Academic communities: The role of journals and open-access mega-journals in scholarly communication

Simon Wakeling, Valerie Spezi, Jenny Fry, Claire Creaser, Stephen Pinfield, Peter Willett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into publication practices from the perspective of academics working within four disciplinary communities: biosciences, astronomy/physics, education and history. The paper explores the ways in which these multiple overlapping communities intersect with the journal landscape and the implications for the adoption and use of new players in the scholarly communication system, particularly open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs (e.g. PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports) are large, broad scope, open-access journals that base editorial decisions solely on the technical/scientific soundness of the article. Design/methodology/approach: Focus groups with active researchers in these fields were held in five UK Higher Education Institutions across Great Britain, and were complemented by interviews with pro-vice-chancellors for research at each institution. Findings: A strong finding to emerge from the data is the notion of researchers belonging to multiple overlapping communities, with some inherent tensions in meeting the requirements for these different audiences. Researcher perceptions of evaluation mechanisms were found to play a major role in attitudes towards OAMJs, and interviews with the pro-vice-chancellors for research indicate that there is a difference between researchers’ perceptions and the values embedded in institutional frameworks. Originality/value: This is the first purely qualitative study relating to researcher perspectives on OAMJs. The findings of the paper will be of interest to publishers, policy-makers, research managers and academics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-139
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Documentation
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019

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Cite this

Wakeling, Simon ; Spezi, Valerie ; Fry, Jenny ; Creaser, Claire ; Pinfield, Stephen ; Willett, Peter. / Academic communities : The role of journals and open-access mega-journals in scholarly communication. In: Journal of Documentation. 2019 ; Vol. 75, No. 1. pp. 120-139.
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Wakeling, S, Spezi, V, Fry, J, Creaser, C, Pinfield, S & Willett, P 2019, 'Academic communities: The role of journals and open-access mega-journals in scholarly communication', Journal of Documentation, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 120-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-05-2018-0067

Academic communities : The role of journals and open-access mega-journals in scholarly communication. / Wakeling, Simon; Spezi, Valerie; Fry, Jenny; Creaser, Claire; Pinfield, Stephen; Willett, Peter.

In: Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75, No. 1, 14.01.2019, p. 120-139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Academic communities

T2 - The role of journals and open-access mega-journals in scholarly communication

AU - Wakeling, Simon

AU - Spezi, Valerie

AU - Fry, Jenny

AU - Creaser, Claire

AU - Pinfield, Stephen

AU - Willett, Peter

PY - 2019/1/14

Y1 - 2019/1/14

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AB - The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into publication practices from the perspective of academics working within four disciplinary communities: biosciences, astronomy/physics, education and history. The paper explores the ways in which these multiple overlapping communities intersect with the journal landscape and the implications for the adoption and use of new players in the scholarly communication system, particularly open-access mega-journals (OAMJs). OAMJs (e.g. PLOS ONE and Scientific Reports) are large, broad scope, open-access journals that base editorial decisions solely on the technical/scientific soundness of the article. Design/methodology/approach: Focus groups with active researchers in these fields were held in five UK Higher Education Institutions across Great Britain, and were complemented by interviews with pro-vice-chancellors for research at each institution. Findings: A strong finding to emerge from the data is the notion of researchers belonging to multiple overlapping communities, with some inherent tensions in meeting the requirements for these different audiences. Researcher perceptions of evaluation mechanisms were found to play a major role in attitudes towards OAMJs, and interviews with the pro-vice-chancellors for research indicate that there is a difference between researchers’ perceptions and the values embedded in institutional frameworks. Originality/value: This is the first purely qualitative study relating to researcher perspectives on OAMJs. The findings of the paper will be of interest to publishers, policy-makers, research managers and academics.

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KW - Discourse communities

KW - Open access

KW - Open-access mega-journals

KW - Qualitative methods

KW - Scholarly communication

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U2 - 10.1108/JD-05-2018-0067

DO - 10.1108/JD-05-2018-0067

M3 - Article

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JF - Journal of Documentation

SN - 0022-0418

IS - 1

ER -