Editors' Update is your one-stop online resource to discover more about the latest developments in journal publishing, policies and initiatives that affect you as an editor, as well as other services and support available. Discover and participate in upcoming events and webinars and join in topical discussions with your peers.
In this special issue, we’ve touched on how Scopus can support your editorial role. Now we turn the spotlight on another powerful source of research insights – Elsevier’s new generation SciVal. Using data from Scopus – the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature – SciVal offers quick, easy access to the research performance […]
In this special issue, we’ve touched on how Scopus can support your editorial role. Now we turn the spotlight on another powerful source of research insights - Elsevier’s new generation SciVal.
Using data from Scopus - the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature - SciVal offers quick, easy access to the research performance of 220 nations and 4,600 research institutions worldwide. Metrics can be combined to benchmark an institution’s or a country’s productivity, citation impact, collaboration (and more). They can also help researchers understand their position relative to that of their peers, as well as global and domestic standards.
Together with your publisher, you can now use this research intelligence tool to craft the future strategy of your journal and inform potential expansion of your network in emerging fields of research.
Executive Publisher for Water Management and Biological Resources, Dr. Christiane Barranguet, recently prepared a SciVal report for one of her editors, Laurent Charlet. Professor Charlet is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hydrology, which publishes original research papers and comprehensive reviews in all the subfields of the hydrological sciences.
Dr. Barranguet explained: “Hydrology is becoming more and more interdisciplinary and also more fragmented, hence its trends and developments have become more difficult to analyze. Nowadays, we see the traditional fields of hydrology (engineering, water geochemistry, soil science, geology and meteorology) integrated with such diverse disciplines as social sciences, economics, law, environmental sociology, psychology, epidemiology and behavioral science.
“The United Nations has declared 2014 the year of water and energy, and with three universities in Grenoble, France, merging into one larger entity (the University Grenoble Alps), we wanted to discover the salient facts and figures for research integrating both water and energy: where research is being done, how impactful it is, and which collaborations between international institutes are the most beneficial - both in the whole world and in France.
“Using SciVal, we confirmed that ‘water and energy’ is a growing research field, but we also saw the directions in which this emerging field is developing (Figure 3). By analyzing the most frequent keywords, we discovered that the field of water and energy research has different expertise areas in the world, France and France’s Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble-1) in particular.”
She added: “We also noticed that water-energy research conducted at Université Joseph Fourier was very impactful in terms of citations, both at a global level, and normalized for the field.” (Figure 4)
Professor Charlet, who is Professor of Water Biogeochemistry at the Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble-1), said: “One of the interesting outcomes from the research was that the intersection of energy and water does not identify people working in hydrology or engineering, which is what we were expecting. Instead, two of the key researchers highlighted work in fundamental chemical biology (and specifically on understanding hydrogenase enzymes), both of whom I know personally.” (Figure 5)
Dr. Barranguet and Professor Charlet were able to conclude that:
According to Dr. Barranguet, the information SciVal provides can not only support you in your role as an editor, but in your work as an academic too.
She said: “You can’t be a good editor unless you have a good understanding of your community and are in fluid contact with it. In a world of complex transdisciplinarity, research intelligence analysis can enhance scientists’ understanding of their disciplines. By examining which particular competences are emerging in a research field, who is working on what topic, and what the most impactful collaborations are, an editor can better anticipate developments and adapt the journal strategy to meet them.”
Professor Charlet intends to use the SciVal data to develop future Special Issues and explore collaboration opportunities. The data discussed here will be presented during the 2015 Grenoble Interdisciplinary Days, more information about which will appear shortly on the Elsevier.com homepage of Journal of Hydrology.
Laurent Charlet is Professor of Water Biogeochemistry at the Université Joseph Fourier (Grenoble-I). His research group belongs to the Earth Science Institute (ISTerre). He is holder of the CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research) Silver Medal for Excellence in Research and is Chancellor International Research Advisor. The aim of his research is to develop general methods for understanding the reactivity of trace elements and nanoparticles present in nature, and also in the human body, as a means of predicting biogeochemical processes that are relevant to environmental quality, sustainability, paleoenvironment reconstruction and risk assessment. Recently he developed different collaborative projects on ‘medical geochemistry’ studying the effect of nanoparticles, metals & metalloids speciation on DNA double-strand breaks, whether non-repaired or mis-repaired, with respect to (nano)toxicity and carcinogenesis.
Dr. Christiane Barranguet, PhD, studied oceanography in Uruguay where she completed her MSc at the Universidad de la República. Subsequently, she was awarded a grant from the French Minister of Education and moved to Marseille, where she completed a DEA and a PhD in oceanography (1994). After graduation, Christiane worked at the two major institutes for marine research in The Netherlands (NIOO and NIOZ) as a postdoc, and later on at the University of Amsterdam, where besides her research work she mentored MSc, PhD and postdoctoral students. Dr. Barranguet has published over 30 scientific publications in international journals. In 2004, she left academia to manage the Aquatic Sciences portfolio at Elsevier as Publishing Editor, being promoted to Publisher in 2006. Presently, she occupies the position of Executive Publisher, shaping the publication policy of water research, comprising the top international scientific journals.
Editors and publishers are always curious to learn how their journal is performing compared to others in the field. They are also keen to discover whether the content they are publishing is attracting citations. In this piece, we would like to share with you a number of visualization techniques that can help to generate insights […]
Editors and publishers are always curious to learn how their journal is performing compared to others in the field. They are also keen to discover whether the content they are publishing is attracting citations. In this piece, we would like to share with you a number of visualization techniques that can help to generate insights into journal performance.
How can you determine what the ‘hot’ topics are in a specific journal, group of journals or subject area? Or, more specifically, which topics have shown active growth and strong impact in research output (published articles) in recent years? To answer this question, we developed a new visualization tool in collaboration with the CWTS research group, which specializes in bibliometrics at the University of Leiden. The tool has access to all journals and conference proceedings indexed in Scopus. Drawing on this information, it can generate maps revealing the relationships between terms used in titles and abstracts of articles published in one or more selected journals. It does this with the help of a computer program called VOSviewer (1).
There are a number of steps involved in producing a term map.
The map shown in Figure 1 is known as a co-occurrence cluster map. Every term that occurs at least five times in the titles and abstracts of articles in the selected journals is represented by an individual node on the map. The larger the node, the more articles contain the term and the smaller the space between the terms, the more often they tend to co-occur. However, it is important to note that this is a 2D representation of a multi-dimensional network, so the proximity of terms cannot perfectly reflect the relationship in all cases. Finally, the terms are colored into clusters of terms that tend to co-occur.
Field expertise can help appropriately check and name the clusters, as well as predict which clusters are likely to contain the most highly-cited content, and why.
The next step in determining hot topics in the field is to check which terms are relatively well cited in comparison to the rest of the content published in the journal(s). This can be done by changing the coloring in the cluster map to show the average citation impact of the articles containing that term, relative to the average citation impact (1.00) of all articles included in the map (Figure 2). As older publications have had more time to be cited, the citations are normalized by year of publication to make a fair comparison possible. In Figure 2, terms with above average citation impact are colored red, terms with average citation impact are green and terms with below average citation impact are shown in blue.
We can clearly see that the relatively highly-cited terms tend to occur to the left of the map. These are terms found mainly in the yellow and green clusters in Figure 1, related to experiments (green) and clinical trials (yellow). Highly-cited terms in these areas include:
Finally, a Scopus keyword search can be performed for the terms in the map with the highest relative citation impact, to determine if these were isolated occurrences. The outcome of this keyword search, restricted to the Nursing field, confirmed that there were at least four areas in this analysis which had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 5 percent, which indicates that there was an above average increase in the number of papers published in these areas over the past five years, as the average CAGR is 3–5 percent (see Table 1).
The Scopus keyword search confirmed that the topics suggested by the map were indeed topics that have been attracting attention in the field. Although this specific map at field level is somewhat generic, it does provide a general idea of where to look for hot topics in more detail.
One editor’s experiences
Dr. Paul H. Gobster is a Research Social Scientist for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. He has just stepped down after four years as co-Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Landscape and Urban Planning, remaining on the journal’s Board as Associate Editor. He and his colleagues used term maps to aid the development of an editorial for the journal’s 40th anniversary (2).
Dr. Gobster said: “We identified important concepts and themes represented in its published content and developed a time-series of four maps to qualitatively describe changes across each successive decade.
“The term maps were relatively easy to interpret and produced visualizations that were suitable for presentation to readers within our editorial. I believe the term maps have additional value for journal administrative and strategic planning functions — the clustering can help to clarify thematic content for manuscript classification and assignment of submissions to Associate Editors, and the clusters and specific terms (their presence, positions, and any changes over time) may help to identify enduring and emerging subthemes of work.”
While term maps are used to highlight the topics published within a journal or discipline, journal mapping can be used to examine a journal’s position and scope and its interactions with other journals in the field. As with term maps, Scopus can provide the source data, ensuring the analysis draws on all indexed journals.
These journal maps are formed using citation links. A citation from a paper published in one journal to a paper published in another establishes that their respective contents are relevant to each other, and suggests a level of similarity between the two. In any given time period, a journal tends to contain citations to many other journals, and those it cites the most should be the journals with which it is most closely related. For instance, if Journal A provides many citations to Journal B and only a few to Journal C, this is a sign that it has a stronger connection to Journal B. If over time the balance shifts so that it begins to provide more citations to Journal C, this indicates that the scope of the journals or structure of the field is changing and it is becoming progressively more related to Journal C. When the citation links are built up over many more journals than in this simplified example, a map is a convenient way to display the links and see how journals interact to form larger groups.
See Figure 3 for an example of a journal map based upon the same six Nursing journals used in the term maps examples above.
Each journal on the map is displayed as a node (circle), with size determined by the average citations to that journal's papers in the time period. You can see in Figure 3 that the general Medicine journals included in the map have far higher average citation impact than the other journals. The selected journals are in blue and all fall into the region of core Nursing journals, while other journals are in grey and included because of their citation links to these seed journals. Citation relationships are shown as edges (lines) of varying thickness. These citation relationships are normalized by the number of citations received by the cited journal and by the number of citations given by the citing journal. The thicker the line, the higher the proportion of citations represented.
In this example map, key areas of different health science specialties have been labelled based on the journal groups. This allows you to see the links between broader specialties as well as individual journals. These groupings will tend to be fairly stable, but comparing maps based on different time periods allows you to identify newly-emerging journals in a given area or the changing research relationships that lead one topic area to become more relevant to another over time.
The citation environment in which a journal sits is unique and dynamic, and analysis of this can be used as an objective means for determining the competitive position of an established journal in a research field.
Both term mapping and journal mapping can help to benchmark the journal against competitors and provide useful insights for editorial board meetings. While a few strategic reasons for using these analytical tools have been suggested in the text above, their real advantage lies in how adaptable they are to different research questions. If you would like to know more about how these tools can help you, or other analytical tools to provide insight into the position of your journal, please contact your publisher.
(1) Van Eck, N.J., & Waltman, L. (2010) “Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping”, Scientometrics, Vol 84, No. 2, pp. 523–538.
(2) Gobster, P.H. (2014) “(Text) Mining the LANDscape: Themes and trends over 40 years of Landscape and Urban Planning”, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol 126, pp. 21–30.
Dr. Daphne van Weijen, PhD, joined Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations department in 2012. Part of her role as a Publishing Information Manager is to advise publishers and editors on ways to improve the success and quality of their journals, using bibliographic data and visualization techniques. Daphne has a background in Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching, and completed her PhD research on First and Second Language Writing Processes at Utrecht University in 2009.
Matthew Richardson works within Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations department as a Publishing Information Manager. He studies scientific research through the lenses of publication and citation trends, with a focus on the information flows that construct and change research disciplines. His particular focus is on visualizing networks of scientific publications and fields, to enable a deeper understanding of how journals and disciplines relate to one another. Matthew completed a Master’s Degree in Writing from the University of Warwick, UK, before joining Elsevier’s Oxford office in 2010.
We appreciate how challenging the role of an editor can be; the continuous flow of papers many journals receive can result in a queue of manuscripts awaiting review. First, there’s the plagiarism check against the rapidly expanding body of research available; then, for increasingly interdisciplinary fields where research often stems from international collaboration, questions such […]
We appreciate how challenging the role of an editor can be; the continuous flow of papers many journals receive can result in a queue of manuscripts awaiting review. First, there’s the plagiarism check against the rapidly expanding body of research available; then, for increasingly interdisciplinary fields where research often stems from international collaboration, questions such as “how incremental or significant is the research to my field?” and “who are the best reviewers?” are becoming harder to answer. The information that individual editors use to evaluate manuscripts across the thousands of academic journals can be as varied and complex as snowflakes. Oh, and what do you do with the experimental data that the author wanted to submit…?
How can we at Elsevier help? Well, we can bring together data from existing platforms such as EES, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Mendeley to create new features leveraging search, aggregation and advanced recommender technologies, supported by our powerful HPCC supercomputer. A prime example of this is the recent upgrade to the Find a Reviewer tool in EES, powered by Scopus.
In this edition of Editors' Update, you will also hear about the next generation of SciVal and the 'term' or journal maps you can use to inform your future journal strategy – both these initiatives also look to Scopus for their data. And we link to data contained in non-Elsevier databases, for example, we recently announced the integration of CrossCheck's plagiarism software into EES, ensuring articles are automatically uploaded to iThenticate at the submission stage. We know how important it is to you and your authors to make the evaluation process faster; the initiatives outlined here are all important steps towards our goal of creating substantial efficiencies in the editorial workflow. Our aim is simple – to provide you with a toolbox, so that you can select which tools work best for you.
These are not just aspirations – we are working hard to make them a reality. We are changing how we build products and features; we are consulting editors throughout the development process, being more iterative in how we build and, more importantly, checking at each stage that what we are building is of value to you. We’re also continuing to develop competencies in online and analytics skills and are enhancing them through ongoing collaborations such as the Big Data Institute with University College London (UCL), which oversees research projects between our product teams and leading researchers in UCL in the area of big data and analytics. And we can go further…
…but first, let's go back to your role as an editor for a moment…
We realize that what is important to you is your real passion; your role at your institute, university or hospital. However, having reviewed incoming manuscripts, there is work to be done on the paper you are about to publish, the two peer-review requests for other journals sitting on your desk, and the grant funding application that needs finishing. The good news is that we can also support you with some of these activities. We can help authors find the best home for their research with our intuitive – and recently upgraded – Journal Finder tool and we can help them understand the impact of their published work through Scopus citations, downloads on ScienceDirect and altmetrics pilots. We can also now showcase their impact on their community via Mendeley.
However, in this issue we are focused on editors and I am excited to share with you some of the innovative things that we are working on to not only help you determine the future of your journal, but to streamline the editorial process so you can choose to spend your time where it matters most.
Learn more about our plans to expand the use of almetrics on our platforms and the other metrics-related projects we are working on.
Elsevier’s altmetrics program is growing. This year will see us expand our deployment of this data on our various platforms and introduce new methods of classification and display.
Elsevier’s relationship with altmetrics – measurements of online engagement – dates back to the beginning of this exciting field. In November 2011, Elsevier announced the winner of its Apps for Science Challenge, Euan Adie. His idea for measuring the attention that research articles receive via social media and online news sites won the Grand Prize of $15,000.
The Altmetric.com score and donut visualization that Euan developed have been displayed in our abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, Scopus, since 2012. They appear in the sidebar of document and abstract pages when data is available for the article being viewed.
In November 2013, we launched pilots using similar visualizations on our research content platform ScienceDirect, and on Elsevier’s journal homepages; you can read more about these in the Editors’ Update article “Elsevier expands metrics perspectives with launch of new altmetrics pilots”. Around this time, Cell and The Lancet also began to display a brick version of the same score on the online versions of their articles. These pilots are now ending and the results have been analyzed. Based on the results and your positive feedback, ScienceDirect and the journal homepages will roll out altmetrics data to a wider set of journals over the coming months.
Elsevier’s 2013 acquisition of Mendeley, the free reference manager and academic social network tool, also put Elsevier at the forefront of altmetrics data providers. We continue to make the Mendeley readership statistics freely available for use in applications and on websites. You can visit http://dev.mendeley.com/ and become a member of the community. Mendeley also hosts regular developer meetings at its offices, where you can learn more about the API that allows you to develop very complex applications using the Mendeley infrastructure.
In its pilot for 27 large journals, ScienceDirect tested alternating altmetrics images on an article level. Visitors landing on the relevant pages had a 50 percent chance of seeing either information presented in The Lancet / Cell brick format, or the donut. User interaction with the visualizations was similar which indicated that the information was interesting, regardless of the manner in which it was presented.
The journal homepages pilot involved 30 journals – both large and small – from various fields. The donut and article title for each journal’s top three rated articles appeared in an ‘altmetrics pod’ on the homepage (Figure 1). By clicking on the ‘view all’ option beneath the top three list, visitors could review the altmetrics score for the top 10 articles. Interestingly, 86 percent of visitors chose to find out more information by clicking on the article title, which took them to ScienceDirect, rather than the donut link to the Altmetric.com detail page.
Elsevier is certainly playing its part in the wider community. Dr. Lisa Colledge, Director of Research Metrics, has been working with university research offices to agree a set of standard metrics they would like to use to give input into their university strategies. The Snowball Metrics group has endorsed altmetrics that are now included in their open and community-led institutional metrics program. The four Snowball altmetrics 'buckets' cluster together data types that result from similar activity; Scholarly Activity, for example, is the number of times publications have been posted in online tools that are typically used by academic scholars, like Mendeley and CiteULike, and Social Activity counts the number of social media posts that have been stimulated by publications, such as those on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
William Gunn of Mendeley and Michael Habib, Elsevier’s Senior Product Manager for Scopus, are at the forefront of the NISO (National Information Standards Organization) Alternative Metrics program, which aims to advance standards and / or best practices in this area.
Michael Taylor of Elsevier Labs plays an active part in the community, working with external groups on metrics formulations; attending and organizing conferences, funding postdoctoral research; and publishing various articles. Mike recently guest edited a special altmetrics edition of Research Trends, our free online magazine for insights into scientific trends, which contains a great deal of valuable contextual material, research summaries and thoughts on the future from key players in the field.
Elsevier has also recently launched its Metrics Development Program to provide data and financial sponsorship to individuals and research groups working on research metrics.
In the year ahead, we will start experimenting with displays of the ‘buckets’ of altmetrics data. Inevitably, as more research is undertaken, and more people become aware of the potential for exploring and sharing content offered by public and scholarly engagement indicators, this field will move on. There is already discussion on the future of the “alt” (for ‘alternative’) in altmetrics, indicating that they are increasingly perceived as mainstream.
Researchers can already monitor the impact of their own papers published in Elsevier journals, and get more specific insights, via free tools such as ScienceDirect Usage Alerts and the weekly CiteAlert service. They can also, of course, discover who is talking about their articles by following the links from the altmetrics information on Scopus. But above all, researchers can get involved by starting to share their research via the social media channels that best serve their network, and by starting to include altmetrics information on CVs.
|Based in Oxford, Mike Taylor has worked at Elsevier for 18 years, the past four as a Technology Research Specialist for the Elsevier Labs group. In that role, he has been involved with the ORCID Registry. His other research interests include altmetrics, contributorship and author networks. Details of his research work can be found on the Elsevier Labs website. He is currently producing a series of three plays about scientists for Oxford-based theater company www.111theatre.co.uk.|
|As Marketing Project Manager, Hans Zijlstra is responsible for projects focusing on journal and article metrics with the aim of improving our service to authors. He joined Elsevier in 1996 after working as an expert in database marketing for a German mail order company and Visa. He held various senior marketing positions before leaving to take on management roles in medical communications, telecom, finance and sailing. He also set up his own consultancy, Zijlvaart Advies & Actie, specializing in cultural heritage and museum marketing. He returned to Elsevier in 2008, initially doing marketing for magazines and webinars in horticulture and infosecurity. Via portfolios in Computer Science and Biochemistry he landed in his current role. In his spare time he researches and writes about maritime history, genealogy and 17th century paintings, next to sailing the Dutch Wadden sea.|
|Dr. Lisa Colledge is an expert in the use of research metrics that provide insights into research performance of universities, researchers, journals, and so on. She developed this knowledge “on the job” by working with editors and learned societies to build understanding of journal Impact Factors relative to their competitors, and to develop strategies to improve journals’ standings. She then joined the Elsevier Research Intelligence product group, which develops tools to support performance measurement, and most recently launched SciVal. Lisa currently applies her expertise to Snowball Metrics, for which she is Program Director; in this initiative, a group of universities agrees a single robust method to generate metrics that are commonly understood, draw on a combination of all data sources available to the universities generating them, and which thus support international benchmarking. Prior to joining Elsevier, Lisa conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh. She holds both a DPhil and an MA from the University of Oxford.|
Dr. D Chandramohan argues that Indian researchers should be encouraged to prioritize Indian journals when choosing a home for their papers.
Dr. D Chandramohan | Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering at Vel Tech, Avadi, Chennai, India
Methodical publishing capabilities, both in terms of excellence and scope, to a great extent reflect the strength of science and technology in a country.
Many emergent countries, including India, are yet to achieve triumph in this aspect. In the recent past, the order of global leaders has been evolving and the “east” is now giving a tough friendship to the “west” in terms of methodical and technological power . But, India is struggling for a better-quality position in this competition.
India publishes a huge number of journals; there are about 600 biomedical journals alone . But, the eminence of these journals remains largely overlooked. In a recent editorial in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, some common problems encountered in scientific publishing in India, especially in the biomedical field, were discussed with great concern . The editorial also described the role of the journal core team (including the editor and other editorial team members) in bringing these journals in the vanguard of the global community .
Here I share a few other concerns which, if properly addressed, could make a contribution to the success of scientific publishing in India. The prominent funding bodies under the Government of India, such as Department of Science & Technology, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, etc., should recommend that researchers publish their work preferably in relevant Indian journals. The funding bodies should broadcast a special package/reward/prize, in some form or the other, for researchers who publish their research in Indian journals.
It is now a traditional fact that the Asian scientific power is soaring at a rapid pace, and a sense of “look east” has developed in the minds of the global community. But, I am sorry to say, the Indian research community (both scientists and students), though aware of the above fact, still believe in “west-first” and prioritize publications with a good impact factor (IF) . An implement is required to change the way of thinking of researchers working in various laboratories and their preference should shift to “good-will factor” rather than “impact factor”.
India, China, Japan and Korea are collaborating with agencies like NPG, Elsevier, etc. to bring their journals to the front of the global community and thereby improve their standards. Recent trends in science and technology all over the world clearly indicate that China is rising at a rapid pace . Though the data show that India is also moving on in this direction, the intention is still miles ahead . It is time to think. It is really the time for a “publish in India” movement .
I strongly believe that a combined effort by funding agencies, researchers, public and private sectors, and journals’ editorial teams, would certainly transform India into the international leader in methodical publishing.
Conflicts of interest: None declared
 Editorial, "Asia on the rise". Nature 2007; 447 : 885.
 Satyanarayana K, Sharma A., "Biomedical Journals in India: Some critical concerns". Indian J Med Res 2010; 132 : 119-22.
 Satyanarayana K, Sharma A., "Impact factor: Time to move on". Indian J Med Res 2008; 127 : 4-6.
 Satyanarayana K., "India, China, and the world". Indian J Med Res 2010; 131 : 7-10.
 Satyanarayana K., "We are surging ahead!". Indian J Med Res 2007; 126 : 4-5.
 Satyanarayana K., "Time for ‘Publish in India’ movement". Indian J Med Res 2004; 119.
Dr. D Chandramohan completed his postgraduate study at the Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering and Technology in 2008 and his PhD at Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Tamilnadu, India, from Anna University, Chennai, in 2013. He has been engaged in active research in the field of composite materials for the past 10 years. He has filed four Indian patents and has 40 research papers to his credit, which have been published in various international journals of repute. He has presented 15 research papers related to composites at various national and international conferences held in India. He received the Fellowship Award 2011 from the Society for Applied Biotechnology, India. At present, he is working as Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vel Tech (Owned by RS Trust), in Avadi, Chennai Tamilnadu, India.
As interest in measurement metrics continues to grow, Elsevier launches a new program to fund research in this area.
