Perspectives From Authors and Editors in the Biomedical Disciplines on Predatory Journals: Survey Study | Journal of Medical Internet Research

Abstract:  Background: Predatory journals fail to fulfill the tenets of biomedical publication: peer review, circulation, and access in perpetuity. Despite increasing attention in the lay and scientific press, no studies have directly assessed the perceptions of the authors or editors involved.

Objective: Our objective was to understand the motivation of authors in sending their work to potentially predatory journals. Moreover, we aimed to understand the perspective of journal editors at journals cited as potentially predatory.

Methods: Potential online predatory journals were randomly selected among 350 publishers and their 2204 biomedical journals. Author and editor email information was valid for 2227 total potential participants. A survey for authors and editors was created in an iterative fashion and distributed. Surveys assessed attitudes and knowledge about predatory publishing. Narrative comments were invited.

Results: A total of 249 complete survey responses were analyzed. A total of 40% of editors (17/43) surveyed were not aware that they were listed as an editor for the particular journal in question. A total of 21.8% of authors (45/206) confirmed a lack of peer review. Whereas 77% (33/43) of all surveyed editors were at least somewhat familiar with predatory journals, only 33.0% of authors (68/206) were somewhat familiar with them (P<.001). Only 26.2% of authors (54/206) were aware of Beall’s list of predatory journals versus 49% (21/43) of editors (P<.001). A total of 30.1% of authors (62/206) believed their publication was published in a predatory journal. After defining predatory publishing, 87.9% of authors (181/206) surveyed would not publish in the same journal in the future.

Conclusions: Authors publishing in suspected predatory journals are alarmingly uninformed in terms of predatory journal quality and practices. Editors’ increased familiarity with predatory publishing did little to prevent their unwitting listing as editors. Some suspected predatory journals did provide services akin to open access publication. Education, research mentorship, and a realignment of research incentives may decrease the impact of predatory publishing.

Survey on Scientific Shared Resource Rigor and Reproducibility

Abstract:  Shared scientific resources, also known as core facilities, support a significant portion of the research conducted at biomolecular research institutions. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) established the Committee on Core Rigor and Reproducibility (CCoRRe) to further its mission of integrating advanced technologies, education, and communication in the operations of shared scientific resources in support of reproducible research. In order to first assess the needs of the scientific shared resource community, the CCoRRe solicited feedback from ABRF members via a survey. The purpose of the survey was to gain information on how U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiatives on advancing scientific rigor and reproducibility influenced current services and new technology development. In addition, the survey aimed to identify the challenges and opportunities related to implementation of new reporting requirements and to identify new practices and resources needed to ensure rigorous research. The results revealed a surprising unfamiliarity with the NIH guidelines. Many of the perceived challenges to the effective implementation of best practices (i.e., those designed to ensure rigor and reproducibility) were similarly noted as a challenge to effective provision of support services in a core setting. Further, most cores routinely use best practices and offer services that support rigor and reproducibility. These services include access to well-maintained instrumentation and training on experimental design and data analysis as well as data management. Feedback from this survey will enable the ABRF to build better educational resources and share critical best-practice guidelines. These resources will become important tools to the core community and the researchers they serve to impact rigor and transparency across the range of science and technology.

A cohort study of how faculty in LIS schools perceive and engage with open-access publishing – Wilhelm Peekhaus,

Abstract:  This article presents results from a survey of faculty in North American Library and Information Studies (LIS) schools about their attitudes towards and experience with open-access publishing. As a follow-up to a similar survey conducted in 2013, the article also outlines the differences in beliefs about and engagement with open access that have occurred between 2013 and 2018. Although faculty in LIS schools are proponents of free access to research, journal publication choices remain informed by traditional considerations such as prestige and impact factor. Engagement with open access has increased significantly, while perceptions of open access have remained relatively stable between 2013 and 2018. Nonetheless, those faculty who have published in an open-access journal or are more knowledgeable about open access tend to be more convinced about the quality of open-access publications and less apprehensive about open-access publishing than those who have no publishing experience with open-access journals or who are less knowledgeable about various open-access modalities. Willingness to comply with gold open-access mandates has increased significantly since 2013.

