News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Study on the digital transformation of scholarly publishing, reports of citation manipulation, and Simon & Schuster celebrates its centennial

By Choice Staff
Academic publishing weekly graphic. Reads "the latest curated news from around the industry." Dark purple background with geometric shapes.

Making a Case for Shared Infrastructure in Scholarly Publishing

Ithaka S+R released a report on the importance of shared infrastructure in scholarly publishing, observing what it terms a “second digital transformation” of the industry. In particular, Ithaka S+R analyzed the current scholarly communication infrastructure and identified areas where it can be improved. For instance, the report emphasized the need to “address the growing atomization of the scholarly article” and safeguard research integrity. Offering both short and long-term recommendations, the report also covered concerns over who should fund new business models and the importance of communication among stakeholders. [Ithaka S+R]

Open Access Agreement Round-Up: Wiley, Springer Nature, and Taylor & Francis

First up, Wiley signed an agreement with Vanderbilt University’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries. Under the five-year partnership, Vanderbilt University researchers will be able to read and publish open access in Wiley’s hybrid and gold OA journals. Next, Springer Nature is partnering with the National Academic Network and Information Centre (TÜBITAK ULAKBIM) on a three-year transformative agreement (TA). The TA enables open access publishing in Springer Nature’s hybrid journals for affiliated researchers, with Springer Nature mentioning that the collaboration “will be Turkey’s largest TA.” Last, Taylor & Francis entered its first open access agreement in Southeast Asia with Mahidol University in Thailand, providing read and publish access in Taylor & Francis’s hybrid journals for Mahidol researchers.  

New AI Ethics Project and Upcoming Copyright Public Modernization Committee Meeting

In partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde is launching a 10-month study on the ethical use of AI. The project will be funded by the National Research Centre on Privacy, Harm Reduction and Adversarial Influence Online (REPHRAIN) and will consider apprehensions from several University Research Ethics Committees. Wendy Moncur, head of the project and professor at Strathclyde’s Department of Computer and Information Sciences, explained that the project plans to “enable UK universities to exploit the incredible potential of generative AI, while protecting participants’ privacy and the excellent quality of UK academic research, by understanding and guarding against potential pitfalls.” In other news, February 15 marks the sixth bi-annual meeting for the Copyright Public Modernization Committee. The public, virtual event will be hosted by the Library of Congress and will include information on the Enterprise Copyright System, comments on the committee’s efforts thus far, and a “live demonstration of the Library’s system for onsite access to rights-restricted content.”

Dunedin Academic Press Acquisition and Simon & Schuster Celebrates Its 100th Year

Simon & Schuster is celebrating its 100th year with a curated list of its titles dating back to the 1920s. As reported by Publishing Perspectives, “Simon & Schuster 100” features both nonfiction and fiction works organized by decade, and the publisher will add to the celebration with an author event named “Author! Author! A Simon & Schuster Centennial Celebration” in April. In other news, Liverpool University Press (LUP) acquired Dunedin Academic Press’s backlist and upcoming titles. Longleaf Services will handle print distribution for North and South America, while Wiley will take on distribution for the rest of the globe. Commenting on the announcement, Anthony Cond, Chief Executive of LUP, noted, “The acquisition of Dunedin’s strong-selling list, which has been carefully curated by Anthony Kinahan over the past two decades, will both complement LUP’s existing humanities-focused publishing and also move the press into Earth and climate sciences for the first time.”

How Does Citation Manipulation Influence University Rankings?

A recent unpublished study from University of Vigo mathematician Domingo Docampo found evidence of citation manipulation among those on Clarivate’s list of highly cited researchers (HCR). In particular, Docampo assessed the HCR lists from 2008-2023, noticing that in 2021-23 a large number of institutions with “little mathematical tradition” had the most citations, and many citations traced back to the author’s home institution. Science had coverage, noting that incidents of citation manipulation may be an attempt to boost researcher and university rankings, and that the field of math was dropped from the list of highly cited researchers last November. As explained by Clarivate in a statement about removing mathematicians from the HCR list, “The average rate of publication and citation … is relatively low, so small increases in publication and citation tend to distort the representation and analysis of the overall field.” That said, several scholars stressed that citation manipulation isn’t limited to math and called for updated citation metrics. [Science]