Gali Halevi | Senior Research Analyst and Program Director, Elsevier
Elsevier has launched a Metrics Development Program to provide data and financial sponsorship to individuals and research groups working on scientific evaluation metrics.
The aim of the program is to encourage research into a range of impact measures such as bibliometrics, altmetrics, and individual- or institution-level metrics.
Researchers, administrators and managers across industries and countries are constantly seeking ways to measure the impact of their funded projects and research in a systematic manner.
For more information about submissions and proposals, please visit the Metrics Development Program website.
Registrations are now open for the remaining webinars in our 2014 series for journal editors.
Jagdesh Kaur Georgiou | Researcher Relations Manager, Elsevier
UPDATE: The archive version of the Thursday, 18th September webinar - Trends in Journal Publishing - will be available to view from Monday, 22nd September via the following link.
This autumn sees the next two live webinars in our 2014 series for journal editors and registrations are now open.
By participating in these webinars, you will hear presentations from our top Elsevier experts and join in-depth discussions on publishing and journal-related subjects. You will also be able to send your questions to the presenters via the registration form or online during the live event.
You can register now for:
Trends in Journal Publishing
Date: 18th September 2014
Time: Amsterdam: 16.00 / London: 15.00 / New York: 10.00 / Beijing: 22.00
Presenters: Anne Kitson (EVP Health and Medical Sciences) & Laura Hassink (SVP Physical Sciences)
The publishing landscape is continuously evolving and we would like to present the latest trends and discuss what they mean for you.
How to make your journal stand out from the crowd
Date: 21st October 2014
Time: Amsterdam: 16.00 / London: 15.00 / New York: 10.00 / Beijing: 22.00
Presenter: Ellen Nichols (Head of Marketing Communications)
This webinar will introduce you to the latest Elsevier tools and innovations which can help to attract authors and readers to your journal.
You can register for one or both webinars and once we have received your registration we will send you a link and a calendar reminder. On the day of the event, you can click on the link to join.
* The archived version of the June webinar in this series, The Peer Review Landscape, is now available to view.
Spend even a few moments reviewing research online these days and you’ll struggle to escape the omnipresence of social media. Whether it’s the chirpy blue Twitter bird inviting you to share the article – or even the content of the research itself – social media is a constant presence. Setting up your first account may […]
Spend even a few moments reviewing research online these days and you’ll struggle to escape the omnipresence of social media. Whether it’s the chirpy blue Twitter bird inviting you to share the article – or even the content of the research itself – social media is a constant presence.
Setting up your first account may seem a daunting task. Even if you have established profiles, understanding how to use them to best effect can be a challenge. Yet, as we explain below, being active on social media brings a number of advantages.
Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department has developed a series of useful guides which can help. Designed for editors, they contain information on all the major social media channels and how they can support you in connecting with your research communities. In this article, you can learn more about the guides and the 160+ subject social media channels already operated by Elsevier.
We also hear from an editor who has proven success in this field. Dr. J. Martin Leland III, MD, is Associate Editor of Technology for Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopy and Related Surgery and Arthroscopy Techniques and is Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine. Not only is he responsible for his journal’s growing success in the social media world (www.twitter.com/ArthroscopyJ and www.facebook.com/ArthroscopyJournal), he also frequently lectures on social media for orthopaedic surgeons. Below you can view our video interview with Dr. Leland and read his answers to our social media Q&A.
As an editor, social media can help you to:
- Reach a wider audience
- Boost visibility of articles
- Engage with early career researchers to build a connection with your journal
- Encourage conversations about your journal and its contents
- Gauge interest in topics and evaluate new areas of research
- Instantly share journal news: awards, Impact Factors, special issues
Source: Elsevier’s social media guides for editors
In September 2012, Dr. Leland established profile pages for Arthroscopy on Twitter and Facebook. Since then, he has seen the number of followers on Twitter grow to 2,000+ and Facebook Likes now stand at 700+. In the short video below, Dr. Leland talks to Executive Publisher, Jason Miller, about the challenges he has faced and the lessons he has learnt. Dr. Leland also answers our social media Q&A.
Q. You are Associate Editor of Technology on Arthroscopy. What led your journal to create this role?
A. The leaders of our journal knew that with our increasingly digital society, a strong online presence (via an updated and mobile-optimized website as well as a social media platform) was imperative to a successful journal. In addition, in anticipation of a day when journals are no longer printed on paper, they saw having a social media campaign as one way of getting our readership to become more accustomed to accessing our journal online, instead of in print. The editorial board has been incredibly receptive and enjoys having a person dedicated to "all things digital".
Q. Is this the entire focus of your role or are you still involved in decision-making on papers?
A. At first, I was still involved in decision-making and reviewing papers. However, we also have a very active and growing online, video version of Arthroscopy, called Arthroscopy Techniques. As that has grown, we receive more and more videos submitted for peer review and online publication (which are submitted to PubMed Central and listed on PubMed, just like any other peer-reviewed publications). In place of reviewing papers, I now dedicate my non-social media efforts to reviewing and editing videos submitted to Arthroscopy Techniques.
Q. How did you identify which were the most appropriate social media channels for your journal?
A. I tried to identify where our readership would be if they were already active on social media. For Sports Medicine medical professionals (our readership), those who are interested in social media are usually on Twitter and Facebook. Very few are on Google+ or other social media sites. That's why we've focused our efforts on Twitter and Facebook so far - go where your readership is. But, we are always open to moving into new social media channels as the field develops.
Q. Have you been able to measure the results of your activities? What benefits has the journal seen?
A. Using Google Analytics, it is easy to identify how people are directed to your website. Did they get there via a bookmark on their computer (direct access), by doing a google search for your journal or by coming through a different website? Since we launched our social media campaign, we have seen an increasing number of readers get to our websites by clicking on links found on Twitter and Facebook. It has increased monthly and quickly exceeded the number of clicks we receive from the websites of our associated organizations. The more traffic on our website, the more our advertisers are willing to invest in online advertising, in addition to advertising in print.
Q. Do you also use social media outside your journal, e.g. on a professional or personal basis?
A. Yes, I have my own personal, professional-based Facebook and Twitter accounts. They are: www.facebook.com/DrMartinLeland and https://twitter.com/drmartinleland However, as busy as I am with the Arthroscopy accounts, I admit that I don't spend as much time on my own personal accounts.
Q. What advice would you give to editors and authors who want to promote research socially? Are there any tactics you’ve discovered that are likely to increase retweets etc.?
A. As Nike says, "Just Do It!". Get online, create Twitter/Facebook accounts (takes less than 5 minutes to establish accounts) and start posting. The more you post, the more active your accounts and the more followers you will get. Also, the more you post, the more you will learn (about what works and what doesn't, how to do certain things, etc.). The more you learn, the more successful your accounts will become.
New Elsevier guides launched this week aim to simplify the complex world of social media for editors.
Designed to support both new and more experienced social media users they contain:
Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Helena Stewart, led the team that created the guides.
She explained: “Our aim was to create pages that are easy to navigate, simple to use and packed with practical advice. As we know that some fields are more active on particular platforms, we have concentrated on each of the channels in turn. We have also created a handy list of seven things you can do right now to make an impact in your field, for those who just want some quick and simple takeaways."
Stewart leads a group within Elsevier’s Marketing Communications & Researcher Engagement department that is responsible for our 160+ subject channels. She said: “These have been established in recent years and focus on everything from Chemical Engineering to Dermatology. Dr. Leland has been very successful with the social media channels established for Arthroscopy, but we know that many journals struggle to maintain their own profiles. These subject channels offer a great opportunity for journals to participate in social media without the burden of providing constant updates.”
Elsevier social media channels - did you know?
- We currently have 160+ subject channels; a full list is available on Elsevier.com
- Together, these channels have 796,069 followers (an increase of 376 percent on 2012 figures)
- Social media was responsible for 679,490 visits to journal homepages, ScienceDirect articles and Elsevier.com last year, an increase of 2,800 percent on 2012 figures
J. Martin Leland III, MD, is the Associate Editor of Technology for Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopy and Related Surgery – the official journal of the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery, and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and the International Society for Hip Arthroscopy. He frequently lectures on social media for orthopaedic surgeons and a variety of sports medicine topics around the United States.
As Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at The University of Chicago Medicine, Dr. Leland is a skilled orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine physician and provides expert care for adults and children with surgical and non-surgical sports injuries. Dr. Leland has served as a team physician for the Chicago Blackhawks and currently takes care of Concordia College and numerous local high schools. He is also an active researcher and is currently working on projects that study how to improve ACL surgery and cartilage regrowth procedures in the knee. He can be found on Twitter: @DrMartinLeland and Facebook: DrMartinLeland.
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 […]
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.
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:
Kudos provides a platform for:
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|
|Journal of Research in Personality||Appetite|
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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 […]
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 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…).
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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.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.
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.
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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 […]
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.
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.
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:
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…
We look at why a gender-balanced editorial team can be beneficial not only to your journal but to the research community at large.
Ylann Schemm | Senior Corporate Responsibility Manager, Elsevier
The journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces (COLSUB) operates at the intersection of Physics, Chemistry and Biology and has a team of editors that is rather unusual for those fields. The journal has four editors - two women and two men - each with their own areas of expertise. We asked them how it felt to have a gender-balanced team within relatively male-dominated disciplines. Are there benefits to be had or is it essentially a moot point?
Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces papers have applications for the medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, environmental, food, and cosmetic fields. The journal is rapidly growing in terms of citations and articles submitted and downloaded. The gender-balanced editorial team comprises: John Brash, McMaster University, Canada; Hong Chen, Soochow University, China; Dganit Danino, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; and Henk Busscher, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands.
“As a publisher in Chemistry I am responsible for 15 journals and for most of my journals, women editors represent a minority. I have noticed a change in the Colloids and Surfaces B team since the team became gender balanced. Cooperation, collaboration, and communication are often seen as female strengths and I definitely see this in our meetings. Decisions and consensus are reached in a more harmonious way."
We asked the CEO of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS), Janet Bandows Koster, to weigh in on why gender equity or parity on editorial teams and boards is important. She said: “In a nutshell, diverse groups make better decisions and produce higher quality science. A 2013 study published in Plos One demonstrated that a gender-heterogeneous, problem-solving team generally produced higher quality journal articles than a team comprised of high-performing individuals of the same gender. In addition, publications produced by gender-diverse working groups received 34 percent more citations than those produced by all male teams.
Janet Bandows Koster recently co-authored Equitable Solutions for Retaining a Robust STEM Workforce: Beyond Best Practices addressing work-life integration issues faced by those in STEM careers. It features 12 case studies from the Elsevier Foundation’s New Scholars program.
“Preliminary findings from a recent AWIS study also indicate that gender and ethnic diversity on award nomination and selection committees lead to more equity in the scholarly award process. And other studies have shown that women who are outnumbered by men in a group are much less likely to speak their mind. The statistics are quite staggering here: women speak 75 percent less than men when outnumbered by men, which means you’re losing out on the kind of diversity which has been shown to improve decision-making and, ultimately, the science produced.”
Koster continued: “I’d also like to point out that the equal representation of women on boards is important because men often have an elevated status in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) based on implicit bias. We’ve found that a conscious effort must be made to balance committees and boards as it won’t happen on its own.”
With these insights from AWIS, we turned to see what other publishers are doing to balance their boards. Emilie Marcus, CEO of Cell Press, explained: “At Cell Press we aim to be vigilant about implicit bias. Whether we’re looking for the right speaker for a conference or an editorial board member, we want excellence and diversity and the best way to achieve that is to identify selection criteria for quality that don’t stack the deck in favor of a particular career stage, geographical location or gender. At Cell, 75 percent of our in-house editors are women, and in our external editorial board, the ratio of men to women is roughly 75-25.
"When I became the Editor-in-Chief of Cell 14 years ago, you definitely saw a recognizable trend at the flagship journals - all the top editors were male. That is beginning to change now. I am a very strong proponent of diversity leading to better decision making and, ultimately, better science. Once any decision-making group becomes too skewed towards one of these elements, it becomes entrenched and unconsciously exclusionary. This then becomes very hard to change, and leads to a group that is less agile and responsive to new influences. And that’s when you risk compromising the science.”
At Elsevier, we have long been working to improve gender equality within the academic community through initiatives such as The Elsevier Foundation. You can read more about the Foundation’s activities and other relevant projects in the category dedicated to Women in Science on Elsevier Connect. We aren’t alone. In a 2013 article, Gender progress (?), Nature shone a spotlight on its gender equity record. In the News & Views section, the proportion of female authors had increased from 12 percent in 2011 to 19 percent in 2013. The proportion of women appearing in profiles by Nature journalists had increased from 18 percent in 2011 to 40 percent in 2013. But the number of articles by women in their World View section remained low at 12 percent, as did the overall number of women reviewers at 13 percent in 2013. Unfortunately, they have no quick fixes to share, only the lessons of driving awareness and taking active steps to ensure gender balance whenever feasible.
UK-based editor, Professor Peter Griffiths, on why it’s so important editors understand open access.
The May issue of International Journal of Nursing Studies (IJNS) features an editorial written by Executive Editor, Professor Peter Griffiths, PhD, BA, RN, outlining the open access options available on his journal. In the article, he highlights the difference between an OA journal and journals offering OA options (also known as the hybrid model). He also touches on IJNS’s liberal self-archiving policies. Here he explains why establishing clarity around these points is so important.
As an active academic researcher in a leading research department, I have views and preferences around publishing and research strategy. While I always do my best to ensure that anything I publish is available OA (whether gold or green), I admit my major concern is whether it is the best journal for my work. However, if I’m wearing my journal editor hat, then my first thought is protecting my journal, my ‘turf’. Luckily, these two positions rarely clash.
In my academic day job there is currently a huge push towards open access, for example, the next REF* demands it. Broadly speaking, I think that is great, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that many people misunderstand open access - they think the only route is a paid model and that in order for a paper to be OA, it must be published in an OA journal. If we don’t help people understand that is not the case, we will all be in trouble.
For example, some people don’t perceive IJNS to be an OA journal, but we are – we follow a hybrid model which means we not only publish subscription articles, but authors can choose to pay to make their article open access. A lot of people don’t really understand this concept yet.
Going further forward, one of the big challenges, particularly for individual research groups, will be sourcing payment for articles but there are other approaches to OA. Many journals, including my own, are quite generous in the way they enable research to be shared without payment.
I wrote this editorial in an attempt to clarify the territory for colleagues who are operating under these misapprehensions and, if I’m honest, to make it clear that our journal is a good venue in the world of OA!
During the process of writing, there were several things I found very interesting. One was the extent to which we on IJNS have not really been engaged in setting our OA policy. I’m actually pretty comfortable with where our journal is now. What would cause me concern are blanket changes implemented by Elsevier that don’t take into account individual journal’s needs. For example, I would like to keep green open access, i.e. the ability for authors to post the post-print (the accepted manuscript sent to the publisher) version of their paper on their own personal websites immediately, and in institutional repositories after a short embargo period. In our field, it’s the published paper that really counts so green open access doesn’t affect our subscriptions if done in this way, in fact, it makes us very competitive.
It was also an interesting exercise to nail down what our OA policies are - it was surprising how much work we had to put into understanding all the nuances. I did eventually find my way to information where the policies were fairly clearly outlined but it was difficult. If I put myself in the shoes of an author, who already has all sorts of detailed guidelines to follow and information to read, I can imagine tracking down OA policies is a step too far. Is that the fault of the publisher, in this case, Elsevier? Not really. In the world of the internet it is extremely easy to make information available and that often means there is too much information to sort through. I think the only option is to make information available in a broad number of ways until it becomes zeitgeist and begins to shape the way people think. It’s not just the publisher’s responsibility, but a collective recognition that this information should be shared through many, many channels. With this editorial, I wanted to help to tell that story.
If there are other editors out there uncertain how to communicate about open access to their readers, I would certainly recommend writing a small editorial – the process might provoke their own learning on this subject. It’s going to be a huge issue for authors and readers, if not today then tomorrow and if not tomorrow then the day after. I think those who understand OA and inform readers about what is possible will certainly reap the rewards.
* Research Excellence Framework (REF) - the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
Professor Peter Griffiths, PhD, BA, RN, is Chair of Health Services Research at University of Southampton in the UK and Executive Editor of International Journal of Nursing Studies - a forum for original research and scholarship about health care delivery, organization, management, workforce, policy and research methods relevant to nursing, midwifery and other health related professions. Before taking up the Chair of Health Services Research, he was, from 2006 to 2010, Director of England's National Nursing Research Unit.
22 Apr 2014 3 Comments
US-based editor, Professor Marion Broome, has written an editorial about open access and what it means for her journal.
Marion E Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Editor-in-Chief of Nursing Outlook, the official journal of the American Academy of Nursing and the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science. Here she recalls the chain of events that led her to write Open access publishing: A disruptive innovation, an editorial which appears in the journal’s March/April issue.
I distinctly remember sitting in the audience of a conference for INANE (International Academy of Nurse Editors) in 2009, listening to a speaker talk about the new publishing vistas we could expect to see within the next five years. Open access publishing was one of those ‘new vistas’. My first thought after his presentation was “I guess this editor gig (which I love) will only last another two years or so.” My second thought was to listen closely, do more reading about these various ‘vistas’ and try to stay ahead of some of the changes, just in case….
The open access movement, and most of all people’s opinions about it, had always fascinated me. It seemed to me that the extremes of opinions on either side were not based entirely in facts or reality. And, as an editor, it also seemed to me that the world of big publishing (i.e. Elsevier) was increasingly taking this movement seriously and becoming more author-focused – which, of course, makes my job as editor much easier! For instance, moving accepted papers to ‘in press’ status featured on the journal’s website and available to readers prior to print publication (and very soon after acceptance) has been one especially popular author-centric change.
Like many editors, thinking about an editorial topic that will be of interest to readers is always a challenge. Yet, in this case, two weeks before I decided to write Open access publishing: A disruptive innovation, a faculty member approached me about paying her publication fee. What I heard was a very biased presentation for open access and against big publishing. I spoke with another individual who, while getting a dossier ready for promotion, submitted a paper to one of the predatory online journals which had promised him ‘rapid and free dissemination of his important ideas that would reach all the key people in his field’. These convergent experiences provided the stimulation for my editorial!
As I developed the text, it occurred to me that given how fast the field of open access is changing, I needed someone who is closer to it in terms of what is new, accurate, etc., so I asked my publisher, Nina Milton, to read it over and see if I was missing or misinterpreting anything. She provided some additional resources, which I reviewed. I also re-read selected articles on the blog the scholarly kitchen, which I think provides a balanced perspective on this and many other topics. Then I finished the editorial and the rest, as they say, is history. I enjoy writing useful editorials that allow me to help people update their knowledge and think about both sides of an issue. This editorial, given all the emails and comments I have received, clearly achieved that! What more could an editor ask for?
Marion E Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Dean and Distinguished Professor at Indiana University School of Nursing. She is a leader in nursing research, service and education and has helped pioneer the treatment of pain in children. She founded the Society of Pediatric Nurses and has been inducted as a charter member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame.
With the increasingly interconnected internet and developments in ‘big data’ analysis, there are now many ways available to measure research impact. Traditional bibliometrics may be supplemented by usage data (pageviews and downloads), while the success of online communities and tools have led to more widespread visibility for learned commentary, readership statistics, and other measures of […]
With the increasingly interconnected internet and developments in ‘big data’ analysis, there are now many ways available to measure research impact.
Traditional bibliometrics may be supplemented by usage data (pageviews and downloads), while the success of online communities and tools have led to more widespread visibility for learned commentary, readership statistics, and other measures of online attention. Altmetrics encompass social activity in the form of mentions on social media sites, scholarly activity in online libraries and reference managers and scholarly commentary, for instance, through scientific blogs and mass media references.
Elsevier has long been an advocate for robust informetrics and we are particularly interested in understanding how these new measures can be used in conjunction with usage and citation data, to provide new meaningful indicators to the research community. Mendeley statistics, for instance, appear to provide more insights into the academic use of a paper than Twitter.
Altmetrics, (the measurement of scholarly activity on social networks and tools), is a major buzzword at the moment, and although it is a very new discipline, interest in it is growing fast, as demonstrated by the relative search volumes in the graph below.
It’s not only general interest that is growing – scholarly interest appears to show high growth too, as demonstrated by a simple keyword search on Scopus for altmetric* or alt-metric* in the title, abstract, or keywords of any paper, the results of which are visible in the graph below.
The first two papers were Proceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting in 2011; in 2012 the number of papers published jumped to eight, and in 2013 to 28 (data for 2013 may still be incomplete due to publication and indexation delays). Even though in absolute terms these are still low numbers, this is quite tremendous growth.
Altmetrics offer an alternative insight into the use and readership of scholarly articles, and this information has driven authors, researchers, editors, and publishers to try to understand the data. To this effect, Elsevier employees are engaged on the NISO Altmetrics project, have spoken at conferences around the world (e.g. altmetrics12, ALM workshop 2013), have written academic papers, and have conducted webinars in this multi-faceted field.
The last year has seen us launch several initiatives - three of which are explored in further detail below: these are pilots on Elsevier.com journal homepages and ScienceDirect and an existing Scopus project. Joining these is an article usage alert program informing authors in participating journals how their article is being viewed. Mendeley data continues to provide an invaluable and free source of data on the discipline, location, and status of researchers.
Elsevier has also formed partnerships with altmetrics start-ups:
This year will see even more metrics activity. With a special altmetrics issue of Research Trends planned, more products in the pipeline, and our partnerships beginning to produce solid results, we are continuing to actively support research in this fascinating field.
At the end of last year, we began displaying the Altmetric.com colorful donuts for a journal's top three rated articles on the Elsevier.com homepages of 33 Elsevier titles.
This rating is based on a social media traffic score given by Altmetric.com and an article must have received at least one social media mention within the last six months to qualify. By clicking on the "view all" option beneath the top three list, visitors can review the donuts for the top 10 articles. In both lists, the article name links to the full-text article on ScienceDirect, while the donut links to a breakdown of the news and social media mentions.
The pilot is led by Hans Zijlstra, Project Manager for Elsevier's STM Journals Project Management department. He worked closely with Elsevier's e-marketing team in cooperation with Altmetric.com — a company founded by Euan Adie (@Stew), who won Elsevier's Apps for Science Challenge in 2011.
Although it is still early days, Zijlstra will be closely monitoring how much traffic the donuts receive over the coming months. Based on those results and the feedback he receives, the aim is to make this available to all Elsevier journals.
He said: "These additional article metrics are intended to provide authors with extra insight into the various flavors of impact their research may achieve. We believe altmetrics will help them select a journal for article submission by giving a clearer indication of where a journal's strengths and weaknesses lie."
The donuts have also provided useful insights to publishers and editors. He explained: “They help publishers and marketeers determine which media they should engage with more often and publishers and editors can identify hot topics that might merit a special issue.”
Zijlstra and his colleagues are still working on adding to the journal homepage the names of the authors for the top ranked articles. In addition, they plan to include the donuts for participating health and medical titles on their homepages on the Health Advance platform.
Altmetric.com’s colorful donut explained
The Altmetric.com algorithm computes an overall score taking into account the volume, source and author of the mentions a paper receives. This includes mentions of academic papers on social media sites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+), science blogs, many mainstream media outlets (including The New York Times, The Guardian, non-English language publications like Die Zeit and Le Monde and special interest publications like Scientific American and New Scientist), peer-review site Publons, and reference managers.
News items are weighted more than blogs, and blogs are weighted more than tweets. The algorithm also factors in the authoritativeness of the authors, so a mention by an expert in the field is worth more than a mention by a lay person. The visual representation – the Altmetric.com donut – shows the proportional distribution of mentions by source type. Each source type displays a different color – blue for Twitter, yellow for blogs, and red for mainstream media sources. Links to the source data are also available. Altmetric.com tracks around a hundred thousand mentions a week, with some 3,000 new articles seen each day.
Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform, home to one-quarter of the world’s STM journal and book content, launched a six-month altmetrics pilot in December 2013.
Until June this year, 26 journals – including The Lancet – will display alternating altmetrics images on an article level. Visitors landing on the relevant pages have a 50 percent chance of seeing either the traditional Altmetrics.com donut or the information presented in a bar chart form. This reflects ScienceDirect’s AB testing approach – the results will be monitored to discover which design is the most engaging and clear for users. The pilot also includes sharing buttons to promote social media mentions of the covered articles and will provide access to the individual article detail pages, which enables users to explore the actual mentions of the paper.
