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How an author workshop transformed one editor from skeptic to convert

Professor Raymond Coleman, Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Acta histochemica, believes these events help authors on the path to getting published.

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Scientists who do not publish the results of their research will not receive any recognition or earn respect as independent researchers. Producing the first manuscript and having it accepted is a major hurdle for junior scientists, who normally follow a stiff learning curve as their first efforts are rejected or criticized. These initial manuscripts are usually products of their PhD thesis. If their native tongue is not English, then the hurdles become even more hazardous. Whereas some students have an innate gift for writing and communication, others lack such a talent. The real question is can we educate young graduate students to improve their chances of being published?

Many of the major scientific publishers, including Elsevier, make enormous efforts to help authors avoid rejection. One such instrument is providing author training workshops where journal Editors-in-Chief, like me, can provide tips and tricks for writing successful papers. I was always somewhat skeptical about the merits of these workshops; after all, as far as I am aware, none have been held in Israel, where I live, yet the success rate of publications by young graduate students is extremely high.

My opinion was recently changed after participating in the first author workshop held at Hacettepe University Congress Center in Ankara, Turkey. It was a two-day meeting in October this year and was organized by Petek Korkusuz of the university’s Department of Histology and Embryology together with Elsevier.

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Professor Coleman and Petek Korkusuz at the workshop in Turkey.


Within a short time of its announcement, the course attracted 110 graduate students and apparently that number could easily have been doubled if space had not been restricted.

The other main speaker was journal editor Rocky S. Tuan (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine). While the meeting placed emphasis on aspects of histochemistry, cytochemistry, stem cell science and regenerative medicine, what was abundantly clear was that the same rules apply when submitting research papers, regardless of the specific area in biological science. The topics presented included:

  • A review of publishing in the digital age
  • How research has been recorded for more than 300 years and the changes introduced in the last two decades
  • Good science hypothesis, rationale and originality

There was also extensive advice offered on a paper’s Title, Abstract and Keywords, followed by what needs to be included in the Introduction, Materials and Methods; presentation of Results; and the role of the Discussion, References, Tables and Figures.

There were also sessions on statistical errors and ethics in publishing. These covered:

  • Institutional ethics committees;
  • COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics);
  • plagiarism and its detection;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • who should be included as an author;
  • "Ghost authors";
  • reasons for retraction; and
  • predatory journals.

During the course of the workshop, drafts of manuscripts by young scientists were subject to constructive criticism with recommendations for improvements. The advice given was much appreciated and students were able to see how the material taught in the author workshop could be applied to improve their manuscripts and increase their chances of acceptance. All the participants had the opportunity to join the debate and a consensus was reached regarding improvements to the papers.

What you need to know about Elsevier’s researcher training program

Publishing Connect, Elsevier’s ongoing and popular researcher skills training program, comprises three main elements:

  •  Author and Reviewer (face-to-face) workshops. Typically these are held at universities and scientific conferences, usually in partnership with one of Elsevier's journal editors
  • Live training webinars for early career researchers interested in improving their knowledge and skills in publishing academic research
  • Online training webcasts – bite-sized videos to support ongoing training

Each year, Elsevier’s journal publishers and editors engage with, and train, thousands of early career researchers worldwide.

Find out more about the Publishing Connect program

To keep abreast of our news for early career researchers, including announcements of future Publishing Connect webinars, follow us on Twitter: @ECRPubConnect

If you are looking to organize a similar workshop at your institute, you can contact Hannah Foreman, Head of Researcher Relations at Elsevier.

Each attendee received an Elsevier pack with a notebook, pen, and two DVDs containing the PowerPoint presentations of the lectures and a wide range of useful material. Attendees also received an attractive Certificate of Attendance. The responses we received were extremely positive and constructive – people commented on how useful and relevant the workshop was and highlighted the need to hold similar events in Turkey on an annual basis. I subsequently received several emails from students about how much they valued the opportunity to speak to Editors-in-Chief.

I am now converted and I am convinced that author workshops like Elsevier’s Publishing Connect program do have considerable value. The local scientific organizers did a magnificent job but, above all, Acta histochemica received considerable exposure; Gamze Keskin, Elsevier’s research solutions representative for this area, also did a fantastic job in highlighting the role Elsevier plays in advancing knowledge.

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Author biography

Professor Raymond Coleman is Editor-in-Chief of Acta histochemica (founded in 1954 and still going strong). He was born in Liverpool in 1943 and attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys in the same year as Paul McCartney and George Harrison. He received his PhD from the University of Leeds in 1967 with a specialization in electron microscopy and endocrinology. In the same year he was appointed to the Faculty of the University of London to teach Zoology. In 1973, he was awarded a Royal Society-Israel Academy Fellowship at Tel Aviv University and in 1975 he joined the newly founded Faculty of Medicine of the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, where he has been in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology ever since. Since his first publication in 1967 (in Histology), Professor Coleman has published more than 140 peer-reviewed papers and has special interests in microscopy, atherosclerosis, and aging. His student textbook on Multiple Choice Questions in Histology (1983) is still widely used and his webpages for student histology learning are very popular.

YlannSchemm

Call for Elsevier Foundation nominations for 2015 physics and math awards

The nomination deadline is Friday 17th October, 2014.

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Ylann Schemm | Senior Corporate Responsibility Manager, Elsevier

Nominations close on Friday, 17th October, 2014.

In 2015, five talented physicists and mathematicians representing five regions of the developing world will be recognized for their work at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Jose, California. The Elsevier Foundation Awards for Women Scientists in the Developing World are granted annually by The Elsevier Foundation, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) with the aim of building scientific strength and advancing scientific knowledge in developing countries.

The program rotates annually between disciplines (physics/math, medical/life sciences, and chemistry).

For 2015, nominees should be women in physics and mathematics early in their careers (within 10 years of receiving a PhD) from one of the 81 scientifically lagging countries as defined by TWAS. Nominations are being accepted through October 17th and will be reviewed by a committee of eminent scientists representing the five regions in the discipline selected, including members of TWAS and OWSD, and chaired by OWSD President Dr. Fang Xin of China. Winners will be granted a cash prize of $5,000 and a year's access to Elsevier's ScienceDirect and  Scopus, the world's largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature. In addition, this year the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), based in Trieste, Italy, is offering each of the winners free attendance and accommodation at one of ICTP's workshops and conferences.

Dr. Charon Duermeijer (@duermeijer), Publishing Director of Elsevier Physics Journals, said the journal teams strongly support this initiative:

"I would like to personally ask all physicists and mathematicians to come forward with suggestions. This award will ensure that these scientists will be credited for their contributions, and it will raise their profile in the scientific community, making it easier for them to make connections with all of you. Even a nomination would make a real difference in the lives of these individuals."

Learn more and nominate a scientist

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New tools help authors boost the visibility and impact of their research

While there is much publishers and editors can do to ensure good research is highlighted, there’s no doubt authors also have an important role to play. Elsevier has developed several initiatives designed to help authors promote their papers. Below you can learn more about two of the most recent – Kudos and Share Link. We […]

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While there is much publishers and editors can do to ensure good research is highlighted, there’s no doubt authors also have an important role to play.

Elsevier has developed several initiatives designed to help authors promote their papers. Below you can learn more about two of the most recent – Kudos and Share Link. We also touch on a longer-standing project, AudioSlides. And with researchers increasingly evaluated not only by the number of articles they have published but also by their impact, initiatives like these have never been more important.

What is Kudos?

Traditionally, the impact of publications is measured by citations. However, not only does it take a while for citations to begin accumulating, they also provide a limited picture of an article's reach. For that reason, other metrics – such as readership figures, social media mentions, and captures and shares on academic networks – are proving increasingly popular.

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This is where a new service called Kudos comes in. In the words of its founders, Kudos was developed to help researchers, their institutions and funders "measure, monitor and maximize" the visibility and impact of their published articles. It does this by focusing on three core principles:

  • Readers are increasingly struggling to filter the growing quantity of published research.
  • Information that supports the ability of users to filter their searches – such as lay summaries and impact statements – often exists but is not made public.
  • Authors are in the best position to increase the awareness and impact of their work, but they don't always know how.

Kudos provides a platform for:

  • Assembling and creating information to help search filtering.
  • Sharing information to drive discovery.
  • Measuring and monitoring the effect of both activities.

After a successful alpha release phase in partnership with AIP Publishing, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Taylor & Francis, Kudos is ready to take the next step and has signed up additional publishers, including Elsevier, for their beta phase. During this beta phase, which runs from April–December this year, we will test the tool with 22 journals.

Elsevier journals participating in the Kudos initiative are:

Resuscitation American Heart Journal
Vaccine Evolution and Human Behavior
Virology Journal Of Molecular Biology
Journal of Adolescent Health The Journal of the Economics of Ageing
Fertility and Sterility Journal of Consumer Psychology
Journal of Human Evolution Leukemia Research Reports
Science of the Total Environment Thrombosis Research
Journal of Archaeological Science Journal of Functional Foods
Cognition Animal Behavior
Journal of Research in Personality Appetite
MethodsX Neuroimage


How Kudos works

Following publication of their articles, authors from participating journals will receive an email asking them to log on to the Kudos platform. On the platform, they will be led through various steps that prompt them to explain their article; add context via links to other content such as images and data; and share their article via social networks and email.

The Kudos platform, which is free for authors, allows authors to see the effect of their actions on altmetrics (via Altmetric.com) and data about the usage of their article on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect.

The alpha pilot site for Kudos was launched in September last year and during the three-month pilot period more than 5,500 authors registered. They have claimed articles, enhanced them with additional metadata (such as a short title and lay summary) and links to related resources, and shared them via email and social networks, which has led to increased usage of those articles.

During the beta phase, Kudos is working with a much wider group of publishers, articles and authors, which will enable them to undertake more rigorous analysis of the effectiveness of the service, and explore variables such as subscription versus open access.

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Introducing Share Link

For more than a decade, we have provided authors publishing in an Elsevier journal with an ‘e-offprint’ of their article – a PDF version they can share with their colleagues and peers.

But times and technologies have changed, and this year we are rolling out a new functionality: Share Link. Instead of a PDF, authors will receive a personalized link providing 50 days’ free access to their newly-published article on ScienceDirect.

Each customized link is ideal for sharing via email and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Mendeley, and ResearchGate. Users clicking on the Share Link will be taken directly to the article with no sign up or registration required.

Professor David Nash

Professor David Nash

When will this technology be available?

In December 2013, a trial mailing was sent to 26,000 authors whose articles were published in October of that year. Feedback was encouraging with authors welcoming the opportunity to share their research.

After publication of a paper in Journal of Human Evolution, David J. Nash, Professor of Physical Geography at the School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, tweeted his enthusiasm about Share Link.

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He later commented: “I’m very supportive of making research as widely available to end-users and the interested public as possible. Not everyone has access to academic journals, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa where I do much of my research. Rather than having to send my contacts personal copies of papers, it is much more useful to have free access, even if only for a limited period. The research I published last year in the Journal of Human Evolution was funded internally by my institution. As such, I did not have the resources to pay for full open access to my article. Any move to improve this situation would be welcomed.”

Following an expansion of the initial Share Link trial, the decision has now been taken to roll out the program and we expect to make it available to all eligible Elsevier titles by mid-2014.

Which journals will offer Share Link?

The majority of Elsevier’s journals will benefit from the program. Journals operating outside the Elsevier Production Tracking System (PTS), from which the Share Link data is extracted, and a selection of other titles are currently not included.

What are the benefits?

  • By sharing a link via their own social media accounts and email, authors can generate extra interest in their article.
  • The process is simple for the author’s connections – if they click on the link during the 50-day free access period, no registration is required.
  • The article becomes more visible, which has the potential to increase downloads and citations.

What will happen to the current e-offprint program?

Once the Share Link program has been rolled out to all eligible journals, the current e-offprint program will be closed. For those journals not using Share Link we are working on an alternative solution.

AudioSlides allow authors to make mini-webcasts about their papers

Last year, Elsevier’s Article of the Future team launched a novel approach to helping authors ensure their research gets the attention it deserves - AudioSlides.

AudioSlides are 5-minute webcast-style presentations created by the authors of journal articles. Using a blend of slides (PDF and PowerPoint) and voice-over, authors can explain their research in their own words. The resulting presentation appears alongside their published article on ScienceDirect and, like the abstract, can be viewed by subscribers and non-subscribers alike.

Because AudioSlides presentations are made available under a Creative Commons open-access license, authors can also embed them on their personal or institutional websites. The team has also recently made it possible for authors to download their presentations in mp4/movie format so they have the option to promote them through other channels, such as YouTube, or in presentations at workshops and conferences.

Since the initiative was launched, more than 1,760 AudioSlides presentations have been created.

Author biography

Dr Inez van Korlaar

Dr Inez van Korlaar

Inez van Korlaar
DIRECTOR OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Inez van Korlaar (@InezvKorlaar) joined Elsevier in 2006. After three years in publishing, she moved to the marketing communications department of STM Journals. In her current role she is responsible for global marketing communication projects, which includes outreach to researchers in their role as an author. She has a PhD in health psychology from Leiden University in The Netherlands and is based in Amsterdam.

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How to promote research in your journals (and why you should)

In this article, Lucy Goodchild discusses a new project within Elsevier’s journal marketing department to identify and share good science, while Sacha Boucherie explains how the Newsroom can help. Goodchild also guides us through the reasons why sharing science will benefit your journal. There are 12,360,691 articles in 2,500 journals on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect as I […]

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In this article, Lucy Goodchild discusses a new project within Elsevier’s journal marketing department to identify and share good science, while Sacha Boucherie explains how the Newsroom can help. Goodchild also guides us through the reasons why sharing science will benefit your journal.

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There are 12,360,691 articles in 2,500 journals on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect as I write. How many stories are among them? How many exciting discoveries, fascinating facts and important findings?

Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department is currently piloting a content marketing toolkit of resources for editors and marketing communications managers; the toolkit helps editors to identify potential stories and marketing communications managers to write them. Together we can tell research stories across a variety of communications platforms, from Elsevier Connect to Twitter (and who knows – maybe we’ll be making science comics in the future…).

Get creative: try out the toolkit

It can be very difficult to take a step back from a topic when you’re as deeply involved in it as most researchers are. And that’s exactly where the toolkit comes in – it helps us to step back from the science and see the story.

The story telling process is simple, and the key step – which is the one you can take as an editor – comes first.

Step 1: identify the story
Sounds simple, but this is where the real added value is. As an editor, you see the articles as they come in and, crucially, you know whether the science is new, surprising, or important. By flagging up potential stories, you can help promote the journal.

Step 2: identify the audience
This is where we come in. The marketing communications manager looks at the proposed stories (much like a newspaper editor considers the day’s content) and decides what can go where. One story might be best for an interview with the author on the journal homepage, one could be a catchy message on social media, and another might be a great press release. We use the channel tree to help with this.

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Step 3: create the content
The author is important here and the marketing communications manager contacts them with a set of plain English questions about their research. We then use the relevant template to create the story in the right format for the chosen channel.

