News: Academic Publishing Weekly

New DEIA toolkit for publishing, open access progress updates, and book prize winners

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New Toolkit Addresses DEIA in Publishing

new toolkit from the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC) centers on furthering diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in publishing by establishing diverse editorial boards and inclusive peer review practices. A Focused Toolkit for Journal Editors and Publishers: Building Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Editorial Roles and Peer Review provides several recommendations for publishers and editors, including gathering demographic data and “recruiting broadly and intentionally to increase participation from marginalized communities.” The toolkit also includes tips to address bias in peer review, incorporating “resources such as bias-free language guidelines and more equitable peer review models to increase equity in the peer review process.” The toolkit is part of C4DISC’s Toolkits for Equity project and was initially devised by the Outreach Subcommittee of the Society for Scholarly Publishing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee.

AI’s Impact on the Workforce and Elsevier Releases SciBite Chat

Amid companies experimenting with AI and building their own GPTs, Elsevier has developed a generative AI model called SciBite Chat. As explained by Neal Dunkinson, Vice President of Solutions & Professional Services at SciBite, “SciBite Chat’s use of ontology-backed semantics with Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) architecture…improves search results by using the domain expert knowledge captured in ontologies to provide the most relevant documents, grounding Generative AI.” In other AI news, Microsoft and LinkedIn partnered on the 2024 Work Trend Index, an analysis of AI’s influence on the workforce. The report found that “two-thirds of leaders (66%) wouldn’t hire someone without AI skills,” despite many employees not receiving AI training in their current roles and employers remaining uncertain on how to develop action plans to address the technology. Thus, Ryan Roslansky, CEO of LinkedIn, emphasized, “It’s the leaders who build for agility instead of stability and invest in skill building internally that will give their organizations a competitive advantage and create more efficient, engaged and equitable teams.” Microsoft also shared forthcoming features for its AI-powered Copilot, and LinkedIn revealed several new AI courses to help workers upskill.

Expanding OA and Research Visibility

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is partnering with Vanderbilt University’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries on a new read and publish agreement. Under the partnership, Vanderbilt researchers can publish open access at no cost and receive reading access to The BMJBMJ Case Reports, and BMJ’s Premier Collection of specialty journals. Next up, the Royal Society is adding its ten journals to ResearchGate’s Journal Home, building on a 2023 partnership to share its articles on the platform. The expanded agreement will cover more than 45,000 articles and aims to increase readership after the Royal Society experienced a “64% increase in the usage on the ResearchGate platform for the two open access journals included in an initial pilot.” Lastly, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) revealed plans to convert the journal Learned Publishing to gold open access in 2025. ALPSP shared that its board will incur the article processing charges (APC) for ALPSP members and acknowledged the support of its publishing partner Wiley.

Open Access Engagement and Progress Updates

Open access organization Knowledge Unlatched (KU) published OA Heroes 2024, an in-depth look at user engagement for KU’s titles during the past year. KU reported a 20 percent increase, as “total user interactions for KU titles (including downloads and views) now stand at 26 million” and “nearly 4.5 million users worldwide interacted with KU books last year.” Engagement was the highest in the United States despite several institutions in the UK experiencing the top user interactions in 2022. Springer Nature also shared an update on its OA progress, revealing that “99 percent of Germany’s universities and other higher-education institutions have joined Springer Nature’s renewed Projekt DEAL open-access agreement.” Springer Nature, one of three publishers partnering with Projekt DEAL, also highlighted an increase in downloads for both OA and subscription content, as well as a boost in the number of “freely immediately accessible publications by researchers in Germany” available each year.

Pulitzer Prize, ACLS Open Access Book Prize, and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Award Winners

The Pulitzer Prize book winners were announced this week, with categories spanning fiction, history, biography, memoir/autobiography, poetry, and general nonfiction. Winners include Jacqueline Jones’s No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era from Basic Books and Nathan Thrall’s A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy from Metropolitan Books. The recipients for the 2024 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Open Access Book Prize and Arcadia Open Access Publishing Award were also revealed, with Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London by Simon P. Newman from University of London Press awarded for history, and As I Remember It: Teachings (ʔəms tɑʔɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder by Elsie Paul with Davis McKenzie, Paige Raibmon, and Harmony Johnson from the University of British Columbia Press/RavenSpace selected as the winner of the multimodal category.