During the pilot we will be assessing the popularity of the altmetrics score with users. We will also be trying to determine how far the scores promote use of the article sharing buttons.
Todd Vaccaro, ScienceDirect Product Manager, commented: “The journals chosen for the pilot represent a good mix. We’ve included titles with a range of Impact Factors, types of attention on the social web, average altmetrics scores and subjects. We’ve also included some society journals and a recent OA title.”
Since June 2012, Elsevier’s Scopus – the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature – has offered the Altmetric.com donut in the sidebar of document and abstract pages. It can be found on the right hand side of the screen when data is available for the article being viewed. Visitors can click through to scan the content mentioning the article and click on any entry to navigate to the original site. A “demographics” tab will also show a breakdown of where in the world the attention paid to the article is coming from.
Michael Habib, Senior Product Manager for Scopus, said: “Customers and users alike have found this a useful supplement to traditional citations. The primary point of interest hasn’t necessarily been the metrics themselves, but the underlying content. Discovering that a respected science blogger has given a positive review of your article is much more important than knowing how many people have blogged about it. This pilot has proven a powerful tool for uncovering these previously hidden citations from non-scholarly articles.”
SENIOR PUBLISHING INFORMATION MANAGER
As part of the Scientometrics & Market Analysis team in Research & Academic Relations at Elsevier, Sarah Huggett provides strategic and tactical insights to colleagues and publishing partners, and strives to inform the research evaluation debate through various internal and external discussions. Her specific interests are in communication and the use of alternative metrics for evaluating impact. After completing an M.Phil in English Literature at the University of Grenoble (France), including one year at the University of Reading (UK) through the Erasmus programme, she moved to the UK to teach French at University of Oxford. She joined Elsevier in 2006 and the Research Trends editorial board in 2009.
TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH SPECIALIST
Based in Oxford, Mike Taylor has worked at Elsevier for 18 years, the past four as a technology research specialist for the Elsevier Labs group. In that role, he has been involved with the ORCID Registry. His other research interests include altmetrics, contributorship and author networks. Details of his research work can be found on the Elsevier Labs website. He is currently producing a series of three plays about scientists for Oxford-based theater company www.111theatre.co.uk.
With the number of submissions from Asia continuing to rise, the importance of ensuring the make-up of journal editorial boards reflects that shift has never been greater. However, recruiting a suitable Asia-based editor may not be as simple as it sounds – identifying the right person to approach, concerns over time differences and communication, and […]
With the number of submissions from Asia continuing to rise, the importance of ensuring the make-up of journal editorial boards reflects that shift has never been greater.
However, recruiting a suitable Asia-based editor may not be as simple as it sounds – identifying the right person to approach, concerns over time differences and communication, and uncertainly over the correct cultural procedures can all prove stumbling blocks.
One publishing group in Elsevier has come up with a novel approach – the Materials Science team, led by Publishing Director Deborah Logan, is trialing a series of Future Editors’ seminars. With the aim of ‘identifying new editors and engaging with the community’ the team recently held their first event in Beijing, China. The 65 attendees comprised leading young materials scientists and society contacts. Together, attendees represented seven countries or regions and more than 60 different institutes in Asia.
Logan, who is based in Elsevier’s Oxford office, explained: “Attendance was by invitation only, and the delegates were selected from nominations by institutes, key societies and partnership journals in the region. Experienced editors also recommended their top authors and reviewers and that was the key to success in all of this; it gave us an opportunity to work together with our existing partners in the region to identify future decision-makers on the journals that matter to them.”
The anatomy of a Future Editors’ seminar
- A one-day seminar was held in Beijing on October 18, 2013.
- Invitations were sent to young and promising materials scientists in Asia who have both the interest and potential to become future editors on Elsevier journals.
- The seminar adopted a plenary style, featuring eight talks delivered by well-known senior scientists, experienced editors and publishing professionals.
- Topics covered included:
- What Makes a Great Editor of the Future? A Publisher’s View
- The Role of Journal Editors in Advancing Science
- Challenges of Publishing and Editing
Logan believes there is a strong need for this kind of approach in the Materials Science field, which has undergone rapid expansion in recent years. She said: “Asia currently yields around 57 percent of our area’s overall submissions, and yet our editorial contacts from this region only make up 22 percent of our global network. In China, the situation is even more acute; this is a country that produces about 28 percent of our total published content in Materials Science journals, yet only seven percent of our editors are from there. The issue is not one of willingness to serve – in fact, our research shows that, of any nation, Chinese researchers are the most willing to serve as reviewers and editors."
Materials Science publisher, Tingting Zou, who is based in Beijing and worked closely with Logan on the seminar, added: “Journals are facing more and more pressure with the increase in submissions from Asia. Meanwhile, current editorial boards are experiencing difficulties finding suitable reviewers and editorial candidates in the region to tackle the challenge. We believe these seminars will help.”
According to Logan, Elsevier considers the event a success with 32 potential new trainee editors identified.
It was clear from responses to a post-event survey that attendees also found the initiative useful: 90 percent agreed or strongly agreed they had the opportunity to exchange views with other materials researchers; meet journal editors; let Elsevier know their views; and network. Overall, all delegates agreed or strongly agreed that they were ‘very satisfied with the conference’. One commented: “…the talks were helpful for anyone like me who would like to be involved in editorial work in future.” While another appreciated the fact that it was “a great opportunity to learn the roles of an editor and talk with people from different parts of Asia”.
An event highlight for many of the delegates proved to be the experiences shared by the senior editors who presented. Some attendees described these talks as “deeply moving”.
One of these presenters was Dr. T G Nieh, Editor-in-Chief of Intermetallics and Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee. With more than 400 journal publications in materials-related areas, he has been listed as one of the ISI’s most cited material scientists since 2003.
Reflecting on the event, Dr. Nieh, whose talk was entitled ‘Progression from a reader, author, reviewer to editor’ said: “I was one of several Asian and Asian-American editors who candidly shared their experiences – the joy of reading the first-hand research results and interacting with dedicated reviewers, and the agony of meeting various publishing timelines and responding to unappreciated authors.
“There is clearly a language gap when an Asian writer is trying to express a scientific concept using English language for writing and publication. This gap arises naturally from the intrinsic differences in culture and education. An Asian editor is in a better position to bridge that gap. In addition to questions raised during the presentation, speakers and attendees engaged in discussions about editing in the breaks – most were on time management and the editor-reviewer-author interactions. I discovered there was a general misconception that editors only collect papers so the role does not require much technical skill.”
He added: “The information provided at the seminar helped young scientists appreciate the work of an editor and it is encouraging to learn that several attendees have expressed an interest in serving on Elsevier journal editorial boards. I think the workshop was a worthy investment.”
Another of the presenters, Dr. Min Wang, a Professor at The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Editor of Materials Letters, described the opportunity to give his talk on ‘Publishing in a Reputable International Journal – Through the Eyes of a Reviewer and Editor’ as a “privilege”. He said: “To those aspiring to be journal editors, it is important to show the processes involved and the event was very successful in achieving its goal. I really feel it was a privilege to give a talk to such a talented audience, sharing with them some of my personal experiences, observations and thoughts on paper reviewing and journal editing. I also feel I benefited greatly from taking part in this event; by listening to other speakers’ talks and by interacting with young researchers of great promise. I would recommend that Elsevier organizes this type of event more often and in different places.”
The next seminar is penciled in for the Materials Today Asia Conference in 2014/2015. Other Elsevier divisions are also monitoring the success of the initiative closely.
Closing the gap
Back in Issue 33 of Editors' Update (September 2011), we focused on boosting Asian membership of editorial boards in an Asia Special edition of Editors’ Update. In Recruiting an Asia-based Editor. Case Study: The Lancet, we heard from the journal’s Dr. Helena Wang and Dr. Maja Zecevic about points to consider when incorporating an Asia-based editor into the team.
Elsevier’s David Clark, now Senior Vice President Life Sciences, also touched on the importance of multi-cultural editorial boards in Meeting the Challenge of a Global Academic Community. He said: “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.
“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.”
He also outlined practical tips for recruitment.
Materials Science is not the only field experiencing a rise in papers from Asia and the Middle East – the number of submissions has seen strong growth across the board in recent years. While in 1996, these countries collectively published fewer than 200,000 papers, in 2012, close to 900,000 papers from the region were published. Year on year growth of scholarly output (Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)) was high at more than 10 percent, and even higher in the last 10 years at nearly 13 percent (data source: Scopus).
This increase has been driven in particular by the explosion of publications from China (see figure 1): in 1996, China published fewer than 33,000 scholarly papers; in 2012, this grew to over 400,000 papers – an impressive CAGR of 20 percent over the past 10 years.
It is not only the number of publications from China that is increasing – we are also seeing the impact of those papers grow (see figure 2). Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) is a measure of average number of citations per paper normalized against the expected citation rates for publications in the same field. While China is still significantly under the world average of 1, it has recently grown in FWCI from 0.68 in 2008 to 0.73 in 2012.
China’s scholarly output is heavily dominated by the Physical Sciences (see figure 3), which together account for two thirds of the papers published in 2008-2012 that had at least one author with a Chinese affiliation. Materials Science alone accounts for nine percent of the country’s scholarly output over that period.
SENIOR PUBLISHING INFORMATION MANAGER
As part of the Scientometrics & Market Analysis team in Research & Academic Relations at Elsevier, Sarah Huggett provides strategic and tactical insights to colleagues and publishing partners, and strives to inform the research evaluation debate through various internal and external discussions. Her specific interests are in communication and the use of alternative metrics for evaluating impact. After completing an M.Phil in English Literature at the University of Grenoble (France), including one year at the University of Reading (UK) through the Erasmus programme, she moved to the UK to teach French at University of Oxford. She joined Elsevier in 2006 and the Research Trends editorial board in 2009.
Huggett contributed the section 'The Growth of Research in China'. Interviews were conducted by Linda Willems, Editor-in-Chief, Editors' Update.
The colorful altmetric donut used to indicate an article’s impact in news and social media is now featured on various journal homepages and ScienceDirect
Linda Willems | Senior Researcher Communications Manager, Elsevier
The academic community has traditionally looked to citation analysis to measure the impact of scientific and medical research. But with journal articles increasingly disseminated via online news and social media channels, new measures are coming to the fore.
Alternative metrics – or altmetrics – represent one of the innovative ways the reach of articles is now being assessed, and Elsevier has just launched two pilots featuring the highly-recognizable altmetric "donut."
The first pilot will feature donuts for a journal's top three rated articles displayed on the Elsevier.com homepages of 33 Elsevier titles.
This rating is based on a social media traffic score given by Altmetric.com; an article must have received at least one social media mention within the last six months to qualify. By clicking on the "view all" option beneath this list, visitors can review altmetric donuts for the top 10 articles.
In both lists, the article name links to the full-text article on ScienceDirect, while the donut links to a breakdown of the news and social media mentions.
The pilot is led by Hans Zijlstra, Project Manager for Elsevier's STM Journals Project Management department. He said his team will be closely monitoring how much traffic the donuts receive over the coming six months, and depending on up-take, their aim is to make this available to all Elsevier journals.
They are still working on adding to the journal homepage the names of the authors for the top ranked articles. In addition, they plan to include the donuts for participating health and medical titles on their homepages on the Health Advance platform.
A parallel altmetric pilot for 25 journals will run on ScienceDirect, Elsevier's scientific database of journal articles and book chapters. The ScienceDirect pilot will have a greater focus on medical journals but there will be some overlap in titles between the two trials.
For some time now, Scopus, Elsevier's abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, has been offering donuts on articles for which the relevant metrics are available.
"These additional article metrics are intended to provide authors with extra insight into the various flavors of impact their research may achieve," Zijlstra said. "We believe altmetrics will help them select a journal for article submission by giving a clearer indication of where a journal's strengths and weaknesses lie."
This article first appeared in Elsevier Connect, an online magazine and resource center for the science and health communities with a broad and active social media community. It features daily articles written by experts in the field as well as Elsevier colleagues.
The altmetric algorithm computes an overall score taking into account the number of mentions the article receives and the importance of the sources. For example, news is weighted more than blogs, and blogs are weighted more than tweets. It also factors in the authoritativeness of the authors, so a mention by an expert in the field is worth more than a mention by a lay person. The visual representation — the altmetric donut — shows the proportional distribution of mentions by source type. Each source type displays a different color – blue for Twitter, yellow for blogs, and red for mainstream media sources. Links to the source data are also available.
The most famous traditional metric, the Impact Factor, averages how often a journal is cited against the number of scholarly articles published in that journal. However, citations can take years to accrue.
One of the advantages of altmetrics is that the impact begins to be assessed from the moment the article is first posted online.
The pilot Altmetric pod for journal homepages has been developed by Elsevier's e-marketing team in cooperation with Altmetric.com — a company founded by Euan Adie (@Stew), who won Elsevier's Apps for Science Challenge in 2011.
For further details on the social media reports, and to see the score for any article containing a DOI, download the Altmetric Bookmarklet from Almetric.com.
|American Journal of Medicine
Applied Catalysis B: Environmental
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters
Journal of Archaeological Science
Computers In Human Behavior
Evolution and Human Behavior
Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
Earth and Planetary Science Letters (EPSL)
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Journal Of Econometrics
Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology
|Public Relations Review
Science of the Total Environment
Social Science & Medicine
European Journal of Cancer
Computers & Education
Journal of Hazardous Materials
Journal of Catalysis
Food Quality and Preference
International Journal of Surgery Case Reports
American Heart Journal
4 Oct 2013 1 Comment
Discover how the integration of ORCID into Elsevier’s Editorial System (EES) can simplify your workflow.
Ben Rowe | Service Manager, Operations, Elsevier
The use of ORCID - Open Researcher and Contributor ID - is growing in the publishing community. Elsevier has now integrated ORCID functionality into EES with the aim of making it even easier for authors to link their ORCIDs to their publication history, while also providing benefits to reviewers and you as editors.
ORCID is a not-for-profit organization founded by academic institutions, professional bodies, funding agencies and publishers in 2010. Elsevier is among the founding sponsors and helped to fund the initiative through loans and donations of money and staff time. By registering with ORCID, users receive a unique digital identifier, also called ORCID, to which they can link their published articles and other professional activities. Authors then have a single record of all their research, which can be made public.
This can reduce or eliminate confusion when the same person's name appears in different ways in various publications, when people have the same or similar names, or when people change their name, e.g. following marriage.
Put simply, an ORCID provides a unique identity for researchers — an ‘author DOI’ — similar to that used for publications.
Users with a consolidated user profile can now add their ORCID to their personal information on EES. Linking an ORCID in one journal automatically links it to all of the journals in their consolidated profile.
Those corresponding authors with a consolidated profile that don’t already have an ORCID linked to their profile will be offered the chance to link their ORCID as part of the submission process.
Co-authors also have the opportunity to link their ORCID. When the corresponding author completes submission to the journal, an email is automatically sent to all co-authors. The email contains instructions for linking their ORCID to the submitted paper. This linking is done on a stand-alone page without co-authors being required to register for an EES account.
Full details on linking an ORCID on EES are available on our ORCID article on the Support Hub.
Yes, linking an ORCID is entirely optional. We do encourage usage but we will never make it mandatory.
You can now search for reviewers on EES using an ORCID, which will help to ensure the right person is contacted when names are similar. If a user has linked his ORCID to his EES profile, the ORCID will be displayed in an additional column in the profile as a clickable link that opens the user’s public record on the ORCID website. This will allow you to see the full list of research linked to that user, which will help with identifying suitable reviewers.
When a paper is accepted and published in one of our journals, the ORCID will be included as part of the submission metadata. This metadata is sent to CrossRef, which in turn forwards it to ORCID. The article is then added automatically to the user’s list of works in his public profile on the ORCID website.
When reviewers have linked their ORCID on EES, you as editors will be able to view the public record on ORCID and gauge their suitability for a particular review. This should help to ensure that reviewers are not invited to review submissions outside their area of expertise.
A recent article on Elsevier Connect provides information on the growth of ORCID.
A Support Hub article on ORCID is available that provides information on ORCID and EES, including a guide to how to link an ORCID.
New report shows collaboration and mobility trends across Europe and the US.
Iris Kisjes | Senior Corporate Relations Manager, Elsevier
Collaboration is necessary to grapple with the world’s problems, and research is an important way to bring great minds together from around the world.
In research, collaboration leads to significant benefits, some measurable (such as increased citation impact and access to new markets) and others less easily quantifiable (such as broadening research horizons). Therefore, it’s important for governments and research organizations to encourage collaboration.
This kind of collaboration was behind a new report by Science Europe and Elsevier, titled Comparative Benchmarking of European and US Research Collaboration and Researcher Mobility.
Professor Paul Boyle, President of Science Europe, and Dr. Nick Fowler, Managing Director of Academic and Government Institutions at Elsevier, recently presented the findings at Science Europe’s headquarters in Brussels.
The report presents basic but critical information about the collaboration and mobility of researchers, which will allow us to better understand the research landscape and how it evolves. The findings will be useful to a wide range of professionals, from individual researchers to universities and institutes that hire researchers, and organizations and government agencies that fund research.
The facilitation of collaboration has a positive impact not only on the science conducted but on broader objectives, from enhancing domestic prosperity to addressing specific challenges.
Meanwhile, researcher mobility – the extent to which researchers change their institutional affiliations among states and countries – can reflect the circulation of ideas and the strengthening of collaboration networks, and on average bears significantly higher citation rates.
This is why promoting research collaboration has become a priority in the European Union. This goal has also prompted the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quin, to build the European Research Area (ERA), which aims to ensure the free circulation of researchers, knowledge, ideas and technology across Europe.
Research collaboration and mobility are key topics for the ERA as well as for Science Europe and the European Commission.
In government, there are various levers policy makers can use to encourage collaboration or alleviate some of the burdens of collaboration. However, sometimes what might seem to be a simple scheme to encourage collaboration can carry unintended consequences.
It is therefore important to understand Europe’s research environment and the levels of collaboration in Europe. To put these levels into perspective, the report benchmarks Europe with the United States.
Science Europe is an association of European Research Funding Organizations (RFO) and Research Performing Organizations (RPO), based in Brussels. Its founding General Assembly took place in Berlin in October 2011. Science Europe promotes the collective interests of the Research Funding and Research Performing Organizations of Europe. It supports its Member Organizations in their efforts to foster European research and aims to strengthen the European Research Area (ERA) through direct engagement with key partners.
Findings show that both Europe and the US have experienced steady growth in their overall collaboration rates since 2003. Inter-country collaboration in Europe also showed an increase, from slightly over 11% of articles in 2003 to 13% of articles in 2011, contrasting with the recently decreasing levels seen in analogous inter-state collaboration in the US, at 16% of articles in 2011.
Papers were divided into categories of collaboration, and European countries were analyzed as geographic units comparable to US states. Similarly, 41 countries of Europe were treated as a “region” that is comparable to the 50 US states, also referred to as a region.
The analysis, conducted by Elsevier’s SciVal Analytics team based on Scopus data, showed that levels of single authorship and single institution outputs are essentially the same between Europe and the US. Combined these categories account for 43% and 42% for Europe and the US respectively.
However, intra-country collaboration levels are proportionally much higher in Europe (20%) than in the US (10%). Conversely, levels of inter-country collaboration are proportionally slightly lower in Europe (13%) than in the US (16%) although this small difference is diminishing, suggesting that the national- and European-level mechanisms to encourage cross-country collaboration in Europe may be working.
Finally, a smaller proportion of European researchers (23%) collaborate with researchers outside of Europe than in the US, where 30% of researchers collaborate outside of the US.
On mobility, European researchers are less mobile within and outside of Europe than US researchers are within and outside the US. For Europe, the high-impact countries tend to show high mobility, whereas for the US, the high-impact states tend to show low mobility.
Does this mean that all European researchers should now go out and seek collaborators to work with outside of Europe?
Well, not exactly, though the statistics do suggest that this would have a positive effect.
In the end, these figures are presented to help underpin some of the assumptions we make about the positive effects of collaboration – and in doing so, should help stimulate the ongoing debate among governments, funding organizations and institutions to encourage collaboration. They all need to continue to break down barriers to collaboration and implement well thought-out schemes to encourage both collaboration and researcher mobility as the benefits are evident.
A report that will follow in a few years should be able to indicate whether we’ve been doing a good job at it.
This article first appeared in Elsevier Connect.
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.
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.
26 Jun 2013 5 Comments
As you may know, over the past few years the Article of the Future team at Elsevier has introduced an array of article content innovations to enhance the online reading experience. More details on the most recent of these can be found in the article How to handle digital content in this edition of Editors’ […]
As you may know, over the past few years the Article of the Future team at Elsevier has introduced an array of article content innovations to enhance the online reading experience. More details on the most recent of these can be found in the article How to handle digital content in this edition of Editors’ Update.
With so many of these innovations already live and functioning on ScienceDirect, we thought the time was ripe to poll researchers about their thoughts on the future of the scientific article format - in particular the online version (HTML) and the traditional PDF. We posed a series of questions to a 500-strong online group of researchers, whose members represent a variety of disciplines worldwide*. Their answers provided some interesting food for thought.
The survey was divided into two phases. We began by asking participants for their thoughts on both the HTML and the PDF. We asked them to outline the pros and cons of accessing and reading articles in both formats and which had their preference. We also asked them to indicate which format they expected to be using in the future. Once they had completed their answers, participants entered stage two. This involved viewing a video outlining Elsevier’s Article of the Future project, which focuses on enriching content in a discipline-specific manner. They were then presented with a second set of questions.
During the first stage, key insights gained included:
In the words of one participant: “If the article contains interactive elements, then (the) HTML version would make more sense; otherwise (the) good old PDF will be preferable.”
Other participant comments included:
“There exist so many articles. And it's hard to open or download whenever I find interesting things. So it's more reasonable to read (the) HTML version first.”
“I prefer to work with the printed version of the article because I don’t like reading from (the) screen.”
“I use articles in the HTML format because they may contain links to additional information and tools (missing in PDFs).”
“PDF version is formatted just like the article in print, I can easily navigate to the places I want.”
“HTML files are ok on the screen but messy to handle downloaded. But I do sort normally on abstract or relevant info I get in the HTML environment, before I click on the PDF icon for download.”
“I prefer to share the article URLs rather than sending big PDF files around.”
“(The PDF) looks and feels more like a paper article. If I want to print it, I think it will look better printed from PDF. If I want to save or email it, it is easier with PDF.”
IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Senior Vice President Journal & Content Technology, leads Elsevier’s Content Innovation team. He was not surprised by the findings of the first stage of the research. He explained: “These replies match the ones received in earlier Article of the Future studies, which led us to develop the three-pane article view now available on ScienceDirect. The PDF-style center pane is ideal for reading the paper while the other two panes offer a series of discipline-specific presentation and content enrichments that add real value to the article. The preference for a PDF format when printing is something that the Article of the Future project is taking into consideration: we are currently looking into how we can make the center pane easy to print, while maintaining its optimized reading format.”
In the second stage of the survey, participants were shown the Article of the Future video (below), which discusses recent improvements to article presentation, content and context and the introduction of the article three-pane view on ScienceDirect.
When asked if the video had changed their perception of the usability of the HTML format, 60% agreed it had, while 25% said it hadn’t and 15% were unsure. A sample of participants’ comments is recorded below.
|60% said: ‘Yes, it has changed my perception’||25% said: ‘No, it has not changed my perception’|
|“I conventionally don´t like html articles because of the way they are presented in the screen, nevertheless, the Article of the Future is taking the traditional way to a new frontier, beyond hypertext to metacontent management by user or reader.”||“This is more or less what I can see on some programming software, but applied to articles, good idea but questions remain: How will it age? How expensive to maintain? How to keep it alive and operational?”|
|“Elsevier has used the power of the internet to make sure the article is a truly dynamic, interactive and well annotated and connected scientific document.”||“Logical path forward. The current problem is that not all users are equipped with appropriate technology, nor do they master it.”|
|“I like the interaction with the content, and the ease of exploring other links and references without having to go back to search for them later.”||“…as long as I cannot download it, it's hard to archive and I prefer reading it offline.”|
|“I think there's a great deal of advantages to providing the option to publish in such a format. I would be interested to see how authors can access the tools to represent their data in these new formats.”||“It offers greater interactivity - but there again a much more powerful PDF viewer (with interactive tools built in) would preserve PDF's ascendancy.”|
|“… much more powerful than pdfs that I currently use.”||“I didn't see how the features were relevant to articles, only handbooks and textbooks.”|
More than 65% thought there would be a shift towards HTML use in the future.
