Preprints: Their Evolving Role in Science Communication

Abstract:  The use of preprints for the dissemination of research in some life sciences branches has increased substantially over the last few years. In this document, we discuss preprint publishing and use in the life sciences, from initial experiments back in the 1960s to the current landscape. We explore the perspectives, advantages and perceived concerns that different stakeholders associate with preprints, and where preprints stand in the context of research assessment frameworks. We also discuss the role of preprints in the publishing ecosystem and within open science more broadly, before outlining some remaining open questions and considerations for the future evolution of preprints.

Scholarly Communication Specialist – Job Opportunities – University of Cambridge

“Cambridge University Libraries invite applications for the post of Scholarly Communications Specialist.

The University of Cambridge promotes and supports open research to improve discoverability and maximise access to knowledge, in accordance with our mission to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Cambridge University Libraries play an important role as a partner in research, providing services, collections and expertise to support research excellence across the full range of academic disciplines.

The Scholarly Communication Specialist reports to the Head of Open Research Services within the Cambridge University Libraries Office of Scholarly Communication.

The role-holder provides information and analysis that informs the development of internal policies, services and infrastructure to meet the needs of the Cambridge research community.

They provide expert advice on matters relating to scholarly communication to researchers, librarians and administrators.

This is the perfect time to join us as we shape an Open Research Programme that develops the systems and services that are needed to support researchers across all disciplines….”

The case for an inclusive scholarly communication for social sciences and humanities

Abstract:  This article presents a vision for a scholarly communication research infrastructure for social sciences and humanities (SSH). The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressing need to access research outputs without the traditional economic and temporal barriers. This article explores the current scholarly communication landscape, assessing the reasons for the slower uptake of open access in SSH research. The authors discuss such frontiers as commercial interests, sources of academic prestige and discipline-specific genres.

This article defines and discusses the key areas in which a research infrastructure can play a vital role in making open scholarly communication a reality in SSH: (1) providing a federated and easy access to scattered SSH outputs; (2) supporting publication and dissemination of discipline-specific genres (e.g. monographs, critical editions); (3) providing help with evaluation and quality assurance practices in SSH; (4) enabling  scholarly work in national languages, which is significant for local communities; (5) being governed by researchers and for researchers as a crucial factor for productive, useful and accessible services; (6) lastly, considering the needs of other stakeholders involved in scholarly communication, such as publishers, libraries, media, non-profit organisations, and companies.
They conclude that a scholarly-driven, inclusive, dedicated infrastructure for the European Research Area is needed in order to advance open science in SSH and to address the issues tackled by SSH researchers at a structural and systemic level.

CFP: Contributions to the Scholarly Communication Notebook – OER + ScholComm

“We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for materials to be included in the Scholarly Communication Notebook. Successful proposals will contribute openly-licensed educational materials (OER) about scholarly communication that reflect the broad range of people, institution types, and service models in scholarly communication and specifically fill gaps of representation in the current body of materials. With generous support from IMLS, we are able to offer $2,500 financial awards in recognition of the expertise and labor required to develop these resources. You can see the full application as a Google doc, read more below, and submit here….”

Peer reviewers—time for mass rebellion? – The BMJ

“I have long argued, based on evidence, that prepublication peer review is useless. There is almost no evidence of the effectiveness of peer review but substantial evidence that it is slow, expensive, poor at detecting errors, largely a lottery, prone to bias and abuse, unable to guard against fraud, and anti-innovatory in that it tends to reject truly original research. If it was a drug, the saying goes, it would never be approved….

The time has come for peer reviewers to rebel, but what is it we want? My preference would be that we refuse to review unless the review is of a paper that is already posted for all to see and that our reviews are also immediately posted for all to see. I can see, however, that this might be scary for young or new reviewers, so they should insist on a proper payment or some other real reward, not, for example, being listed along with a hundred others once a year in the journal, a certificate, or the offer of a discount on buying the publisher’s books or journals….”

