Featuring the grey area surrounding predatory journals, a breakdown of APC price increases, The Company of Biologists’ decision to freeze fees, the Metadata 2020 Principles, how researchers feel about data sharing technologies and the University of Cambridge’s response to UKRI Open Access Review consultation.

Defining predatory journals via The Publication Plan

The line between predatory and non-predatory journals is somewhat ambiguous owing to the complexity and number of different types of violations that can get journals blacklisted. Dr Kyle Siler (Researcher at the University of Sussex Science Policy Research Unit and Principle Investigator at the University of Montreal) explains that economic activity as a driver of academic publishing allows journals to toe the line of predatory behaviours and that, consequently, journal legitimacy exists on a spectrum.

What do APC price increases really mean? via Delta Think

A recent analysis of article processing charges (APCs) found that some Frontiers journals, which have APCs as their only source of income, have increased their prices by 45 times the inflation rate. However, when the numbers are put into context and weighted by article or by price, the picture is quite different. This additional breakdown of the data shows that when the spread of costs across a publisher’s portfolio is considered, the true impact of overall APC price changes may vary.

Into the unknown: freezing subscription fees during COVID-19 via EurekAlert!

In light of the economic impact of COVID-19 on libraries and research communities, not-for-profit publisher The Company of Biologists has announced that they are freezing subscription fees and APCs through December 2021 for their subscription journals Development, the Journal of Cell Science and the Journal of Experimental Biology. Additionally, price increases have also been waived for their Read & Publish Open Access agreements with national library consortia Jisc, IReL and MALMAD.

Metadata 2020 Principles via The Publication Plan

Metadata in publishing, primarily article digital object identifiers (DOIs) and identifying tags and other serial numbers, enable digital content to be located and their activity to be tracked by programmes such as Altmetric. To help standardize the use of metadata, Metadata 2020 have outlined their key principles for guiding scholarly communications: compatibility, completeness, credibility and curation.

Stieglitz et al. 2020: researchers’ perceptions of open data via PLOS ONE

Despite the increasing enthusiasm for open access publishing and open science philosophies, most technical solutions for open data technologies focus on individual elements of data sharing rather than the bigger picture. Here, Stieglitz et al. present their analysis of opinions and perspectives from 995 researchers at German universities, finding that the overall trend towards uncertainty in the data sharing process impacted on the perceived value of data sharing and influenced the researchers’  intent to share.

The University of Cambridge responds to the UKRI consultation via Open Research Community

The University of Cambridge’s response to UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s Open Access Review consultation highlights that academic disciplines do not have an equal footing when it comes to transitioning to full open access models. Additionally, small publishing houses and university presses, for which paywall fees represent a significant portion of income, are likely to favour the coexistence of green and gold open access business models to limit the economic impact of open access. Cambridge University Press estimates that transitioning to a transformative agreement will bring a 15% decline in annual revenue.

We at Open Pharma would like to continue to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community and continue to follow advice from their country’s government and health organizations.

Coronavirus mental health and wellbeing resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

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