We also asked participants to let us know whether they expected the way they access and use articles today to change in the future. Their responses varied:
|Don't know / not sure||5.8%|
Aalbersberg commented: “The digital revolution has radically changed the way in which scientists carry out their research, and process and store their results. It is clear that as long as technology develops, the way scientists access and use articles will develop as well – the important question is: How and by how much? 20 years ago the only article format was paper, some 10-15 years ago the format became PDF, and now a new way of usage has been created by the introduction of tablets. Does that mean that we threw away paper and will now throw away desktop computers? No – we apply the format and way of use that is applicable at the moment of use. And the same will hold for PDF and online HTML: I think that there is a future for both. PDF will remain the preferred format for archiving and offline use, while online HTML will increasingly become the standard for online use, as it is so much richer and in tune with the ongoing developments in the regular research process.”
PDF and HTML – the pros
HTML Consistent layout
Easy to store and organize
Similar to print version
Easy to print
Displays images well
Easy to share by email (when small)
Easy to annotate
Customized to device (incl. mobile)
Enriched and interactive content
Always latest version
Up-to-date and linked context
Linked with data repositories
Easy to search
Easy to share by link (also when large)
Fast access from lists
Includes supplementary material
* The questions were posed to a community of 500 researchers. Two surveys were conducted during January 2013. The first attracted 159 responses (31.8% response rate) the second attracted 122 responses (24.4% response rate).
IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, JOURNAL & CONTENT TECHNOLOGY
After joining Elsevier in 1997, IJsbrand Jan served as Vice President of Technology at Elsevier Engineering Information (Hoboken, USA) during 1999-2002. As Technology Director in Elsevier Science and Technology (2002-2005), he was one of the initiators of Scopus, responsible for its publishing-technology connection, and subsequently focused on product development in Elsevier’s Corporate Markets division (from 2006-2009). He then took on the role of Vice President Content Innovation, which he held until 2012. In both that role and the position he now holds, he has striven to help scientists to communicate research in ways they weren’t able to do before. IJsbrand Jan holds a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science.
Increasingly, researchers are turning to digital tools to find and access content, and are using the web to share and organize research output in new and exciting ways – just consider Mendeley for a moment. Much research material now has a fully digital life-cycle and this new type of content calls for a new publication […]
Increasingly, researchers are turning to digital tools to find and access content, and are using the web to share and organize research output in new and exciting ways – just consider Mendeley for a moment.
Much research material now has a fully digital life-cycle and this new type of content calls for a new publication format. At Elsevier we have been working to meet that need via our Article of the Future (AotF) project.
The format of an article hasn’t evolved much over centuries. While the move from print to PDF has changed the way in which articles are delivered, and made content easier to find, the article format has remained, by and large, unchanged. We believe there is a lot of room for improvement.
For example, at one time or another many of us will have printed out a plot, then used a ruler to reconstruct the actual data points – an inefficient and inaccurate process. We know that the author has the actual data and may assume that they are willing to share it (since it is presented in a plot) – but it’s the article format that makes that sharing impossible.
Our answer has been to develop an interactive plot viewer that allows readers to hover over data points and see the actual value of the data as provided by the author (see figure 1). This is still a prototype application, but we are working on deploying such an interactive plot viewer on ScienceDirect.
The Article of the Future is an ongoing project. Our goal is to:
- Break away from the limitations of the traditional, ink-on-paper article format.
- Enable researchers to publish their work in all its dimensions, including digital content like data, code, multimedia, etc.
- Take advantage of what modern web technology has to offer to create an optimal and richer reading experience.
There are three main directions in which we are improving the online article – presentation, content and context. You may have read about some of these in previous articles in Editors’ Update. However, new elements are being rolled out on a regular basis and 2013 has seen a number of innovations introduced. Below we highlight just some of these and outline how you can get involved.
In ScienceDirect, articles now appear across three panes (see figure 2).
The left-hand pane is used for browsing and navigation, the center pane is optimized for online readability, and the right-hand pane collects additional content and functionality. What is shown in the right-hand pane will vary per research discipline and even per individual article – influenced, for example, by the content the author has delivered. However, it also includes some generic features, for example the reference browser shown in figure 3. When you click on a reference in the main article, bibliographical information for that reference appears, including an abstract when available. This information is pinned to the right-hand pane, so that it remains in place while you read through the paper in the center pane. This example shows how small changes can make a difference – this is not a technological tour de force, yet it saves readers a lot of scrolling time.
This aspect of the AotF focuses on better support for digital research output such as data, code, or multimedia, but also on better support for domain-specific data formats.
One innovation we have introduced this year is the embedding of 3D visualizations in online research articles - invaluable for understanding complex structures, dynamic simulations, and research discoveries. Without interrupting the flow of reading, users can explore and interact with 3D models by zooming in, panning and rotating. They can also change various display settings, open the viewer in full screen mode and download original data files.
The ultimate goal of this project is to create an online visualization infrastructure for ScienceDirect that can be accessed from any device. We are working to achieve this in partnership with Kitware SAS, our 3D visualization service provider. So far, a 3D molecular viewer and a 3D archaeological viewer are available. An author simply uploads the model as a supplementary file to the Elsevier Editorial System (EES). The 3D model then appears in the right-hand pane of the article on ScienceDirect.
The 3D molecular viewer visualizes molecular structures and supports PDB, PSE, and MOL/MOL2 data formats. It allows the models to be explored using the two most common visualization techniques: ‘ribbons’ and ‘balls-and-sticks’, both shown in figure 4.
The 3D archaeological viewer (see figure 5) visualizes models submitted in PLY and OBJ formats. The surface rendering technique is applied to display 3D data (including the texture and material properties support). The viewer was developed to support the new Elsevier journal Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, which is unique in that it focuses on the application of 3D modeling to cultural heritage.
The next 3D viewer – a neuroimaging module supporting 3D data in NIfTI format for selected neuroscience journals – is currently under development.
Another big step for the Article of the Future project was taken in May of this year, when Elsevier announced the first Executable Papers on ScienceDirect. These papers were published as part of a Special Issue in the journal Computers & Graphics, and would not have been possible without the full support and ambassadorship of the Editor-in-Chief, Joaquim Jorge, and guest editors Michela Spagnuolo and Remco Veltkamp. What makes Executable Papers unique is that they not only capture the narrative of a traditional scholarly paper, but also the computational methodology underpinning the reported results. This gives the reader additional insights and ensures full reproducibility of key scientific findings – an ideal of scholarly communication but, with the traditional article format, something that is often not realized.
The Special Issue makes use of the Collage Authoring Environment, developed by a Polish team affiliated with CYFRONET and first-prize winner of the Executable Papers Grand Challenge launched by Elsevier in 2011. Using Collage, authors can upload data and computer code and interconnect these elements to construct a ‘computational experiment’ from input to output.
ScienceDirect readers can inspect code and data, and – more importantly – they can also change parameters, upload their own test data, and re-run code to really probe the paper’s computational methodology. Collage also offers reviewers and editors access to the computational experiments that belong with a paper, extremely useful for the peer-review process.
Another recent innovation, which is quite different from the projects discussed above, is AudioSlides. These are five-minute, webcast style presentations (combining slides with voice-over recordings) displayed next to the article on ScienceDirect. What sets these apart is that the presentations are not an integral part of the paper, but rather presentations about the article.
They are created by the author and offer a unique opportunity to provide insights into the paper’s content and explain why it is of interest. This new feature has been rolled out to a wide range of journals, and we do hope that you will encourage authors to make use of it.
As an editor, you can also highlight papers of interest yourself by creating an audio podcast. This might take the form of an interview with the author or it could be you sharing your opinion about the article with potential readers. There is also the option to create a podcast for a complete journal issue, which may be organized as a brief overview of all included articles. The article-related podcasts will appear in the right-hand pane of an article, while issue/volume-related podcasts will appear next to each article in the specific issue/volume.
Other content innovations introduced include:
- The Interactive (Google) Maps viewer, now available for more than 100 journals working with geospatial data. Authors upload their KML/KMZ files as supplementary material and the viewer upgrades a static map to an interactive one. This is integrated into the article view on ScienceDirect and readers can download underlying data.
- An application to visualize MATLAB figure files. MATLAB is a general-purpose mathematical modeling tool widely used in engineering and applied sciences. With MATLAB it is possible to export plots to a MATLAB FIG format, which contains both the visualization and the underlying data. Currently available for 50+ journals.
- Interactive phylogenetic trees. Displayed in the center pane below the abstract, this application allows the reader to interactively explore phylogenetic trees on ScienceDirect. To support this functionality, authors of relevant articles are invited to submit their tree data in Newick and NexML formats.
Web technologies allow us to interlink the article with other sources of relevant, trusted scientific information on the web – upgrading the article from a one-way street to a roundabout.
For example, Elsevier has a program to link articles with relevant data sets that reside at a data repository. One way we can do this is by inserting a banner next to an article which is only shown if a database has data sets specifically relevant to the paper. Figure 8 shows a banner pointing to two data repositories: MGI (Mouse Genome Informatics database) and RGD (Rat Genome Database). We currently collaborate with more than 30 data repositories in different domains.
Taking data linking one step further, it’s also possible to build visualization tools on top of data links, for example the PubChem Compound Viewer we have developed with the National Center for Biotechnology and Information (NCBI). The application extracts relevant information from the NCBI PubChem Compound database using the PubChem CID code and compound name provided by the author. It generates a short summary, which includes the 2D chemical structure image, molecular weight, molecular formula, IUPAC name and a direct link to the full PubChem record (see figure 9). The PubChem Compound Viewer appears in the right-hand pane of the article on ScienceDirect.
We are committed to enhancing the online article so that it better meets the needs of researchers in the digital age but your input is invaluable if we are to achieve this. There are a number of ways you can get involved:
* Reaxys®, the Reaxys® and ReactionFlash™ trademarks are owned and protected by Reed Elsevier Properties SA. All rights reserved.
CONTENT INNOVATION MANAGER
Hylke is responsible for a range of projects to enhance the online article format. Part of Elsevier’s Article of the Future program, this includes improved online presentation, better support and visualization of digital content, and contextualization of the article by linking with data repositories and other sources of trusted scientific content on the web. Before joining Elsevier in 2010, Hylke received a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics from the University of Amsterdam and served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is based in Amsterdam.
CONTENT INNOVATION MANAGER
Elena has been working on the Article of the Future project since joining Elsevier in 2010 as a Senior User Experience Specialist for the User Centered Design group. She holds a PhD in Computer Science and an MSc degree in Technical Engineering from the St Petersburg State Technical University. Before joining Elsevier, she worked at the University of Amsterdam, SARA Computing and Networking Services and Corning Inc.
Nearly three months has passed since the cloud-based research management and social collaboration platform, Mendeley, joined Elsevier. With the ink on the contract now dry and the integration of the two companies in progress, we examine what has changed and outline some of the plans already underway to simplify the lives of researchers. Taking the […]
Nearly three months has passed since the cloud-based research management and social collaboration platform, Mendeley, joined Elsevier.
With the ink on the contract now dry and the integration of the two companies in progress, we examine what has changed and outline some of the plans already underway to simplify the lives of researchers.
When the acquisition was announced back on April 9th, we confirmed that Mendeley’s senior management team would remain in place. In the days that followed, Mendeley co-founder, Victor Henning, spoke publicly about the rationale behind the deal. In an article on Elsevier Connect, he explained that it just made “intuitive sense” to him. He said: “We started Mendeley to help researchers, and Elsevier lets us do that for a much larger community.” He also highlighted some of the advantages for users - for example, thanks to the acquisition, Mendeley could immediately double user storage space free of charge.
Since then, Henning has joined the Elsevier strategy team as a Vice President of Strategy, and is a regular visitor at the Elsevier Amsterdam office. In fact, he is planning to relocate there. He explained: "As the weeks have passed, I've become even more excited about the Mendeley-Elsevier partnership. While meeting many of my new colleagues, I have been offered a sneak peek at the initiatives underway at Elsevier designed to serve authors and researchers better. Many of these initiatives mirror ideas which we at Mendeley would have liked to pursue as well, but had to put off because we didn’t have the resources - ideas around recommendation engines, text mining, interactive content, raw data, and open access.
“Mendeley and Elsevier are serving the same audience - researchers around the globe - and are covering different parts of the scholarly workflow. Now that we are part of the Elsevier family, we have started to close the gaps in this workflow and make it more seamless. For example, as one of our first steps, we have already added support for all Elsevier journal citation styles, making it easier for authors to properly format their articles when submitting their work to Elsevier journals. And because we have shared these newly-generated citation styles with the open CSL (Citation Style Language) repository, the styles are not just available to Mendeley users, but to users of other tools like Zotero, Papers, BibSonomy, Docear, Qiqqa, and others.”
He added: “We are also examining how we can use Mendeley’s recommendation technology to direct authors to the right journal, enable article submissions straight from Mendeley to the Elsevier Editorial System (EES), and integrate Mendeley’s reading and annotation tools into the peer-review process. There are more ideas which I can’t yet share, and it will take time to implement them - but they all have the potential to radically improve the author experience and make researchers’ lives easier.”
Olivier Dumon, Managing Director of Academic and Government Markets for Elsevier, is equally excited about the opportunities offered by the new partnership. Dumon led the team that worked on the Mendeley acquisition, and speaking after the deal was announced, he commented: “Sometimes business collaborations show so much potential they should just go all-in, and that was true in this case.”
According to Dumon, the acquisition allows Elsevier to build upon strong foundations in search and discovery by adding capabilities in document and citation management and sharing.
He explained: “We have long known that researchers encounter a lot of pain points across their workflow – whether that’s keeping up to date with other research or submitting research papers of their own.
“While we can already help them with a number of these steps, we realized we wanted to improve our support for two of the most important ones – the sharing, collection and storage of data and the writing of papers.
“Researchers use Mendeley for its document and reference management, collaboration, analytics and networking tools, and the Microsoft Word plug-in is a fantastic aid when it comes to writing.”
“By offering integration between Mendeley, Scopus and ScienceDirect, we can make this combined platform the central workflow and collaboration site for authors. In addition, we will be able to provide greater access to a growing repository of user-generated content while building tools that will enable researchers to search it more precisely.”
Dumon also believes the partnership will have a positive impact on areas such as altmetrics, getting real-time information on hot articles across publishers based on Mendeley readership metrics. He said: “That will help librarians assess their collections and render all publishers’ content more discoverable.”
Victor Henning's guide to Mendeley
Co-founders Jan Reichelt, Paul Föckler and I started Mendeley to solve our own problems. Back in 2007, we were PhD students with hundreds of academic papers stored on our computers and no good way to make sense of them. Existing reference management tools seemed too cumbersome, clunky, and expensive - they cost hundreds of Euros, required a lot of manual data entry, and wouldn’t even store the metadata and the PDFs together!
So we wondered: Why wasn’t there a tool that could extract the relevant metadata - authors, title, year, journal, volume, issue etc. - automatically from PDFs, and help us manage the files? A tool that would also let us read and annotate PDFs, cite papers in Word, OpenOffice, or LaTeX, and allow us to set up collaborative groups for sharing and discussing research? In short, a tool for helping us with our entire workflow from content discovery, to document management, to authoring and collaboration? After realizing that such a tool did indeed not exist, we began to create it ourselves.
Fast forward to 2013: Mendeley is now a global academic community. Collectively, our users have uploaded more than 400 million citations and documents into their Mendeley accounts. Our users’ aggregated, anonymized metadata - available via the Mendeley API (application programming interface) - powers more than 300 new third-party research apps, e.g. document management on Android and Kindle, altmetrics apps like ImpactStory.org and Altmetric.com, and citation plugins for web and learning platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Moodle.
Over the years, Henning's speaking engagements at publishing conferences have offered ample opportunity to chat with journal editors and publishers. Here he answers some of the most common questions he has been asked.
Q. Is Mendeley a peer-to-peer file sharing tool? Can academics just search and freely download any article they want?
A. No, it isn’t. Mendeley keeps each user’s library private and accessible only by them. It is not possible to search for an article on Mendeley, see if another user has it in their document library, and download it from there. Instead, when Mendeley users search for or discover an article on Mendeley, we only show them the metadata - then link to the original publisher via DOI, or to the user’s institutional library via OpenURL.
As such, Mendeley is a major driver of traffic and article usage to publishers. Over the past few years, Mendeley had struck agreements with several major publishers and societies, e.g. Springer, IEEE, De Gruyter, and others, about providing us with metadata and document feeds to augment, clean, and complete our database, as cleaner and more complete data meant more traffic, usage, and altmetrics impact for publishers. Now, with Elsevier’s support, we hope to grow our collaboration with other publishers to a much larger scale.
Q. How does Mendeley treat self-archiving of articles and sharing for collaboration?
A. There are only two ways in which articles can be shared on Mendeley: Via self-archiving articles on an author’s Mendeley profile, or via Mendeley’s 'Private Groups' functionality.
Each Mendeley user has their own profile page - mine is here: www.mendeley.com/profiles/victor-henning/. Users can upload their own papers to their profile to ‘self-archive’ them and make them available for download on the web. It is entirely up to the user whether to opt into this functionality, and whether to upload only a metadata reference, a pre-print or post-print PDF, or a PDF of the final published version. We require our users to adhere to the copyright of their publisher when doing so, and the Mendeley user interface will incorporate explicit referrals to the SHERPA-RoMEO policies of the publisher in the near future.
The other way of sharing articles on Mendeley is via ‘Private Groups’. These are a collaboration space - much like Basecamp, SharePoint, or Google Docs - in which members of a team can keep track of references for a research project, collaboratively annotate documents, and discuss open questions. Private Groups are invisible from the outside, and are accessible by invitation-only. Free users of Mendeley are restricted to one Private Group, with a limit of three members including themselves; paid users of Mendeley can create groups of five up to 50 people, which are popular in labs and departments.
Naturally, Elsevier reviewed our self-archiving and collaboration practices before deciding to acquire Mendeley - and concluded that we were providing a valuable workflow service to academics without undermining publishing business models and journal viability.
Q. Is Mendeley pro-open access, or an open access-only tool?
A. First and foremost, Mendeley is a workflow tool that wants to make researchers’ lives easier, no matter whether they are working with OA or non-OA content.
When a researcher discovers OA content on Mendeley, we are able to offer them a direct download into their Mendeley library, whereas we have to send them to other publishers’ or library websites if they want to access non-OA content and we don’t yet have an agreement with the publisher. Reaching such agreements is one potential benefit of working more closely with the rest of Elsevier. Many members of the Mendeley staff and community team are personal believers in the OA movement and see it as the way forward for publishing because if all content were OA, then all content would flow without friction around the web and into/through researcher workflows.
* Reaxys® and the Reaxys® trademark are owned and protected by Reed Elsevier Properties SA. All rights reserved.
CO-FOUNDER MENDELEY & VICE PRESIDENT OF STRATEGY, ELSEVIER
Victor holds a PhD from the Bauhaus-University of Weimar, where he researched the role of emotion in consumer decision making. The Foundation of the German Economy granted him a doctoral dissertation scholarship in 2006, and the Royal Society of Arts elected him a Fellow in 2011. He completed an MBA at the WHU Koblenz, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and the Handelshøyskolen BI Oslo. Victor has also worked as a Talent Scout A&R for Sony Music/Columbia Records in Berlin, Germany, and in various roles at punk/garage label Revelation Records in California, USA. In parallel to writing his MBA thesis, he also co-founded the Korova Bar in Vallendar, Germany.
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC AND GOVERNMENT MARKETS, ELSEVIER
Before joining Elsevier in February 2012, Olivier served as Vice President of Product Management for AT&T Interactive and Senior Director of Search for eBay. Previously, he worked for eBay in France and co-founded an online collaboration start-up that he sold to a B2B publisher. He was born in Paris and moved to the United States to attend Harvard Business School, where he completed an MBA in 1998.
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers
If you have been following recent developments in open access (OA), you will have heard mentioned the different OA ‘routes’ available such as gold or green. Confused? You are not alone, so in this article we explore Green Open Access and what it means – not only for researchers, but for your journal and the wider […]
If you have been following recent developments in open access (OA), you will have heard mentioned the different OA 'routes' available such as gold or green. Confused? You are not alone, so in this article we explore Green Open Access and what it means - not only for researchers, but for your journal and the wider public.
The term Green OA refers to an author posting a version of their article (usually as an accepted manuscript) on their personal or institutional website. It is essentially self-archiving of their research. It means that in addition to subscribers accessing and using their final published article, anyone in their institution, or indeed outside, can also access and read the draft version of their paper.
Green OA is dependent on the subscription model. The costs incurred during submission, peer-review process and subsequent publishing and dissemination are all covered by subscriptions. This is different to the Gold Open Access model where authors cover the costs associated with publication, and their final published articles are immediately available and permanently free for readers to access and reuse.
Our posting policy allows authors publishing in an Elsevier journal to voluntarily add their accepted author manuscript to either their personal or institutional website.
However, if a particular institution or funding body has a mandate or systematically organizes posting, this can have an impact on the sustainability of the journals involved. In this case, we require a posting agreement between the institution or funder and Elsevier. This agreement allows the maximum benefit for the public - who can access the research from repositories - while allowing the journals to remain sustainable and operational in the future.
More information about our policies can be found on our website.
When submitting to a journal, authors will increasingly need to ensure they comply with new OA policies and mandates which have details about Green OA or self-archiving.
We are actively engaging with funding bodies and institutions to establish posting agreements that will allow us to test and learn how best to support Green OA. For example, we have a long-standing arrangement with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), through which Elsevier deposits around 18,000 manuscripts into PubMed Central on an annual basis.
These agreements have been designed to allow authors to continue submitting and publishing in Elsevier journals, while we ensure that the journals remain sustainable, both now and in the future.
Green OA is an alternative route to enable the public to access research. Repositories such as PubMed Central and World Health Organization provide another viable way for people to search for, and find, research. In addition to these types of repositories, Elsevier has funded an Open Archives initiative. This enables archived material in 82 journals to become open access after an embargo period. This period varies depending on the journal in question, but is normally between 12-48 months. For example, all Cell Press articles are free to access after a period of 12 months.
Our aim is to ensure we continue to facilitate access to research. For us this means working with institutions, governments and funders to find a workable solution, sustainable for our journals, which will help to maintain such access long into the future.
UNIVERSAL ACCESS TEAM LEADER
David is involved in strategy development and implementation of access initiatives. In addition, he acts as a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions around the world. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 16 years, initially in editorial and marketing positions before taking on the management of the scientometric research and market analysis department. He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.
Since 2010, we have been busy scaling our services. Alongside traditional subscription publishing, authors are now offered a greater choice of open access (OA) options. These developments include the introduction of our Open Access Articles program, now available in 1,500 journals. What is Open Access Articles? This Elsevier program gives authors a choice when publishing […]
Since 2010, we have been busy scaling our services. Alongside traditional subscription publishing, authors are now offered a greater choice of open access (OA) options. These developments include the introduction of our Open Access Articles program, now available in 1,500 journals.
This Elsevier program gives authors a choice when publishing in a traditional subscription journal; they can either make their research available only to subscribers, or decide to publish open access. If they choose the open access route, upon publication the article will immediately be available to both subscribers and the wider public via our ScienceDirect platform. The article will also have additional user rights attached which govern how readers can use and reuse the article.
Journals included in this program are also referred to in the industry as ‘hybrid’ as they publish both subscription and OA content. This means authors can continue to publish in indexed, quality journals important for their individual communities, while having the option to publish OA and comply with any new policies or mandates by their funding bodies or institutions.
After acceptance, authors can indicate their publication preference and funding body information. The Open Access Articles option does not introduce any additional workload for editors or reviewers and has been introduced to give authors more publishing options.