The future of scholarly books is open (access) | Group | Springer Nature

“The majority of book authors support the idea that all future scholarly books should be open access (OA). This is one of the key findings of a new white paper presented by Springer Nature at the OAI-11 conference at CERN this week. Based on the responses of 2,542 book authors who were surveyed by Springer Nature in February and March 2019, the white paper provides a global view of book authors’ attitudes towards OA. The survey looks at researchers’ motivations for publishing a book, and analyses the parameters and key drivers which influence academics to publish OA or not. The white paper also identifies major obstacles to OA publication which book authors still face: from a lack of awareness of OA publishing options and low funding, to concerns about how OA books are perceived. The white paper is freely available for download. 

Other key findings include: •    Pro-OA attitudes are stronger among junior researchers, researchers based in Europe and Asia, and previous OA book authors •    Ethical reasons (equality in access) and reaching a larger audience are identified as key motivations for choosing OA for books •    The majority of authors want more financial support from funders for OA book publication •    Gold OA is the most preferred policy for OA books •    Reputation of publishers matters less to OA authors but is still the deciding factor for publication….”

Geographic trends in attitudes to open access | Research Information

In the OA report, when asked whether authors had ever published in an OA journal, the majority of researchers from each country responded affirmatively (B, 68% of 1,133 respondents; I, 57% of 213; J, 59% of 708; UK 60% of 111; US, 51% of 419), except for China (34% of 2,085) and South Korea (44% of 409; roughly equal, yes verses no). Overall, across all survey respondents, with Yes at 45% and No at 35%, OA advocates may feel comfortable that the pendulum is swinging in the right direction. However, there are some striking differences in the geographic profiles of whether or not an author chooses to publish in an OA journal, with an overall 9% of responding authors indicating that they don’t know what OA publishing is.

For example, in response to why respondents chose to publish in an OA journal, more than 60% of authors in almost all geographic areas responded “I wanted my paper to be read by a larger audience” (B, 60% of 766; C, 69% of 710; I, 64% of 121; J, 64% of 415; UK, 63% of 67; US, 60% of 215), however in South Korea, only 37% of 181 authors responded in such a manner, and instead, 71% of 181 authors indicated that “I chose the journal that was the best fit for my paper and it happened to be OA”. This was in striking contrast to authors in the UK, for which the “best fit being OA” response was only indicated by 31% of 67 authors. Notably, when authors in the UK who had “never” published in an OA journal were asked why, 65% (of 34) said “I chose the journal that was the best fit for my paper and it happened to be a subscription journal”. …”

OA education ‘needed for Chinese researchers’ | Research Information

Chinese researchers need a lot more education on the potential benefits of open access publishing, according to a new industry report.

Geographical Trends in Open Access, published recently by Editage, specifically looks at what researchers from different regions around the world think about open access publishing.

Donald Samulack, the company’s president of US operations, wrote in Research Information that the low level of awareness of open access in China is surprising, given that China is now the leading producer of research papers globally and that Chinese agencies have been promoting various forms of open access publishing for several years now….”

Change ahead: How do smaller publishers perceive open access? | Impact of Social Sciences

“Small and medium-sized publishers also tend to operate much less profitably than large global publishers, which makes it difficult for them to to build new infrastructures and develop innovative offerings….

More than three quarters of all small and medium-sized publishers who took part in the survey published books and journals in the humanities and social sciences, reflecting the fact that global publishing companies dominate the market in natural sciences….[W]hilst all the participants in the survey publish scholarly books (usually fewer than 100 per year), most of them publish academic journals as well….

A vast majority (90%) of the 33 survey participants reported a slow or significant increase in Open Access requests from their authors. One third believed that Open Access will become the future standard of scholarly publishing; another 60% assumed that it will complement existing services….

Nearly half of respondents preferred Gold Open Access as a business model to Green and Hybrid Open Access. This cohort, as to be expected, also turned out to be more open-minded towards and experienced with Open Access publishing than the circa 30% who prefer Green Open Access….

