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  • Hindawi terminates its membership with the STM Association
    Hindawi terminates its membership with the STM Association

    Hindawi Publishing Corporation announced its decision of ending its membership in the STM Association citing "STM’s overwhelming focus on protecting business models of the past, rather than facilitating new models." 

    Hindawi Publishing Corporation, which is one of the largest publishers of fully open access journals, announced its decision of ending its membership in the STM Association. According to Hindawi’s CEO Paul Peters, the reason behind this decision is “STM’s overwhelming focus on protecting business models of the past, rather than facilitating new models.” The decision seems to be based on Hindawi’s focus on making scientific knowledge openly accessible. Although the open access movement is sweeping academia, there continue to be several obstacles in the path such as economic sustainability and transparency among others.

    STM Association is the leading global trade association for academic and professional publishers and has over 120 members in 21 countries, including learned societies, university presses, private companies, new startups, and established players. While the association has been supportive of the open access movement, Peters has mentioned that there is a resistance to embracing newer models: “Unfortunately, trade associations do not always embrace this role as facilitators of change, as they get trapped defending legacy models on which their members have long depended.”

    Phill Jones, Director of Publishing Innovation at Digital Science, points out in an article on this issue that the STM Association works through consensus of its members and it might be difficult at times to take big decisions quickly. “It’s a big ship to steer and it sometimes takes longer than it should do for good ideas to get accepted as such,” Jones writes. He further states that Hindawi might look out to be associated with an organization that would provide greater support to their ideas or might even act as independent advocacy force.  

    Although Peters has announced the decision to end the membership with the association, in his post he states that Hindawi would reestablish its ties with the STM Association if they display willingness to deal with the challenges of transitioning to open access. As Jones points out “Hindawi’s announcement should be seen less as a snub towards the STM Association, but more the sign of an evolving company carving out an independent position in a changing marketplace.”

    References

    Why Hindawi Left the STM Association and What It All Means for the Industry

    Hindawi’s Decision to Leave the STM Association

    Publisher Hindawi leaves the STM Association over its resistance to open access change

  • Israel outruns South Korea, becomes world's most research intensive economy
    Israel outruns South Korea, becomes world’s most research intensive economy

    As per Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data on the investments made by the OECD countries in research and development (R&D) in the year 2015, Israel invested 4.25% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in R&D, which is the highest among all the countries in the world.

    On 7 February, the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released data on the investments made by the OECD countries in research and development (R&D) in the year 2015. According to the report, Israel invested 4.25% of its gross domestic product (GDP) in R&D, which is the highest among all the countries in the world.

    Until now South Korea held the top spot when it came to GDP investment in science and research. However, in 2016, it invested only 4.23%, which is marginally less than Israel. What helped Israel’s growth is the country’s government program called “Yozma” (which in Hebrew means “initiative”). This program attracted foreign investors and is according to OECD “the most successful and original programme in Israel’s relatively long history of innovation policy.”

    South Korea, nonetheless, continues to lead when it comes to investing in basic research. OECD defines basic research as “research to obtain new knowledge without an immediately known application” and South Korea devotes 0.73% towards it compared to Israel’s 0.39%. It plans to increase this investment to 5% in 2017.

    The OECD report also states that China, having increased its R&D expenditure from less than 1% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2015, is emerging as a strong economy. The U.S. continues to be a major player as its R&D expenditure share among the OECD countries amounts to nearly 40%. Another trend that the report highlights is that the balance between government- and industry-financed R&D is undergoing a shift. While the investment financed by the industry is picking up (61% in 2015), government-funded R&D is seeing a drop (from 31% to 27%).

