Author: Jan Velterop

Science is largely a collective enterprise. That collectivity needs to be recognized more explicitly

There is a disconnect between the collective nature of science, and the way the publishing and scholarly credit and reward systems focus very strongly on individual achievements. This results in problems that affect not only science, but society’s trust in science, and thus society as a whole. Read More →

Openness is the only quality of an academic article that can be objectively measured

Quality of scientific research articles is a widespread preoccupation in academic circles. The most used proxy is based on citation counts, not of the article itself, but of the averages of articles appearing in the same journal during a given time window. This is known as the Journal Impact Factor, which may be objective within its own definition, but utterly lacks objectivity with regard to scientific quality of individual articles. Only some technical qualities of articles can be assessed at the time of their publication, and, significantly, their openness, the degree to which the research results they describe can be immediately and universally shared. Read More →

Preprints – the way forward for rapid and open knowledge sharing

Preprints – versions of academic articles that have not yet been formally peer-reviewed before publication – are gaining acceptance in the academic world. They deliver open access as well as speedy publication, and their decades old success in physics has spurred on their spread in other disciplines. The development of preprints is accelerating; important funding agencies are in support of them, and also SciELO is planning to set up a preprint server for authors in Latin America and the Global South generally. Read More →

The BOAI (Budapest Open Access Initiative) celebrates its 15 year anniversary

The Budapest Open Access Initiative is reaching the 15 year anniversary of its publication in February of 2017. As we near this milestone, it is important to take the time to reflect on the values, impact, and continued relevance of the BOAI. We are soliciting your input. The feedback you provide will be used to create updated recommendations to the open access community to help focus our collective efforts to sustain momentum towards achieving the goals of the BOAI. Read More →

Is the reproducibility crisis exacerbated by pre-publication peer review?

A lack of scrutiny of articles published in peer-reviewed journals on the basis of a belief that pre-publication peer-review provides sufficient scrutiny, may well add to the relatively high number of articles in which results are presented that cannot be replicated. Read More →

The best of both worlds

Quality is an ill-defined concept with regard to scholarly literature. Some aspects of quality can be assessed reasonably objectively, and immediately, such as the quality of presentation. But some cannot be readily determined, and need time and ‘digestion’ by the scholarly community, such as the scientific quality of an article. And then there is the quality of a journal’s service to authors, of particular importance for open access publishing that is supported by Article Processing Charges. Also relevant is the question whether a strong focus on quality and excellence is indeed beneficial to science, or not. I am providing a link to an article on that most interesting topic. Read More →

On the dangers of SciHub and hybrid journals

Changes and developments in the way things are done are sometimes seen as threatening, as dangers. That is a natural, instinctive reaction, perhaps, but sometimes, the danger lies not so much in the development itself as in the things that the development in question prevents. There are two developments in science publishing and science communication that are seen as dangerous by many. Both developments are seen as threatening from opposite sides of the fence, so to speak. Read More →

Are ‘predatory’ journals completely negative, or also a sign of something positive?

Something that is generally, and justifiably, considered negative, can, however, also be a harbinger of an underlying positive development. The case in point is the existence of so-called ‘predatory’ journals, which have – inevitably – emerged in an environment in which a true market for scientific publishing services is slowly taking shape. Read More →

Openness and quality of a published article

Openness is a scientifically and societally relevant part of a published article’s quality. It is time that openness is recognized as a most important element of the quality of a research publication and that those who judge researchers on their publications (e.g. tenure and promotion committees) take that into account. For the benefit of science and the benefit of society as a whole. Read More →

Science (which needs communication) first, careers (which need selectivity) later

Science communication and career advancement via journal publications are too closely intertwined, to the detriment of science. The selectivity of journals slows, hampers, and distorts the communication process. Therefore, the processes of scientific communication and assessment for career advancement should be separated. As a welcome side effect, publishing, particularly publishing with open access, could be very much cheaper than it is currently (and the money saved used for research). Read More →

What is holding back the transition to open access if it does not cost more?

Transition to Article Processing Charge supported open access from a closed access subscription system is far from straightforward, even if the cost of such an open access system is the same, or even less. There are glimmers of hope, though, in an approach that may help to overcome the hurdles, by taking a large-scale, even nationwide, approach as opposed to the usual one where each individual institution has to weigh up the costs and benefits. Read More →

The fenced-off ‘nice’ publication neighbourhoods of Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorado, describes SciELO as a ‘publication favela’ and commercial publishers as ‘nice neighbourhoods for scholarly publications’. The only way for us to understand that is if we consider his anti-open access, anti-subsidy, and anti-non-western attitudes, which are so clearly visible in his writings. It is a pity a university librarian of an otherwise reputable university thinks like this. He is wrong, and that has to be exposed. Read More →

Science Publishing: the Transition to Open Access Going Dutch

The negotiations between the Dutch universities (VSNU – the Association of Universities in The Netherlands) and three large publishers (Springer, Wiley, Sage) have been concluded and significant steps to include open access in the deals with those publishers have been made. With Elsevier, however, the negotiations are in deadlock, according to the VSNU. They have called for a boycott, but the real question is, of course, why it is that Elsevier, the largest, and Dutch (!) academic publisher, can’t – or won’t – do what other large publishers can – and will. I have no answer to that, but in trying to sketch the situation in some detail, I hope to add some clarity to it. The outcome of the negotiations is surely going to influence other countries. Read More →

Dealing with information overload

Information overload is a major barrier researchers face to capture and ingest the knowledge that is being discovered and created by science. The challenge is how to develop ways to create overviews of the knowledge that has been published related to specific areas of interest. The Lazarus initiative is introduced. Read More →

The Elsevier you know is not the only Elsevier

The current science publisher Elsevier may have the same name as the venerable publishing house that published the work of great scientists in the 16th and 17th century, but there is in fact no historical connection other than the name. Read More →