Tag Archives: science communication

„Review the scientific review process“

Peer review is the central mechanism to verify the quality of scientific manuscripts. According to the internet platform SciRev, peer review processes are often lengthy, which delays the distribution of valuable, novel knowledge within the scientific community. To streamline this phase in scientfic knowledge dissemination, SciRev aims to increase transparency of scientific review processes across journals. Therefore, researchers are invited to evaluate their review experience with a journal based on various characteristics, such as duration of review rounds or rejection time or overall satisfaction with the review process. The information provided is aggregated into scores, which feed into a comprehensive database, so that journals become comparable.


Ultimately, researchers can search for journals with an efficient peer review procedure and benefit from timely publication while journal editors have the opportunity to compare their journal’s performance with that of others.

Check out the website to contribute to the database or benefit from your peers’ journal review experiences.

Paper published: Open post-publication-peer-review

Together with other selected contributions from the last workshop higher education management, the German journal “Hochschulmanagement” (higher education management) published our paper “Open post-publication-peer-review: an alternative to double-blind reviews in academic journals?”.

The study contributes to the  discussion about alternative forms of scientific communication by evaluating the actual dissemination as well as the potential use of open post-publication-peer-review (OPR). The study is based on survey data with a sample of 2.800 authors of academic papers. Results show that only one third of respondents believe that OPR is useful for enhancing the operative reliability of review processes. The advantages of OPR discussed in the literature are only relevant for the general willingness of authors to publish with OPR in principal. However, when it comes to actual publication decisions (open vs. blind peer review), these potential advantages are only of minor importance for the selection of an appropriate journal (with the exception of heterodox research which indeed seems to benefit from OPR). Instead, the choice between the different channels of scientific communication is based on institutionalized aspects (legitimacy, quality, design of the systems) and behavioral considerations (expected negative group dynamics and increased workload of OPR). Within the limitations of our dataset, we conclude that the current potential of OPR to solve the problems of traditional double-blind proesses is limited.

Bögner, I. & Hattke, F. (2016): Open Post-Publication-Peer-Review: Eine Alternative zur doppelt-blinden Begutachtung in Fachzeitschriften? In: HM – Hochschulmanagement 11(3), 69-74.

Systematic copyright violations to boost academic profiles?

As reported by the Korea Harold, South Korea is facing academic scandal. Prosecutors suspect 200 professors and several employees from academic publishers to be involved in a huge copyright-violation complot. Professors allegedly changed the covers of existing books which were authored by other scholars and published them in their own names. Most original authors seem to have had no idea what was going on, others are accused of having particpated in the fraud for financial compensations. Investigations suggest that scholars tried to boost their academic profiles ahead of rehiring assessments.

If accusations turn out to be true, it would raise serious concerns about the certain quality control mechanisms in scholarly publishing and HRM practices. It also seems to provide a rich case for studying the dynamics of corruption in academia.

List of predatory publishers and journals

In his post, Rick already reported on the problem of fake science in predatory journals. After being contacted by a dubios publisher, I came across a blog on scholarly open access that provides a list of predatory publishers. The blog seems pretty reliable to me, so it may be worth checking the comprehensive list in case you have doubts about the trustworthiness of a publication opportunity. It also provides excellent information about open access in general.

“Progress Relies on Both”

Reproducibility is a core value of research. An open collaboration of more than 100 authors has recently conducted replications of empirical studies published in psychology journals and found that replication effects are considerably weaker than the original effects. While 97% of original studies had significant results, only 36% of replications had. The authors conclude that journal reviewers and editors may reject replication studies as unoriginal and prefer innovative studies instead. However, “innovation points out paths that are possible; replication points out paths that are likely; progress relies on both.” Read the full paper in Science here.

Towards an Open Research Culture

Although transparency, openness and reproducibility are core values of science, the academic reward system does not sufficiently incentivize according practices. In the present reward system, excessive emphasis on innovation and the neglect of negative and null findings may undermine practices that support verification and replication. The Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Committee has now released eight standards for more open journals’ procedures and policies for publication. You can download these guidelines here and read the full article in the Science Magazine here.

