Transparent Publishing as a Starting Point

Nov 19, 2021 Ver este post en Español

Here at Orvium, one of the main precepts we believe in is full transparency in publishing - it’s one of the main foundations upon which we built our blockchain-powered platform.

Transparent publishing is increasingly popular and necessary in a world overrun by misleading reports, false claims, research misconduct, and substandard journal articles. Furthermore, non-transparent publishing is detrimental to scientific research, public health, and society as a whole.

What Is Transparent Publishing?

The biggest and most impactful precept of transparent publishing involves publishing the names of reviewers, their affiliations, and the handling editor along with accepted journal articles and papers in an effort to remove any doubt regarding the biases of involved parties.

However, the principles of transparency in scientific publishing involve much more than naming one’s reviewers. Following the principles (presented below) contributes to the integrity of scientific publishing and the advancement of society as a whole.

Open and transparent scholarly publishing also helps keep global journalistic standards and ethics and the quality of news reporting in check. Both of these are in urgent and dire need of more transparency, as evidenced recently by a Pew Research paper and the Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

The Principles of Transparent Publishing

The 16 principles of transparency in scholarly publishing were drafted by COPE (The Committee on Publication Ethics), the OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association), the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), and WAME (World Association of Medical Editors).

Following is a list of the principles. You will notice that each highlights the need for transparency regarding a specific element related to journals and publishers:

Website

  • The website of a journal must always show its dedication to high professional and ethical standards
  • It must not contain any misleading information
  • It must not attempt to mimic another website (journal, publisher, or otherwise)
  • It must include the aims and scope in a clearly visible and accessible section
  • It must contain rules for publication and criteria for authors
  • It must display ISSNs clearly

Name of journal

  • Needs to be unique
  • Needs to  be distinct enough from other journals so that it might not be mistaken for it and mislead potential authors/readers

Peer review process

  • Must be clearly marked regardless of whether the journal was peer-reviewed or not
  • Is defined as getting advice from experts in the field who are not involved or a part of the journal’s editorial staff
  • All policies and processes relating to it must have a clear description on the website (must include peer review method and procedures)
  • Should not guarantee acceptance or very short review times

Ownership and management

  • Must be clearly stated on the website, along with more information on it
  • Are forbidden from using journals or organizational names that might mislead authors or editors

Governing body

  • Must contain experts in the journal’s respective field/scope
  • Must have their full names and affiliations on the journal’s website

Editorial team/contact information

  • Must have their full names and affiliations on the journal’s website
  • The office of the editorial team must also have contact information on the website, along with a full address if one is available

Copyright and licensing

  • The policy must be clearly mentioned in the guidelines for authors interested in contributing
  • The name of the copyright owner must be present in all published articles
  • The terms for licensing information, as well as the licensing terms, need to be indicated on all published articles, in both PDF and HTML forms
  • Creative Commons licenses also need to be mentioned if the journal or author has used them for publishing
  • Any other policies related to publishing must also be stated (on final accepted versions or third part party repositories)

Author fees

  • All fees required for publishing, processing, or reviews must be disclosed in a clear place on the publisher’s website that is easy to find by anyone interested in publishing
  • If there are no fees, that must also be mentioned somewhere easily accessible

Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct

  • Publishers need to have a set process in place so they take action to identify and stop the publishing of research that was subject to misconduct
  • Misconduct includes: citation manipulation, data falsification/fabrication, plagiarism, and more
  • Misconduct must not be encouraged
  • If a published article is allegedly subject to research misconduct, the editor, publisher, or journal must abide by the guidelines established by COPE

Publication ethics

  • A journal must have set policies for publishing ethics
  • The policies must be visible on their website

Publishing schedule

  • The publishing schedule of a journal must be clear

Access

  • If there are any pay per view fees, they must be made clear
  • The precise way the journal and articles can be accessed must also be clear

Archiving

  • Plans for backup in case the journal is offline must be clearly indicated

Revenue sources

  • The business model of the journal must be clearly stated
  • The revenue sources must also be clear at all times
  • Fees and their payment status mustn’t influence editorial decisions

Advertising

  • Ad policy must be stated
  • The journal must say if their ads are random or selected
  • Ads mustn’t influence editorial decisions
  • Ads must be separate from published articles

Direct marketing

  • Must be appropriate, unobtrusive, and well-targeted

As you can gauge from this list, the rules leave little to chance when it comes to transparency. There is a guideline for just about anything related to scholarly publishing.

The full text of the principles of transparency and all the references related to their publishing can be reviewed on PublicationEthics.org.

The Future Is Orvium: Unlock Blockchain-powered Transparency

From our early days at Orvium, we positioned ourselves as a decentralized publishing framework dedicated to transparency and open science.

Blockchain technology enables full capabilities for transparent publishing, allowing for every action (revision, review, or otherwise) to be registered, tracked, and accessible by anyone.

For more information on how Orvium facilitates the movement towards transparent publishing, be sure to review the Orvium platform.

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