Only a third of respondents reported making their Open Access publications accessible via established platforms such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), and no more than 27% say they have a self-archiving policy. Only 20% of the publishers rated their staff’s knowledge of Open Access as “very good” and there are considerable differences depending on disciplines and publishing programmes….

Most expect a decline in sales as a consequence of the free availability of “their” works and associate Open Access with legal uncertainties, unclear business models and pressure from politicians and funders. However, a considerable number of publishers apparently have also not yet paid much attention to the issue. Only 67% of the participants state that they are familiar with the content of the “Berlin Declaration“, a fundamental document of the Open Access movement, and 43% say the requirements for Open Access publications are unclear to them….

Overall, “traditional” publishers are more open-minded than might be expected about the topic of Open Access and for good reason: funder announcements, such as Plan S, that they will move to only accepting Open Access publications are rapidly becoming more effective. Scholarly Publishers who do not adapt their services to this changing demand, or who are unaware of it at all, are likely to have a rude awakening in the future.”

2017-2018 EUA Open Access Survey Results

“The publication of the results of the fourth EUA Open Access Survey coincides with the emergence of two important approaches in the construction of an Open Science environment. The first is „Plan S“, signed by an increasing number of research funding organisations. The second is the development of „Publish and Read“ models in negotiations with publishers by scholar negotiating consortia. These can be considered as complementary in the sense that the first aims to rapidly expand Open Access to research publications, and the second to control the total amount of funds spent by research performing organisations, that is, universities and research institutes, to publish in and to have access to scientific journals. The need to address these two major aims concurrently is the main goal of the work of the EUA Expert Group on Science 2.0/Open Science, and more generally EUA’s central objective for the future of scientific publications….

Key results regarding Open Access to research publications

• 62% of the institutions surveyed have an Open Access policy on research publications in place and 26% are in the process of drafting one.

• At institutions with an OA policy in place: – Almost 50% require publications to be self-archived in the repository – 60% recommend that researchers publish in OA – 74% do not include any provisions linking Open Access to research evaluation. Only 12% have mandatory guidelines linking OA to internal research assessment.

• Despite the fact that most surveyed institutions have implemented an Open Access policy for research publications, 73% had not defined specific Open Access targets or timelines.

• 70% of these institutions monitor deposits in the repository. However, only 40% monitor Open Access publishing and only 30% monitor related costs (gold OA).

• Librarians are most knowledgeable about and most committed to (~80%) Open Access (publishers’ policies, H2020 rules) followed by institutional leadership (~50%). For researchers, including early-stage researchers, the figure drops to ~20%. 

• Raising awareness and developing additional incentives for researchers to make their work available via Open Access are top priorities….”

Confused about copyright? Assessing Researchers’ Comprehension of Copyright Transfer Agreements

Abstract. Academic authors’ confusion about copyright and publisher policy is often cited as a challenge to their effective sharing of their own published research, from having a chilling effect on self-archiving in institutional and subject repositories, to leading to the posting of versions of articles on social networking sites in contravention of publisher policy and beyond. This study seeks to determine the extent to which authors understand the terms of these policies as expressed in publishers’ copyright transfer agreements (CTAs), taking into account such factors as the authors’ disciplines and publishing experience, as well as the wording and structure of these agreements. METHODS We distributed an online survey experiment to corresponding authors of academic research articles indexed in the Scopus database. Participants were randomly assigned to read one of two copyright transfer agreements and were subsequently asked to answer a series of questions about these agreements to determine their level of comprehension. The survey was sent to 3,154 participants, with 122 responding, representing a 4% response rate. Basic demographic information as well as information about participants’ previous publishing experience was also collected. We analyzed the survey data using Ordinary Least Squared (OLS) regressions and probit regressions. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Participants demonstrated a low rate of understanding of the terms of the CTAs they were asked to read. Participants averaged a score of 33% on the survey, indicating a low comprehension level of author rights. This figure did not vary significantly, regardless of the respondents’ discipline, time in academia, level of experience with publishing, or whether or not they had published previously with the publisher whose CTA they were administered. Results also indicated that participants did equally poorly on the survey regardless of which of the two CTAs they received. However, academic authors do appear to have a greater chance of understanding a CTA when a specific activity is explicitly outlined in the text of the agreement.