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BP Journal News

Dear All

Some news items from the Blackwell Publishing Newsletter.

Best wishes
Peter


 
 
 
Journal News
January 2004 - Number 3
 
Subscription renewals for 2004 are looking good and we shall report on 
this with other market information in the next issue. In this issue 
we have three meeting reports, including one on the open access 
debate. We are heavily involved in this continuing debate, giving 
talks at meetings and briefing societies who ask for more 
information. We shall be meeting with the Wellcome Trust and the 
House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee to discuss 
Open Access issues and will report back on this in future. Comments 
on the first two issues of Journal News have been encouraging, and we 
would appreciate any other feedback, particularly on the preferred 
format. 
 
Bob Campbell
President, Blackwell Publishing
 
 
 

 
 
Editorial Best Practice: Making the Impact Factor work for you
 
Love it or hate it, Impact Factor* remains the standard measure of 
journal quality. It contributes to key decisions across the entire 
spectrum of academic life, from tenure and promotion committees 
assessing candidates, through librarians deselecting journals and 
funding bodies evaluating bids, to researchers who are choosing where 
to submit an article.

Editors and societies face a simple question: how can we increase our 
journal's Impact Factor, and so optimise influence in the academic 
community?

Readership - at the heart of Blackwell's publishing strategy - is a 
crucial consideration. There is a virtuous circle whereby increased 
readership boosts citation levels, which in turn draws in good 
contributors, further driving up readership, and so on upwards. 
Blackwell is at the forefront of innovation in electronic readership, 
through active involvement in initiatives such as CrossRef, 
collaboration with Google to ensure that our content ranks highly in 
search results, market-leading arrangements with library consortia, 
and through continuous improvement of Blackwell Synergy.

The results are impressive. Electronic readership of Child Development 
increased sevenfold between 2001 and 2002. In the same period, its 
Impact Factor rose by 27 per cent, an increase founded on the 
excellent levels of readership.

There are also simple steps that you can take:
 
1. Court high impact academics and convince them to publish with you. 
When Blackwell launched Ecology Letters in 1998, the Editors invited 
60 prominent academics to submit papers. More than half did so, 
helping establish the journal in the community. Ecology Letters is 
now ranked 10/101 in ISI's Ecology category, and has recently been 
commended for having the highest percentage increase in Impact Factor 
in its field.

2. Ensure that your review process works efficiently and that 
turnaround times are short.

3. Publish your best papers early in the year to make the most of the 
citation 'window'. A paper published in January accrues citations for 
almost a year more than one published in December.

4. Commission review and survey articles. In 1999 and 2000, review 
articles published in BJU International attracted more than twice the 
level of citation of research papers. On average, review articles are 
cited two or three times as often as original articles.

5. Commission special issues with prestigious guest editors. Sociology 
of Health and Illness published two high impact papers per year 
between 1994 and 1997. This increased to seven papers in 1998, with 
six of the papers coming from a landmark special issue on health 
inequalities. The journal rose from 10th to 8th place (out of 97) in 
the next ISI Sociology rankings.

6. Network wherever you can. Personal bonds play a significant role in 
submissions.

7. Publish abstracts. They don't count as source items, so any 
citations they attract are divided by zero!

8. Avoid Case Reports and other short communications that are not 
viewed as research papers. They count as source items and almost 
never get cited.

9. Controversial articles are good. Vigorous debate can attract plenty 
of citations.

These strategies focus essentially on one issue: the perceived quality 
of articles published. Any steps you can take to improve quality - 
and the community's perception of this - will have a beneficial 
effect on your journal's Impact Factor.

*The Impact Factor is a numerical measure of how much impact the 
average article from a journal has on other published articles. It 
is:
 
The number of citations received in one year to articles published in 
the two consecutive years previously
_______________________________________________________________________________
The number of articles published in the two consecutive years 
previously
 
For further information about the Impact Factor, visit: 
http://www.isinet.com/essays/journalcitationreports/7.html/
 
Rod Cookson, Journals Editor, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford
 
 

 
Global Access to UK Research: Removing the Barriers
 
Following are notes from a meeting held by JISC (Joint Information 
Services Committee) in November 2003, chaired by Reg Carr (Oxford 
University Librarian).

In his opening address, Reg Carr made his view clear: "we are aiming 
for a scholarly communication system with much more open access". 
Delegates were largely from the pro open-access movement, and it was 
interesting to see them flexing their muscles. Their enthusiasm for 
OA was much more marked than the delegates at the recent meeting of 
the UKSG (serials librarians). There was, however, some acceptance of 
the unproven nature of the OA models followed by PLoS (Public Library 
of Science) and BioMedCentral and that the transition to such a model 
will not be easy.

* David Lipman (NIH) argued for open access as the right of taxpayers 
who have funded the original research. He gave as the prime example 
the human genome project where researchers made their findings 
accessible to all thus speeding up the research process. He also 
advocated better linking between journals, books and databases.

