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STM Speakers Urge Publishers to Challenge the Status Quo

Magazine article Information Today

STM Speakers Urge Publishers to Challenge the Status Quo

Article excerpt

STM, the global trade association for academic and professional publishers, has 145 members from 21 countries. Its annual U.S. meeting was held April 24-26, 2018, in Philadelphia. The first day was the 4th Annual STM Society Day conference for the scholarly society publisher community. The second day was Day 1 of the official conference, and the third day was Day 2.

Customer Perspectives

On Day 1, a panel of three researchers shared what they are currently working on as a way for publishers to get firsthand knowledge of their customers. Arthi Jayaraman (an associate professor and a graduate program director at the University of Delaware) uses molecular simulations with her chemical engineering teammates, and they work with large amounts of data. One of her recommendations is for journals to require the submission of raw data with articles to aid in reproducibility.

Casey Greene (an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania) and his team studied Sci-Hub to find that more than 90% of cited papers are on it. Going closed-access is a dead business model, he said. Jim English (director of the Price Lab for Digital Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania) argued that the industry should move away from the scholarly monograph as the gold standard, because the dataset itself (in a repository) needs to be seen as a publication.

The panel's advice for STM publishing leaders was to focus on quality and reproducibility as most important (Jayaraman), help researchers with tasks such as writing grants (Greene), and enter into partnerships with librarians, digital scholarship organizations, and others (English).

Preprints Everywhere

At the session Pre-Publication Sharing-Friend or Foe? Louise Page (chief innovation officer at PLOS) said that publisher-driven preprints are important. Only 2% of published biomedical content is posted as preprints. In response, PLOS is launching an automatic posting option to bioRxiv, meaning that preprints will be added to the company's publishing workflow to boost their adoption. Make preprints a trusted work product, she said. A sustainability model for preprints doesn't exist yet, but PLOS will explore one.

Darla Henderson (assistant director and publisher of OA programs at the American Chemical Society) said that the chemistry field also has very little adoption of preprints. She and her team released chemRxiv in beta in August 2017, and there have been 250,000 downloads so far, showing that there is a demand for preprints. Alberto Pepe (product director at Atypon) said that as a researcher, he thought often about data sharing and OA, as well as the future of scholarly communication. Preprints are clearly on the rise, so publishers should look at them as an opportunity, not a threat. He predicted that in the future, there will be DOIs for everything, including preprints, and publishers will publish preprints.

Publishers' To-Do List

The closing keynote on Day 1 was titled "Relevance, Responsibility, and Integrity in Research." Annette Thomas (CEO of Clarivate Analytics) said that publishing is about responsibility-being trusted with brilliant people's information. The pace of change today is the slowest it will ever be as we look to the future, she said. Publishers must help answer the question of why so much research is impossible to reproduce. Why publish so much that is read by so few? The industry shouldn't value quantity over quality to satisfy funder requirements, and publishers can't promote only positive results (which contributes to bias and fraud). …

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