News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Paper mill detection efforts, analyzing submission results from women researchers, and the library ebook pricing debate

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Book Award Season Continues and a Book Censorship Update

OverDrive announced the recipients of its first Libby Book Awards, featuring 2023 titles assessed by over 1,700 public librarians. The awards spotlight the top “Debut Author” and “Book Club Pick,” also including picks in genres like nonfiction, romance, and historical fiction. The Booker Prize Foundation also revealed the longlist for the International Booker Prize. Of note, a quarter of the list is comprised of authors from South America and submissions reached an all-time high since the prize’s remodel in 2016. The Booker Prize Foundation also released sales figures for last year’s winner, with Weidenfeld & Nicolson, the publisher of Angela Rodel’s translation of Georgi Gospodinov’s Time Shelter, experiencing a “435-percent increase in sales” the week after receiving the prize. Last, the American Library Association (ALA) reported that over 4,000 unique book titles were targeted for censorship in 2023, up 65 percent over 2022. ALA shared that the “number of titles targeted for censorship at public libraries increased by 92 percent over the previous year” and books on LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC experiences continued to face the most challenges.

The Latest in OA: Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing, Agreement in South Africa, and the Launch of “Trailblazers”

In partnership with the Hagen History Center, Penn State University Libraries has digitized five volumes of the Journal of Erie Studies as part of its Open Publishing program. The University Libraries will continue to digitize previous and upcoming issues, with Theresa Gamble, director of collections at the Hagen History Center, underscoring that, “The digitization project not only preserves the Journal of Erie Studies, but also ensures its relevance and accessibility for generations to come.” Next up, The Company of Biologists signed its first read and publish consortium agreement in South Africa with the South African National Library and Information Consortium (SANLiC). Under the partnership, SANLiC affiliated authors will be able to publish open access in The Company of Biologists’ hybrid and fully OA journals. Finally, Liverpool University Press and the libraries of Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Salford launched Trailblazers, an open access project “for the rising stars of their disciplines.” The initiative will support early career researchers with “author boot camps” on writing proposals, the indexing process, marketing, research metrics, and more.

Wiley’s Approach to Paper Mill Detection and Insights from the Director and Publisher of MIT Press

In response to growing threats to research integrity, Wiley has developed a new Papermill Detection service run by AI. The tool will check for several factors including article scope and the use of tortured phrases and will include author verification. Wiley noted that the detection service will be added to its peer review and author platform Research Exchange and is currently undergoing further testing alongside Sage and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Next, Dr. Amy Brand, Director and Publisher of The MIT Press, discussed the impact of open access and artificial intelligence on academic publishing. In particular, Brand addressed AI’s influence on publishing models and trust in research, underscoring her hope that “the inevitable explosion of fraudulent and low value content will ultimately highlight the value of what good academic publishers contribute and produce.”

Supporting Women Researchers

An analysis of nearly 5,000 papers submitted to Nature revealed a low number of women corresponding authors. Specifically, the preliminary analysis found that 17 percent of submitting researchers self-identified as women, and “46% of papers with women as corresponding authors were accepted for publication (58 of 125) compared with 55% (320 of 586) of papers authored by men.” In response, Nature editors will undergo unconscious bias training and work proactively to increase the number of women corresponding authors and referees. As for future research, Nature noted that it will “analyse whether corresponding authors’ gender affects the number of review cycles they face, and whether there are differences in relation to gender according to discipline and prestige of their affiliated institution.” [Nature]

Library Ebook Pricing and a London Book Fair Round-Up

Librarians and publishers are continuing to butt heads on the topic of e-book pricing, as librarians hope legislation can help decrease costs and licensing restrictionsThe Associated Press reported on the issue, covering concerns from interlibrary consortium Libraries Online Inc. on the percentage of its budget allocated to expired e-books and remarks from publishers on how adjusting licenses would harm authors and lead to copyright violations. Turning to the London Book Fair, Publishers Weekly covered comments from the panel, “Exploring the Ever-Evolving World of Publishing: Global Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities.” Several panelists touched on AI, copyright, and trust, with incoming Association of American Publishers (AAP) board chair Youngsuk “YS” Chi stressing that, “Those of us involved in publishing add trust to the material that people access, and there is no value being granted for that by those who simply want volume and not quality.” Publishing Perspectives also had coverage on the London Book Fair, highlighting a statement on the freedom to read jointly issued by the International Publishers Association (IPA), European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), International Authors Forum (IAF), and PEN International.