News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Ringing in the new year with lawsuit updates, bioRxiv's 10th anniversary, and forthcoming titles

By Choice Staff
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Lawsuit Round-Up: OpenAI and Iowa Censorship Law

Publishers Weekly reports that The New York Times is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for using The Times’ works to train their generative AI models. The complaint alleges that OpenAI and Microsoft’s conduct is not fair use, emphasizing that the “Defendants’ unlawful use of The Times’ work to create artificial intelligence products that compete with it threatens The Times’s ability to provide that service.” The Times raised further concerns about the impact of AI on journalism writ large and underscored its aim to receive injunctive relief and a damages award. Next, federal Judge Stephen Locher barred two provisions of Iowa’s SF 496, the contested law prohibiting the discussion of sexuality and gender identity for K-6 students and the removal of books with sexual content from school bookshelves. Publishers Weekly highlighted comments from Judge Locher’s order, including the provision’s “sweeping restrictions” that are “unlikely to satisfy the First Amendment under any standard of scrutiny,” and the overly broad nature of the law’s section on gender identity.

UNESCO Open Science Update and MDPI’s Journal Trouble Continues

A new study from UNESCO assessing the 2021 UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science found that 11 countries have since announced “open science policies, strategies, and legislative frameworks.” That said, the report noted inequities between regions, revealing that more than 80 percent of open access repositories are located in the Global North. The study also found low levels of open engagement and dialogue, emphasizing the importance of communicating about open science around the globe. Next up, Scopus is putting a pause on indexing articles from MDPI’s journal SustainabilityRetraction Watch explained that according to Scopus’s title reevaluation policy, journals can be flagged “for scrutiny based on citation metrics and benchmarks compared to other titles in the same field, when ‘legitimate’ concerns are raised about the journal or publisher.” However, MDPI’s managing editor Elaine Li revealed that “No specific concerns were raised” when the publisher was notified of the pause in October by Scopus’s Content Selection and Advisory Board (CSAB) and suspects the pause is due to “continuous curation based on CSAB feedback.” This news follows increased attention in recent years regarding MDPI’s publishing model, specifically its use of special issues.

bioRxiv Turns Ten and Academic Partnerships Finalizes Wiley University Services Acquisition

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s (CSHL) biology preprint server bioRxiv celebrated its 10th anniversary last week. Touting the benefits of the server, CSHL highlighted that readers can access reviews of preprints on bioRxiv, and “70% of all bioRxiv and medRxiv submissions still go on to be formally published in a scientific journal.” In other news, Academic Partnerships finalized its acquisition of Wiley University Services, following the announcement late last year. According to Wiley, this development will provide enhanced technology and opportunities for universities and students, along with “Additional resources to support and scale high-demand, affordable online degree programs in critical areas like nursing, teaching, business, technology, and public administration for both regional public and private nonprofit universities.”

Addressing Uneven Global North-South Research Collaboration

Disparities remain in international research partnerships, as revealed in Nature Index’s supplement on Global North-South science collaborations. Analyzing 82 journals in the natural sciences, Nature Index found that “2.7% of articles published between 2015 and 2022 featured collaborations between scientists in higher-income and lower-income countries.” The number of collaborations between researchers in low-income countries was even lower, with a Nature editorial acknowledging the high price of publishing and the lack of recognition global databases afford to journals in the Global South. Nature urged funders to focus on research in the Global South, encouraged publishers to ensure proper credit is given to researchers from low-income regions, and recommended that future analyses “distinguish between major global-south hubs that already have reputation and funding advantages and lesser-known institutions and countries where capacity needs building.” [Nature]

Forthcoming 2024 Titles

In celebration of the new year, Literary Hub editors spotlighted over 200 forthcoming titles. The list features captivating murder mysteries, dark academia, essay collections, and historical fiction, including topics of immigration and the influence of machine technology. Yale University Press’s The Fine Art of Literary Fist-Fighting: How a Bunch of Rabble-Rousers, Outsiders, and Ne’er-do-wells Concocted Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind, slated for publication this month, made the cut. Foreign Policy shared its “Most Anticipated Books of 2024” as well, including the upcoming May release of To Run the World: The Kremlin’s Cold War Bid for Global Power by Sergey Radchenko from Cambridge University Press. The list highlights numerous titles on politics and technology, along with books on pressing contemporary topics like the Ukraine-Russia War and Amazon’s ever-growing corporate power.