News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Taskforce tips on GenAI, investigating paper mills, and new federal guidelines on Native displays

By Choice Staff
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New Federal Rules on Native American Displays

New federal regulations went into effect this month leading museums to cover displays or restrict access to Native exhibits. First announced in December, the guidelines require institutions to gain consent from Native leaders before displaying cultural items, with a deadline to make required changes by 2029. The New York Times revealed that the American Museum of Natural History will soon shut down two halls featuring Native American items to begin the review process. The Times offered further information on the regulations, which aim to hasten the historically slow pace of the repatriation and return of human remains, sacred objects, and funerary items, “giving more authority to tribes throughout the process.” As Bryan Newland, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, stated, “Repatriation isn’t just a rule on paper, but it brings real meaningful healing and closure to people.” [The New York Times]

Cornell University Offers Tips on Generative AI

A Cornell University taskforce released a new report on the use of generative AI in research. The report covers numerous aspects of the research lifecycle including “conception and execution,” “dissemination,” “translation,” and “funding and funding agreement compliance.” While the report takes a critical approach to AI, it also supports experimentation. As Natalie Bazarova, taskforce member and associate vice provost in Cornell’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, shared, “In our report, we provide guidelines and safeguards to ensure that research is conducted with the highest levels of integrity while also encouraging the exploration of these new tools and GenAI research frontiers.” The report also lists several policies currently used by journals and other publishing professionals, along with a Q&A including suggested applications for researchers. [Cornell Chronicle]

Investigating Paper Mills and Mitigating Their Impact

In response to the rise in fake papers, several “funders, academic publishers, and research organizations” are partnering to combat paper mills and provide widespread education on their impact. The group released a statement summarizing their intentions, including key action areas developed during a summit organized by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). The action points each correspond to a working group and include improving author, editor, and reviewer identify verification. Nature shared that the groups will provide a progress update by June. Also on the topic of paper mills, a recent inquiry from Science, Retraction Watch, and paper mill investigators revealed that paper mills are offering journal editors money in exchange for publication. In particular, the investigation identified over 30 editors working with paper mills, including both guest editors of special issues and editors of reputable journals. Science noted that some paper mills even go as far as to smuggle people onto editorial boards and may “handle all the correspondence with the journal, including proposing the [special] issue in the first place, either through a real academic colluding with it or by inventing a fake identity for the occasion.”

Arizona State University Partners with OpenAI

Arizona State University (ASU) has entered a partnership with ChatGPT’s founder, OpenAI. Under the deal, “approved university members” will have free access to ChatGPT-4. The Chronicle of Higher Education explained that “interested staff, researchers, and faculty members will have to submit proposals outlining their ideas for using the tool and evaluating its effectiveness.” The Chronicle underscored ASU’s hopes to better equip students for the workforce, also highlighting comments from OpenAI’s chief operating officer Brad Lightcap on how the partnership benefits OpenAI. As shared by Lightcap, OpenAI is “keen to learn from ASU and to work toward expanding ChatGPT’s impact in higher education.” The Chronicle further noted that the agreement has flexible terms and cited reports that ASU plans to regularly assess the partnership via an ethics committee. [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

EBSCO Information Services CEO Announces Retirement, D2O Meets Goals, and Another Journal Board Resigns

Retraction Watch reports that the editorial board of sociology journal Theory and Society has resigned after learning that Springer Nature replaced its executive editor Janet Gouldner. In a resignation letter, the editors voiced frustrations over their lack of input in the decision and concerns regarding “the precedent of for-profit owners of academic journals unilaterally installing their selected editors.” In response, Springer Nature claims that it attempted to contact the board and Gouldner regarding the future of the journal. The current editors in chief, Kevin McCaffree of the University of North Texas in Denton and Jonathan Turner of the University of California, Riverside, will now work on hiring a new editorial board and aim to improve the journal’s turnaround times. Next up, MIT Press’s Direct to Open (D2O) initiative met this year’s financial goals, enabling the publisher to publish nearly 80 open access works in 2024. Of note, MIT Press reported that this is the “first year in which D2O has been fully funded by its November 30 deadline.” MIT Press also touted the wide readership and citation of its OA titles, with nine books achieving over 10,000 reads. Last, EBSCO Information Services CEO Tim Collins announced that he will be retiring this June. EBSCO Industries aims to hire Collins’s successor by July.

2024 Andrew Carnegie Medal Recipients and New Book Releases

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the recipients of the 2024 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and NonfictionThe Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters from Catapult is the winner of the fiction medal, while Roxanna Asgarian’s We Were Once a Family: A Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux will take home the nonfiction award. The medals will be presented at ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition this June. In other bookish news, Literary Hub  highlighted several new releases out this week. Novels, historical works, and a poetry collection dot the list, including topics like medical racism and the perils of wellness culture. 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 also made the list.