* Mark Walport (Wellcome Trust) admitted that he only reads what is 
accessible from his desktop. The Wellcome's mission is to foster and 
promote research; Walport thinks that this can be done more 
effectively through open access, which makes most use of the 
potential of new technology. He appreciates that many societies are 
dependent on publishing revenues but he would like to see them 
supported in a more transparent way. When pushed on whether Wellcome 
will insist on researchers it funds publishing with open access 
agencies he said this would not be fair on young researchers aiming 
to build a reputation.

* Dr Alicia Wise (JISC) outlined the FAIR (focus on access to 
institutional resources) programme. The idea with this is that 
content should be separate from the services built up around it and 
free, but with scope for publishers to charge for any value they add 
to it. She sees publishers as necessary partners in creating and 
delivering the vision.

There was less understanding of the potential of self archiving of 
articles in institutional repositories to undermine the current 
journal model. In theory it will be possible to find a paper through 
the global network of institutional repositories and access it free 
of charge, thus eliminating the need to pay the subscription or 
licence.

If editors, however, insist on authors not making the final published 
version of their article available from their institutional 
repository then authors may submit to other journals with a more 
relaxed policy. But once widespread open access is achieved, who will 
need to subscribe and therefore finance the publishing process?

* Stephen Pinfield (Nottingham University Librarian), like Alicia 
Wise, expects publishers will continue to have a role and that 
institutional repositories are complementary to the publishing status 
quo. His aim is to create 'institutional open-access OAI - compliant 
e-print repositories':
 
     * Institutional - set up / run by institutions, with content 
       produced by faculty
     * Open access - freely available on the web
     * OAI-compliant - interoperable, using the Open Archives 
       Initiative protocol for metadata harvesting
     * E-print - electronic version of research papers, pre-prints and 
       or post-prints
     * Repositories - of entire collections, archives, self-archiving.
 
In addition, Jean-Claude Gueden (University of Montreal) gave a review 
of the development of scholarly communications. He began with the 
'republic of letters', the original scholarly communication system 
that broke free from the court communication system in the 17th 
century. It was based on a researcher giving away their results but 
in return establishing witnesses for their being first. Academic 
societies moved more quickly than universities creating their 
journals and holding meetings. By the 19th century specialist 
publishers became involved partly to make contact with academics who 
might write books for them.

The 20th century saw exponential growth in journals with the cost 
close to production costs; office space and academics' time came 
free.

With the information crisis after WW2, libraries looked for guidance 
on what they could acquire. Gueden claims that the Science Citation 
Index established the concept of core titles in each subject which 
libraries must have and publishers have exploited this with their 
pricing policies. He suggested that the publishers' hold should be 
broken by academics returning to the republic of letters concept, 
achieving open, easy access based on "upstream financing".
 
Bob Campbell, President, Blackwell Publishing
 

 
 
 
Blackwell Publishing Statement on Open Access
 
A number of organisations have issued fairly lengthy explanations of 
their policy on Open Access. We have summarised our view in a short 
statement:

The combination of investment in technology and new pricing models is 
vastly increasing the access to journal content. As the publishing 
system develops it is likely that a number of different models will 
be tried and tested; the Open Access model is one of these. The 
customer, the research community, will decide what serves its needs 
best. Any publishing model will have to be sustainable, and not 
reliant on long-term subsidies or special funding.
 

 
 
 
 
Copyright Assignment - new freedoms agreed and forms to fill
 
Without the assignment of rights to the journal we are not able, 
legally, to publish any article or to make use of it electronically 
in the variety of ways that is now commonplace for any published 
research article. Our Copyright Assignment Form now takes into 
account a number of increasingly prevalent author 'freedoms', 
allowing us to accommodate the wishes of the majority of authors who 
publish in our journals with regard to their own ability to 
distribute and use their own work. For example:

* Authors are now free to post unrefereed 'preprints' of their article 
on the web prior to submission to a journal. This would not normally 
be regarded as publication.

* Authors are now free to post the accepted version of their own 
article on their own website for personal use. We ask only that they 
establish a link to the journal website and that they include the 
correct bibliographic references when available.

* There is no longer a requirement for authors formally to seek 
permission from Blackwell to use their own material from a journal 
article in another publication of theirs providing, of course, that 
full bibliographic acknowledgement is given.

All publishers can be audited with regard to their copyright policies 
and performance by national Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs), 
such as the Copyright Clearance Center in the USA and the Copyright 
Licensing Agency in the UK. Blackwell Publishing must demonstrate 
that for each journal it has 100% compliance with regard to author 
assigned copyright. This means we need to have filed all signed 
Copyright Assignment Forms for published articles. Although most 
original articles are received with a signed CAF, this is generally 
often not the case for other article categories.

