Learned Publishing

Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
North American Editor: Judy Luther 

Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January, April, July, October; ISSN 0953-1513 (Print), 1741-4857 (Online); it is the successor to the Bulletin of ALPSP, founded 1977, ISSN 0260-9428.  Since January 2008 articles in Learned Publishing have been made freely available 12 months after their first publication. 

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CALL FOR PAPERS: Special issue on peer review
Peer review will be the theme of the January 2016 issue, and we'd like to invite case studies, original research, reviews, perspectives, opinions and all other information about how it can be improved, where it is going wrong, and any experiments your journals have undertaken.
Please submit any pre-submission enquiries and your final articles to the editor, Pippa Smart (editor@alpsp.org), or the US Editor, Judy Luther (us-editor@alpsp.org) or submit online: http://lp.msubmit.net

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Learned Publishing Volume 28 No 4 October 2015


ALPSP Awards 2015
[free access]

Editorial: Recognizing roles and contributions 
[free access]

Journal publishing models in the Czech Republic
Ladislava Zbiejczuk SUCHÁ, Masaryk University, Czech Republic, Jela STEINEROVÁ., Comenius University, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT: In 2014 we undertook a survey on the shifts in scholarly publishing in connection with the introduction of open access journals. The editors of more than half of the journals published in the Czech Republic participated in the first part of the study. An extensive questionnaire survey that addressed about 600 editorial boards of specialized journals was performed. We found the majority of journals to be published by smaller and non-traditional publishers. One of the most remarkable results was the finding that if we focus on economic models and peer-review models, open access journals do not differ considerably from other journals. Rather than according to the mode of access, much more significant differences may be observed between different types of publishers and between individual fields. It seems that on a local level the expectations associated with open access have not been fulfilled and the difference between subscription based journals and open access journals is not so sharp.

In competition with ISI: the perceptions of chief editors of Malaysian local journals
Nahid Bayat BODAGHI, S.A. SANNI, and A.N. ZAINAB, University of Malaya

ABSTRACT: Universities have had to develop new strategies to raise their profile in the international marketplace. In Malaysia, as in many other nations, publication in ISI-ranked journals is a crucial factor. This focus is causing a strain on national journals that suffer from a lack of content, institutional support, and national recognition. This paper presents data about Malaysian journal publishing and the study questioned editors in chief of Malaysian journals to obtain opinions of the problems they encounter and possible solutions. Data were collected through interviews. The participants in the study highlighted four main issues that resulted in a weak publishing environment: institutional reputation building (academic reputation), researcher prestige/image building, lack of focus on local journal issues by legislators, and a weak publishing culture. The article concludes that the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education should pay attention to national initiatives in countries such as India and Australia that recognize national journals and reward researchers for publishing in them.

Book editors in the social sciences and humanities: an analysis of publication and collaboration patterns of established researchers in Flanders
Truyken L.B. OSSENBLOK and Raf GUNS, University of Antwerp and Mike THELWALL, University of Wolverhampton

ABSTRACT: Book editors in the social sciences and humanities play an important role in their fields but little is known about their typical publication and collaboration patterns. To partially fill this gap, we compare Flemish editors and other researchers, in terms of career stage, productivity, publication types, publications with domestic and international collaboration as well as the number of (international or all) unique co-authors, co-editors and associated book chapter authors. The results show that editors are mostly established researchers, especially in the social sciences, produce more book chapters and monographs than do other researchers, and are more productive. Nevertheless, editors collaborate less than do other researchers, both in terms of publications and in number of co-authors. Including book chapter authors in the editors’ collaboration networks makes those networks substantially larger, demonstrating that editors do not mainly call upon authors from their existing collaboration network when choosing book chapter authors in the edited books. Finally, editors seem to co-author with their book chapter authors slightly more often after the publication of the edited book than before.

On shifting sands: assessing the financial sustainability of UK learned societies
Rob JOHNSON and Mattia FOSCI, Research Consulting

ABSTRACT: This article provides a quantitative assessment of the extent to which UK learned societies rely on publishing revenues. Drawing on work completed as part of a Universities UK project to monitor the transition to open access in the United Kingdom, it considers the risks that increased market consolidation and a shift to open access publishing present for societies’ financial sustainability in the coming years. The project identified 279 UK societies that publish peer-reviewed publications. It is estimated that publishing accounts for just over £300 million, or 26%, of these societies’ overall revenues of £1.2 billion, but an in-depth analysis of 30 societies found that the proportion is as high as 80% in some cases. Publishing is typically a profitable activity for societies, and thereby supports their charitable activities and makes an important contribution to their overall financial sustainability. Although most societies are presently in good financial health, the combined pressures of market consolidation and open access, coupled with early indications of an increase in the costs of publishing, suggests that their reliance on publishing could prove an uncertain foundation in the years to come.

