IGI Global looks at how the scholarly publishing industry has changed in recent years.

Scholarly Publishing: A Look Back

By Taylor Chernisky on Sep 15, 2017
Scholarly Publishing In the academic publishing industry, having a transparent peer review process is crucial to the success of a publisher. Dr. Victor C. X. Wang, distinguished professor and one of IGI Global’s most acclaimed authors and editor of the Handbook of Research on Scholarly Publishing and Research Methods, recently discussed what changes have been made in the scholarly publishing industry, including the peer review process, since the release of this book in December 2014.

How has the scholarly publishing industry changed since this book was released?

There has been an increased emphasis on peer-reviewed content since this book was released. Dr. Wang elaborates, saying “readers and researchers may easily tell whether a book is peer reviewed. If a publication is not peer reviewed, that becomes something for practitioners or magazine readers.” Additionally, more libraries and researchers are actively seeking electronic content that is readily available to them, which has led to the growth of Open Access publications.

Has there been an increased amount of scrutiny drawn to the peer review process in recent years?

With the introduction of Peer Review Week and the industry-wide focus on transparency in the peer review process, one can guess that the answer to the question above is yes. Dr. Wang confirms this logic, stating, “As I continue to read newspaper coverage of research misconduct by certain public university professors, chairs and researchers, I can imagine the peer review process has drawn increased scrutiny in recent years. This kind of research misconduct often leads to denial of faculty tenure or promotion. In rare cases, it leads to frequent lawsuits between employees (faculty/researchers) and employers (universities or a research agency).” He adds, “Perhaps the peer review process has drawn increased scrutiny from Tier I research universities. In certain regional universities, faculty may secure tenure and promotions without a single publication. Their standard is much lower than that of Tier I universities.”

The ethical protection of a solid peer review process is a mindset that has been adopted by both publishers and academicians across the industry. With the growth of Open Access publications, there has been a growth of predatory publishers, which publish material that they falsely claim has been peer reviewed for a fee to the authors. These publications are perceived as credible and are often acquired into a library’s holdings, which begins to pollute the academic research pool. A group of researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute recently found that predatory journals are increasingly appearing legitimate on their websites, which has added to the influx of flawed, non-peer reviewed content into the market. Due to the rise of predatory publishers and this influx of non-peer reviewed content, the peer review process has been brought into the spotlight and highly emphasized.

How has the peer review process changed?

Thanks to technology, the peer review process has become significantly more advanced. This new technology allows publishers to run their peer review process virtually, which allows them to more easily keep track of reviews and support their authors and editors if the need arises. IGI Global manages their peer review process through the eEditorial Discovery® online submission system, which allows IGI Global staff to easily track and access all aspects of the peer review program.

Ultimately, how do you believe that the peer review process, as well as the scholarly publishing industry as a whole will continue to change over the next five years?

Within the next five years, the peer review process will become even more transparent. The trend toward transparency has already started, with the theme of Peer Review Week 2017 being “Transparency in Review”. Additionally, further technologies will be developed, which will further streamline the process.

“Universities in 5 years will rely more on the peer review process and the scholarly publishing industry. The goal of university researchers is to conduct research and create new knowledge. But knowledge without the peer review process and the scholarly publishing process becomes useless information,” says Dr. Wang.
IGI Global would like to thank Dr. Wang for providing his insights on the peer review process and the scholarly publishing industry. IGI Global is proud to celebrate Peer Review Week 2017, which will provide publishers around the world with a platform to discuss the importance of having a credible peer review process. For additional information on IGI Global’s Peer Review Policy, please click here, and to view our current Call for Papers, please visit our website. Additionally, be sure to follow Peer Review Week 2017 on social media using the hashtags #PeerRevWk17 and #TransparencyinReview.
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