Scholarly Publishing Round-up January 2019

Learn more about works in the Public Domain, open peer review and conflict of interest issues.

January 1, 2019 was Public Domain Day. Works first published in the U.S. from 1923 are open to all. The Hathi Trust has created a collection of over 50,000 works published in 1923 that are in the public domain. These works include books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and others, movies such as Cecille B. DeMille’s 1923 film, “The Ten Commandments,” songs, artworks and cartoons. Learn more in The Atlantic article: A landslide of classic art is about to enter the Public Domain.

Proceedings B and Royal Society Open Science plan to make the editorial process of papers as transparent as possible by mandating the publication of peer review reports on all manuscripts submitted on or after 2 January 2019. Learn more in the Royal Open Science announcement: Publication of peer review reports in Proceedings B and Royal Society Open Science.  Some journals that offer open peer review are The EMBO Journal, the BMJ, eLife among others.

Do authors disclose their conflicts of interest in clinical trials and journal publications? Two recent studies of interest are:

Learn more in the ProPublica article: Prominent doctors aren’t disclosing their industry ties in medical journal studies. And journals are doing little to enforce their rules.

What are the most-searched keywords in Scopus and Google for 2017 and 2018? Cancer’, ‘blockchain’ and ‘big data’ were among the top search terms. Learn more in the Nature article: Here’s what scientists searched for in 2018: AI is up, stress is down.

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act or the OPEN Government Data Act was signed into law on January 14, 2019. The bill is a government-wide mandate requiring U.S. federal agencies to publish all non-sensitive government information – including federally-funded research – as open data. Learn more in the SPARC announcement: A huge win for open data in the United States.


Open access at a crossroads. Physics Today. October 11, 2018.

Wallach JD, et al. Reproducible research practices, transparency, and open access data in the biomedical literature, 2015–2017. PLOS Biol, 16:e2006930, 2018.

Chawla, Dalmeet S. Assigning authorship for research papers can be tricky. These approaches can help. Science. December 20, 2018.