What’s not to love about this quintessentially San Francisco photo? As some of you know, ScienceOpen has offices in Berlin, Boston and San Francisco.
It has a “rainbow” feel, appropriate for the recent US legal ruling on marriage equality. Ben and Jerry’s carries a brand of ice-cream named Cherry Garcia after the late Jerry, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, founded in 1965 in California. And of course, the corner of Haight and Ashbury is the epicenter of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged on this neighborhood in San Francisco. All these facts I have learned since living here and becoming a citizen (required knowledge to pass the test!).
For all you Earlier Career Researchers (and those who mentor them) who are currently on Summer Break but are almost certainly still working and have published a poster with us, here’s an opportunity to activate your social media networks and win yourself a $150 Amazon Gift Card!
Promote your poster on social media, ask your network to vote for your poster by giving it a +1
If you are active on Twitter, remember to include @Science_Open in your tweet
The poster with the most recommendations wins and each author receives a $150 Amazon giftcard
This competition will remain open from 11am PST July 6th until 11am PST August 31st and the winner will be announced on September 1st 2015.
For those of you who are new to the concept of digital posters, you can find out more here. At ScienceOpen we publish them for FREE – your entry receives a DOI so that it can be found and cited plus it lives on long after the conference is over.
Peer review itself however remains a central tenet of academic discourse but the integrity of science is being compromised and it is at risk of being forever tarnished by scandals with the result that public trust will decline further.
That this is not a desirable outcome goes without saying. The question then becomes “what are we prepared to do about it and will researchers ever embrace a different process?”
Other publishers also focus on reforming peer review, e.g. F1000 Research and The Winnower. Our observation is that despite vocally demanding reform, the scientific community is very resistant to change, though. Some commentators believe this is due to simple inertia and that probably plays a part – after all, scientific publishing remained unchanged for hundreds of years prior to these more turbulent times and people frequently acquiesce to a bad system because they are “used to it”.
More importantly, the system of promotion and tenure compels scientists to avoid “rocking the boat” since their published output remains a prime measure of their competence. Among the digital cognoscenti, the Impact Factor of the journal they choose to publish in is showing some signs of declining power but it still continues its vice-like grip in the minds of the majority.
The question that ScienceOpen is currently addressing is “how do we build more peer review choice and innovation into our publishing model without participating in (the increasingly problematic) anonymous pre-publication peer review as is practiced by the vast majority of publishers”?
Enter Jan Velterop, stage left (to audience applause!). For most of you, Jan needs no introduction. Originally a marine geophysicist, he became a science publisher and has worked at Elsevier, Academic Press, Nature and BioMedCentral. He participated in the Budapest Open Access Initiative. In 2005 he joined Springer, based in the UK as Director of Open Access. In 2008 he left to help further develop semantic approaches to accelerate scientific discovery.
Today we are delighted to announce that Jan is joining our Advisory Board. He will help us launch “Peer Review by Endorsement” which occurs, just as usual peer review, before publication, but is entirely open and transparent. Authors will be able to choose the “Peer Review by Endorsement” option. Articles published this way will also be available for Post-Publication Peer Review, as are all 1.5 million OA articles aggregated on our site. This option will go live on our site during the summer of 2015.
So what is Peer Review by Endorsement? Rather than publisher-mediated peer review before publication, the scientific community takes this role and the publisher verifies the results. As Jan puts it:
It is more efficient and cost effective to hand peer review entirely back to the scientific community, where it rightly belongs, than for publishers to find the right, appropriate, available, reliable, expert reviewers.
Authors would be expected to arrange (or ask their Scholarly Society to arrange) for at least two peers to check the scientific soundness of their work and, if they are satisfied, to openly endorse its publication by declaring that in their view the work is suitable for being published as part of the scientific discourse. The work’s ‘significance’ is not an issue here (as that can often only be established after some time in the open anyway, and it has the considerable drawback of preventing some articles, e.g. null-results, from being published). The rules are that peer-reviewers/endorsers must be active researchers, and not be, or for at least five years have been, at the same institution as, or a co-author of, any of the authors. Once two signed and open peer reviews/endorsements are available, the article will be immediately published and, as usual for all articles published on ScienceOpen, available for further Post-Publication Peer Review.
