Plenary Sessions

National journals in an international context

Professor Jüri Engelbrecht, Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia

In most European countries, large or small, scientific publishing started after the foundation of academies or societies for fostering research. Besides scientific research, attention was often paid to publishing results of studies on national heritage. Estonia, for example, has published periodicals of societies since the mid-19th century. Now, in the 21st century, two streams of publishing can be clearly distinguished: (i) scientific and scholarly journals with high quality requirements striving to achieve excellence (published mainly in English) and (ii) scholarly publications focusing on studies on national heritage and nature (mostly in Estonian). The publications of the first group are all indexed in international databases, as are many although not all of the second group. High-level peer-reviewed publications certainly demonstrate the potential of a country’s research and enhance the visibility of research centres. These publications are also used to assess the quality of scientific output when making funding decisions. In general terms, besides the journals of the first group, which feature new scientific knowledge, the second group is needed as well because of the need to cover cultural aspects of scientific and other research. Taken together, all national scientific and scholarly publications contribute to the development of a scientific vernacular, which in turn is a basis for general scientific education. It depends very much on the community how all these aspects (excellence in research, culture and heritage, terminology and education) are interwoven into a whole – knowledge.

Open access and digital models

Deborah Kahn, BioMed Central, London, UK

Over the last decade, the open access publishing model has become an integral part of the scientific publishing landscape. As a growing number of funding agencies and institutions introduce open access mandates, it is becoming increasingly important for researchers to comply with these policies and make their research freely available in some way. This presentation will give an overview of recent developments in open access journal publishing. It will go on to summarise the benefits to journals of using this publishing model and, using some relevant case studies, will describe the experiences of different types of journal in launching in or moving to an open access model.

Social media tools and academic publishing

Alan J. Cann, Internet Consulting Editor, Annals of Botany; Department of Biology, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

As publishing moves from print-focused (slow, inflexible, expensive) to content-focused (digital delivery, article-level metrics/discussion), there is an increasing need for publishers to communicate with their audiences in ‘adjacent spaces’ beyond the traditional medium of the journal or book. Social technologies will continue to evolve rapidly for the foreseeable future, so publishers need to acquire sufficient expertise to remain agile in this area in the face of future developments. I will describe the Annals of Botany low-cost online social media strategy, which is extending the reach of the journal to new audiences and new demographic groups.  This includees blogs as distribution hubs for content via RSS, Twitter and Facebook, and emerging tools such as Flipboard which allow content discovery on new platforms such as tablet computers.

The Editorial Office

Linus Svensson, Oikos Editorial Office, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Submitting a manuscript for publication in an international scientific journal triggers numerous, partly independent, processes. These include voluntary (i.e. unpaid) expert evaluation of the manuscript, organization of the review process by managing editors and editors-in chief, and the handling of rebuttals and complaints. When a manuscript is eventually accepted for publication, an additional set of processes is launched: copy-editing, typesetting, proof correction and printing, all of which entail correspondence between the author and relevant personnel, possibly including invited guest editors and a publicity manager for press releases.  The Editorial Office acts as a focal point for all these actions: coordinating and controlling, checking and communicating, resulting in papers of high scientific and editorial quality.  Depending on the position of the Editorial Office versus its owner(s) and Board, the Office may manage business arrangements with copy editors, typesetters, printers, publishers and other suppliers. Further, personnel need to be hired, office space rented and Board meetings arranged.  This presentation will describe running an Editorial Office as multi-tasking in a very dynamic landscape.