IndiKon’s short visit to Munich

The Network for Science Management (Netzwerk Wissenschaftsmanagement) invited us to participate in their annual meeting which took place in Munich last week. The network aims to support the professionalization of administration through regular exchange of ideas and experiences and has, thus, a strong practical focus. Together with Isabel Welpe, Jutta Wollersheim, and Stefanie Ringelhan from the Chair of Strategy and Organization at TU Munich, I was invited to talk about the governance of academic cooperation from a scholarly standpoint.

The research group from Munich held an impressive talk about quantitative assessments of research productivity and possible performance paradoxes, the differing intensity of collaboration between PhD students of economics and among PhD students of management, and the possibilities of new forms of collaboration (e.g. crowd research), publication (e.g. open peer review and open access) and scholarly communication (e.g. web 2.0 applications). If I might say so, their research looks very interesting and especially their new ventures promise relevant insights.

After their talk, I presented the results of two studies which are currently under review for publication (fingers crossed). The studies approach the emerging actorhood of universities from a governance- and a resource-perspective. As already reported earlier, governance reforms in the early 2000s have strenthened managerial mechanisms and delegated decision-competencies to the upper echelons of universities, the president, vice-presidents, and chancellors. So we asked ourselves, whether the composition of this “top management team” has any influence on how successful the university is in acquiring competitive funding for large collaborative projects? The results suggest that socio-demographic diversity of decision-makers has positive effects on performance in that regard. The second study investigates the increasing professionalization of administration in specialized central support units. Results indicate that performance is not always enhanced by these developments. In some cases, voluntary collective action seems to be more important than support from such units. However, we’re currently gathering additional data and running further tests on our models, so the final results may be more rubust and provide further clarity.

There was broad consensus about the implications of the first study. Some were reminded of Niklas Luhmann who stated that complexity can only be reduced by complexity – a nice thought, indeed. The results of the second study were, not surprisingly, seen a little bit more controversial. I’m grateful for this opportunity to discuss our research with practitioners in the field (many thanks to Dr. Brauns from the Thuringian Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture).

On Fake Science in “Predatory” Journals

While the future of scholarly communication is still written in the stars, the present publication system reveals its shady sides: In “predatory” journals, activists who pursue political or commercial goals circumvent peer review and publish fake evidence on scientific or pseudo-scientific issues (e.g., reporting alien sightings, denying global warming or promoting untested medicines) in return for payment of a publication fee. The problem: Once published, the articles get indexed in Google Scholar and thus flow freely into the communcation process in science and beyond. Tom Spears reports on this problem in the Ottawa Citizen.

CfP: The Future of Scholarly Communication in Economics

The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) and the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (ZBW) are organizing a workshop on the topic “The Future of Scholarly Communication in Economics”. The event will be held in Hamburg on March 30-31, 2015. Approximately 8 papers will be selected for presentation. Mark Armstrong (Oxford University) will deliver a plenary talk.

The journal “Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal” is planning to publish a special issue related to the workshop. For the workshop, the committee invites researchers from economics and other disciplines to submit related empirical and theoretical contributions. Among the areas of interest are:

  • Pros/cons of the review process, and new ideas for improvements
  • Different methods to measure reputation
  • Impact of open access on the publication market
  • Inclusion of research data in the publication process
  • The changing role of publishers, libraries, and scientific communities
  • The potential of social media tools (blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook etc.) in scholarly communication

Submission deadline: November 30, 2014 (completed or draft papers preferred). Find the call for papers here.

Scientific advancement or paper inflation?

The body of available management literature has grown considerably during the past years. A search in Thompson Reuters’ ISI Web of Knowledge shows 19,143 articles published in the journals listed in the Journal Citation Reports for Busines and Management in 2013. Meaning 52.4 new articles were published per day – or one every 27.5 minutes. These numbers have almost doubled since 2003 when “only” 30.9 articles were published per day. And they are more than five times as much as 1993 (9.7 articles per day).

But how may we interpret these numbers? Is this increase a sign of scientific advancement, as treated by most rankings and performance-management systems? Or does it indicate a dysfunctional “inflation” of publications without further enlarging the scientific knowledge-base?

Either way, the vast majority of publications are rarely recognized by the scientific community (i.e. cited) at all. Of course, it’s not possible for scholars to keep up with the development of management science by reading all published articles. But considering this trend, we should ask ourselves wether there are more effective ways to communicate our scholarly results and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.