Step 4: publish, promote, measure
After approvals, we publish the content and promote it across the relevant Elsevier social media channels – we currently have 160+ which together led to a 2,800% increase in visits to our journal homepages, ScienceDirect and Elsevier.com in 2013. We also measure a number of things, to determine how successful the outreach was. We look at the number of views a story has received, likes and shares on social media, comments and engagement, and we also gather qualitative feedback from authors.

Elsevier Editors KLEIN LR

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Eagle Eye: spotting great stories

You can use this checklist to determine whether the article you want to suggest for promotion is newsworthy.

  • Timing - is it new? (i.e. online for 4 weeks or less)
  • Impact - does the research impact many people?
  • Result - is there a clear finding that you can summarize in one sentence?
  • Emotion - does it make you feel happy/sad/surprised/angry?
  • Entertainment - is it an interesting and entertaining story?
  • Location - could the research be interesting to regional media?
  • Celebrity - does the research relate to a celebrity? (this means a recognizable 'star', which could be an elephant or Jupiter or a Prime minister)
  • Novelty - is the research fresh? (It's best if it hasn't been press released or covered in the media)

Have you ticked three boxes or more? This could be a story we can promote - please send it to us! Got questions? Contact your marketing communications manager.

How Elsevier’s Newsroom can help

Once you have accepted for publication a research paper you think is newsworthy, interesting, ground-breaking or highly impactful to society, we can help you promote the paper and, indirectly, your journal. To get that process going, just contact your marketing communications manager who will then contact the Newsroom (newsroom@elsevier.com). Together we can determine the required next steps.

The list below provides an overview of the main channels and services we have available for promoting research through the media.

Press releases
Used to highlight papers presenting the highest impact research or special issues of journals, press releases are distributed to science media across the world through global newswire services. Depending on the focus of the research highlighted, they may also be sent to a specific group of journalists or to media in a specific region. Typically, a press release will highlight the key findings of the research, an outline of the method and include quotes by the authors and/or editor.

Research alerts
These are a shorter version of a press release – typically 250 words in length. Results do not necessarily need to be ground-breaking; the topic just has to appeal to the general public. They contain the key findings of the research and its implications in lay language; quotes do not need to be included. Similar to a press release, research alerts are distributed globally to science media platforms and to a tailored list of media.

Elsevier’s Research Selection
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This e-newsletter allows us to promote a number of different research papers in a single mailing. Each fortnight, it is sent to a global media list covering 1,600+ subscribing science journalists. Research included is fun, topical, or otherwise intriguing, and topics often touch upon aspects of our daily lives such as health, food, diet, sports and sex. Each edition highlights 5-8 research papers which are summarized in a couple of sentences with links to the full article online, enabling journalists to further interpret the results and determine the story angle. Articles included are in-press and have not been available online for more than 6 weeks.

Monitoring for coverage
The Newsroom scans media across the globe for coverage on research published in Elsevier journals. These media clips are included in daily media reports to Elsevier publishers and marketing communications managers. We can particularly focus on selected journals if they have recently made announcements to the media.

@ElsevierNews Twitter account
The official Newsroom Twitter account, @ElsevierNews, currently has 6,800+ followers, and this number is growing steadily. Our follower profiles include bloggers, journalists, academics, faculty, librarians, doctors, Elsevier editors, publishers, and marketing communications managers. All press releases, research alerts and Research Selection editions are tweeted.

Working with journalists directly
At times, science journalists look for an expert to help interpret or comment on particular study findings. On these occasions, we may, through your publisher, seek your expertise. Similarly, you may be approached by members of the media directly, as may the authors publishing in your journals. In all these cases, we appreciate remaining informed about your media activities and are happy to support and advise you.

Opening up articles for promotional access
Over the past months, the Newsroom has increased efforts to promote research papers by opening them up to external audiences (e.g. media and the general public) for a specified period of time. This action may be tied to a press release or research alert, allowing journalists to link to the full article in their stories. On other occasions, this can be done to highlight an article as a “must read” on the journal homepage or through social media channels.

Our support is not limited to the above list and for all specific cases, questions and suggestions we are here to help, brainstorm and advise.

Science communication: why bother?

In his 2008 book The Discovery of Global Warming, Spencer Weart talks about the relationship between scientists and the public in the 1970s, concluding that “most scientists already felt they were doing their jobs by pursuing their research and publishing it.” Although much has changed, marine biologist and filmmaker Randy Olson still thinks there’s room for improvement. In his book Don't Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style, he encourages scientists to “lighten up”, and says science communication should be done through storytelling.

But why? And how will it help your journal?

Enable authors to engage with the public
It’s a competitive environment for researchers today, and funding requirements often include references to public engagement. Authors are more attracted to journals that provide the possibility of engaging with wider audiences on the research they publish. By providing them with opportunities to promote their research and engage the public, we can support their research, their funding applications and, ultimately, their careers.

Improve recognition of the journals
Researchers read newspapers. They search on Google, scan blogs, follow Tweets and watch the news. Reading about research published in a particular journal on a platform they trust can have a very positive effect on their perception of the journal.

There’s also evidence to suggest a  link between exposure, usage and citations when it comes to scientific articles; the more an article is mentioned publically, the higher chance it has to be noticed, therefore read and – potentially – cited. Higher exposure and usage result in improved recognition, which could lead to increased submissions.

In support of science
Science is helpful and useful. It changes the lives of ordinary people on a daily basis. In 1985, The Royal Society published The Public Understanding of Science, on why science communication is important to society. According to the publication, “More than ever, people need some understanding of science, whether they are involved in decision-making at a national or local level, in managing industrial companies, in skilled or semi-skilled employment, in voting as private citizens or in making a wide range of personal decisions.”

The door swings both ways – research can gain big benefits from engaging with the public. Research suggests that active engagement between scientists and the public can greatly increase the scope of projects. According to a recent article in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, “We simply need to be more creative about getting research to the people – instead of expecting them to come to us.”

Note from Ed: Don’t forget, you can also promote journal initiatives via Editors’ Update. While we don’t publish research, we are always keen to feature articles written by editors about topics of interest to your peers, e.g. thoughts on peer review, advice on how you have dealt with a challenge, ideas for journal improvements or simply a topic you feel strongly about. Just email editorsupdate@elsevier.com.

Author biographies

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Lucy Goodchild

Lucy Goodchild
SENIOR MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, LIFE SCIENCES
Lucy Goodchild joined Elsevier in November 2012, promoting Elsevier’s immunology and microbiology journals and conferences from the Amsterdam office. She has a background in science writing and press relations through her previous work at the Society for General Microbiology and Imperial College London. Goodchild earned a BSc degree in genetics and microbiology from the University of Leeds and an MSc in the history of science, technology and medicine from Imperial College London.


 

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Sacha Boucherie

Sacha Boucherie
SENIOR PRESS OFFICER
In her role, Sacha Boucherie works closely with Elsevier's journal publishers, editors and authors at one end and with science journalists and reporters at the other end with the aim of spotlighting and promoting interesting, topical research articles. She is based at Elsevier's Amsterdam headquarters and holds a master's degree in social psychology at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

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Guest Editorial: Nicoline van der Linden, Elsevier Senior Vice President

In this Sharing Research Special Issue, I am delighted to welcome as Guest Editor the Senior Vice President of Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department, Nicoline van der Linden. After gaining an MSc in Medical Biology from the University of Amsterdam and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, she […]

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In this Sharing Research Special Issue, I am delighted to welcome as Guest Editor the Senior Vice President of Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department, Nicoline van der Linden. After gaining an MSc in Medical Biology from the University of Amsterdam and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, she began her career as a researcher in Life Sciences. She worked as a molecular biologist in the pharmaceutical industry in Basel before joining Elsevier’s Amsterdam office two decades ago. Since then, she has held various roles in publishing, product development, marketing communications and researcher engagement.

I hope you enjoy this issue. We’ll be back in September with a focus on technology and how it can support you in your role.

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It was author Isaac Asimov who wrote in the 1970s: “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

Those words ring just as true in 2014. We see the role of our editors and authors changing – not only in terms of how they must manage their journals or craft their papers, but in their day to day lives as academics. The world is digitizing at a very fast pace; this has greatly influenced how we search for information and has broadened the possibilities for dissemination and visualization of content.

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Nicoline van der Linden

The role of publishers is evolving too. While we have long needed to ensure that manuscripts are publishable and protected, in recent years it has become increasingly important that we make them searchable; retrievable; citable; and suitable for archiving on all our platforms – and, to some extent, other platforms – and for this we need the latest technologies.

At Elsevier, we operate an integrated marketing communications policy designed to ensure that messaging and communication strategies are unified across all channels and are focused on the researchers we serve. We combine more traditional media with newer avenues and allow the strengths of one to support the weaknesses of the other.

Increasingly, that integrated marketing communications is being driven by technology and it is an almost irresistible force. Just look at popular author services such as Journal Insights, CiteAlert and Article Usage Reports where automation/IT and promotion go hand in hand. This rising focus on technology will allow our marketing to become more and more targeted as we embrace databases and new electronic delivery systems. We hope this means we will be able to deliver more meaningful information to our research communities. To assist with that process, we have developed an online Customer Preference Center, where recipients can choose which communications they would like to receive.

As well as the journal-specific campaigns – highlighted in the Marketing Overview you receive from your marketing communications manager each year – we also run ‘global’ campaigns, which cater for large numbers of titles. These allow us to deliver consistent, timely information to authors and/or editors, no matter which journal they are associated with. Examples include:

  • Speed campaign: A large-scale mailing to authors showcasing the improvements made to editorial, reviewing and publication times.
  • Impact campaign: For the past few years, we have sent communications to editors and authors containing newly-released Impact Factors (and relative Impact Factors) for each and every journal. In the future, we hope to do the same for other impact measurements.
  • Social media: In our experience, very few journals can carry their own social media channel so we have created portfolio or subject channels. We currently have over 160 of them on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. In How you can use social media professionally, we describe the rapid growth of our followers and engagement and offer advice to editors wanting to set up their own profiles.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) / Search engine marketing (SEM): We have focused on improving these aspects for all our journal homepages so that content is easier to find.  As a result, over the past three years, the number of Elsevier titles ranking in the top 3 Google results has increased by almost 70 percent.
  • Open access campaigns: These promotional campaigns are focused on ensuring that people are aware that nearly 1,700 of our journals – almost all of them – now accept OA articles.
  • Top 25 downloads: In this author mailing, we announce the 25 most popular articles downloaded from ScienceDirect per subject area.

Each year, we open more than 18,500 articles to the public through promotional access. Via Elsevier funding (e.g. by waiving OA article fees) we open up another 2,440+. Together, that is more than 20,000 articles. The majority of these receive our support because the editor has indicated they are special in some way, or analysis of reader behavior has led us to do so. We also make journal articles openly available to the press. In addition, Elsevier is actively supporting open data. While we have already been leading in linking our articles to open data at various data repositories, we are now investigating how we can open up all supplementary materials on ScienceDirect that contain original research data.

It is worth noting that with the introduction of new tools, techniques and business models, responsibilities are changing. As editors, there is still much you can do to make noteworthy or novel research more visible to our readers, as we explain in How to promote research in your journals (and why you should).

But for authors, it is no longer the case that publishing their article will ensure people read their research. They have an important role to play in raising the profile of their article. This is especially true with the rise in the number of OA articles, which sees some of the promotional responsibilities (and possibilities) for sharing divested to the authors themselves. In New tools help authors boost the visibility and impact of their research, we outline some of the avenues we have available to support them.

Interestingly, this new emphasis on author self-promotion may leverage the already shifting focus from the Impact Factor to other measures such as downloads, social media shares, Snip, Eigenfactor, and H-index. If it does, you can rest assured that Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department will be ready to respond…

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Publishing skills webinar series for early career researchers

Registrations are now open for our webinar series for ECRs which focuses on developing their publishing skills.

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Gaelle Hull | Interim Researcher Relations Manager, Elsevier

Publishing Connect Logo rgb_smallElsevier is always keen to help new authors develop their publishing skills so that they can submit the best articles possible to your journals. You are probably already aware of our hugely popular Publishing Connect program, which last year alone brought publishing workshops to more than 30,000 researchers at institutions and conferences across the globe. You may even have taken part in such a workshop with your Publisher.

To increase the reach of this program, we are launching a series of live webinars, taking place between 8 - 22 May 2014. These events will cover all the key skills and knowledge necessary to prepare an article for submission.

Registration is open to all, and participants can select which events they want to attend.

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Introduction to Scholarly Publishing

Presenter: Keith Lambert, Publisher
Date and time: 8 May 2014, 3pm BST, 4pm CEST, 10am EDT
Content: Covers the key contributions to the scientific and health communities that Publishers make.

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How to Get Published

Presenter: Anthony Newman, Senior Publisher

Part I: Preparing Your Manuscript
Date: 13 May 2014, 3pm BST, 4pm CEST, 10am EDT
Content: Covers the steps required for preparing a manuscript for publication.

Part II: Structuring an Article
Date: 14 May 2014, 3pm BST, 4pm CEST, 10am EDT
Content: Outlines all the essential elements of an article, from the title and keywords, right through to the conclusion and references.

Part III: Using Proper Scientific Language
Date: 15 May 2014, 3pm BST, 4pm CEST, 10am EDT
Content: Explains why proper language is vital and discusses the main ways to present research, including the correct use of tenses and grammar.

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Research and Publishing Ethics

Presenter: Catriona Fennell, Director Publishing Services
Date: 22 May 2014, 3pm BST, 4pm CEST, 10am EDT
Content: An overview of key ethical topics, such as authorship, plagiarism and conflict of interest.

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REGISTRATIONS ARE NOW OPEN

GaelleHull

Postdoc Free Access Programme: Back by popular demand

The return of the Postdoc Free Access Programme will help young scholars stay current in their field – even in an uncertain job market.

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Gaelle Hull | Marketing Communications Manager, Elsevier

In November 2012 and again in June 2013 we launched a programme to support young scholars in between jobs or looking for their first postdoctoral position. Applicants who qualified were granted up to six months free access to all our journals and books on ScienceDirect and were able to use this access to work on grant applications and research projects.

We were delighted with the response we got from the community; both from postdoctoral organisations who forwarded the application form link and from researchers who qualified for the free access.

One of the recipients of the 2012 program, Daniele Vergara of the University of Salento in Italy, wrote: “As a postdoc fellow in biological sciences, this program [gave] me the chance to maintain a vital scientific network, to read papers and write grants. In the absence of help from government and local institutions, the Elsevier program was a great experience, an innovative way to support postdocs during their research career.”

As the international economic situation continues to be challenging for scientifics starting their career, we have decided to bring back this program. In order to give even more people the option to apply we have extended the application period to six months. 

How to get the Free Access Passport

To qualify, candidates must complete a form verifying their credentials by August 31, 2014. Once approved, they will receive a personal code allowing access to ScienceDirect.

