Wednesday, 30 September 2020

ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2020 Report: The legacy of COVID-19 on scholarly communication

This year’s ALPSP conference may have felt very different to previous years – experienced in front of a screen in one’s office, living room, or kitchen instead of in a hotel conference centre sitting side by side with hundreds of one’s industry colleagues. It still addressed the key issues that scholarly publishing faces, though: open access, transparency and trust, and – perhaps more urgently than ever – diversity, equity, and inclusivity within an industry that still has much to do on those fronts.

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ALPSP Keynote 2020
ALPSP Keynote by Sherri Aldis,
Chief of United Nations Publication

The conference began on Wednesday evening with the announcement of the winners of the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. From an exceptionally strong shortlist, the judges – led by David Sommer, co-founder of 2015 winner Kudos – choose two winners: Jus Mundi, the Paris-based multilingual search engine for international law, and WordToEPUB, a free EPUB creation tool with built-in accessibility features. Sustainable scholar-led open access publisher the Open Library of the Humanities was also highly commended. 

The awards were swiftly followed by our opening keynote from Sherri Aldis, chief of United Nations Publications, who offered some insights into the organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and what they might mean for scholarly publishing and research in the COVID-19 world. The seventeen goals, she explained, were a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by ending poverty, protecting the planet, and improving all lives; publishers, she said, had a vital role to play in achieving them. 

Aldis noted that publishers had recognised not only that the SDGs aligned with their own missions but also that there was market demand for them too, and had consequently published more than 8,000 titles relating to them. Some – like Hachette’s children’s books 17 Ways to Save the World and Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea – were published in partnership with the UN, whose own titles were freely available but were also monetised through value-added enhancements. She shared some of the ways that publishers could contribute towards achieving the goals: promoting the SDG agenda by using its framework to categorise their content; reducing inequality by producing content accessible to people with disabilities; and adopting sustainable business practices through changes to supply chains and production. Aldis encouraged publishers to sign the new ten-point SDG Publishers’ Compact that would be launched at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, and to use the SDG logos to show their support.

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The next day focused on “Transparency and trust in scholarly communication: changing access, business models and funding”. The afternoon began with a discussion of the long-term legacy of COVID-19 on trust and transparency. Chris Winchester, CEO of health science communications consultancy Oxford PharmaGenesis, noted publishers’ moves to make content freely available and reusable during the pandemic, and suggested that there’d be no going back from this; instead, the development would spread to other potentially life-changing and life-saving research. Introducing the Open Pharma initiative of which he is co-founder, he explained that its immediate priority is to secure for authors publishing company-funded research the same rights to publish open access as authors whose research is funded by other sources; eight publishers including PLOS, Wiley, and F1000 have already endorsed this position.

ALPSP Conference session 1 2020

Winchester was followed by Marshall Brennan of the American Chemical Society, whose ability to deliver a compelling talk while simultaneously feeding a baby made him the star of the conference. Discussing the extreme public response to a preprint hosted on ChemRxiv criticising the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVOD-19, Brennan considered the responsibilities preprint servers have to the general public in terms of correctly framing the research posted there; he also mentioned the steps ChemRxiv has taken in response to the controversy, such as retaining the right to deny posts it deems inappropriate, including those whose conclusions might lead a non-expert to take actions injurious to their health. The session’s final speaker, Simine Vazire of the University of Melbourne, argued that we need more nuance in peer review beyond acceptance and rejection, and noted that both incentives and human nature encourage researchers more towards making new discoveries than detecting errors in existing work.

The day’s second session explored a global direction for Open Access and Open Research. Rebecca Lawrence, Managing Director of F1000 Research, spoke of the varying attitudes towards open research across continents and disciplines, noting the particular challenges faced in the humanities and social sciences, where funding for publication can be problematic and output types may differ from those in the sciences. She was followed by Professor Judith Sutz of the University of the Republic in Uruguay, who shared some of the findings of her research into the design and implementation of university research policies and suggested that new tools and approaches were need to transform the research evaluation system. 

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, then spoke about how cOAlition S aims to make OA a reality after more than a decade of talk. He was followed by Elizabeth Marincola of the African Academy of Sciences, who explored the many barriers to open access scientific publishing in that continent. She focused particularly on peer review – noting its systematic bias, the lack of representation of African researchers among reviewers, and their lack of familiarity with the nuances of the review process – before introducing AAS Open Research, a scholarly publishing platform offering the immediate publication of work by researchers supported by the AAS and its funded programs. The session’s final speaker was Alwaleed Alkhaja, copyright librarian at Qatar National Library, who observed the fall in journals supporting Arabic-language publishing – from 618 to 185 on DOAJ in the past five years – and shared some of the successes of the library’s open access fund, providing funding for OA publication on a national level, uniquely in the region.

Thursday’s final session explored business models for Open Access in a post COVID world. Vivian Berghahn, MD at Berghahn Books, described some of the different approaches the company had taken to fund open access publication, such as Knowledge Unlatched’s crowd-funded model for books and – in partnership with Libraria – Subscribe to Open for journals. Simon Ross, CEO of Manchester University Press, talked us through their journey towards having the largest output of open access books of any university press. Though OA titles may still sell – one sold 320 copies in print alongside 5,000 free downloads – it can be hard, he said, to make the economics work across a list, particularly when university presses are so dependent on print sales. He expected Manchester would continue to look at what he described as a ‘pick ’n’ mix’ of models, with direct-to-consumer sales offering potential compensation for the downturn in the institutional market. The session’s final speaker, Sara Rouhi, Director of Strategic Partnerships at PLOS, also emphasised the need for a mixed economy in open access, but her focus was on meeting the diverse needs of a wide range of stakeholders: a mixture of flat fees, institutional deposit accounts, PLOS Community Action Publishing, and bundled APCs for consortia could, she believed, enable the company to achieve cost recovery plus a capped 10% margin for reinvestment, while avoiding excluding researchers from publication.

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The final day of this year’s conference explored how publishers can deliver a more inclusive and diverse scholarly communication ecosystem. Patrick H. Alexander, Director of the Pennsylvania State University Press, kicked off the opening session, “Diversity and Inclusion in our sector: what do we know, and where do we need to do more?” with two telling observations: that there is not a single university press at any of the 107 historically black colleges in the US, and that there are only 2 BAME heads of the American members of the Association of University Presses. Ruth Howells, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the Publishers Association, shared some statistics from the association’s survey of the wider UK publishing industry which showed that 13% of its employees were BAME, 10% LGB+, and 1% transgender; 19%, meanwhile, had attended an independent or fee-paying school. Nancy Roberts of Umbrella called for pay transparency as a means of increasing the diversity of talent applying for roles and decreasing the gender gap; she also noted in passing how much advocacy work is uncompensated. Anoushka Dossa, Director of Talent at Creative Access, closed the panel by speaking about the organisation’s #morethanwords campaign which invites employers to commit to change in hiring diverse candidates; investing in staff from under-represented groups to progress to senior roles; and creating an inclusive workplace where diverse staff feel valued.

The second session focused on “Creating Diverse and Inclusive products, tools and services”. Opening speaker Nicola Nugent (Publishing Manager for Quality and Ethics at the Royal Society of Chemistry) discussed several reports that the RSC had produced on women's retention and progression in the chemical sciences and whether publishing in the chemical sciences is gender biased, and the organisation’s framework for action in scientific publishing: Improving inclusion and diversity in the chemical sciences and the joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing. Magdalena Skipper (Editor in Chief at Nature), then addressed the importance of inclusion within peer review, while Jennifer Gibson discussed the ways in which eLife, where she is Head of Open Research Communication, has prioritised diversity and inclusion, with particular successes in geographical diversity and sexual orientation inclusion.


The conference’s final panel session explored the impact of COVID-19 on our ability to create a diverse and inclusive publishing industry. Professor Edda Tandi Lwoga of the College of Business Education in Tanzania shared some of the consequences of the virus on African research and publishing, noting that funding has been diverted and fieldwork and conferences delayed, with slow, limited, or expensive connectivity creating additional problems; more positively, however, collaboration has increased. Randy Townsend shared how the American Geophysical Union, where he is Director of Publications Operations, has used the pandemic and the killing of George Floyd as a ‘respectful opportunity’ to identify and implement improvements in its diversity, equity, and inclusion through Eight Deliberate Steps ranging from diversifying the organisation’s governance and committees through to partnering with leaders across STEM to remove systemic racism and foster culture change. Simone Taylor of AIP Publishing then shared data from the Workplace Equity Project, noting how the experience of working from home varies hugely according to personal circumstances can cause feelings of isolation and exclusion.

banner displaying logos of conference sponsors









You can find out more about this year’s conference on the ALPSP website.

By Alastair Horne, Lecturer in Publishing at the University of Stirling 

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Spotlight on the Charlesworth WeChat Gateway - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

Charlesworth logo





This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of eight for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced on 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP 2020 Virtual Conference. In this series, we learn more about the finalists.

In this post, we learn more about the Charlesworth WeChat Gateway.

Tell us a bit about your organization.

The Charlesworth Group is recognised globally as a trusted partner for STM Publishers for sales, marketing representation, technical solutions and consultancy in China. Charlesworth is also a leading provider of language editing and author services globally through its Charlesworth Author Services division. We provide services to Publishers and Institutions, supporting thousands of authors each year.

Charlesworth is a family-owned business, established 90 years ago as a bookbinder. Throughout the decades our focus has been on publishing services. We have offices in the UK, US, Ukraine and have had an office in China for over 20 years.

What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

WeChat is the most dominant social app in China, often referred to as China’s super app because of the breadth of functionality the app offers across communication and eCommerce. It currently has 1.15 billion monthly active users, who spend on average 82 minutes per day using the app and make 1 billion transactions a day. The WeChat environment is moving from being a walled garden of messages and posts for followers to integrating more third-party applications into the app and creating more possibilities for content discovery via its search tool.

The Charlesworth WeChat Gateway is a web-based content marketing and author communication platform, used for managing author communication within the STM workflow through WeChat.
Simply put, WeChat Gateway allows publishers to integrate their systems into the WeChat environment and create user journeys for China-based authors that replicate the slick e-commerce stores those authors are used to within WeChat.

WeChat is heavily used by academics and it is far quicker and more convenient for a Chinese author to engage with a Publisher via WeChat, instead of having to load a webpage hosted outside of China.

screenshot image WeChat Gateway

The Gateway has three core components which allow a Publisher to be present on the WeChat platform and engage with their authors:

  • API integration platform – the Gateway allows a Publisher to integrate their backend systems. Currently, the Gateway is connected with journal submission systems. This allows a Publisher to send unique customised paper status notifications to authors or allow them to self-check 24/7. The configurable chatbot delivers all of these messages in Chinese. This integration deepens author communication and reduces queries on paper status from authors. 
  • WeChat marketing platform – marketeers can use the Gateway content hub to directly manage and upload marketing content into the Publisher WeChat account.
  • Publisher Analytics Dashboard – WeChat Gateway incorporates an analytics dashboard that extends and enriches the standard reports available from WeChat itself, providing deep data on follower behaviour, growth and content engagement.  

Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

Charlesworth has teams based in China, the UK and Ukraine. Together, these teams use agile methodologies to continually understand and respond to the needs of Chinese authors and Publishers globally.

The team focused on the development of the WeChat Gateway is made up of Andrew Afonin, IT Director who leads a development team in both China and Ukraine, Andrew Smith, Product and Marketing Director who leads teams in the UK, led by our Product Manager Jean Dawson and in China, led by Kelly Zhang. 

We utilized WeChat software development tools as a base to create Gateway but our Product teams extended and created new functionality; creating a platform that is not available within the WeChat software tool offering. Our resulting Gateway software creates an omnichannel solution for our clients, allowing us to connect multiple external systems to the Gateway which can then feed out as a personalised notification data stream to different WeChat author accounts. The Gateway has servers in both China and outside; these servers manage the data flow in and out of China to ensure the Gateway powers a quick response to China-based authors.

The Gateway is continually being developed to bring on board new system integration and to add additional features. The speed of change in China is at a lightning pace, so our teams are continuously monitoring trends and talking to authors to ensure the product is developed with user needs at its core.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

China-based authors are expected to use the standard tools and workflows offered by STM Publishers globally. This ignores the fact that the Chinese web and the most commonly used apps in China are very different from those in the west. China is a mobile-first market and in many ways, the Chinese leapfrogged earlier web technology, which means that email is not the dominant form of communication. A Deloitte survey from 2018 shows that only 33% of Chinese users check their email daily, while 88% check their instant messaging apps daily. Therefore email is not an ideal form of communication. Instead, social messaging apps are the key form of communication and academics use these apps to communicate, promote and discuss their research.

Publisher tools are usually based outside of China and designed with users in North American and Europe in mind. Users in China, accessing these tools on their mobile, can struggle with both connectivity issues and navigating the user interface. 

Charlesworth, through the WeChat Gateway, helps STM Publishers to integrate their services into the WeChat environment. It helps to solve the issue of communication with Chinese authors by powering interfaces that replicate the Chinese eCommerce experience and deliver updates in Chinese. Initially, we have focused on integrating article submission notifications, so a China-based author can receive all the status notifications about their paper in WeChat. These notifications can then be linked to the content in WeChat. For instance, an acceptance message can be linked to author promotion content, creating a great experience for authors.

For Publishers, the Gateway is a tool that can be easily configured without a need to understand WeChat or speak Chinese. The Gateway can be used by a marketing team and the chatbot allows a Publisher to configure the messages which are sent to the author.

What are your plans for the future?

Our vision for Gateway is to integrate the whole STM publishing workflow into WeChat.

Through our partnership with Editorial Manager, we will be able to offer authors submitting their paper to EM Publishers the ability to check article status notifications in WeChat from submission to final decision. Through our ingest relationship, we will also be able to join this up further, so authors can receive notifications during both language editing and article submission and review, without the need to complete a full resubmission to Editorial Manager. 

We are continuing to integrate different systems and satisfy new use cases to create engaging user journeys for China-based authors in WeChat. Our next steps are to look at how an author can submit and manage their article via WeChat and receive notifications across the whole author journey. This includes post-acceptance. For instance, on publication, we want to be able to deliver updates to the author on the citations to their article, usage and support in promoting and marketing their research. We are engaging with multiple publishers, looking at simplifying the China-based author experience through WeChat exclusively, rather than asking them to access multiple platforms.

We are building a new mobile dashboard that allows authors in WeChat to submit papers seamlessly, initially for our language polishing service, but this module will have wider application. We are also developing a voice-recognition feature so authors can request information via WeChat about their article submission or published article.

The platform has been designed to integrate with other social media apps. WeChat has been our focus and continues to be so but we plan to integrate other social messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Line into the Gateway to deliver services to authors based outside of China.  For further information, please visit: http://www.cwrepresentation.com/



You can hear from all of the Finalists at the ALPSP Awards Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September. Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Spotlight on WordToEPUB - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

The judges have selected a shortlist of eight for this year's ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced on 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP 2020 Virtual Conference. 

In this post, we hear from Richard Orme about WordToEPUB.

Tell us a bit about your organization.

logo DAISY Consortium
The DAISY Consortium is a global family of organizations which pool and coordinate resources to deliver worldwide change on our vision and mission, ensuring people have equal access to information regardless of their ability. 

Our work is focused on the development of solutions for accessible publishing and reading via influencing global standards, the creation of tools to facilitate accessible content creation and delivering guidance materials and training.

For over 20 years the DAISY Consortium has had a significant impact on mainstream and specialist publishing. The DAISY audiobook standard is used by organizations around the world to deliver millions of titles on a daily basis to people with print disabilities (e.g. people who are blind, have low vision, dyslexia or physical disabilities).

Our work on the EPUB standard ensured that it was built on a foundation of accessibility. The free validation and accessibility checking tools we develop and maintain are used by publishers, conversion services and retailers for almost all commercial publications.

What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

We are delighted that our new WordToEPUB tool has been shortlisted for the awards. Launched earlier this year, it an incredibly user-friendly tool which enables anyone with a structured Microsoft Word document to easily create an accessible and highly flexible publication in the EPUB 3 format. This can be read on any device and used with a variety of assistive technologies which people with disabilities around the world rely upon throughout their education, work and leisure.

Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

The WordToEPUB tool was designed to offer a simple process which anyone can use, with more advanced options available to those seeking a greater level of control and customisation. The tool can be run from a button on the Microsoft Word Ribbon, or directly as an application. On activation the tool performs a series of tests on the Word document to identify significant accessibility issues which would impact the resulting document, and if found the user is notified of the issue and advised. If the document passes the initial test the document undergoes conversion resulting in an EPUB document. A menu of advanced features and customization is also available, aimed at users who are knowledgeable in ebook creation, but not hampering the ability of novice users.

The tool also automatically records details about the content language, supporting multilingual texts for accurate text to speech playback and support for reading in braille. The application and the supporting documentation has been translated from English into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Danish and Portuguese, with support for Finnish, Swedish, Russian, Hindi and Japanese partially implemented. Support for other languages is underway by native speaking volunteer supporters. 

The tool was developed by DAISY staff, with voluntary contributions from the global DAISY community of educators, publishers and accessibility experts, and with advice and encouragement from Microsoft.

Despite only being a few months old, the WordToEPUB tool has already shown that it plays an important role in the development of simple, practical workflows for the creation of accessible materials. The tool is now in everyday use in education establishments and specialist libraries as a primary tool for the creation of accessible education and leisure reading materials and has been used by self-publishing authors to release titles.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

EPUB is generally produced from bespoke XML workflows, complex publishing software or specialist tools. WordToEPUB was created to answer the direct needs of people who create content using a familiar word processor and needed a simple method that is just a couple of clicks. With this tool they can ensure their materials are delivered in a flexible and accessible way to meet the needs of their diverse readership. Marrying the most widely used word processing system on the planet with EPUB, the world’s most accessible publishing format, through a free and easy to use tool delivers benefits to everyone involved. Readers can enjoy EPUB publications using whatever device they own, adjusting the text presentation based on their device size or access requirements, or directly reading through audio or braille.

The powerful EPUB format is already used widely in education publishing, so enabling educators and support staff to provide education resources in the same format has proven to be particularly powerful. This is especially true since the COVID pandemic has driven many education establishments around the world to transition to delivering education content online, while meeting their moral and legal obligations to ensure the content can be accessed by people with disabilities.

What are your plans for the future?

We have seen a significant increase in the adoption of the WordToEPUB tool, and feedback has been glowing. Over the coming months we are continuing to enhance the tool and support resources, offering guidance for more complex content like equations, and translating the tool and support materials into more languages with a special focus on the developing world.

On the development side we are working towards a command line system for batch processing and integration into established workflows, as well as a cloud-based solution which may assist educators unable to install applications. Slightly longer term we plan to release a macOS version of the tool.

Through the development of this tool we have been able to share information and offer feedback to tools supporting content authored in Apple, Google, and open formats to improve the quality of output

We will also continue to work with Microsoft and encourage the integration of this or a similar process directly within Word.

photo Richard Orme

Richard Orme has worked in the area of inclusion and accessibility for over 30 years, including many years working on innovations for mainstream and specialist publishing. 


Resources
Web links:
https://daisy.org/wordtoepub
https://daisy.org/news-events/articles/epub-publications-from-word-w/
https://daisy.org/news-events/articles/wordtoepub-extended-tutorial-w/

Twitter

You can hear from all of this year's finalists at the ALPSP Awards Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September.  Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
  
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.


Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Spotlight on DataSeer - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of eight for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced on 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP 2020 Virtual Conference. In this series, we learn more about the finalists.


In this post, we hear from Tim Vines about DataSeer. 









The idea for DataSeer comes from my time as a Managing Editor at the journal Molecular Ecology. In 2010 we adopted the Joint Data Archiving Policy – which mandates data sharing as a condition of publication – and were experimenting with how best to enforce it. We found that the only consistent approach was to check for compliance ourselves by reading every accepted article and listing the datasets the authors needed to share. After about 500 articles it occurred to me that we could get a machine to do the same job, with the advantage that the machine would be quicker, cheaper, and much more scalable.

Fast forward to 2018, when we received a Sloan Foundation grant to develop DataSeer as part of the Open Source software developer Coko (aka the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation). We’ve recently released DataSeer as a Beta and we’re working with numerous potential users to see how best to fit DataSeer into their workflows.

What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

Our organisation and our product are pretty much the same thing! Our goal with DataSeer is to address one of the biggest obstacles to Open Research Data: there’s no easy way to get from the generally worded data sharing policies to the actions the authors need to take for their particular manuscript.

This issue is pernicious because it both increases the time and effort authors need to devote to data sharing (often to the point they give up altogether), and prevents the stakeholders (journal and funders) from knowing what should have been done. The stakeholders then struggle to enforce their data sharing policies, such that authors have no consequences for non-compliance.

DataSeer uses Natural Language Processing to scan research texts for sentences that describe data collection, infers the type of data being collected, and provides best practice advice on how and where that dataset should be shared. Once the author has shared all of the required datasets (or given a reason why they can’t be shared), DataSeer passes a report back to the journal or funder. This approach saves time and worry for the authors and empowers stakeholders to promote open research data.

Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

DataSeer has three main parts - the algorithm, the user interface, and our ‘Research Data Wiki’. Our code is open source (here and here). The algorithm has been trained on about 3000 open access articles from a wide range of subject areas. Moreover, researchers tend to describe data collection with similar language regardless of their field, so training an NLP algorithm to spot data sentences is a fairly manageable problem. As with any AI application, it’s making a fair number of mistakes at the moment, but that should change as we process more and more articles.

graphic DataSeer illustration














The wiki hosts our ‘best practice’ advice for sharing many different types of data, and we encourage users to edit our advice if they feel it can be improved. Our vision is that widespread use of DataSeer will eventually lead to a global resource on best practice for data sharing across all areas of research.

As mentioned above, the idea for DataSeer stems from my JDAP enforcement efforts at Molecular Ecology. I started out as an researcher in evolutionary biology before moving into journal management in 2008. In 2014 I founded Axios Review, an independent peer review service that acted as a broker between authors and journals. I've since become a Managing Editor again (this time for the Journal of Sexual Medicine), and rejoined the Scholarly Kitchen blog. I am based in Vancouver, Canada.

Our business lead is Kristen Ratan – Kristen has been involved with developing technology solutions for the academic publishing industry for over 20 years, and has heaps of experience in bringing open science products from idea to marketplace. She has worked at HighWire Press, Atypon, PLOS, and Coko, and now runs her own consultancy on open source solutions for promoting open research. Kristen is based in Santa Cruz, California.

Our lead developer is Patrice Lopez, who has spent the last ten years developing open source NLP tools for research articles. His pdf parser, Grobid, has been applied to over 1.6 million articles and is incorporated into workflows at many large academic publishing organizations. Patrice is based in a small village in France.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

DataSeer’s innovation is to use the efficiency of machine learning and Natural Language Processing to automate a really difficult step in enforcing data sharing policies: working out what the authors of a particular article need to do, and helping them do it. At some journals this step is performed by PhD level data curation experts, but as each article can take them between 30 minutes and an hour to process, this approach is only practical for accepted manuscripts at well-resourced publishers. By making this process much cheaper and quicker, DataSeer will enable many more journals to adopt data sharing policies.

Moreover, because DataSeer is cheap and highly scalable, it enables journals to require that all submitted articles share their data, so that the datasets can be scrutinised during peer review. This in turn will prompt researchers to be more rigorous with their data management throughout the research cycle, which should ultimately improve the overall reliability of published work.

DataSeer will also ensure that a much higher proportion of articles share their data, and also do a better job of sharing all of their datasets. Articles will become more reproducible, and many more datasets will be available for testing new hypotheses, conducting powerful meta-analysis, or just verifying the authors’ results. This is the crux of DataSeer’s innovation: by fixing an apparently minor stumbling block in the peer review process, we can usher in a revolution in open science.

What are your plans for the future?

In the immediate future, we’re focused on working with our current partners to ensure that DataSeer is doing everything that they need it to do. Longer term, we will 1) allow authors to deposit their data in the most suitable repository directly from our User Interface; 2) promote reproducibility by detecting mentions of code and data then helping authors share both correctly; and 3) expand DataSeer to numerous other use cases and workflows, to ensure that we’re helping as many groups and stakeholders as possible.

photo Tim Vines

Tim Vines is a researcher, journal manager, and entrepreneur. His research has motivated and informed many aspects of the open data movement.










Website
https://dataseer.ai/
Twitter
@DataSeerAI

You can hear from all of the Finalists at the ALPSP Awards Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September. Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.

The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.



Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Spotlight on Rigor and Transparency Index powered by SciScore - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

In this series, we hear from the finalists for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced at the ALPSP Virtual Conference on 16 September.  

In this post, we hear from Anita Bandrowski and Martijn Roelandse about the RTI, Rigor and Transparency Index, powered by SciScore.


logo Rigor and Transparency Index


Tell us a bit about your organization.
We are a group of inventors that come from a long tradition of breaking technology and social barriers. We have a technology toolbox, but always ask “is the answer technology or culture?”

What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

In a way, we have something similar to the impact factor, however it scores different things. The RTI, Rigor and Transparency Index, is the average rigor criteria completeness score for each journal.

graphic SciScore illustration


What is included? The rigor and transparency criteria (sex/gender as a biological variable, randomization of subjects into groups, investigator bias reduction through blinding, group size determinant via power calculation, identification of statistical tools, as well as the identification and authentication of key biological resources such as antibodies, cell lines, and organisms). Authors, funded by several funding agencies such as NIH or submitting to various journals such as Nature, are expected to address these criteria in their work, but some may not. The RTI is the average number of these criteria found in journal articles in a given year. 
We think that if journals know where there are particular problems or where they stand compared to their peers, it may inspire them to work with authors to improve the quality of manuscripts.

Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

The RTI is based on our tool, SciScore, which has now been integrated into eJournal Press and will be available in Editorial Manager in the fall. This tool acts as an automated reviewer, which can check whether rigor criteria are addressed. It looks for sentences that discuss the particular criteria, for example “experiments were performed on both male and female mice, with subjects balanced for sex in each group” fulfills the “sex/gender as a biological variable” criteria. The authors or reviewers can then determine if the criteria are met in the context of the study, something that automated tools really can’t do at this point. While SciScore acts as a reviewer, the RTI index is the average SciScore for papers published in a given journal and given year.

The team behind this endeavor includes Anita Bandrowski who heads the Antibody Registry and the RRID initiative; Maryann Martone, one of the architects of FAIR; Martijn Roelandse, a former head of content innovation at a major publisher; and Burak Ozyurt, a computer scientist that has just taken the Google BERT AI, and made it run ...on a laptop ….in his spare time. We bring varied skills to find interesting solutions to very difficult problems.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

Innovation is a tough thing to assess. Certainly there are plenty of ways that someone can score journals. However, as far as I am aware, all ways of scoring journals are based on the data around the article itself, i.e, how many times it is cited or tweeted about. The RTI delves deep into the science described in the paper and attempts to assess how good that is. It seems to me that this is something quite different, therefore potentially innovative.

What are your plans for the future?

“Pinky we are going to take over the world!!!” - The Brain (...or maybe not)

We are passionate about making science a little better, and a little more efficient. We want every study to be done in a rigorous way, we want every reagent to be explicitly specified so people reading scientific papers can quickly replicate key findings. If successful, this should accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, not just the rate of publishing.

photo Anita Bandrowski
Anita Bandrowski works in the department of neuroscience at UCSD taking part in the daily operations of projects such as the Brain Cell Census Network and the SPARC project (tracing the neural to organ connections). In addition, she runs the RRID initiative (rrids.org), heads SciScore development efforts, and appreciates the finer intricacies of both wine and cats. 

photo Martijn Roelandse
Martijn Roelandse is founder/consultant at martijnroelandse.dev and has worked with the SciScore team for over 10 months now. He has a PhD in neuroscience, worked for 10+ years in scholarly publishing with a major publisher and 2015 ALPSP Award finalist with Bookmetrix. With friends he owns 4 barrels of whisky and he is really fond of his dog Bo.



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You can hear from all of this year's finalists at the ALPSP Awards for Innovation Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September.  Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
  
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Spotlight on Open Library of Humanities - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

The judges have selected a shortlist of eight for this year's ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced on 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP 2020 Virtual Conference. 

In this post, we focus on the Open Library of  Humanities, a Consortial Funding Model for Gold Open Access in the Humanities Without Publication Fees 

Tell us a bit about your organization.

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing world-leading open access humanities scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges. Launched in 2015, our free-to-read, free-to-publish model was set up to revolutionise the field of open access publishing. Five years on, our sustainable business model has attracted nearly 300 supporting institutions, with further revenue generated through hosting on our in-house open source publishing platform Janeway, enabling us to establish a thriving platform of 28 peer-reviewed open access journals. Our mission is to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities - for free, for everyone, for ever.

logo OLH Open Library of Humanities


What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a scholar-led, gold open-access publisher with no author-facing charges and was launched by Martin Eve and Caroline Edwards in 2015. With initial funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any kind of author fee. We are part of a growing global community of not-for-profit publishers that explore different business models and innovative approaches to open publishing. OLH was established to challenge the costly, limited routes to open access publication in the humanities, and find a sustainable business model to enable academic journals to publish peer-reviewed research without charges to author or reader - making world-leading research accessible to anyone. 
Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

The model proposed by the OLH is one where publication costs do not fall on the institution or researchers but are instead financed collaboratively through an international library consortium. Each member pays an annual fee according to the country and size of the institution, reducing and distributing the costs of publication across our members, with an economy of scale that improves as more institutions join. Our idea is that research organisations and libraries make a relatively small contribution that covers the costs of running a publication platform on which peer-reviewed scholarly journals can then be published as open access. All contributing libraries and individuals are given a place on the OLH Library Board, which will consult with the OLH Academic Board in the future admission of journals and other governance and budgetary decisions. 

The Open Library of Humanities is co-directed by Professor Martin Paul Eve and Dr Caroline Edwards, both at Birkbeck, University of London. We also have two full-time Senior Publishing Technology Developers, Andy Byers and Mauro Sanchez, who lead the development of our Janeway Platform and the OLH website. Dr Rose Harris-Birtill serves as Managing Editor across the Open Library of Humanities platform of 28 Open Access scholarly journals, and Editor of its flagship journal OLH. Paula Clemente Vega is the Marketing Officer for the Open Library of Humanities where she is in charge of increasing the visibility of the OLH through outreach, content marketing and advocacy. 

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

The OLH has been internationally recognised as an important development in open access for the humanities and for its innovative business model. The platform was initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and now, five years after its launch, entirely covers its costs by payments from its international library consortium. The international consortium of libraries comprises nearly 300 institutions including Harvard, Cambridge, Yale, Princeton, and many others. With this model, the OLH has expanded from 7 journals in 2015 to 28 journals in 2020, has four full-time staff, funds two external commercial university presses (Ubiquity Press and Liverpool University Press) to convert their journals to open access, and has developed and launched in 2017 Janeway, its own field-leading innovative open source publishing platform developed fully in-house. 

Part of the OLH model that makes it so appealing lies in our journal ‘flipping’ programme, where we have sought to convert existing subscription titles to an open access model without fees. One of our most popular incorporations was the high-profile transfer in 2015 of the editorial board of Elsevier’s journal Lingua to a new title, Glossa, published by Ubiquity Press but funded by OLH and LingOA.  

We are delighted that OLH won a Coko Foundation Open Publishing Award in 2019 and we were pleased, recently, to be able to publish an article in Liber Quarterly on what we have learned from the first half-decade of running the Open Library of Humanities. In just five years, we have established a platform of 28 peer-reviewed academic journals, whose scholarly articles have received over 360,000 downloads worldwide. Last year, in 2019, we published a total of 532 articles (74 more articles than in 2018) – without charging any APCs. We have worked hard to change the field of open access publishing by encouraging other organisations to use our model as the basis of their own Open Access publishing frameworks. Other businesses have also adopted our novel economic model, resulting in over $4 million of worldwide revenue generation; according to Jisc Collections, library crowd-publishing company Reveal Digital has based its UK financial model on OLH, and has raised $4,258,681 to date. We may be a small digital publisher, but as these sizable achievements show, our vision goes far beyond one company.

What are your plans for the future?

We have demonstrated that a model for high-quality open access publishing without article processing charges is possible and also sustainable in the long-term. During these first five years, the Open Library of Humanities has made thousands of articles open access under our no-author-fee system funded by our member libraries. We have shown that academic libraries are willing to pay for open infrastructure as part of their mission, and that scholars in the humanities do not oppose to high-quality peer-reviewed open access when there are no financial barriers along the way.

When Martin Eve and Caroline Edwards began to devise the project, one of the first things that they did was to ask academic libraries if they would continue to pay for the subscriptions if they became open access, and the answer was and continues to be a resounding ‘yes’. This has allowed us to celebrate five years and became financially independent. What we need now is for other publishing houses and academic societies to experiment with this model and adapt it to their respective needs and realities. The main beneficiaries of a greater diffusion of consortial models like ours will always be, in any case, researchers and universities and their increasingly tight budgets. 

There have been several exciting new developments in the recent months. Earlier this year, the Open Library of Humanities launched the OLH Open Access Award 2020, a fund dedicated to promoting the benefits and impact of open access to humanities scholars and disciplines and to knowledge worldwide. Our open access awards were awarded to two organisations in recognition for their exceptional open access scholarly projects: the National Library of Kosovo and the Open Access Digital Theological Library.

We’ve also invested in improvements for our Janeway scholarly publishing platform to ensure accessibility for a wider range of people with disabilities, as well as making our software compatible with major publishing software systems to make it easier for journals to join us. 

Our OLH EmpowOA programme, an initiative we launched in 2018 to support scholars and librarians working in the humanities, keeps growing with the addition of multilingual advocacy resources and the publication of new Open Insights interviews and blog posts from a rich variety of scholars and librarians within the humanities and open access communities. We have also recently started hosting live chats with our academic editors, you can watch our latest webinars here.

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Twitter
@openlibhums 

You can hear from all of this year's finalists at the ALPSP Awards Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September.  Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
  
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Spotlight on Jus Mundi - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

The judges have selected a shortlist of eight for this year's ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  The winners will be announced on 16 September at the opening of the ALPSP 2020 Virtual Conference. In this series, we learn more about the finalists.

In this post, we hear from Jean-Rémi de Maistre, CEO & Co-founder of Jus Mundi. 

Tell us a bit about your organization.

logo Jus Mundi The Search Engine for International Law and Arbitration
Paris-based Jus Mundi strives to make International Law & Arbitration easily accessible and understandable to lawyers worldwide. We built a multilingual search engine by publishing the most comprehensive international legal database. We collect and structure global legal data that is otherwise dispersed across multiple restrictive sources or simply not available. Our intuitive, user-friendly interface powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning allows lawyers to do their research quickly and efficiently with legal filters.  We partnered with Brill to distribute Jus Mundi to academics. Jus Mundi is featured on Forbes Top Machine Learning Startups in 2020.

What are the main features of Jus Mundi?

Unique Content: Jus Mundi offers the most comprehensive collection document of public international law, investment arbitration, commercial arbitration, international trade law, international economic law, law of the sea. All documents are interactive. The text has been extracted from the original PDF version (including poor quality scanned copies), manually corrected, automatically structured by paragraph or page with an interactive table of content, and enriched with keywords. 

Multilingual Search Engine: When a legal query is entered in English or French, the search engine finds relevant results in all languages available in the database. Searching on Jus Mundi is more comprehensive and relevant due to the quality of the documents.

screenshot multilingual search engine

 
CiteMap: Our innovative feature CiteMap is developed with an algorithm that presents the list of relevant case law on our database in multiple languages for a particular paragraph of a document when you hover the cursor.

graphic Citemap

 
Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

As we cater to the international market, we ensured that the company’s strategies align with it. Today, we are proud to say that we have 11 different nationalities from all around the world. We have data scientists, engineers, web designers, and of course, lawyers. Our team adapted quickly during the times of COVID19 as we were already working remotely pretty regularly. We also onboarded a few recruits online to adapt to the situation.

Alain Pellet, one of the most recognized lawyers in international law, advised us on the legal data part since the beginning, and we are grateful for his help all along.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

Our solution is innovative because it combines advanced technologies, such as machine learning & artificial intelligence, with collaborative human intelligence. Recently we published commercial arbitration awards that are exclusively available on our website. We have developed an algorithm that explores worldwide case laws to extract the relevant international legal data (for instance, international awards) for our users. Our database is updated weekly, so the lawyers are always up to date with their legal knowledge. Our solution is significant because we are filling up the current gap between the dispersed legal data and lawyers who are looking to access this data by providing them on our platform. Thanks to our search engine, lawyers and students can extract essential information from legal documents in a few clicks.

We are also offering easy accessibility to our data, e.g. Jus Mundi’s Wiki Notes — a directory of concept notes published by lawyers globally - are accessible freely without requiring an account.

What are your plans for the future?

Jus Mundi's ambition is to make the entire body of international law accessible. Therefore, we are going to extend to all other areas of international law (human rights, the environment, international criminal law, private international law, etc.). We also plan to make our platform available in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.
We have also started working with "traditional" publishers, such as our partner Brill, to index their content and interconnect it with the Jus Mundi database. There are a vast number of books and articles in international law that are produced all over the world. The problem is that it is very challenging for researchers to find what they need quickly. The specific algorithms developed by Jus Mundi can meet this need.





Jean-Rémi de Maistre is CEO & Co-founder of Jus Mundi and has practised for several years as a lawyer in international law. 




Twitter: @JusMundi

You can hear from all of the Finalists at the ALPSP Awards Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September. Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.

The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.