News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Open access book prizes, communicating retractions, and 2024 higher education trends

By Choice Staff
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What Impact Will AI Have in 2024?

Following its release of customizable “GPTs” last November, OpenAI has rolled out the GPT Store. As reported by Wired, ChatGPT Plus, ChatGPT Team, and Enterprise subscribers are now able to publish custom GPTs on the store and will be bound by OpenAI’s guidelines on appropriate content. Payment for developers remains unclear, with Wired noting that, “For now, the company only says payment will be based on the user engagement GPTs earn.” Next, Gwen Weerts, Journals Manager at SPIE, weighed the pros and cons of AI in scholarly publishing, touching on issues of accuracy, authorship, and accessibility. Weerts stressed balancing the benefits generative AI can provide to peer reviewers with author confidentiality, writing that according to Bennett Landman, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Vanderbilt University and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Medical Imaging, “institutions like Vanderbilt are increasingly licensing privately owned LLMs that protect privacy.”

A Year of ChatGPT on Campus and 2024 Higher Ed Watch

Continuing on the topic of AI, Inside Higher Ed caught up with several academics to see how their advice on the use of AI has changed since 2023. Similar to last year, the scholars underlined the importance of verifying generative AI outputs and being proactive, underscoring the value of experimentation and collaboration among stakeholders across universities. Several academics also revealed that professors still have room to grow, with Stephen Monroe, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi, emphasizing that, “The average faculty member has a lower AI literacy than the average student. This is not good, and we must reverse the relationship.” In addition, this week EDUCAUSE released its 2024 Higher Education Trend Watch. Looking at pertinent issues facing higher education, respondents to EDUCAUSE’s Top 10 IT Issues survey highlighted the need for flexible work policies, prioritizing student and faculty mental health, and protecting data privacy. Respondents also shared the introduction of new positions to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts on campus and that several universities are “creating new transformation initiatives that aim to adapt to changing technological landscapes, enhance operational efficiency, and foster innovation.”

Scholarly Titles Galore: ACLS Awards and Favorites From 2023

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced the finalists for the 2024 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards. Introduced last year, the awards feature “authors and publishers of exceptional, innovative, and open humanities books published from 2017 to 2022,” with the ACLS Open Access Book Prize awarded to an author and the Arcadia Open Access Publishing Award given to a publisher. Of the ten titles in contention this year, half focus on history, while the others are multimodal. Winners will be announced in May at the ACLS Annual Meeting. Next up, The Chronicle of Higher Education spoke with several scholars about their favorite scholarly titles of 2023. Topics ranged from the experiences of queer workers to punk rock’s influence on belonging for Mexican and Latinx artists, and many of the contributors spotlighted works on the global political landscape.

Duke University Joins PeerJ and Boost in Higher Education Materials Sales

Duke University has joined PeerJ’s Annual Institutional Membership (AIM) program. Under the membership, those affiliated with Duke University can publish in PeerJ journals free of charge. Duke University will cover publishing fees, with PeerJ explaining that the cost of AIMs is “tiered and based on an institution’s publishing history in PeerJ’s journal portfolio.” Next, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) published its October 2023 StatShot report, revealing an increase in revenues across the publishing industry. Sales from higher education course materials were up four percent year-to-date, and October 2023 revenues “were $198.2 million, up 9.4% compared with October 2022.”

How Should Retractions be Communicated?

In an interview with Nature Index, Jodi Schneider, a member of the US National Information Standards Organization’s (NISO) Communication of Retractions, Removals, and Expressions of Concern (CREC) Working Group, discussed the lack of knowledge academics have about retracted papers and the need for standardized labeling across journals. Schneider commented on a recent set of recommendations NISO set forth for “publishers, journals, funders, and others in the science ecosystem” on how retractions should be communicated, noting concerns over whether retracted papers should remain in repositories and who should receive retraction notifications. In response, Schneider suggested that “publishers could automatically mark the bibliographies of published articles if a paper they cite is retracted.” In other retraction news, Retraction Watch announced that MDPI’s journal Sustainability will remain in Elsevier’s Scopus. The announcement follows last week’s news that Scopus was investigating Sustainability after pausing indexing of the journal in October.