Special Issue "New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing"

A special issue of Publications (ISSN 2304-6775).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tony Ross-Hellauer

Editor-in-Chief
Graz University of Technology and Know-Center GmbH, 8010 Graz, Austria
Interests: Open Science; Open Access; FAIR data; science policy; research integrity; innovative research infrastructures; alternative peer review models; information ethics; philosophy of technology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Bianca Kramer

Guest Editor
Utrecht University Library, Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Room G1.503, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands
Dr. Jon Tennant

Guest Editor
Open Science MOOC, UK
Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Open Scholarship (also often called Open Science) is reshaping the scope and nature of scholarly publishing in its technological, social, legal, economic, and ethical dimensions. However, while more and more transparency is now often expected of researchers, major elements of scholarly publishing processes and the policies that govern them remain relatively opaque. Peer review and editorial selection remain largely hidden from view, business models and operating costs often lack transparency, proprietary platforms and technologies create walled gardens for research, licensing and metadata restrictions limit re-use, and data about all these processes are usually kept closed. How might the wider scholarly publishing ecosystem benefit from increased interoperability, transparency, and accessibility of processes and data?

Here, we welcome contributions that seek to investigate how increased interoperability, transparency, and accessibility of processes and data could aid scholarly publishing to best serve the needs of scholarship and wider society. Equally, critical views that engage with the benefits of ‘closed’ or proprietary systems are encouraged. Our intention is to increase the critical discourse surrounding this rapidly evolving landscape, and we encourage submissions from the global research community.

This issue especially welcomes contributions that address the following:

  • Open and interoperable infrastructure, platforms, services, and tools
  • De-centralisation, open-source or community-driven efforts
  • Benefits and drawbacks of transparency and harmonisation of policies for peer review, preprints, ethics, data-availability, licensing, etc.
  • Transparency of costs (e.g., APCs, subscriptions, big deals)
  • Business models for publishing
  • Openness in editorial processes, including peer review and editorial selection
  • Interoperable metadata, for instance, openness of citation data and other sources for metrics
  • Data-sharing to optimise editorial processes
  • Social, political, and economic arguments for the different aspects of ‘open scholarship’
  • Publishing’s place in the evolving scope of research in modern society
  • The intersection of scholarly publishing and (changing) research norms

Dr. Tony Ross-Hellauer
Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Bianca Kramer
Dr. Jon Tennant
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously (although we encourage authors to post preprints on recognised preprint servers), nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a  single-blind peer-review process, complemented by optional publication of peer review reports/reviewer identities. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Publications is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue (and all Publications submissions in 2018–2019). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • transparency
  • scholarly publishing
  • open scholarship
  • policies
  • infrastructure

