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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 24 October 2018

Simon Wakeling, Valerie Spezi, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Stephen Pinfield and Peter Willett

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into publication practices from the perspective of academics working within four disciplinary communities: biosciences…

5207

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into publication practices from the perspective of academics working within four disciplinary communities: biosciences, astronomy/physics, education and history. The paper explores the ways in which these multiple overlapping communities intersect with the journal landscape and the implications for the adoption and use of new players in the scholarly communication system, particularly open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs (e.g. PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports) are large, broad scope, open-access journals that base editorial decisions solely on the technical/scientific soundness of the article.

Design/methodology/approach

Focus groups with active researchers in these fields were held in five UK Higher Education Institutions across Great Britain, and were complemented by interviews with pro-vice-chancellors for research at each institution.

Findings

A strong finding to emerge from the data is the notion of researchers belonging to multiple overlapping communities, with some inherent tensions in meeting the requirements for these different audiences. Researcher perceptions of evaluation mechanisms were found to play a major role in attitudes towards OAMJs, and interviews with the pro-vice-chancellors for research indicate that there is a difference between researchers’ perceptions and the values embedded in institutional frameworks.

Originality/value

This is the first purely qualitative study relating to researcher perspectives on OAMJs. The findings of the paper will be of interest to publishers, policy-makers, research managers and academics.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Valerie Spezi, Simon Wakeling, Stephen Pinfield, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser and Peter Willett

The purpose of this paper is to better understand the theory and practice of peer review in open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs typically operate a “soundness-only” review…

4644

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand the theory and practice of peer review in open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs typically operate a “soundness-only” review policy aiming to evaluate only the rigour of an article, not the novelty or significance of the research or its relevance to a particular community, with these elements being left for “the community to decide” post-publication.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports the results of interviews with 31 senior publishers and editors representing 16 different organisations, including 10 that publish an OAMJ. Thematic analysis was carried out on the data and an analytical model developed to explicate their significance.

Findings

Findings suggest that in reality criteria beyond technical or scientific soundness can and do influence editorial decisions. Deviations from the original OAMJ model are both publisher supported (in the form of requirements for an article to be “worthy” of publication) and practice driven (in the form of some reviewers and editors applying traditional peer review criteria to OAMJ submissions). Also publishers believe post-publication evaluation of novelty, significance and relevance remains problematic.

Originality/value

The study is based on unprecedented access to senior publishers and editors, allowing insight into their strategic and operational priorities. The paper is the first to report in-depth qualitative data relating specifically to soundness-only peer review for OAMJs, shedding new light on the OAMJ phenomenon and helping inform discussion on its future role in scholarly communication. The paper proposes a new model for understanding the OAMJ approach to quality assurance, and how it is different from traditional peer review.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Valerie Spezi, Simon Wakeling, Stephen Pinfield, Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry and Peter Willett

Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs) represent an increasingly important part of the scholarly communication landscape. OAMJs, such as PLOS ONE, are large scale, broad scope journals…

15013

Abstract

Purpose

Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs) represent an increasingly important part of the scholarly communication landscape. OAMJs, such as PLOS ONE, are large scale, broad scope journals that operate an open access business model (normally based on article-processing charges), and which employ a novel form of peer review, focussing on scientific “soundness” and eschewing judgement of novelty or importance. The purpose of this paper is to examine the discourses relating to OAMJs, and their place within scholarly publishing, and considers attitudes towards mega-journals within the academic community.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a review of the literature of OAMJs structured around four defining characteristics: scale, disciplinary scope, peer review policy, and economic model. The existing scholarly literature was augmented by searches of more informal outputs, such as blogs and e-mail discussion lists, to capture the debate in its entirety.

Findings

While the academic literature relating specifically to OAMJs is relatively sparse, discussion in other fora is detailed and animated, with debates ranging from the sustainability and ethics of the mega-journal model, to the impact of soundness-only peer review on article quality and discoverability, and the potential for OAMJs to represent a paradigm-shifting development in scholarly publishing.