    Recommended reading:

    Korea: An emerging Asian superpower in science, technology, and innovation

    Interview with Dr. Sun Huh: Current challenges of the scientific publishing community in Korea

    Interview with Dr. Sun Huh: Vital resources and tips for science editors of Korean journals

    References

    Israel edges out South Korea for top spot in research investment

    How Israel is leading the world in R&D investment

    Israel invests more in R&D per capita than any other country, study shows

  • Is the waiting time and probable publication of a research paper correlated?
    Question Description: 

    Dear Sir Eddy, I submitted two research papers in two peer reviewed journals. One says that there is a need for further revision and that the editor "would do the revision himself " and e-mail me for endorsement in July 2017 for possible publication in the September 2017 issue. The other says that my paper has passed the pre-evaluation stage and would be sent for review that will take 6 months to 1 year. Under the circumstances, is there a higher probability that the article would be published given the longer period of waiting? What can you say about the matter? Can I expect that my paper after the long wait, would be published in the end? Kindly please send your answers in confidence. Thanks, Doc Gabby

    Answer

    I think the chances of your paper getting published are quite high for the first manuscript. However, for the second manuscript, there is no clarity. The journal has just mentioned the duration that the peer review will take. It is probably their policy to inform authors of the waiting time, and this is does not increase your chances of publication in any way. There is no correltation between the waiting time and the outcome of your manuscript. In fact, even after waiting for 6 months to a year, it is possible that your paper will be rejected. If the review time for this journal is much longer than the average review time in your field, it might be a good idea to rethink whether you wish to continue with this journal.

  • Dr. Hyungsun Kim: Don't become a victim of the publish-or-perish culture
    Interview with Dr. Hyungsun Kim, President of the Korean Council of Science Editors
    Dr. Hyungsun Kim, Professor at the School of Materials Engineering, Inha University, Korea, has 20 years of experience teaching academic writing and best publication practices to Asian researchers and journal editors. Dr. Kim serves as an adviser for the Content Selection Board for SCOPUS in Korea. He is the newest President of the Korean Council of Science Editors (KSCE) as well as a member of several professional societies including the Council of Asian Science Editors (of which he is the Secretary General), and the National Academy of Engineering of Korea. Dr. Kim has also authored four books about academic publishing.

    Dr. Hyungsun Kim, Professor at the School of Materials Engineering, Inha University, Korea, has 20 years of experience teaching academic writing and best publication practices to Asian researchers and journal editors. Following a PhD from Imperial College London (1989), Dr. Kim worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Oxford and as Professor in the Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering Department at Sunchon National University, Korea. Dr. Kim has been an active academic and publishing professional. In addition to sitting on the editorial boards of several academic journals, Dr. Kim serves as an adviser for the Content Selection Board for SCOPUS in Korea. He is the newest President of the Korean Council of Science Editors (KSCE) and is a member of several professional societies including the Council of Asian Science Editors (CASE, of which he is the Secretary General), and the National Academy of Engineering of Korea. He has also authored four books: Special Topics for Scientific Ethics (2011), How to Write Correctly Scientific Papers (2010), Engineering Communications (2009, in Korean), and Make Only 10% Change to Your Papers (2003, in Korean). Dr. Kim is passionate about promoting good publication practices among researchers and editors. He has conducted several seminars and workshops for graduate students, researchers, and editors in Korea, Japan, China, and Russia. During these sessions he covered a range of topics including tips for writing academic articles, creating a publication strategy, and registering journals in global indexing databases.

    Korea is emerging as a major contributor to the global scientific research landscape and this was a great opportunity to connect with Dr. Kim to hear his views about academic publishing and research in Korea. As the President of KCSE, Dr. Kim talks about the aims and activities of the council. He also reveals the main barriers to the development of Korean research and elaborates the areas in which Korean researchers need training and support. Based on his own experience, Dr. Kim shares some useful advice for researchers in Asia, where the race to publish and the impact factor chase dominate the research and publishing landscape.

    Could you give us a brief overview of the Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE)? What are its mission and objectives?

    Founded in 2011, the Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE) has 323 academic journals (including 261 academic organizations and institutions), 54 individual members, and 20 special corporate members. The goal of KCSE is to promote the quality of scientific journals published in Korea and contribute to scientific advancement by exchanging information and knowledge about scientific publishing and holding discussions around editing scholarly literature.

    The activities we primarily focus on are:

    • Education and training (professional development programs, e.g., manuscript writing, reviewing, and editing)
    • Publication ethics (planning and execution of publication ethics)
    • External affairs (building a network on local and international editors and associations)
    • Sharing information and publications (providing our members valuable information on the development of scientific publishing through newsletters and science editing services).

    So far, our efforts have been successful, and I am proud to say that South Korea is one of the two countries in the world (the other being the US) to have an editorial council consisting of local editors.