We hope by introducing a two stage peer review process (Peer Review by Endorsement and Post-Publication Peer Review) to improve this mechanism for all. In the unlikely event of manipulation (present on a near daily basis in the traditional system), it will be transparent for all to see, which is bound to be a powerful antidote. As ScienceOpen is integrated with ORCID and reviews/endorsements are signed and non-anonymous, there is very little danger of sub-standard articles being published, as endorsers/reviewers would not want to put their reputations at risk.
Improvements to the original manuscripts, we believe, should be among the aims of peer review. Author-arranged Peer Review by Endorsement is conducive to an iterative process between authors and reviewers/endorsers, delivering those improvements.
Since arranging traditional pre-publication peer-review can be difficult for publishers, and can be slowed down by the necessary research to find appropriate reviewers, it can be quite costly. Especially since the cost of reviewing all submissions is usually carried only by those articles that are accepted for publication (this applies to the open access as well as pay-walled publishing models). The Peer Review by Endorsement option avoids that and authors choosing that option will therefore have their APC’s reduced. The regular Article Processing Fee (APC) for publishing in ScienceOpen is $800 and over the coming months prior to launch we will be seeking community feedback on the most appropriate discount level.
According to Jan:
The Peer Review by Endorsement approach leaves peer review to the community (with safeguards in place) and lets the publisher focus strongly on the technical integrity of the article presentation, preservation, machine-readability and the like, which often leaves a lot to be desired in the current system. The cost to authors (and their funders) of open access publishing will be materially be lower as a result.
Jan will be speaking about Peer Review by Endorsement at The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication Part 1 event at The Royal Society (London, 20-21 April 2015). These meetings are being held in recognition of the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s first science journal.
Here at ScienceOpen we’re a gold Open Access (OA) publisher, a peer review reformer and a content aggregator – our platform features 1.5 million articles sourced from PubMed Central, ArXiv and ScienceOpen.
In recognition of the London Book Fair 2015 and the associated spotlight this week on all matters publishing related, we’re highlighting two new Open Access (OA) article Collections. A top scientific union and a major medical publisher are using our platform to give their OA content increased visibility and facilitate Post-Publication Peer Review.
Building this Collection on our platform, allows the IUCr, a leading non-profit International Scientific Union, to show its broad ranging content which is of interest to researchers from different disciplines that use results obtained from diffraction methods.
Not only is this content open for additional discussion after publication it can also be combined with other articles to form new Collections.
Jonathan commented, “I was delighted to bring together a collection of our leading papers from our new fully open-access journal IUCrJ and showcase them in a collection on the ScienceOpen platform. The additional visibility and opportunity to interact with the content which comes with this new portal will be an important step forward for all chemists, biologists and physicists working in the area of structure determination.”
Here at ScienceOpen we wear a few different hats! We’re a gold Open Access (OA) publisher, a peer review reformer and a content aggregator.
This week, with the London Book Fair 2015 about to start, we are celebrating publishers and societies by profiling the innovative ways that they are using our platform!
It gives us great pleasure to report how a top scientific union and a major medical publisher (see below) are now using our platform to give their OA content increased visibility and facilitate scientific discussion.
With 1.5 million OA articles and a high performance search engine on ScienceOpen, users can slice and dice the content as they like. And often that selection criteria may be a trusted publisher or innovative journal. ScienceOpen is making that easy! With ScienceOpen Collections we’re able to highlight the articles of publishers and societies. Other innovative ways to use the Collection Tool are discussed in this blog post.
