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Weekly News Digest

January 12, 2021 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

'The Changing Logics of Scientific Publishing' by Koen Frenken

Koen Frenken, full professor in innovation studies, writes the following for Leiden Madtrics, the official blog of the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) at Leiden University:

With the advent of online publishing in the 2000s, the cost structure of scientific publishing changed drastically. Now, printing and distribution costs have become very low. This has not only lowered the entry cost of new publishers, but it also lifted the natural restriction on the number of papers per issue which provided a strong rationale for gate-keeping by legacy journals. At the same time, several repositories became available on the Internet with published papers and pre-prints, making these accessible to readers without subscription. Partly due to this, the subscription model is now slowly substituted by the open access model, often with author processing charges.

In this turbulent context, many new journals have been introduced, both by incumbent publishers and new entrants. Some of these journals are considered predatory by one part of the academic community, pointing to high volumes of papers, low review standards and misleading soliciting. Indeed, as revenues of such journals rely solely on article processing charges, they may be tempted to follow a market logic of quantity over the professional logic of quality. Another part welcomes the many new open-access journals as it provides more opportunities for scholars in less-favored, peripheral positions as well as for new topics that are less readily accepted in other journals. What is more, the fast turn-around of papers helps the quick diffusion of results and insights, while their relatively low article processing charges promote inclusiveness.

In this light, labeling particular journals as predatory assumes a binary world of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. An alternative view is to acknowledge that there is a large ‘grey area’ of journals whose practices can be questioned, if only because most journals show little transparency about peer reviews, editorial policies and accept/reject decisions anyway.

For more information, read the article.

ALA Suggests Ways to Join the 2021 National Day of Racial Healing

ALA issued a press release encouraging libraries to participate in the 2021 National Day of Racial Healing on Jan. 19. Begun in 2016, it is designed to be “a time to reinforce and honor our common humanity while celebrating the distinct differences that make our communities vibrant; acknowledge the deep racial divisions that exist in America and must be overcome and healed; and commit to engaging people from all racial and ethnic groups in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another.”

Libraries can use the Libraries Action Kit to get ideas for activities, such as:

For more information, read the press release.

Springer Nature CEO Sings the Praises of Collaborative and OA Practices

Springer Nature’s CEO, Frank Vrancken Peeters, was scheduled to give the keynote address on Jan. 12 at the 13th annual APE (Academic Publishing in Europe) conference, in which he was set to “call for greater partnership within publishing and the wider research community, pointing to the benefits such engagement has delivered over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic.”

A Springer Nature press release notes that during the address, “he will provide evidence and data gathered over the past year to set out the need for a collaborative approach by research publishers in order for the benefits offered by open science to be fully realised—one which has partnership, collaboration, open access and transparency at its heart.”

Per the press release, the benefits of the partnerships Springer Nature has entered into include the following:

  • Delivering increased publishing options to researchers and enabled the transition to OA at scale by Transformative Agreements with the likes of Projekt DEAL and the University of California
  • Improving access and discoverability of research through partnerships such as that with ResearchGate for content syndication and being founding members of cross-publisher initiatives like Crossref and Get FTR
  • Enhancing understanding of the societal impact of open research by working with data specialists like Digital Science and institutions and consortia such as VSNU and UKB in the Netherlands 
  • Demonstrating the importance of research to making progress on the Sustainable Development Goals by partnering with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on a high-level global virtual conference that connected almost 1000 researchers, experts working alongside UN officials, government representatives, civil society leaders and policymakers.

For more information, read the press release.

EBSCOed Gives On-the-Go Access to Educational Materials

EBSCO Information Services rolled out EBSCOed powered by Stacks, “a web-based content management system that makes it easy for schools to aggregate and streamline access to their digital resources in an interoperable, personalized experience.” This single online access point for educational materials gives K–12 schools the ability to get approved items such as subscription resources, proprietary content, licensed materials, textbooks, OA content, and professional development materials. All content is approved and determined by the individual institution.

EBSCOed can be used anytime, anywhere by students, teachers, administrators, staffers, and parents to get what they need, and there are integration options available for platforms such as a school’s course management system, learning management system, or Google Classroom.

For more information, read the press release.

ProQuest Rolls Out New Electronic Theses and Dissertations Dashboard

ProQuest introduced a new dashboard for its electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) program that is designed to “help administrators and librarians gather valuable data on their university’s research output … [by using its] visual summary of data generated from the usage and retrieval of dissertations and theses from the ProQuest platform.” It’s free to all universities that disseminate their theses and dissertations via ProQuest. They can view their ETD retrieval trends by filters such as subject, author, country, and university. According to the press release, “Retrieval and usage data is gathered from the 4 million researchers from 3,100 institutions that subscribe to the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database across more than 100 countries.”

“Administrators and librarians can use this dashboard to get insights that lead to data-driven decisions about their institution’s research strengths, promotion opportunities, and performance against goals,” says April Ellsey, product manager lead at ProQuest.

For more information, read the press release.

Books Entering the Public Domain in 2021

David Rothman writes the following about the books entering the public domain this year for TeleRead:

[The Great] Gatsby, published in 1925, was illegal to reproduce without authorization in the United States until … January 1, 2021, when the copyright finally expired in the United States, along with those of other titles, including some that Duke University highlighted as part of the Public Domain Day initiative. I’d love to see the Biden Administration push for truly school-friendly copyright reform shortening outrageously long termsDr. Jill Biden, the forthcoming First Lady, has taught English for years at Northern Virginia College—full of cash-strapped students likely to benefit from a wider selection of free books. …

Below are links for students and other Americans to download some of the books Duke listed as newly freed.

An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser (Feedbooks and Internet Archive).

in our time, by Ernest Hemingway (One More Library).

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (Feedbooks and One More Library).

The Trial, by Franz Kafka. The German text is now legally available for free, but even better from a U.S. perspective, Project Gutenberg appears to have arranged to distribute a free English-language translation. Also see Feedbooks.

The New Negro—collected works from writers including W.E.B. du Bois, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Eric Walrond ... (Internet Archive).

For more information, read the article.

Publishers Weekly Creates a New Book Fair

Ed Nawotka reports that Publishers Weekly (PW) is launching a U.S.-based publishing trade fair, to be held virtually May 26–28. The U.S. Book Show will cater to booksellers, librarians, publishers, and literary agents from countries around the world and limit its programming to 5 hours a day to accommodate differing time zones and encourage informal networking.

Nawotka writes, “The fair will be run via a new, proprietary digital platform that will facilitate online exhibitors, presentations, and networking. In addition to Book Buzz and Galleys-to-Grab author events aimed at librarians and booksellers the show will feature an extensive professional programming series that will discuss the state of the industry as the nation begins to emerge from the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic.” Pricing will allow as many people as possible to attend, and self-publishers will have their own dedicated track of events.

“Having everyone under one ‘roof,’ so to speak, will go a long way toward unifying the industry around an annual U.S.-based event we have all come to rely on for networking, learning about the forthcoming big fall titles and one-to-one connection with booksellers and librarians,” says Jim Milliot, PW’s editorial director.

For more information, read the article.

Europe PMC Indexes Research Square's Preprints That Pertain to COVID-19

Research Square announced that its collection of more than 4,500 full-text preprints that are related to COVID-19 were indexed in Europe PMC, an OA repository of more than 1 million biomedical research papers. This addition expands Europe PMC’s collection of 13,000-plus COVID-19-related preprints in HTML format. Each preprint links to the data behind it and can be claimed to an ORCID, added to citation networks, and linked to comments or open peer reviews.

For more information, read the press release.

New LinkedIn Live Series Celebrates Women Business Leaders

Vaco, which offers consulting, contract, and direct hire solutions in 40-plus global markets, and Pivot Point Consulting, a healthcare IT consulting company, joined forces for a biweekly LinkedIn Live series called Be HER(d) “that showcases female leaders across all industries sharing insight into business success and inspiration.” It will focus on “businesswomen who are changemakers within their industries telling their personal stories of success, answering questions about lessons learned and sharing their vision for the future.”

Hosted by Pivot Point Consulting co-founder and managing partner Rachel Marano, each episode will be 19 minutes long in honor of the 19th Amendment. The first one arrives on Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. CST. The series will alternate between Vaco and Pivot Point Consulting’s LinkedIn pages and will be offered as a podcast as well.

For more information, read the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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