Author: Jan Velterop

Publishers and FAIR data

In this post a proposal is introduced for academic publishing outfits to encourage and enable authors to make their articles — and where possible the underlying datasets — semantically unambiguous so that they can be communicated as FAIR data (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). The proposal is described in-depth in a published open access article, to which a link is provided in the post. Read More →

Why does reform of scientific communication seem so difficult and slow?

The world faces global problems for which science is needed as part of the solution. Yet the scientific communication system is not nearly as quick and open as necessary for efficient worldwide collaboration. The powers that are in a position to reform the system are too timid. Will crises like COVID-19 shake them awake? Read More →

Open Access Plans — S, T, U, so far

Things do seem to be moving in Open Access (OA). First there was Plan S, proposed by science funders in the European Union, then a proposal to fund OA from submission fees rather than article processing charges, (perhaps flippantly) called Plan T, and now, in alphabetical sequence, Plan U. All three have strong merits, but Plan U has the best chance of succeeding and offers the most to the scientific community. Read More →

Is a dramatic boost to open access imminent? I think so!

Recent developments, such as Plan S, a funder mandate for grantees to publish their findings with open access, as well as the growth in preprints – in terms of number of articles posted as well as preprint services becoming available – are bound to have a major impact on the amount of new scientific journal literature being openly and freely accessible by anyone, anywhere. Read More →

Plan S — and Article Processing Charges (APCs)

Recently, in Europe, a plan has been launched to accelerate the transition to open access. It is called Plan S. Its key principle is stated as follows: “After 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.” Some issues are highlighted, especially the issue of the cost of APCs, and some suggestions for possible improvement of Plan S are given. Read More →

What does a new approach mean (for journals, research councils)?

Preprints are a development underway in science communication and publishing. For journals, this has consequences. They may adopt a passive role, an opposing stance, or an encouraging, stimulating role, and see it as an opportunity, placing their journal in the midst of the preprint development. These are issues to be discussed in detail at the SciELO 20 Years Conference in September 2018. Read More →

Communication and peer review should be universally separated

The SciELO 20 Years Week will promote an ample and open forum on the future of scientific communication and journals. There is a discussion group for each topic of the SciELO 20 Years Conference. The discussion starts with this comment by Jan Velterop on the separation between communication and peer review posted in the discussion group of the Panel 3.1 that deals with fast communication via preprints and other means to accelerate the availability of research results. Read More →

Of Subscriptions and Article Processing Charges

Article Processing Charges (APCs) – although they face criticism – do have advantages over subscriptions. They make immediate open access possible, but they also allow other drawbacks of subscriptions to be avoided, such as fixed page budgets. What APCs have not been able to do, is lower the financial burden of science communication on the research community, as many open access advocates had wanted and expected. A solution may be found – even if only a partial one – in the provision of preprints as a matter of course. Read More →

Older journal articles need to be open, too

Much of the effort of promoting open access to scholarly journal articles is aimed at current material, and older articles risk being virtually ignored. Whilst the most recent articles generally represent the greatest number of downloads and usage figures, older articles are by no means less important to science. Open access, including re-use facilities, should apply to them, too. Read More →

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 →