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Open-access mega-journals and the future of scholarly communication

   

project logoNovember 2015 – October 2017

How are mega‑journals changing academia?

Open-access has radically changed the academic publishing landscape over the last few years, and mega-journals are an increasingly important part of this. Now a new research project is set to find out what effect they are having on academia and beyond.AHRC logo

A partnership between the School of the Arts, English and Drama, the School of Business and Economics at Loughborough University and the Information School at Sheffield University has secured £450,000 AHRC funding for a two‑year project investigating open‑access mega‑journals.

Dr Stephen Pinfield, from Sheffield University, is leading the project. Dr Jenny Fry and Claire Creaser are co‑investigators and are leading the Loughborough‑end of the project, assisted by Valérie Spezi.

Mega‑journals are making a real impact on how academics approach publishing their work. PLOS ONE, founded in 2006, was the first open‑access mega‑journal and is now the world’s largest academic journal, publishing 31,500 articles in 2013. Following its success, other establishedpublishers, including Nature, have launched mega‑journal titles.Open Access logo

The scope of these journals is unprecedentedly wide. Both PLOS ONE and Nature Scientific Reports publish articles across the entire fields of science and medicine. The typically online‑only publications make their articles freely available to all, usually by charging pre‑publication article‑processing charges, rather than reader subscriptions. Mega‑journals completely reverse the trend of increasing specialisation in academic publishing over the last 40 years by creating massive openly‑available databases of multi‑disciplinary research content.

pile of journalsThe research will include interviews with major stakeholders in the publishing industry, focus groups,bibliometrics‑based studies of mega‑journals and a large‑scale survey of researchers. Assembling this evidence will allow the team to draw conclusions of interest to researchers, publishers, research managers and policymakers.

Dr Pinfield said: “Claims have been made that open‑access mega‑journals represent the future of research publishing. They have certainly had an important role to date in remoulding the academic publishing market and could ostensibly contribute to changing the nature and reach of scholarship. They seem to have the potential to enhance the ability of scholarly publications to move across boundaries – disciplinary boundaries and also those between academia and the rest of society"

Contact us

Project website

Meet the team
Stephen Pinfield
Stephen Pinfield
Principal Investigator
University of Sheffield
Peter Willett
Peter Willett
Co-Investigator
University of Sheffield
Jenny Fry
Jenny Fry
Co-Investigator
Loughborough
University
Claire Creaser
Claire Creaser
Co-Investigator
Loughborough
University
Valerie Spezi
Valerie Spezi
Researcher
Loughborough
University

Simon Wakeling
Simon Wakeling
Researcher
University of
Sheffield

 

 

 

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