    What are your duties as the President of KCSE?

    The duties of the President of KCSE are to share latest news and information about academic journals and publishing and to manage 7 committees (Planning and Administration, Education and Training, Publication Ethics, Information and Publication, Manuscript Editing, External Affairs, and Awards). The overall aim of KCSE is to improve the quality of scientific journals published in Korea. As the President, I represent the KSCE officially at all internal and external events and purposes.

    What kind of support is KCSE expecting from editors, the government, and other institutions in Korea?

    Currently, KCSE is actively promoting a few projects:

    1. Facilitating the exchange of information, resources, and cooperation among editors of science journals in Korea
    2. Developing a set of common generic guidelines for improving the quality of science journals in Korea
    3. Educating Korean academics about best practices in manuscript writing, reviewing, and editing
    4. Acquainting people with local and international indexing services and databases of academic and scientific journals
    5. Improving the understanding of publication ethics by sharing relevant resources with and imparting training to academics and publishing professionals in Korea

    In order to carry out these projects effectively, it’s important to acquire the latest information constantly from similar international groups such as the Council of Science Editors, European Association of Science Editors, CrossRef, and Committee on Publication Ethics. Chairs of KCSE are also required to participate in diverse international academic conferences and educational programs and invite professional instructors from major international institutions to conduct certified educational programs.

    All this requires a lot of hard work and resources. Projects of KCSE are supported by the annual membership fees of members and the registration fees paid by workshop and seminar attendees. But in order to be able to achieve all its goals efficiently, KSCE relies greatly on financial support from Korean government. We also request local journal editors to attend our informative programs regularly and to share their experience on publication. Their inputs will also help us consolidate the indexing databases of international journals and ensure better utilization of our capabilities.

    Korea is known to face stiff competition from Japan and China in terms of scientific research and output. What barriers does Korea need to overcome to stay ahead in the global scientific research arena?

    Korea needs to overcome several barriers to make advancements in global scientific research. First, we need to overcome the language barrier. It is essential for Korean researchers to achieve bi-lingual proficiency in Korean and English. The financial support and conditions that could support long-term creative research also need to improve, because currently, the lack of financial support and a good research environment are a barrier. Korea needs to invest in creative and fundamental research by setting short-term research results. This will provide a boost to the overall quality of scientific research in the country.

    Lack of knowledge about best publication practices is another barrier to scientific development. Korean scientists need a lot training about best writing and publishing practices. They also need training on performing and writing original research. Statements made in academic manuscripts must be logically derived from facts. Nevertheless, many researchers are unable to distinguish between “facts” and “opinions” from the results of their research. So I would say that there are several barriers to be overcome to ensure that the Korean research community makes great strides at the international level.

    Over the years, you have been on both sides of the journal publishing, as an author and editor. Based on your experience, what aspects of journal publishing do Korean researchers struggle with most? Do you have any words of advice for them?

    "Publish or perish" has been the driving factor as well as pain point of Korean research. Most Korean researchers are victims of a competitive publishing system where the focus is on publishing a greater number of articles in high impact factor (IF) journals within a short time period. This is because the academic grading system is closely tied to publication output. In addition, most researchers want to publish their articles in SCI-indexed journals, and researchers in the pure/applied sciences are keen on publishing articles in prestigious journals like Nature and Science. However, according to a current research report (Nature 535, 210–211, 2016), 74.8% of Nature articles were cited below its IF of 38.1. Similarly, 75.5% of Science papers (IF=34.7) were cited fewer than 35 times in two years. Also according to a report (International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, 2013) in the UK, about 32% of published papers are not cited at all.

    It is important for Korean researchers to ensure that instead of blindly trying to publish a manuscript in high-IF journals or trying to publish as many papers as they can, they need to consider the quality of their manuscripts as well as publish their research with the aim of communicating their research to a wide audience. That is my advice to Korean researchers – don’t become a victim of the publish-or-perish culture.

    Unethical publication practices are also becoming increasingly common globally. To what extent do Korean academics know about unethical publication practices? If there is a gap in understanding, how can this gap be bridged?

