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Is It Such a Big Deal? On the Cost of Journal Use in the Digital Era

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-11-06
Abstract: 

Commercial scholarly publishers promote and sell bundles of journals—known as big deals—that provide access to entire collections rather than individual journals. Following this new model, size of serial collections in academic libraries increased almost fivefold from 1986 to 2011. Using data on library subscriptions and references made for a sample of North American universities, this study provides evidence that, while big deal bundles do decrease the mean price per subscribed journal, academic libraries receive less value for their investment. We find that university researchers cite only a fraction of journals purchased by their libraries, that this fraction is decreasing, and that the cost per cited journal has increased. These findings reveal how academic publishers use product differentiation and price strategies to increase sales and profits in the digital era, often at the expense of university and scientific stakeholders.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Authorial and Institutional Stratification in Open Access Publishing: The Case of Global Health Research

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-19
Abstract: 

Using a database of recent articles published in the field of Global Health research, we examine institutional sources of stratification in publishing access outcomes. Traditionally, the focus on inequality in scientific publishing has focused on prestige hierarchies in established print journals. This project examines stratification in contemporary publishing with a particular focus on subscription vs. various Open Access (OA) publishing options. Findings show that authors working at lower-ranked universities are more likely to publish in closed/paywalled outlets, and less likely to choose outlets that involve some sort of Article Processing Charge (APCs; gold or hybrid OA). We also analyze institutional differences and stratification in the APC costs paid in various journals. Authors affiliated with higher-ranked institutions, as well as hospitals and non-profit organizations pay relatively higher APCs for gold and hybrid OA publications. Results suggest that authors affiliated with high-ranked universities and well-funded institutions tend to have more resources to choose pay options with publishing. Our research suggests new professional hierarchies developing in contemporary publishing, where various OA publishing options are becoming increasingly prominent. Just as there is stratification in institutional representation between different types of publishing access, there is also inequality within access types.

 

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

La Reinterpretación de Visibilidad y Calidad en las Nuevas Políticas de Evaluación de Revistas Científicas

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-09-01
Abstract: 

This study analyzes the development of Latin American scientific publications from 1980 to present day in the context of the scientific assessment policies during that period. The analysis leads to the proposal of three eras in the development of Latin American scientific journals, which are analyzed in relation to the creation of regional systems such as Latindex, SciELO, and RedALyC. In the context of the third period –“internationalization”– the new journal evaluation policies of Mexico and Colombia (2016) are further analyzed and inconsistencies with the objectives of the previous periods are identified. In particular, the document analysis highlights how these policies shift the discourse and approach away from those seeking visibility and quality and towards citation as the only valued measure of publications. This change in approach is discussed along with the perceived advances and setbacks from the previous periods. The authors conclude that the scientific community would do well to return to the principles and values established in the first two periods where science and scientific publications were moving towards a regional and cooperative model under the governance of the scientific community.

 

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Local Chatter or International Buzz? Language Differences on Posts about Zika Research on Twitter and Facebook

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-01-05
Abstract: 

Background

When the Zika virus outbreak became a global health emergency in early 2016, the scientific community responded with an increased output of Zika-related research. This upsurge in research naturally made its way into academic journals along with editorials, news, and reports. However, it is not yet known how or whether these scholarly communications were distributed to the populations most affected by Zika.

Methodology/Principal findings

To understand how scientific outputs about Zika reached global and local audiences, we collected Tweets and Facebook posts that linked to Zika-related research in the first six months of 2016. Using a language detection algorithm, we found that up to 90% of Twitter and 76% of Facebook posts are in English. However, when none of the authors of the scholarly article are from English-speaking countries, posts on both social media are less likely to be in English. The effect is most pronounced on Facebook, where the likelihood of posting in English is between 11 and 16% lower when none of the authors are from English-speaking countries, as compared to when some or all are. Similarly, posts about papers written with a Brazilian author are 13% more likely to be in Portuguese on Facebook than when made on Twitter.

Conclusions/Significance

Our main conclusion is that scholarly communication on Twitter and Facebook of Zikarelated research is dominated by English, despite Brazil being the epicenter of the Zika epidemic. This result suggests that scholarly findings about the Zika virus are unlikely to be distributed directly to relevant populations through these popular online mediums. Nevertheless, there are differences between platforms. Compared to Twitter, scholarly communication on Facebook is more likely to be in the language of an author’s country. The Zika outbreak provides a useful case-study for understanding how scientific outputs are communicated to relevant populations. Our results suggest that Facebook is a more effective channel than Twitter, if communication is desired to be in the native language of the affected country. Further research should explore how local media—such as governmental websites, newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio—disseminate scholarly publication.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

The State of OA: A Large-Scale Analysis of the Prevalence and Impact of Open Access Articles

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-02-13
Abstract: 

