News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Moving away from APCs, new recommendations for vendor AI licensing, and the aim of journal editor resignations

Academic publishing weekly graphic. Reads "the latest curated news from around the industry." Dark purple background with geometric shapes.

New OA Policy Moves Away from APCs and Taylor & Francis Signs Agreement in sub-Saharan Africa

new open access policy from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will “cease support for individual article publishing fees, known as APCs, and mandate the use of preprints while advocating for their review.” Tom Drake of the Center for Global Development had coverage, considering the benefits of preprints and recommendations for compliance. In particular, Drake addressed how preprints can lower publication costs and speed up the time to publish, though he warned that funders will need to take precautions to ensure the quality of publications. Kent Anderson, in his newsletter “The Geyser,” took a critical approach to the news, stressing the impact the policy will have on peer review and warning that, “If journals are sidelined as major signals of quality, researchers will turn to other familiar but more inequitable signifiers — author names, institutional affiliations, funding sources. If you’re rich and well-resourced, you’ll have an even greater advantage now.” Next up, Taylor & Francis signed its first agreement in sub-Saharan Africa with the South African National Library and Information Consortium. The three-year partnership will enable affiliated researchers to read and publish in Taylor & Francis’s hybrid and fully open access journals and “deliver an editorial-led program of training and resources for researchers in the region to support better understanding of publishing and best practices in open research.”

What Do Journal Editor Resignations Hope to Accomplish?

With journal editor resignations frequently in the news, Nature’s Katharine Sanderson investigated what these mass departures aim to accomplish. Speaking with several academics, Sanderson found that many resignations occur due to a desire for increased control. For instance, Michael Clarke of consulting firm Clarke and Esposito noted that some resignations are provoked by changes in business models like flipping a journal to open access and implementing high article processing charges (APCs). Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, also underlined a disconnect between publishers and researchers when it comes to quantity versus quality. Sanderson noted that these factors may lead editors to create their own journals, similar to the editors of Elsevier’s NeuroImage forming Imaging Neuroscience. As expressed by Klaus Abels, former co-editor of Wiley’s Syntax, “The resignation is not so much the point. The point is creating an alternative top-quality channel of scholarly communication.” [Nature]

Book Awards Updates and Best Book Covers in March

Several book awards updates came out this week, including the winners of the National Book Critics Circle awards. Tina Post’s Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression from NYU Press took home the criticism award, and the American Library Association was awarded the Toni Morrison Achievement Award. Next up, Shelf Awareness highlighted the Excellence winners of the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Awards and the recipient of the R.R. Hawkins AwardThe Voices of Nature: How and Why Animals Communicate by Nicolas Mathevon from Princeton University Press won the Hawkins Award and the Excellence in Biological and Life Sciences Award. In the same article, Shelf Awareness spotlighted the shortlist for the newly-created Women’s Prize for Non-Fiction and the finalists for the 2024 Joyce Carol Oates Prize. Last, Literary Hub shared a list of captivating book covers from March that play with font, color, and texture.

Supporting Inclusive Research

An analysis of the linguistic policies of more than 700 biological sciences journals revealed that there are still many barriers for non-native English-speaking scholars. Of note, 7 percent of surveyed journals enabled researchers to simultaneously publish in more than one language, and 8 percent of journals translated their author guidelines into multiple languages. The analysis found that a meager 4-6 percent of surveyed journals “educate reviewers and editors about language barriers and instruct them to assess the manuscripts based on their research attributes alone.” Additionally, although the survey did not find evidence that open access journals were more inclusive, journals’ impact factor and ownership by scientific societies played a role in their policies. Also aiming to increase diverse research, IOP Publishing and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine will require those who submit to their journal Physiological Measurement to “declare the sex and gender balance of subject groups.” Authors will have to “explain any variations in results related to sex or gender” and increase their sample size if groups are imbalanced. 

AUPresses’ Annual Meeting Agenda, Aberdeen and Michigan Form Publishing Partnership, and Thoughts on Research Integrity Checks

Who should be responsible for safeguarding research integrity? According to Angela Cochran of The Scholarly Kitcheninstitutions, rather than journals, should impose integrity checks. As explained by Cochran, “The bottom line is that journals are not equipped with their volunteer editors and reviewers, and non-subject matter expert staff to police the world’s scientific enterprise.” Instead, Cochran stressed that checks should occur earlier on in the publishing workflow to prevent problematic science from slipping into the scholarly literature and to aid journal staff members who face pressure around turnaround times and detecting AI content or papermill submissions. In other news, the Aberdeen University Press (AUP) and the University of Michigan Library’s Publishing division are collaborating on a new international partnership to increase the impact of AUP’s multidisciplinary content. Under the agreement, AUP will “provide the visioning and editorial leadership, while Michigan will deliver production and distribution infrastructure.” Lastly, the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) provided a look at the program for its 2024 annual meeting, which is now open for registration. Prominent topics include artificial intelligence, open access, and collection development.

Library Updates: Recommendations for AI Licensing and Controlled Digital Lending

The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) published a statement on AI clauses included in vendor licenses. The statement covers revision terms for multi-year licenses, the ability for consortia to fully review clauses, and the impact of clauses on library users. The statement also calls for AI clauses to “permit the use of AI for any and all legal purposes that support consortia members’ core missions of non commercial research, teaching, learning, and equitable access to information.” Choice’s latest The Authority File podcast series with Purdue University librarian Nathan Rupp also covered vendor licenses, digging into how negotiation processes have changed and the emergence of AI offerings. Turning to Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), the National Information Standards Organization’s (NISO) Interoperable System of Controlled Digital Lending working group released a draft Recommended Practice for public comment. As explained by Jennie Rose Halperin, Working Group Co-Chair and Director of Library Futures at NYU Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy, the document “contextualizes the many ways that libraries and communities might utilize CDL, with particular attention to stakeholder groups and a comprehensive overview of potential models both at present and in the future.”