    I believe that given the competitive research scenario, everyone involved in research and publishing is aware of unethical publishing practices and the consequences of indulging in them. And given the increasing awareness of the fact that researchers are likely to unintentionally flout ethical guidelines when under pressure, many institutions and journals are taking steps to educate authors about the need and ways to publish ethically. This applies to Korean research, too. Each university in Korea has instituted "Research Ethics Guidelines". Each Korean journal also follows "Publishing Ethics Guidelines" that are made available to authors. In 2014, the Korean government published "Guidelines for Ensuring Best Ethical Practices in Research" in order to prevent research misconduct by sharing the fundamental principles of ethical research and by discussing the roles and responsibilities of researchers and universities in ensuring that ethical research and publishing practices are followed. In 2015, KCSE created and distributed a "Scientific Research and Publication Ethics Manual". This manual covers a wide range of research and publication ethics related aspects that should be taken into account in the fields of science and engineering.

    Today, almost every university and research institute has a Research Integrity Committee and an Institutional Review Board to ensure that the best and ethical research publication practices are followed. However, plagiarism (including self-plagiarism and authorship related misconduct) still occur in some labs. This indicates the need to train and educate researchers about publication ethics related issues on an ongoing basis. Duplication of data also emerged as a major issue recently. The best way to identify plagiarism is to use a plagiarism detection software or a service that offers plagiarism checks. A number of institutions use CopyKiller, a plagiarism check software. Turnitin is another software that is being used globally. In Korea, the issue is that many institutions/publishers can only use software that has been integrated with their system. But I think that when authors submit their manuscripts, we should be able to run a plagiarism check using local and international software.

    What are the main goals of KCSE in the coming year? How do you see the organization shaping up over the next few years?

    2017 promises to be a busy year for KCSE. One of the plans of KCSE in 2017 is to conduct 10 workshops and forums for journal and manuscript editors. Journals are evolving digitally and editors are trying to internationalize journals. Local journal and manuscript editors should be aware of advanced systems of submission, review, editing, and distribution as well as about open access trends and policies. Korean researchers and publishing professionals also need to improve their understanding of authorship. The workshops and forums organized by KCSE will focus on providing essential information, knowledge, and training about these topics. 

    Thank you for your time and for the great perspectives, Dr. Kim! We hope KCSE has a great year ahead!

  • 9 Differences between a thesis and a journal article
    Difference between a thesis and a journal article

    This infographic lists nine ways in which a thesis is different from a journal article. The idea is to help you understand how the two are completely different types of academic writing, meant for different audiences and written for different purposes. 

    As a researcher you are under immense pressure to publish and one good way to start publishing is to convert your doctoral thesis into a journal article, after your PhD. Before you begin writing, it is essential for you to know exactly how a thesis differs from a journal article. This infographic lists nine ways in which a thesis is different from a journal article. The idea is to help you understand how the two are distinct types of academic writing, meant for different audiences and written for different purposes.

    Feel free to download a PDF version of this infographic and print it out as handy reference.

    9 differences between a thesis and a journal article

    You might also be interested in reading:

  • How to do a comparative discussion of results if no previous work on the topic exists?
    Question Description: 

    I have been asked to compare my research with previous findings of relevant local, regional, and international studies. However, my research idea is new and has not been applied before. What I can do?

    Answer

    It is a good thing that your research idea is original and no one has actually applied it before. In fact, you should be glad that your research is so novel. However, you need to conduct a literature search once again using different combinations of keywords to make sure that there is actually no existing literature on the topic. Even after doing this if you find nothing on the same research idea or the same topic, you can compare your research with research that has been done on closely related topics. Another approach would be to go a little broader and compare it with other studies in the same subject area, if not on the specific topic. Perhaps you can add a sentence saying that while a lot of studies have focused on various aspects of the topic or subject area, none of them deal with this particular research idea.