Qualifying criteria are:

  • Postdoctoral researchers who have received their PhD within the past five years.
  • Candidates must have completed their last research position (either PhD research or a postdoc or equivalent) on or after January 1, 2014, or have a position that will end before August 31, 2014.

Applicants should submit a scanned image of a letter from their last academic mentor or advisor that states the position held and the date on which the position ended or will end. For more on the program and an application, visit elsevier.com/postdocfreeaccess 

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Pilot allows authors to make submitted abstracts instantly visible

UPDATE 11.03.14:  Since this article was written, further Elsevier journals have joined the submitted abstracts pilot. They are: European Economic Review Surface Science (including Surface Science Letters) Reproductive BioMedicine Online Journal of Virological Methods To the editors of Atmospheric Environment, ensuring their readers could access research at the earliest possible stage was a top priority. So, […]

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UPDATE 11.03.14:  Since this article was written, further Elsevier journals have joined the submitted abstracts pilot. They are:

To the editors of Atmospheric Environment, ensuring their readers could access research at the earliest possible stage was a top priority.

So, together with their Publishing Director, Bethan Keall, they found a novel solution – publishing the abstracts of recently submitted papers on the journal’s Elsevier.com homepage.

Dr. Hanwant Singh

Dr. Hanwant Singh

Atmospheric Environment’s co-Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Hanwant Singh, explained: “We knew that early transparency was something our readers really value – embarking on this pilot provided us with an excellent opportunity to ensure they receive it.”

According to Keall, the pilot reflects a broader move towards transparency within publishing. She believes the benefits of the pilot are manifold. “Not only do readers get to see research at an earlier stage, they get a feeling for new work on the horizon and can even benchmark their work against the featured abstracts. Potential authors can also better gauge the range and scope of the journal and assess if the journal is the right home for their research,” she said.

It is clear readers are embracing the initiative – since the pilot was launched in March last year, the recently submitted abstracts pod has consistently proved the most popular on Atmospheric Environment’s homepage.

The trial, which is operated on an ‘opt-in’ basis, is also proving popular with authors – in the last 10 months, 50 percent of the 2,549 authors who have submitted a paper to the journal have chosen to participate.

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A full list of abstracts recently submitted to the journal can be reached via a pod on Atmospheric Environment's Elsevier.com homepage.

 

Dr. Singh, who leads a group of atmospheric scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center, said: “We have been offering this option for less than a year so that is quite a high opt-in rate. My hunch is that as word continues to spread, that figure will rise.”

Keall added: “It was very important to us that the project is driven by author choice – while many authors appreciate the opportunity to give their research greater visibility, there are always going to be occasions when research is just too novel or groundbreaking to be featured in this way.”

Keall regularly surveys authors using the RSS feed and recent feedback led to the corresponding author’s email address being featured alongside the abstract.

Dr. Singh said: “This is a really valuable addition and facilitates early interaction among researchers.”

How ‘Recently Submitted Abstracts’ works

As illustrated in the screenshot below, at the point of submission to Atmospheric Environment, authors are invited to choose whether they would like their abstract to be included – if they tick yes, an RSS feed picks up information exported from the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) and the abstract is included in a dedicated pod on Atmospheric Environment’s homepage. Articles rejected after the point of submission or peer review are removed from the RSS feed. Those that are accepted are transferred to appear as Articles in Press on ScienceDirect.

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Dr. Singh would be happy to see the initiative rolled out to other journals. He added: “Long ago, journals used to send out a table of contents that contained the titles of published articles. That didn’t provide you with enough information to understand what the paper contained. This is a big step forward.”

Bethan Keall

Keall is also looking into further expanding the service offered by the pilot. She said: “We currently offer researchers the opportunity to sign up for ScienceDirect text alerts, notifying them of any new, relevant content that is published. These help them be one of the first to hear about new developments. It would be interesting to see if we could offer that service for this pilot.”

In a recent edition of Elsevier’s Authors’ Update, readers were asked if they would like to see this rolled out to journals in their field – 80 percent of respondents said they would.

If you are interested in offering this for your journal, please contact Keall at b.keall@elsevier.com 

Bethan Keall and Dr. Hanwant Singh were interviewed by Linda Willems, Editor-in-Chief, Editors' Update.

 

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Journal visualization project benefits from new changes

Earlier this year we unveiled the Journal Insights pilot. The initiative has now been rolled out to more than 800 journals and we highlight some recent improvements.

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Hans Zijlstra | Marketing Project Manager, STM Journals Project Management department, Elsevier

Back in the March edition of Editors’ Update, we discussed the newly-launched Journal Insights project in the article Increased Transparency benefits both authors and journals.

The Elsevier.com and Health Advance homepages of all journals participating in the project (and the number has now reached 850) feature a new section, ‘Journal Insights’. Authors clicking on this link arrive at a landing page where they can select data visualizations of three key groups of metrics, developed to aid their decision making. When the project pilot was launched earlier this year, those three metrics were:

  • Quality - Graphs displaying the Impact Factor, five-year Impact Factor, Article Influence and Eigenfactor, SNIP and SJR.
  • Speed – Graphical representations of both the average review speed for the journal over a five-year period and the online article publication time (also known as production speed).
  • Authors - A detailed world map allows viewers to swiftly identify the geographical distribution of (corresponding) authors who have published in the journal within the past five years.

We have continued to work on improving the information displayed. Below I have outlined some recent changes which take on board lessons learned during the pilot phase and your early feedback.

  • The metric ‘Quality’ has undergone a name change – it is now referred to as Impact.
  • The Journal Insights homepage now offers an overview containing links to the individual metrics available in each category.
  • There is a new, simplified visualization of SNIP (Source-Normalized Impact per Paper) – Relative Database Potential (RDP) has been replaced by the Raw Impact per Paper (RIP), in the 5-year historical overview the highest value has a full circle and all lower values in the 4 years relate to that visually. RIP provides an interesting alternative to the Thomson Impact Factor, because it is based on Scopus data. 2012 data has also been added to SNIP.
  • Visualizations of the Article Influence & Eigenfactor and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) have also been updated. Additionally, SJR now includes 2012 data.
  • Changes have been made to the design to aid search engine optimization (SEO).
  • A new drop down menu has been created in the top bar to make navigation easier.

 

An example of the Journal Insights pod, which can be found on the Elsevier.com journal homepage of participating journals.

An example of the Journal Insights pod, which can be found on the Elsevier.com journal homepage of participating journals.

 

Wishlist

For 2014, we would like to add new datasets and visualizations and we will further improve the interface on the basis of author feedback. But we have to be realistic too: there is no such thing as a perfect dataset. That is why not all journals can display all metrics. Also the fact that Journal Insights was built in HTML5 language is still an issue for some old browser versions. HTML5 is optimized for mobile devices but does not display very well in Internet Explorer 8 or lower. Fortunately access via this browser is diminishing and currently comprises less than 10% of our traffic.

Feedback appreciated!

We want to continue improving – if there are changes you would like to suggest, please contact me at h.zijlstra@elsevier.com. And if you would like to see the Journal Insights information introduced on your journal homepage, please contact your publisher or marketing manager.

Example of an Elsevier.com journal homepage displaying the Journal Insights pod

Example of a journal homepage on our Health Advance platform displaying the Journal Insights pod

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Abolish authors’ Conflict of Interest Statement, says author

Author and Editorial Board Member, Dr Gad Gilad, PhD, argues that it is time to get rid of Author Conflict of Interest Statements.

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The collaboration of Dr Gad Gilad, PhD, with Varda Gilad while working at several academic centers, including the National Institutes of Health, Weizmann Institute and Harvard University, has resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers and several patents. He is the co-founder and CEO of Gilad&Gilad LLC, a California- based company that manufactures and markets nutraceutical supplements for nerve health. He is also an Editorial Board Member of International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. Here he outlines why he feels it is time to abolish the author Conflict of Interest Statement.

Does the appearance of financial or other "material" interests by authors of scientific papers present a more serious bias than other competing interests so as to require a signed Conflict of Interest (COI) statement? Really! How about down-to-earth banal "conflicts of interest" such as: promoting ones favorite hypothesis; self promotion for achieving tenure, a desired position or a higher status; or self promotion when competing for funding and prizes [1,2].

One may well argue that the whole scientific endeavor is biased by these or other conflicting interests and that, in fact, these interests are the very driving force of the whole scientific endeavor and are behind the greatest of scientific discoveries. This notion is substantiated by numerous examples throughout the history of scientific research [3]. No one is innocent of any bias; after all we are all humans. So, why should we regard these rather motivating interests as conflicts?

It is not at all clear that scientific misconduct arising from conflicting financial or other interests, has been on the rise in the years preceding enforcement of the COI rules by editors of scientific journals [1]. Human nature however, indicates that the ever increased fierceness of competition is bound to result in continued evasion of ethical rules with disregard to the consequences in spite of any deterrents [4]. Enough recent examples, which have occurred after the COI statement has been enforced by mainstream biomedical journals [1,2], demonstrate that this is indeed the case. Apparently, aside from vain appearance, the authors' COI statement simply does not make any difference.

Furthermore, in this day and age the availability of alternative and effective citable journals, albeit some considered of lesser "prestige" [5,6], but readily accessible for rapid publication on the blessed internet, makes the whole exercise of demanding COI statements from authors, futile indeed.

Surely, journal editors are aware of these facts and do not regard authors' COI statements as some kind of guarantee against, or even deterrent to fraud. If one chooses to cheat and publish a paper with outright false information, would a COI statement stop her or him? Of course not! Rather, if such a paper is of sufficient interest, sooner or later the scientific community is apt to expose the fraud anyway (e.g., ref. 6). Otherwise, fraudulent publications would remain harmlessly buried "in a wasteland of silence, attracting no attention whatsoever" [7].

For these reasons, I think that the authors' COI statement in scientific papers is an oxymoron and hereby propose that it should be abolished.

Finally and further diminishing the significance of the authors' COI statement, are competing interests of all other parties involved in the publication process including the editors* [1,8], reviewers (who remain conveniently hiding behind the veil of anonymity) and publishers [9]. Are we to require published statements from all those parties as well…? Clearly, the author's COI statement is an exception. This, some go so far as to say, singles out authors of scientific papers as potential criminals and therefore, is also unfair; the author's COI statement, they say, is nothing but a pretense, a fig leaf cover at most for journal editors and publishers. Today, when even the very naive of readers of scientific papers are well aware of these truths, this requirement is obviously uncalled for. So, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"!

*Disclosure†: Two journal editors have recently refused a priori to accept a submission of a scientific paper by my group, explicitly declaring a conflict of interest on account of apparent financial interests. Things have obviously gone wrong and out of proportions when worried editors prescreen submissions for the sake of their journal's façade. The declared purpose of COI statements is to let the readers judge and make up their own mind about the quality of scientific papers. Anyway you look at it, it is time to abolish the authors' COI Statement altogether!

†As an afterthought, I would like to suggest the option of instating a voluntary Disclosure statement for honest souls to voluntarily disclose their biases. Like the original intent of the Acknowledgement statement, this should be a sufficient and honorable choice properly left at the author's discretion to include or exclude any information.

References

[1] International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, "Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals: Ethical Considerations in the Conduct and Reporting of Research: Conflicts of Interest".

[2] Mullane K, Williams M, "Bias in research: the rule rather than the exception?" Elsevier Editors’ Update, September 2013; 40, 7-10.

[3] M. Brooks, Free Radicals, Profile Books LTD, London, 2011.

[4] Zietman AL, "Falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism: The unholy trinity of scientific writing", Intl J Radiat Oncol Biol Physic 2013; 87, 225-7.

[5] San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment.

[6] Stone R, Jasny B, "Scientific discourse: buckling at the seams", Science 2013; 342, 56-7.

[7] A. Mandavilli, "Peer review: Trial by Twitter", Nature 2011; 469, 286-7.

[8] S. Huggett, L. Lavelle, "The ethics pitfalls that editors face", Elsevier Editors’ Update, September 2013; 40, 14-6.

[9] Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), "Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors", March 2011.

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The importance of author education

While increasingly effective tools to detect plagiarism and duplicate submissions may prove a strong deterrent to errant authors, there is another vital element required for any ethics armory – education. At Elsevier, we are keen to ensure that those new to the academic community clearly understand the ethics standards necessary when compiling and submitting a […]

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While increasingly effective tools to detect plagiarism and duplicate submissions may prove a strong deterrent to errant authors, there is another vital element required for any ethics armory – education.

At Elsevier, we are keen to ensure that those new to the academic community clearly understand the ethics standards necessary when compiling and submitting a manuscript.

We know this is an approach you also find important – a quick glance through the answers submitted to our quarterly Editor Feedback Program shows how highly you rate ‘supporting authors’.

In this article, we will explore two of the initiatives we have introduced to ensure students and young researchers can access this training; the Ethics in Research & Publication program and Publishing Connect author and reviewer training workshops.

Ethics in Research & Publication Program*

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Early in 2012, a team of Elsevier colleagues gathered to work out how best to supplement the current author training opportunities on offer through projects such as Publishing Connect. Comprised of employees with expertise in publishing ethics, author communications, and editor and librarian relations, one of the first steps they took was to assemble an independent panel of experts well-versed in ethics issues. The result of this collaboration was Ethics in Research & Publication, an interactive website and program that emphasizes the individual researcher’s contribution to advancing science through integrity and good ethical standards. It also highlights the impact misconduct can have on the science community as a whole and on one’s career.

The program has a clear overarching message for its target audience – Make your research count. Publish ethically.

To make this message resonate, the team looked for creative ways to address the concerns of young researchers while conveying the wisdom of those who have been in their shoes.

Current Ethics Advisory Panel

Dr David Rew, Medical Subject Chair, Scopus Content Selection and Advisory Board and Consultant General Surgeon with Southampton University Hospitals, UK.

Professor Alexander T “Sandy” Florence, Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Pharmaceutics and Emeritus Professor of Pharmacy, University of London.

Professor Margaret Rees, Secretary of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), UK Editor-in-Chief Maturitas and Emeritus Reader in Reproductive Medicine in Oxford.

For more on the panel, visit the website’s Experts’ Corner.

A major channel for the program has been the interactive website, which has been liked more than 450 times on Facebook and has received a lot of positive attention on Twitter as well. Features include:

  • An interactive quiz to test your ethics IQ
  • A toolkit with downloadable fact sheets and materials that answer the question, ‘What should you do to avoid misconduct in specific situations?’
  • A recorded version of a live webinar about publishing ethics
  • Interviews with victims of misconduct
Ethics in Research & Publication website

The Ethics in Research & Publication website.

According to Catriona Fennell, Director of Publishing Services for STM Journals at Elsevier and one of the main drivers behind the program, “ethical issues are a shared problem for all involved in research and publishing. We felt our strongest impact would be in providing the tools to help researchers learn the ‘rules’ and how to comply with them.”

The program was launched with a series of workshops at the 2012 Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin, given by past advisory panel member, Ole G Evensen. In Evensen’s words: “Our goal is simple: to educate students on publishing ethics so well that no one can ever claim ‘I didn’t know better’.”

