News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Internet Archive lawsuit update, Hindawi's retraction process, and a year in review

By Choice Staff
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Internet Archive Defends Practice of Controlled Digital Lending

The Internet Archive (IA) filed an appeal brief this week in the closely watched lawsuit over its practice of controlled digital lending (CDL). IA lawyers argued that judge John G. Koeltl‘s ruling determining CDL to infringe upon publishers’ copyrights should be reversed, emphasizing that “Controlled digital lending is transformative because it expands the utility of books by allowing libraries to lend copies they own more efficiently and borrowers to use books in new ways.” Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly highlighted IA lawyers’ distinction between e-book licenses and controlled digital lending, also covering the lawyers’ claims that CDL doesn’t negatively impact publishers since librarians share copies they already own. Albanese noted that a hearing is not expected for several months as the publishers are yet to submit an appeal brief. [Publishers Weekly]

What Does Hindawi’s Retraction Process Entail?

Following Hindawi’s trouble with paper mills this year prompting more than 8,000 article retractions, the publisher disclosed how it tackles suspect articles in a new white paper. “Tackling publication manipulation at scale: Hindawi’s journey and lessons for academic publishing” includes a timeline of Hindawi’s discovery of manipulation in its special issues and the ensuing processes developed by the publisher. Commenting on the white paper, Retraction Watch spotlighted Hindawi’s checklist for evaluating papers, comprised of “indictors of manipulation” including questionable scope, citations, and peer-review. Retraction Watch further underlined Hindawi’s increased examination of authors and peer reviewers, banning of several guest editors, and referencing of comments on PubPeer to aid the retraction process. Retraction Watch also spoke with several research integrity sleuths, who shared concerns regarding Hindawi’s “Catch-all, duplicative special issue topics,” the publisher’s failure to list specific reasons for the retractions, and questions on how article processing charges from the retracted articles will be handled. [Retraction Watch]

The Latest Open Access Deals

Frontiers is partnering with the German National Library of Medicine (ZB Med) in what it’s terming “the world’s largest fully open-access agreement.” Under the flat-fee deal, affiliated researchers at over 900 research institutions and libraries in Germany will be able to publish open access in Frontiers’ journals beginning in January. Porter Anderson of Publishing Perspectives had coverage, also noting that institutions can opt-in for a discount on article publishing charges if they decline the flat fee. IOP Publishing also signed a new OA deal with the Physics Research Promotion Centre in Taiwan. The agreement enables Taiwanese researchers to publish OA, “retain copyright of their work and gives reading access to all IOPP research published over the last 10 years.”

Books for Ukraine, New Releases, and the Last Best Books List of the Year

In partnership with PEN Ukraine, Book Aid International is shipping 25,000 books to Ukrainian libraries. Publishing Perspectives explained that the initiative was originally planned for September but was pushed to late 2023, and now includes financial support from Oxford University Press and generous book donations from Hachette UK. The initiative includes materials for both children and adults, and “4 percent of the books comprise higher and further education titles.” Next up, Literary Hub spotlighted several new releases including Julia Kristeva’s Dostoyevsky in the Face of Death: Or Language Haunted by Sex translated by Armine Kotin Mortimer from Columbia University Press. Last, Literary Hub rifled through over 60 book lists and recorded how often a title appeared, resulting in “The Ultimate Best Books of 2023 List.” Of the 1,132 titles considered, James McBride’s The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store from Riverhead Books had the most mentions, and Yale University Press’s The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk made it onto six lists.

A Year in Review – Affirmative Action, Retractions, and AI

Finally, here’s a reflection on the top topics of the year as we approach 2024. First up, AI took academia and the publishing industry by storm, prompting mixed opinions among professors and publishers and several copyright lawsuits against prominent tech companies. The turbulent conversation on AI culminated with the agreement of the European Union’s “AI Act” this month, which may spur increased transparency from large language model developers if it receives final approval next year. Turning to OA, 2023 marked five years of cOAlition S’s Plan S. However, more than half of the journals participating in the plan are failing to make measurable progress towards becoming fully OA, which is certainly putting a damper on the celebration. Article retractions were also up, and the United States Supreme Court banned affirmative action. Ending on an acquisitive note, private investment firm KKR acquired Simon & Schuster, in a conclusion to the failed S&S/Penguin Random House merger of 2022.