  • Algae survive extreme temperatures and cosmic radiation for two years
    Algae survive extreme temperatures and cosmic radiation for two years

    In a long-term experiment lasting two years, two varieties of algae survived in the space without any lasting adverse effects. Dr. Thomas Leya at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI in Potsdam, who headed a team of researchers for the project, knew from her experience of studying cryophilic algae, cyanobacteria, mosses, fungi, and bacteria found in Polar Regions that certain varieties of algae are not susceptible to extreme temperature fluctuations and radiation. However, with the intention of studying the effect of cosmic atmosphere on these algae, she undertook a project wherein two algae varieties – the green algal strain Nostoc sp. and blue-green algal strain Sphaerocystis sp. – were transported into space for a period of two years. With mere neutral-density filters, the algae endured the UVA, UVB, and UVC radiation apart from extreme low to high temperatures on the outside of the International Space Station without any damage. The team will conduct further study on the DNA of the algae to determine how it survives atmospheres that are detrimental to human DNA. According to the research team, these findings can help in the distant plans to reach and inhabit planet Mars as the algae can become a source of food and could be cultivated in the otherwise inhabitable conditions. Moreover, food industry and cosmetic industry can find multiple uses of these algae that are immune to radiation and are highly nutritious.

    Read more in Science Daily.   

  • Should my professor be the first author of my research?
    Question Description: 

    I am currently working on my PhD. My professor helped me set up plans for materials and decided the topic for my theses But the issue is that although I will be the one who is doing the research,  he (the professor) will be the first author. My professor told me it's okay as he is the one who has decided on the materials and topis but my personal opinion is that it might not be ethical.

    Answer

    While there are clear guidelines to decide who qualifies to be an author, deciding the sequence of authors is more of a grey area. The order of authorship can differ between fields or disciplines. In some fields, the names of authors are arranged alphabetically, so there is prcatically no importance on who is the first author. The ordering of authors also depends on the research group you are working with or the institution. In some institutions, it is the custom for the supervisor or PI to be the first author, although ideally that should not be the case. 

    Ideally, the first author should be that person who has made the maximum intellectual contribution to work, in terms of designing the study, acquiring and analyzing data from experiments, and writing the manuscript. The order of authors should be decided by the relative overall contributions to the manuscript. It is common practice to have the supervisor or senior author as the last author, of course provided he/she, like all other authors, have met all criteria for authorship. Often, the supervisor or senior author is also the corresponding author, that is,  he/she is the one who receives all notifications from the journal. The group leader or a senior researcher is often the corresponding author because his/her contact address is not likely to change in the near future. In cases where the main contributor of the study is also the group leader, he or she can be both first and corresponding author for the study.

    In your case, I feel, the professor could be the corresponding author, but you seem to be more deserving of first authorship. 

  • How can I find a Scopus journal that will give a decision within three weeks?
    Question Description: 

    Does Scopus have any rapid publication journals? Are there any Scopus indexed journals that give a decision within 3 weeks?

    Answer

    SCOPUS is a huge database and I’m sure it includes many journals that have a rapid publication option. It is difficult to name any journal without knowing the topic and field of your study. However, Elsevier has a journal finding tool that you could consider using. Since Scopus is an Elsevier database, you would find journals that are indexed in Scopus. You can use this tool to find a journal that will be best suited for your article. The tool also gives, for each journal that it shows up, the average time to get to a first decision. Thus, you will also come to know whether any of the journals that are suitable for your paper will give you a decision within three weeks.

     

  • What is the meaning of the status "Evaluating Recommendation" in ScholarOne portal?
    Question Description: 

    Dear Sir, I had submitted my paper to a journal approximately half a week ago. When I submitted, there was no status; it was only showing article received and ADM (Not assigned). Now today, when I checked the status, it showed ADM along with someone's name. But there was no link to contact or email address. Moreover, the name that is mentioned is that of the journal editor as per the website. What does this mean? Is my paper is going to be rejected or is it something else, maybe an initial test of formatting? Waiting for your reply.

    Answer

    In all probability, the current status change indicates that your paper is going through an initial admin check. Perhaps, for this journal, the Editor-in-Chief (EiC) the admin check himself/herself. Another option could be that admin check is actually done by editorial assistants, but the status shows the EiC's name till the time the paper is assigned to an Associate Editor (AE). Whatever the case, I strongly feel that this is just an admin check that is done to see if the guidelines of the journal have been met with regard to formatting and other such details. Once this is done, your paper will be assigned to an AE who will conduct the initial editorial screening. This screening will decide whether the paper will be desk rejected or sent for external peer review. 

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