By 31st March 2004, we will therefore need to refuse to put articles 
into production if a signed Copyright Assignment Form does not 
accompany them. If any article is sent to us without a signed CAF, it 
may lead to production delays or the publication of issues of reduced 
page extent. We have recently written to all editors with further 
information on this topic and we encourage all of you to ensure that 
all articles supplied to Blackwell are accompanied by signed 
copyright forms from the author.
 

 
 
 
Production in the Electronic Environment - innovations and issues to 
consider
 
The fourth STM serials production seminar was held in December 2003 
with the participation of several Blackwell delegates. This 
highlighted the key issues that are impacting journal production in 
light of the fundamental shift to the electronic environment. 
Following is a summary of the key themes of the meeting that feed 
into our own production strategies.

Bill Kasdorf spoke about XML (Extensible Markup Language). He gave an 
outline of the evolution of the XML language from its inception to 
the direction it can take electronic production processes in the 
future, summarized here:

* XML emerged from the initial question: what if there was an agreed 
mark-up language that could enable unrelated systems to communicate 
with each other?

* This question led to the second stage of experimentation, and the 
inevitable failure of some answers -SGML, for example, is to some 
extent a failure, though he said we should be properly respectful to 
failures like this one.

* The third stage, he said, was irrational exuberance - the 
realization that his will change the world, though most people don't 
want the world to change.

* The fourth stage has been reality therapy, ie. why does this not 
work like it is supposed to? This is where the customer's 
expectations are bigger than the creators' expectations.

* He concluded by saying that XML is still evolving, providing 
production processes with exciting potential, frequent 
disappointments, eventual progress and incremental improvements. The 
quest for simplification complicates things but much of it does work.

* XML allows every tiny component of content to be tagged, but the 
tags have to get into the files somehow. The key is to build the 
tagging into the workflow, including the future prospect of enabling 
authors and editors to do more with tagging at the beginning of the 
process.

* He said that even the people behind technology like this often do 
not know where it is going to lead us and are making it up as they go 
along. Innovation comes from wanting, not needing.

Bruce Rosenblum, a consultant working in the US, spoke about quality 
control in the production process, a big issue for all companies, 
including Blackwell. With the demands of new workflows in the 
production process, different inputs require new initial quality 
checks, different production processes require different production 
quality checks and more outputs require new proofing systems. He said 
that companies need to aim for a proactive rather than reactive 
approach to quality, and should start by reviewing the entire 
workflow. He pointed out that errors are more expensive to fix with 
each successive stage, so that, for example, copy-editing accuracy is 
more important now than it was in print.

Evan Owens from JSTOR, spoke about the archiving of electronic 
journals. He ran through the specific issues that all publishers 
would have to take account of for posterity, including packaging, 
file formats, versions, DTDs and the way in which XML is coded. There 
are also broader issues of how to handle external links, the 
cherished look and feel and functionality. He hoped publishers could 
produce archive-friendly content suitable for long-term preservation 
at a tolerable cost to the scholarly publishing community.
 

Anthony Watkinson, Journal Publisher, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford

 

 
 
 
Report from the First Society Publishing Seminar
 
"Excellent Job", "As an editor and research professor, I was 
fascinated", "Outstanding" -- these are just a few of the comments 
from attendees at Blackwell Publishing's 1st Annual Society 
Publishing seminar. From all accounts it was a success!

For some time Blackwell Publishing has planned to bring society 
clients together to learn about key issues in publishing from 
industry experts and each other. The first Blackwell Society 
Publishing seminar, held in December at the Algonquin Hotel in New 
York, drew 41 attendees representing societies in the humanities, 
social science, and science disciplines. Society editors and officers 
were able to network with one another, educate, share their views on 
key issues and challenges in publishing today, and benchmark the 
success of societies already succeeding in the electronic era.

Nine leading industry experts were recruited by Blackwell to cover key 
issues in publishing. These included Ren Olivieri on the challenges 
and opportunities in the future of journal publishing, Ann Okerson on 
open access, Don King on readership and the changing economics of 
publishing, Nancy Gibbs on library purchasing in an electronic 
environment, Dale Flecker on routes to content, Gordon Tibbitts on 
CrossRef and archiving, and Mary Waltham on strategies to increase 
influence and ISI ranking. Case studies were presented by two 
successful society publishers: Alan Kraut, Executive Director of the 
American Psychological Society and Gary Natriello, Editor of 
Teacher's College Record, who described how they were able to 
dramatically grow the profile, impact, and revenues of their society 
and journal in the face of today's publishing challenges.

Attendees and speakers alike were very charged and feedback was 
effervescent. We all learned a great deal about the issues and 
societies' views. It was clear that we found a format to deliver 
information and contacts that our society partners really need. We 
will broaden our reach to more partners as we hold the seminar 
annually. 
 
Amy Yodanis, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Blackwell 
Publishing, Boston
Dawn Peters, Publicity Manager, Blackwell Publishing, Boston
 



-- 

Best wishes

Peter Strickland
Managing Editor
IUCr Journals

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