Reflections and learnings from #COASP 2015

By Christina Lenz, Managing Editor for books

My reflections of #COASP 2015 will focus on the discussions regarding some challenges with open access publishing in scholarly communication.

Sustainable business models

I learned that we now have great challenges finding sustainable business models for open access publishing. At the conference some interesting innovations were presented and there are lots of other initiatives taking place around the world. To summarize, there are and should be many different models also in the future. We can’t expect to find a perfect model that fits all needs of researchers and Publishers, but we can learn from each other and we need to collaborate more.

Open access and copyright policies

The work with open access policies in other countries, i.e. UK, the Netherlands and Norway, is rapidly changing. Looking at what is happening in Sweden, the Swedish Research Council and leading research funders now demand open access publishing, but not always defining what open access model is required.

The funders in Sweden have slightly different requirements in their open access policies, but the Swedish Research Council recommends a CC-BY license. Stockholm University Press (SUP) recommends and wants all authors to publish with a CC-BY license and the copyright always stays with the author.

SUP is closely following the global development on funding and open access policies as well as the use of CC licenses. Where will it lead regarding copyright issues? That question came up on the conference. We want what is best practice and recommendations for the researchers at Stockholm University and our international research partners. Stockholm University Library is working with copyright laws and issues both internationally and within Europe, i.e. having legal representatives working with LIBER.

Publishing open access peer reviewed monographs

A reflection I made during the conference is that Stockholm University Press (SUP) is actually one of a few open access publishers in Europe doing peer review on both book proposals and manuscripts. We are publishing monographs and edited volumes in humanities and social sciences and we hope soon to be publishing books in the natural sciences.

A challenge mentioned at the conference was that we need to help researchers in the humanities and social sciences to find their way into open access publishing. The research, the writing process, doing peer review and publishing a monograph is a very different process than that of an article in a journal. There are other needs, questions, worries from societies in the humanities and social sciences than there are in the field of natural sciences.

Not forgetting what a time consuming process it is for researchers (authors), reviewers and publishers to publish monographs. The outcome from marketing of the book, readers input, reviews, citations etc. is also taking much longer than that from an article. We can’t expect quick result of measurements of dissemination and usage of monographs.

SUP is collaborating with our editorial boards at Stockholm University about publishing monographs, and edited volumes, in humanities and social sciences. It is very exciting and we need all the help we can get from all involved in this process. And we also welcome new University Press partners to collaborate with us.

The Impact Factor – how and what do we (should we) measure?

The importance of measurements and to track the spread of publications, usage and impact in our (digital) world was a topic discussed by many speakers. How is data published? Why is XML coding of importance? DOIs? ORCIDS? What happens after publication? How is research data, results used and disseminated? A few of many questions asked and discussed.

We need to look further than bibliometric analyses of how many articles have been published from our universities and how many citations an article has had. Today university funds are depending on such figures and on impact factor. Here we also see that with published monographs, the process is much longer and we need to take other measurements than that of articles.

In addition to bibliometric analyses Stockholm University Library (and as a result, SUP) is actually at the cutting edge of in supporting the researchers at Stockholm University and all SUP authors in this development. We want to put these strengths to best use and maximize benefits for the researchers who publish with us.

Peer Review yesterday and today – where is it going?

What is the purpose and usefulness of peer review? Who should perform it? What can we learn from different peer review models? On what grounds and how is it valued? How do researchers get credit for peer review? This was some of the questions asked during the conference.

Peer Review is historically not such an old phenomena, I learned at the conference. Researchers and societies constantly need to re-define and evaluate peer review. Double blind peer reviewers can i.e. more easily be falsified. Many publishers do not have a transparent peer review process or check the quality of neither the peers nor the reviews.

SUP is having dialogues with researchers about the peer review. We also work closely with our editorial boards, we want them to have an active part of how we work with peer review. The editorial boards suggest peers that follow COPE’s ethical guidelines and help us evaluate our peer review forms on regular basis.

Above all, SUP wants to make sure that the peer review process is as transparent as possible, and that we can give our peer reviewers credit for their work in the future.

Tomas Neidenmark (Vice Chair of the SUP Publishing Committee) will later this week write more about our view on peer review.

Researchers need to be active

I agree with, which some of the speakers talked about, that researchers need to be more active and influence all developments in open access publishing—not only the ones I have discussed here. After all, we are here to help the researchers.

Where you at #COASP and have some thoughts you want to share? Please leave a comment.

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