News: Academic Publishing Weekly

New nonfiction longlist, open access platform launch, and science sleuths flagging image manipulation

By Choice Staff
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How “Science Sleuths” Are Shaking Up Scientific Publishing and New PDF AI Tool

NBC News reports on the growing recognition of “science sleuths” who seek to identify and flag cases of research manipulation in scientific journals. Surfacing recent allegations of image manipulation by Stanford University’s former president, NBC News explains that the sleuths are now using artificial intelligence tools to help flag these cases. Often posting comments on PubPeer, the sleuths believe “their work is necessary to correct the scientific record and prevent generations of researchers from pursuing dead-end topics because of flawed papers.” In response, NBC News found that several publishers have adopted teams dedicated to image integrity, yet the sleuths’ concerns largely go unanswered. In other news, Adobe announced a built-in AI tool that “can produce summaries of and answer questions about PDFs and other documents.” CNBC shared that the tool is currently in beta, and Adobe aims for it to become a subscription product.

Elsevier and Emerald Publishing TAs and an OA Platform Launches in India

Elsevier launched two transformative agreements with Rutgers University and Vanderbilt University’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries. The partnership with Rutgers will allow affiliated researchers to publish open access (OA) in Elsevier’s hybrid journals and “will make over 4,600 journals, 1,400 of which are fully open access, accessible to the Rutgers community.” Rutgers University Libraries will manage the partnership, which is expected to save Rutgers millions of dollars in article processing charges (APCs.) Elsevier’s five-year partnership with Vanderbilt will also allow researchers to read and publish open access in Elsevier journals. Next up, Emerald Publishing announced its first read and publish agreement in North America with Texas A&M, which will allow researchers to publish OA in Emerald’s journals. Last, India’s Vikramshila Education launched a new OA platform, Aakashganga Open. Aakashganga Open will host a variety of academic journals with an aim to provide the “lowest and most affordable article processing charges worldwide” and will offer authors pre- and post-publishing peer review.

New Initiative Enhances Research Reporting and This Year’s Changes to the Journal Citation Reports

Oxford University Press, Silverchair, and “over 30 industry organizations” announced a platform that aims to improve the measuring and reporting of research. As described by the group, Sensus Impact “centralises a range of metrics about the impact of research, including citation, usage, and attention data.” The initiative will be overseen by a Community of Practice that includes a range of stakeholders. As emphasized by Alison Denby, VP of Journals at OUP, “This increased transparency in academic publishing will help drive ambition for high-impact and influential research, which is fundamentally what we are all here to do.” Next up, Clarivate announced key changes to the forthcoming Journal Citation Reports (JCR). In particular, Clarivate noted that the 2024 JCR will include a “move from edition-specific category JIF rankings to unified rankings for each of our 229 science and social science categories.” Arts and humanities categories will not receive Journal Impact Factor (JIF) rankings, as further analysis revealed that the rankings would “create multiple, very large ties in rank.”

Insights from a University Press Director

Barbara Kline Pope, Director of Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP), shared her thoughts on artificial intelligence and the future of scholarly publishing in a recent interview with The Scholarly Kitchen. In particular, Pope discussed cultivating JHUP’s workplace culture, along with how the Press approaches open access for work in the humanities and social sciences. As for AI, Pope predicted that the technology will “affect publishing more than any other industry,” sharing that JHUP is considering the benefits of AI while also acknowledging the risk the technology poses to authors. As Pope underlined, “Sometimes I think we should worry more about obscurity than piracy, but we do need to determine exactly how to ensure we are discoverable through these new tools while remaining financially sustainable and protecting our authors’ work.” [The Scholarly Kitchen]

Women’s Prize for Nonfiction Longlist and February Releases

The Women’s Prize Trust announced the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Nonfiction in the inaugural year for the award. The prize is eligible for single-authored titles published in the UK between April 2023 and March 2024, with the longlist comprising 16 works from writers in several countries including the United States, Jamaica, and the Philippines. Jury chair Suzannah Lipscomb commented, “Our selection represents the breadth of women’s nonfiction writing…Buy them, borrow them – above all read them – and in so doing you’ll be elevating women’s voices and female perspectives in a whole range of disciplines and on a whole host of topics.” The shortlist will be revealed on March 27 and the winner will be crowned on June 13. As for new releases, Literary Hub spotlighted 23 titles on topics including motherhood, climate change, and immigration. Hana Videen’s The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary from Princeton University Press made the list.