Originality/value

This paper represents the first comprehensive review of the mega-journal phenomenon, drawing not only on the published academic literature, but also grey, professional and informal sources. The paper advances a number of ways in which the role of OAMJs in the scholarly communication environment can be conceptualised.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 May 2013

Valérie Spezi, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Steve Probets and Sonya White

This paper aims to report on the findings of the second phase of the Behavioural strand of the EC‐funded PEER project (http://www.peerproject.eu/). The paper seeks to explore…

1467

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on the findings of the second phase of the Behavioural strand of the EC‐funded PEER project (http://www.peerproject.eu/). The paper seeks to explore authors' and readers' behaviours in relation to authors' peer‐reviewed accepted manuscripts in open access repositories.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was undertaken using a mixed‐method approach, involving the distribution of a survey by the 12 participating publishers to their authors in selected journal titles and a participatory workshop with European researchers from selected disciplinary areas.

Findings

Researchers' attitudes towards versions of published journal articles made open access via open access repositories may vary depending on whether researchers report behaviours from the perspective of an author or a reader. The research found that disciplinary cultures, norms and traditions shape authors' self‐archiving behaviour and readers' use of those versions of journal articles held in repositories.

Research limitations/implications

One of the limitations of the research is that it was impossible for the research team to gauge the representativeness of the survey compared to the actual disciplinary distribution of the population of EU researchers, as such population information is not available in an aggregated and consistent format.

Originality/value

The PEER Observatory is an unprecedented large‐scale collaboration between publishers, researchers and repositories to investigate the effects of self‐archiving at European level. The paper provides a disciplinary reading of the findings and augments the understanding of how disciplinary culture and norms shape authors' and readers' behaviours in relation to self‐archiving.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 69 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 8 August 2008

Jenny Fry

527

Abstract

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2009

Jenny Fry, Ralph Schroeder and Matthijs den Besten

This paper seeks to discuss the question of “openness” in e‐Science.

1713

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to discuss the question of “openness” in e‐Science.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on 12 in‐depth interviews with principal investigators, project managers and developers involved in UK e‐Science projects, together with supporting documentary evidence from project web sites. The approach was to explore the juxtaposition of research governance at the institutional level and local research practices at the project level. Interview questions focused on research inputs, software development processes, access to resources, project documentation, dissemination of outputs and by‐products, licensing issues, and institutional contracts.

Findings

The findings suggest that, although there is a widely shared ethos of openness in everyday research practice, there are many uncertainties and yet‐to‐be resolved issues, despite strong policy imperatives towards openly shared resources.

Research limitations/implications

The paper concludes by observing a stratification of openness in practice and the need for more nuanced understanding of openness at the level of policy making. This research was based on interviews within a limited number of e‐Science/Social Science projects and the intention is to address this in future work by scaling the study up to a survey that will reach the entire UK e‐Science/Social Science community.

Practical implications

The fundamental challenge in resolving openness in practice and policy, and thereby moving towards a sustainable infrastructure for e‐Science, is the coordination and integration of goals across e‐Science efforts, rather than one of resolving IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) issues, which has been the central focus of openness debates thus far.

Originality/value

The question of openness has previously been posed on the macro‐level of research policy, e.g. whether science as a whole can be characterized as open science, or in relation to the dissemination of published outputs, e.g. Open Access. Instead, a fine‐grained perspective is taken focusing on individual research projects and the various facets of openness in practice.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 65 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Annikki Roos and Turid Hedlund

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the information practices of the researchers in biomedicine using the domain analytical approach.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the information practices of the researchers in biomedicine using the domain analytical approach.

Design/methodology/approach

The domain analytical research approach used in the study of the scientific domain of biomedicine leads to studies into the organization of sciences. By using Whitley’s dimensions of “mutual dependence” and “task uncertainty” in scientific work as a starting point the authors were able to reanalyze previously collected data. By opening up these concepts in the biomedical research work context, the authors analyzed the distinguishing features of the biomedical domain and the way these features affected researchers’ information practices.

Findings

Several indicators representing “task uncertainty” and “mutual dependence” in the scientific domain of biomedicine were identified. This study supports the view that in biomedicine the task uncertainty is low and researchers are mutually highly dependent on each other. Hard competition seems to be one feature, which is behind the explosion of the data and publications in this domain. This fact, on its part is directly related to the ways information is searched, followed, used and produced. The need for new easy to use services or tools for searching and following information in so called “hot” topics came apparent.