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Impact of Open Access on Teaching—How Far Have We Come?
Publications 2019, 7(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7030056 - 01 Aug 2019
Abstract
This article seeks to understand how far the United Kingdom higher education (UK HE) sector has progressed towards open access (OA) availability of the scholarly literature it requires to support courses of study. It uses Google Scholar, Unpaywall and Open Access Button to [...] Read more.
This article seeks to understand how far the United Kingdom higher education (UK HE) sector has progressed towards open access (OA) availability of the scholarly literature it requires to support courses of study. It uses Google Scholar, Unpaywall and Open Access Button to identify OA copies of a random sample of articles copied under the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) HE Licence to support teaching. The quantitative data analysis is combined with interviews of, and a workshop with, HE practitioners to investigate four research questions. Firstly, what is the nature of the content being used to support courses of study? Secondly, do UK HE establishments regularly incorporate searches for open access availability into their acquisition processes to support teaching? Thirdly, what proportion of content used under the CLA Licence is also available on open access and appropriately licenced? Finally, what percentage of content used by UK HEIs under the CLA Licence is written by academics and thus has the potential for being made open access had there been support in place to enable this? Key findings include the fact that no interviewees incorporated OA searches into their acquisitions processes. Overall, 38% of articles required to support teaching were available as OA in some form but only 7% had a findable re-use licence; just 3% had licences that specifically permitted inclusion in an ‘electronic course-pack’. Eighty-nine percent of journal content was written by academics (34% by UK-based academics). Of these, 58% were written since 2000 and thus could arguably have been made available openly had academics been supported to do so. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessArticle
Rinse and Repeat: Understanding the Value of Replication across Different Ways of Knowing
Publications 2019, 7(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7030052 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The increasing pursuit of replicable research and actual replication of research is a political project that articulates a very specific technology of accountability for science. This project was initiated in response to concerns about the openness and trustworthiness of science. Though applicable and [...] Read more.
The increasing pursuit of replicable research and actual replication of research is a political project that articulates a very specific technology of accountability for science. This project was initiated in response to concerns about the openness and trustworthiness of science. Though applicable and valuable in many fields, here we argue that this value cannot be extended everywhere, since the epistemic content of fields, as well as their accountability infrastructures, differ. Furthermore, we argue that there are limits to replicability across all fields; but in some fields, including parts of the humanities, these limits severely undermine the value of replication to account for the value of research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Open Access Routes Dichotomy and Opportunities: Consolidation, Analysis and Trends at the Spanish National Research Council
Publications 2019, 7(3), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7030049 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article gives a comprehensive overview of recent Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) publications available in Open Access. With a focus on research articles from the last decade (2008–2018), this work aims to fill the gap in previous studies about publishing trends and [...] Read more.
This article gives a comprehensive overview of recent Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) publications available in Open Access. With a focus on research articles from the last decade (2008–2018), this work aims to fill the gap in previous studies about publishing trends and impact monitoring of publications by researchers from the Spanish National Research Council. Evolution and main trends of Green and Gold Open Access routes at CSIC are addressed through a close insight into DIGITAL.CSIC repository and institutional Open Access Publishing Support Programme. The article draws on major conclusions at a time when an institutional Open Access mandate has just entered into force. The article also relates findings about performance of institutional Open Access Publishing Initiative and total volume of CSIC articles published in Open Access with an estimation of overall costs on article processing charges during these years. Furthermore, the data serve as a basis to make preliminary considerations as to opportunities to move from a subscription-based model to one fully aligned with Gold Open Access publishing. The data analyzed come from a variety of sources, including public information and internal records maintained by the CSIC E-resources Subscription programme, DIGITAL.CSIC and data retrieved from GesBIB, an internal, in-house development tool that integrates bibliographic information about CSIC publications as well as data from several external APIs, including Unpaywall, DOAJ and Sherpa Romeo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantifying the Growth of Preprint Services Hosted by the Center for Open Science
Publications 2019, 7(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020044 - 17 Jun 2019
Abstract
A wide range of disciplines are building preprint services—web-based systems that enable publishing non peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts before publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We have quantitatively surveyed nine of the largest English language preprint services offered by the Center for Open Science (COS) [...] Read more.