Experiences with bilingual publishing: surveys of authors and editors
Meike SEWERING,1 and Christopher BAETHGE1,3
1 Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Germany
2 University of Tromsø Medical School, Bodø, Norway
3 University of Cologne Medical School, Germany

ABSTRACT: Bilingual publishing has become a strategy employed by journals from the non-Anglophone world to gain wider recognition. Beyond anecdotal evidence, however, there are no published accounts of the experiences of editors and authors of bilingual journals with the process of bilingual publication. It is also unclear how authors writing in bilingual journals judge the quality of the translations and whether they consider this sort of publishing as beneficial for their aims. Consequently, we carried out two surveys: one among editors of bilingual journals and one anonymous survey among authors and translators of articles published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, the bilingual journal of the German Medical Association. Eight of nine journals as well as 233 of 353 authors and 4 of 6 translators took part. Most journals reported that bilingual publication helped in becoming indexed in important databases (e.g. Medline), receiving or improving an Impact Factor, and in attracting authors. All journals plan to continue publishing bilingually. Authors were ‘satisfied’ (40.8%) or ‘very satisfied’ (57.8%) with translations. Almost all (96.7%) were in favour of bilingual publication of their work. They did not view an English translation as an obstacle to another related English language paper. Translators highlighted challenges relating to specialized terminology and to terms specific to the regional healthcare system.

Access management: the overlooked but critical enabler

Tim LLOYD, LibLynx

Key points

  • Access management (AM) is a critical, but often overlooked, enabler for publishers looking to expand the appeal of their online resources.
  • This article examines why publishers underinvest in AM, and provides practical examples of how this impacts productivity and growth across the organization. 
  • Three AM trends that offer new growth opportunities are also explored: (i) enabling a wider range of customer types and business models, (ii) supporting a more diverse range of access scenarios, and (iii) facilitating greater personalization through identity management.
  • Publishers need to review their AM strategy in light of these opportunities. In particular, publishers that currently support AM in-house should outsource to specialist vendors if they are not fully committed to investing the expertise and time needed to support this increasing sophistication.

Reveal Digital: an open access model empowering libraries to become publishers

Peggy GLAHN, Reveal Digital

Key points

  • Digitizing cultural heritage, humanities, content is currently being undertaken with institutional or government support but there are opportunities for greater library collaboration.
  • Using a crowdfunding model to support the creation of digitized collections empowers librarians but also challenges them to think like investors and publishers.
  • The described model creates an open access collection for the benefit of all scholars and also provides additional benefits for the participating libraries.

The BMJ online: lessons from a 20-year digital presence


Key points

  • The current BMJ is a far cry from the 1995 ‘brochureware’ site.
  • Journals need to be flexible in their delivery mechanisms to meet user needs.
  • Online publishing provides an opportunity to extend the target readership.
  • Responding to user demands to be balanced against proactive development.
  • Not everything works, but it is better to be innovating than overly cautious.

Data exchange standards to support and acknowledge peer-review activity

Laura Dorival PAGLIONE, Orcid and Rebecca Naomi LAWRENCE, F1000 Research Ltd
[open access]

Key points

  • Peer review is used to evaluate research, including publications, scientific awards, and grant proposals, and there is a continuum of at least six approaches to review from completely closed, double-blind review to fully-open and citable peer review.
  • It is getting harder to find suitable experts to serve as reviewers so publishers and others are experimenting with methods to incentivize researcher participation, with a growing interest in enabling citation of peer-review activity as a component.
  • A Working Group on Peer Review Service, facilitated by CASRAI, was created to develop a data model and citation standard for peer-review activity that can be used to support both existing and new review models. • Standardized citation structures for reviews can enable the inclusion of peer-review activity in personal recognition and evaluation, as well the ability to refer to reviews as part of the scholarly literature.

User experience methodology: from the physical to the emotional

Owen PRIESTLEY, Semantico

Key points

  • Understanding users is vital to any interface design.
  • People vary enormously – this affects not only the design but also the ways that we assess interface design success.
  • To fully understand users we need to pair quantitative data with qualitative research.

Open access – the rise and fall of a communitydriven model of scientific communication
Joachim SCHÖPFEL, GERiiCO Laboratory, University of Lille

Key points

  • In 25 years, open access has become a significant part of scientific communication, but its success story should not conceal a fundamental change of its nature.
  • Open access started at the grassroots, as a bottom-up, community-driven model of open journals and repositories but today the driving forces are commercial, institutional, and political interests.
  • The fall of open access as a community-driven model is running the risk of becoming dysfunctional for scientists and may create new barriers and digital divides.
On the dead link issue in academic papers
[free access]

New ways of building, showcasing, and measuring scholarly reputation
[free access]

Write for Learned Publishing

We invite news and articles concerning all aspects of academic and professional publishing. Contributions submitted for publication, and correspondence concerning the journal, should be sent to Pippa Smart, Editor in Chief or Judy Luther, North American Editor.
Before submitting material you might also want to check out our Guidance Notes for Authors.

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