Ole Gunnar Evensen with Catriona Fennell at the Euroscience Open. Forum conference in Dublin.

The interactive element of the program has continued with webinars (organized under the Publishing Connect umbrella) in September 2012, and January 2013, which together have recorded more than 1,500 views. During the last webinar there was live tweeting with the hashtag #PubEthics – a good example of the important role social media has come to play in the program. The webinars have been well received, with 97 percent of attendees agreeing they were satisfied, and 96 percent of attendees saying they would attend future webinars.

Throughout 2013, work has continued with further updates to the website – more webinars are also planned for the future.

Examples of live tweets posted during the latest ethics webinar.

 

Publishing Connect workshops and webcasts

Since the Publishing Connect program for authors and reviewers was launched in 2006, Elsevier publishers and journal editors have jointly hosted training workshops at hundreds of institutions and conferences worldwide.

While workshop topics span the full publishing process – from applying for funding to writing and submitting a manuscript – there is no doubt a core element of many events has been the module on ethics and plagiarism.

Addressing the issue at a grass roots level not only underpins Elsevier’s goal of supporting future authors on a wide range of training needs, but works towards achieving prevention rather than a cure.

In 2012, there were 350+ global workshops

Top 5 countries:

1. USA
2. China
3. Germany
4. India
5. UK

The publishing ethics issues covered in these workshops include:

  • Establishing authorship: definitions, corresponding authors, gift/ghost authorship
  • Handling authorship disputes: the role of the author and the editor
  • Plagiarism: definitions, allowances, understanding the ethical boundaries, detection technology, correct citation practice
  • Author responsibilities: originality, submission, conflicts of interest, fabrication, falsification, consequences

Research & Publishing Ethics Crib Sheet.

We recently created a new resource for early career researchers called Publishing Crib Sheets. These free to download posters include one entitled Research & Publishing Ethics, which contains information on types of authorship, handling disputes, what constitutes plagiarism and how is it detected, together with the key responsibilities of authors and the consequences of misconduct.

During or after each Publishing Connect workshop, participants are asked to complete a short survey. Results for 2012 show the workshops are delivering a much-needed service, with 94 percent of participants agreeing that they found them helpful. Additionally, 81 percent agreed that ‘Attending this seminar increased my understanding of publishing ethics’.

If you are interested in holding a Publishing Connect workshop at your institution, please contact your publisher for further information.

Publishing Connect training webcasts

The Publishing Connect program was recently extended to include bite-sized online training webcasts. Each webcast is up to 15 minutes long and can be viewed in the Publishing Connect training webcasts library. The latest additions to the channel are three new webcasts on research and publishing ethics and author responsibilities – more are in the pipeline. Since January 2012, the series has collectively garnered more than 280,000 views.

* This section is based on the Elsevier Connect article How to avoid misconduct in research and publishing.

Author biographies

Dr Inez van Korlaar

Dr Inez van Korlaar
DIRECTOR OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Inez (@InezvKorlaar) joined Elsevier in 2006. After three years in publishing, she moved to the marketing communications department of STM Journals.  In her current role she is responsible for global marketing communication projects, which includes outreach to researchers in their role as an author. She has a PhD in health psychology from Leiden University in The Netherlands and is based in Amsterdam.

Hannah Foreman

Hannah Foreman
HEAD OF RESEARCHER RELATIONS
Hannah joined Elsevier in 2007 as Marketing Communications Manager for journals in Physics and Astronomy. With more than 10 years’ experience in communications and relations roles she now leads the Researcher Relations team in Amsterdam. This team focuses on delivering information innovatively to editors, authors and reviewers of Elsevier journals, together with ensuring that Elsevier maintains its close partnerships with these vital communities. Hannah has a professional and academic background in European business and speaks four languages.

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New online resource for early career researchers

New early career resources center on Elsevier.com provides a central hub to help researchers gain the most impact at the beginning of their careers.

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Gwen Holstege | Researcher Relations Manager, Elsevier

We realize that developing a successful career in research and publishing requires a broad skill set so we’ve created a new center on Elsevier.com, Early Career Resources, especially with the early career researcher in mind.

The new center provides a broad mix of inspiring video interviews with professors, planning guides, recommended reading and more; all designed to help researchers gain the most impact at the beginning stages of their careers. The knowledge provided is of benefit to all research areas, across all disciplines. Important topics covered by the resource center include career planning and funding, writing, networking, ethical practice, search and discovery tools and more.

Early Career Resources contains:

Please do pass on the link www.elsevier.com/earlycareer to your postdocs and students.

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New ‘Streamline’ peer-review process piloted by Virology

New peer-review system piloted by the journal Virology avoids the need to ‘start over’ with new reviews if paper is rejected from a high-impact journal.

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Dr Michael Emerman | Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Virology

Established in 1954, Virology is one of the oldest journals in its field and publishes the results of basic research in all branches of virology. Dr Michael Emerman, who researches HIV replication at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, is a long-serving editor of Virology and took on the role of Editor-in-Chief in January. Since then, he has instigated some big changes, dramatically increasing submissions. Recent changes include the launch of a blog, Virology Highlights; bringing on board new editors; and the introduction of Streamline Reviews. Here he explains why he has high hopes that the latter will contribute to the journal’s success.

In January, Virology introduced a new program — Streamline Reviews — with the aim of capturing and publishing manuscripts that have been rejected by journals with high Impact Factors. The idea came from one of our editors who described the frustration of resubmitting a rejected manuscript from one high-impact journal to another because of the need to respond to a completely new set of reviewers.

The way Streamline Reviews works is simple. If an author has a manuscript that has been reviewed and rejected by a journal with an Impact Factor higher than 8 that publishes papers on the basic science of viruses, (such as Cell Host & Microbe, Nature, PLOS Pathogens, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Science), they can send us the original reviews, their rebuttal and a revised manuscript. They should include these extra items as part of their cover letter.

We will then consider the manuscript based on the reviews and usually send the manuscript, reviews and response to one additional expert for an opinion. In theory, this should speed up the review process for these manuscripts — authors do not need to start over at the beginning, and it is easier for someone to give an opinion on the paper with reviews already to hand. This option works best for those manuscripts rejected for perceived reasons of impact, novelty or significance.

The program is still in its infancy. We have received a handful of Streamline Review submissions, but we believe more papers will be submitted this way once the initiative becomes better known. What has been interesting is the very positive feedback we have received from editorial board members and community members, many of whom have experienced the long process of resubmitting a very good manuscript that has just missed the mark at a high-impact journal. In fact, they wonder why Streamline Reviews is not already standard practice amongst journals.

As I mentioned, we have set our bar at an Impact Factor of higher than 8. We decided on that figure after identifying which of our competitor journals featured the kinds of papers we are interested in.

In practice, it has worked well so far. In one case, the additional expert reviewer had also reviewed the paper for the high-impact journal and recommended it be accepted right away since the authors had addressed all previous concerns. In other cases, we have asked for additional changes, but these mostly related to the way the paper had been written and didn’t require the author to carry out additional experiments.

While there was initially some concern that we would not know the identities of the reviewers for the high-impact journal, this has not proved a problem when it comes to evaluating the manuscripts.

Despite complaints, I think the peer-review system serves a wonderful purpose. The role of the editor is to weed out the poor reviews and to use the peer-review system to turn out better papers, and I have seen many papers over the years become vastly improved by reviews. I think that the Streamline Review process is a means to help good papers get published in a faster and more efficient manner without sacrificing any of the benefits of stringent peer review.

This article first appeared in Elsevier Connect.

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Your Paper, Your Way – now available to all journals

Over the past year, journals enrolled in the Your Paper, Your Way pilot have been allowing their authors to do just that – submit their papers without strict formatting or referencing requirements. Your Paper, Your Way was the brainchild of Sir Kelvin Davies, PhD, DSc, Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology & Medicine. He introduced the […]

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Over the past year, journals enrolled in the Your Paper, Your Way pilot have been allowing their authors to do just that – submit their papers without strict formatting or referencing requirements. Your Paper, Your Way was the brainchild of Sir Kelvin Davies, PhD, DSc, Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology & Medicine. He introduced the concept in mid-2011 and, in 2012, we extended the option to a further 41 journals across all disciplines. Their experiences have proved so encouraging that, as of this July, all Elsevier journals will have the opportunity to join this exciting project.

Your Paper, Your Way – the origins

Anthony Newman

Anthony Newman, a Publisher for Elsevier’s Life Sciences journals, was present at the annual editors’ meeting of Free Radical Biology & Medicine, when Davies came up with his unusual suggestion. In an article on Elsevier Connect, Newman recalled: “We were sitting around the table talking about what’s good and what’s bad. We’ve had a lot of push-back from authors who say, ‘I know you have a high rejection rate, but I have to spend a lot of time just to submit a manuscript’. We talked about the fact that we are forcing them to put it into our format when the chance of it being accepted is just 20%. It was at that point that Kelvin suggested we try allowing contributors to submit their manuscripts without the formatting.”

Davies highlighted the benefits of Your Paper, Your Way (YPYW) in both a video editorial (above) and a post on the Editors’ Update Short Communications board back in March 2012. He explained: “Although standard formats do make it just that little bit easier for editors and reviewers to see everything in the correct style, the reality is that the advantage is very small, and we should really be focusing on the quality of science and not the format. For authors the difference is very significant… an easier submission process not only saves time and effort but may also allow authors to achieve faster publication speeds.” That easier submission process could also help to alleviate one of authors’ key concerns - when Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations team surveyed researchers about what they find most frustrating, nearly one in three chose ‘preparing manuscripts’.

Feedback from editors

Once the YPYW pilot was underway, we asked the editors involved to share their thoughts on the project - 33 responded. Their feedback proved very positive, with the majority of editors reporting no increase in workload (see Figure 2).  In fact, 95.5% of editors agreed that the new Your Paper, Your Way author instructions were clear and easy to follow. Their comments included: “Great feature and very helpful for authors.” “Highly recommend to do this and to in fact extend this to all submissions.” “Much easier submission process - if you have 10 figures you can easily see them in the right order.”

Your Paper, Your Way – the statistics

  • 80% of editors surveyed found that YPYW manuscripts require less or the same amount of time as standard submissions.
  • 70% of editors surveyed found that YPYW manuscripts are either the same or easier to work with than standard submissions.
  • 87.5% of authors surveyed believed that YPYW reduces the amount of time typically taken to format and submit their paper
  • 85% of authors surveyed found YPYW easy or extremely easy, compared to 51% of authors who chose traditional submission

Editors participating in the pilot were asked a series of questions related to the YPYW process. Their answers are captured in the pie charts below:

Figure 1. Manuscript quality.

Figure 2. Time required.

Figure 3. Author friendliness.

Becoming more author-friendly

Papers submitted via the Your Paper, Your Way route still need to include the following key elements:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results and discussion
  • References
  • Figures and figure legends

Kelvin Davies

Any important ethical requirements, e.g. the Conflict of Interest declaration, are also still mandatory. As long as the references have all the necessary information, the author need not format according to a specific style because Elsevier will take care of that after acceptance.

Reflecting on Free Radical Biology & Medicine’s experiences since they launched the pilot in July 2011, Davies said his journal had not received any complaints from reviewers, and many authors had sent letters of thanks and praise for the system.

Author uptake so far

From December 2012 to date, the 42 pilot journals have received around 51.5% of submissions via the Your Paper, Your Way route. We expect this figure to increase as more authors become aware of the service. Authors who chose the Your Paper, Your Way submission route commented: “We chose to spend time on content instead of the ‘correct format’." “It was simpler and faster than (the) traditional one. I think it is a good way to speed the process.” “…time consuming formatting work was not undertaken unnecessarily.” “I didn't have to waste time with formatting before being sure about the acceptance.” We also asked authors to let us know which submission option they intended to use in the future - 80% said they will either always use, or mostly use, YPYW when it is available.

Feedback from reviewers

The pilot data suggests that Your Paper, Your Way is an author-friendly initiative that simplifies researchers’ lives. However, it is also important to ensure that the resulting papers do not complicate the review process. To evaluate the impact on reviewers, 165 responses from the Reviewer Feedback Programme (RFP) were analysed: 77 of these responses related to a YPYW submission, the remaining 88 to a traditional submission. There were no significant differences in reviewer satisfaction based on any related criteria: "The review format and structure for review submission was helpful"; "I am very satisfied overall with my experience of reviewing"; "I could read the manuscript and figures clearly with no technical problems".

July 2013 - upscale to all journals

Based on the positive researcher feedback we have received, invitations are currently being sent to all journals to participate in Your Paper, Your Way. If you haven’t already heard from your Publisher, they will be in contact shortly to discuss this further.

Author biographies

Catriona Fennell

Catriona Fennell
DIRECTOR PUBLISHING SERVICES
Following graduation from University College Galway, Ireland, Catriona joined Elsevier as a Journal Manager in 1999. She later had the opportunity to support and train hundreds of editors during the introduction of the Elsevier Editorial System (EES). Since then, she has worked in various management roles in STM Journals’ Publishing and is now responsible for its author-centricity and publishing ethics programs.


 

Daniel Gill

Daniel Gill PROJECT MANAGER, JOURNAL DEVELOPMENT Daniel joined Elsevier in January, working on web-driven, content innovation projects alongside a small team based in Amsterdam, New York and Dayton, Ohio. Daniel has a publishing degree and has publishing project management experience mainly centered around science publishing within the educational, postgraduate and professional arenas. Prior to Elsevier, Daniel worked at John Wiley and Sons Ltd and Pearson Education UK.


Edward O'Breen

Improvements to Article Transfer Service underway

Improvements to the Article Transfer system are currently being piloted. These promise to streamline and automate the current process.

Read more >


Edward O'Breen | Marketing & Brand Manager EES and Evise, Elsevier

Over the past two years, around 170 Elsevier journals have offered the Article Transfer Service (ATS) as a complimentary service to authors.

If an author’s paper is rejected by a journal participating in the scheme, editors can offer them the opportunity to transfer their submission to another participating journal, without having to reformat or resubmit it. Any completed reviews are also transferred.

We have been working to fully automate the transfer process and have been trialling the result with a small number of journals.

If the pilot proves successful over the coming months then we plan to roll out the new process to all journals that are currently offering ATS to their authors.

What has changed?

Current process:
Depending on the journal configuration, editors have to email authors separately to let them know about the transfer offer. Authors then need to email back to agree to the transfer taking place. The actual manuscript transfer process can take up to 48 hours to complete.

New, fully-automated process:
The editor will select the appropriate decision term in the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) and the most appropriate receiving journal(s). The author will then receive the transfer offer by email and select the receiving journal of choice. Subsequently the submission, including all files, reviews and editor comments (if any), will be automatically transferred to the receiving journal almost instantly. If needed, the corresponding author will be automatically registered in the EES site of the receiving journal.

Edward O'Breen

Unique ORCID now available in EES

Find out about the changes underway to make our publishing systems ORCID-compatible.

