“Abstract: The website Sci-Hub enables users to download PDF versions of scholarly articles, including many articles that are paywalled at their journal’s site. Sci-Hub has grown rapidly since its creation in 2011, but the extent of its coverage was unclear. Here we report that, as of March 2017, Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of the 81.6 million scholarly articles registered with Crossref and 85.1% of articles published in toll access journals. We find that coverage varies by discipline and publisher, and that Sci-Hub preferentially covers popular, paywalled content. For toll access articles, we find that Sci-Hub provides greater coverage than the University of Pennsylvania, a major research university in the United States. Green open access to toll access articles via licit services, on the other hand, remains quite limited. Our interactive browser at https://greenelab.github.io/scihub allows users to explore these findings in more detail. For the first time, nearly all scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection, suggesting the toll access business model may become unsustainable.”
Abstract: Although researchers have begun to investigate the difference in scientific impact between closed-access and open-access journals, studies that focus specifically on dynamic and disciplinary differences remain scarce. This study serves to fill this gap by using a large longitudinal dataset to examine these differences. Using CiteScore as a proxy for journal scientific impact, we employ a series of statistical tests to identify the quartile categories and disciplinary areas in which impact trends differ notably between closed- and open-access journals. We find that closed-access journals have a noticeable advantage in social sciences (for example, business and economics), whereas open-access journals perform well in medical and healthcare domains (for example, health profession and nursing). Moreover, we find that after controlling for a journal’s rank and disciplinary differences, there are statistically more closed-access journals in the top 10%, Quartile 1, and Quartile 2 categories as measured by CiteScore; in contrast, more open-access journals in Quartile 4 gained scientific impact from 2011 to 2015. Considering dynamic and disciplinary trends in tandem, we find that more closed-access journals in Social Sciences gained in impact, whereas in biochemistry and medicine, more open-access journals experienced such gains.
“As scientists race to save coral reefs and tackle other crucial marine issues, access to expensive scientific journals has become a roadblock to sharing knowledge, especially for researchers in developing countries….
…Open Communications for The Ocean (OCTO), a Woodinville, Washington-based nonprofit that recently launched a marine science research “repository” called MarXiv. Its goal is to systematically make more marine research freely accessible….”
“Abstract: Open access (OA) is free, unrestricted access to electronic versions of scholarly publications. For peer-reviewed journal articles, there are two main routes to OA: publishing in OA journals (gold OA) or archiving of article copies or manuscripts at other web locations (green OA). This study focuses on summarizing and extending current knowledge about green OA. A synthesis of previous studies indicates that green OA coverage of all published journal articles is approximately 12%, with substantial disciplinary variation. Typically, green OA copies become available after considerable time delays, partly caused by publisher-imposed embargo periods, and partly by author tendencies to archive manuscripts only periodically. Although green OA copies should ideally be archived in proper repositories, a large share is stored on home pages and similar locations, with no assurance of long-term preservation. Often such locations contain exact copies of published articles, which may infringe on the publisher’s exclusive rights. The technical foundation for green OA uploading is becoming increasingly solid largely due to the rapid increase in the number of institutional repositories. The number of articles within the scope of OA mandates, which strongly influence the self-archival rate of articles, is nevertheless still low.”
“It is not easy to have a paper published in the Lancet, so Wakefield’s paper presumably underwent a stringent process of peer review. As a result, it received a very strong endorsement from the scientific community. This gave a huge impetus to anti-vaccination campaigners and may well have led to hundreds of preventable deaths. By contrast, the two mathematics preprints were not peer reviewed, but that did not stop the correctness or otherwise of their claims being satisfactorily established.
An obvious objection to that last sentence is that the mathematics preprints were in fact peer-reviewed. They may not have been sent to referees by the editor of a journal, but they certainly were carefully scrutinized by peers of the authors. So to avoid any confusion, let me use the phrase “formal peer review” for the kind that is organized by a journal and “informal peer review” for the less official scrutiny that is carried out whenever an academic reads an article and comes to some sort of judgement on it. My aim here is to question whether we need formal peer review. It goes without saying that peer review in some form is essential, but it is much less obvious that it needs to be organized in the way it usually is today, or even that it needs to be organized at all.
What would the world be like without formal peer review? One can get some idea by looking at what the world is already like for many mathematicians. These days, the arXiv is how we disseminate our work, and the arXiv is how we establish priority. A typical pattern is to post a preprint to the arXiv, wait for feedback from other mathematicians who might be interested, post a revised version of the preprint, and send the revised version to a journal. The time between submitting a paper to a journal and its appearing is often a year or two, so by the time it appears in print, it has already been thoroughly assimilated. Furthermore, looking a paper up on the arXiv is much simpler than grappling with most journal websites, so even after publication it is often the arXiv preprint that is read and not the journal’s formatted version. Thus, in mathematics at least, journals have become almost irrelevant: their main purpose is to provide a stamp of approval, and even then one that gives only an imprecise and unreliable indication of how good a paper actually is….
An alternative system would almost certainly not be perfect, but to insist on perfection, given the imperfections of the current system, is nothing but status quo bias. To guard against this, imagine that an alternative system were fully established and see whether you can mount a convincing argument for switching to what we have now, where all the valuable commentary would be hidden away and we would have to pay large sums of money to read each other’s writings. You would be laughed out of court.”
“Someday, I hope that all journal articles in my field are available to researchers around the world and the public at large, and not hidden behind pay-walls. After all, scientific research is heavily supported by tax-payers, so members of the public should be able to see, enjoy and learn what is being accomplished in the ever-expanding, and exciting field of human evolutionary studies.”
“I believe open access is the way to do right by one’s research and maintain the integrity of the work, as much as we’re doing right by society at large through our research. We need to also empower early-career academics to know exactly what control they have over their own work, and what can be done with it, and in making a principled decision about access to their research. These decisions need to be considered at the beginning of the research process already and not just at the end. Just as with any new mode of practice, open access has a learning curve that requires deliberate and purposeful practice, but pays off very quickly in terms of citations, research impact, and social impact. So the next time you have a paper waiting to be written, look up the open access options in your discipline. In the meanwhile, make sure to find the preprint copies of all your published papers and deposit them in your institutional repository.”
Abstract: The emergence and wide diffusion of information and communication technologies created ever increasing opportunities for sharing and collaboration, which shortened geographic, disciplinary and expertise distances. There exist various technologies, tools and infrastructure that facilitate collaborative production processes in various social spheres, and scientific production is not an exception. Open science produces scientific knowledge in a collaborative way, including experts and non-experts and to share the outcomes of knowledge creation processes. We identify 68 open science initiatives in Argentina using different primary and secondary sources. This paper describes those experiences in terms of goals, disciplines and openness along research stages. Building on the relationship between characteristics of openness and expected benefits, we discuss policy implications in order to better support openness and collaboration in science.