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Posts Tagged ‘academic publishing’

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.

Elsevier takes over Mendeley – reasons to leave now

10/04/2013 2 comments

Two days ago it was announced that Elsevier has bought the reference manager and academic social network Mendeley.

Luis J. Villanueva explains why this should be a reason to move away from Mendeley.

For example:

Elsevier has been denounced by editorial boards, libraries, thousands of researchers, and many other groups for their greedy behavior over content that is not generated by them. They bundle titles, forcing libraries to buy access to more than what they want. MIT has opted out of this at a premium. The company also was caught doing some shady business:

“[…] Elsevier put out a total of six publications between 2000 and 2005 that were sponsored by unnamed pharmaceutical companies and looked like peer reviewed medical journals, but did not disclose sponsorship, the company has admitted.” – The Scientist

Elsevier was among the companies that supported the draconian SOPA, until it became too hot to handle. As a reference, check the full MIT fact sheet on Elsevier. Basically, they oppose open access, squeeze the budget of libraries, and make an obscene profit from our work. A former developer, that moved to PeerJ, has written an interesting post on the matter.

Luckily, alternatives are available, for example the free and open source software Zotero.

New Journal: “Bio-based and Applied Economics”

Just got aware of the new journal Bio-based and Applied Economics. According to the journal homepage,

Bio-based and Applied Economics is a free-access on-line journal promoted by the Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA). Although mainly devoted to scholars and well established researchers BAE also encourages submissions by young researchers, teams involved in ongoing research projects and also relevant actors in the field of bio-economy and related public policies.
BAE publishes contributions on the economics of bio-based industries, such as agriculture, forestry, fishery and food, dealing with any related disciplines, such as resource and environmental economics, consumer studies, regional economics, innovation and development economics.

It is really nice to see that it is open access, thus adding a nice new option to the still relatively closed agricultural economics landscape.

An article of high interest for the work in the Global Futures project may be Tools for Integrated Assessment in Agriculture. State of the Art and Challenges by Wolfgang Britz, Martin van Ittersum, Alfons Oude Lansink and Thomas Heckelei.