Tag: publishing

SciELO – 15 years of open access in emerging countries

1656ba26efUNESCO and SciELO have published an anniversary publication to follow up the 15th anniversary of SciELO.

SciELO (The Scientific Electronic Library Online) had its origins in Brazil at around 1997 and has since been expanded to 16 additional countries, most in Latin America, the Caribbean, but also including Portugal, South Africa and Spain. In their model, authors do not need to pay or pay very little, being subsidized by public funds. Open access expert Jean-Claude Guédon argued in an article in Nature that with respect to open access this was “one of the more exciting projects not only from emergent countries, but also in the whole world”.

The significance of SciELO in raising the profile was noted already in 2002 in a Nature article.  In 2013, SciELO citation index was also integrated to Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge citation index, and SciELO director commented at the launch taht at the launch that this integration was a milestone in making research from these emerging economies more widely accessible and recognized.

The main aim of the anniversary publication is to provide detailed information about the SciELO model as a “best practice” case for possible implementation in other regions. SciELO is built around the so-called SciELO model consisting of the SciELO methodology, the SciELO site and the SciELO Network. The anniversary publication examines various aspects of the SciELO initiative from its establishment to spread in various countries, operating principles and the kinds of results that have been achieved.

Open access week in October 2012

Between October 22nd and 28th the 6th  Open access week will be held in.. , well, everywhere. The initiative is organised by SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, an international alliance of libraries) and is supported by PLoS (Public Library of Science).

This overarching umbrella event includes a number of nationally organised events globally. If you would be interested in holding an event, check out the kick off information video with speakers from various countries who introduce the event and share their experiences on the topic.

Check also out the event webpage for more information. 

Co-authorship – who comes first?

In this post, Hedda associate Mari Elken looks into co-authorship and the various rules and practices of this across disciplines, and the challenges related to the various practices. 

The business of disseminating research results through writing books and journal articles is a core output of academic work. If one does not publish the results, the research itself does not contribute to the cumulative growth of knowledge and looses its extrinsic value. Research as a personal project without contribution, connection or at least some openness to the wider society in any way is a private hobby and quite likely difficult to justify in the modern world.

In the context of publishing, increased collaboration and co-authorship has already been noted to be  literature more than 15 years ago, and in more recent years the trend is just continuing, as indicated in a 2005 article by W. Glänzel and A. Schubert. And, it has also been indicated that international co-authorship results in articles with a higher impact factor. While discussing this with colleagues a few days ago, we ended up discussing co-authorship and how this is practiced. Is it based on alphabetical order, academic seniority, input to research, or something different? And more importantly – is it the same across disciplines?

Is there a clear rule for co-authorship in higher education research?

Taking higher education research and social sciences as a starting point, the problem is that there does not seem to be a definite rule. While some disciplines have a somewhat clear guideline, higher education draws from a multitude of different disciplinary bases with each of their own traditions and guidelines.

Open access movement – from advocacy to policy to practice?

Hedda associate and current Hedda blog research editor Mari Elken gives an overview of the recent developments regarding open access in Europe.  

Discussions around open access and various forms of open access have been on the agenda in a number of academic debates lately. Paraphrasing the developments in the Arab world, the movement was termed the “academic spring” in a number of articles in the Guardian.

While the debate on open access is not new, having also been featured here on the Hedda blog a while ago, the topic gained momentum in early 2012, when Tim Gowers, a renowned Cambridge mathematician wrote a blog entry about Elsevier and the practices about pricing and peer reviewing. Quickly picked up by a number of publications, including The Economist, this started up a heated campaign and a boycott by a number of academics world wide. On the website The Cost of Knowledge, more than 12 000 academics signed the petition of boycotting all journals by Elsevier. Newspapers such as the Guardians have given the topic a lot of news coverage as well, in many ways becoming a part of and driving the campaign.

However, there are strong business interest in play. The Guardian reports that subscriptions to journals and publishers cost almost one tenth of the basic operating costs of universities in the UK. Michael Taylor gave some interesting numbers to back this in his commentary in The ScientistFor example, Elsevier reported a profit margin of 37,3 in 2011 (in essence over €950 million in revenue), far exceeding the profit margin percentages of for example Apple – being therefore called the “most ruthless capitalists”. In essence it is almost a risk free enterprise with huge profit margins to all of the three major actors – Elsevier, Springer and Wiley – and as long as the academia is dependent on reputation and publication indexes in the high ranked journals, there seems to be continued demand.

Debate: Blogging is sinful and hampers your research productivity

This guest entry is written by Gerald Schneider, who is a professor of international politics at University of Konstanz in Germany. Having recently published an interesting article about the sins of academic writing, in this post he will elaborate on some of the issues linked to research productivity and its linkages to other arenas of communication, both academic and private.

My distinguished co-author Uncle G. and I have recently published an article entitled “How to avoid the seven deadly sins of academic writing” in the journal European Political Science. We have received based on this truly excellent and insightful piece an invitation to contribute a follow-up blog. My alter ego Uncle G. and I have enthusiastically embraced this possibility; you read the results of our deep thinking at this very moment.

Our rambling digressions are based on the observation that an increasing number of scholars do not want to accept the research world as it is – as a constant struggle of authors against the temptations to sin and  as a fierce competition in which, however, the best ideas ultimately win. We believe that a general moral decay in the western world is responsible for the repeated attacks on the holy peer review system and the derisory manner in which unproductive scholars speak of rankings and other excellent measures of academic productivity such as the Hirsch index.