STM Digital Publishing Seminar 2016: A brief summary

Key learnings from STM Week 2016 - Hindawi Blog

STM week is an annual series of three day-long seminars that bring together members of the publishing community to discuss the pressing topics facing the industry. The first event of the week is the STM Digital Publishing 2016 seminar which this year focused on a number of different areas. The topics ranged from developments in publishing platforms, with details of new publishing platforms and important updates to current platforms. Other sessions focused on developments around the management of research data and the challenges that this poses to publishers. Finally, it wouldn’t be a publishing seminar without a focus on standards – this time looking at usage statistics and to new digital document formats.

Summarized below are a few of the interesting topics covered during the day.

Keynote: Discovery – How to fix it?

The Keynote was presented by Simon Inger, Consultant, Simon Inger Consulting Ltd..

Nowadays, when searching for articles related to a specific topic or compiling a literature survey, researchers have three main options: go to one of the main cross-discipline databases, such as Scopus or Web of Science; use a subject-specific database; or perform a general search using services like Google or Google Scholar. The effectiveness of these approaches varies wildly, however. Two factors have an effect on a successful result; the researcher’s own ability to use search tools effectively and, maybe more significantly, their ability to read articles that are sitting behind a paywall.

With the rise of services such as Sci-Hub – which can, at best, be described as ‘illegitimate’ – researchers now have access to a central, easy-to-use discovery service with no restriction on content access. The question is – is this a real solution?

The answer remains unclear for now, but tackling the issues of search variability and levels of access would need to be part of any true solution. More Open Access articles would be an essential part of this solution, if not the whole solution, but that is still a long way off.

COUNTER, a simpler version

COUNTER governs a set of rules and standards that allows publishers, as well as any other interested parties, to provide an answer to the question of how many times a given electronic resource has been used. This is done by following the COUNTER code of practice (CoP). The latest release of CoP is version 4. COUNTER is expected to release the next version by mid 2017.

What is expected in the upcoming release? Lorraine Estelle, Director of COUNTER revealed how the next release would have a simpler code of practice containing fewer reports to reduce confusion. It would also present reports that track individual item usage, removing the distinction of download format (currently PDF and HTML are counted separately).

A new publishing platform from eLife

Continuous publishing and versioning is at the core of eLife’s new publishing platform Continuum. In today’s publishing world, we commonly experience a number of versions for any given article, from preprint, to accepted version, to version of record, as well as post publication versions. Paul Shannon (Head of Technology, eLife) presented the importance of versioning and how this is handled in Continuum. Continuum works with JATS XML, the widely adopted tagging suite, to offer a modular publishing approach. Among its features are the ability to preview articles before publishing, and to schedule publication. Continuum is an open source software and it can be found at GitHub.

Technical Updates

Bill Kasdorf, vice president and principal consultant of Apex Content Solutions and a regular presenter on technical issues for publishers at STM seminars, presented a number of new subjects. Among these were Portable Web Publications, an ‘under development’ W3C standard that aims to create a unified publishing format, based on the open standards of the web. He also spoke about EPUB accessibility 1.0 an IDPF in-progress standard that would define how far an EPUB suits different accessibility needs.

CRediT, a new contribution framework

Currently, there isn’t a way to decipher the contribution made by each author in a given article, but it looks like this is could be about to change. CRediT, a framework powered by CASRAI, allows for the identification of contributions made by individual authors in a given article, by offering integration in manuscript tracking systems. Among the roles that can be found in CRediT are investigation, conceptualization, funding acquisition and more. Identifying the type of contribution has a major importance for funders to determine what kind of work their funding supports.

Richard Wynne, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Aries Systems stressed that implementing CRediT could be an issue if publishers can’t initially identify authors. Here ORCID plays a vital role, a persistent identifier for users which already has 2.8 million registered users. The CRediT taxonomy also integrates with the JATS tagging framework, which provides a way for an author’s contribution be included in an article’s metadata.

Why publish data?

Data is a fundamental subject for almost all research. Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Head of Data Publishing, Springer Nature presented how web-based publishing has enabled research data to come to light, an improvement increasingly driven by the need for reusability and reproducibly in research. A growing number of funders now require that data be archived as requirement for grants, these include RCUK, NIH, NSF and The Wellcome Trust.

What is driving authors to share their data? Accelerating research, increasing usage, improved credit and compliance with funder policy, seem to be the main factors.

Women in publishing: A majority that doesn’t lead

The day was concluded with a panel on women in the publishing industry.

Alice Meadows – Director of Community Engagement & Support, ORCID, Sharon Cooper – Chief Digital Officer, BMJ, Vicky Williams – CEO, Research Media all participated. The panel was moderated by Louise Russell, Tutton-Russell Consulting.

A survey, published last year, found that almost two thirds of those working in academic publishing are women, mostly in roles related to editorial and production, while males are more in roles that are related to information technology and leadership.

The panel discussed why women are not in leading positions in publishing. They also discussed mechanisms that can be adopted by individuals, organizations and the industry to encourage women to lead. One opinion was that the wide base of females in the industry would eventually help the industry to evolve to include more women in leading positions.

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