Grim perspectives for Brazilian periodicals [Originally published as the editorial in Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências vol. 93 no. 1]

Covid-19 had devastating effects that go beyond economics and also affected the periodicals published in Brazil. An editorial of the Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências has called attention that no journal published in the country will receive any support from the funding agencies in 2021 and calls for relevant stakeholders to discuss solutions to avoid the collapse of the publication system that is approaching if no measures are taken. Read More →

Editors opine on editorial policy and aspects of peer review

Peer review varies widely between journals and disciplines. A study recently published in eLife aimed to assess the posture of journal editors from five disciplines on their way of conducting peer review. The results suggest that peer review remains largely a closed practice, with some challenges from an ethical point of view. Read More →

Integration of national academic databases in Europe

The need for a comprehensive infrastructure for scholarly publications has been on the European Union’s agenda for a long time. In particular, the European Commission’s open science policy highlights the need for a good database for monitoring Open Access publications in Europe. However, many publications are still missing to rely on a comprehensive information infrastructure on open research. Over the past 10 years, European countries have invested significantly in national infrastructures, and now, at least 20 European countries have a national database for open publication research metadata. However, they are not yet integrated or widely used for cross-country comparisons. Read More →

Scientific rigor and open science: ethical and methodological challenges in qualitative research

The literature demonstrates growing criticism of the reliability of qualitative research, including claims that it lacks rigor and methodological clarity. In the publication system, several actions reflect this increased attention to rigor. Initiatives by major research funding agencies also emphasize rigor. The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), for example, has fostered efforts to promote strategies to increase rigor and transparency in the reporting of results of qualitative research. Here, we offer a brief panorama, permeated by transformations that include increasing initiatives to promote open science. We explore some questions about the current discussion of scientific rigor, not only in publications, but also in proposing qualitative research projects. Read More →

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 →

Towards a more open Soil Science

Most of the data resulting from research conducted in Brazil is not yet available in open access repositories. Here, we urge soil scientists to adopt a more open stance towards research data in the area, aiming to increase science sustainability and foster scientific collaboration. Read More →

‘The government is following the science’: Why is the translation of evidence into policy generating so much controversy? [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in November/2020]

In the UK, the government has presented itself as guided by scientific evidence in its policy responses to COVID-19. This has led to science, in particular epidemiology, itself becoming politicised and contested. However, neither the politicisation of science nor questions surrounding the status of evidence are new. In this post, Luis Pérez-González, outlines how a similar politics of expertise has played out in environmental policy-making. The author argues that for scientific evidence to be successfully communicated in policy, it needs to be informed by bipartisan values. Read More →

DOAJ to lead a collaboration to improve the preservation of open access journals [Originally published in ISSN.org in November/2020]

DOAJ, CLOCKSS Archive, Internet Archive, Keepers Registry/ISSN International Centre and Public Knowledge Project (PKP) have agreed to partner to provide an alternative pathway for the preservation of small-scale, APC-free, Open Access journals. Read More →

Open but Unfair – The role of social justice in Open Access publishing [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in October/2020]

Stage one of the Open Access (OA) movement promoted the democratization of scholarly knowledge, making work available so that anybody could read it. However, publication in highly ranked journals is becoming very costly, feeding the same vendor capitalists that OA was designed to sidestep. In this Q&A, Simon Batterbury argues that when prestige is valued over publication ethics, a paradoxical situation emerges where conversations about social justice take place in unjust journals. Academic freedom and integrity are at risk unless Open Access becomes not simply about the democratization of knowledge, but the ethics of its publication too. Read More →

Are preprints a problem? 5 ways to improve the quality and credibility of preprints [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in September/2020]

Preprints are research reports have that have not yet been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They have increased rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, high profile discredited studies have led to concerns that speed has been prioritized over the quality and credibility of evidence. Joeri Tijdink, Mario Malicki, Lex Bouter and Gowri Gopalakrishna argue that all stakeholders of the science system have a responsibility in improving the quality and credibility of pre-prints. They outline 5 steps by which this can be achieved. Read More →

How effective are funding mandate for open access?

Plan S, launched in Europe late 2018 to accelerate the transition to open access starting in January 2020, imposes open access mandates to all publicly funded research. But would such mandates really be effective in promoting open access? A study showed that the results vary greatly among disciplines and funders. However, between the gold route and the green route, two-thirds of the articles are, in fact, available for reading. Read More →

Data protection laws apply to anyone who collects information about a living individual. So what do researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences need to know? [Originally published in the LSE Impact blog in September/2020]

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has significant implications for academic researchers. The Royal Historical Society recently published a set of guidelines to help researchers navigate the legal requirements around data protection. Dr Katherine Foxhall, RHS Research and Communications Officer explains some of the key factors that researchers in SHAPE subjects should be aware of. Read More →

Bibliometrics: a new threat to zoological taxonomy?

One of the backbones of the life sciences, taxonomy —the science of biodiversity—suffers from multiples impediments, including the use of bibliometric indexes by organizations. These days such indexes play a big role in the scientific decisions. However, what for-profit companies, which own these bibliometric platforms, have to do with science? Read More →

Initiative for Open Abstracts Launches to Promote Discovery of Research [Originally published in IO4A.org in September/2020]

The Initiative for Open Abstracts (I4OA) calls on scholarly publishers to open their abstracts, and specifically to deposit them with Crossref. Unrestricted availability of abstracts will boost the discovery of research. 34 publishers have already agreed to support I4OA and to make their abstracts openly available. I4OA is also supported by a large number of research funders, libraries and library associations, infrastructure providers, and open science organizations. Read More →

How to reduce the processing time of submitted articles: the experience of Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais

While the position of a scientific journal editor is interesting and rewarding, since it puts us in touch with the pulse of academic output, it also poses many challenges. It is necessary to give the journal a face, to guarantee the publication quality, to find reviewers willing to work anonymously and for free and to ensure the journal’s financial sustainability. This post deals with just one of the challenges: ensuring a quick response to the authors about the submitted manuscripts. Read More →