The myths surrounding open scholarly publishing

We were interested to spot this new preprint by Professor Tom Crick et al, discussing the ten myths around Open Scholarship publishing. The paper, which is open for comment, delves into the evolving framework and core issues surrounding Open Research, Open Science and Open Scholarship.

TenMyths.Crick.CC-BY (3)

Whilst it is hard to pick out a ‘favourite’ myth, there are some particularly cogent points highlighted in Myth 6, Copyright Transfer, which deserve wider discussion and dissemination amongst academics. With Plan S hovering into view with the requirement that authors and universities retain copyright in their scientific research articles rather than transfer it to publishers, this topic needs much wider visibility.

If you want to explore the debate you can read the full text of the article here:

PeerJ Preprints || CC BY 4.0 Open Access|


Predatory publishers


We have blogged before about predatory publishers but a training session today suggested some tips people might find useful:

  • Some journals lie about an impact factor. If you are in doubt about a journal go to then click the purple login button. You will find Journal Citation Reports right at the top of the screen and can check any claims.
  • Be suspicious of any journal which claims to publish very quickly with peer review – this usually takes time.
  • Where you can, check out journal editors. In a good journal they should be someone with a track record in the field.
  • Suncat is a union catalogue showing the journal holdings of many UK academic libraries. If a journal is not held by any library, or perhaps only one, it may be suspect. However, you do need to bear in mind that there may be genuine new journals which don’t appear yet.
  • DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals, carries out some quality checks on the journals it lists.

It is also worth being aware that some conferences are run purely to make money without giving any value. Think Check Attend gives some things to think about if you are considering a new conference.

International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS)


On Monday 12th November 2018, IJPDS is changing the publishing licence from the current Creative Commons
CC-BY-ND to 



The International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS) is an electronic, open-access, peer-reviewed journal focussing on the science pertaining to population data. It publishes articles on all aspects of research, development and evaluation connected with data about people and populations.

It is published by Swansea University.

Why is IJPDS changing to CC-BY?
At IJPDS, sharing research freely is at the heart of everything we do and, as an Open Access journal, it is important that we uphold the Open Access ethos of making research freely accessible to all without restriction.

We currently publish articles under the CC-BY-ND licence, but this restricts the freedom to make changes and to distribute derivatives, thereby blocking or restricting the creation of derivative works. Our decision to migrate to the CC-BY licence will allow others more freedom to engage with IJPDS author’s research whilst still protecting the author’s moral rights.

  • the freedom to use published research and associated benefits of using it
  • the freedom to study manuscripts and to apply knowledge acquired from them
  • the freedom to make and redistribute copies of the information
  • the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works

Funder Requirements
Increasing numbers of research funders stipulate the use of CC-BY when publishing via Open Access. Subsequently, IJPDS already offers the CC-BY licence to authors funded by RCUK / Wellcome Trust. We also use the CC0 “No rights reserved” licence for publishing source data that permits its re-use. IJPDS is now simply extending the right to freely access and use published research by rolling CC-BY out to cover all published works.

Benefits of CC-BY
By removing the restriction on derivative works, CC-BY opens up more options for using the research e.g. new ways of representing scholarly articles through text-mining and visualization techniques or allowing articles to be translated into other languages, and encouraging engagement with manuscripts through wider use has clear benefits to the authors.

Protecting Authors
Publishing under a free license does not mean that authors lose all their rights and any use of manuscripts published in IJPDS still require full attribution (i.e. giving credit and recognition to the author of a manuscript). Creative Commons licences require that no modifications to manuscripts should ‘be prejudicial to the Original Author’s honor or reputation’ (

Please note that manuscripts already published IJPDS prior to Monday 12th November 2019 will remain as CC-BY-ND, unless we receive a request from the authors to change to CC-BY.

Guest post by Sharon Hindley, IJPDS Marketing Manager.
Tweet to @IJPDS

Revisiting the “Versions Toolkit” for open access concerns

The Versions Toolkit Cover“Versions Toolkit” PDF here:

The 2008 Versions Toolkit from the LSE / JISC project is a handy piece of work that deserves re-promoting in light of the HEFCE REF Open Access policy (amongst others) which puts new emphasis on the “Accepted Version” of a paper. At 20 pages, the toolkit may seem weighty for its overriding message of “be organized and keep all your versions” but there are some excellent points inside that address concerns we have been hearing from researchers at our recent Open Access briefings:


The Problem of Losing Citations
Some staff have concerns about losing citations to their work if it exists in multiple versions in multiple places, for example an “accepted version” in institutional repositories (Cronfa, in our case) and the published version. The Versions Toolkit (p.9) points out that:
  • In their survey, over 70% academics stated that they would “cite the published version only, even though I have read the earlier version”.
  • An institutional repository will contain a link and full details of the published version, making it easy to cite the final version.
  • You can include a request “Please do not cite” in any earlier versions made available or indicate your preferred citation on the front page (p.11)
The Problem of Co-Authors
Some researchers have also mentioned the potential difficulties of having access to the “Accepted Version” if they are not the lead or corresponding author for an article. Others pointed out this will mean a need for improved communications and sharing, right from the start of co-authoring. The Versions Toolkit also puts this more strongly:
“When working with co-authors, protect your rights by requesting a copy of the final Accepted Version from the lead or corresponding author, so that you have access to your own work (p.10).”
The Problem of the Accepted Version Looking a Bit Scrappy
The Versions Toolkit (p.10) points out that if someone is looking to read your work, finding a free open version is their primary concern:
“For such readers it will be a huge benefit to be able to have access to the content of the paper at all, even if it is not the fully polished published version”
Notes could also be added to the beginning of the document to indicate any major variations or changes that occurred subsequently.

