“Following on from the recent webinar entitled Scholarly Communication & COVID-19: Closing the Loop for Effective Peer Review, we asked our speakers to summarise their talks by offering a few key takeaways, which you can find below.
We also asked speakers to respond to the many questions that were posed by attendees via the webinar chat. You can find those questions and answers directly under the takeaways. This may be useful for those who missed it or wish to share with colleagues.
“After reviewing the background against which these challenges have appeared, we suggest that libraries define for themselves a more active role within scholarship production, which we define to include publication, distribution, access, and the process of scholarship impact assessment. The argument rests on the practical considerations of business organization. It is simply good business for law schools to curate the output of faculty scholarship, and many already do it through faculty repositories. Given that foundation, it seems logical for the library, as the institution which already manages those repositories, and which supports the students’ law reviews and journals in numerous ways, to step up and manage the full range of scholarship publication. This library management of student-edited scholarship production could cover all its aspects, excluding editorial publication decision and manuscript editing, from training and assisting to gather sources for cite checks, adding journal content to institutional platforms, administering technology services, and advising on copyright….”
Abstract: Despite limited resources, the nascent Scholarly Communication Unit of the David L. Rice Library has focused on creatively developing the themes of NASIG’s Scholarly Communication Competencies within and outside the library in order to develop scholarly communication services at the University of Southern Indiana. This paper describes the creation and development of the unit, its strengths and weaknesses, and some lessons learned, in the hopes that more libraries like ours will see scholarly communication work as valuable and attainable.
“This webinar will explore recent steps from some publishers and other scholarly communications organisations that are collaborating with the aim of increasing efficiency and speed in the publication of COVID-19 research by responding to researcher needs for societal impact….”
“This Research4Life Landscape and Situation Analysis, therefore, provides extremely pertinent and valuable insights into the shifting dynamics and external influences at play, from Global Megatrends down to Trends in Scholarly Communication, which will serve as an invaluable scene-setting contextualisation for the whole Research4Life Reviews project. Given the extremely interesting and useful reflections provided here, the Research4Life Executive Council is happy to share its insights and conclusions with other stakeholders in the wider research communication ecosystem and indeed the broader world.”
“The costs of scientific publishing will then primarily be in maintaining the archive(s) of publications. The example of existing large preprint archives such as arXiv, bioRxiv, and PhilSci-archive suggests that this can be done at a fraction of the cost currently spent on journal subscription fees. As a rough guideline, Van Noorden () estimates maintenance costs of arXiv at just $10 per article. So our proposal involves significant savings on library resources, which could be used to expand collections, retain more or better-trained staff, or other purposes that would be of epistemic benefit to the scientific community.
Two additional effects should be considered in relation to this. First, the fact that the online archive will be open access means that scientific publications will be available to everyone, not just to those with a library subscription or some other form of access to for-profit scientific journals. This will yield epistemic benefits by improving the research capabilities of independent scholars and those at universities with fewer resources….”
“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….”
Abstract: Scholarly communication in science, technology and medicine has been organized around journal-based scientific publishing for the past 350 years. Scientific publishing has unique business models and includes stakeholders with conflicting interests – publishers, funders, libraries, and scholars who create, curate, and consume the literature. Massive growth and change in scholarly communication, coinciding with digitalization, have amplified stresses inherent in traditional scientific publishing as evidenced by overwhelmed editors and reviewers, increased retraction rates, emergence of pseudo-journals, strained library budgets, and debates about the metrics of academic recognition for scholarly achievements. Simultaneously, several open access models are gaining traction and online technologies offer opportunities to augment traditional tasks of scientific publishing, develop integrated discovery services, and establish global and equitable scholarly communication through crowdsourcing, software development, big data management and machine learning. These rapidly evolving developments raise financial, legal and ethical dilemmas that require solutions while successful strategies are difficult to predict. Key challenges and trends are reviewed from the authors’ perspective about how to engage the scholarly community in this multifaceted process.
“The Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), the community steward for global Earth and environmental science data professionals, is partnering to transform scholarly communication and make data publicly accessible….”
“New research outputs also create new software challenges as a wide variety of formats must be integrated into existing information and knowledge systems. In fact, one of the main reasons researchers are not sharing data at scale are because they don’t know where to share it and lack incentives from the community to do so.
Existing tools, such as institutional repositories, content workflow or discovery services, do not put user experience or innovative discovery and dissemination concepts at the forefront, nor do they target specific formats such as pre-published research. As such, software services that can make content easily discoverable and useful for researchers are becoming all the more relevant and have a massive business opportunity in the scholarly ecosystem….
Having access to new kinds of highly relevant and useful software services helps businesses achieve success and accelerate their growth by providing a tailor-made solution to their needs.
There’s evidence that a similar shift is underway in scholarly publishing. The research workflow and the way that content is shared, discovered, and analysed is being reinvented to invigorate processes that are often decades-old….
Supporting researchers to do their best work while ensuring research is more accessible is a win for science and a win for sustainable business models.”