When publishing in a subscription journal, costs associated with publication and dissemination are covered by subscribers. When publishing OA, where readers can access the content for free, authors or their funders are asked to cover the costs associated with publication. This is referred to as an open access publishing fee.
Elsevier publishes journals encompassing the full breadth of scientific research and the full range of research outcomes. As such, our OA publication fees reflect this diversity and range from $500USD to $5,000USD. In some cases, funding bodies will reimburse these fees for authors.
We recognize the potential conflict of interest when offering such a program in a subscription journal. We have a strict no-double-dipping policy and do not charge subscribers for OA content.
Authors who choose to publish via our Open Access Articles program will also get a choice of user licenses. These determine how readers can use and reuse their articles. For further details about what this means for authors see our article Understanding the fine print: what changes when publishing open access?.
Open Access Articles is only one of a number of publishing options we offer our authors. We also have more than 35 open access journals where all articles are open access, as well as agreements with institutions regarding self-archiving in repositories.
Our first open access journal, International Journal of Surgery Case Reports was launched in 2010. Since then we have used a test and learn approach and have been working with the community to help facilitate the successful implementation of OA. We hope that the Open Access Articles option available in 1,500 journals will continue to give authors a choice in how their research is published.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR OPEN ACCESS
Els is leading the open access program for the Science, Technology and Medicine (STM) Journal division at Elsevier. She is responsible for accelerating the roll out of the STM open access journal portfolio, which includes supporting the rapid expansion of OA journals and improved hybrid open access offerings. Els was a United Nations (FAO) Field Officer before moving into publishing with Elsevier 12 years ago. Since then she has been responsible for introducing and rolling out the Elsevier online submission systems, Vice President of Publishing and Marketing at Cell Press and Publishing Director for the Elsevier Chemistry portfolio. Els has a Master’s in Marine Biology.
With the introduction of open access publishing and the move into e-only, there is now greater focus upon the rights of the author and the rights of the reader (user) in journal publishing. This article will help to explain what has changed and how this impacts on the publication and use of your research. Author […]
With the introduction of open access publishing and the move into e-only, there is now greater focus upon the rights of the author and the rights of the reader (user) in journal publishing. This article will help to explain what has changed and how this impacts on the publication and use of your research.
In order for a publisher to do their job of publishing and disseminating research articles, publishing rights are required. In a subscription journal, these rights are traditionally determined by a copyright transfer, which enables clear administration of rights and the use of content in new technological ways. Even when Elsevier obtains copyright transfers, authors retain scholarly rights to post and use their articles for a wide range of purposes.
However, for open access articles we use an exclusive licensing agreement, which applies to all our Gold Open Access content. While granting publishing and distribution rights to us, this exclusive licensing agreement means that authors retain copyright alongside the scholarly usage rights we have always supported.
The exclusive licensing agreement between publisher and author only covers one side of the picture. Users or readers also need to be clear on how they can use the article. For subscription journals, the online user rights are generally defined by subscription access agreements.
For all open access articles, whether published in an Elsevier open access journal or via our Open Access Articles option, we currently offer various user licenses. The choice is dependent on the journal in which the author chooses to publish and specific details can be found on the journal's homepage. These licenses allow readers to not only read and download an article, but to reuse it for other defined purposes. The new user licenses are designed to make it easier for readers to understand how they can use an open access article. They are provided by the Creative Commons organization and are now being adopted into academic publishing. We continue to test and learn about author preferences and business impacts, and will refine our approach as we learn more. One size does not fit all academic communities and journals.
For all user licenses offered, it remains fundamental that the author receives full acknowledgment and credit for their work and that a link to the original published version of their article is featured.
Different licenses will appeal to different academic communities and authors. It is important that an author decides what is relevant to them and what this means for their own research. We are continuously working with our authors to provide the best range of license options. Below we define some of the more common user licenses available:
For our Open Archives content – archived content that we make available after an embargo period - we use a bespoke user license. This permits users to access, download, copy, display and redistribute documents as well as adapt, translate, text and data mine, provided that the original authors and source are credited and that the reuse is not for commercial purposes.
As the Creative Commons user licenses were not specifically developed for academic publishing, there have been some concerns raised by authors and publishers about ‘grey’ areas. These relate to the need to protect an article from plagiarism and to preserve its scientific integrity. In addition, concerns have been raised about the possibility of commercial advertising being associated with research content without authorisation.
To help address these concerns, the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers, STM, is contemplating the release of a more specific user license designed for scholarly communication. This would likely:
It may also be included in our current offering of user licenses for open access content.
While we look forward to the new developments and continued evolution of copyright and licensing, we have an on-going commitment to provide researchers with a choice about how their work is disseminated and used. By offering a variety of user licenses we hope to better understand authors’ needs and tailor our future approach accordingly.
SENIOR COMPANY COUNSEL
Jessica’s primary focus is publishing policy issues. Jessica started her career at a law firm in London and worked for four years for Penguin Books before joining Elsevier. She is a member of the Copyright Committee at the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers.
ACCESS RELATIONSHIP MANAGER, EUROPE
Federica is involved in the strategy development and implementation of initiatives and mechanisms aimed at enabling the broadest possible access to quality research content. In her role she acts as a liaison between Elsevier and governments, funding bodies, universities and research institutions in Europe. Her experience in scientific publishing, earned during nine years at Elsevier, spans marketing communications, publishing and business development. Her passion for publishing traces back to her Master’s degree in Literature, Press and Publishing History.
April is set to be a busy month for open access (OA), particularly for UK authors. In fact, on April 1st new OA policies were introduced by both the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Wellcome Trust. The UK is one of the only countries to have a national OA policy so all eyes are […]
April is set to be a busy month for open access (OA), particularly for UK authors. In fact, on April 1st new OA policies were introduced by both the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Wellcome Trust. The UK is one of the only countries to have a national OA policy so all eyes are focused on the UK to see how successful this will be.
However, one important question arises: will authors publishing in Elsevier journals still be compliant with the new UK policies?
The short answer to this is yes! Elsevier has been actively engaged with funding bodies and institutions to help facilitate the successful implementation of OA policies and mandates. In fact, we have established agreements with major funding bodies, including RCUK and the Wellcome Trust, to ensure authors can comply.
We have also been busy scaling our Gold OA services to offer authors greater publication choices - 1,500 of our established journals offer OA publication options and we have more than 35 open access journals. With each of these options, authors can choose from a range of publication licenses, including Creative Commons' CC BY. These options allow us to test and learn about author preferences and business impacts. With the knowledge we gain we will continue to refine our approach.
We have also developed a Green Open Access policy, further details of which are available in the article What is the green route?. Under the terms of this policy, when funding is not available, authors for whom we have an agreement with their funder or institution will still be able to publish OA by self-archiving their accepted author manuscripts after journal-specific embargo periods.
Simply said, it means that authors will be able to continue to publish in your journal and comply with a variety of OA policies or mandates which will vary depending on their funding body, their location and, of course, their subject area.
Elsevier’s aim is to try to help facilitate the successful implementation of open access by offering authors choices. We have taken steps to streamline our publishing processes and help improve awareness of OA options within our journals.
We have also ensured our agreements with funders and institutions allow our journals to operate in a sustainable way. We support both open access and subscription business models and will scale our services as the needs of both authors and the wider community develop and change.
For further information on our funding body and institutional agreements visit www.elsevier.com/openaccess.
DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
Alicia holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. She joined Elsevier in June 2010 to lead the Universal Access team. In this role she is responsible for our access strategy and policies, for launching and monitoring access pilot projects, and for building relationships with other stakeholders in the scholarly communication landscape who share our interest in broadening access. The Universal Access team works closely with colleagues throughout Elsevier and is a catalyst for information exchange and innovation.
Surf any news website or pick up any newspaper and it is likely you won’t have to read far before the words open access appear. That has never been more true than this month as new open access policies from RCUK and the Wellcome Trust come into effect. This Open Access Special Report has been […]
Surf any news website or pick up any newspaper and it is likely you won’t have to read far before the words open access appear.
That has never been more true than this month as new open access policies from RCUK and the Wellcome Trust come into effect.
This Open Access Special Report has been developed to run through some of those changes and update you on open access developments at Elsevier.
In Complying with open access policies and mandates you can discover more about the OA options we offer and how we are engaging with institutions and funding bodies to ensure compliance with recent regulations.
Understanding the fine print: what changes when publishing open access provides a detailed look at the licenses governing author and reader rights in an open access world. We outline the Creative Commons licenses we have on offer and turn our thoughts to the future.
In How authors can publish open access in your journal we discuss our Open Access Articles program, currently available in 1,500 of our journals. This initiative allows authors to choose the open access path when publishing in our subscription journals.
And last but not least, in What is the green route? we look at what Green Open Access means, not only for the author but for your journal and the general public.
This edition also marks the launch of a new development for Editors’ Update – a Special Report. This format allows us to streamline our usual content and focus on a particular topic in the news. These periodic Special Reports will be published in addition to our regular quarterly editions. If there is a topic you would like us to highlight, please do let us know by emailing us at email@example.com.
As always, your thoughts on any of the articles in this edition are very welcome and we provide an opportunity to post your comments at the end of each piece.
Issue 39 of Editors’ Update is scheduled for a June release so, until then, thanks very much for reading and I hope to hear from you soon.
A pilot to find a standard way of reporting funding sources for published scholarly research has now been approved for wider adoption.
Linda Willems | Academic Content & Communications Manager, Elsevier
The project was first launched as a pilot, which ran from March 2012 to February 2013. During the pilot period, scholarly publishers and funding agencies, facilitated by CrossRef, collaborated to find a standard way of reporting funding sources for published scholarly research.
A report that outlines the experience of the pilot and provides recommendations for going forward is now available. Both the report and the idea of rolling out the project were approved by CrossRef's Board of Directors at their March meeting. FundRef will now be implemented by CrossRef from May 2013 onwards.
FundRef will benefit a number of constituents:
Social media has become a part of everyday life. In 2010, Facebook overtook Google as the Web’s most visited site and in the US Internet users spend one out of every four online minutes on social networking sites and blogs . If social media is unfamiliar, that first dip of your toe into new waters […]
Social media has become a part of everyday life. In 2010, Facebook overtook Google as the Web’s most visited site and in the US Internet users spend one out of every four online minutes on social networking sites and blogs .
If social media is unfamiliar, that first dip of your toe into new waters can be daunting. However, Elsevier has a range of subject-specific pages available you can join. And below we have outlined some tips for setting up and maximizing the potential of your own social media profile.
Broadly, the term social media covers people having a conversation online. Conversations can take place in online forums, online communities, social bookmarking sites, user ratings and also as part of multimedia sharing sites.
91% of mobile Internet use is now for social activities. On average, over the course of 12 months, Internet users will:
- Share 415 pieces of content on Facebook
- Spend an average of about 23 minutes a day on Twitter
- Tweet a total of around 15,795 tweets
- Upload 196 hours of video on YouTube
Sharing research, accomplishments and ambitions with a wider audience makes you more visible in your field. With greater visibility, you are more likely to be cited, you cultivate a stronger reputation and you promote your research, your journal and your career. Some of the more popular networking sites include:
Every second, one new user joins LinkedIn and 81% of users belong to at least one group.
At Elsevier, we have more than 160 social media channels (including The Lancet and Cell Press) covering all subject areas. We use these to promote new research, increase traffic to journal articles, gauge opinions on new journals and special issues and give more than 360,000 followers a chance to interact with us directly.
As an editor, your contribution to these social media communities, by starting or joining in with discussions, may even highlight new hot topics or bring an up-and-coming researcher to your attention. These communities also offer a great opportunity to call for new papers.
We invite you to follow or join Elsevier’s social media channels to keep abreast of the latest research in your area, share your ideas, and ask the questions you want to discuss with your peers and colleagues.
Signing up for an account is easy, but having a professional and personable profile takes a little foresight and effort to build. While each social platform has different specifications and limitations, here are some steps that will work for all:
There is one further step that can help to define your profile, a step that defines your communication style with social media tools in general:
5. Personality: What should your audience know about you that makes you a real person?
Below is an example of how these principles have been used to build a Twitter profile:
When communicating through social media, you are having conversations with the people that read your publications, potential and current authors, colleagues and peers, industry specialists, and more. Just as in any form of communication, some rules apply and these are even more enhanced in the social realm. You should be:
With a little practice, interacting in social networks can become as natural as emailing or talking in person. It can even be fun!
DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTENT
Angelina (@angelinaward) leads social business efforts throughout the organization. These include forming policy, guidelines and centralized resources, and driving corporate-level campaigns. She speaks at industry events on social media topics and has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in Technology on Twitter who truly “gets” social media and social business. She is based in Atlanta.
GROUP MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
Rachel is based in Elsevier’s Oxford office. She is the social media project lead for Elsevier’s Science, Technology and Medical Journals with responsibility for more than 150 subject social media channels with a following of more than 250,000 individuals. Her role is to ensure that Elsevier’s social media content engages with and meets the needs of researchers.
 All statistics quoted in this article have been taken from the following:
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 […]
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?
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.
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). 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 , 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  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.
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.
An article on this topic, Fixing authorship – towards a practical model of contributorship, has also appeared in Elsevier’s Research Trends.
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.
 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.
 IWCSA Report (2012). Report on the International Workshop on Contributorship and Scholarly Attribution, May 16, 2012. Harvard University and the Wellcome Trust.
 A small selection of the literature available on this topic:
The recent Research Trends and Elsevier Labs virtual seminar, The Individual and Scholarly Networks, is now available to view in archive.
Sarah Huggett | Publishing Information Manager, Elsevier
Research Trends and the Elsevier Labs recently co-hosted their first virtual seminar: The Individual and Scholarly Networks. The event, held on 22nd January, attracted more than 500 attendees from all over the world, and featured six compelling external speakers. We used a novel format aimed to maximise engagement: in addition to audio and slides, we showed videos of the speakers and Twitter feed.
Materials from the event, including recordings of each session and discussion, presentations, and a Q&A transcript for those questions that we were unable to address live, are now all freely available on the Research Trends website, although unfortunately we were not able to get rid of some of the technical issues affecting audio in the second part of the event. A summary of the event and highlights of the discussion are also available.
There were two components to the event. The first part focussed on building networks, and the ways in which relationships are formed and maintained, as well as how they are changing the nature of scholarly relationships. In this session, Professor Jeremy Frey discussed how varying degrees of openness aid scientific collaboration, while Gregg Gordon presented an overview of the Social Science Research Network. Then, Dr William Gunn talked on building networks through information linking, using Mendeley as an example. The second part was about evaluating network relationships, exploring the related areas of alternative metrics, contributorship and the culture of reference. In this session, Dr Gudmundur Thorisson discussed digital scholarship and the recently launched ORCID initiative, while Kelli Barr questioned the purpose of and objectivity of evaluations. Finally, Dr Heather Piwowar explored various impact flavours, in particular ImpactStory. Each session was followed by lively discussions amongst the presenters, spurred by questions and comments from our remote audience.
The way we consume information is changing and one of our key goals at Elsevier is to ensure our journals are ideally placed to meet the mobile access needs of readers. Over the past two years, Elsevier has released a series of tools which: Offer existing subscribers mobile access; make it easier to find and […]
The way we consume information is changing and one of our key goals at Elsevier is to ensure our journals are ideally placed to meet the mobile access needs of readers.
Over the past two years, Elsevier has released a series of tools which:
The ScienceDirect mobile phone app for Apple and Android devices allows users to search across the full content on the platform, retrieve and read full-text articles, and personalize their reading experience (bookmark articles of interest, forward for later use in research, share articles, etc...). By 2013, all users will also be able to browse by journal name or subject area, to personalize ‘My Journals’, and to receive alerts when new content matches their search query. The same app is also available for the iPad, with the Android tablet version in development.
The Scopus Alerts app (Apple and Android) enables users to create notifications that will keep them up-to-date, e.g., when their paper has been cited or a new paper is published in their area of specialty. They can also annotate and share articles.
The apps are provided at no additional cost and they allow existing journal subscribers to use their previously paid-for services remotely.
In addition, Elsevier has been investing in the main websites for ScienceDirect and Scopus to make them easier to read on mobile device web browsers.
All personal subscribers to Health and Medical Science publications can use the Health Advance Journals™ mobile app to browse the latest issues of a journal or search for an article. Personal subscribers to Science & Technology publications can do the same using the Elsevier JournalViewer app, which allows subscribers to selected journals to view abstracts, full texts and PDFs.
The Health Advance Journals™ app, available for both iPad and Android, launched in April this year, and in addition to full-text article viewing, users can pin favorite journals to the app homepage as well as search for, bookmark and share articles.
We have also launched 20 journal-branded native iPad apps through a pilot project. We began by developing a template we could apply to a select group of journals with either a broad personal subscriber base or a substantial affiliated society membership. Now just a year old, the pilot apps, many of which are for leading journals in their medical specialties, have undergone two upgrades and will receive a full redesign of the user interface at the beginning of next year. Available via the iTunes App Store and Apple’s Newsstand for publications, the apps currently allow you to:
A scheduled upgrade will introduce an iPhone version, full-screen reading mode, article swiping, offline storage and reading, and an in-article reference pop-up. In 2013, we plan to apply the lessons we have learned to our new design, ask users for their feedback and then look at extending the pilot.
Elsevier's key mobile apps at a glance
For institutionally-affiliated researchers:
For individual personal subscribers:
Elsevier JournalViewer: Provides access to Elsevier journal content (abstract and full text) to journal Editors and personal subscribers.
The Lancet: Offers current subscribers rapid access to recently published content.
Cell: Allows you to keep up to date with articles published in Cell Press research journals.
iPhone and iPad app
The Journal of Urology: Keep up with the most important advances in the science and practice of urology.
ReactionFlash™: Launched by the Reaxys® team in 2011, this app allows organic chemists to learn about and explore Named Reactions.*
iPhone and iPad app
We plan to keep you up to date with developments via Editors’ Update and other Elsevier channels and we always value your views. You can direct questions/comments about your publication to your Publisher or you are welcome to post comments below.
* Reaxys®, the Reaxys® and ReactionFlash™ trademarks are owned and protected by Reed Elsevier Properties SA. All rights reserved.
Cynthia B Clark
DIGITAL JOURNAL PRODUCTS
Cynthia has been with Elsevier for seven years, primarily as product manager for the Health Advance platform. This role affords her the opportunity to support the digital journal business with our global health science publishers and society partners, as well as to help shape the platform development and direction within the larger Elsevier team. Recent projects include managing the operations of our new mobile apps and leading the migration task force of our platform upgrade and migration project. Cynthia loves to solve problems and finds puzzles a challenge. Fortunately, she has opportunities for both in her work.
“Every time a new journal is launched, we work hard to ensure it is a well-considered, and hopefully balanced, solution that meets the community’s needs.” Philippe Terheggen, Senior Vice President, Physical Sciences II Over the years I’ve met many of you during one-to-one meetings, at our Editors’ Conferences held worldwide, or during your visits to […]
"Every time a new journal is launched, we work hard to ensure it is a well-considered, and hopefully balanced, solution that meets the community’s needs." Philippe Terheggen, Senior Vice President, Physical Sciences II
Over the years I’ve met many of you during one-to-one meetings, at our Editors’ Conferences held worldwide, or during your visits to our Publishing offices across the globe.
One question that frequently arises is, ‘how does Elsevier decide to launch a new journal?’, so in this article I will share some of the factors we consider when deciding to add a new title to the Elsevier collection.
Elsevier has journals in a number of fields that have recently experienced extraordinary growth. Just think of the environment, cities, global risk management, food and energy security and water, as well as certain areas in chemistry, engineering and chemical engineering. Journals in these fields have experienced increases in submitted articles of 20%, 30%, even 40%, and those deluges have generated a number of challenges. Hats off to our Editors and their Publishers who have tackled these challenges head-on; often while achieving faster editorial speeds and higher citations per article too!
Our first step is always to consider whether this growth can be absorbed into an existing journal. That is the ideal scenario – existing journals provide a perfect infrastructure for new topics. In fact, the majority of new content is absorbed by existing journals. Sometimes though, we need to look outside our current titles and one important consideration is always whether the topic is of interest to an established community or has a wider appeal.
Let me give a simple example. City planners and environmentalists are two distinct communities, however, because of environmental pressures, both have become interested in the topic of urban climate - they just approach it from different angles. While these communities may cite each others’ articles, they don’t necessarily work together and perhaps a new journal is just what is needed to bridge that gap. Antropocene or Sustainable Cities and Society are perfect examples of new Elsevier journals launched to serve researchers from different disciplines. In these circumstances we may decide to support the journal launch with a conference, for instance we did that with Algal Research and Spatial Statistics. You could say, in fact, that new journals and conferences help to support the creation of new interdisciplinary communities.
Compare that to the scenario of a community of materials engineers who come up with a new research area relevant to most of their peers – the chances are high that their existing journals can provide suitable homes for this new research. And nine out of ten times that’s what happens...an existing journal, now with expanded aims and scope, proves to be suitable for new in-community topics. Still, that can change. If a new technology or method, even from an existing community, becomes large or its relevance increases, we may need to create a new journal, as happened with Methods in Oceanography. A new journal can also prove the solution when readers show a preference for a certain editorial format (e.g. rapid communications, case reports or review articles). Case Studies in Engineering Failure Analysis, Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering and Energy Strategy Reviews are recent examples of such journals.
So what sources does a Publisher call on when deciding which fields are growing? We consider a wide range of factors, including:
The majority of journal proposals are made by our Publishers, and these are always discussed with Editors and other scientists and professionals in our network. I believe that shows the important role our Publishers play in keeping a close eye on new trends.
We launched 44 new journals in 2011, including open access journals.
Sometimes we receive external proposals for new journal launches from one of the 570 Societies we already have a publishing relationship with. Societies seek our expertise, competencies and resources to support new journals. The reverse may also take place: we could actively seek out society alliances for new journals in areas where we have long term relationships with learned societies or academic or professional organizations. Our collaboration with the International Water Association on new titles such as Water Resources & Industry is a prime example.
We’ve taken the decision that a new journal is necessary and the time is ripe so what happens next? There are a few different paths we can choose to follow. If we are already well represented in that area, we may decide to launch a single journal, as we did with Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, or Ecosystem Services. However, in other areas – and this happened recently with the launch of Climate Risk Management, Urban Climate and Weather and Climate Extremes - we may simultaneously launch several related journals. This makes a bigger impact and allows us to send a clear message to authors and funders that there are new outlets available for their research. It also allows the journals to work together and support each other, e.g. use the article transfer service to find a more appropriate home for out-of-scope manuscripts.
In their 2001 paper Growth dynamics of scholarly and scientific journals, Mabe and Amin presented results on journal growth dynamics at both the micro and macro levels, showing that journal development clearly follows researcher behaviour and growth characteristics. Scientometrics, Vol. 51, No. 1 (2001) 147–162.
Another factor to consider is what kind of business model is appropriate for a new journal. We continue to launch journals under the subscription model, typically also including the (hybrid) open access model. Post acceptance, these hybrid titles offer authors the option to pay for open access to his or her article. In addition, as with the previously mentioned Weather and Climate Extremes, we are also launching full gold open access titles. Let me also state the obvious – open access content should have the same high editorial standards as any other.
As you can see, the answer to your original question is that no one-size fits all. Every time a new journal is launched, we work hard to ensure it is a well-considered, and hopefully balanced, solution that meets the community’s needs. Finally, we are always very open to receiving suggestions from you and are happy to look at all topics, formats, and models. If you feel there is a good case for launching a new journal in your field, please do let your Publisher know.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, PHYSICAL SCIENCES II
Originally a medical scientist, Philippe has an international background in book and journal publishing, marketing and product innovation. His current role at Elsevier is focused on journal publishing and conferences in areas that cover chemistry, engineering, energy, climate, food security, water management, geological sciences, and a product group focused on industry titles. Philippe is married to an immunologist and has two children. He is governor for the Dutch Publishers Association.
For several decades now, a principal measure of an article’s impact1 on the scholarly world has been the number of citations it has received. An increasing focus on using these citation counts as a proxy for scientific quality provided the catalyst for the development of journal metrics, including Garfield’s invention of the Impact Factor in […]
For several decades now, a principal measure of an article's impact1 on the scholarly world has been the number of citations it has received.
