Learned Publishing

Editor: Alan Singleton
North American Editor: Diane Scott-Lichter
Reviews Editor:
Pippa Smart

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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Learned Publishing Volume 27 No 3 July 2014

ISSN 0953-1513, Online ISSN: 1741-4857


Editorial: Reproducibility - and trust
pp163 [free access]

Point of view
Should multiple submissions become the norm in journals?
Mahar N. KUMAR
HOSMAT Hospital, Bangalore, India

Lay summaries of open access journal articles: engaging with the general public on medical research
Emily NUNN and Stephen PINFIELD
University of Sheffield

ABSTRACT. This study investigates attitudes to ‘lay’or ‘plain-English’ summaries of open access (OA) journal articles in the context of engaging the public with medical research. It places lay summaries in the wider contexts of patients’ information-seeking behaviour and OA publishing activities. It reports the results of qualitative research involving two stakeholder groups: employees of organizations with a stake in communicating OA medical research to the public, and members of the public who have experience of accessing online medical research. It shows that patient access to the research literature is seen as one of a number of important sources of information that can help them manage their health conditions as ‘informed patients’. However, accessing the literature was reported to be problematical, particularly because of paywalls, and there were also difficulties in using it, including language barriers. Lay summaries were seen to make a helpful contribution to improving patient access to information. There is, however, a clear need to gather more evidence about the costs and benefits of such an approach and also on the potential ways in which OA can create benefits for the general public.

Evaluating information seeking and use in the changing virtual world: the emerging role of Google Analytics
CIBER Research                                    Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

ABSTRACT. The paper identifies changes that have occurred in the Web environment over the last decade which have gradually rendered server logs, once the pre-eminent source of intelligence on usage and information-seeking behaviour, an ineffective, impractical, and uneconomic resource. It also looks at the implications of these changes for information professionals and publishers who have come to rely on this data to understand the behaviour of clients and customers in the virtual environment. Ubiquitous and expanding, Google Analytics generates statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources, albeit from a marketers’ perspective, is evaluated as a possible replacement; something which might plug the user knowledge gap which is worryingly opening up, or maybe even, put us in a better position overall. The paper is built on the knowledge and experience of evaluating server logs for more than a decade, mostly for publishers and libraries, and also on two recent projects where server log analysis was supplemented with Google Analytics.

Case Study
An examination of two Indian megajournals

Jingfeng XIA
Indiana University, Indianapolis

ABSTRACT. This study analyzes two online open access peer-reviewed Indian journals that each published more than 2,000 articles in 2013. It examines various characteristics of these journals, including their publishing policies, author profiles, and quality of articles with regard to language and presentation. The paper recommends taking megajournal publishing in the developing world into consideration of an ecosystem of scholarly communities.

Quality of author guidelines of journals in the biomedical and physical sciences
Remya NAMBIAR, Priyanka TILAK and Clarinda CEREJO

Cactus Communications, Mumbai, India

ABSTRACT. To assess quantitatively the completeness and clarity of author guidelines of international English-language journals in the biomedical and physical sciences, we randomly sampled 80 journals for which author guidelines were available online in English. The guidelines were reviewed for completeness and clarity in addressing ‘aims and scope’, ‘submission and post-submission processes’, ‘formatting instructions’, ‘ethical requirements’, and ‘authorship’, and were subjectively assessed as being complete (score 1) or incomplete (0), and clear (1) or unclear (0). Scores were represented as mean percentages. No journal scored 100% for completeness and clarity. ‘Formatting instructions’ was the most complete and clear category, and ‘authorship’ the least complete and clear category. Biomedical science journals were more complete and clear in all categories, except ‘authorship’, compared to physical science journals. While author guidelines of many English-language journals of biomedical and physical sciences adequately address some essential aspects, they currently do not provide all necessary information as clearly as possible.

Barriers and opportunities for research in publishing studies
Alison Baverstock and Jackie STEINITZ
Kingston University

ABSTRACT. This paper reports findings from an international survey into the research involvement and support of university teaching staff in a relatively new profession-orientated discipline, publishing studies (PS). It uses these findings to consider barriers and opportunities for academic research both specifically in PS and more broadly in other profession-orientated disciplines. Greater understanding was felt to be of value as universities internationally are increasingly being pressurized to create close links with the wider economy, produce employable students, and encourage relevant and implementable research. The survey suggests that while there is strong agreement among respondents that it is beneficial for those teaching PS to be research-active, there was considerable variation in current levels of research activity. Respondents rated their research activity highest in departments with an active research culture and effective research support processes. Lack of time was the main reason cited for reduced or non-involvement in academic research and while this is a common issue for academics, PS respondents isolated a number of exacerbating factors. Suggestions are offered for addressing identified barriers and pursuing new opportunities for research. The paper argues that as research outputs of academics are increasingly monitored it is important to consider how the full range of disciplines housed within institutions can be accommodated within research support. Overall, the research has a strong relevance for interdisciplinary areas, and other profession- and practice-orientated subjects within universities.

Towards a scalable and sustainable approach to open access publishing and archiving for humanities and social sciences societies: a proposal
K/N Consultants

ABSTRACT. The proposal we offer here (and in the more extensive ‘white paper’ proposal on which this article is based) tackles head-on the open access (OA) business models that have proven particularly problematic for implementation of OA in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). Our proposal suggests all tertiary institutions contribute to systemic support of the research process itself, including its entire scholarly output. A bold rethinking of the economics of OA by way of partnerships among scholarly societies and academic libraries funded by an institutional fee structure based on a student-and-faculty per-capita sliding scale, our plan is nevertheless intentionally incremental. Our proposal focuses first on HSS and primarily in the United States, but just as research and scholarship are increasingly global and collaborative, our plan is not bound by discipline or national borders, but can be adopted by all those looking for a more equitable and sustainable OA model.

Point of view
An imbalanced journal publishing market
Jingfeng XIA
Indiana Univerity, Indianapolis

Book Reviews
pp239[free access] 

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