News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Rising APCs, Neurodiversity Celebration Week, and comparing journal publishing speeds

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Rising APC Costs, Jisc and Taylor & Francis Partnership, and De Gruyter To Publish More OA Journals

An analysis from Delta Think revealed that article processing charges (APCs) are getting pricier. Surveying more than 20,000 journal titles since 2016, the report found that APCs for both fully OA and hybrid journals have increased and the “Maximum APCs for Hybrid journals now top out at $12,290 (up $600 from last year).” The study also looked at how prices can vary across disciplines and publishers’ portfolios. Next up, Taylor & Francis and Jisc are partnering on a two-year agreement that allows UK researchers to “publish OA in more than 2,400 Taylor & Francis journals including, for the first time, 248 fully open access titles and open research publishing platforms F1000 Research and Routledge Open Research.” The partnership aims to support research in the humanities and social sciences and offer researchers a pathway to open access publishing. Last, De Gruyter will be publishing 21 journals under Subscribe to Open, in accordance with the publisher’s goal to “transform about 80 per cent of De Gruyter’s journal portfolio into open access via the Subscribe to Open model by 2028.”

Is AI Infiltrating Academic Research?

In a piece for The Scholarly Kitchen, David Crotty, a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, considered if concerns regarding AI’s impact on scholarly research are really of merit. Crotty underscored that analyzers often use Google Scholar when evaluating the use of AI in scholarly literature, noting that the platform is a “largely non-gated index” and includes a high number of preprints. Crotty instead turned his analysis to Dimensions, and a search for common large language model (LLM) phrases yielded few results and a low error rate. Regardless, Crotty stressed that AI-generated content in journals will presumably rise, and checks will “likely need to be run at multiple points in the publication process, rather than just on initial submissions.” In a similar vein, John Warner of Inside Higher Ed looked at how academia’s publish or perish culture incentivizes the use of AI in research publications. In particular, Warner underlined the need for academics to publish quality research and push against an environment that rewards excessive productivity. As Warner emphasized, scholars need to “do less stuff that matters more.”

Neurodiversity Celebration Week and Making Academia Accessible

In commemoration of Neurodiversity Celebration Week, eLife published “Being Neurodivergent in Academia.” Including insights on the lived experiences of neurodiverse researchers, the collection of articles “aims to help neurodivergent researchers find a sense of belonging and community, and to help those who work with them to provide greater support and accommodations.” Also looking at access and accommodations, Sossity Chiricuzio, a queer disabled artist, advocate, educator, sensitivity reader, and author, examined how libraries are incorporating accessible design. Chiricuzio emphasized the impact of small-scale solutions and the importance of listening to the community, underscoring that, “Investing in individuals and groups of people, learning what is important to them and why, and addressing the needs they express rather than assuming what those needs are strengthens both capacity and accuracy in expanding accessibility.” In the same article, Library Journal’s Matt Enis then looked at a recent EBSCO survey of academic publishers’ use of the EPUB format. The survey also covered budgetary concerns, along with questions on how to comply with the European Accessibility Act.

Insights on Journal Publishing Speed and the AI Act

Comparing journals in biochemistry and economics & econometrics, Christos Petrou, founder and Chief Analyst at Scholarly Intelligence, revealed that journal publication speed can vary widely by discipline. Of note, Petrou detailed that biochemistry papers can be accepted in roughly two months, compared to seven months for papers in economics & econometrics. That said, Petrou stressed that publication times can vary based on a publisher’s size, and a journal’s rank isn’t always predictive of publication speed. Petrou also acknowledged the impact of MDPI’s fast publication times on the rest of the publishing industry and the need for increased transparency from publishers when it comes to turnaround times. Next up, MIT Technology Review’s Melissa Heikkilä looked at the EU’s AI Act, considering what impact it will have once it goes into effect in May. Specifically, Heikkilä addressed the need for companies building large language models to be transparent about their training data and make AI-generated content detectable. Heikkilä acknowledged restrictions on certain AI content and the importance of the wider public developing AI literacy.

Hachette v. Internet Archive Case Update and Book Recommendations from the NBCC Awards

Publishers have issued an appeal brief in an update to the closely watched Hachette v. Internet Archive copyright lawsuit. The publishers reiterated that the Internet Archive’s practice of controlled digital lending (CDL) infringes on authors’ copyright protections and that Judge Koeltl’s ruling should stand. The publishers also emphasized the impact of CDL on, well, publishers, warning that “Libraries around the country could skirt the current library e-book markets, fundamentally interfering with the Publishers’ digital strategies and destabilizing book markets.” Next up, board members for the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Awards shared their reviews of the 30 finalists. Several university press titles made the cut, including Aaron Sachs’s biography Up from the Depths: Herman Melville, Lewis Mumford, and Rediscovery in Dark Times from Princeton University Press, Timothy Bewes’s Free Indirect: The Novel in a Postfictional Age from Columbia University Press, and two poetry collections from the University of Pittsburgh Press, Paul Hlava Ceballos’s banana [ ] and David Hernandez’s Hello I Must be Going.