Archive for the ‘Academic publishing’ Category

Why blogging helps improving your research productivity

Expiscor blogger Christopher Buddle found a positive correlation between his blogging activity and his research outputs, which let him to explore three potential reasons why blogging could help research productivity. Here, in a nutshell, are the reasons:

  1. The continous practice of writing texts allows you to write better and faster.
  2. Blogging allows expanding knowledge, also and in particular in fields which are not in one’s direct area of expertise. This, in turn, has various positive effects on research productivity (for learning which, just see the original post).
  3. Through blogging and the use of other social media, one becomes better connected to the community of researchers.

Definitely, all three reasons are true. And beyond this, blogging is also fun!


Tearing down barriers to accessing research: The Open Access Button

A very neat tool to visualize the ubiquity of paywalls that restrict the access to scientific results and to improve the access to scientific work is now available as a plugin for the most popular webbrowsers.

The Open Access Button allows the user to report whenever he or she hits a paywall while searching for research. The hits are shown on a global map, which contributes to making explicit the extent and ubiquity of paywalls that restrict access to research.

The status so far:


Open Access publishing for agricultural sciences

15/10/2013 1 comment

OpenAccess_LogoPublishing open access should become the gold standard for international agricultural research for development.

The fact that most funding comes from public sources of charity organizations makes hiding research results behind paywalls difficult to defend. Also is it a stated goal of many research organizations, e.g., CGIAR, to provide global public goods and make research results openly available. Last but not least, it should be inherent to each researcher’s ethics to make research results freely accessible.

However, open access publishing is a relatively new and very dynamic field. Large numbers of open access publishers and journals are popping up. While some publishers are serious in providing outlets for high quality research, others try to exploit open access publishing through dubious business practices. Predatory publishers accept and publish articles without adequate quality control (e.g., peer review) only to charge author fees. The downside of this phenomenon is that the quality of published research output becomes difficult to judge. Moreover, a list of publications in journal of dubious quality may affect the scientific reputation of individual researchers and entire research organizations alike.

In this context, the identification of serious journals may at times be difficult – many of them are new and still have to build their reputation – but nonetheless necessary. Efforts like Beall’s List of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers and journals can help to avoid low quality publications. However, they are of little help when one is looking for an open access outlet for research in the field of agricultural sciences.

Asking colleagues for their recommendations may offer a way out. Indeed, when discussing the issue at CIP, researchers came up with a list of the publishers and journals they have made good experiences with:

Plos One is perceived as a Golden Open Source with a rigorous and fast publishing process.
The BMC series (Genomics, Genetics, Biology and many more) is considered to have a fast peer review process and a good reputation.
– The Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development (JARTS) publishes with serious peer review.

This list is still rather short, but can offer an entry point into the world of open access publishing in agricultural sciences.

What has been your experience so far? Do you know any other publishers and journals from agricultural sciences you have made good or bad experiences with? Any suggestions and comments are highly welcome.

P.S. Just during the time this blog post was written, Science Magazine published an article titled “Who is afraid of peer review”. Although it has also been criticized, mainly for methodological reasons, the article captures well the principal motivation that’s behind this post.

Open Agrar – Repository for agricultural research from Germany

A new open access repository OPEN AGRAR provides access to the research output of five federal research institutes under the realm of the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection.

Unfortunately, the user interface is in German language only. But the papers mostly in English…

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Open Economics Principles

With the recognition that

Economic research is based on building on, reusing and openly criticising the published body of economic knowledge [and that] […] empirical economic research and data play a central role for policy-making in many important areas of our economies and societies […]

the Open Economics Working Group of the Open Knowledge Foundation has introduced the Open Economics Principles.

The Open Economics Principles promote openess in economic research by making economic research results, data and analysis be made openly and freely available (wherever possible).

Go to the website of the Open Economics Working Group to learn more about the Open Economics Principles. And endorse them! (as a first step before making your data available)

Interdisciplinary repository: Zenodo

Infobib made me aware of the interdisciplinary repository Zenodo.

ZENODO is a repository service that enables researchers, scientists, projects and institutions to share and showcase multidisciplinary research results (data and publications) that are not part of existing institutional or subject-based repositories.

ZENODO enables researchers, scientists, EU projects and institutions to:

  • easily share the long tail of small research results in a wide variety of formats including text, spreadsheets, audio, video, and images across all fields of science.
  • display their research results and get credited by making the research results citable and integrate them into existing reporting lines to funding agencies like the European Commission.
  • easily access and reuse shared research results.