STM Frankfurt Conference 2011

Biting into the Core: Challenges to peer review, business models and their ilk

11th October 2011

The Westin Grand Frankfurt
Konrad Adenauer Strasse 7
Frankfurt, Germany
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Videos provided by River-Valley Technologies - an STM member.

play Evolution or Revolution: Changes in Peer Review
Adrian Mulligan
Deputy Director, Research and Academic Relations, Elsevier
Peer review has been the cornerstone of scholarly publishing for hundreds of years, but how important is peer review to the research community today? What function does peer review serve and how well does it deliver? With the surge in papers from developing countries, are reviewers from some countries bearing an undue burden? There have been a number of developments in peer review in recent years, some would ascribe them as radical changes, what has been the reaction of the research community to these initiatives? Drawing upon the results of studies that examine the attitudes of over 4,000 active researchers, we are able to provide insight on many of these issues and identify what may happen going forward.
play PLoS Innovations in Peer Review
Mark Patterson
Director of Publishing, Public Library of Science, European Office, Cambridge, UK
Peer review occupies a central locus within the process of formal scholarly communication, and it is helpful to divide its functions into two broad areas: technical and impact assessment. Whereas technical assessment tends to be objective and provides greater confidence in (although cannot assure) the reliability of published findings, impact assessment is subjective and its role is less clear-cut. Impact assessment, as currently performed by the majority of journals during the pre-publication peer-review process, is the means by which research articles are currently organized (in terms of audience and potential significance) in journals. However, a new paradigm is emerging, whereby articles are subject only to technical assessment (by peer review) before publication, and impact assessment takes place during the post-publication phase. This paradigm is exemplified by PLoS ONE which became the largest peer-reviewed journal four years after its launch. PLoS ONE and related journals have the potential to grow extremely rapidly, to accelerate research communication, and to transform the traditional scholarly journal.
play Peer pressure at the Nature Publishing Group
Karl Ziemelis
Chief Physical Sciences Editor, Nature
In academic circles (and beyond), peer review is a perennial topic of conversation. The traditional model is increasingly questioned; alternative approaches are proposed and trialled, some even implemented. The nature of formal scientific communication is going through a period of rapid evolution, and accordingly the various processes underpinning this endeavour — of which the peer-review is central — need re-evaluation. But this does not necessarily imply a pressing need for fundamental and wholesale change: indeed, peer review as currently practiced can fairly be described as generally fit for purpose. Nevertheless, publishers and editors need to be constantly alert to the changing expectations of (and pressures on) the scientific community, with a view to providing a service that best satisfies their users’ needs while still accommodating their own journal-specific editorial goals.
play Open access: engage or oppose?
Steven Hall
Managing Director, Institute of Physics Publishing
Many publishers are now offering a gold open access publishing option, in the form of both pure open access journals and the hybrid model within established subscription journals. Many also permit some form of posting to repositories, with varying levels of restriction. At the same time there is unease and even strong resistance in the publishing community to the imposition of mandates by funding agencies which force researchers to use a particular model of dissemination and restrict their choice of publication. So how should publishers respond to the growing demands for open access: by engaging or opposing?
play Heading for the Open Road: Costs and benefits of transitions in scholarly communications
Daniel Hulls1, Michael Jubb2
1Director, Cambridge Economic Policy Associates, 2Director, Research Information Network
The speakers will provide a clear understanding of the findings and implications for publishers, authors and policy makers of the recent report on possible routes to increasing access to journal articles over the next five years – with a particular focus on transitions to ‘gold’ and interactions with ‘green.’ The paper discusses transitions for five possible scenarios (referred to in the paper as Gold, Delayed, Green, Licensing and Transactional). Although the speakers will provide an overview of the findings of all of the work, they will focus on the results and issues that arise in transitions to Gold first and its interactions with Green.
play What PEER is teaching us about Green OA
Chris Armbruster
Research Manager, PEER Project
The PEER Project – a collaboration between publishers, repositories and researchers – investigates the feasibility and consequences of large-scale Green OA. PEER was set up as a randomized controlled trial, with an infrastructure of more than 241 participating journals and 200 control journals, processing more than 60,000 publications and releasing more than 15,000 ‘green’ manuscripts (by 31 August 2011 – cf. Wallace, J. 2011. PEER: Green Open Access – Insight and Evidence, Learned Publishing 24(4), forthcoming). Research is being conducted across three dimensions (www.peerproject.eu/peer-research/): a) Quantitative and qualitative behavioural data on authors and readers, b) Logfile analysis of usage at publishers and repositories, and c) Economic case studies of publishers and repositories. Noteworthy results from setting up the infrastructure and from the three research areas will be highlighted. Next, a synthesis will point to the most important lessons learned by and within the PEER Project. Finally, the lessons learned from this experiment will be contrasted to what we know about OA policy implementation: first results compared (by C. Armbruster 2011. Learned Publishing 24(4), forthcoming).
play A Conversation with Annette Thomas
Annette Thomas1, David Worlock2 (Interviewer)
1CEO, Macmillan, 2Outsell, Inc.
Annette joined Macmillan in 1993 as the cell biology editor for Nature magazine. She held a number of editorial and publishing roles within Nature Publishing Group, including Publisher of the ground-breaking Nature Reviews series, before being appointed Managing Director in October 2000. During the seven years of her leadership, NPG established itself as a major scholarly publisher, extending the reach and influence of the Nature brand in science and medicine and developing an enviable reputation for innovation, particularly in the digital space. In 2007, Annette was awarded the Kim Scott Walwyn prize, set up in 2004 to celebrate outstanding achievements by women in publishing. She was appointed CEO of Macmillan in October 2007 and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Verlagsgruppe von Holtzbrinck (Macmillan’s parent company).

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