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Where to Start - Scholarly Communication

This guide provides you with information and resources to increase your knowledge about scholarly communication. 

Author Rights

The author of a creative work owns the copyright to that work and has full rights to print, distribute, perform, or circulate their work as they see fit. Authors can give certain rights to publishers, so that publishers can print and distribute their work. However, in many traditional publishing models, the author signs over most, if not all of their copyrights which can hamper their ability share their work with friends and colleagues, build upon the work for future projects, or use the work as part of their teaching curriculum.

Author Addendums

Once an article has been accepted, and publisher sends a copyright agreement, authors can add an addendum protecting their right to reproduce, distribute, and display their work, produce derivatives, or make noncommercial uses of their work. Most publishers are open to negotiating and adding author addendums. Using addendums makes it easier for authors to share their work with colleagues, submit their work to publicly accessible repositories, and comply with publicly funded grant mandates.

Creative Commons

Another way to protect author’s rights is to use a license through Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to creating a globally accessible public commons of knowledge and culture. They help people share their work by offering a free, simple, and standardized way to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of those works.  Licensing logos and information can be embedded into online content or added to print media. A Creative Commons licenses can be used for artistic works (photography, videos, music, designs, etc.), online content (webpages, infographics, etc.), or educational resources (books, course materials, 3D modeling, etc.).

Scholarly Impact Measurements

Bibliometric or citation metrics are a way of quantifying scholarly impact by measuring the number of author, article, or journal citations. These metrics are often used for consideration in annual and tenure reviews. Scholarly impact can be measured in a number of ways, and it is important to consider the context of these measurements. For example, highly specialized fields may have a lower impact simply because the field is so narrow. Similarly, citation metrics often lack context which can vary wildly from metric to metric. However, citation impact can provide insight into how your work is being used and disseminated.

Author level Metrics

Authors can measure their impact by looking at the number of citations to each of their articles or they can look at their more cumulative h-index. The h-index is based on the total number of articles an author has written and how many times each of those articles has been cited. For example, an authors with 5 articles, that has been cited 5 times each, will have an h-index of 5. An author’s h-index may vary database to database, depending on how many articles are available through that resource. Authors should look at their h-indexes through several databases, focusing on resources with the most articles by that author.

 Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar offer ways to look up individual authors and their citation metrics. Google Scholar and Scopus author profiles are free to use, while a subscription to Web of Science is provided by the library. Web of Science and Scopus look in their respective databases to find authors and gather citation information. Having a unique identifier such as an ORCID can make it much easier to link research back to the true author, especially if the author has a common or easily misspelled name.  

Google Scholar profiles allow researchers to track their citation impact through the Google. However with Google Scholar, there is no way to know if the citation counts are coming from scholarly articles, dissertations, conference proceedings, pre-prints, or other grey literature. Thus, the citation impact numbers calculated by Google Scholar are often higher than through other tools.  Google Scholar also constantly generates a list of articles as possibly being written by the author, and must be consistently maintained. Regardless, Google Scholar can be an effective tool for better understanding the broader impact.

Journal level metrics

Journal citation metrics measure the impact of a journal over time within their specified discipline. Journals are measured in a variety of ways such as Journal Citation reports, impact factor, h-index, or journal ranking. These metrics help determine how influential or prestigious a particular journal is within a given field or discipline. The higher the rankings and impact, the more competitive it is to be published in that journal. Journals may also be ranked according to yearly or cumulative citations, h – index, and other factors.

Alternative Metrics

Alternative metrics, or more commonly altmetrics, are another form of measurement and look at research online attention through social media or other nontraditional means of dissemination. Alternative metrics look at the number of times an article is mentioned on news sites, in social media posts, online blogs, public policy, or Mendeley. Two main companies track alternative metrics, PlumX Metrics which is a part of EBSCO Information Services and Altmetric.com.  Alternative metrics tend to capture more trendy information and update faster than other citation measurements.

Open Access

Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly content that is freely available online, free of most copyright and licensing restrictions to promote sharing, and available to anyone with the technological means of accessing it. There are no charges to access OA material so readers are not limited by their ability to pay. OA promotes a culture of open and more equitable access. With traditional publishing, the cost to access scholarly material continues to skyrocket and subscription price increases often outpace an institution’s ability to pay for access.  OA removes that paywall and makes scholarly material available to everyone. In addition to scholarly articles and books, datasets and educational materials can also be open access. Because OA is more accessible, more people can access, read, and use that information. Authors that chose to publish their work openly, tend to have a greater citation impact than through traditional publishing models.

  • Common Questions about OA
  • Gold OA - is the most common type of OA. Scholarly articles are peer reviewed, edited and made freely available online for public access. The content on found on OA peer reviewed journals is high quality and equitable to the content found on traditionally published scholarly journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals provides a list of reputable OA academic journals
  • Green OA - includes institutional or subject repositories that provide public access to scholarly content. Often times work found in these repositories are pre-prints, or versions of articles that have yet to undergo finally formatting changes before being formally published. Green OA is important because it provides access to pre- print versions of articles that might otherwise be locked behind paywalls.
  • Hybrid OA - a combination of traditional and gold OA. Hybrid OA journals have some content that is openly accessible and some that is pay-for-access subscription. Depending on publisher policies, the author may be able to opt to have their article published openly, there may be an embargo period before the article because OA. The submitted articles undergo the same peer review and editorial process regardless of if or when they become OA.

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational resources such as textbooks, syllabi, quizzes, or other course material that is freely available online and openly licensed for sharing, mixing, modification, or re-use. OER helps students by lower the cost of attending college, and they perform just as well if not better in classes with OER. Many students can’t afford to purchase or rent their textbooks, and opt to go without, often at the cost of their grades. Since OER is freely available online, students don’t have to worry about purchasing materials. If you are interested in utilizing OER in your classroom, please contact the Electronic Resources & Scholarly Communication Department. Tarleton has a list of OER content providers and a list of helpful OER resources to help you get started.

Predator Publishing

Publishers that use deceptive or unethical tactics to lure in authors and editors, resulting in low quality peer review and publication standards are considered predatory.  A predatory publisher’s main concern is to make a profit, not disseminate or evaluate research. However, there is no steadfast, agreed upon definition of what a predatory publisher is. There are numerous ways a publisher can act unethically or be lax in their quality standards.

Predatory publishers are a danger because they spread low- quality or questionable research and do not have the authors, or the academic community’s best interest in mind. Predatory publishers are also dangerous because they may ignore copyright and publish your work without permission, forgo peer review procedures, or lack plans for the long term preservation of your work. Publishing in unethical or low quality journals can damage you and your institution’s reputation, especially if fraudulent cases are taken to court.

To protect yourself from predatory publishers, use the tools available to you.

  1. Look over the publisher’s website and evaluate them for transparency and honesty. Use the guidelines and tools found on thinkchecksubmit.org to determine if the journal may have predatory tendencies.
  2. Check if a journal is listed in reputable indexes. See if the journal is indexed in Directory of Open Access Journals. This directory has stringent application that journals must follow in order to be listed. Cabells Predatory Reports evaluates journals for deceptive publishing practices and provides information about any violations.
  3. Contact the Electronic Resources and Scholarly Communication Department. Determining if a publisher is predatory isn’t always obvious. Contact the library if you are ever unsure or need help finding journal information.

Find Out More:

Katie Pierce Farrier

Scholarly Communications & OER Librarian
Electronic Resources & Scholarly Communication
kpierce@tarleton.edu
254-968-9456