just like thousands of COVID-19 researchers have been doing during this pandemic. It was a turning point for Obenauf, a cancer biologist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, who particularly liked the quick feedback she received (L. Leiendecker et al. Preprint at bioRxiv http://doi.org/dw3f; 2020). She says she will probably continue to post some of her team’s work on preprint servers in the future.

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined just how fast and open science publishing can be — when scientists want it that way. Researchers working on the pandemic are sharing preliminary results on preprint servers and institutional websites at unprecedented rates, embracing the kind of early, public sharing that physicists and mathematicians have practised for decades. Journals have whisked manuscripts through to formal publication in record time, aided by researchers who have rapidly peer-reviewed the studies. And dozens of publishers and journals, including Elsevier, Springer Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine, have made coronavirus research — new and old — free to read. They have pledged to continue doing so for the duration of the outbreak, and have encouraged or, in some instances, required researchers to post their manuscripts on preprint servers….”

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The commercial model of academic publishing underscoring Plan S weakens the existing open access ecosystem in Latin America | Impact of Social Sciences

Health emergencies such as those we face today reveal the importance of opening scientific knowledge; something that not-for-profit open access publishing has permanently and organically allowed for a long time. The expansion of Plan S, a research funder led initiative to promote a global transition to open access to scholarly research, to Latin America has led to significant debate about how the policy will impact the existing system of non-commercial open access publication in Latin America. Responding to earlier posts on this subject, Eduardo Aguado López and Arianna Becerril García argue that introducing Article Processing Charges, whereby academics or their funders pay to publish open access, will inherently degrade existing non-profit forms of open access publishing that have existed in Latin America for over three decade

A Bibliographic Scan of Digital Scholarly Communication Infrastructure | Educopia Institute

“This Bibliographic Scan by David W. Lewis provides an extensive literature review and overview of today’s digital scholarly communications ecosystem, including information about 206 tools, services, and systems that are instrumental to the publishing and distribution of the scholarly record. The Bibliographic Scan includes 67 commercial and 139 non-profit scholarly communication organizations, programs, and projects that support researchers, repositories, publishing, discovery, preservation, and assessment. 

The review includes three sections: 1) Scholarly citations of works that discuss various functional areas of digital scholarly communication ecosystem (e.g., Repositories, Research Data, Discovery, Evaluation and Assessment, and Preservation); 2) Charts that record the major players active in each functional area;  and 3) Descriptions of each organization/program/project included in the Bibliographic Scan.  

This work has been produced as part of the “Mapping the Scholarly Communication Infrastructure” project (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Middlebury College, 2018-20).”

Open-access science funders announce price transparency rules for publishers | Science | AAAS

Science journals will have to disclose the costs of publishing articles in order for them to be paid for by a coalition of research funders pushing for open access. The price transparency rules, which will take effect in July 2022, were announced today by cOAlition S, a group of 22 international organizations, European national research agencies, and foundations. In 2018, cOAlition S launched a scheme called Plan S that will require grantees’ work, beginning in January 2021, to be open access, meaning it can be read immediately upon publication, free of charge. One route to accomplish this is for authors to pay journals a fee for each article published this way.

What is open-access publishing and what it means for the forensic enterprise – ScienceDirect

“Currently, two journals in the forensic science realm publish as Open Access, Forensic Science International: Synergy and Forensic Science International: Reports. Forensic Science International: Synergy welcomes significant, insightful, and innovative original research with the aim of advancing and supporting forensic science while exceeding its expectations for excellence. By being freely available to anyone, we seek to promote and support open discourse across diverse areas of interest, avocation, and geography. Papers are invited from all forensic sciences and influencing disciplines, including but not limited to the humanities, life sciences, social sciences, and the law….”

Covid-19 – Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent | Science & technology | The Economist

“The current public-health emergency has, however, turbocharged all this. With physicians, policymakers and prime ministers all needing the latest science in order to make immediate life-and-death decisions, speed has become paramount. Journals have responded to sharp rises in submissions by working overtime. In so doing they have squeezed their normal processes down to days or weeks….

In the view of many, though, this is not enough. These people support a different way of disseminating scientific information—one that dethrones the journals by making journal publication an optional extra rather than a researcher’s primary goal. This model of scientific publishing relies on online repositories called preprint servers, on which papers can be posted swiftly and with only minimal formalities. Mathematicians and physicists already use them widely. Biologists increasingly do so too. Covid-19, however, has seen a step-change. Around half of the available scientific work on the pandemic has been released through preprint servers. The hope of preprinting’s supporters is that this will make the shift to using them irreversible….

This increased speed shows that scientists have learned from their sluggish responses to previous outbreaks. In an analysis of research carried out during and after the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16 and the Zika outbreak of 2015-16, Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard now working on covid-19, looked at just how sluggish those responses were. He found that, where preprints had been available, they appeared around 100 days before journal articles that had eventually been published on the same work. Unfortunately, less than 5% of all the journal articles published about the two outbreaks had been preprinted….”

Interview with Graeme Nicol, Chief Executive of Cambridge Scholars Publishing – No Shelf Required

“Now, I know there is a whole complex debate running about Open Access (OA), mostly journals, but it’s coming to academic books. So, it’s not as simple as saying if a publisher asks you for money as an author, they are to be avoided. So let me say instead: if a publisher asks you for money to publish your book, take a careful look.

At the moment, ‘Gold’ OA – authors pay to make their books OA online – is not on our radar. If OA continues to gather strength in the academic market, it may be something we will look at. But if we do, it will be an option – publish conventionally, or publish OA, and find a way to cover our costs. And I think if you have an option as an author – I can choose to pay for one service, or I can publish for free with a different service – that should reassure people about predatory behavior.

If you are a small or new-entrant publisher operating a compulsory Publishing Charge, you are going to have your motives questioned. My advice would be: don’t do it! Find a way to make it pay, as we do, without publishing charges, or go do something else. If you are an author, look very carefully at any compulsory Publishing Charge….”