Previously I saw a headline that read “Search is so 2014”! I stopped and questioned whether I agreed with that statement. The article then went on to describe some of the more interesting developments in how to find the “right article in the rapidly growing information haystack” and some of them matched my own picks which include:
SNAP from Jstor Labs – a mobile app that allows you to take a picture of any page of text and get a list of research articles from JSTOR on the same topic.
Sparrho – a content recommendation engine that aggregates and distills information based on user preferences and makes personalised suggestions. We invited their team to post a guest blog.
However, I still believe that there is a role for Search in 2015, even as it is eventually replaced or enriched by more sophisticated tools.
The part Search plays here at ScienceOpen is particularly important given that we are just beginning our quest to aggregate the world’s Open Access content in all disciplines. The corpus here is growing (nearly 1.5 million articles from nearly 2.5 million authors). The pace of scientific literature growth is rapid, expanding at the rate of more than 2 articles per minute (Mark2Cure). Both are good reasons why we have been focusing our development efforts on improving the precision of our search results because to some extent “if you can’t find it, it doesn’t exist”.
For Search to qualify as “good” in my book it needs to be precise, fast and flexible. Here’s my mini review of ScienceOpen Search:
Search delivered rapid and accurate results, so two thumbs up here.
The results could be parsed using the aggregation source (PubMed Central, ArXiv and ScienceOpen) or the name of the originating journal/publisher.
For the geeks among you, our Search is powered by ElasticSearch.
When I forgot the exact spelling of an author name, this field offered me possible name options to pick from (nice).
As a publisher myself, I had to try searching by company name. I was surprised to find 1555 OA articles by the American Chemical Society(ACS) on our platform. I also found 2816 articles from Elsevier. This is a tiny fraction of their output but at least something is there.
In a nod to our belief that Journals will become increasingly less important (and hopefully the strangle hold of the IF will be released) as researchers aggregate content themselves (for example using our new Collection tool), users can search by Collection (which has it’s own tab).
Once you’ve found a relevant article, we provide the XML (and PDF) because let’s be honest, in the digital future, a static PDF probably won’t be of much use.
I want to acknowledge the ScienceOpen Dev team (Raj, Ed and X, led by Tibor) for their excellent work on this release.
The DPG Spring Meeting in Berlin (15-20th March) is the largest Physics conference in Europe and the second largest after the APS March meeting.
As part of a pilot poster publishing initiative from the division heads of the Low Temperature and Semiconductor Physics Divisions, researchers presenting posters at these Spring Meeting sessions can publish them free in ScienceOpen. This offer is not officially endorsed by the DPG itself, other Divisions are welcome to participate if they wish.
If you have put the time and effort into creating a poster and want it to “live on” beyond the event, someplace other than the lab hallway or rolled up in your office, then we would be delighted to publish it here.
Your poster will receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and will be published Open Access under the Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0) in ScienceOpen Posters (eISSN 2199-8442). These two divisions of the DPG will also have their own Poster Collection on the platform under their name. Publishing a digital poster is any ideal way to:
Share and discuss (preliminary) research results with your peers (and publish a full article when you are ready)
Track the impact of your poster, by counting citations and recording alternative metrics, such as downloads or shares on social media
Add another publication to your résumé complete with additional metrics that “add value” to the content
To get involved, all you need to do is to download the Poster Metadata Form, complete it and send it back to Editorial@ScienceOpen.com, together with your poster (PDF) and a catchy image (PNG, JPG, or GIF). The form contains further instructions on “How to fill out Poster Data” as well as a “Discipline List”. Please note: at least the corresponding author needs to create a ScienceOpen account before the poster can be published.
Kind regards: Prof. Dr. Alexander Grossmann, Founder and President of ScienceOpen (and a Physicist) and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Eckern, Institute of Physics, University of Augsburg, Chair of the Low Temperature Division, DPG.
The largest number of articles come from PLOS ONE (not surprisingly, it’s the world’s largest journal) and BioMed Central. If you stop and think about it, it’s good to unite these publishers around content, that’s the true spirit of Open Access.
