Month: February 2017

In:  Other  

Guidelines for free indexing applicants

Publishing can be a big, expensive business, or it can be done on a small scale by research communities themselves – by researchers for researchers. For very narrow topics and small research communities it can make sense to just do it yourself and there are wide range of journals that offer a formal peer review process, editorial oversight, publishing services and a Creative Commons open access license to authors but still charge no APCs.

To support these great efforts, ScienceOpen offers free indexing for up to 10 APC-free OA journals per month, and the best candidate receives a free journal collection page for 1 year. We are pleased to announce a partnership with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in making these valuable contributions to the scholarly record more visible.

In order to qualify for our free indexing offer your journal must meet the following requirements, all of which contribute to enhancing the visibility and discoverability of your content.

  • Be indexed in DOAJ and without publication charges

The Directory of Open Access Journals lists over 9000 open access scholarly journals meeting certain quality standards. Listing in DOAJ is a requirement for the ScienceOpen free indexing program to assure good quality articles from an editorial standpoint. Furthermore, having DOAJ IDs also ease the indexing procedure significantly. With your articles registered in DOAJ, the only thing you have to do is to check there are no APC or other publication charges and to send ScienceOpen a list of the DOAJ ID-s for each article record and your content will be indexed in no time.

Continue reading “Guidelines for free indexing applicants”  

In:  Peer Review  

A post-publication peer review success story


In 2016, Dr. Joel Pitt and Prof. Helene Hill published an important paper in ScienceOpen Research. In their paper, they propose new statistical methods to detect scientific fraudulent data. Pitt and Hill demonstrate the use of their method on a single case of suspected fraud. Crucially, in their excellent effort to combat fraud, Pitt and Hill make the raw data on which they tested their method publicly available on the Open Science Framework (OSF). Considering that a single case of scientific fraud can cost institutions and private citizens a huge amount of money, their result is provocative, and it emphasizes how important it is to make the raw data of research papers publicly available.

The Pitt and Hill (2016) article was read and downloaded almost 100 times a day since its publication on ScienceOpen. More importantly, it now has 7 independent post-publication peer reviews and 5 comments. Although this is a single paper in ScienceOpen’s vast index of 28 million research articles (all open to post-publication peer review!), the story of how this article got so much attention is worth re-telling.

Enhanced article-level statistics and context – just one of 28 million on our platform!

Peer review history

The manuscript was submitted and published in January 2016, and the final typeset version of the article was available for download on March 1st. Shortly after this in May 2016, PhD student Chris Hartgerink publicly peer reviewed the article, summarising it as “Interesting research, but in need of substantial rewriting.”

It was after this that the article came to the attention of Prof. Philip B. Stark, an Associate Dean at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the most highly read article on our platform with over 39,000 views to date!

Prof. Stark runs a course on the theory and application of statistical models. In his course, groups of students replicate and critique the statistical analyses of published research articles using the article’s publicly available raw data. Obviously, for this course to work, Prof. Stark needs rigorous research articles and the raw data used in the article. In this sense, Pitt and Hill’s article on ScienceOpen was an ideal candidate..

The groups of students started their critical replication of the Hill and Pitt article in the Fall semester of 2016 and finished right before the new year.  By getting students to actively engage with research, they gain the confidence and expertise to critically analyse published research.

The Post-Publication Peer Review function on ScienceOpen is usually only open to researchers with more than 5 published articles. This would have normally barred Stark’s groups from publishing their critical replications. However, upon hearing about his amazing initiative, ScienceOpen opened their review function to each of Prof. Stark’s vetted early career researchers. And importantly, since each peer review on ScienceOpen is assigned a CrossRef DOI along with a CC-BY license, after posting their reviews, each member of the group has officially shared their very own scientific publication. 

This also means that each peer review can be easily imported into any user’s ORCID, Publons, and even ImpactStory profiles – the choice is yours!

Public, post-publication peer review works

All of the complete peer reviews from the groups of students can be found below. They all come with highly detailed statistical analyses of the research, and are thorough, constructive, and critical, as we expect an open peer review process to be.

Furthermore, unlike almost every other Post Publication Peer Review function out there, the peer reviews on ScienceOpen are integrated with graphics and plots. This awesome feature was added specifically for Prof. Stark’s course, but note that it is now available for any peer review on ScienceOpen.

