Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we look at a new report on the state of diamond open access publishing and explore the complex landscape of predatory publishing. We also learn about a new alternative metrics system at PLOS, increases in publication fees at eLife and new open access agreements at the University of California. Finally, we look at a platform for recognizing author contributions to manuscripts.

The state of diamond open access publishing via OPERAS | 6-minute read

A comprehensive report investigating the state of diamond open access – in which neither the author nor the reader pays for access – has been released this week. The investigators pooled many data sources and surveyed more that 1600 diamond open access journals. The report found that there may be as many as 29 000 diamond open access journals across the world, many of which are owned by universities. It also revealed that day-to-day operations in many of these journals rely on volunteers and donations and that only 1% of diamond open access journals make a profit. The investigators also issued recommendations for the development of funding strategies to ensure these journals remain financially sustainable. The report was funded by Science Europe and cOAlition S, and was conducted by 10 organizations, including OPERAS, the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association and the Directory of Open Access Journals.

The complex landscape of predatory publishing via LSE Impact Blog | 6-minute read

Despite many heated debates about the practices of so-called ‘predatory’ journals, this shady area of scholarly publishing remains enigmatic, argue the authors of this opinion piece. Journal blacklists, such as the now defunct Beall’s List, and whitelists, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals, may contain false positives, which may cause authors to avoid perfectly legitimate journals. This could be damaging to smaller journals that have been inappropriately listed, the blog’s authors suggest. They also criticize ‘sting’ operations – which involve the submission of fake manuscripts to test journal acceptance procedures – for wasting editors’ time.

So long, and thanks for all the metrics via PLOS Blogs | 2-minute read

Open access publisher PLOS has announced the retirement of its in-house alternative metric system, Article Level Metrics (ALM). ALM was one of the earliest alternative metrics platforms, and it helped blaze a trail for many innovative systems that assess the impact of research. PLOS will replace their ALM system with Altmetric, which they hope will unlock new data sources for measuring the reach and impact of their papers. 

eLife to increase publication fee via Inside eLife | 2-minute read

From 5 April 2021, the not-for-profit open access journal eLife will increase its publication fee from US$2500 to US$3000. At its inception, eLife published manuscripts free of charge. Fees were first introduced in 2017 to cover publication costs so that the funding from financial supporters could instead be spent on innovations in research communication, such as Sciety and the Executable Research Article. Waivers will be available to authors who cannot afford the new fee.

University of California forges several new open access deals via University of California | 4-minute read

The University of California (UC) system, which has several campuses hosting tens of thousands of researchers across the state of California, has made new transformative agreements with three publishers. The agreements with The Company of Biologists, The Royal Society and Canadian Science Publishing will allow UC system researchers to publish open access in journals from these publishers with fully or partially waived publication fees. Read more about The Royal Society deal here and the Canadian Science Publishing deal here.

New platform for recognizing author contributions via The Scholarly Kitchen | 8-minute read

In this interview, Richard Wynne, founder of Rescognito, explains how this new platform aims to transform author recognition for manuscript contributions. Users of Rescognito can search for their manuscripts using DOIs and give credit to co-authors and themselves for different aspects of manuscript preparation, such as method development or writing manuscript drafts. The platform also allows users to give credit for less tangible activities, such as mentoring and teamwork.

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