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Deceptive Publishing: Why We Need a Blacklist, and How to Do It Right

In an earlier posting, I suggested that the term “predatory publishing” has perhaps become too vague and subjective to be useful, and I suggested “bad faith” as a possible replacement term. But in light of the subsequent discussion in the comments section of that posting and after continuing to think about the issue, I’d like to suggest another alternative to “predatory,” one that offers more precision and usefulness: “deceptive.” Deception,…

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Testing open peer review at Collabra

Earlier this year University of California Press (UC Press) launched a new open access mega journal called Collabra. One of the distinctive features of Collabra is that its authors can choose to have the peer review reports signed by the reviewers and published alongside their papers, making them freely available for all to read — a process usually referred to as open peer review. Since Collabra is offering open peer…

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The Changing Nature of Scale in STM and Scholarly Publishing

Image by Clarke & Company, all rights reserved. The American College of Chest Physicians recently announced it would be ending decades of self-publishing: its well-known journal CHEST will soon be published by Elsevier. A society with a single journal deciding to throw in its lot with a large commercial publisher is not atypical, and for many such societies this is a sound decision. A small society publishing program cannot muster…

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Accelerating Scientific Publication in Biology

Scientific publications enable results and ideas to be transmitted throughout the scientific community. The number and type of journal publications also have become the primary criteria used in evaluating career advancement. Our analysis suggests that publication practices have changed considerably in the life sciences over the past thirty years. Considerably more experimental data is now required for publication, and the average time required for graduate students to publish their first…

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Academics Seek a Big Splash

Each July, many of the top economists in the world gather in Cambridge, Mass., at a conference hosted by the National Bureau of Economic Research. While the work they present comes in all shapes and sizes, from the highly technical to the trendy and provocative, the coveted first day of a key weeklong session is given over to research that will make a media splash. “I choose the papers,” said…

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Can (should) academia take back scholarly publishing?

A couple of years ago, my fellow Chef Kent Anderson responded (quite strongly) in this forum to an opinion piece by George Monbiot in which Monbiot characterized academic publishers as “the most ruthless capitalists in the western world” and as “parasitic overlords” and called for scholars to “liberate the research that belongs to us.” Kent’s response, for its part, characterized Monbiot’s piece as a “rant” and as “uninformed, unhinged, and…

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What matters more: Impact factor or quality?

Using (binomial) regression analysis, we run models using citation windows of one to ten years with both annual citation and cumulative citations as dependent variables, and with both bibliometric and quality indicators (judgments of peers) as independent variables. The bibliometric variables are the journal impact factor (JIF) of the publication medium, the numbers of authors and pages, and the statistical citedness of the references used within the paper. We find…

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What Would It Cost to Buy Everything?

The “everything” I had in mind was all formally published academic journals. That means peer-reviewed material, but it excludes open access publications (since you don’t have to pay to read them). Also excluded for this exercise are books, databases, and other content types that mostly sit outside the bulk of discourse about scholarly communications. You will see in a minute just how complicated the original question is, but I had…

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