Despite growing interest in Open Access (OA) to scholarly literature, there is an unmet need for large-scale, up-to-date, and reproducible studies assessing the prevalence and characteristics of OA. We address this need using oaDOI, an open online service that determines OA status for 67 million articles. We use three samples, each of 100,000 articles, to investigate OA in three populations: (1) all journal articles assigned a Crossref DOI, (2) recent journal articles indexed in Web of Science, and (3) articles viewed by users of Unpaywall, an open-source browser extension that lets users find OA articles using oaDOI. We estimate that at least 28% of the scholarly literature is OA (19M in total) and that this proportion is growing, driven particularly by growth in Gold and Hybrid. The most recent year analyzed (2015) also has the highest percentage of OA (45%). Because of this growth, and the fact that readers disproportionately access newer articles, we find that Unpaywall users encounter OA quite frequently: 47% of articles they view are OA. Notably, the most common mechanism for OA is not Gold, Green, or Hybrid OA, but rather an under-discussed category we dub Bronze: articles made freeto-read on the publisher website, without an explicit Open license. We also examine the citation impact of OA articles, corroborating the so-called open-access citation advantage: accounting for age and discipline, OA articles receive 18% more citations than average, an effect driven primarily by Green and Hybrid OA. We encourage further research using the free oaDOI service, as a way to inform OA policy and practice.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Coach House Press in the ‘Early Digital’ Period: A Celebration

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-10
Abstract: 

Traces the early history of digital publishing innovation at Toronto's Coach House Press, a key player in Canadian book publishing who, since the 1970s, were also instrumental in the development of digital typesetting, SGML and XML, and online publishing.

 

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-05
Abstract: 

This report is a consideration of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's 2014–2015 scholarly communications initiative, which focused on helping to develop new capacity in the monograph-publishing ecosystem.

This report looks at thirteen projects funded through the initiative in 2014 and 2015. The proposals came from different stakeholders in the monograph ecosystem: university presses, libraries, faculty, and one consulting organization. They include studies of the economics of monograph publishing; plans to develop new faculty or staff competencies; the development of new software systems to support the pro-duction or publication of scholarly works; and the development of new operation and business models that aim to streamline and find efficiencies in the infrastruc-ture for producing and distributing scholarly works.

The range of the funded projects is very broad. This appears to be a result of the open-ended way the Mellon Foundation invited proposals; innovation in digital publishing is an experimental process requiring imagination, an open mind and relative freedom from preexisting drivers and operational assumptions. The Foun-dation's approach seems to have been to seek out interesting projects and ideas in a variety of places, and to look for opportunities to help move these ideas forward, without being overly directive about particular outcomes. This, we believe, is ap-propriate to the task of advancing a very complex tradition of scholarly communi-cation, especially in an apparent time of crisis.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Editing without Author(ity): Martha Ostenso, Periodical Studies, and the Digital Turn

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-02
Abstract: 

“Good Morning, Son” serves as a useful example of how an editorial intervention might allow for a revitalized approach to Ostenso’s work from the perspectives of collaborative authorship, periodical studies, and middlebrow studies. I hope to illustrate how a text-based and author-centric editorial approach elides much of what makes Ostenso an interesting literary figure, whereas a digital social-text edition – or archive, or database, or arsenal  – provides a variety of lenses through which her work can be productively revisited or, in the case of the short stories, encountered for the first time.

Document type: 
Book chapter
File(s): 

Remediation and the Development of Modernist Forms in The Western Home

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-11
Abstract: 

This chapter will proceed in four parts. First, we will articulate our argument for reading The Western Home Monthly through the lens of modernism by exploring the links that have been drawn recently between modernism, the middlebrow, and new media studies. Second, we will outline the method through which The Western Home Monthly was digitized and the tools we used in our analysis. The third section will demonstrate how our distant reading methods helped us to better understand the formal dimensions of the magazine, particularly in terms of the influence of advertising and increasing formal fragmentation. In our fourth section we will analyse a single issue of The Western Home Monthly, showing how a combination of distant and close readings helps us to understand the place of an agrarian middlebrow magazine within the transnational and intermedial phenomenon of modernist culture.

Document type: 
Book chapter
File(s): 

Twitter Bot Surveys: A Discrete Choice Experiment to Increase Response Rates

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2017-07-28
Abstract: 

This paper presents a new methodology---the Twitter bot survey---that bridges the gap between social media research and web surveys. The methodology uses the Twitter APIs to identify a target population and then uses the API to deliver a question in the form of a regular Tweet. We hypothesized that this method would yield high response rates because users are posed a question within the social media platform and are not asked, as is the case with most web surveys, to follow a link away to a third party. To evaluate the response rate and identify the most effective mechanism for increasing it, we conducted a discrete choice experiment that evaluated three factors: question type, the use of an egoistic appeal, and the presence of contextual information. We found that, similar to traditional web surveys, multiple choice questions, egoistic appeals, and contextual information all contributed to higher response rates. Question variants that combined all three yielded a 40.0% response rate, thereby outperforming most other web surveys and demonstrating the promise of this new methodology. The approach can be extended to any other social media platforms where users typically interact with one another. The approach also offers the opportunity to bring together the advantages of social media research using APIs with the richness of information that can be collected from surveys.

Document type: 
Article
File(s):