News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation policy updates, ChatGPT in peer review, and the 10 most challenged books of 2023

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: New Preprint Platform and Thoughts on OA Policy Impact

Following the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF) new open access policy, a recent piece by Nature’s Mariana Lenharo considered whether the policy will help or hinder open access more broadly. Lenharo addressed how BMGF’s policy contrasts with cOAlition S’s Plan S, its influence on research quality, and how preprint publishing will affect the value of the final version of record. Next, Ann Michael and Dan Pollock of Delta Think pondered what the new policy aims to achieve. Michael and Pollock underscored that the policy will “de-prioritize – but not remove – the scholarly journal,” addressed the policy’s impact on access and inclusion, and contemplated whether the larger scholarly community will be receptive to the policy. As they noted, “from an industry perspective the BMGF Policy Refresh represents a small but potentially valuable experiment.” Last, following the new policy, BMGF announced a preprint platform with Taylor & Francis’s F1000. As Taylor & Francis explained, VeriXiv will conduct checks to “assess a range of issues, including plagiarism, image manipulation, author verification and competing interests” and will be open for submissions beginning this August.



ChatGPT in Peer Review and Does the Public Trust Higher Ed with AI?

Despite deteriorating public trust in higher education, a recent report from the Stevens Institute of Technology and Morning Consult found that opinions differ when considering how higher ed approaches artificial intelligence. Lauren Coffey of Inside Higher Ed had coverage, reporting that of the more than 2,000 Americans surveyed, “Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said they trust higher education institutions ‘somewhat’ or ‘a lot’ to use AI responsibly.” Turning to AI in peer review, a study published on the preprint server arXiv analyzed how often a set of adjectives appeared in the peer reviews of conference proceedings prior to and following the release of ChatGPT. Led by Stanford University computer scientist Weixin Liang, the study “suggests that up to 17% of the peer-review reports have been substantially modified by chatbots.” A similar study of peer review reports from 2015 through 2023 from Andrew Gray, a bibliometrics support officer at University College London, also revealed a spike in the use of certain adjectives, but underlined the need for increased transparency regarding how peer reviewers are utilizing the technology in their reports.


National Library Week: The 10 Most Challenged Books of 2023

Kicking off this year’s National Library Week, the American Library Association (ALA) published its annual list of the ten most challenged books of 2023. The most challenged titles center on LGBTQ+ people and people of color. Commenting on the list, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, asserted that, “Each challenge, each demand to censor these books is an attack on our freedom to read, our right to live the life we choose, and an attack on libraries as community institutions that reflect the rich diversity of our nation.” The ALA’s State of America’s Libraries report further covers the outcomes of several lawsuits on book challenges and addresses the dramatic increase in targeted titles in 2023 compared to the number of challenges between 2001-2020. [Publishers Weekly]



The Latest Open Access Agreements and Outcome of Knowledge Unlatched’s OA Pledging

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) entered a read and publish agreement with Elsevier, enabling affiliated authors to publish open access in Elsevier’s hybrid journals. CRKN shared that the partnership “has the potential to result in the publication of more than 9,000 open access articles by Canadian authors per year throughout its duration.” Michigan State University Libraries also signed a new open access agreement with Taylor & Francis. The transformative agreement will grant MSU researchers the ability to read all T&F journals and publish in Taylor & Francis’s hybrid and fully-OA journals. Finally, Wiley’s Knowledge Unlatched (KU) announced the outcome of its 2023 open access pledging session. KU revealed that roughly 269 titles will be published open access this year, including books from the KU Select 2024 SDG Books Collection. KU also aims to help publish “700 peer-reviewed blog posts, about 9 new scholarly videos focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and about 9 new peer-reviewed encyclopedia entries,” and will continue to support OA journals under its Subscribe to Open (S2O) partnerships.


OA Publishing Service, “Research Transformation” Campaign, and Sustainability Update

Indiana University Bloomington Libraries (IUB Libraries) released an open access library publishing service, IU Libraries Publishing: Grey Literature. As explained by Adam Mazel, creator of the service and Digital Publishing Librarian in IUB Libraries’ Scholarly Communication Department, the service “complements the Libraries’ Journals and Open Educational Resources programs by publishing texts by IU faculty, staff, and students that are not publishable by scholarly or commercial presses but that are nonetheless worthy of the affordances of a publisher.” The first publication is Through the Looking Glass: I. Why Cross-Fertilize? by Curt Lively and illustrated by Dr. Zoe Dinges. Next up, Digital Science announced “Research Transformation,” a campaign focused on “the challenging AI future that lies ahead” with an emphasis on research innovation and collaboration between stakeholders. Last, Springer Nature shared its 2023 sustainability report, revealing the company’s progress toward becoming net-zero and increasing the gender diversity of its workforce. The report also covers Springer Nature’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledging its publishing of “940,000 pieces of SDG-related research” since 2015.


PEN America Literary Awards and April Releases

The longlists for PEN America’s 2024 Literary Awards are here! University press titles dot several categories including the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection. Choice also has a forthcoming TIE Podcast interview with Camille T. Dungy, whose book Soil from Simon & Schuster is longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award—so stay tuned! In other bookish news, Literary Hub shared 24 new releases spanning nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. The list includes Natasha Trethewey’s The House of Being from Yale University Press, and James Patterson and Matt Eversmann’s title on librarian experiences, The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: True Stories of the Magic of Reading, from Little, Brown and Company.