Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we learn about the sticky question of peer review for pay, how small publishers can participate in open access and how open access articles receive more news coverage than paywalled articles. We also look at OurResearch’s new project grant and whether transformative journals can remain compliant with cOAlition S. Finally, we hear about NISO’s upcoming annual meeting.

The sticky question of peer review for pay via The Scholarly Kitchen | 7-minute read

In this opinion piece, Alison Mudditt (CEO of PLOS) and Tim Vines (Founder and Project Lead at DataSeer) present their argument against paying peer reviewers for their reviews. In response to the so-called 450 Movement, which calls for reviewers to be paid US$450 per review, Alison and Tim argue that this flat rate is unlikely to be appropriate for all reviews, some of which may be more involved or more specialized than others. They are also concerned that these fees will lead to increases in article processing charges and to deepening inequalities between the Global North (where most peer reviewers come from) and the Global South. Finally, they consider the key question of whether peer reviewers even want to be paid, or whether they are motivated by reasons other than financial gain.

How can small publishers participate in open access? via cOAlition S | 3-minute read

Small, independent publishers – such as society publishers, university presses and library presses – generally support the open access movement but find transitioning to a fully open access model challenging, concludes an independent report by open access consultancy service Information Power, which was commissioned by cOAlition S and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. This challenge is partly due to the administrative burden of implementing and managing multiple different open access agreements at once. This burden could be lightened by the development of a model agreement, recommends the report. Despite the difficulties, the authors also conclude that open access agreements between libraries and small, independent publishers are on the rise and are likely to become increasingly popular. Read the full report here.

Open access articles receive more news coverage via Quantitative Science Studies | 36-minute read

Articles published under gold and green/hybrid open access models are more likely to receive mentions in news media than paywalled articles, finds the author of this recent study. The author selected 158 paywalled journals and 128 gold open access journals from a wide range of disciplines and recorded whether 590 915 articles published in those journals between 2010 and 2018 received a news mention between January 2010 and May 2019. Overall, 13% of articles received at least one news mention. Approximately 54% of those articles receiving at least one news mention were published under a gold open access model, while 23% were published under a green/hybrid model and 23% under a fully paywalled model. Articles on general science and health were more also likely to receive news mentions than articles from other disciplines.

OurResearch wins US$4.5 million grant for open science projects via OurResearch blog | 6-minute read

Non-profit organization OurResearch has received a sizeable grant from charitable organization Arcadia Fund. The US$4.5 million grant will allow OurResearch to continue its development of Unsub, which helps libraries assess the value of their subscriptions, and Unpaywall, which helps researchers locate free, archived versions of paywalled papers. OurResearch will also use the grant to fund two new initiatives: JournalsDB, an open database of scholarly journals, and OpenAlex, an open database of papers and their metadata that OurResearch hopes will replace the functionality of the soon-to-be discontinued Microsoft Academic Graph.

Transformative journal compliance measures are “aggressive, but not impossible” via Delta Think | 6-minute read

Scholarly and professional communications consultancy firm Delta Think has performed an analysis of cOAlition S’s transformative journal model for open access. A transformative journal is one that is committed to transitioning to a full open access model and can demonstrate a year-on-year increase in the proportion of research it publishes open access. However, the results from Delta Think suggests that transformative journals are currently growing their open access proportions at half the rate needed for them to meet the cOAlition S criteria.

Register now for the NISO annual meeting via NISO | 2-minute read

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Annual Members Meeting and Standards Update is taking place on Friday 25 June from 16:00 to 17:30 (BST). The meeting will cover important updates about their standards and recommended practices programmes as well as plans for the year ahead. The meeting is open to the public, so register for free now!

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