An increasing focus on using these citation counts as a proxy for scientific quality provided the catalyst for the development of journal metrics, including Garfield’s invention of the Impact Factor in the 1950s2. Journal level metrics have continued to evolve and refine; for example, relative newcomers SNIP and SJR3 are now used on Elsevier’s Scopus.
In recent years, however, interest has grown in applications at author, institute and country level. These developments can be summarized as follows (see Figure 1):
The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) was born at a time when there was one delivery route for scholarly articles – paper publications – and computational power was expensive. The migration from paper to electronic delivery (particularly online) has enabled better understanding and analysis of citation count-based impact measurements, and created a new supply of user-activity measurements: page views and downloads.
Over the past few years, the growing importance of social networking - combined with a rising number of platforms making their activity data publicly available - has resulted in new ways of measuring scholarly communication activities: one encapsulated by the term altmetrics5. Although we have added these new metrics to Figure 1, there is no suggestion that superseding generations necessarily replace the earlier ones. In fact, the Relative Impact Measure is still used substantially, even though network analysis exists. The choice of which metric to use is often influenced by the context and question and first, second or third generation metrics may still prove more suitable options.
Although the word altmetrics is still relatively new (not yet three-years-old), several maturing applications already rely on data to give a sense of the wider impact of scholarly research. Plum Analytics is a recent, commercial newcomer, whereas Digital Science's Altmetric.com is a better established, partially-commercial solution. A third mature product is ImpactStory (formerly total-impact.org), an always-free, always-open application.
Altmetrics applications acquire the broadest possible set of data about content consumption. This includes HTML page views and PDF downloads, social usage, (e.g. tweets and Facebook comments), as well as more specialized researcher activities, such as bookmarking and reference sharing via tools like Mendeley, Zotero and Citeulike. A list of the data sources used by ImpactStory appears below. As well as counting activities surrounding the full article, there are also figure and data re-use totals. Altmetric.com also takes into account mass media links to scholarly articles.
To get a feel for how altmetrics work, you can visit www.impactstory.it or www.altmetric.com and enter a publication record. Alternatively, if you have access to Elsevier’s Scopus, you will find many articles already carry an Altmetric.com donut in the right hand bar (the donut may not be visible in older versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer). If there is no data yet available, an Altmetric.com box will not appear on the page. Elsevier also supplies data to ImpactStory, sending cited-by counts to the web-platform.
Although there is some evidence to link social network activity, such as tweets, with ultimate citation count (Priem & Piwowar et al, 20126, Eysenback, 20117), this field is still in its early stages, and a considerable number of areas still require research. Further investigation aims to uncover patterns and relationships between usage data and ultimate citation, allowing users to discover papers of interest and influence they might previously have failed to notice. Planned areas of research include:
Altmetrics is still in its infancy, both as a field of study and a commercial activity. Currently only a handful of smaller organizations are involved and there is no engagement from major web players such as Google or Microsoft. On the publisher front, while all are active with altmetrics in some form, only Macmillan has chosen to get involved via Digital Science's Altmetric.com. That means there is a great deal to play for. We expect to see more emergent platforms and research, and it's not impossible to envisage the development of professional advisers who work with institutions to increase their altmetrics counts – especially now that impact is increasingly tied to funding decisions (e.g. Government funding in the UK via the Research Excellence Framework).
Elsevier is fully engaged with the altmetrics movement. For example, in 2013 the Elsevier Labs team aims to co-publish large scale research which will begin to explore the relationship between the different facets and to establish a framework for understanding the meaning of this activity. It aims to build on the current work to found an empirically-based discipline that analyses the relationship between social activity, other factors and both scholarly and lay consumption and usage. By working together to combine knowledge at Elsevier, we intend to show that no single measurement can provide the whole picture and that a panel of metrics informed by empirical research and expert opinion is typically the best way to analyze the performance of a journal, an author or an article.
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.
MANAGER STRATEGIC RESEARCH INSIGHTS & ANALYTICS
Judith focuses on demonstrating Elsevier’s bibliometric expertise and capabilities by connecting with the research community. She is heavily involved in analyzing, reporting and presenting commercial research performance evaluation projects for academic institutes, as well as governments. Judith has worked within several areas at Elsevier including bibliographic databases, journal publishing, strategy, sales and, most recently, within Research & Academic Relations. Judith has a PhD from Utrecht Institute of Linguistics and holds Masters Degrees in Corporate Communications and French Linguistics & Literature.
A newly-released report examining the challenges facing US research universities claims the institutions are currently caught in a “research arms race”.
Iris Kisjes | Senior Marketing Manager, Elsevier
A newly-released report examining the challenges facing US research universities claims the institutions are currently caught in a “research arms race”.
Entitled The Current Health and Future Well-being of the American Research University, the report was unveiled at a meeting of the Council on Research Policy and Graduate Education held in Washington DC in June. The study*, produced by the Research Universities Futures Consortium, was a community driven effort. It was coordinated by Dr Brad Fenwick (University of Tennessee), with support from Elsevier, and involved 25 of the nation's top research universities. Dr Fenwick and his team examined the ability of universities to compete in today’s complex and rapidly changing R&D environment and explored how better information and cohesive strategies are needed to address the challenges effectively.
It is clear US research institutions are not alone in facing pressures brought on by the current economic environment. But it is the combination and complexity of those pressures — including declining funding, erosion of endowments (gifts, often monetary), soaring tuition costs, research competition and increasing compliance and reporting requirements — that now challenge the academic research enterprise.
The report outlines six overarching themes that provide a framework for understanding the current conditions, and findings suggest collaborative action is needed to address some of those key challenges. Plans are underway to explore and develop the preliminary recommendations further during a subsequent phase.
* Participating institutions were a mix of public and private, balanced between large and moderately sized institutions, geographically diverse, and represented either a well-established or significantly growing research portfolio. A total of 78 interviews at the 25 institutions were conducted between 2011 and early 2012. The interviewees ranged from central research leadership to large groups involving college associate deans and research center directors.
Few industries or organizations have escaped the global economic downturn unscathed and among those feeling the strain are national governments. The resulting decrease in funding for research by those governments has proved to be a hot topic for early career researchers aged 36 and under (ECRs) during Elsevier’s Researcher Insight Index, a biannual survey with […]
Few industries or organizations have escaped the global economic downturn unscathed and among those feeling the strain are national governments.
The resulting decrease in funding for research by those governments has proved to be a hot topic for early career researchers aged 36 and under (ECRs) during Elsevier’s Researcher Insight Index, a biannual survey with published researchers.
Only 28% of ECRs agreed that their national government works hard to encourage young people to enter research. The other 72% spoke about cuts to research funding, a lack of jobs for young researchers, the cost of higher education and a belief that the funding system favors senior researchers. Only a quarter (25%) of ECRs thought that funding in their field would increase in 2012, though they were slightly more optimistic than their older colleagues (20% of whom agreed funding would increase).
“Our government tends to give the financial support for elder big name scientists, but not newcomers. Young scientists who do not have strong relationships with big names are always suffering from the lack of financial support such as grant-in-aid.” Neuroscientist from Japan
In fact, it emerged that ECRs are less satisfied with their career opportunities than later career researchers aged 36 and over (LCRs). An early career researcher is more likely to consider giving up research because they cannot balance it with their personal life, or consider moving abroad to work. Furthermore, the pressure to publish is felt more strongly by ECRs than their older colleagues and they feel less like their work is making a difference to society.
The survey also covered other areas of potential interest to Editors, including how young researchers read articles and how this is changing.
ECRs report that it has become easier to find and consume published research. Almost two-thirds of early career researchers report that they now spend more time reading articles and less time searching for them than they did five years ago (though they still spend on average more than four hours a week searching for articles). Indeed, on average they download six articles per week and spend almost six hours per week reading. Over a year that equates to more than 300 articles downloaded and 300 hours reading. Around half note that they download more now than in the past and a similar proportion believe they will download more in the future than they do now.
The format in which research articles are consumed may also change, due to the rise of mobile devices. These devices are already changing the way newspapers, magazines and books are read and it is logical that scholarly journals will follow suit. In early 2012, more than half of ECRs used a smartphone and more than a third used a tablet computer on a daily basis. The total time spent on a mobile device (also including laptops and ebook readers) is more than nine and a half hours per day, which is an hour more than researchers aged 36-55 and two hours more than those aged 56 and over. The proportion of ECRs wanting to access scholarly information via such devices is increasing over time.
“My smartphone provides easier, faster, more reliable access to the web when on travel.” Early career researcher.
There has been a rapid change in the way that information is communicated over the last few years due to the rise of social media. This is particularly the case for young researchers.
Furthermore, young researchers are willing to consider alternative formats when submitting research articles for publication; 48% agreed they would happily provide enriched content (e.g. audio, video, compound files) when submitting articles in the future, while one fifth have already posted scholarly video and 57% are likely to do so in the future.
Despite being open to new publishing methods, ECRs hold favorable views towards existing publishing channels such as peer-reviewed journals:
“It's part of our job - someone has to do it, someone knowledgeable, and if I want my papers reviewed by others then I should do the same for them.” Early career researcher.
It would also appear that the economic downturn is having a greater impact on their careers than it is for LCRs, which suggests more could be done to ensure they can thrive as researchers and do not leave the profession early.
Read Nurturing Early Career Researchers into Successful Authors to learn about some of the initiatives Elsevier has in place to support ECRs.
Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations department undertakes a biannual online survey with active researchers called the Researcher Insights Index survey. The participating researchers are selected from a database of recently published authors derived from Scopus, the Elsevier search and discovery tool.
The findings discussed in this article come from three waves of the survey that took place in September 2010 (1,635 respondents: overall margin of error ±2.1%*), March 2011 (2,712 respondents: overall margin of error ±1.6%*), and January 2012 (4,225 respondents: overall margin of error ±1.3%*). These waves achieved response rates of 4.3%, 5.4% and 9.5% respectively; the surveys took 10-12 minutes for respondents to complete. These surveys are representative by country, age, gender and discipline.
* Maximum margin of error at a 90% confidence level
- Early career researchers (abbreviated to ECR) are, for the purpose of this analysis, researchers aged under 36. We have not distinguished between respondents that are PhD students, post-docs or faculty researchers when defining ECRs, nor the number of publications. ECRs will also therefore not include older researchers who have left previous careers to become academics.
- Later career researchers (abbreviated to LCR) are, for the purpose of this analysis, researchers aged 36 and over.
SENIOR RESEARCH EXECUTIVE, RESEARCH & ACADEMIC RELATIONS
Gemma joined Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations department in May 2011 and is based in Elsevier’s Oxford office. As part of the Customer Insights team, Gemma manages a number of research studies in the US and Europe. Gemma was educated at Sussex University.
The term open access is a hotly debated concept which has many implications and meanings. A number of people are self-described open access advocates, and they can be motivated to achieve a wide array of changes. Some wish to make content ‘free-at-the-point-of-use’ whereas others wish to make content available without any sorts of restrictions at […]
The term open access is a hotly debated concept which has many implications and meanings. A number of people are self-described open access advocates, and they can be motivated to achieve a wide array of changes. Some wish to make content 'free-at-the-point-of-use' whereas others wish to make content available without any sorts of restrictions at all. Others envision a world where content is paid for but flows over the internet in frictionless ways. Some believe it is a crusade to replace the subscription-based publication method, or to rid the world of commercial publishers, whilst many don’t see what all the fuss is about!
While open access publishing has gained the support of a number of different actors, authors, funders and research organizations, uptake remains modest in many research fields. In certain areas, such as life and medical sciences, open access publishing has reached a point where around a quarter of all research is available at the point of use through the different open access models. In other fields, such as social sciences and economics, there is a reduced focus on open access publishing and we do not feel any particular push from our authors.
Authors want publishing choices, and Elsevier is happy to provide them! Let’s take a closer look at the options:
Open access journals – These are often referred to as 'gold' open access journals and the primary business model is that authors pay an article processing fee to support the costs of publishing.
Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Ted Shortliffe, indicates: “Scientists in our community are strongly in favor of open access and a significant number have started to shift towards open-access venues, even if it means that they have to pay the article processing fee.
Blind adherence to open-access idealism is untenable from an economic perspective, even with an all-digital publishing model.
We must not undervalue the role that editorial functions and tools play in quality control and logistical management. I accordingly look for ways to decrease overall publishing costs, to maintain revenues (from authors or subscribers), and to provide free and open access as soon after publication as is fiscally viable.”
Elsevier’s Open Access Journals
- Applied & Translational
- Cell Reports
- FEBS Open Bio
- Gynecologic Oncology
- International Journal for
Parasitology: Drugs and
- International Journal of
Surgery: Case Reports
- Medical Mycology
- Physics of the Dark Universe
- Results in Immunology
- Results in Pharma Sciences
- Results in Physics
- Trials in Vaccinology
This model is a sustainable form of open access, as long as the article processing fee covers the costs of publishing the article and is affordable for the author. In recent years, several publishers have emerged offering open access journals, including BioMedCentral and Public Library of Science (PLoS).
Elsevier has now launched 12 open access journals and is developing more in collaboration with our author communities. We remain committed to the subscription model of publishing, but also see journals that operate with article processing fees as a sustainable alternative. Consequently, we will proactively continue to develop journals under the most appropriate model, both in discussion with our author communities and Editors, and in reaction to customer requests.
Open access articles – Sometimes referred to as 'hybrid' open access publications, these individual articles are made open access to non-subscribers of subscription journals after the author pays a sponsorship fee. These fees are often reimbursed by either the author’s institution or funding organization.
At Elsevier, we have had a sponsored option available since 2006 and this is now active on more than 1,200 of our journals. We will continue to expand this option to other journals as there is a demand to do so. In addition, we have agreements with several funding organizations whose grant recipients are specifically asked to ensure their articles are published with open access.
In 2011, Elsevier had more than 1,000 articles sponsored in our journals, with only 10% of these being sponsored by individual authors – the remainder enabled through our agreements with funding bodies. One major element we need to stress for sponsored articles is that we are careful to not 'double dip', that is collect income from subscriptions and sponsorship on the same article. To ensure we do not do this, we alter our journal prices to reflect any revenue we receive through sponsored articles. Click here to view our policy.
Elsevier has sponsorship agreements with:
- Arthritis Research Campaign (UK)
- Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
- British Heart Foundation (UK)
- Cancer Research (UK)
- Chief Scientist Office
- Department of Health (UK)
- Dunhill Medical Trust
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US)
- Medical Research Council (UK)
- National Institutes of Health (US)
- Telethon (Italy)
- Wellcome Trust (UK)
Elsevier also works with several societies that wish to sponsor open access to journals. Under this model, Elsevier hosts the journal on SciVerse ScienceDirect, makes it open access and also produces print copies for the society. The journals we operate using this model are not branded as Elsevier titles, and ownership and control remains entirely with the society in question – for example, even peer review of the journal is handled by the society. This is a way for Elsevier to facilitate journal development in local and regional markets and promote international visibility of science in emerging countries.
Open archives – This involves providing free access to a journal article after a particular time has elapsed following publication. Elsevier now offers open archives for 43 of our journals, including several of our most significant journals such as Cell, Neuron and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The Journal of Biomedical Informatics recently adopted this model and Shortliffe says: “I have been able to make it clear that our journal and Elsevier are committed to making the scientific literature in our journal available to all while implementing a 12 month delay that allows a subscription-based model to continue and provides open access after a year to everything that we publish. Many colleagues have welcomed this approach and this may have affected the uptake of sponsored articles since they know that their paper will be accessible in a year (and for many will be accessible immediately through institutionally-based subscriptions).”
Elsevier believes that authors should be able to distribute their accepted manuscripts, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository and emailing to colleagues etc... Consequently, we have developed an article posting policy that enables them to do this voluntarily.
This approach, often referred to as 'green' open access, is a passion for some academics (e.g. high-energy physicists) and a relatively low priority for other researchers (e.g. economists and social scientists), but several organizations have introduced mandates that require their researchers to deposit articles, often in the absence of any recognition to the journal that published the article - or indeed without any time between publication and deposit.
In cases of mandated deposit, Elsevier is working hard to develop agreements with organizations to introduce a sustainable element to manuscript posting – often involving the introduction of journal level embargo periods, which allow the publisher to recoup the investment made in publishing the article.
We have significantly developed our open access publishing options and also continue to develop and invest in subscription publishing at the same time. In the longer term, we anticipate continued mixed-model publishing, with both subscription and open access publishing operating alongside one another.
Dr Riaz Agha BSc (Hons), MBBS, MRCSEng, MRCSEd, FHEA is the founder, Managing and Executive Editor of the International Journal of Surgery and a trainee surgeon at Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey. Here he reflects on the launch of The International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports (IJSCR) for which he is Managing and Executive Editor.
“In May 2010, we launched Elsevier’s very first open access journal, the International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports.1 The journal complements its subscription-based sister journal, the International Journal of Surgery. I always felt that open access was a good model for many journals.
Most of the open access journals in this field actually charge £1,000-2,000 to publish full length articles. As we wanted to focus on case reports – and that kind of charge is often beyond the affordability of surgeons in training or individuals without access to institutional funds/grants - our charge of £250 per accepted case report is more appropriate.
I am happy to see the number of authors willing to pay this rise year on year as the journal develops. It is also great to see our articles are being read widely too with more than 10,000 downloads in just our second year. Most satisfying is that we have provided a new journal that the scholarly community and surgeons alike appreciate.’’
1 Agha R and Rosin DR. Time for a new approach to case reports. International Journal of Surgery: Case Reports 2010;1(1):1-3 PMCID PMC3199611. Co-published in the International Journal of Surgery 2010;8(5):330-332. PMID: 20470911.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF UNIVERSAL ACCESS
David’s role focuses on the development of a wide range of strategies and implementation of access initiatives and he is a key contact between Elsevier and funding organizations, universities and research institutions around the world. He has worked at Elsevier for more than 15 years, including periods in both editorial and marketing positions, and spent the majority of his career managing the scientometric research and market analysis department within the company. David speaks frequently at various global events about the development of new universal access initiatives and technologies, as well as publishing matters in general. He has a BSc in pharmacology from the University of Sunderland and an MBA with distinction from Oxford Brookes University.
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers Archive views to date: 180+ Average feedback: 3.3 out of 5
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers
Archive views to date: 180+
Average feedback: 3.3 out of 5
“We get feedback…that new content elements like these are very useful and do help in better and more quickly digesting the research being presented.” IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation As we reach the end of 2011, Elsevier’s innovative Article of the Future project is embarking on an important new chapter in its development. […]
"We get feedback...that new content elements like these are very useful and do help in better and more quickly digesting the research being presented." IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation
As we reach the end of 2011, Elsevier’s innovative Article of the Future project is embarking on an important new chapter in its development.
The project aims to revolutionize the traditional format of academic papers with regard to three key elements: presentation, content and context.
To achieve this, a three-pane article view has been proposed, which separates navigation (left pane) and value-added enhancements (right pane) from the core article (middle pane).
What is Article of the Future?
Article of the Future is an innovation project geared towards enhancing the online article to support researchers in communicating their work in the electronic era. The aims of this ongoing project are:
- to provide authors with the best possible place to digitally disseminate scientific research, and
- to increase value to readers by providing an environment that offers an optimal reading experience, making it possible to build deep insights quickly.
Three core elements of the article – presentation, content and context - will be rolling out this year and throughout 2012.
This next phase in the project’s journey will see the left and middle panes released on SciVerse ScienceDirect, with a focus on the presentation element.
In Issue 32 of Editors’ Update in June, we profiled the Article of the Future website where 13 prototypes are available to view. Visitors to the site are also encouraged to share their thoughts on the new design in a survey.
So far, more than 700 researchers have taken part in this survey. Their suggestions have been combined with the feedback of the 150 researchers who were consulted throughout the development stages. A clear theme emerging is that while researchers like all the domain-specific advances that technology can add to a paper, they also want to be free to focus on the core message in that paper. This has led the Article of the Future team to further refine the middle reading pane to offer readers a spacious and uncluttered view, improving on the current online HTML article available on SciVerse ScienceDirect.
Hylke Koers, Content Innovation Manager, explains: “The main objective of this presentation-focused release is to introduce the best possible online reading experience in regards to typography and layout, using lessons learned from the PDF to bring the readability advantages that such a style offers to the web.”
According to IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation for Science & Technology Journals, the improvements to the presentation aspect of the Article of the Future also pave the way for future developments. He says: “A cleaner presentation is needed in order to take advantage of the content and context enhancements that have yet to be rolled out.”
Though the upcoming SciVerse ScienceDirect release will focus mainly on presentation, enhancing article content is the key theme of the Article of the Future project. The aim is to increasingly enrich the value of research articles by including new and interactive content elements, mostly discipline-specific and key to the scientist’s research and workflow. In the last few months we have already introduced a number of such content enrichments, with many more to come.
The most recent examples are Genome Viewer, Protein Interaction Viewer and Google Maps Viewer (see figure 3). “We get feedback from our community that new content elements like these are very useful and do help in better and more quickly digesting the research being presented,” says Aalbersberg.
These and upcoming content enhancements provide a number of benefits to authors, which in turn will improve the ‘user experience’ for journals and their readers. Those benefits include:The ability to share new forms of research output – multimedia, interactive data, computer code, enriched visualizations, etc…Inline support of rich files, such as MOL files for chemical structures or KML files for geographically organized data.
Optimal opportunities to expose research, putting it in front of readers in a way that allows them to develop deep insights more efficiently, for example using Google Maps.We are always keen to hear what new content elements editors would find useful in journal articles. If you have an idea you would like to share, please let us know. You can email IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
The third core element of the Article of the Future project is context and we are improving that in multiple ways. The trend of storing research data sets at external data repositories is gaining ground and we support this by linking entities and articles to those repositories. As the article is not a one-way street, rather a roundabout that serves to connect with other sources of scientific information on the web, it’s important that information from trusted sources can be displayed alongside the online article.
“We are particularly keen to work together with data set repositories to establish connections between articles (the scholarly record) and underlying (or otherwise relevant) research data as there are numerous advantages to both author and reader,” Aalbersberg adds.
Researchers sometimes prefer independent data repositories over publisher websites as they benefit from domain-specific coordination and organization. Connecting data and articles helps to increase visibility, discoverability and usage both ways, while providing context to the data and avoiding misinterpretation and incorrect usage. Elsevier believes that raw research data should be freely accessible to researchers, and demonstrates this via entity and article linking, and the use of SciVerse applications for linking.
Elsevier is applying this contextual data linking by working with many different repositories, including PANGAEA, CCDC, NCBI, PDB, and (recently added) EarthChem.
As an editor of an Elsevier journal, what database would you like to see connected to your journal article content? If you know of one that is widely used and recognized, and well-organized and maintained, we would be interested in adding it to the program. Help us to increase the extent and impact of this initiative and benefit your journal and its readers by contacting IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg at email@example.com
As we prepare to introduce both readers and authors to the next phase of the Article of the Future journey, our sights are already set on 2012, when ongoing content enhancements will follow the upcoming release of the new presentation style. Expect to hear more from us during the upcoming year!
IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg
VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT INNOVATION
From 1999-2002, IJsbrand Jan served as the Vice President of Technology at Elsevier Engineering Information (Hoboken, USA). As Technology Director for Science & Technology from 2002-2005, he was one of the initiators of Scopus, responsible for its publishing-technology connection. In 2006, he switched his focus as Technology Director to Elsevier’s Corporate Markets. Since taking on the role of Vice President Content Innovation in 2009, he has strived to help scientists communicate research in ways they weren’t able to do before. IJsbrand Jan holds a PhD in Theoretical Computer Science.
5 Dec 2011 5 Comments
What a new breed of journalist means for transparency and public trust in science “…a powerful metaphor for understanding their work as science critics is to see them as cartographers and guides…” Author Declan Fahy in Columbia Journalism Review In Elsevier’s newsroom, we are responsible for working with the media on press coverage of research […]
What a new breed of journalist means for transparency and public trust in science
"...a powerful metaphor for understanding their work as science critics is to see them as cartographers and guides..." Author Declan Fahy in Columbia Journalism Review
In Elsevier’s newsroom, we are responsible for working with the media on press coverage of research and responding to various inquires pertaining to scientific or research misconduct. From this vantage point, we are observing a notable trend, and unfortunately that trend is that the growth in coverage of scientific misconduct is outpacing that of the research itself.
