2017 in review: 12 months of new initiatives

With 2017 drawing to a close, it seems like the right time to reflect on what the year brought us at Hindawi.

January began with a move to a new London office and the launch of a new team, our Editorial Community Managers. Since the start of the year, Thomas, Sam, and Sarah have worked closely with our editors, listened to their concerns, and provided support. This collaboration with editors is an important step towards improving communications and making our journals more editor-driven.

In February, Hindawi took a major step of a different sort. We made the important decision to part ways with the STM Association. We no longer felt STM stood for the interests of open access publishers and it was time to withdraw our support for the organization. Paul Peters’ blog post announcing the decision drew a great deal of attention and sparked discussion across the publishing community.

We now have a platform from which we can promote public discussion of Open Access, research integrity, and citizen science.

2017 was a big year for Hindawi’s opinion blog, with more than 50 posts from 30 authors, and a steady increase in readership. In March, we kicked off our “Opening Science” guest blog series with a post from Dr. Nicholas Chilton on his experience in code sharing and the impact it’s had on his research activities. We’re proud that our guest posts are now among the most read on the site. In just over a year since we launched the blog and revamped our social media channels, we now have a (small) platform from which we can promote public discussion of Open Access, research integrity, and citizen science.

Our blog was one small piece of our efforts to contribute to the SciComm conversation this year. In April, we launched a partnership with Pint of Science. We’re proud to support this worthy cause, and it doesn’t hurt that the events are both fun and fascinating. We’re looking forward to another year of working together with Pint of Science in 2018 and we’ve expanded our partnership to cover events in France, Germany, and Ireland as well as across the UK.

May was a milestone month for Hindawi. We celebrated the company’s 20th anniversary. This meant big celebrations in Cairo and London. 2017 was also the 10th anniversary of Hindawi’s full conversion to Open Access. When we sold our last subscription journal in 2007, we became the first publisher to flip an entire portfolio of journals to Open Access.

In June, Hindawi made an important statement about our support for Open Access. We signed the Declaration on Research Assessment. We support the work being done to increase the visibility of DORA and provide practical implementation guidelines to the community. This support is an important part of Hindawi’s investment in Open Science, by which we mean maximizing the discoverability, accessibility, and reusability of all research outputs.

Who better to lead our Open Science initiatives than Catriona MacCallum, who we were honored and excited to have join us in July. With her decades of experience, Catriona has been essential in widening the scope of our work from Open Access to Open Science. She has been directing our work on persistent identifiers, reporting guidelines, and government engagement – among a great many other things.

In August, we signed an agreement with the Max Planck Institute to centralize APC payments. As an open access publisher, we don’t often talk about our work with institutions and funders, but deals like the one with the Max Planck Institute are important to smoothing the transition to Open Access. They remove one source of friction from the open access publishing process while raising awareness within the researcher community.

We have learned that openness is about more than business models and copyright licensing.

Not everything was rosy in 2017. In August, we also confronted one of the most troubling episodes we have had to face as a scholarly publisher when a paper from one of our journals was used to justify intolerant and hateful speech. We faced the difficult choice between preserving the autonomy of the editorial process that had led to the article’s publication and standing up against hate. This experience motivated us to review every step of our editorial and production process to ensure we provide proper support and guidance to editors, reviewers, and authors. We will soon be releasing a follow-up post to explain the actions that we have taken as a result of this. We have learned that openness is about more than business models and copyright licensing. By openly communicating our response to a difficult situation throughout the process, we can help other publishers address similar situations in the future.

September saw the announcement of an important new partnership with AAAS to collaborate on the development of several new open access journals with some amazing partners around the world. This partnership is an important step in our efforts to catalyze a large-scale transition to Open Access by empowering societies and research institutions to launch their own open access publishing initiatives.

In further support of these initiatives, October was a month dedicated to open infrastructure. Hindawi made two big announcements on the technical front. We officially joined the open source software community organized by the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation (Coko). Moreover, Paul Peters underlined this commitment with a blog post about the vital importance of open scholarly infrastructure. We support Coko and other open technology solutions both because we believe the infrastructure behind scholarly communication should be community-owned and because we believe that by collaborating with other like-minded organizations we can develop elegant solutions that are shared across multiple platforms. In October we also ran our first Open Access Week campaign, which gave each of our team a chance to talk about why Open Access is important to them.

In November, our publishing partnership with Wiley hit a major milestone: we published our 1000th article. We were thrilled to hit this milestone within the first year of the partnership, demonstrating that flipping subscription journals to Open Access is possible and sustainable across many subject areas. Hindawi now offers services to societies and publishers looking to transition journals to Open Access, making the flipping process an attractive and achievable option for more journals.

It’s been a wonderful year of growth and expansion at Hindawi.

2017 may yet hold a few surprises before we reach the end of December. We’re planning to get our new data availability policy, which we announced earlier this year, up and running by the end of the year. We were also pleased to see that five Hindawi journals will have been selected for inclusion in the Web of Science SCIE index this year. We’re happy to see this recognition of the quality of our journals, even as we look to support initiatives that promote research assessment at the article level.

That covers the past 12 months in very brief detail. It’s largely been a wonderful year of growth and expansion at Hindawi. It’s easy to get distracted by the Open Access echo chamber and forget that for many researchers and librarians Open Access is still a vague concept, an impossibility, or a distraction. In 2018, we pledge to continue working with the scholarly community to raise awareness about the value of open science, to support the new projects and initiatives in the community, and to bring the same open principles to new partnerships.

To our editors and reviewers, an enormous thank you for your hard work. To everyone in the academic and scholarly communications communities, we hope 2018 brings lowered barriers and increased collaboration in all areas of your work. From everyone at Hindawi, we wish you a lovely holiday season and a Happy New Year.

Andrew Smeall - Hindawi
Head of Strategic Projects, Andrew Smeall, started at Hindawi in 2011, working on new ventures and product development. He has worked previously on privacy technology at Enliken and as a multimedia producer at Asia Society. Andrew has a B.A. in Chinese from Yale University and an M.B.A. from NYU Stern.

The illustration and text in this blog post are by Hindawi and are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).