News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Anomalies in top scientists list, AI's impact on university policies, and more cases of citation manipulation

By Choice Staff
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China Buckles Down on Research Misconduct and the UK Government Issues Research Culture Recommendations

This week marks the deadline for Chinese universities to report “all academic articles retracted from English- and Chinese-language journals in the past three years.” Enforced by China’s Ministry of Education’s Department of Science, Technology, and Informatization, the audit will require researchers to justify their retractions, and universities will penalize those who engaged in misconduct. Coinciding with the audit, a Nature study of English language journals revealed that “more than 17,000 retraction notices for papers published by Chinese co-authors have been issued since 1 January 2021.” Next up, the UK Government issued recommendations to Jisc following a 2021-22 review of research bureaucracy from Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. In particular, the UK Government encouraged Jisc to “lead on the creation of sector-wide groups responsible for overseeing the development and further integration of the research information ecosystem, including research management data.”

Anomalies in the Top 2% Scientists List and Another Case of Citation Manipulation

Freelance researcher Akira Abduh examined Stanford University’s annual top 2% scientists list, finding several anomalies. In particular, Abduh identified “235 authors purported to have publishing careers spanning over 80 years,” along with instances of extensive self-citation and non-research articles being counted as scientific papers. In other news, a team of researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi found evidence of citation manipulation after discovering anomalous profiles on Google Scholar. Science explained that when “looking at authors with at least 10 publications and 200 citations, the team identified 1016 scientists who had experienced a 10-fold increase in citations over a single year,” and found researchers who received numerous citations from one paper. In response, the team created a fake Google Scholar profile to analyze the landscape and found a vendor selling citations, prompting them to recommend a new metric for evaluating citations.

OA Galore: Springer Nature TAs, Year Two of shift+OPEN, and New AI Journals

Springer Nature announced two transformative agreements with the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) and OhioLINK. Springer Nature aims for the partnerships to achieve “a 100-percent increase in articles covered under Springer’s transformative agreements in the Americas.” Publishing Perspectives recorded comments from VIVA and OhioLINK on the agreements’ impact on scholarship in Ohio and Virginia. Next up, this year marks the second year of MIT Press’s shift+OPEN, a model that funds subscription journals’ flip to diamond OA. Funded by Arcadia and the National Science Foundation, shift+OPEN is accepting English-language journal applications from around the world until April 30. Last, IGI Global launched several new open access journals on AI topics as part of its Open Access Journal Program. The journals span topics including AI in teaching and learning, scientific disciplines, and business and management.

AAP Board of Directors Update, ORCID and the Scholarly Record, and the Upcoming University Press Redux Conference

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) elected Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi as the 2024-25 Chair of the Board. On the Board since 2007, Chi was a former Board Chair and is currently Chairman of Elsevier. Brian Murray, president and CEO of HarperCollins Publishers, was named AAP Vice Chair. The program for the 2024 University Press Redux Conference was also announced this week. Centered on the theme of “Connecting People and Ideas,” the in-person event will include sessions on digital disruption, open access, and a talk titled, “Academic Trade: How University Presses Can Publish Effectively for the General Reader.” Last, Richard Wynne, founder of Rescognito, made a case for ORCID, explaining how it can help journals identify researchers with previous retractions.

AI’s Impact on Higher Ed and THE’s World Reputation Rankings

A recent study from Educause examined the impact of artificial intelligence on academics and university policies. Polling over 900 university employees, the survey found that over “half (56 percent) of those surveyed said they have new responsibilities related to AI strategy.” Inside Higher Ed had coverage, noting respondents’ dissatisfaction with current AI policies and a desire to prepare students for the workforce. Respondents also mentioned a lack of AI training for faculty at their institutions and that “only 7 percent of institutions are working to establish AI-focused senior leadership positions and just 14 percent are budgeting for long-term AI costs.” Next, Times Higher Education revealed the 2023 World Reputation Rankings, based on a survey of close to 39,000 academics listing “universities that they believe are the best in both research and teaching in their field.” THE noted that universities in the Arab region have grown in reputation, receiving increased praise from regional scholars. Harvard University topped the list, with universities from the United States, United Kingdom, China, and Japan making the top 10.