As some of you may have noticed, we have a different take on Collections here at ScienceOpen and don’t see why all the articles have to come from the same publisher as is usually the case. Since we’ve also aggregated nearly 1.5 million OA articles, we decided to build a little “collection widget”, establish a new role of “Community Editor” (comes with a modest stipend) and have researchers themselves curate a collection or “mini-journal” in their discipline.
In this way, we hope it will become more obvious which disciplines or niche sub-fields are still short on OA content, Community Editors are also empowered to call for more submissions. In topics where there is already an abundance of OA articles, the art form becomes finding ways to surface the best content and who better to curate it than an expert researcher (rather than a professional editor).
As always, getting a new concept off the ground is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. To demonstrate how Collections work, we asked our Consulting Editor Richard Gallagher to pick a topic, choose some articles (and comment on his top 10 as to why he chose them), write an editorial and finally use the widget to pull it all together.
The result of his endeavors is the ScienceOpen Collection on Cancer Immunotherapy. Then we decided to interview Richard so that he could share his experiences and encourage others to apply for the role of Community Editor themselves (to those who have already stepped up, thanks for participating):
Q. What’s your scientific/professional background and how did it help you select these articles
A. I am a mucosal immunologist if I go back far enough. I’ve been involved in scientific editing for over 20 years and always had a more than passing interest in immunotherapy for cancer: it presents a challenge on so many levels, but the potential is enormous.
Q. What were your criteria for article selection?
A. Simply put, I looked for research that could have a substantial impact on the treatment of cancer, however far from application it may currently be. The fact that among the articles there are new therapies, combinations of therapies, new techniques for cell preparation and better approaches to monitoring patient responses shows the breadth of progress in the field.
Q. What was the hardest part of curating this collection?
A. Culling very good research! Like any list of “the most exciting research” is it subjective. I have provided notes as to why I selected each article for reference.
Q. What was the easiest part of curating this collection?
A. Since all of the papers have all undergone peer review of one sort or another, they were generally in very good shape
Q. What skills are required to successfully curate a collection?
A. Not so much a skill but an interest in the field in broad terms is a must. An ability to briefly summarize the significance of complex findings is required too.
Q. How long did it take you to curate this collection?
A. I did it over a six week period, spending maybe 10 hours per week. This is the first Collection that I had done (or in fact anyone had done!) for ScienceOpen so that time involved thinking about the criteria for selection and how the summaries should be handled, as well as selecting the articles.
Q. What types of people would be most suitable for the role of “Community Editor”?
A. Scientists who love to read and think widely about their subject. I remember always being drawn to journal clubs and departmental presentations, I got real enjoyment out of learning something new and digging around in a wide range topics. The ideal curators or community editors could be PhD students or post-docs that like this aspect of the work. Perhaps two or three of them from different labs working together would be an interesting way of organizing the community team, some mentorship might also be helpful.
Q. What would you like to see happen as a result of this collection?
A. The collections need to be updated on a regular basis by the curators. This will produce a valuable resource for little time investment: no-one can stay current across a broad swathe of the literature and this will draw attention to the most interesting OA research being published. It would be terrific if these collections became starting points for discussions of particular articles and where the field is (or should be) headed. On a purely practical level, I would like to see others taking part in Post-Publication Peer Review of these articles and giving feedback on my selection criteria which I have provided for every article.
To apply for the role of Community Editor yourself or to apply on behalf of a team, simply email Sebastian Alers with your resume and a cover note.
Just a quick post to say that we are delighted to have been accepted as members of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) and the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). You can see our listings here and here.
Both of these organizations have a rigorous application process and that’s all for the good given the proliferation of OA publishers. They offer important “white list” services to would be authors, allowing them to check the credentials and approach of publishers that may be unfamiliar to them. It makes sense to have these checks and balances in place and is preferable to alternatives such as naming and shaming which sometimes catches the good and the bad guys in the same net.