Traditional scientific coverage is slowing due to a fall in the number of professional science media working today. In 2009, Nature1 chronicled the situation by noting that the number of dedicated science sections in American newspapers fell from a peak of about 95 to 34 between 1989 and 2005. Accordingly, in the same survey, 26% of global journalists reported job losses, and of the remaining journalists, 59% had less time per article available.
The Nature article appeared in the same year that more than 1.5 million articles were published, a figure that is growing by 3-4% each year2. Meanwhile, research is becoming more technical, inter-disciplinary and global in nature. Consider that 25% of Elsevier’s journals fall into more than one subject collection area, and 35% of our papers include authors from different countries3.
In other words, when we need experienced traditional science media professionals most, we have fewer of them. However, the number of freelance science journalists and bloggers is increasing. In fact, as of 2009, of the 2,000 US-based National Association of Science Writers members, only 79 were full-time staff science writers for newspapers4. Further, remaining science reporters cited getting more story leads from science bloggers1, which suggests science is still being covered, but by a new breed of reporter.
This shift from traditional reporters to freelancers and bloggers coincides with a greater ability to detect and report on academic misconduct. And there has been a lot of misbehavior to expose. A 2002 NIH-funded survey of several thousand scientists in the USA found that around one third admitted they had engaged in at least one sanctionable misbehavior in the prior three years5. We can also presume that with competition for research dollars, tenure, prestige, and patents increasing in line with our ability to detect misconduct, there will be even more.
In a recent Columbia Journalism Review article, Skeptical of Science6, author Declan Fahy states, “among other new roles, journalists are becoming more critical of research.” He describes how journalists are being “undercut by the emergence of a new science media ecosystem in which scientific journals, institutions and individuals are producing original science content directly for non-specialist audiences.” The author notes that, “consequently, they need additional ways to attract readers and maintain their professional identity.”
Take Ivan Oransky, Executive Editor at Reuters Health, for example. Ivan is a seasoned health reporter who graduated from Harvard, obtained an MD from New York University, has written for The Lancet, and is a professor at NYU. Still, Ivan lived in relative obscurity until he launched his side job as a blogger at Retraction Watch, a new form of science blog with 150,000 page views per month and a mission to increase the transparency of the retraction process.
Now Ivan is himself the news. He speaks at conferences, appears on National Public Radio and Retraction Watch is routinely sourced by top-tier media. By looking into the stories behind retractions, Ivan, and his blog partner, Adam Marcus, have staked a new claim as the journalism community’s academic misconduct experts. They believe in keeping science honest and that if the research community reveals more of its own flaws, the level of trust in it will rise.
Ivan and Adam represent the new breed of science watchdog that is able to promote the results of their own investigations quickly via the internet. Beyond them, there are scientists, both aggrieved and benevolent, who spend time identifying cracks in scientific literature and making them public. Either through Retraction Watch or their own blogs, skeptical scientists aided by the internet have helped shed new and bright lights on scientific misconduct in ways never before seen.
And Retraction Watch has no shortage of material to work with. A recent Nature article7 captured how an increase in withdrawn papers is highlighting weaknesses in the system for handling them; and it’s the handling of them that gets watchdogs’ attention. For example, ‘opaque retraction notices that don't explain why a paper has been withdrawn.’
As publishers, we are mindful that the dramatic increase in access to scientific research in recent years has led to an increase in the level of critical review of these articles. The good news here is that these watchdogs are able to help editors keep scientists highly accountable for their work. The bad news is that they often print inaccurate and incomplete stories, which as a result can appear one-sided against those who don’t provide them with all the information they request. And they can take up an inordinate amount of editors’ time.
For editors, the new breed of journalist is completely different and can be far more frustrating to work with than the traditional science reporter. The key is to spend time thinking about what the new media world means for your journal, and then develop your own approach to responding. Your publisher and Elsevier’s corporate media staff can work through this process with you. We can also help you manage the inquiries in a professional manner, i.e., making sure only credible inquiries are addressed, taking up a minimal amount of your time, and providing only appropriate, accurate information.
Increased skepticism and critical review in science can be complicated, combative, time consuming, and political. Many allegations and requests to investigate are legitimate, many not, but it’s become very clear that everything is more transparent in this new era. We have to acknowledge that every article and decision can be questioned. Promoting science and engendering trust require a new mindset that editors should become familiar with if they want their journal viewed favorably in the press – both traditional and new media.
The key is to remember that with the internet, the politicalization of science, and the rise of ethics journalism, the conduct of science has more visibility than ever. In his Columbia Journalism Review article6, Fahy suggests that ”a powerful metaphor for understanding their work as science critics is to see them as cartographers and guides, mapping scientific knowledge for readers, showing them paths through vast amounts of information, evaluating and pointing out the most important stops along the way.”
The inquiries and coverage from science skeptics is not always comfortable, but in this new era of science media, it can be a positive development for retaining public trust.
Finding the silver lining - why the rise in blogging could prove good news for researchers
- There are still highly qualified experts who can decipher highly technical research articles for an audience, only now instead of working for a newspaper, they form or contribute to a blog or other form of online community. And while they may reduce an article down to a tweet, more people than ever before see those tweets, and the links to their articles within them.
- With the decline of full-time reporters, there's a vast rise in the number of freelance journalists and bloggers. Instead of sitting at a desk and accepting assignments from editors, this new breed of reporters is empowered to scout for their own stories and build new networks providing earlier insights into research projects. For scientists, freelance reporters are a lot easier to get to know than traditional reporters.
- There are a number of organizations gaining prominence as intermediaries, including Sense About Science and the Science Media Centre, both based in the UK but expanding internationally. These organizations play critical and credible roles in helping the general public make sense of science research, and how it is covered in the press. Perhaps most importantly, they also help make sense of peer review, which is often the key element to discerning what is real science, and what isn't.
What do you think about the changing make-up of the media ? You can share your thoughts by posting a comment below.
1 Science journalism: Supplanting the old media?, Geoff Brumfiel, 2009, Nature, Vol 458
2 The STM Report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing, Mark Ware and Michael Mabe, September 2009, International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
3 Elsevier SciVerse Scopus
4 Science Journalism in Crisis? – from the World Conference of Science Journalists 2009, Sallie Robins, 2009, The Euroscientist
5 Scientists behaving badly, B C Martinson and others, 2005, Nature, Vol 43
6 Skeptical of Science, Declan Fahy, September 2011, Columbia Journalism Review
7 Science publishing: The trouble with retractions, Richard Van Noorden, 2011, Nature, Vol 478
VICE PRESIDENT AND HEAD OF GLOBAL CORPORATE RELATIONS
Tom is the primary media spokesman for Elsevier – responsible for the company’s relationships with media, analysts and other online/social media communities. He manages public relations programs and actively works with external organizations to help build Elsevier’s reputation and promote the many contributions Elsevier makes to Health and Science communities. These include partnerships developed through the Elsevier Foundation, where he is responsible for running programs benefitting the global nurse faculty profession.
3 Dec 2011 1 Comment
“… the UK’s success on an increasingly competitive global scene depends on our very openness.” David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science Most countries have fairly lofty goals regarding their strategic investment in research, but they are often based on aspiration rather than an assessment of current strengths. The UK, however, has […]
“... the UK's success on an increasingly competitive global scene depends on our very openness." David Willetts, UK Minister of State for Universities and Science
Most countries have fairly lofty goals regarding their strategic investment in research, but they are often based on aspiration rather than an assessment of current strengths. The UK, however, has commissioned a report card on its competitive performance.
Commissioned biannually since 2001, the report has historically tracked changes in publications, citations and patents in the UK. However, the recent International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base - 2011 included new analysis: researcher mobility, collaborative behavior and a series of case studies highlighting some of the areas in which the UK has unique strengths.
One of the more surprising findings of the study, undertaken by the custom analytics team at Elsevier, was the mobility of the UK research base. “It’s traditionally been called brain drain,” says Dr Andrew Plume, Associate Director of Scientometrics & Market Analysis and an author of the study. “However, we have now come to view international researcher mobility as part of a productive cycle that’s really win-win.”
While the number of researchers in the UK has been broadly stable for the last 15 years, the actual make-up of researchers in that pool is fluid. Only 37% of UK researchers never published with a non-UK affiliation over the period 1996-2010; the 63% that did comprise various subsets of internationally mobile researchers. “These individuals represent new talent that is coming to the UK, and researchers that are taking skills gained in the UK and seeding excellence in research elsewhere,” adds Plume.
Researchers returning to the UK after an extended time abroad are significantly more productive in terms of articles published than those who never left the UK. In contrast, the group which did not publish under an affiliation outside the UK was 40% less productive in terms of articles published than the average for the UK.
While the UK is not likely to be able to increase its research funding significantly in the short term, facilitating mobility, international recruitment and recruiting back excellent expatriate researchers may be a way to ensure that the brain circulation engine keeps running.
Almost 63% of researchers who were affiliated with UK institutions between 1996-2010, have also published articles while working at institutions outside the UK in the same period. Source: SciVerse Scopus.
“The UK university sector is a desirable place to work,” says Xavier Lambin, Professor of Zoology at the University of Aberdeen. He left Belgium 25 years ago and worked in Norway and Canada before settling in the UK. “What strikes me about Aberdeen is that it is extremely international — about a third of our staff do not come from the UK. In general, the UK is known to be international, and so people are attracted here without fear of discrimination, or worries about needing to be part of some particular research group, which is more of a concern in mainland Europe. That perception of openness is important.”
“... the UK's success on an increasingly competitive global scene depends on our very openness. Of the population of academics who were research-active and associated with the UK at some stage between 1996 and 2010, almost two thirds were also affiliated to a non-UK institution. We are remarkably well-connected. Nearly half of all publications from UK research between 2006 and 2010 had a non-UK co-author. The same data throw up another positive trend – that, judging by changing institutional affiliations in publications, the UK attracts and retains talent from other countries.” David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science during his Gareth Roberts Lecture, 19 October 2011.
Collaboration also featured strongly in the report. “It’s a very healthy sign,” says Plume. “Studies have shown that multinationally-authored articles are more highly cited than those that are not, and this is over and above a multi-authorship effect (that leads to additional self-citations). It’s also a way for smaller, specialized research groups in the UK to team up with other groups worldwide and have a bigger international impact.” Like facilitating mobility for researchers, fostering international collaboration and mobility could be a way to maximize the impact of the UK’s already highly productive research base.
The proportion of UK articles co-authored with non-UK researchers is high and rising, and reached 46% in 2010. This proportion is far higher than in most other research-intensive nations and also contributes to the UK’s high number of citations per researcher, because articles that have co-authors residing in more than one country tend to be more highly cited than those that do not. The ability of UK-based researchers to move internationally and to collaborate with non-UK researchers is therefore a key driver of the UK’s leading global position in terms of research efficiency.
While the UK collaborates with a variety of countries, these collaborations tend to result in research that is better-cited even than the UK’s own (already high) average, regardless of collaborating country and accounting for differences in field-specific citation rates. Source: SciVerse Scopus.
Figure 2 is an international collaboration map for the UK in the period 2006-2010. (A) World (excl Europe); (B) Europe only. Mapped countries include only those with at least 1,000 publications in this period (i.e. 109 countries, representing 99.8% of the UK’s internationally co-authored articles). Bubble sizes (within each map only) represent the relative volume of collaboration between the two countries; Bubble colour represents the Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) of each country for all its papers: Green = FWCI greater than UK; Yellow = FWCI less than UK but greater than world average; Red = FWCI less than UK and less than world average. Line colour represents the Field-Weighted Citation Impact of collaborative papers relative to all papers where: Green = FWCI greater than UK average for all papers; Yellow = FWCI less than UK average but greater than world average; Red = FWCI less than UK and less than world. Source: Scopus (map generated using Gephi 0.8 alpha with Miller cylindrical projection layout and coordinates from the CIA World Factbook. The exported network was placed over a blank world map image).
According to SciVal Spotlight (a performance and planning tool created by Elsevier), there are more than 400 niche areas of research in which the UK is distinctively strong. In order to discover some of the reasons why the UK developed these strengths, more than 30 interviews were conducted with leading researchers in selected areas of strength (cognitive neuroscience, ecology, computer science, languages and education). These revealed common themes around historical strengths, fostering academic freedom and interdisciplinary collaboration, and the strong advantage of being able to recruit the best and brightest from abroad.
In 2010, the UK was responsible for 4% of researchers; 6% of articles; 9% of usage; 11% of citations and 14% of the most highly-cited articles globally. With a global population share of less than 1% and 3% of R&D expenditure, the UK really does punch above its weight.
In some areas such as linguistics and language research, interdisciplinary research centres can bring together researchers with experts on the politics, history and culture of specific countries and regions, such as China and the Arabic-speaking world. This in turn gives the UK a deeper understanding of these regions, and contributes to the economic development and quality of life for everyone involved.
“The LBAS (Language-Based Area Studies) centres have been very successful,” says Marilyn Martin-Jones, Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham. “They have not only done research and language training but have also reached out to chambers of commerce, local industry, and other national bodies, as well as teaching diplomats about the countries in which they work.”
“Not every university doing quality work in cognitive neuroscience has the critical mass of researchers that can be found in places like Queen’s Square. As such, they have not had the luxury to explore the wide range of questions that are pursued at the ICN and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. Instead, they have developed excellence by specialising in specific niches within the field. And so our niche has been in perception and action, like motor control.” Glyn Humphreys, Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Birmingham
The UK clearly has a long history as a research-focused nation, an advantage that most nations can’t replicate. That said, its systematic approach to assessing research strengths may help the UK to retain that advantage. As mother would say, do your homework.
Now go play outside, it’s a beautiful day.
The UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills commissioned the 2011 report from Elsevier. If you have queries about the report or similar projects please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Noelle Gracy received her PhD in Neuroscience from Cornell University, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, and completed her postdoctoral training at The Scripps Research Institute in California. An Executive Publisher until 2009, she now works with Elsevier’s many advisory boards and was part of the Elsevier team producing the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills report International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base - 2011
18 Sep 2011 6 Comments
“In China, the research community is gaining year on year in resources and ability. That is very exciting to be around.” — Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science Tracey Brown believes peer review is vital to good science and the society that uses it. And it’s a conviction the Managing Director of Sense About […]
"In China, the research community is gaining year on year in resources and ability. That is very exciting to be around.” — Tracey Brown, Managing Director, Sense About Science
Tracey Brown believes peer review is vital to good science and the society that uses it.
And it’s a conviction the Managing Director of Sense About Science shares with members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as she discovered during a trip to the research-rich country in March this year.
Brown embarked on the fact-finding mission with two key aims in mind; she was keen to test out views advanced about the integration of Chinese authors and reviewers into international STM publishing, and to explore future collaborations to help researchers, policy makers and journalists identify the best science.
During the two-week visit, which was supported by Elsevier, she met not only the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), but Science.net, journalists, post docs and publishers.
Brown says: “It was clear that CAS is keen to discuss the best ways to evaluate research and to explore their concerns about what peer-reviewed publishing can - and can't - deliver. In an effort to avoid cronyism and subjective assessment in China, there has been a shift towards using flatter measurements; for example, the Impact Factor. There is a feeling, however, that these do not reveal enough about individual papers or the research output of an institution. Most people, including CAS, are coming to the conclusion that what we really need is a mix of the two.”
Asked to highlight some of her key learnings during the trip, Brown says:
“People raised many interesting points and some quite contradictory ones. The early career researchers I spoke with viewed international journals as motivated by quality and fairness, and in some cases compared them favourably with Chinese journals, which can be seen as wedded to the relationships and prestige of individuals and institutions.
“On the other hand, some of the more editorially-experienced people had stories of less than positive attitudes among international editors to Chinese papers. They were concerned about a head-in-the-sand approach to such a major research base and that valuable new insights could be missed.”
There were also a few eye-opening moments for Brown.
She explains: “I had not expected people’s personal experiences to differ so widely. For example, I was speaking to two post doc students at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Both had published very successfully early in their careers in some of the top journals - the elite of the elite. One was receiving almost weekly requests to review while the other had received only one request in a year. That may reflect the different nature of their papers but I heard their stories repeated elsewhere. It is perhaps to be expected that peer-review requests from international journals are still a bit of a hit and miss process in China.”
She adds: “Each time I was about to draw a conclusion about anything I would meet someone who took me in a different direction – a symptom, I imagine, of things being a work in progress there.
“Another surprising thing for me was the high level of confidence in the research community in contrast to the UK, and perhaps the US, where universities face straitened circumstances. In China, the research community is gaining year on year in resources and ability. That is very exciting to be around.”
Commenting on the quality – and quantity – of papers submitted by Chinese researchers, Brown says: “There is some concern, internationally, about filtering the sheer weight of papers produced by China. A big sea of papers makes it difficult to pick out the best.
“The thing is, there is a large pressure to publish in China and doing so in international journals brings career breaks and prestige. While lead institutions no longer pay incentives for this, some second-tier universities still appear to, which may contribute to journals being overwhelmed by unsuitable papers.
“We discovered that inappropriate submissions also stem from a lack of local knowledge about international journals, with younger researchers copying where their supervisors have published. Library services can play a very important role in widening the pool of journals considered.”
She adds: “Since returning I have been in touch with members of the Publishing Research Consortium to discuss the prospect of looking at how these new regions, such as China and India, are being integrated. Do editors now need something different from publishers with regard to support and advice? These are questions I know publishers are asking too. There is clearly some opportunity for international publishers to improve the availability of information about how to publish and where to publish, probably via librarians in those institutions where library services are developing and pro-active.”
And what does Brown think the next five years will hold for the Chinese research community?
“Because of the volume of research and population size, even minority behaviors in China are likely to have a significant effect. If just a proportion of the new generation of researchers are trained and engaged with reviewing, it could have a big impact on sharing the reviewing burden. I know that there are already programs underway, such as Elsevier’s Reviewer Workshops and Reviewer Mentorship Program. The value of their contribution to the research output cannot be overstated – just like so many other things in China at the moment!”
What is Sense About Science?
Sense About Science is a UK charitable trust that equips people to make sense of science and evidence on issues that matter to society. With a network of more than 4,000 scientists, the organization works with scientific bodies, research publishers, policy makers, the public and the media, to lead public discussions about science and evidence. Through award-winning public campaigns, it shares the tools of scientific thinking and the peer-review process. Sense About Science’s growing Voice of Young Science network engages hundreds of early career researchers in public debates about science. Sense About Science will be publishing a Chinese edition of its public guide to peer review I Don’t Know What to Believe early in 2012 in collaboration with learned societies, patient groups and journalists.
MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SENSE ABOUT SCIENCE
Tracey has been the Director of Sense About Science since shortly after it was established in 2002. Tracey is a trustee of Centre of the Cell and MATTER. In 2009 she became a commissioner for the UK Drugs Policy Commission. She sits on the Outreach Committee of the Royal College of Pathologists and in 2009 was made a Friend of the College.
No-one is better placed to offer advice about Asia than those who live and work there. Below, Elsevier employees in China, Taiwan and India talk about research developments in their countries and share tips for editors wanting to build closer links with Asia. Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company? […]
No-one is better placed to offer advice about Asia than those who live and work there.
Below, Elsevier employees in China, Taiwan and India talk about research developments in their countries and share tips for editors wanting to build closer links with Asia.
Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company?
A. I have worked in Elsevier for four years. Currently I’m a Journal Publisher.
Q. Do you manage any journals?
A. Yes, a portfolio of 11 journals in Physical & Theoretical Chemistry, e.g. Electrochimica Acta, Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A, B & C, etc…
Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in China?
A. From my personal experience, people within the scientific research community do know Elsevier and respect it. They associate Elsevier with top quality and feel honored to publish in (some of) our journals. But of course, I can’t speak for all.
Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A. Researchers in Asia (e.g. China and Japan) sometimes progress on to a political career. Inevitably they then have no time to devote to research, which is a pity for us because they could have been good candidates for journal editors, editorial board members or authors.
Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from China?
A. Promote the journal, know the market (what are the strong subject areas, who is leading the projects), and build connections. Of course, that is our job as publishers too.
Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in China in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A. From an overarching point of view, the number of researchers has now reached 1.4 million, just second to the US. Other figures have also seen a big increase, e.g. the number of papers, expense on R&D. Investment in Science & Technology in the past 10 years has increased by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 24%. The Chinese government has also developed a few national programs to attract high level researchers back to China.
Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A. I think it’s foreseeable that there will be further growth in research output and improvement in paper quality.
Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A. The rating system in Chinese institutions puts too much emphasis on the Impact Factor – that’s already widely known and discussed. In the meantime, some universities require research students to publish papers to graduate. The incentive for professors and researchers to do real science is therefore eliminated. And problems like plagiarism are still an issue.
Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company?
A. I joined Harcourt in 2000 handling the local publishing (translation & reprint) business for HS books in Taiwan and China. I entered journal publishing in 2003 as a coordinator between the Singapore and Taiwan offices a year after Elsevier acquired Harcourt. We only had three Taiwan journals and four Hong Kong journals then. I’ve learnt a lot about this business and the society clients; it’s what I’m truly fond of. I took full responsibility for this area in 2005 (acquisitions, profits and loss, marketing, customer service, etc…). We continue to sign up more new journals year after year and now have 22 journals in Taiwan and five in Hong Kong.
Q. Do you manage any journals?
A. Our team handles a total of 27 journals in Taiwan and Hong Kong. They include Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences (KJMS), Journal of the Chinese Medical Association (JCMA) and Asian Journal of Surgery (ASJSUR).
Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in Taiwan?
A. Most societies and doctors/professionals know about Elsevier. We’re a prestigious international publisher. Many of them have submitted to Elsevier journals themselves or have had experience reviewing articles for Elsevier journals.
Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A. I like the working culture and environment in international companies which allow one to work independently and at the same time in a big team.
Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from Taiwan?
A. Since we’re not a native English-speaking country, authors in Taiwan would like to know more about how to publish in international journals and especially in the high IF journals. They need to be connected to the global resources and channels.
Q. And any tips for Asian researchers/editors who want to work for Elsevier?
A. I think a lot of them are interested in working with, or for, Elsevier. First, they need to be informed of such opportunities. Second, they should know clearly what they are expected to do and what resources they have to accomplish their tasks.
Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in Taiwan in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A. From the scholar’s perspective: “The biggest progress is the governmental investment in the scientific development. The Government has granted 1.7 billion (USD) in five years to encourage the enhancement of scientific researches and advancement of the technologies. The salaries of scholars have improved too. This has allowed Taiwan to be more competitive in the scientific development. As far as the publication quantity, it’s been quite stable for the past few years. As the non-native English speaking country, the quality of the papers is also improving. We’ve seen more papers got published in prestigious international journals like Nature & Science.” Prof. Huang, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Formosan Medical Association (JFMA).
The number of journals in Taiwan has also grown beyond expectation and last year we contracted four new ones. Many existing local journals have also decided to publish with Elsevier. The mindset of Taiwan medical societies has changed; they would like to contribute to the international health science community. The internationalization of Taiwan journals helps to bring attention to the research and scientific works done in Taiwan. Our society partners all rely heavily on Elsevier’s global resources and channels to promote their journals to the world.
Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A. The governmental scientific investment will continue. This has stimulated the private sector and we expect investment from the “biopharma” industry to increase. This will certainly help to enhance the R&D environment in Taiwan.
Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A. As Asia rises, the researchers and scientists in our regions hope to play a more active role in the international community. The Editors’ Conferences are a good opportunity for them to do that. Those who attended the Hong Kong event last year all had a wonderful experience with Elsevier. Thanks to Gerrit Bos, Managing Director Health Science APAC, all our journals are now in the Production Tracking System (PTS) for journal workflow and benefit from the full scope of our publishing services. My purpose is to connect our editors to our global resources, so that they can truly benefit from Elsevier’s brand name, which will also ensure Elsevier’s leading position in the Taiwan market.
Elsevier is the only international journal publisher who has local publishing support in Asia and that is one of the reasons we have had no competition in Taiwan until now. To sum up, our strength in the Taiwan market is really “pay locally and publish internationally”.
I’m also looking forward to EVISE, the new online submission Elsevier Editorial System (EES), which takes into consideration the needs of Asian journal editors.
Q. What is your role within Elsevier and how long have you worked for the company?
A. I work as a Product Manager for the Elsevier India Journals Program. I have been associated with the company for two years now.
