Battle over Plan S?
cOAlition S, an alliance of eleven national research funding organisations supported by both the European Commission and the European Research Council, has announced its intentions to “make full and immediate open access to research publications a reality”. By 2020, scientific publications resulting from research funded by the participating organisations – which include UK Research and Innovation, the French National Research Agency, and Science Foundation Ireland – “must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access platforms”. The ten principles supporting this requirement, known as Plan S, include authors retaining unrestricted copyright over their publications, which must be published under open licenses, and the standardisation and capping of publication fees. Hybrid publishing models are banned, and the funders plan to monitor and sanction non-compliance with its rules.
The publishing industry has reacted to this announcement with concern: an article on the Nature website suggested that the proposals would “bar researchers from publishing in 85% of journals, including influential titles such as Nature and Science”, and noted that national research agencies in Sweden and Germany had not signed up to the initiative, citing concerns over the speed of implementation and the mandate for specific forms of open access publication. Meanwhile, the STM Association urged caution, emphasising the need for the transition to immediate open access to be fully funded, and raising concerns over the impact of the plan on researchers’ freedom to publish in the journal of their choice.
Publons reports on global state of peer review, salutes outstanding contributors
Publons has marked Peer Review Week with the release of its inaugural Global State of Peer Review report, combining responses from more than 11,000 researchers worldwide with data drawn from Clarivate’s Web of Science and ScholarOne, and Publons itself. The report found that the review process remains dominated by researchers from established regions, whose share of reviews tends substantially to exceed their percentage of published articles: researchers in the United States, for instance, submit 32.9% of all reviews while contributing 25.4% of articles. Editors tend to be located in established regions and disproportionately invite reviewers from their own regions; researchers from emerging areas, however, are more likely to accept invitations to review. The report also found correlations between journal impact factor and the length and speed of reviews: journals with higher impact factors received generally longer reviews more quickly than those with lower JIFs.
Publons has also announced the winners of its Peer Review Awards for 2018, honouring the best reviewers in a range of categories, including for the first time this year a community-choice award for early-career researchers, won by Xinyan Huang, an assistant professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Springer reaches OA download milestone, extends ORCID mandate and Watson access
Springer Nature has announced that downloads of chapters from its open access books have now reached 30 million, with its 512 titles averaging almost 60,000 chapter downloads each since it began tracking downloads from SpringerLink in 2013. The company has also extended its support for ORCID following a successful trial last year: all 45 Nature Research and Nature Review journals will now mandate ORCID iDs for corresponding authors, with Nature and Nature Communications soon to follow suit. And in a new collaboration with IBM Watson Health, Springer Nature will extend Watson’s AI and machine learning technology access to content from leading Springer Nature journals, enhancing its extraction of genomics data.
Digital Science joins DORA, extends Dimensions
It’s been a busy month for Digital Science, which has followed the lead of several of its portfolio companies by becoming a formal signatory of the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). The group has also extended its partnership with publishing services provider Sheridan in a move that will see Figshare supplemental data widgets and Dimensions citation count badges implemented across the PubFactory platform. And the Dimensions platform, which offers information on global scholarly research activity, has added two new datasets: more than 360,000 policy documents drawn from 50 global sources including the World Health Organisation, the World Bank, and the UK government, and 1.4 million Russian patents.
ALPSP salutes Code Ocean, addresses harassment, ethics, and the digital humanities
The cloud-based computational reproducibility platform Code Ocean has been awarded the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers Innovation Award for 2018. At its annual conference, the association also honoured Richard Fisher for his lifetime contribution to the industry, while speakers from across the entire scholarly ecosystem discussed a wide range of topics: Goldsmiths Press’s Sarah Kember and Steven Hill, Research England’s architect of the next Research Excellence Framework, offered contrasting views on the trend towards open access mandates, while other sessions explored collaboration, peer review, the digital humanities, new technologies and tools, ethics, and harassment and gender bias in publishing.
SAGE in for Lean
SAGE Publishing has acquired the technology start-up Lean Library and its suite of products: Library Access, Library Assist, and Library Alternatives. The first of these offers academic library users single-click access to licensed resources on and off campus; the second enables libraries to send tailored messages to users, while the third offers users alternative routes to full-text articles where these are not otherwise available. Founded in 2016, the company has secured almost fifty institutional partnerships in its first 18 months of operation; continuing to operate from its head offices in Delft, it will become part of the SAGE group.
Wiley issues Q1 results
Wiley has reported its results for the first quarter of the 2019 financial year. Overall revenues were broadly unchanged from the previous year, with Research income constant while Solutions grew 8% and Publishing declined 5%, though STM and Professional publishing income rose 3%. Open Access revenues, included in the figures for Research, grew 22% year-on-year.
Clarivate Analytics has appointed Timothy Neely as its new managing director for Japan. Knowledge Unlatched has announced a partnership with publisher IntechOpen to fund the publication of around 300 open access books in Engineering over the next three years.
Alastair Horne is a PhD student at the British Library and Bath Spa University.