What about smaller publishers?
The Sherpa Romeo website is the “go-to” resource for information on what publishers allow you to do with your work. However, it does not include all publishers. The Toolkit notes:
“When negotiating with your publisher, if they do not have a policy on open access, point them to the ROMEO website. It will help you to explain what you are asking for and should encourage smaller publishers to develop a policy” (p.13)
What are the options when signing away your copyright?
Most publishers get authors to sign a Standard Copyright Transfer Agreement, thereby transferring copyright to the Publisher. The Toolkit points out there are ways of mitigating this, either by negotiating an author addendum reserving certain rights or an alternative “licence to publish” (p.12). There is guidance and sample wordings for these that authors can use.

Why bother with Open Access?
There are many, many arguments for Open Access but the Toolkit (p.10) puts it nicely in a nutshell:
“You have a community of readers made up of those researchers in your field who happen to have access to your book or a subscription to the journal. The decision for you at this stage is whether to make your work available to a wider readership”
As librarians, we frequently deal with requests from students and staff to access material for which the university does not hold a subscription. Increasingly, I advise them to check Google/Google Scholar for an archived version to see if there is a free version available. This is also supported by the recent report by Ithaka which studies how researchers research and the barriers to access that need to be minimized to “streamline access to scholarly resources”.

The Toolkit also has much useful advice on managing versions of documents and what to keep, working out what you can do with different versions, the pros and cons of methods of dissemination. Worth a read to familiarize yourself with the issues and opportunities!

Interpreting Ceramics: Gold before the Gold Rush

A guest post by  Lynette Summers, Information Advisor (CSS & Research) at Cardiff Metropolitan University, who writes about creating a successful gold open access journal with institutional collaboration.

Interpreting Ceramics: Gold before the Gold Rush

The UK is on a course set for gold open access and, to misquote Ralph Waldo Emerson, the transition from subscription-based publishing to a fully open access model is very much about the destination rather than the journey. That said, the journey for research articles has been outlined by the recommendations of the 2012 Finch Report and so we find ourselves in a “mixed economy” of subscription-based titles (traditional journal publishing), hybrid and fully open access journals (gold open access) and open access repositories (green open access). By now, many of you will already be familiar with the various routes to open access, but if you would like a quick refresher then do check out Peter Suber’s very brief introduction to open access.

Everyone that has been involved, in one way shape or form, in making research outputs open access will know that the transition to a fully open access environment will not be an easy one. However, for some, much of the hard work has already been done — I am of course talking about those journals that we can think of as being “born gold” with the first wave of enthusiasm for open access publishing in the 1990s as access to the internet became more widely available and online publishing took hold. I don’t know how many such journals still remain, but I would like to highlight the story of one: Interpreting Ceramics.

Interpreting Ceramics was established by the Interpreting Ceramics Research Collaboration (ICRC) in 2000 as the ‘first refereed, electronic journal for ceramics’. The ICRC were committed to making the journal fully open access from the very beginning and the pronouncement that the journal would be ‘freely accessible, without charge’ has almost become a motto (this can be found on every issue in the ‘About this Journal’ section ). In the beginning the decision to go electric came from the desire to exploit the internet as a means of easily sharing the various formats that the journal’s authors were utilising — primarily video and audio — to record, interrogate, interpret and communicate the practice and history of ceramics. The decision also came down to, in part, the fact that managing a subscription journal would be far more complicated for the ICRC. However, don’t for a second think that all of this came easily or without cost — as we know, the cost of publishing is always absorbed somewhere along the line and, even if a gold open access journal does not charge authors an article processing charge (APC), there is no such thing as free gold. Interpreting Ceramics has prospered due to the time and effort that the editorial team has committed to the journal and because of institutional funding (Cardiff Metropolitan University;  Aberystwyth University; the University of the West of England, Bristol; and Bath Spa University have joint proprietorship of the journal). In recent years the journal has been further strengthened through the support of the Wales Institute of Research in Art & Design (WIRAD).

The fact that the ICRC was approached last year by a major publisher wishing to take over the journal is testament to its success and its importance to the scholarly community. The ICRC politely declined the approach as the publisher wanted to distribute the publication as a subscription print journal. Luckily, the editorial team recognised that this would have been a backwards step in light of the direction the UK is taking with regards to open access. The journal would have also lost its look and feel. Moreover, to use the words of its editor, Jeffrey Jones, the editorial team have become more “idealistic as it has gone along” with regards to the open access principle and, as the journal is read worldwide (this is known because readers are encouraged to register), they can certainly boast that it has ‘anyone, anywhere’ credentials. So, let us hold up Interpreting Ceramics as an example of a successful gold open access journal; may it act as encouragement for those scholars and institutions thinking of embarking on their own publishing venture. Not everybody will be able to make it work, but, in the transition to a fully open access world, let’s explore the options.

This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Seven reasons why journals reject papers

Have you seen the patter blog?

This interesting blog produced by Pat Thompson, Professor of Education at Nottingham University, covers a host of topics on research education, academic writing, academic life etc.

For those of you who may be new to writing for journals there is a great post on rejected papers. It illustrates several common mistakes and offers practical advice for avoiding rejections.

Go to the patter blog:

“Me” focus skews journal ratings

Research carried out at the Universities of Exeter, Loughborough and Leeds studied how academics rated management journals and found that they rated journals more highly if they had published in them, if they were on the board for the journal, if it reflected their subject interest strongly and if it was from their geographical area. It concludes that journal list rankings are subject to bias. Such lists have been ruled out for use in the Research Excellence Framework but a lot of universities still use them. The full story is in the Times Higher Education .