Read more >


Edward O'Breen | Marketing & Brand Manager EES and Evise, Elsevier

October last year saw the launch of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributors ID repository. The scheme allows academics, researchers and contributors to register for a unique ID which can be used to reliably identify individuals in the same way that ISBNs and DOIs identify books and articles.

Elsevier has now taken the first steps to fully integrate ORCID into the editorial and publishing process. Over the coming months we will gradually roll out functionality in the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) and other systems with the aim of fully supporting ORCID by Q4 2013.

The rollout will be phased as follows:

Phase 1

As of June 11, 2013, researchers can link their ORCID to their consolidated EES user profile.

Phase 2

A corresponding author’s ORCID, if linked to the consolidated EES user profile, will be added to the article metadata. As a result, the published article will automatically appear in the corresponding author’s ORCID list of published works. This functionality will be launched in July 2013.

Phase 3

Co-authors’ ORCIDs, if provided during submission of the paper, will be added to the article metadata. The published article will then automatically be added to the ORCID list of published works for all authors who shared their ORCID with EES. This functionality will be available in Q3 of 2013.

Phase 4

Authorized users, e.g. editors and journal managers, will be able to find people in EES using the ORCID as a search term. This feature is of value to EES users who select and invite reviewers. Using the ORCID removes ambiguity when searching for people. This functionality will be available in Q4 of 2013.

 

 

Inez-van-Korlaar-PhD-square-150x150

Postdoc free access to ScienceDirect program returns

Success of the initial pilot – and an increasingly competitive job market – convince Elsevier to once again offer postdocs access to ScienceDirect, this time with fewer restrictions.

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Inez van Korlaar | Director of Project Management for STM Journals Marketing, Elsevier

Last year, we offered selected scholars unlimited complimentary access to all our journals and books on ScienceDirect, for up to six months. To qualify they had to have recently received their PhDs and not yet found a research position,  In response to the success of the program– and an increasingly competitive job market – we are bringing back the Postdoc Free Access program with fewer restrictions.

In 2012, the editors and publisher of the Tetrahedron chemistry journals conceived the idea for a program to help postdocs stay competitive in between research positions. Last December, we ran a pilot program granting free access to our books and journals on ScienceDirect to 64 unemployed researchers. Of the 176 applicants, 40 percent came from Asia and 34 percent from Europe. One of the recipients, Daniele Vergara of the University of Salento in Italy, wrote:

"As a postdoc fellow in biological sciences, this program gives me the chance to maintain a vital scientific network, to read papers and write grants. In the absence of help from government and local institutions, the Elsevier program was a great experience, an innovative way to support postdocs during their research career."

Some recipients have used the free access to prepare grant proposals. Miguel Pedroza, who has a PhD in enology from the University of Castilla-La Mancha in Spain, wrote:

"During the last six months I have been using the free access to prepare a research project for pursuing a Post-doctoral stay in Europe. This Elsevier program has provided me with an efficient resource to conduct a consistent literature review for my research proposal, while keeping me updated of the most recent publications in my field. I am certainly grateful with the people involved in the Free Access project. I hope that this kind of initiative continues."

And virologist Ullas P. Thankappan of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences in Bangalore, India, wrote:

"I accessed a lot of articles on neglected tropical diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and several reviews related to cancer biology. Unfortunately, the geographic location I live in has a high burden of infectious diseases and cancers, but the facilities for their early identification remain rather limited here. With the help of the information gained from the articles, I have been working to develop research proposals on the development of cost-effective and rapid diagnostic technologies which would help the local laboratories to detect these diseases at an early stage."

Although we were able to help out these researchers, many others have missed out because they did not qualify for our criteria or learned about the offer too late. Based on the feedback we have received, we are pleased to announce that this summer, we will repeat the offer. Even better, we have extended the application period and relaxed our criteria to allow more researchers to apply.

In 2012, the main reason for non-qualification was that applicants did not yet have a postdoc position after completing their PhD (27 percent of applicants). This told us that a program like this is just as needed for recent PhD graduates as for people with postdoc experience. We therefore now allow everyone with a recent PhD (< 5 years since graduation) to apply. In addition, we have extended the application period to three months, with the application period open until August 31.

What your postdocs need to do

To qualify, candidates must complete a form verifying their credentials by August 31, 2013. Once approved, they will receive a personal code allowing access to ScienceDirect. Qualifying criteria are:

  • Postdoctoral researchers who have received their PhD within in the past five years.
  • Candidates must have completed the last research position (either PhD research or a postdoc or equivalent) on or after December 31, 2012, or have a position that will end before August 31, 2013.

Applicants should submit a scanned image of a letter from their last academic mentor or advisor that states the position held and the date on which the position ended or will end. For more on the program and an application, visit elsevier.com/postdocfreeaccess 

A version of this article first appeared in Elsevier Connect.

Elizabeth Ash

New tool helps authors identify the best journal for their paper

The new Journal Finder tool has been designed to help authors find the best home for their research. Discover how…

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Elizabeth Ash | Project Coordinator, Elsevier

For authors, getting their research paper published can be a challenge and it is even more challenging when their paper is rejected by a journal because it is out of scope. It can often add months to the publication process slowing career progress. We know that nearly one third of the visitors to Elsevier’s Authors’ Home are trying to choose a journal for their paper.

For Editors, dealing with out of scope papers can substantially add to their workload. 

In a bid to help authors we have launched a new Journal Finder tool, accessible from www.elsevier.com/authors which has just gone live in BETA version. The tool is designed to:

  • Help less experienced authors select suitable journals for their papers
  • Enable authors working across multidisciplinary fields to identify possible journals
  • Highlight journals that offer open access options, and provide information on publication speeds and impact factors

“The Journal Finder tool as envisioned by Elsevier will provide substantive data and more specific information... thereby aiding both the faculty members and the librarians.” Sandra Yee, Dean, University Library System, Wayne State University, US

How does the tool work?

Authors enter their paper title, abstract or keywords and the tool creates a list of Elsevier journals that match the topic of their article. They can then order the results based on their priorities, such as highest impact factor or shortest editorial time. The selection contains links to each journal’s homepage and Elsevier Editorial Submission (EES) page.

Journal Finder tool
The new Journal Finder tool on Authors' Home

Listening and responding to authors

We listen carefully to authors and receive feedback from more than 60,000 authors each year. In 2012, we launched the Elsevier Mobile Application Competition, which asked early-career researchers to submit their ideas for journal-based mobile applications. The competition received an overwhelming response, with 3,775 ideas submitted.

By a happy coincidence, the winning idea – a “Scope-finder” that would find the best fitting journal for a paper - had already been identified as a priority for Elsevier and was incorporated into the development of the Journal Finder tool.

“The results matched precisely with my own judgement.” Dr Adrie J J Bos’, co-Editor-in-Chief of Radiation Measurements

Your feedback can help us ensure the tool continues to develop to meet the needs of authors and Editors. Please take a few moments to try it out on the Authors’ Home section of Elsevier.com then email your thoughts to support@elsevier.com referencing the subject Elsevier Journal Finder (BETA) - User Feedback.

EU38_ReferenceSimplification

Reference simplification will streamline author submission process

As journals’ reference-related instructions have continued to grow in complexity, so too has the amount of time required to comply with them. Recent research [1] shows that authors now spend an average 3.2 hours per paper on this task. Not only is this an unnecessary use of their time, the focus on formatting increases the opportunities […]

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As journals’ reference-related instructions have continued to grow in complexity, so too has the amount of time required to comply with them.

Recent research [1] shows that authors now spend an average 3.2 hours per paper on this task. Not only is this an unnecessary use of their time, the focus on formatting increases the opportunities for factual errors to creep in.

Elsevier’s Publishing Services team has been working on a multi-stranded shake-up of the reference system. Dubbed the Reference Simplification Project, it will not only standardize reference styles, but offer journals the opportunity to forego them completely. Other elements will focus on the accuracy of link information.

Elizabeth Przybysz, a Junior Project Manager in Publishing Services, has been leading the project team. She believes one of the key benefits will be an increase in author satisfaction as more of their time is freed up to concentrate on other elements of the paper. “We think we will also see journal discoverability enhanced, while publication times should experience a reduction,” she added.

Over the coming year, a number of changes will be rolled out – one of these will automatically be applied to all Elsevier titles while others will be introduced on an opt-in basis. Read on to find out what it could mean for your journal.

All Elsevier-owned journals will switch to one of six standard reference styles

Examples of some of the detailed formatting specifications we currently require from authors:

  • Journal titles should be abbreviated without punctuation and not in italics
  • Always use "&" symbol when there are two authors in parentheses
  • ONLY use the English version "et al"

The majority of Elsevier journals require authors to use one of 10 standard reference styles. Another 200 plus journals use their own unique, non-standard reference styles. Last summer, Elsevier’s User Centered Design team carried out a survey and usability tests with journal readers. Those questioned indicated that six styles in particular were easy to follow. Based on this information, six standard Elsevier styles will be rolled out to all Elsevier-owned journals in 2013. These are:

Numbered
Appreciated by our readers for displaying all author names. Once all deviations are removed, this style will be used by 335 Elsevier-owned titles. The style is popular in Physical Sciences.

Harvard
Primarily used in Humanities and Social Sciences. Our readers liked the name / date format, which displays basic information without the need to visit the last article page. It will be used by more than 400 journals.

Vancouver Numbered
The Vancouver Embellished format will be incorporated into this style and the result will be used by more than 242 journals - popular in Medical Sciences.

Vancouver Name / Date
A version for communities that prefer citations to feature the authors’ names in parentheses.

American Psychological Association
The only style presenting full journal titles, an option preferred by 35% of the readers we spoke to. Almost 200 of our journals will follow this style, especially within Social and Economic Sciences.

American Medical Association
This style is used in more than 150 medical journals, especially popular amongst Societies.

A standard style for each journal will be chosen based on its close resemblance to the journal’s current reference style. If you feel that another style from our list above suits the journal better, please contact your Publisher.

All styles will include the article and chapter title. In the past, these items were removed due to space restrictions in print versions of journals, however, our survey respondents asked for their reintroduction to assist with assessing source relevance.

Figure 1. Current situation with regard to reference styles – Elsevier titles only

Figure 2. What we hope to achieve by April 2013 with the rolling out of six standard styles – Elsevier titles only.

 

Journals are invited to consider removing formatting requirements

This will be offered an on opt-in basis only. If you choose this model for your journal, authors will be invited to submit their references in any style, as long as the references are complete and consistent. The typesetters will apply the final style.

Elizabeth believes this may prove a deciding factor for authors when choosing a journal and could help to attract more high-quality papers. She adds: “In exchange, we will ask authors to focus on the quality of the data critical for the link creation, invite them to use the DOI and urge them to pay attention to the presence of links in any references they decide to copy from other sources.

“Online what really matters is that a citation is linked to its source. Impact Factors take into account the number of citations an article has received. An error introduced to a reference can prevent a link creation and potentially lead to a journal missing out on a few decimal points on its Impact Factor.”

Key data used by the linking services to create a link are author(s) name(s), journal title (or its standard abbreviation), year of publication and the pagination. Italics, use of dots and data sequence are not important. Elizabeth explained: “That key data must be recognized correctly in the process of tagging; therefore the consistency of the pattern of the reference is essential for the structuring. DOIs are real life savers: even if all other data is misspelled, but the DOI is correct, the link will be still created.”

Those journals adopting this model will be closely monitored to ensure that the typesetters effectively convert the styles and that the change brings the benefits expected.

Examples of the journal-specific reference style will still be displayed in the Guide for Authors.  As part of the project we will also update the Endnote and Reference Managers, so that they accurately reflect the journal style.

Journals adopting this option would see the following section appear in their Guide for Authors

Guide for Authors: new instructions

Discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links within ScienceDirect and to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef or PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent the link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain an error. Use of the DOI is encouraged.

There are no strict requirements on reference formatting at submission. References can be in any style or format as long as the style is consistent. Author(s) name(s), journal title/book title, chapter title/article title, year of publication, volume and issue/book chapter and the pagination must be present. Use of DOI is highly encouraged. The reference style used by the journal will be applied to the accepted article by Elsevier at the proof stage. Note that incorrect or missing data will be highlighted at proof stage for the author to correct.

The reference style used by this journal is 'here we state the journal-specific style'. If you do wish to format the references yourself they should be arranged according to the following examples...

In future, accuracy of references will be checked with one of the major linking service providers

Elsevier plans to introduce a new step of comparing the references received from an author with the database of one of the major linking service providers. This will allow us to correct and complete missing data without the need to delay publication by sending the manuscript back to the author. We hope to see this come into effect next year (2014).

If you wish to find out more about the Reference Simplification Project and what it means for your journal, please contact your Publisher. The project complements other author-centric solutions currently under development at Elsevier. The Simpler Submission service, for example, offers authors the opportunity to reduce formatting across all manuscript components.

Understanding reader behavior

The survey and usability tests carried out by our User Centered Design department have uncovered the following facts about reader behavior:

  • While 53% of researchers read articles as downloaded files on their screens, 45% prefer to print them out before reading. With new technologies such as tablets, we expect the percentage opting for print to decrease.
  • 48% indicate that while they may look through the references while reading an article, they only go to the sources once they have finished reading.
  • Linking of references online was important to 88% of the respondents.
  • 58% prefer the name / date citation format over numbered citation.
  • 46% indicate they want to see the names of all authors in the citation, no matter how long the list is.
  • 69% of authors format references manually. Reference formatting takes, on average, three hours per paper, even taking into consideration the use of reference managers.
  • 39% do not include DOIs, and 16% don’t know what a DOI is.
  • The researchers surveyed believe that within a reference, items should be listed in the following order of importance:
  1. Author
  2. Article title
  3. Title of publication it appeared in
  4. Year of publication

Author biography

Elizabeth Przybysz

Elizabeth Przybysz
JUNIOR PROJECT MANAGER
Elizabeth joined Publishing Services for STM Journals in October 2011. Alongside the References Simplification project she manages the Simpler Submission project mentioned in the article. Elizabeth has also successfully introduced the Guide of Transfer and Acquisitions for Publishers. Prior to her move to Publishing Services, Elizabeth worked in Customer Services, assisting our customers in both Italian and Polish. Before moving to Oxford, Elizabeth worked in the banking sector in Italy and Ireland.


References

[1] Elsevier’s User Centered Design team surveyed around 200 authors in August 2012. Respondents were asked how long it took them to prepare references and if they used any software to reduce the workload. Although 60% of respondents used software, the average time taken to format references was found to be 3.2 hours.


EU38_AuthorImprovements

Increased transparency benefits authors and journals

Over the past few months, Elsevier’s Journal Marketing Communications team has been busy behind the scenes, cooking up a range of projects to increase the information we provide to journal authors. Two of these projects have now reached fruition and were recently launched as pilots. Read on to discover more about Journal Insights and the […]

Read more >


Over the past few months, Elsevier’s Journal Marketing Communications team has been busy behind the scenes, cooking up a range of projects to increase the information we provide to journal authors.

