Issue 15

OPEN SCIENCE


How are the Humanities Progressing in Open Science? A report from the Open Science Barcamp. With funding resources low and open access journals still underrepresented in the humanities, there are nevertheless some key steps that can be taken. Examples are the self-archiving of research outputs in the context of green open access, a better use of the digital ecosystem and the sharing of relevant research data, and a better digitization of source data by archives, museums and collections. They all can contribute to a more open and collaborative scholarship.

PUBLISHING


A peer review scheme by a number of Nature journals where reviewers are asked if they agree to be named on published papers has seen a strong uptake. If reviewers agree, their names are added to the acknowledgements of the paper, but their reviewer reports are not published. Of Nature’s reviewers 55 percent agreed to be named — 50 percent of female reviewers and 56 percent of male reviewers. These numbers also reveal that only around one in six reviewers at Nature are female (and who knows how many are gender variant), highlighting an industry-wide issue. 

In issue 12 from April 1, I mentioned contract negotiations between Elsevier and the French Couperin Consortium, representing universities and research institutions. These negotiations have now been concluded with a deal that has reached a 13 percent price reduction by 2022, along with a 25 percent discount on article processing charges for open access articles.

Likewise, issue 10 reported a breakdown of negotiations between a Norwegian consortium and Elsevier. This has now been resolved the Financial Times reports. Announced as a two-year pilot, the publisher will charge the Norwegian institutions around €9M a year to publish around 2,000 research papers open access (but not in their top tier journals), and will provide subscription access to its journals during the duration of the contract. The overall volume of the deal is around 3 percent higher than the previous arrangement between the two parties without the open access component. Elsevier announcement here.  

Wiley has launched two selective open access journals: Neuroscience Next and Genetics & Genomics Next.

In another ‘read and publish’ deal the UK universities reached a deal with Springer Nature. For €11M a year until 2021, JISC (including all UK universities) affiliated researchers will have access to journals and also will be able to publish open access in eligible journals without further charge. 

RESEARCH


The world’s first malaria vaccine is given to 360,000 children in Africa. With an effectiveness of around 40 percent it is still expected to contribute significantly to the fight against the disease.

In the United States, measles have seen a significant increase to 626 cases so far this year as vaccination levels are too low. With 1-2 deaths per 1,000 cases, vaccination against measles continues to save millions of lives.

An infographic in Science charts the considerable historic, positive impact of vaccines in the United States. 

PLOS


How one journal became a ‘major retraction engine’,” a news item in Retraction Watch featuring an increase in retraction volumes at PLOS ONE during the past two years. We have invested considerably in editorial staff to resolve arising and pending cases.

Joerg Heber