Thursday, 21 June 2012

Some notes from "Editing in the Digital World: 11th EASE General Assembly and Conference"

A friendly face at Tallinn Technical University

I was invited to Tallinn to talk at the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) General Assembly and Conference, "Editing in the Digital World", to present in their session about "Publishing Data". I was very pleasantly surprised by how much interest the delegates had in this particular subject - in fact we had to move rooms for the session, as the first room was too small!

Unfortunately, I couldn't make notes of the session I was presenting in, and was only around for a couple of keynotes (as I had to head off to Copenhagen for yet more meetings - see future blog posts coming soon!). I did manage to take notes for the keynotes I was around for, and here they are, for your reading pleasure.

(As always, these are notes, so all errors grammatical, factual, spelling and otherwise are mine! No warranty is given, etc. etc. etc.)

The slides from my presentation can be found here.

"Open access and digital models" Deborah Kahn, BioMedCentral, London, UK---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Things have changed enormously in the last decade, and things are continuing to change.

Old publishing model based on having to have hard copy. New digital model means there's a lot more things you can do in an electronic world like licensing content so people can reuse it.

Researchers can have unrestricted access to revious work. Breaks down barriers between research disciplines. Promotes public engagement though there can be a worrying discussion "why would you want public to get involved?"

Publishing in an open access journal makes content more visible.

Small businesses need access to content - if they don't have it, it can delay their innovation.

Example shown of Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases - reader comment about how useful the papers being published are when faced with the prospects of suffering from a rare disease.

Using alt.metrics citation data in BMC.

Important to be able to see the results of clinical trials and follow the content. Threaded publication vision allows users to follow the links between trials and resulting publications, across publishers. Open access content allows you to do more than subscription content can.

New opportunities need new frameworks. Research paper is the output of a research project, funded by an agency. Argued that that content should be open access.

OA model - publisher charges for the service of publication/dissemination. Author retains copyright via Creative Commons license.

Article Processing Charges usually come from funder/project - varies by domain. SOAP study

10.1002/assi.21660 - Solomon and Bjork (2012) - more statistics on who pays in OA publishing.

Big open access publishers operate waiver funds for authors in low-income countries GDP < $200bn. 8-10% of articles published by Biomed Central have APCs waived.

COPE - university group to cover OA publication costs.

Over 7800 OA jnls in the DOAJ. >1200 indexed by Thompson Reuters. OA now mandated in nearly 150 institutions by over 50 funders.

OA publishing is identical to subscription publishing but with different business model. OA journals have some of the highest impact factors in their field. OA journals can be cheaper than subscription journals when you factor in page charges etc.

Growing "open access share" in Web of Science. 8% in 2010.

Benefits of OA publishing for authors - higher citations, visibility, no barriers to dissemination. For editors - on-line only means editors can chose to publish based on paper quality rather than paper length. Free to chose threshold of papers in line with editorial objectives. OA leans to increased quality of submissions and more international submissions.

Authors want to get value out of OA journals to offset and exceed the negative costs of the APC. BMC surveys its authors twice (submission and publication) - monitor for every journal what the author satisfaction is.

Visibility of BMC - 29m page views a month. 1.4m registered users, 15k new registrants a month. 5m user sessions a month.

Journals transferring to OA publication - get wider dissemination and visibility. Case study of Acta Verterinaria Scandinavica - impact factor of 0.375 when they transferred in 2006. Every year impact factor has increased since then. Editor-in-chief also quoted to say that "significant rise in submissions".

Similarly for Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance: impact factor of 2.152 in 2008, 4.328 in 2011.

PubMed waiting for new journal to publish 15 articles before taking journal for indexing. Takes at least 5 years until journal gets an impact factor. Discussion of whether there's a citation advantage for open access - remains to be shown. BMC believe there is a citation advantage.

Societies can chose range of financial options for the journal: neutral, supported by the society, revenue generating. These options can be adjusted over time.

Summary: OA here to stay and growing fast. Many jnls moving to OA to take advantage of benefits.

"Social media tools and academic publishing" Alan J Cann, Annals of Botany; Department of Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Blogs at:

Annals of Botany (1887) - published by a not-for-profit educational charity established to promote plant science.

Publish "ContentSnapshots" - summary of all papers, "Plant Cuttings" - descriptive commentatries on topics in plant sciences.

Annals of Botany: Plants (started in 2009) is an OA journal

Set up an on-line presence.

Augmenting the activities of the publisher. Blog gives additional presence on-line to amplify original content. Talk about content from other journals, political issues relevent to plant science, climate change, food security as it relates to plant science.

Last botany degree in UK closed down 2 years ago - where are the plant scientists going to come from?

Write content solely for the blog - parallel content stream to the journal. Not peer-reviewed, open for discussion.

Also on Twitter as @annbot

Facebook page provides stats on who's looking at the page - much younger audience, more females, broadening out from blog and journal.

Problem is this doesn't generate any income, and effort is a finite resource.

Philosophy: write once, publish everywhere. Make sure content is accessible on mobile phones. Data - last year ~5% of accesses to blog were from mobile phones. Don't put extra work into this, use pre-existing technology.

Pinterest: aob-plants published with CC license. Use images from aob-plants in pinterest. Didn't take off in the same way as other things - made judgement to stop spending resource on it.

David Weinberger definition of the Internet: "small pieces, loosely joined"

Make it easy as possible for people to bookmark or share articles, rather than the journal. Might be sharing parts of article, e.g. images

Bad idea - on-line publication as simply transferring from print platform to on-line. Andrew Rashbass, Guardian, 27 Nov 2011.
£100 advertising on facebook bought 700-800 new people "liking" page.

More people accessing content via G+ than by facebook and twitter combined.

Majority of traffic comes from Google. Google search changed radically in the past few months. Now a large social component in the google algorithms.

Google+ content gives a big advantage in search results!

"However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results" Winston Churchill.

Doesn't generate income stream in its own right, but doesn't cost that much (beyond effort).

Branding exercise for Annals of Botany company, and for plant science.

Dan Martell,

Job of consulting editor is to ensure that journal is still around in 10/20/30 years time. Changes in publishing models will keep coming in increasing frequency.

eLIFE, PeerJ (publish in PeerJ for life for the price of $99) - leading light Peter Binfield (PLos)

Other mentioned studies/examples

  • Lozano, Lariviere, Gingras, arXiv:1205.4328 - weakening relationship between impact factor and papers' citations in the digital age. 
  • JISC: economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models 
  • Melissa Terras: what happens when you tweet an OA paper 
  • Chris Willmott: Intitutional repositories, social media and academic publication: a simple experiment 
Amplify personal impact using social media. Not currently academically socially acceptable.

"Your correspondent's advice: the only way to go is to take the plunge and start talking, loudly and often. Well, not too often." Babbage (economist blog)

Experiment until you get it right.

Personal learning network - RIN "Social media: a guide for researchers"

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