Two of these projects have now reached fruition and were recently launched as pilots. Read on to discover more about Journal Insights and the Article Usage Report and what they might mean for your journal.

Delivering journal insights

With so much competition for good papers, ensuring your journal is on the receiving end of premium submissions can be a challenge.

Equally, authors can struggle to find the best home for their research and we know that a desire for more clarity around journal performance is high on their wish lists.

A new pilot has been developed to help alleviate these problems. Launched in December 2012, the Journal Insights project aims to highlight your journal’s performance while providing the transparency authors seek. Six Elsevier titles are already taking part with plans underway to increase that number over the coming months.

How does it work?

The journal homepage of each participating journal contains a new section, ‘Journal Insights’. Authors clicking on this link arrive at a landing page where they can select data visualizations of three key groups of metrics, developed to aid their decision making.

Metric group one - quality

Authors can choose between graphs displaying the Impact Factor, five-year Impact Factor, Article Influence and Eigenfactor, SNIP and SJR. Each graphic is accompanied by a definition of the metric and relevant supporting data.

Figure 2: A visualization of the 2007-2011 Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) for the journal Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Metric group two - speed

Authors can discover the average review speed for the journal over a five-year period. They can also choose to view the online article publication time (also known as production speed), which covers three key steps. These are: from manuscript acceptance to the first appearance of the article online; from manuscript acceptance to the corrected proof online; and from manuscript acceptance to the final appearance online of the fully paginated article.

Figure 3: A visualization of the changes in speed of publication for the journal Global Environmental Change between 2007 and 2011

Metric group three - authors

A detailed world map allows viewers to swiftly identify the geographical distribution of (corresponding) authors who have published in the journal within the past five years.

Figure 4: A visualization of the geographical location of corresponding authors whose papers have been published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management over the past five years

The journals already taking part in the Journal Insights pilot are:

Data sources for the visualizations include ThomsonReuters (ISI), Scopus, EES and a number of internal Elsevier systems.

Hans Zijlstra, Marketing Project Manager, is leading the Elsevier team behind the project. He explained: “About a year ago, we got together to think about how we could help our authors make a more balanced selection of journals for their papers. Our aim was to provide them with more insight.

“For example, in the case of quality, everyone knows and uses the Impact Factor but there are other metrics that can help to assess the journal’s performance - this initiative makes it easy to view the Eigenfactor, SNIP and SJR with just a click of the mouse.”

The team looked at a number of options for presenting the three groups of metrics but decided that a clean and simple graphical presentation would provide the strongest impact.

Hans explained: “While we were impressed by some of the information other Publishers are providing, it can take some time to work your way through it all. We hope we’ve found a balance between providing comprehensive data and keeping it accessible for a broad audience.”

According to Hans, the advantages of featuring the metrics on your journal homepage are many and include:

  • Providing more transparency for authors
  • Strengthening your journal’s reputation
  • Attracting more high-quality submissions

An added bonus is that the visualizations have been built using mobile device-friendly software. However, as the technology has been developed with both PC and mobile use in mind, it works most effectively in IE9 browsers and above, as well as Firefox or Chrome. If you are using an older version of Internet Explorer, you may not be able to view the full interactive functionality.

The next step will be to gather feedback from the editors and authors involved in the pilot to further improve the visualizations. Hans and his colleagues are already busy exploring the potential of additional developments to enrich the data sets and visualizations.

If the pilot proves successful and the project is expanded, it will be on an opt-in basis. The team has the relevant data available for around 1,500 journals and your Publisher and Marketing Manager will be able to recommend whether the Journal Insights pod should be added to your journal homepage. Your Publisher can also pick and choose which metrics are shown and a variety of combinations are possible.

If you have any thoughts on the project you would like to share you can contact Hans at h.zijlstra@elsevier.com, or simply post your comments below.

Helping authors track their usage

Another pilot underway to support authors was also launched in late 2012. The new, complimentary Article Usage Report allows corresponding authors to assess the immediate impact of their published article. This complements our existing CiteAlert service, which comes into effect once an author’s article has been cited.

How does the Article Usage Report work?

By the end of January 2013, corresponding authors from 50 selected journal titles had received an email containing a link to their personalized dashboard on ScienceDirect’s usage system. There they are able to view how often their articles have been accessed and by which countries. They can also find tools to promote the use of their paper via social media channels.

Annette Leeuwendal, Director of Publishing Projects for Publishing Services, is leading the multi-department Elsevier team behind the Article Usage Report. She explained: “The STM Industry is increasingly looking at usage data as a new way to measure a paper’s success and industry-wide developments of new standards for article metrics are underway. We hope the Article Usage Report project will help to meet our authors’ changing needs.”

The pilot aims to deliver insights into technical performance of the usage system and collect author feedback on usability and purpose.

Feedback so far has been encouraging and includes:

  • “Gives inspiration and encouragement as well.”
  • “I think it is a fantastic scheme, it really gives you a greater sense of achievement knowing that people are reading your work.”
  • “With time the relevance of numbers will be known and even more helpful.”
  • “As an academic demonstrating the reach of your work is critical to tenure and performance reviews. This is very nice to include in a tenure and promotion package.”

We aim to roll the pilot out on a journal by journal basis, beginning this summer. If you are keen to see your journal become one of the early adopters of the Article Usage Report, please contact your Publisher.

Figure 5: An example of an Article Usage Report taken from the journal Vaccine

Author biographies

Hans Zijlstra

Hans Zijlstra
MARKETING PROJECT MANAGER, JOURNAL MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
Hans works in the STM Marketing Projects department in Amsterdam. He is responsible for projects focusing on journal and article metrics with the aim of improving our service to authors. He joined Elsevier in 1996 and held various marketing positions before leaving to take on roles in mail order, telecom, finance and sailing. He returned to Elsevier in 2008.


Annette Leeuwendal

Annette Leeuwendal
DIRECTOR OF PUBLISHING PROJECTS, PUBLISHING SERVICES
Annette is the newly-appointed Director of Publishing Projects in the Publishing Services department based in Amsterdam. In her previous role as a Project Manager for Marketing Communications, she was responsible for piloting the Article Usage Reports with authors of 50 STM journals.   Annette has been involved in various Elsevier programs across Operations and Publishing divisions since 2010. She has a Master’s degree in Geology and an MBA from Henley College of Management.


EU38_Teamwork

Clarifying attribution in a digital world

The list of authors attached to a paper has provided a comfortable device for apportioning attribution for centuries – not only is it simple and clear, we all have a good idea of what ‘authoring’ implies. However, with the increasing migration of content to an online environment, the number of ways in which papers can […]

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The list of authors attached to a paper has provided a comfortable device for apportioning attribution for centuries - not only is it simple and clear, we all have a good idea of what ‘authoring’ implies.

However, with the increasing migration of content to an online environment, the number of ways in which papers can be connected has exploded. We expect references and citations to click through, we want to see what else authors have written, and we are keen to discover who they have collaborated with.

But while this connectivity establishes that there is a link between an author and a paper, it says nothing about the nature of that link. Did the author write the experiment, analyze the data, or were they responsible for running the research program, ie. had very little to do with this particular article?

Bridging the discipline gulf

Depending on your field, you may be thinking about the order in which the authors are assembled, and how you can use this to make sense of their relative status. However, a researcher in another field may interpret that same list quite differently. This is illustrated in the table below in which we take a look at a fictional paper written by Smith, Taylor and Thorisson.

 High Energy Physics Author list is in alphabetic order, no precedence can be interpreted. Names may include engineers as well as researchers, in this case we could add Bercow, a PhD student who ran the experiment and took care of writing computer algorithms, ensuring the integrity of the data and selecting candidates for trials, etc...
 Economics, some fields
within Social Sciences
Author list is in alphabetic order, no precedence can be interpreted.
 Life Sciences Smith the postdoc did most of the experimental work, but Thorisson was the principal investigator who led the scientific direction of the work. The alphabetical order is coincidental.
 ‘Standard’ order Smith is the senior researcher who did most of the work. Taylor was subordinate to Smith, Thorisson is subordinate to Taylor. The alphabetical order is coincidental.

Table 1. Varied authorship conventions across disciplines referencing a fictional paper written by Smith, Taylor and Thorisson.

One of the advantages that a reconceptualization of authorship offers us is the proper acknowledgement of work undertaken during the research process without conferring a higher status than is merited. For example, work that is undertaken on computer algorithms would not (at the moment) usually confer authorship by itself – however, a move towards a contributorship model would enable the correct communication of the algorithm creator's contribution.

As publishing opens up, and platforms become more integrated, we are likely to become more exposed to articles that are outside our field, and others that are interdisciplinary. If we can’t rely on the author order to help us make sense of what authorship has meant for a particular paper, can we at least be sure about the class of activity that merits authorship attribution?

With the exception of high energy physics, which will include engineers along with researchers in the authorship list, it’s a surprisingly difficult activity to undertake. There is an extensive and growing literature available covering the ethical dilemmas that arise from attribution.

Understanding the rules

The most widely used authorship rules are known as the ’Vancouver rules’ and were laid down by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)[1]. The rules, which are followed by several hundred journals – mostly medical - specify that:

“Authorship credit should be based on: 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, and 3.

Although these rules are clear and many journals are signed up to follow them, there is evidence that compliance is far from complete, and that the rules are not well understood. In fact, exploring alternative models was the focus of the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution [2], hosted by IQSS (The Institute for Quantitative Science) at Harvard in May last year. Those of us with experience in publishing would recognize the issues involved in getting hundreds of authors to give final approval to a document: and some fields have published manuscripts where authorship is well into the thousands.

Two phenomena that have become recognized over the last few years are ‘ghost’ authorship and ‘guest’ authorship. Guest authorship occurs when an author’s name is included on the authoring list despite them not having played any part in the research or authoring process. This can come about in a variety of ways: when it is ‘normal lab practice’ to include the head of the lab on all publications; when a researcher has left the organization before the paper is written; and in the hope that a senior and well-respected name will confer additional credibility on a research paper and improve the chances of publication in a high-impact journal. Ghost authorship is a phenomenon that is said to occur when interested parties employ a professional writer, or have staff members on the research team, but don’t include these individuals on the final publications list. The implication is that these people would have a conflict of interest in the outcome of the research (or at least the presentation of the research at publication). By omitting their names, the paper affiliations look more neutral. There is a variety of other literature [3] in this area, alleging political / organizational influence in the creation of authorship lists. There is also some evidence that – when computed – tasks that would have previously conferred authorship no longer have this advantage.

As publishing articles is frequently considered to be the main currency of academic recognition – and is increasingly included in formal rule sets that govern academic status and eligibility for funding – so we can expect an increase in the heat governing this debate. Potentially, if the number of authors included in an article continues to increase, we may also witness a decrease in the value of authorship.

Adopting a contributorship approach

So what about contributorship, and how does it relate to authorship? Authorship is bound to persist into the future, for both ethical and copyright / legal reasons, so contributorship needs to be seen as an extension of existing protocols.

In short, the idea behind contributorship is to disclose what activities the researcher undertook to merit a place on the author list. Research undertaken by the author and colleagues in 2012 indicates that nearly all activities can be classified into a set of between 12 and 15 categories. The first three of these are outlined in Table 2 below. Although the prospect of this additional task as a manual activity would – quite properly – concern all people involved in the authoring and publishing process, this work could be a feature of the various research and collaboration tools (e.g. Mendeley) and services such as ORCID (footnote: ORCID was designed to enable definitions richer than authorship).

Conceptual and intellectual Formulation of the research questions; design of the experiments; interpretation of the results; intellectual and moral responsibility for the integrity of the paper, as a whole and for individual contributions.
Technical and experimental Implementation of the investigation and undertaking of experiments; obtaining specimens and subjects; acquisition and processing of data; analysis of results.
Organizational and communication Writing the project proposal and obtaining funding; ensuring compliance, e.g. ethics committees’ approval, informed consent; writing up results into a paper; illustration of the paper – selection and use of data; reporting.

Table 2. Three of the categories proposed to classify contributorship

Relationships are changing; we are moving towards a richer world with a more detailed and nuanced web of connections.  Although the concept of authorship is rooted in our culture and in our minds, contributorship could offer a richer set of definitions, enabling our contributions to human knowledge to be recorded more precisely. The value to us will be in knowing the areas of our expertise and contribution. If the cost is ameliorated through intelligent tools and services, then we can expect to see contributorship becoming one of the hot topics in scholarly communications and publishing.

  • Do you agree that contributorship is the way forward? Would it work in your field? Please let us know your thoughts by posting your comment below.

An article on this topic, Fixing authorship – towards a practical model of contributorship, has also appeared in Elsevier’s Research Trends.

Author biography

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor
TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH SPECIALIST
Mike has worked at Elsevier for 16 years. He has been a research specialist in the Labs group for the last four years, and has been involved with ORCID (and previous projects) throughout that time. Mike's other research interests include altmetrics, contributorship and author networks. Details of his research work can be found on http://labs.elsevier.com.


References

[1] International Committee of Medical Journal Editors, Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts submitted to Biomedical Journals: Ethical Considerations in the Conduct and Reporting of Research: Authorship and Contributorship.

[2] IWCSA Report (2012). Report on the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution, May 16, 2012. Harvard University and the Wellcome Trust.

[3] A small selection of the literature available on this topic:

Hylke Koers

AudioSlides allow authors to promote research findings in their own words

Authors can now create online presentations about their papers that are displayed on SciencDirect. If you would like your journal to offer AudioSlides, read on…

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Hylke Koers | Content Innovation Manager, Elsevier

New initiative will allow authors to create online presentations about their papers for display alongside their article on ScienceDirect. If you would like to offer this for your journal, read on...

Do you feel that too much research is being published these days? The answer to that question is usually a whole-hearted “yes” – an answer you will surely recognize. But when the same researchers are asked whether they feel they have published too much lately, that “yes” often becomes a “no”.

What is this telling us? I take this as an indication that researchers are increasingly struggling to keep up with the literature available but, at the same time, want to make sure that their paper gets the attention it deserves. Recent research by Elsevier [1] shows that scientists, on average, spend 9.3 hours per week browsing, searching and reading the literature on offer; that is a substantial portion of their time and it’s not surprising that useful papers are sometimes missed. With the volume of research output continuing to grow, this problem is only going to increase unless new tools are developed that will make it easier for researchers to find the articles most relevant to them.

We believe we can help. In 2011, Elsevier announced the Article of the Future project - a new, online article format offering better support for digital content, and a better online reading experience with a user-friendly, clean presentation.

Research has also shown that, thanks to the new format, readers are able to more efficiently determine if a paper is relevant for them. The biggest time-save (up to 34%) is in identifying and discarding irrelevant papers, which leaves more time to focus on the ones that matter [2].

We are now adding a new feature to the online article that offers a whole new dimension to this process by giving authors the possibility to explain in their own words what their paper is about: AudioSlides.