Peer reviewers—time for mass rebellion? – The BMJ

“I have long argued, based on evidence, that prepublication peer review is useless. There is almost no evidence of the effectiveness of peer review but substantial evidence that it is slow, expensive, poor at detecting errors, largely a lottery, prone to bias and abuse, unable to guard against fraud, and anti-innovatory in that it tends to reject truly original research. If it was a drug, the saying goes, it would never be approved….

The time has come for peer reviewers to rebel, but what is it we want? My preference would be that we refuse to review unless the review is of a paper that is already posted for all to see and that our reviews are also immediately posted for all to see. I can see, however, that this might be scary for young or new reviewers, so they should insist on a proper payment or some other real reward, not, for example, being listed along with a hundred others once a year in the journal, a certificate, or the offer of a discount on buying the publisher’s books or journals….”

How Could COVID-19 Change Scholarly Communication to a New Normal in the Open Science Paradigm?: Patterns

“Author reviews digital transformation of scholarly communication since 1990s and explains how COVID-19 is accelerating open science, with some analogy of chemical reactions. Discussing the current situation of preprint, the potential of peer review, and the essence of open science, developing additional services and balancing incremental and innovation in the transition state is crucial to foster new trust among stakeholders….”

Preservation of Digital Blog-Posts | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

The goal of this literature review was to gain an understanding of the current status of research on the topic of digital blog preservation. After conducting a series of searching within the database LISTA (Library, Information Science, and Technology Abstracts), one can determine that there are little to no recent developments in technology or research specifically for the access/preservation of digital blog posts. Unsurprisingly, much of the scholarly conversation about blog/microblog preservation took place between 2002 and 2010. 

by Katie Pelland

SComCaT: Scholarly Communication Technology Catalogue

This catalogue has been developed by Antleaf for the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) as part of the Next Generation Libraries Publishing project and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

SComCat comprises a catalogue (knowledge base) of scholarly communication open technologies where the term “technologies” is defined to include software and some essential running services. The aim is to assist potential users in making decisions about which technologies they will adopt by providing an overview of the functionality, organizational models, dependencies, use of standards, and levels of adoption of each technology.

The scan includes tools, platforms, and standards that can be locally adopted to support one or more of functions of the lifecycle of scholarly communication, which is conceptualized as including the following activities: creation, evaluation, publication, dissemination, preservation, and reuse.

We envision this scan as being extensible over time in order to address the evolving needs of various communities.

SComCat is built as open-source software, licensed under an MIT License.

Webinar: Decolonising the global publishing industry | LSE

Dominated by companies and university presses in the global North, the academic publishing market validates certain kinds of knowledge for profit, enhancing its authors’ careers and marginalising those who publish elsewhere. Authors from Global South institutions are underrepresented in such internationally ‘esteemed’ outlets, perpetuating hierarchies of knowledge, language, research topics and methodologies. The role of academic publishing in this two-tier system of global scholarship often goes unacknowledged in decolonial debates, affecting careers, conference attendance and North-South collaborations.

While transforming editorial board make-ups has been considered the ‘low hanging fruit’ of change, the diversification agenda might serve to reinforce existing models without challenging the centuries-old ownership of the publishing terrain. This event will address the potential for new models where non- Western languages and reputable Global South journals are internationally valued, and the types of work considered publishable is overturned. To achieve these decolonial ambitions, we ask whether the academic publishing sector only responds to the whims of university practices or can it be a force for change in itself?

Register for this event on Zoom or watch on Facebook live.

Speakers:

Chair: Dr Ram Bhat, LSE Fellow, Department of Media and Communications.

Dr Godwin Siundu, University of Nairobi, Editor of the Journal of Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies.

Dr Simidele Dosekun, Assistant Professor, LSE, editorial board member of Feminist Africa.

Professor Florence Piron is Full Professor in the Communication and Information Department at Université Laval and founder of a decolonised open-access publishing house.

Elizabeth Walker is Global Head of Portfolio for the Area Studies programme of journals published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis.