STM Newsletter - May 2019

News - Academic Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Alastair Horne, in association with the London Book Fair, on open access developments at Springer Nature, PLS initiatives, and other news from the STM publishing world

Springer agrees Plan S-compliant deal with JISC; proposes active OA role for publishers
Springer Nature has agreed a new "read and publish" agreement with JISC, meeting the requirements of Plan S that scientific research funded by public grants should be published in open access journals or platforms. Building upon an earlier three-year subscription-focused agreement between the two parties, the new deal is said to limit the costs of publishing UK articles via open access while maintaining access to all of Springer's subscription articles.

Chief publishing officer Stephen Inchcoombe has also intervened in the debate over Plan S and the transition to an open access future in the form of a post on the SpringerNature blog. In it, Inchcoombe encourages publishers to become drivers rather than merely enablers of the transition, stimulating demand for open access "by advocating, promoting, educating, and making the technical changes needed to measure and showcase the benefits of OA", and ensuring that "our pricing and fees leave no doubt about which articles are funded in which ways during the transition". Those who complied with certain standards - involving offering and then scaling up transformative read-and-publish deals, committing to adapting their hybrid and subscription journals to full open access, and providing aggregated metadata for open access articles - would be certified as "Transformative Publishers".

Continuing the open access theme, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced that its current Open Access Review will incorporate a public consultation on its draft policy running from September to November 2019; the final report is expected to be published in March 2020.

PLS assist with REF; relaunches Access to Research
Publishers' Licensing Services (PLS) is working with publishers and the UK's four higher education funding bodies to facilitate secure electronic access to more than 200,000 journal articles and other research outputs due to be assessed in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, which informs the allocation of an annual budget of about £2 billion in research funding. PLS will request that publishers provide fee-free electronic access to their publications to enable the REF team to complete the assessment.

Access to Research, the PLS-led initiative providing access to scholarly research through public libraries, has been relaunched following a two-year pilot running from 2014 to 2016. Developed in partnership with Libraries Connected, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), ProQuest and the Publishers Association (PA), along with public libraries and publishers, the initiative enables members of the public to search more than 15 million journal articles and print out copies.

Wiley acquires Knewton; launches new journals
Wiley is to acquire the courseware and adaptive learning technology Knewton for an undisclosed fee at the end of this month. The deal includes Knewton's Alta courseware platform, which delivers open educational resources in areas including maths, chemistry and economics to more than 300 colleges and universities. Wiley has also announced the launch of two new open access journals, Genetics & Genomics Next and Neuroscience Next.

Digital Science acquires new company; announces partnerships for existing companies
Digital Science has added the AI-based language platform Writefull to its stable of companies. The platform draws upon billions of sentences drawn from scientific literature to suggest improvements to grammar and spelling and greater compliance with the norms of academic language usage and discipline-specific vocabulary.

Meanwhile, two established Digital Science companies have announced their involvement in new partnerships. Dimensions has announced an agreement with Hindawi that will provide its Analytics and API to staff at the open access publisher, enabling them to carry out novel analysis, track journal performance, monitor the research landscape, identify emerging fields, and develop their strategic planning. And online open access repository Figshare is one of more than 30 organisations involved in stage two of the Natural Environment Research Council's Community for Engaging Environments project, which will see researchers collaborate with diverse communities on issues in environmental science.

In brief
Scholarly publishing technology provider HighWire has been issued a patent for the algorithm and design underlying its Rejected Article Tracker, part of its Impact Vizor suite of tools. The Tracker identifies articles previously rejected by publishers and compares their impact and performance with those that were accepted, offering quantitative insights that may inform future decisions about publishing criteria.

Clarivate Analytics has introduced a new Simplified Chinese user interface for its Cortellis Suite of Life Science Intelligence Solutions, in recognition of the fact that China has become the second largest, and fastest emerging market for the bio-pharmaceuticals industry.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has launched a new platform, entitled Author and Reviewer Hub, to assist authors and reviewers submitting articles or reviews for its journals.


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