A wide range of disciplines are building preprint services—web-based systems that enable publishing non peer-reviewed scholarly manuscripts before publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We have quantitatively surveyed nine of the largest English language preprint services offered by the Center for Open Science (COS) and available through an Application Programming Interface. All of the services we investigate also permit the submission of postprints, non-typeset versions of peer-reviewed manuscripts. Data indicates that all services are growing, but with submission rates below more mature services (e.g., bioRxiv). The trend of the preprint-to-postprint ratio for each service indicates that recent growth is a result of more preprint submissions. The nine COS services we investigate host papers that appear in a range of peer-reviewed journals, and many of these publication venues are not listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. As a result, COS services function as open repositories for peer-reviewed papers that would otherwise be behind a paywall. We further analyze the coauthorship network for each COS service, which indicates that the services have many small connected components, and the largest connected component encompasses only a small percentage of total authors on each service. When comparing the papers submitted to each service, we observe topic overlap measured by keywords self-assigned to each manuscript, indicating that search functionalities would benefit from cutting across the boundaries of a single service. Finally, though annotation capabilities are integrated into all COS services, it is rarely used by readers. Our analysis of these services can be a benchmark for future studies of preprint service growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessArticle
Verified, Shared, Modular, and Provenance Based Research Communication with the Dat Protocol
Publications 2019, 7(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020040 - 04 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
A scholarly communication system needs to register, distribute, certify, archive, and incentivize knowledge production. The current article-based system technically fulfills these functions, but suboptimally. I propose a module-based communication infrastructure that attempts to take a wider view of these functions and optimize the [...] Read more.
A scholarly communication system needs to register, distribute, certify, archive, and incentivize knowledge production. The current article-based system technically fulfills these functions, but suboptimally. I propose a module-based communication infrastructure that attempts to take a wider view of these functions and optimize the fulfillment of the five functions of scholarly communication. Scholarly modules are conceptualized as the constituent parts of a research process as determined by a researcher. These can be text, but also code, data, and any other relevant pieces of information that are produced in the research process. The chronology of these modules is registered by iteratively linking to each other, creating a provenance record of parent and child modules (and a network of modules). These scholarly modules are linked to scholarly profiles, creating a network of profiles, and a network of how profiles relate to their constituent modules. All these scholarly modules would be communicated on the new peer-to-peer Web protocol Dat, which provides a decentralized register that is immutable, facilitates greater content integrity than the current system through verification, and is open-by-design. Open-by-design would also allow diversity in the way content is consumed, discovered, and evaluated to arise. This initial proposal needs to be refined and developed further based on the technical developments of the Dat protocol, its implementations, and discussions within the scholarly community to evaluate the qualities claimed here. Nonetheless, a minimal prototype is available today, and this is technically feasible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessArticle
OpenBiodiv: A Knowledge Graph for Literature-Extracted Linked Open Data in Biodiversity Science
Publications 2019, 7(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020038 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Hundreds of years of biodiversity research have resulted in the accumulation of a substantial pool of communal knowledge; however, most of it is stored in silos isolated from each other, such as published articles or monographs. The need for a system to store [...] Read more.
Hundreds of years of biodiversity research have resulted in the accumulation of a substantial pool of communal knowledge; however, most of it is stored in silos isolated from each other, such as published articles or monographs. The need for a system to store and manage collective biodiversity knowledge in a community-agreed and interoperable open format has evolved into the concept of the Open Biodiversity Knowledge Management System (OBKMS). This paper presents OpenBiodiv: An OBKMS that utilizes semantic publishing workflows, text and data mining, common standards, ontology modelling and graph database technologies to establish a robust infrastructure for managing biodiversity knowledge. It is presented as a Linked Open Dataset generated from scientific literature. OpenBiodiv encompasses data extracted from more than 5000 scholarly articles published by Pensoft and many more taxonomic treatments extracted by Plazi from journals of other publishers. The data from both sources are converted to Resource Description Framework (RDF) and integrated in a graph database using the OpenBiodiv-O ontology and an RDF version of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) taxonomic backbone. Through the application of semantic technologies, the project showcases the value of open publishing of Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (FAIR) data towards the establishment of open science practices in the biodiversity domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessArticle
Transparent Attribution of Contributions to Research: Aligning Guidelines to Real-Life Practices
Publications 2019, 7(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020024 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Research studies, especially in the sciences, may benefit from substantial non-author support without which they could not be completed or published. The term “contributorship” was coined in 1997 to recognize all contributions to a research study, but its implementation (mostly in biomedical reports) [...] Read more.
Research studies, especially in the sciences, may benefit from substantial non-author support without which they could not be completed or published. The term “contributorship” was coined in 1997 to recognize all contributions to a research study, but its implementation (mostly in biomedical reports) has been limited to the inclusion of an “Author Contributions” statement that omits other contributions. To standardize the reporting of contributions across disciplines, irrespective of whether a given contribution merits authorship or acknowledgment, the Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) was launched in 2014. Our assessment, however, shows that in practice, CRediT is a detailed authorship classification that risks denying appropriate credit for persons who contribute as non-authors. To illustrate the shortcomings in CRediT and suggest improvements, in this article we review key concepts of authorship and contributorship and examine the range of non-author contributions that may (or may not) be acknowledged. We then briefly describe different types of editorial support provided by (non-author) translators, authors’ editors and writers, and explain why it is not always acknowledged. Finally, we propose two new CRediT taxa and revisions to three existing taxa regarding both technical and editorial support, as a small but important step to make credit attribution more transparent, accurate and open. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Two-Way Street of Open Access Journal Publishing: Flip It and Reverse It
Publications 2019, 7(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020023 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
As Open access (OA) is often perceived as the end goal of scholarly publishing, much research has focused on flipping subscription journals to an OA model. Focusing on what can happen after the presumed finish line, this study identifies journals that have converted [...] Read more.
As Open access (OA) is often perceived as the end goal of scholarly publishing, much research has focused on flipping subscription journals to an OA model. Focusing on what can happen after the presumed finish line, this study identifies journals that have converted from OA to a subscription model, and places these “reverse flips” within the greater context of scholarly publishing. In particular, we examine specific journal descriptors, such as access mode, publisher, subject area, society affiliation, article volume, and citation metrics, to deepen our understanding of reverse flips. Our results show that at least 152 actively publishing journals have reverse-flipped since 2005, suggesting that this phenomenon does not constitute merely a few marginal outliers, but instead a common pattern within scholarly publishing. Notably, we found that 62% of reverse flips (N = 95) had not been born-OA journals, but had been founded as subscription journals, and hence have experienced a three-stage transformation from closed to open to closed. We argue that reverse flips present a unique perspective on OA, and that further research would greatly benefit from enhanced data and tools for identifying such cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Ten Hot Topics around Scholarly Publishing
Publications 2019, 7(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020034 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
The changing world of scholarly communication and the emerging new wave of ‘Open Science’ or ‘Open Research’ has brought to light a number of controversial and hotly debated topics. Evidence-based rational debate is regularly drowned out by misinformed or exaggerated rhetoric, which does [...] Read more.
The changing world of scholarly communication and the emerging new wave of ‘Open Science’ or ‘Open Research’ has brought to light a number of controversial and hotly debated topics. Evidence-based rational debate is regularly drowned out by misinformed or exaggerated rhetoric, which does not benefit the evolving system of scholarly communication. This article aims to provide a baseline evidence framework for ten of the most contested topics, in order to help frame and move forward discussions, practices, and policies. We address issues around preprints and scooping, the practice of copyright transfer, the function of peer review, predatory publishers, and the legitimacy of ‘global’ databases. These arguments and data will be a powerful tool against misinformation across wider academic research, policy and practice, and will inform changes within the rapidly evolving scholarly publishing system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
The Transcript OPEN Library Political Science Model: A Sustainable Way into Open Access for E-Books in the Humanities and Social Sciences
Publications 2019, 7(3), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7030055 - 01 Aug 2019
Abstract
The strategic goal of the project “National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE” is to create the conditions for a large-scale open-access transformation in accordance with the Alliance of German Science Organizations. In close collaboration with the publisher transcript, we developed a business [...] Read more.
The strategic goal of the project “National Contact Point Open Access OA2020-DE” is to create the conditions for a large-scale open-access transformation in accordance with the Alliance of German Science Organizations. In close collaboration with the publisher transcript, we developed a business model that strengthens the transformation process for e-books in the humanities and social sciences. It largely addresses the drawbacks of existing models. Moreover, it is manageable, sustainable, transparent, and scalable for both publishers and libraries. This case report describes the setup of the model, its successful implementation for the branch “political science” of transcript in 2019, and provides a Strengths–Weaknesses–Opportunities–Threats (SWOT) analysis. We believe that it has the potential to become one of the major open-access business models for research monographs and anthologies in the humanities and social sciences, especially for non-English e-books. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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Open AccessCase Report
Enabling A Conversation Across Scholarly Monographs through Open Annotation
Publications 2019, 7(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7020041 - 08 Jun 2019
Abstract
The digital format opens up new possibilities for interaction with monographic publications. In particular, annotation tools make it possible to broaden the discussion on the content of a book, to suggest new ideas, to report errors or inaccuracies, and to conduct open peer [...] Read more.
The digital format opens up new possibilities for interaction with monographic publications. In particular, annotation tools make it possible to broaden the discussion on the content of a book, to suggest new ideas, to report errors or inaccuracies, and to conduct open peer reviews. However, this requires the support of the users who might not yet be familiar with the annotation of digital documents. This paper will give concrete examples and recommendations for exploiting the potential of annotation in academic research and teaching. After presenting the annotation tool of Hypothesis, the article focuses on its use in the context of HIRMEOS (High Integration of Research Monographs in the European Open Science Infrastructure), a project aimed to improve the Open Access digital monograph. The general line and the aims of a post-peer review experiment with the annotation tool, as well as its usage in didactic activities concerning monographic publications are presented and proposed as potential best practices for similar annotation activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
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