AudioSlides are brief, five-minute presentations created by the authors of the article using slides (PDF and PowerPoint) and voice-over recordings. This gives authors the opportunity to explain their paper in their own words in an appealing, easily accessible presentation format. The resulting video is displayed alongside the article on ScienceDirect. Authors can share personal insights into their research, highlight the paper’s salient points and, more importantly, explain why the paper is relevant for other researchers. This helps to make the paper stand out from the crowd and attracts readers that are interested in the subject. In particular, it can help to boost appeal to the younger generation of researchers, who have grown up with YouTube and enjoy using this format for learning.


To help authors create AudioSlides presentations, Elsevier has developed an easy-to-use, web-based tool. Authors can log in at any time to upload slides, and record a voice-over per slide. The tool works with all modern browsers, so only a computer, internet connection, and a microphone are required. Authors can make as many recordings as needed, and add, remove, or delete slides until they are happy with the result. AudioSlides is offered as a complimentary service for authors and the presentations will be made freely available on ScienceDirect.

The AudioSlides project was launched as a pilot mid-2012, and the initial response from both authors and readers has been very positive. Authors who have created a presentation tell us that they spend a few hours on it and are happy to recommend it to their peers. Based on this positive feedback, we will be rolling out the AudioSlides service to more titles throughout 2013. If you are interested in offering AudioSlides to your authors and readers, please reach out to us to nominate your journal for fast-track inclusion.

For more information and examples, please visit  www.elsevier.com/audioslides

[1] Researcher Insights Index - Reading Behaviour; Research & Academic Relations, Elsevier. More than 50,000 individuals were randomly selected from across 1.2 million authors that published in 2009 (source: Scopus). They were approached to complete the study in Jan 2012. There were 4,225 respondents. Data has not been weighted, responses are representative of the Scopus data by discipline and country. Error margin is ± 1.3%, at 90% confidence levels.

[2] IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg et al., “Elsevier's Article of the Future enhancing the user experience and integrating data through applications”, UKSG Insights 25 (1), March 2012, DOI: 10.1629/2048-7754.25.1.33

GoogleMaps_webinar

Webinar: Article of the Future and the Interactive Map viewer on ScienceDirect

Of interest to: Journal editors and authors, particularly in social sciences and earth and planetary sciences fields Archive views to date: 145+ Average feedback: 4.1 out of 5

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Of interest to: Journal editors and authors, particularly in social sciences and earth and planetary sciences fields
Archive views to date: 145+
Average feedback: 4.1 out of 5

Lyndsay_Scholefield

Winners of Elsevier’s Mobile Application Competition announced

We asked for your ideas for mobile applications which would help authors to submit their papers. The winners have now been announced…

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Lyndsay Scholefield | Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Elsevier

During April-May 2012, Elsevier invited researchers to take part in the Elsevier Mobile Application Competition. Researchers were asked to submit ideas for mobile applications that would help authors to submit their papers. Specifically we were looking for application ideas that are journal-based. The competition was open all authors, regardless of whether they had published with Elsevier or not.

We received an overwhelming response of over 3,700 entries from authors publishing across the breadth of Elsevier's Science and Technology journal portfolios. Our panel of judges faced a challenging task to select only two winners from the high quality entries we received.

We are delighted to announce that we now have two winners of the competition and we are able to provide you with a snapshot of their innovative ideas:

PeterWillemsen
Peter Willemsen

1st Place (Scope-finder)

Prize Apple® iPad 3rd Generation 16GB™, Wi-Fi model (ARV US$599)

By Dr Peter (T J) Willemsen, Research Scientist (Molecular Microbiology), Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen University & Research centre in Lelystad, The Netherlands.

"Scope-finder" is an application allowing users to select keywords and then apply different weights (with a slider) to find the best fitting journal for submitting a paper.


PaulAndrewes

Paul Andrewes

Runner up (Heat-map - Citations and Article Downloads)

Prize Amazon.com® Gift Card (US$100)

By Dr Paul Andrewes, Senior Research Scientist, Fonterra Cooperative Group Limited, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

There are few tools available for scientists to understand the trends in their fields. This application is an idea for a "heat-map" to show what articles, authors, or subjects a given field are generating the most attention (citations, and article downloads).


VoYS_PeerReview_JWphotocrp

New guide shines a light on peer-review process

A desire to understand the inner workings of the peer-review system has led a group of early career researchers to publish a new guide on the topic.

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Julia Wilson | Development Manager, Sense About Science
Sense About Science is a UK charity that equips people to make sense of science and evidence

A desire to understand the inner workings of the peer-review system has led a group of early career researchers to publish a new guide on the topic.

Peer review: The nuts and bolts

Members of Sense About Science’s Voice of Young Science (VoYS) network, an active group of early career researchers who stand up for science in public debates and inspire their peers to do the same, were behind the guide. They were keen to discover how to get involved in peer review and what is being done to address some of the criticisms of the system, such as bias from reviewers. So, armed with a collection of concerns raised by their peers, they set off to interview scientists, journal editors, grant body representatives, patient group workers and journalists worldwide. The end result is the new guide, Peer review: the nuts and bolts, which is aimed at early career researchers. It received its official launch at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Dublin this July.

In 2009, Sense About Science partnered with Elsevier to conduct one of the largest surveys of international authors and reviewers which highlighted how dedicated the scientific community is to peer review. 90% of respondents review articles because they like playing their part as a member of the academic community; 85% enjoy seeing papers and being able to improve them; and 91% believe their own last paper was improved through the peer-review process.

Just as a washing machine has a quality kite mark, peer review is a kind of quality mark for science. It tells you that the research has been conducted and presented to a standard that other scientists accept. At the same time, peer review is not saying that the research is perfect (nor that a washing machine will never break down). I’m surprised that such an integral and valuable contribution from scientists is often given little recognition in academia or training in how to do it for early career researchers.*

In writing the guide, the authors of Peer review: the nuts and bolts have not avoided criticisms of the peer-review process. They have asked journal editors and reviewers some challenging questions about scientific fraud and plagiarism going undetected; issues of trust and bias; ground-breaking research taking years to publish and the system benefiting a closed group of scientists.

What became clear was that early career researchers are frustrated by the lack of formal recognition for reviewing. With so many pressures to secure grant funding and publish research, there is a risk reviewing will become marginalised and inevitably inconsistent and shoddy.

Reviewing is currently not included in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in the UK (the new system for the allocation of funding to higher education institutes).  Members of the VoYS network decided to do something about this and wrote an open letter to Sir Alan Langlands, the Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council of England, calling for formal recognition of reviewing in the REF. In the letter, the early career researchers told Sir Alan: “Recognising reviewing as part of the REF would ensure that it is prioritised and safeguarded by university departments, [...] and approached professionally and seriously, enabling senior researchers to spend time mentoring early career researchers like ourselves in these activities.” A copy of their letter can be found on the Sense About Science website.

Dr Irene Hames (l)

Their call was supported by high profile editors and experts in the field including Dr Irene Hames, Editorial Consultant and author of Peer Review and Manuscript Management in Scientific Journals who spoke at our discussion on peer review at ESOF 2012 to mark the launch of our peer-review guide. Dr Hames said in support of the early career researchers’ open letter: “Peer reviewing involves a lot of time and effort by researchers [...] There is, however, currently no formal recognition of peer reviewing as a professional activity. Better recognition would be especially important for early career researchers, to demonstrate not only their contribution to this important activity, but their recognition as experts in their research areas.”

Peer review: the nuts and bolts is available to download from the Sense About Science website. For hard copies, please send requests to publications@senseaboutscience.org.

EU36_Career-compass

Nurturing Early Career Researchers

In 2006, Elsevier embarked on a series of external outreach workshops under the name ‘Publishing Connect’. Aimed at early career researchers – PhD students, postdoctoral students and junior faculty – these events are held at universities and institutes around the world. The need to train these authors and reviewers of the future on specific aspects […]

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In 2006, Elsevier embarked on a series of external outreach workshops under the name ‘Publishing Connect’. Aimed at early career researchers – PhD students, postdoctoral students and junior faculty – these events are held at universities and institutes around the world.

The need to train these authors and reviewers of the future on specific aspects of the publishing cycle has become increasingly important as the number of manuscript submissions from non-native English speaking countries continues to rise.

In 2010, we recorded about 150 workshops on how to write and submit research but, in 2011, that number rose to 220 and the number of attendees topped 15,000. Encouragingly, countries like China, India and Brazil had some of the highest attendance figures. In fact, Brazil was the venue for an ambitious 10-day roadshow tour by Elsevier’s Publishing and Sales teams. The feedback from both the participants and the institutes involved in all these events continues to be positive. Not only do the attendees receive ‘golden tips and tricks’ to publishing at an early stage in their career, the institutes know they have helped to nurture their own researchers to be the best authors and reviewers in their disciplines.

Chris Pringle

The content for these presentations is created by Elsevier’s publishers, who draw extensively on their own experiences and expertise. They also work closely with you to develop workshop opportunities, and travel extensively to present at these events, giving them vital opportunities to expand their networks and hear directly from the scientific community. “Talks given at one event have led to invitations to give further talks. Each time, I get to meet and interact with new people,” says Chris Pringle, Executive Publisher of Social Sciences.

Clare Lehane

Clare Lehane, Executive Publisher for Physical Sciences II, adds: “The events show that Elsevier is as interested in the start of the publishing process as we are with the final product, and we are here to help, not to hinder.”

If you haven’t already considered such an event at your institute then why not contact your publisher to explore the possibility?

Some of the most popular workshops focus on topics like ‘How to get published in research journals’ which addresses how to prepare and submit a manuscript, using correct manuscript language, and how to structure an article. Additionally, we host workshops on ‘Author rights and responsibilities’ which discuss in detail ethics and plagiarism pain points and solutions.

“Elsevier gave a workshop at Brunel University in 2011 to doctoral students from multidisciplinary academic backgrounds. Their workshops covered journal publishing, how to write a scientific paper, and publishing ethics. Over 100 students attended this event and their feedback about the workshop content and presentations were very positive: over 95% of respondents to our survey said that the content of the workshop was either good or excellent. It is a great opportunity for students to interact with experts from the field of publishing and to learn from their experience. Highly recommended for early career researchers as well.” Dr Senthila Quirke, Graduate School Tutor, Brunel Graduate School, Brunel University

Jaap van Harten

“If publishers are the antennas of Elsevier, then they should pick up the signals as close to the broadcasting station as possible.” Jaap van Harten, Executive Publisher for Life Sciences

At the start of 2012, the Academic Relations team – which facilitates this program in close association with Publishing – embarked on translating some of the workshop content into free-to-view, bite-sized training webcasts. Lasting up to 10 minutes each, these give the potential author quick hands-on tips and tricks on a number of different topics. Working with our global offices we ensure these webcasts are available to everyone who is interested in submitting a paper and getting published. Since the launch of the ‘How to Get Published’ series in January, the webcasts have received more than 129,500 views.  An author training webcast library has been created on www.elsevier.com/trainingwebcasts to host the series and new topics such as rights and responsibilities, ethics and plagiarism, and how to review a paper will be added in the near future. Clearly this is a resource that authors are keen to tap into and we hope that it will ensure valuable training is freely available to early career researchers across the globe.

The new Elsevier Biggerbrains website, launched in March this year, provides career guidance and advice for early career researchers who want to build their career more effectively. It has important sections on Search and Discovery, Writing and Publishing, Networking, Funding and Career Planning. Featuring interviews with professors, Biggerbrains represents the collective knowledge of the research community.

The site provides a broad mixture of inspiring video interviews with professors, career-planning tools, featured skill development articles and materials, a game and job alerts. The knowledge provided is of benefit to all research areas, across all disciplines. There's also a deeper section with a range of online tools and solutions.

The campaign reaches young researchers by using various communication vehicles such as print and online advertising, email communications, social media, conferences, events and author workshops. The site has been visited by researchers globally.

We invite you to visit www.biggerbrains.com and share this with the early career researchers in your institution to help them to build and accelerate their research career. You are welcome to contribute to Biggerbrains by providing guidance and advice to young researchers in the related areas. To do this please contact Kuan Juan at k.juan@elsevier.com.

We have also created a section dedicated to early career researchers on elsevier.com, offering a range of information and resources. The new Early Career Researcher page contains an overview of all the Elsevier support available, including links to our new Authors’ Update newsletter, research veteran Professor Alan Johnson’s valuable Charting a Course for a Successful Research Career booklet, and a useful interactive PDF called Understanding the Publishing Process.

If you have ideas for how we could be helping early career researchers, please let us know by posting your comments below.

Also in this issue:  Early Career Researchers Share their Thoughts on the Future.

Author Biographies

Hannah Foreman

Hannah Foreman
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, RESEARCH & ACADEMIC RELATIONS
Hannah joined Elsevier in 2007 as Marketing Communications Manager for journals in Physics and Astronomy. With more than 10 years’ experience in communications and relations roles she now leads the Academic Relations team in Amsterdam. This team focuses on delivering information innovatively to Editors, authors and reviewers of Elsevier journals, together with ensuring that Elsevier maintains its close partnerships with these vital communities. Hannah has a professional and academic background in European business and speaks four languages.


Tina Cherrington

Tina Cherrington
DIRECTOR, JOURNALS SERVICES
Tina left post-doctoral research to join Elsevier as a Journals Desk Editor in 1991. In 1995, she took on the first of a range of portfolios spanning a 14-year period as a publisher, first in the Life Sciences and, after a year in electronic product development, in the Health Sciences Divisions. In 2009, she re-joined the Science & Technology Journals division where she has undertaken several responsibilities including managing the Beijing-based Publishing Content Coordinators group, the Journals Training & Development manager, and the Project Office, and liaising with Global Production Journals.


Biggerbrains_KuanJuan

Knowledge Capture and Sharing—Biggerbrains

The new Biggerbrains campaign has just been launched to provide career guidance and advice for early-career researchers. Program Manager, Kuan Juan, explains more…

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Kuan Juan | Biggerbrains Program Manager / Sr Segment Marketing Manager, A&G Research Markets, Elsevier

Biggerbrains is a campaign created for the benefit of early-career researchers. That is, those who have recently earned a PhD, are on their way to completing one, or have been in a research career for less than five years.
 
The new Biggerbrains website provides career guidance and advice for early-career researchers who want to build their career more effectively. It has important sections on Search and Discovery, Writing and Publishing, Networking, Funding and Career Planning. Featuring interviews with professors, Biggerbrains represents the collective knowledge of the research community.

Biggerbrains


The site provides a broad mix of inspiring video interviews with professors, career-planning tools, featured skill development articles and materials, a game and job alerts. The knowledge provided here is of benefit to all research areas, across all disciplines. There's also a deeper section with a range of online tools and solutions.

The campaign reaches young researchers by using various communication vehicles such as print and online advertising, email communications, social media, conferences, events and author workshops. The site has been visited by researchers globally.

We invite you to visit www.biggerbrains.com and share this with the early-career researchers in your institution to help them to build and accelerate their research career. You are welcome to contribute to Biggerbrains by providing guidance and advice to young researchers in the related areas, to do this please contact Kuan Juan at k.juan@elsevier.com

Kelvin Davies

Your Paper, Your Way!

