Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Examining Trust and Truth in Scholarly Publishing

In this latest blog, Helen Duriez, from our Professional Development Committee, reflects on how our current webinar series Trust, Truth and Scholarly Publishing webinar series came together.  


Oh, how the world turns. I used to think that Donald Trump running for US president was a fine joke. I used to think there was no way the UK would choose to go it alone when it could be a part of the collective economic might of the European Union. Turns out, the voting public in the US and UK had very different ideas to those of this na├»ve millennial back in 2016.  

Two years on, it’s become apparent that a large part of the success of these two major political campaigns was their ability to leverage personal belief systems. People are more likely to believe what they read if it aligns with their pre-existing belief system or if it taps into a feeling of existential threat, causing them to disregard evidence to the contrary. Ironically enough, there’s research that backs up this theory, and the concept even has a name – post-truth. You might have heard of it.

Now, what people choose to believe (or not) is tightly interwoven with what we choose to tell them, and how. In scholarly publishing, most of our jobs involve disseminating complex information in one form or another. With research output higher than ever before, there’s a lot of complicated stuff to explain – not just to academics and practitioners, but to the general public as well. Scientists are used to working with ambiguities, although that doesn’t mean they always navigate the rocky terrain of uncertainty safely. And what about lay audiences, who give as much weight to opinions as to facts?

The team at ALPSP felt this topic warranted further exploration, and so a small group of staff and volunteers (I’m one of the latter) have taken it upon ourselves to put together a series of webinars looking at some of the issues and opportunities in scholarly publishing today. Here’s how the series pans out…

Publishing without perishing

In case you missed the first webinar in the Trust, Truth & Scholarly Publishing series, go – sign up and download it. Seriously, do it. Yes, as one of the organisers I may be a little biased, but even knowing what I was about to listen to didn’t stop me from being motivated and left feeling a little awe-inspired as Richard Horton gave us a passionate, powerful reminder of what early journal publishers set out to achieve, and the obligations we still have to society today. Jason Hoyt follows up with some practical thoughts about how publishers can succeed in a post-truth world.

The reproducibility opportunity

In last week's webinar, now available for download too, and highly recommended,  Catriona Fennell, Rachel Tsui and Chris Chambers explored how the concept of reproducible science represents an opportunity, rather than a threat, when it comes to getting to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The traditional journal publishing model doesn’t have much time for replication studies (not original research, don’t ya know) or registered reports (findings, please!), but things are starting to change…

Public engagement with scholarly research

The process of communicating a new piece of scientific research to the world can sometimes feel a little like a game of Chinese whispers. When the description of a complex concept or process is shortened and reworded in order to reach a new audience, it’s meaning can change subtly. I’ve seen more than one twitter spat debating the latest “scientists have found…” health fact, and there are those who have built careers around addressing some of these misrepresentations.

So, what tools can those of us in scholarly communication use to instil trust in our content? In our last webinar we are joined by three industry communicators Tom Griffin, John Eggleton and Eva Emerson to find out.  You can register here for this final webinar.

For more practical information on the series, including how to get a members’ discount, see here.

Helen Duriez is a Product Manager at Wiley, specialising in digital strategy and planning. With over 12 years’ experience in the publishing industry, Helen has previous worked at the Royal Society, Macmillan and OUP. She gets out of bed for open science and avocado toast.



Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Open Annotation for Researchers and Publishers

Hypothesis Logo

This month's Featured Member - Hypothesis provides our latest Guest Blog, penned by their Director of Partnerships - Heather Staines.


Created as a nonprofit, based on open source technology, Hypothesis is an independent industry voice that listens to community partners, not shareholders, to create a solution that serves researchers through all stages of their workflow. Our 145,000 users have already created more than 3.1 million annotations in the research, education, and journalism sectors. In 2015, we launched the Annotating All Knowledge Coalition, for publishers, universities, and technology companies wishing to explore interoperable annotation. Free to join, the AAK Coalition invites ALPSP members to learn more. We also host I Annotate, the world’s largest conference dedicated to annotation technologies, now in its sixth year. Join us in San Francisco on June 6–7 2018.

Workflow tools that silo content and data and require researchers to cut and paste notes or reenter information result in frustration and loss of productivity. Visit Hypothesis to create a free account that you can use to annotate content across the web. Deep-linking through annotation creates unique persistent web addresses for content at any level: page, paragraph, sentence, word, or data object across HTML, PDF, and EPUB formats. Embed Hypothesis on your website or platform with just a short piece of javascript code to enable anyone to annotate — whether they have the browser plugin already or not. If you want more control over annotations, consider our Publisher Group functionality.

With the successful launch of the first Publisher Group for eLife in January, 2018, we are pleased to announce further refined group technology for publishers, platforms, and societies.  Publisher Groups are branded and moderated annotation layers that enable conversations, the creation of additional content, private note-taking, and private collaboration groups over publisher versions of record. Increase reader engagement with interaction on your content through annotations, which also populate to your publisher group page.

Publisher Groups enable world-readable annotation layers that are open for anyone to create annotations or are restricted to authors, members, or invited experts. Society publishers can establish a group that spans both their content site and their member site to create a cohesive conversation to benefit members. Societies with similar interests can collaborate to create a discipline-specific layer that spans multiple content sites. The W3C standards-based Hypothesis client can connect to existing account systems to avoid the need for users to create separate accounts, and it can be configured to match the styling of publisher websites and platforms. Hypothesis works with all of the popular hosting solutions across the industry.

Annotations in groups can also be explored through activity pages, giving publishers and societies quick snapshots into annotation activity on specific sites and documents. Full analytics on public annotations and aggregated anonymized data on private and group annotations are available through Hypothesis' robust API. Public annotations are included in the Crossref Event Data project for indexing by Google.

Publishers are discovering additional use cases for annotation every day. eJournal Press has integrated Hypothesis with its peer review dashboard to offer reviewers the option to provide feedback through inline annotation. Discussions with all major manuscript submissions systems are underway. Taking the popular SciBot account functionality as a model, publishers are exploring annotation technology to connect external data to specific identifiers already embedded in their content. SciBot searches papers for RRIDs (Research Resource Identifiers) — key for reproducibility and used by more than 125 journals — then displays information on each RRID in the form of an annotation card on the publisher site. Readers no longer need to navigate away to see the data behind the identifier. The Qualitative Data Repository at Syracuse University has partnered with Cambridge University Press to connect citations to their sources and underlying data through Annotation for Transparent Inquiry, an innovation that puts quotes and sources in context with author notes. Production departments are using annotation to handle questions on thier xml staging sites or in editorial processes to plan journal migrations. Preprint services such as bioRxiv are considering making society groups visible by default on top of their servers. The possibilities are endless.

Let's talk about how annotation and Publisher Group options can serve your goals for publication and user engagement.

Photo of Heather Staines

Heather Staines is Director of Partnerships for Hypothesis, working with publishers, platforms, and technology partners to promote open annotation. She has worked at Proquest, SIPX, Springer SBM (now Springer Nature), and Praeger Publishers, and she is active in many industry associations and task forces, including ALPSP, SSP, STM, Charleston, Force11, and more.


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