Undoubtedly, the most significant news story of the past month has been the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. The decision to leave is expected to have major implications for research in Britain and abroad, and its impact on the STM publishing industry remains uncertain. With estimates for the amount of UK research funding received each year from the EU averaging around £1bn – about a quarter of all money spent annually on research grants in the UK – a number of British universities, including Cardiff, De Montfort, Keele, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester, have already had their credit ratings downgraded by Moody’s Investors Service, despite pledges from twenty pro-Leave MPs that EU-awarded grants would be maintained until 2020, or until the funding had expired. The Digital Science report, Examining Implications of Brexit for the UK Research Base, may now be essential reading for STM publishers.
Partnerships continue apace in the innovative service sector. Peerage of Science, the community-based peer review platform, has signed up four more journals to extend its partnership with BioMed Central: BMC Genetics, BMC Genomics, BMC Plant Biology, and the soon-to-be-launched BMC Zoology. Aiming to improve peer review by measuring and rewarding high quality work, Peerage of Science provides a platform to facilitate a more open and communal process, allowing researchers to judge the quality of reviews, and editors and authors to contact each other on the basis of those reviews.
Safari’s online publishing platform PubFactory continues to grow, with two significant new partnerships announced this month. Brill, the oldest publishing house in the Netherlands, has chosen PubFactory to develop a new online publishing platform for more than 250 journals, thousands of books and reference collections; meanwhile, all of Peter Lang’s journals and 55,000 books will move to the platform this summer.
Altmetric has announced the addition of Scopus citation counts to its Explorer for Publishers and Institutions platforms, allowing users to view the formal academic impact of articles alongside mentions on social media, Wikipedia, and other online sources. The company has also awarded its first annual research grant to Cambridge University Library Open Research Advisor Dr Lauren Cadwallader for a proposal that asks whether it’s possible to identify which papers make it into policy by tracking their Altmetric attention. Launched earlier this year, the grant aims to support research in the field of Altmetric or research metrics to help advance their development and application to academic workflows.
The shortlist for the annual Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) Awards for Innovation in Publishing has been revealed. Alongside regulars to this column, ORCID and Knowledge Unlatched, the six-strong list includes Wiley’s ChemPlanner, which aims to speed up the drug creation process by combining computer-aided synthetic design with a database of millions of empirical reactions, and the Crossref Metadata API, making metadata on 80 million items available to be searched and sampled. Taylor and Francis’s Cartoon Abstracts offers a fun new way of promoting academic research through manga-style cartoon summaries, while SAGE’s An Adventure in Statistics: the Reality Enigma is simultaneously a textbook and a novel, with author Andy Field teaching statistics through an illustrated science fiction novel. All six shortlisted entries will pitch at the ALPSP annual conference in September, before a winner is announced at the ALPSP awards dinner on September 15th.
Alastair Horne writes our STM and Academic newsletters.