Originality/value

The study highlights new information about information practices in the biomedical domain. Whitley’s theory enabled a thorough analysis of the cultural and social nature of the biomedical domain and it proved to be useful in the examination of researchers’ information practices.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 72 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 16 January 2017

Elizabeth Gadd

The purpose of this paper is to consider how the open access policy environment has developed since the Rights Metadata for Open Archiving Project’s call in 2003 for universities…

1656

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider how the open access policy environment has developed since the Rights Metadata for Open Archiving Project’s call in 2003 for universities and academics to assert joint copyright ownership of scholarly works and investigate whether UK universities are moving towards a joint copyright ownership.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses 81 UK university copyright policies to understand what proportion make a claim over: IP ownership of all outputs; the copyright in scholarly works; re-using scholarly works in specific ways; and approaches to moral rights. Results are cross-tabulated by policy age and mission group.

Findings

Universities have not asserted their interest in scholarly works through joint ownership, leaving research funders and publishers to set open access policy. The paper finds an increased proportion of universities assert a generic claim to all IP (87 per cent) relative to earlier studies. In total, 74 per cent of policies relinquished rights in scholarly works in favour of academic staff; 20 per cent of policies share ownership of scholarly works through licensing; 28 per cent of policies assert the right to re-use scholarly works in some way; and 32 per cent of policies seek to protect moral rights. Policies that “share” ownership of scholarly works are more recent. The UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) should have an impact on this area. The reliance on individual academics to enforce a copyright policy or not to opt-out of the UK-SCL could be problematic. The paper concludes that open access may still be best served by joint ownership of scholarly works.

Originality/value

This the first large-scale analysis of UK university policy positions towards scholarly works. The paper discovers for the first time a move towards “shared” ownership of scholarly works in copyright policies.

Details

Aslib Journal of Information Management, vol. 69 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-3806

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 24 November 2016

Christopher Darius Stonebanks, Fintan Sheerin, Melanie Bennett-Stonebanks and Jenala Nyirenda-Paradise

Since 2008, the Global North universities and the rural district of Chilanga, Kasungu in Malawi, have endeavored to create a dialogic, inclusive, and reciprocal knowledge-transfer…

Abstract

Since 2008, the Global North universities and the rural district of Chilanga, Kasungu in Malawi, have endeavored to create a dialogic, inclusive, and reciprocal knowledge-transfer project. Numerous years of consultation with community members resulted in the creation of Transformative Praxis: Malawi, a project dedicated to bettering human conditions in one of the most impoverished areas of the world. Through participatory action research (PAR), the Malawian community strongly indicated the need to foster critical thinking, creativity, and social entrepreneurship in the areas of Education, Health, and Development. Although local women were prominent in all stakeholder meetings, a growing suspicion emerged that the inclusive intent of our research-based work was actually supporting existing male-oriented power structures, which exist despite ongoing assurances of the active participation of women in decision-making, and the purported matrilineal societal nature of Malawi. Through a progressive series of critical incidents connected to literature on PAR and women in impoverished communities, this chapter chronicles the manner in which local Chilanga women unexpectedly and unconventionally solidified their participation and authentic leadership in a Global North and South initiative based in Malawi.

Details

Racially and Ethnically Diverse Women Leading Education: A Worldview
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78635-071-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 August 2022

Yaming Fu, Elizabeth Lomas, Charles Inskip and Jenny Bunn

The purpose of this paper is to describe, analyze and understand international users' library experience in the Digital Age in order to inform library service design and ensure it…

1168

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe, analyze and understand international users' library experience in the Digital Age in order to inform library service design and ensure it provides an inclusive environment. In this study, the behavioral and experiential aspects of user library experience are merged to develop essential interconnections between information behavior (IB) and user experience (UX) in the context of the academic library with the goal of constructing a more holistic understanding of ‘library experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The study was built on the concept “library experience” through analyzing its essential components of IB and UX. It was developed through findings from mixed methods research, consisting of the quantitative investigation from a library log analysis, and qualitative investigations via cognitive mapping exercises and semi-structured interviews, both targeted on the largest single group of international students in United Kingdom – international Chinese students.

Findings

The findings demonstrated the complexity and multilayered characteristics of international Chinese students' library context, and three unique contexts emerged from the data shaping their library experience. Building on the previous findings on the connections between IB and UX, the work attempted to redefine “library experience” by joining both behavioral and experiential aspects. It is found that the key components of cultural library experience are the multilayered context, cultural group's perception needs, sense-making process and subjective evaluations.

Originality/value

This study joins the behavioral and experiential perspectives together to explore library experience in a more holistic way and proposes a systematic structure to understand and analyze library experience, especially that of international users in a cross-cultural context, which, in turn, will better serve their information needs and inform the design of a more equal and inclusive library system.

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