As anyone who has ever worked in start-up land will tell you, getting traction and recognition in the early days is quite the uphill battle (even for PLOS and PLOS ONE back in the day where I used to work). We are thrilled to have crossed this milestone!
As the future leaders of tomorrow’s global health world, the 700 students and young professionals from various disciplines in the Global Health NGN, present a unified voice to improve knowledge exchange, strengthen training programs and promote career development in global health. You can find out more about them by reading their 2014 Barcelona conference report here. Supporting Earlier Career Researchers has been a focus for ScienceOpen since its launch in May 2014 and this announcement gives further momentum to that effort.
In the coming months, this partnership will manifest itself in publishing the scholarly output of this group where appropriate, for a discounted price and specifically conference posters that ScienceOpen will publish free of charge.
Additionally, The Global Health NGN will also be able to make use of free ScienceOpen tools such as: Groups to run Journal Clubs, Discussions and Workshops and Collections to unite Global Health content from over 1.4 million articles from leading Open Access publishers currently aggregated on the ScienceOpen platform.
ScienceOpen Editor, Nana Bit-Avragim, an MD and translational scientist with a focus on molecular and developmental Cardiology with a passion for extending the reach of Open Access in Global Health said “all of us at ScienceOpen enjoy supporting “Generation Open” in their quest to express their opinions and share research knowledge as broadly as possible, especially in a field such as this which is of such critical global importance. We look forward to a productive partnership”.
Ragna Boerma (Global Health NGN) is an MD with an MSc in Global Health, currently pursuing her PhD in Neurogenetics said, “Global Health strives for better health care for all, worldwide. Better health care starts with knowledge, which should be freely available for everyone in an equitable way. This is why Global Health NGN supports Open Access and ScienceOpen.”
If you would like to contact the Global Health NGN then please email Camila González Beiras, VP External Affairs.
Here at ScienceOpen, we’re delighted to get the New Year off to such a great start!
The Max Planck Society (MPG), an independent, non-profit German research organization and ScienceOpen, the research + Open Access publishing network based in Germany and the USA, have signed an agreement (official PR) that will allow authors affiliated to MPG as members of one of its 82 institutes and research facilities, unlimited free publication of posters and research articles in 2015.
The Max Planck Society is a co-founder of the international Open Access movement and has negotiated favorable publishing terms for its researchers at all career levels with a range of OA titles that now include ScienceOpen, which offers three main services to researchers:
Aggregates nearly 1.4 million OA articles (PubMed Central & ArXiv)
Facilitates transparent & network based peer review after publication
Following the Max Planck Digital Library OA Ambassadors Conference, ScienceOpen fielded a short survey to some MPG researchers (143 completions) to gauge their likely support for this partnership. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – 95% of respondents said that they would welcome a collaboration between MPG and ScienceOpen.
Other encouraging signs from the survey included nearly 90% of participants who were willing to publish in a journal that offers Non-Anonymous Peer Review after publication and 86% who don’t believe that Impact Factors are a good method to evaluate the quality of individual articles and authors.
We also want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank those working at the MPG from our Editorial Board for their support. They include the following researchers, feel free to reach out to them directly for more information about the publishing process at ScienceOpen.
Colloids and Interfaces
Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience
Developmental Biology and Biochemistry
Chemical Physics of Solids
Heart and Lung Research
History of Science
Heart and Lung Research
Frank Sander, General Manager of the Max Planck Digital Library said “since we have received many positive acknowledgements from senior Max Planck researchers, we are happy to now provide this one year pilot which allows unlimited publications with ScienceOpen free of charge for all Max Planck affiliates.”
ScienceOpen CEO, Stephanie Dawson, said “all of us at ScienceOpen are delighted to end our year on such a positive note by establishing this important relationship. We look forward to a productive 2015”.
If your society or organization wishes to make a similar arrangement with us, please email Liz.