Continue reading “A post-publication peer review success story”  

Prof. Rolf Georg Beutel: “The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.”

In line with the recent beetle boom on ScienceOpen, a researcher led collection on Coleoptera has been created on ScienceOpen.  In the following interview founder and editor of the collection, Rolf Georg Beutel (Professor of Zoology at the Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Jena) will share a little background and gives us an insight on how it works in practice, how such thematic collections serve research communities. And of course, he will also reveal why beetles are cool.

Hi Rolf, thank you for joining. Can you first tell us a bit about your research background, and how you originally got interested in Entomology? Why did you choose to study Coleoptera?

I must admit that in contrast to many other entomologists I was not interested in insects at all as a child or later as a student of Zoology at the University of Tübingen. I was clearly inspired by an eccentric but outstanding academic teacher, Dr. G. Mickoleit, who suggested I should investigate the head and mouthparts of a very small and very cryptic beetle larva. Even though I had a hard time with my first objects of study, I obviously got hooked and continued studying beetles and other insects for the rest of my scientific career.

Why did you decide to build a ScienceOpen Collection on Coleoptera?

Dr. Stephanie Dawson, whom I have known for more than 10 years, mainly in the context of the Handbook of Zoology series, suggested to me to establish this ScienceOpen collection on beetles. My positive previous experience with her expertise and also with ScienceOpen was confirmed by the impressively efficient process of building and presenting this collection.

Coleoptera is one of the first automatically synchronized collections on ScienceOpen. What were the main principles of building the collection and how it develops?

Coleoptera is an immensely diverse and popular group. The intention was to go beyond the traditional fields of taxonomy and morphology, even though these have certainly their merits and are still very important in different contexts. The established data base will continuously grow and extend, integrating an ever increasing number of open access studies.

Do you have favourite pieces or lines of research in the collection that you find especially relevant to this field? 

Primarily I consider myself as a systematist, and therefore I am interested in articles on phylogeny and classification in the first place. Even though many publications in these fields are older and not available as electronic files (or not covered by open access), the new collection already provides an impressive number of relevant studies and will grow with an accelerated rate in the future.

As an evolutionary biologist dealing with beetles among other groups of insects, I appreciate that the data base covers multiple lines of research, as for instance genetics or physiology. This has the potential for reciprocal stimulation of researchers of Coleoptera, beyond the basic disciplines like systematics and taxonomy. These are indispensable tools in biodiversity research and provide an essential reference system for studies in other fields. Connected with topics like for instance the physiological and genetic backgrounds of feeding habits or reproductive biology, evolutionary biology of Coleoptera is getting really exciting. The very rapidly growing molecular data in the “age on phylogenomics” open fascinating perspectives in the investigation of beetles and other organisms.

In which ways your research community benefits from the collection?

The easy accessibility of open access articles on beetles is an obvious advantage of this collection.

Finally, tell us about what is the coolest thing in studying entomology?

Beetles are often very beautiful insects and have attracted attention very early, for instance as religious symbol (Scarabaeus sacer) or material for jewellery, or also simply as food source.  Among amateur collectors, who made valuable contributions over the last centuries, only butterflies enjoy a comparable popularity. Talking about what is cool about Coleoptera, it is hard to avoid a statement made by the geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane, who allegedly said that God had an “inordinate fondness of beetles”. This mainly refers to the incredible diversity of the group, which presently comprises approximately 380.000 described species, about one-third  of all known organisms. The question why Coleoptera was much more successful (in terms of species numbers) than other groups is an intriguing question in itself for evolutionary biologists. Aside from this, beetles are an integrative part of nearly all terrestrial and limnic habitats. Many species are important plant pests but others beneficial as natural enemies of harmful species.  What fascinates me most is that after centuries of research crucial phylogenetic issues are still unsolved, like for instance the interrelationships of the 4 extant suborders (“it is the glory of God to conceal things….”). Presently exponentially growing molecular data sets and improved analytical approaches ( provide new powerful tools to resolve these issues. This is definitely “cool” and exciting!

Thank you, Rolf, it’s been great getting your insight!

(Credit: U.Schmidt, Flickr. CC BY 2.0)

Got inspired? You can create your own thematic collection by following these steps.