Q. Do you manage any journals?
A. Elsevier India has built up a journal portfolio over the last couple of years and my role includes, but is not limited to, setting up the journal production workflow for both online and print so as to ensure a seamless production process, timely delivery and quality output. The journals I have established include Indian Journal of Rheumatology and Medical Journal Armed Forces India.
Q. What is the general view of Elsevier in India?
A. People, especially students pursuing medicine as a career and specialists, are very well aware of Elsevier and look up to it for providing them with world class content. They recognize Elsevier as a high class brand that publishes breakthrough content written by some of the best people in the world.
Q. Have you encountered any cultural differences working in an international environment?
A. I have been interacting regularly with our international colleagues, specifically in the APAC region. From what I have gathered, markets and societies in countries like Australia and Taiwan etc… are mature, have established publishing programs and follow a very structured approach and standard workflow. In the Indian market, since the societies are fairly new, they are bit reluctant to follow a standardized approach. We have been trying to convince them to follow workflows such as the Elsevier Production Tracking System (PTS) and are hopeful that our publishing program will soon be on a par with international standards.
Q. Do you have any tips for editors who would like to attract papers/editors from your country?
A. Yes I do.
Q. And any tips for Asian researchers/editors who want to work for Elsevier?
A. Asian researchers / editors who work for Elsevier will have the unique privilege of being part of the Elsevier family. Almost all our systems are automated and we use user-friendly online interfaces. Elsevier has a very transparent system in which the researchers / editors are well informed at every stage of the manuscript lifecycle. They also get access to the world’s largest scientific repository – ScienceDirect – and get an opportunity to have their work cited in Scopus and Embase etc… Elsevier believes in improving their systems and services continually by capturing the customers’ feedback via, for example, the author and editor feedback programs.
Q. What are your thoughts about the scientific progress made in India in the last five years? What do the developments mean for the country?
A. India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the years the Indian government has invested a lot of money in R&D and creation of infrastructure, as well as institutional capacity and instrument and laboratory facilities. The institutional participation in research has almost doubled. Indian authors’ contributions to quality journals have improved, resulting in an increase in their average impact per paper. Also, the average citations received per paper have improved marginally over time. There has been a substantial rise in publication output in emerging areas, such as biotechnology, drugs and pharmaceuticals, material sciences, and medical sciences, to name but a few. The number of peer-reviewed international journals reporting India’s research output has increased consistently. More and more scientists are publishing in medium & high impact journals, there has been a strengthening of current arrangements for international collaboration and institutes have set up open access archives to make their research more widely accessible. All these developments highlight India’s potential to become a significant contributor to the growth of science.
Q. What are some of the biggest scientific changes you think we will see in your country in the coming five years?
A. I believe that India has the potential to deliver and sustain much higher publication growth. The Indian government is setting up more and more premier institutions along the lines of the Indian Institute of Technology & All India Institute of Medical Sciences. With this increasing emphasis on research, there will be a phenomenal increase in the amount of contributions and publication of research findings. India will probably catch up with other leading countries in the world by encouraging greater institutional participation. I think we will also:
I also feel that more research programs will be initiated to attract bright young talent into the field of science.
Q. Are there any other observations you would like to make?
A. Communication with the Indian authors should be more sensitive and culturally compatible.
We know from editor feedback during conferences and webinars that many of you are keen to attract Asia-based editors on to your boards. We also know that some of you are unsure how to begin the important task of recruitment. Who should you approach? What qualities should you look for? Are there any pitfalls you […]
We know from editor feedback during conferences and webinars that many of you are keen to attract Asia-based editors on to your boards.
We also know that some of you are unsure how to begin the important task of recruitment. Who should you approach? What qualities should you look for? Are there any pitfalls you should be aware of?
In this article we chat to two of The Lancet’s regional editors; Beijing-based Asia Editor, Helena Wang, and New York-based North American Senior Editor, Maja Zecevic. They reveal the positives, the challenges - and the surprises - they have experienced since Wang’s appointment to the team 18 months ago.
I had been working for three years on the Chinese version of The Lancet to develop various editorial projects when I spotted the advert for an editor on the English-language journal. I thought why not try?
That was one and a half years ago and the role has turned out to be beyond my expectations. It is my dream job...The Lancet is my Mr Right.
I am a member of the fast track team, which involves peer reviewing manuscripts submitted globally to enable publication within four weeks. I am also responsible for peer review of normal track papers from Asian countries such as China (including Hong Kong), Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
My role includes writing editorials in English commenting on research and health policies, many of which relate to China, and that has been so interesting for me. One of my editorials focused on the predicament of Chinese doctors - their thoughts, feelings and doubts - and it received a lot of feedback and support.
I also work on The Lancet’s ‘China’ issues, which feature submissions of high quality research from Chinese authors or research teams working in China. The number of submissions from China is increasing fast. However, the methodology and novelty of the research undertaken by most Asian countries, including China, are still of major concern.
During my time on The Lancet I have noticed a number of differences between myself and the editors in London. In Asian cultures, people do not express their thoughts as openly and directly as westerners. Instead we read between the lines and believe that ‘silence is golden’. That is why, compared to westerners, some Asians appear quieter in discussions.
That difference also applies to management styles. In Asian countries, staff are often more happy to listen and let their boss tell them what to do. They can be more unwilling to make suggestions and speak their mind. My boss on The Lancet is always helping and encouraging me to express my own thoughts more freely and openly to the editorial team.
Another difference I see is in the standard of research papers submitted. Western countries have adapted very well; they know the research as well as the submission rules. They know how to present their ideas clearly and strongly to the editors. But in Asian countries, gaps in understanding remain. Part of my role is to educate. I give presentations at universities, research institutes and seminars to try to overcome those gaps. If you play football or basketball you have rules and if you don’t follow the rules you won’t score. It’s the same principle with submissions.
I don’t believe that exchange of knowledge has been only one-way. At the beginning of this year I travelled to London to give a presentation about The Lancet in China and my colleagues were very impressed by the journal’s influence here. The Chinese really respect The Lancet very much. If a Chinese doctor publishes with us he will be headline news and receive a large financial reward. The Lancet’s interest in China has made the Chinese admire the journal even more. My colleagues were also surprised by the huge investment in research in China and the ambitious goals of that research. China is quite open-minded these days and has invited many editors from top journals in western countries to share their knowledge.
Another issue I’ve encountered is the time difference. When we finish work in China, the London office is just beginning. I need to pay attention to the emails that flow in then to make sure I don’t miss any urgent tasks. Sometimes, I need to work or join telephone editorial meetings at night.
The other challenge involves living and working in different cultures. It goes far beyond the differences in languages – English or Chinese - which I understand very well. The challenge is that when you work with colleagues in the UK or US, you need to think and act as westerners do, while when you contact Chinese government or doctors, you must act in a very traditional Chinese way.
I think The Lancet is a very good fit for China. The name can mean a window letting in light or a surgical scalpel. Things are changing in Asia and so are health policies. We need to cut off the bad policies and shine a light on what we are doing well. We can learn from Western countries; understand their advantages as well as the lessons already learned.
I feel very appreciative of The Lancet, which has also provided many valuable training opportunities, including English language polishing and clinical statistic courses.
Another thing I have learned at The Lancet is to think globally. I now say to researchers to think outside of the box when they are preparing their papers - think about the global perspective!
Things in Asia work very differently. If one wants to succeed in those countries, one must adjust to the local customs and culture. It is very important to have someone who has local connections and respect; someone who knows the mentality and local language and who speaks fluent English. In my experience, experts in India, for example, often speak very good English but that is not always the case in China.
We are a medical journal and for us the Asian market is really evolving; China and Japan are two of the biggest funders of basic science research and are responsible for a substantial number of clinical trials. Sometimes these are run by local companies, but Asia is also really attractive for Western pharmaceutical companies who carry out trials in both Caucasians and Asians. Differences in genetic make-up can influence the side effects and efficacy of the drugs being tested. Asia also offers a population of ‘therapeutically naive’ patients who have not taken drugs before. Add to that the large population base and the low costs and one can see why it is so popular.
It is also important to note that some diseases are simply more prevalent in Asia, for example gastric cancer in China, so naturally a lot of related studies are conducted in China or use Chinese subjects.
One of Helena’s roles is to look into how we can ensure this research is done ethically. She has been visiting institutions and medical centers to educate authors and principal investigators on how to properly carry out and report their research. The other main goal is to attract high-quality clinical research content from China for the journal.
Interestingly, she picks up on things we aren’t aware of here, for example, how the media in China reports items in The Lancet. That helps us understand what aspects of our content other world regions find important.
We also produce special issues of The Lancet focused on China because their health reforms are educational and of interest to our global audience. Those issues give us the opportunity to highlight advances made in the right direction and to emphasize areas that currently need to be addressed in China. They can also help to focus the existing diverse health priorities and improve funding.
Authorship is often an issue with regard to submissions from Asia. The same goes for copyright regulations. They are still discovering the ways these things are done properly and ethically. The pressure to publish there is much higher; guest authorship is very strong and the top people, who have a lot of influence, want their names on high-impact papers. That means young researchers can feel compelled to include authors who actually had very little to do with the reported research. There is also the perception that an important name on a paper makes it more likely to get respect and be published.
Journals wanting to attract Asia-based editors on to their boards should bear a few key things in mind. Working in a side editorial office has its challenges and advantages - that’s something both Helena and I have experienced – and I like to say we are often the ‘face, eye, and ear’ of the journal in our respective regions.
Editors working alone must have an independent mind, be flexible, and be happy to interact on your journal’s behalf. It’s not only about the editorial side, we also have a role raising awareness and promoting the journal. It is also important that we communicate and interact frequently with the journal’s main editorial team.
Journal boards should find someone who is outgoing and approachable because this is very much a networking and out-of-office role. The job is to interact, react and field what is important in the local region and convey this to the main editorial office.
The addition of Helena to our editorial team has enormously benefited The Lancet. She is doing a truly wonderful job. We are all so very fond and proud to work with her and have learned so much from her.
Helena Hui Wang
ASIA EDITOR, THE LANCET
Helena took on her current role in 2010 and focuses on reviewing manuscripts, writing editorials, and developing The Lancet’s presence in Asia through outreach, conferences, and themed issues. She is also The Lancet’s first point of contact for authors in Asia. She is the only China-based editor for the journal. She holds a Master’s degree in Pathology and Pathophysiology and a Bachelor degree in Clinical Medicine from Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China. Before taking on her current role, she looked after The Lancet’s Chinese edition and was involved in various journal publication projects in Elsevier’s China office. Prior to that, she worked as a peer review editor for a local general medical journal.
NORTH AMERICAN SENIOR EDITOR, THE LANCET
Maja Zecevic, PhD, MPH, is the only US-based editor for the journal. She commissions clinical and public health pieces; represents the journal at major conferences and invitation-only meetings; discusses research with leading academic, government and for-profit clinical and global health leaders; is an invited lecturer and conference moderator; and writes editorials for The Lancet. Originally from Serbia, after living in Latin America for several years Maja moved to the United States to pursue her drive and passion for biomedical and public health research. She received her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Virginia and a subsequent Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining The Lancet, she was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute and at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“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 […]
"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.”
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Cross-publisher initiative with CrossRef to screen published and submitted content for originality.
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.
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.
14 Sep 2011 12 Comments
The rapid growth of Asia’s research community has led to some countries in the region being referred to as “rising stars” or the “next scientific superpowers”. The region is certainly promising from a scientific point of view. In this article we discuss some of the statistics underlying its development and we examine the current state […]
The rapid growth of Asia’s research community has led to some countries in the region being referred to as “rising stars” or the “next scientific superpowers”.
The region is certainly promising from a scientific point of view. In this article we discuss some of the statistics underlying its development and we examine the current state of research in Asia.
Figure 1 (below) details article output for Asian countries on the horizontal axis. The different data points per country represent the years from 2006-2010. We can see that China is experiencing explosive growth in article output. India is catching up: output numbers are still low but the growth percentage is impressive. Output from Japan has remained stable for the last couple of years. Impressive growth can also be seen in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand (see figure 2).
In Figures 1 and 2, we can also see the impact of the articles on the vertical axis, defined as citations in year Y to articles published in the previous two years. The citations per Chinese article have improved slightly but are still relatively low in quality when compared to other countries. There is a strong emphasis in China on article output, and less so on quality, which may account for the discrepancy between quantity and quality growth.
Elsevier’s international editors and reviewers currently reject a substantial part (almost 80%) of the articles submitted from China. This quality control is crucial to ensure that the articles published are representative of the high quality of research coming from China. This rigorous peer-review process has ensured that Elsevier-published articles from China already have citation rates higher than those of established countries like France. For India, we can see in Figure 1 that there was an initial increase before citations per article appeared to stabilize. For Japan, not much has changed in the last five years. Even though Taiwan publishes fewer papers than Japan, both the number of papers published and their impact seem to be increasing.
For this analysis, we selected countries with more than 250 articles published in 2010. At 71%, Vietnam has the highest percentage of articles achieved through international collaboration. China and India appear at the bottom of the list with only 15% and 18% respectively. In general, we see that the larger the output from the country, the lower the international collaboration. (For more information see Research Trends, Small Countries Lead International Collaboration, December 2009, Judith Kamalski.)
It is clear that most of the larger countries in Asia have low international collaboration percentages. An increase in international collaboration could well lead to a positive effect on citations per article.
Language issues appear to form a barrier for some of these countries. In order to assist the scientific community in Asia, Elsevier regularly organizes author workshops. These offer advice ranging from how to increase the chance your article is published to international publishing standards (including language), and ethics. Elsevier also offers a Language Editing Service that ensures manuscripts are free of grammatical and spelling errors.
One of the consequences of China’s meteoric rise is that it is projected to have the same world article share as the United States by 2013 (see Figure 3). From that point onward, China will be the largest country in the world in terms of scientific output.
Differences in output and quality between Asian countries are larger than those between, for instance, countries in Europe. In general, with a rising number of scientists having access to more and more articles, differences between countries are reduced. Does this mean that Asian countries will increasingly resemble each other in terms of scientific profiles? That is difficult to predict as a number of factors will play a determining role, including government policies on, and investments in, science, and the economic growth of the country. These influence how quickly they can grow scientific output and increase quality.
Asia’s research position is getting stronger, but is still divided: countries such as Japan are relatively stable in output and quality, while other countries, such as China and India, see a rapid growth, especially in output. What does this mean for our editors? The flow of submissions from Asia will continue to increase, but so will the quality of articles. These developments outline the need for a gradual adaptation of our journals’ editorial boards to accurately reflect the geographical balances in the scientific world.
PUBLISHING INFORMATION MANAGER, RESEARCH & ACADEMIC RELATIONS
Using citation information, Judith gives advice to journal publishers and editors on how to improve their journals, or to sales staff on characteristics of the universities they visit. Her particular interest lies in the use of the Impact Factor and the emergence of alternative metrics for journal evaluation. Judith regularly presents on these and other topics. She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Corporate Communication and one in French Literature (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and Sorbonne, Paris IV). Her PhD research focused on the role of language in persuasion (Utrecht and Florida State Universities).
DIRECTOR STRATEGY AND JOURNAL SERVICES, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Rose trained as an applied mathematician at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and also holds Master’s degrees in English Literature and Literary Science. She is currently an MBA candidate at the Rotterdam School of Management. In the past seven years she has worked in various Elsevier departments such as production, marketing, strategy, and publishing. She has worked with flagship journals such as The Lancet and Cell and in specialized areas such as High Energy Physics, Nuclear Physics, and Astronomy. She has recently turned her focus to strategic issues in the company and she is currently responsible for the high-level strategy of Elsevier S&T Journals.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go”. – Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! Long gone are the days when scholars could read all the journals in their field and feel like they were up to date. As early […]
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go". - Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Long gone are the days when scholars could read all the journals in their field and feel like they were up to date. As early as 1826, the publication deluge led Michael Faraday to remark: “It is certainly impossible for any person who wishes to devote a portion of his time to chemical experiment, to read all the books and papers that are published.” He believed the challenge of finding publications of interest among the mountain available led people to, “pass by what is really good”.
Today there are more than 2,000 scientific, technical and medical publishers responsible for more than 27,000 active, peer-reviewed scholarly journals, containing more than 1.5 million peer-reviewed articles per year. And because readers have unprecedented access to a large proportion of these articles online, does that mean they are able to read all those that are of interest? And if they are spending so much time reading, how can they have time to do research, not to mention write their own papers?
Several recent studies have shown that readers of journal articles are managing quite well. And, as suggested by Dr. Seuss, the more they read, the more they know, and the better they are at producing articles and receiving funding (Seuss suggests reading increases researcher mobility. This, however, has not yet been assessed). Researchers now read from 25%+ more journals and the number of articles read per year has increased by 15%. Productivity (time spent analyzing versus gathering data) has increased by 4%.
Research Information Network (RIN) in the UK has delved further into reading behavior and the question of productivity. In Phase One of their e-journal study (2009), they examined whether enhanced access to journal articles has led to greater productivity, research quality and other outcomes. They found that the use of journal articles more than doubled between 2004 and 2008. At Russell Group universities (the 20 leading research-intensive universities in the UK), usage tripled. Andrew Plume, Associate Director of Scientometrics & Market Analysis at Elsevier, adds: “Downloads of journal articles are increasing faster than the worldwide growth in the number of articles published each year. Readers are citing more, and from more varied sources. This suggests that they are finding and using a growing proportion of the worldwide scholarly literature.”
The RIN studies showed that users in the most research-intensive universities behave differently from those in less research-intensive ones:
Not surprisingly, as they move through the academic system, researchers read more. Only 2.6% of students reported that they read journal articles every day, while 36.8% of PhD students and 45.3% of researchers reported daily use. Even at the researcher level, their approach to reading differs, with some reading the entire article once and others concentrating on article sections.
Does the fact they are sourcing and reading more articles translate into increased productivity? Assessing the period 2004-2008, RIN found a strong correlation between the number of articles viewed and the number of articles published. The group also discovered a correlation between reading behavior, publications, PhDs granted and grant income. This is supported by Carol Tenopir’s study which shows that electronic journals play a vital role in all aspects of grants, from proposal writing to final reports.
“It’s clear that e-journals have given researchers an unprecedented level and convenience of access to knowledge in scholarly articles, but what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information? Do they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits to universities and research institutions?” asks Plume.
Phase Two of the RIN study, released in January 2011, pursued this further. It showed three strong correlations:
“All this is good news for journal editors,” explains Plume. “They can be assured that their journal’s best articles are doing more than inspiring ideas. They are increasing publications, citations, PhDs awarded and research income.”
Plume continues: “It’s good news for libraries too. Library expenditure on e-journals remains only 0.5% of total university spending. At the same time, studies like these show their vital role as information providers. By showing the return on investment they provide to the universities, they become important stakeholders in the university’s and reader’s success.”
“And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).” — Dr. Seuss
What do you think? You can share your views by posting a comment at the bottom of this page.
 Source: Outsell Hot Topics, vol 1, May 6, 2005: “2001 vs 2005, Research study reveals dramatic changes among information consumers”; and Dr Carol Tenopir, "Discovering the Magic: Faculty and Student Use of Electronic Journals"
 Source: E-journals, their use value and impact, January 2011. Research Information Network
 Source: E-journals, their use value and impact, April 2009. Research Information Network
 Source: Elsevier Connect White Paper: University Investment in the Library, Phase II: An International Study of the Library's Value to the Grants Process 2010 by Carol Tenopir et al.
REGIONAL MARKETING MANAGER, N. EUROPE AND LATIN AMERICA
Noelle Gracy received her PhD in Neuroscience from Cornell University, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, and completed her postdoc training at The Scripps Research Institute in California. She moved to scientific publishing at Academic Press in 1999, at the beginning of the transition to online publishing. She handled the biochemistry, and later genetics, journal portfolios as Executive Publisher until 2009.
1 Jun 2011 5 Comments
“…it is not a project with a deadline, it is our never-ending quest to explore better ways to deliver the formal published record.” — IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation, S&T Journals With the rapid advance of new technology, publishers have been required to think creatively about the way they provide communications to the scientific […]
“...it is not a project with a deadline, it is our never-ending quest to explore better ways to deliver the formal published record." — IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation, S&T Journals
With the rapid advance of new technology, publishers have been required to think creatively about the way they provide communications to the scientific community.
But while the transition from print to online has been relatively smooth, the content of scientific articles, and the way they are presented, still follows a tried and tested formula laid down almost 350 years ago.
According to Marie Sheehan, Head of Communications for Innovation and Product Development, S&T Journals, this is a missed opportunity, and one that Elsevier is keen to address with its innovative ‘Article of the Future’ project.
The project aims to break away from the traditional ‘abstract, findings, conclusion, references’ format, and to radically transform the ‘reader experience’. The latest milestone in this ongoing project is the introduction of the ‘three-pane’ version of the article, prototypes of which will be unveiled in June this year at www.articleofthefuture.com.
While the prototypes featured on the website relate to seven specific scientific disciplines, the concept will apply to all journals and visitors will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new content and layout, before being invited to take part in a short online survey.
Sheehan says: “We really hope people will take the time to let us know what they think – we want to collect input from a broad range of disciplines to ensure we are meeting authors’ and editors’ needs, and to address those in future releases.”
Commenting on the project, Sheehan adds: “The first thing to make clear is that this is not a new Elsevier product, it is not a ‘thing’. Article of the Future is a process, a journey we are on to change the scientific article with regard to three key areas: content, context and presentation."
IJsbrand Jan Aalbersberg, Vice President Content Innovation, S&T Journals, explains: “As an author you want your work to be propelled, you want it to receive maximum exposure. And the more value your paper offers, the more it is seen, the more it is cited and that has a knock-on effect not only for the author, but also for the journal and the editorial board, as well as for the author’s institute.
“With Article of the Future we want to provide the best possible place to expose and explore research. But it is not a project with a deadline, it is our never-ending quest to explore better ways to deliver the formal published record. It is an ongoing journey with milestones, collaborations, results and ideas.”
One of those collaborations has taken the form of a partnership with 150 researchers from a range of disciplines who have been consulted each step of the way during the project’s process, via user interviews, behavior studies and tests. Together with Elsevier, they have focused on three main areas: content, context, and presentation.
Authors can now add their own discipline-specific and rich content such as interactive plots, chemical compounds, or interactive maps. Furthermore, new possibilities such as graphical abstracts and research highlights will enable users to more efficiently skim articles.
The context element offers authors opportunities to add a range of valuable connections to the published article, for example related research data sets, author information and research groups. Commonly used entities in the article can also be tagged and linked to databases, e.g. Genbank and Protein Data Bank, and context can also be pulled from these databases into the articles.
While many of the new content and context features will apply to all journals, others will be domain-specific.
Sheehan explains: “For example, Google maps (an application that enriches an article with research data visualized on an interactive map) has already been added to earth sciences, life sciences and social sciences journals and can be rolled out to other journals as needed.”
Presentation looks at the ‘readability’ of the article and aims to surpass the current HTML and traditional PDF with new content elements and better navigation.
Sheehan says: “One clear message we received during the partnership process was that researchers do want all the domain-specific bells and whistles that technology can add to a scientific paper, but they also want to simply focus on the message in that paper, which led us to a very clean reading pane in the middle of the three-pane view.”
The left pane will contain navigation options enabling quicker exploration of the article, while the right pane will allow for new article content elements and context exploration beyond the paper.
Aalbersberg adds: “As the three-pane design separates navigation and extensions from the core article, it minimizes distraction and unobtrusively and intuitively connects the clean reading with the new content and context.”
As with many findings uncovered by the Article of the Future project, the three-pane view will be released on SciVerse ScienceDirect. Please take a few moments to view the prototypes at www.articleofthefuture.com and complete the short online questionnaire.
Have you seen the Article of the Future? If so, we'd love to hear your views via our comment function at the bottom of this page.
HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS
Marie is Head of Communications for the Innovation and Product Development department in Elsevier’s S&T Journals division. Since joining Elsevier in 2002, she has held various marketing and communications positions in the publishing organization.
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers Archive views to date: 845+ Average feedback: 4.4 out of 5
Of interest to: Journal editors (key), additionally authors and reviewers
Archive views to date: 845+
Average feedback: 4.4 out of 5