Imagine if contributors could submit their papers to a journal without worrying about formatting the manuscript. Kelvin Davies, Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology & Medicine introduces ‘Your Paper, Your Way’.

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Kelvin J A Davies, PhD, DSc | Editor-in-Chief, Free Radical Biology & Medicine

Imagine if contributors could submit their papers to a journal without worrying about formatting the manuscript, including those pesky references, to exacting specifications? Well that’s precisely what we at Free Radical Biology & Medicine have invited authors to do. Since July of 2011, we have encouraged contributors to submit ‘Your Paper, Your Way.’

As fellow scientists, I and my associate editors of Free Radical Biology & Medicine wondered why journals make people spend so much time and effort formatting their entire paper for submission, especially when it’s a journal with extremely high rejection rates. Although standard formats do make it just that little bit easier for editors and reviewers to see everything in the correct style, the reality is that the advantage is very small, and we should really be focusing on the quality of science and not the format. For authors the difference is very significant. Just think of all the time contributors spend doing secretarial formatting work on a paper, only to have it rejected immediately and be forced to repeat the whole process again for the next journal to which they submit their paper. An easier submission process not only saves time and effort but may also allow authors to achieve faster publication speeds.

In initiating ‘Your Paper, Your Way,’ Free Radical Biology & Medicine decided to invite all authors to submit their manuscripts as single PDF files, including all figures, figure legends, and references.  Of course, all scientific papers need to include the following key elements: title, abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results, discussion (or results and discussion combined), references, and figures and figure legends. Contributors can use whatever layout style suits them best, however, including references.  All we ask is that the paper has all the key elements, is legible, and that all figures are of sufficiently high quality to permit proper review.  If we don’t accept a paper, the authors will have saved valuable time and effort. If we do accept a paper we then have the authors format their work to fit the Free Radical Biology & Medicine style, but they really don’t mind at that point. Elsevier automatically actually converts any reference style to that of our journal at the time of acceptance, as long as the references contain all the normal information, including the paper title.

In addition to creating a ‘friendlier’ journal for scientists, ‘Your Paper, Your Way’ also allows us to capture scientifically excellent papers that almost made it into one of the top flight generalist journals, but were considered too specialist to be accepted; the authors don’t have to re-format their paper to then submit it to our specialist Free Radical Biology & Medicine journal.

As of January 2012, half a year after initiating ‘Your Paper, Your Way,’ approximately 50% of all the papers we receive now take advantage of this simplified submission system. We have not had any complaints from reviewers about the new system, and many authors have sent us letters of thanks and praise for the ease and simplicity of Your Paper, Your Way.’ The editors of Free Radical Biology & Medicine think that ‘Your Paper, Your Way’ represents a return to common sense and a genuine renewed focus on the rights and needs of authors. It also benefits our journal in numerous ways.  We look forward to seeing others try the ‘Your Paper, Your Way’ approach.

Elizabeth Przybysz

Is Reference Formatting Really so Important?

Do you believe that a new approach to references could make our authors’ lives easier? Elizabeth Przybysz would like to hear your views.

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Elizabeth Przybysz | Project Manager, Journal Development, Elsevier

Challenging publishing dogmas in the e-leading era

According to the National Information Standards Organization1, references perform two essential functions in research and publishing: they ensure that credit is given to the people and organizations whose previous works have contributed to that research, and they enable users of the references to uniquely identify and locate the original data and source the materials used.

What does this mean in today’s world? Fewer and fewer libraries and individuals subscribe to a print version of a journal. Even when libraries maintain a print version, readers access journals electronically. Some may still consult the source cited by visiting a local library, but the vast majority expect to have instant access to cited sources via linking services (such as CrossRef, PubMed, Scopus, or Web of Science) from the journal content platform provided through their institute.

The importance of these linking services does not end there. They monitor and analyze the online traffic, providing information on how many citations an article or an author has received. This not only ensures that the appropriate credit is given to an author of the cited material, but can also measure the importance of that research using various metrics (e.g. total citations, h-index). To provide an accurate picture, it is vital that all references can be tracked and that all sources are accounted for. This can only be guaranteed if an author, preparing the references, provides all the relevant metadata required by the linking services.

Reference formatting becomes irrelevant

Elsevier titles currently follow one of 10 standard styles, conforming to either the numbered or name/date master style; except for approximately 300 titles that follow their own non-standard style. All of these are legacy styles from the print era. Journals follow a particular style used within a scientific community or as a result of an editor’s personal choice. A non-standard reference style can certainly make the journal visually distinctive. However, none of these styles provides the optimal information for the linking services, with negative consequences on the discoverability of articles and authors in the online world. Elsevier has decided it is time to review the references styles from the point of view of meeting linking services requirements.

references_graph

Reference styles in journals published by Elsevier

We discovered that some of the formatting requirements may work against effective linking, or are completely irrelevant. Nevertheless, the reader experience may call for their continued inclusion.

For example:

  • the Vancouver style presents authors’ initials without a full stop, whereas a full stop is required by linking services to distinguish between multiple authors of an article;
  • journal titles are not used to match references across databases, however, this information helps the reader put the reference in context; the various abbreviations models may be confusing to the authors and the readers;
  • 1a Numbered & 1c Alphanumeric styles forbid the use of the article titles. This solution was designed in order to reduce the space consumed by the references, a factor irrelevant in virtual reality; and
  • none of the styles emphasise the importance of DOIs, e-identifiers or URLs – a metadata type which on its own is sufficient to create a link.

A new approach to references will make our authors’ lives easier

According to E C Friedberg writing in Nature in 20052, most authors perceive “coping with the multitude of formats imposed by academic journals for citing references to the literature as aggravating and labour-intensive experience (...) What difference can it possibly make if an author’s initials are placed before or after his/her surname, or where exactly in the citation the date of a publication is situated— not to mention the myriad variations of required fonts, italics, colons, commas and full stops?”.

At Elsevier, we have already agreed that we should never return a manuscript for amendments on the basis of the references not following a particular style. We would prefer to focus authors’ attention on providing and checking the key metadata for linking rather than prompt them to check the correct abbreviation of the journal title.

The challenge in this case is: as long as the author provides the basic information needed to hyperlink the references, and does so consistently throughout their article, why don’t we instigate across all (Elsevier) titles, just two standard reference styles, one numbered and one name/date?

In some cases, a unique reference style may be required for the journal to be a part of a closed research community or scholarly society, and these exceptions will be honored. The reference style may be one of the features that render the journal’s visual style distinctive, but should it take precedence over article discoverability and author visibility?

Creating a more modern reference style is just one of the projects Elsevier is undertaking to make the publishing experience more author-friendly. Several other projects are underway to review the range of journal-specific style requirements currently in place at the different stages of publication. They are being challenged for their added value to the presented research, their relevance in the e-leading era, and their effect on publication times.

Back in 2005, when Friedberg - at the time Editor of the journal DNA Repair - raised a “Call for a cull of pointlessly different reference styles” 2, to his disappointment there was not much reaction from other editors.

We are asking you now, as editors, to enter into the discussion – please post your thoughts or comments here, we would really like your feedback.

References:

1 National Information Standard Organization, 09 June 2005 (cited 20 February2012) available:  http://www.niso.org/apps/group_public/download.php/6545/Bibliographic%20References.pdf

2 E C Friedberg, Call for a cull of pointlessly different reference styles, Nature (2005) 1232

EU33_Raised_hands_168x168

Meeting the Challenge of a Global Academic Community

“While everyone has the possibility to submit a paper and become an author, editors are selected by their networks…” — David Clark, Senior Vice President, Physical Sciences There is no doubt the number of papers submitted by Asia-based authors is increasing, and increasing fast. But what are the possible consequences of this influx, not only […]

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"While everyone has the possibility to submit a paper and become an author, editors are selected by their networks..." — David Clark, Senior Vice President, Physical Sciences

There is no doubt the number of papers submitted by Asia-based authors is increasing, and increasing fast.

But what are the possible consequences of this influx, not only for editors, but for journals and the scientific community at large?

Philippe Terheggen, Elsevier Senior Vice President of Physical Sciences II, is confident this sea-change bodes well for the future of publishing.

He explains: “The birth of new internet technologies and the growth in these countries are two of the biggest trends in science and scientific publishing; they have transformed the landscape. Global collaboration with Asian scientists is rife and academics are regularly travelling. We are witnessing the emergence of one single academic community and that is fantastic.”

According to Terheggen, Elsevier has an obligation to ensure these prospective authors can fully participate in the publishing process. An obligation it shares with the authors’ parent institutions.

He acknowledges: “Yes, that brings challenges. Right now the rejection rate needs to be high and there are language problems that require editors and reviewers to spend too long on their evaluations. However, the papers that are published are often highly-cited and the overall quality is good. We know reviewers are doing some fantastic filtering and are choosing the right articles.”

He adds: “The danger is that poor language and presentation could be a recipe for under-publishing with good quality research lost. However, I see this as a temporary problem because the English language skills of the younger researchers are often really strong and improving fast.”

The importance of training

Concerns have been raised that the rate of duplicate submissions is higher in some Asian countries than those of more established scientific communities. Terheggen responds: “All countries have authors who show that sort of behavior. It’s probably more apparent in Asia because of the relatively large numbers of eager, early-career researchers who are not familiar with international codes of conduct. Don’t forget, a professor in China may have 100 PhD students, while in Germany that figure could be as low as 10. That makes it more challenging for the Chinese professor to get important messages across.

“But even if eagerness is to blame, duplicate submissions are highly undesirable as they double the workload for peer reviewers.

CrossCheck logo“We try to explain that to prospective authors and the initiative CrossCheck is also proving useful.  It makes it relatively simple to pick up researchers who engage in plagiarism or multiple submissions.”

He adds: “Sometimes the duplicate submission is deliberate, just a couple of items are changed before the second submission. That is the worst form of ‘salami slicing’ but it’s not typical.”

Terheggen says Elsevier is continuing to build its presence in Asia, both in publishing and support roles.

“Nothing can replace that on-the-spot contact. We are therefore investing in the relocation of senior publishers to our Beijing office for periods of one month or six weeks. While our China-based professional expertise is growing, the visiting publishers gain deeper Asian knowledge. That two-way learning curve is also created by extended stays of Asian staff in Europe and the US.”

Disciplines witnessing an Asian boom

Asia’s expansion has closely followed a pattern established in other emerging countries. Subject areas such as chemistry, material sciences and engineering typically experience the first growth. This is usually followed by life sciences, social sciences and some of the inter-disciplinary sciences.

How Elsevier can help

David Clark, Elsevier Senior Vice President of Physical Sciences, agrees that Elsevier has an important support role to play in Asia.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of submissions from emerging countries and a larger universe of authors brings its own set of problems. We know the new authors are not necessarily up to date with the ‘dos and don’ts’ of publishing so it is up to us to help them.”

Clark has some practical tips for editors swamped by papers from Asia.

“Talk to your publisher. Ask them how other journals are coping and about the services we have in place to help.

“For example, we run author workshops*, which are often visited by hundreds of early career researchers. These can be hosted by an editor and publisher, or by an editor alone and there is material available for use.

“It is not the editor’s job to rewrite a paper and there is a danger errors can creep in during the process. We encourage authors to ask a native English speaker to read their article prior to submission so they can make the corrections themselves. We certainly don’t feel that editors should be spending time on papers that they struggle to understand or follow – it is the author's job to get that right.”

Closing the gap

According to Clark, while the spread of countries represented on the editorial boards of Elsevier journals is ‘reasonable’, countries such as India and China are under-represented in comparison with their share of published articles. For example, the percentage of Elsevier editors from China is 3.3% while nearly 13% of published articles originate there.

% share of Elsevier S&T articles

Figure 1 - percentage share of Elsevier S&T articles by country. Source: Elsevier Operations Reporting, 2010.

Clark admits: “Some countries are also significantly over-represented, for example, 40% of our editors come from the US while only 18% of published articles originate there.

“This discrepancy can partly be explained by market shifts that are not reflected yet in editor representation, e.g. China has gained more article share in Elsevier journals at the cost of the US, UK, Japan, and Germany.

“Culture and politics also play an important role. While everyone has the possibility to submit a paper and become an author, editors are selected by their networks and people tend to turn to those they know.

“Levels of appropriate expertise can also be a stumbling block.

“I know some editors worry communication will prove problematic. This concern stems from a time when we dealt with paper but new communication technologies make international boards easier to run.

“Sometimes it is simply a case of hesitating to make changes to the current board.”

He adds: “This gap needs to be addressed, not for reasons of political correctness, but because of the practical advantages. It eases the burden on traditional academic communities and it offers access to good new people coming up through the system. Just look at the high standard of work already coming out of some institutes in China.

“However, the quality of a journal rests with the people editing it. We know that means that in some fields there will not be board members from emerging countries, while in other fields they might comprise half the editorial board.

“Many journals have already appointed editors in Asia and there are clear benefits for doing so. For example, the editors we do have from China do seem to accept, on average, better-cited papers than those from other countries. That suggests they do a good job and my own experience supports that.”

Practical steps

Clark has advice for editors keen to attract an Asia-based editor onboard.

“As I’ve mentioned, there can be concern about changing the current board. Remember, board members aren’t permanent and your publisher can announce member changes on your behalf.

“And if you want to identify potential Asian editorial board members we can help with that too. Using Scopus we can identify the best authors to approach. We can also give suggestions based on our experience with Asia-based guest editors. Our network can help...publishers can help, so please use us.”

* Asian countries are not the only venues to play host to our growing workshop programs. Learn more about recent successful events held in Brazil.

Seeking the solutions – Elsevier-supported initiatives that can help

Elsevier Language Editing Services
We will ensure that your manuscript is free of grammatical and spelling errors within four business days.

Elsevier Author Workshops
Training authors and research students in emerging academic communities to write world class papers. Modules on ethical and copyright issues are included.

Elsevier Reviewer Workshops and Mentorship Program
Together with the editorial community, journal publishers at Elsevier have created a number of programs to develop and nurture the pool of future reviewers.

CrossCheck
Cross-publisher initiative with CrossRef to screen published and submitted content for originality.

Author Biographies

Philippe Terheggen

Philippe Terheggen

Philippe Terheggen
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT PHYSICAL SCIENCES II
Originally a medical scientist and author, Philippe has an international background in book and journal publishing, marketing, production, and product innovation. In an earlier role, he was responsible for implementing the online article submission system to Elsevier journals. His current role is focused on chemistry and chemical engineering, engineering, energy and renewable resources, environmental sciences, agricultural and water management, as well as oil & gas and geological sciences.

David Clark
David Clark

David Clark
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT PHYSICAL SCIENCES
David oversees our program in physics, mathematics, computer science and materials which includes both some of the newest and longest-standing Elsevier journal titles. Previously he was a publishing director for physics and mathematics, publishing director for economics and a publisher for economics and for geography. David was educated at Oxford and London Universities.


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