Beetle boom on ScienceOpen: recent additions from the field of entomology

(Credit: Christopher Marley, Pinterest)

Insects are everywhere. The fact that their diversity surpasses any other group of organisms is an amazing evolutionary success story, and they have a significant impact on the environment and therefore upon our own lives. Our recent additions from the field of entomology open up new perspectives to the study of these colourful creatures. They help us to develop a better understanding on the role insects play within a range of environments, and the solutions they can provide to everyday  and global problems.

More specifically, they tell us about:

  • The significance of their contribution to biodiversity and its critical role in human culture
  • The role that insects play within a given environment
  • The kinds of ecological interactions with humans and other lifeforms on earth and the ways people benefit from sharing their life space with insects
  • Their positions in food webs
  • Their morphology, evolution, and biomechanics
  • The challenges in the description and classification of this diverse group of animals

Continue reading “Beetle boom on ScienceOpen: recent additions from the field of entomology”  

In:  Announcements  

Digging dinosaurs at ScienceOpen

Today, we’re happy to announce the integration of the Journal of Paleontological Techniques (JPT) onto our platform! This journal is all about sharing and opening up the methods that palaeontologists use in their day-to-day research.

So if you love Jurassic Park and dinosaurs, this collection is perfect for you! All articles are Open Access, which means they are free to read, share, and re-use by anyone.

Sophie the Stegosaurus, on display at the Natural History Museum in London (source)

Here are some of our absolute favourite new articles:

Continue reading “Digging dinosaurs at ScienceOpen”  

In:  About SO  

Key features of ScienceOpen: Integrated, moderated, and inclusive

On top of our search and discovery platform ScienceOpen has built a ‘social networking’ layer to allow researchers to interact with each other and with the content on our site.

We don’t see ourselves so much as a social platform like Facebook or ResearchGate, but more as a professional community space for researchers to exchange knowledge and progress their research field in the open, and receive credit for doing so.

But what are the key features needed for any modern research platform like this?

We are integrated

We track the output from 16 million authors, via our contextual metadata network – not just those who have created a profile on our site. So if you want drill down on the researcher data, this is it! You can sort a researcher’s papers by Altmetric score, usage, citations and more to better understand their work. But you can also create a profile, follow other users, share and connect.


Unlike other platforms, we don’t expect you to manually upload your papers. We automate this via ORCID integration instead. I mean, it’s 2017, this just makes sense.

Platforms such as ResearchGate and rely on individuals to manually upload their research, often requiring a lot of effort and time. Furthermore, there is a total loss of legal certainty, as often it is copyrighted publisher versions which are uploaded onto the platforms, and integrated into their data systems.

Continue reading “Key features of ScienceOpen: Integrated, moderated, and inclusive”  

In:  Profiles  

ScienceOpen membership – the how, the what, and the why!

ScienceOpen is a free network for rewarding and encouraging Open Science practices.

But what exactly can you do on our platform..?

  • New, enhanced collection features

But isn’t ScienceOpen just another social networking site?

With 101 platforms for researchers available these days, and each one vying for the proud title of ‘Facebook for science’, why should you bother with ScienceOpen?

Continue reading “ScienceOpen membership – the how, the what, and the why!”  

In:  Announcements  

Archaeology in context

Straight from the excavations an assembly of archaeological journals have arrived to ScienceOpen today as a result of our new partnership with Equinox, an independent academic publisher of books and journals in Social Sciences and Humanities.

Although these journals thematise different subfields, areas and periods, a common denominator in their approaches is that they all take an anthropological view of archaeology. Their aim is to extract meaning structures from the material remains of ancient cultures in order to reconstruct past lifeways and rituals in everyday life, document knowledge production, and to explain changes in human societies through time in general. Such thick descriptions are achieved through the interpretation of anthropological phenomena in multiple contexts – be it parallelisms with another ancient culture, large(r)-scale investigations of the same tendencies, global warming or theoretical frameworks like gender studies – rather than in their isolation.

One source of the diversity in contexts comes from the multidisciplinary character of the journals. Contributions have been submitted from around the world and they encompass disciplinary perspectives from art, architecture, sociology, urban studies, cultural studies, design studies, history, human geography, media studies, museum studies, psychology, and technology studies. Are you interested urban development, arts, or ritual acts in ancient cultures or the frozen artefacts being conserved by ice patches? Below you can find the journals now indexed on our site, and a teaser from their selected articles. Take a peek!

Continue reading “Archaeology in context”