Work interests: research, editing, ethnobotany, prehistory, plant genetics
Affiliation/website: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka
Preferred contact method: Any
Preferred contact language(s): English, German
Contact: email = researchcooperative-at-gmail-dot-com
Favourite publications: Aroideana, Economic Botany, Farming Matters, PLoSOne
Affiliations: 1996-present: National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka. 1995: Freelance editor, Kyoto. 1994: JSPS Research Visitor, Kyoto University, Kyoto. 1993: Research Visitor, Australian National University, Canberra. 1991: Visiting Researcher, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.1990: STA Fellow, National Institute for Ornamental Plants, Vegetables, and Tea (NIVOT), Ano, Japan
Contact: National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka, Japan 565-8511
Biographical: Established the Research Cooperative in 2001
Favourite Publications: Economic Botany, Ethnobotany Research and Applications, New Scientist, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter, Archaeology in Oceania
By Research Cooperative, 2017-03-10
Today, after reviewing the "Centennial Memorial Issue" of The Journal of Japanese Botany, I've set myself a challenge: locating 100 journals that have published centennial issues, at any time, and through them:
10,000+ years of scientific learning
Here is the start of my list (IJf=International Journal for, Jo=Journal of, JoT=Journal of The, Pot=Proceedings of the, T=The, TJo=The Journal of, QJo=Quarterly Journal of).
Using "centennial issue" and "journal" as key words, I could reach 4,000 years in one night (10th March 2017). So far, there is a clear American (and English-language) bias in the results obtained.
I will add more titles as opportunity permits. Please comment with any additions you can suggest for this!
- Accountancy, Jo
- Advanced Materials
- American Bar Association Journal
- American Educational Research Journal
- American Journal of Epidemiology
- American Journal of Medicine
- American Political Science Review
- Applied Psychology, Jo
- Audio Engineering Society, JoT
- Astrophysical Journal, T
- California Fish and Game
- Catholic Historical Review, T
- Dairy Science, Jo
- Economic Journal
- Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal
- FASEB Journal (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)
- Harvard Public Health Magazine
Indian Institute of Science, Jot
- Institute of Radio Engineers, Pot (now IEEE, Pot)
- Japanese Botany, TJo
- Mathematical Sciences of the University of Tokyo, Jo (Kodaira)
- Melanie Klein and Object Relations, Jo
- Micromechanics and Molecular Physics, Jo
- Parasitology, IJf
- Phoenix Business Journal, T
- Physical Chemistry, TJo
- Philippine Law Journal, T
- Political Economy, TJo
- Psychological Review
- Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Jo
- Review of Research in Education Journal
- Rhode Island Medical Journal
- Speculative Philosophy, Jo
- Speech, QJo
- Tennessee State University, TJo
- Tohoku Mathematical Journal
- Tribology, Jo
By Research Cooperative, 2017-01-04
One of the aims of the Research Cooperative is to promote interest in research writing and publishing among university students from the moment they begin university.
At some universities, in some countries, student journals and newspapers are published by students or university departments. They vary in style and aims, but they all provide students opportunities to start writing for an audience, and a publisher, and to work with editors.
Even a student newspaper with broad topic coverage might publish early efforts at science writing by students. Some student journals, like the late TANE journal of the late University of Auckland Field Club, New Zealand, can be nurturing grounds for professional scientific writing.
What is happening now in the Internet era?
Some time ago I created a blog site to start looking at student journals, but have not had have time to develop the idea further.
Members of the Research Cooperative might eventually like to develop this as a project inside our network. If you are interested, please visit the blog, and discuss the idea here.
By Research Cooperative, 2016-12-12
Greenleaf - a specialist publisher in Sustainability, Governance, Environmental Management and Corporate Social Responsibility.
By Research Cooperative, 2013-06-15
The newly-emergent PeerJ publishing platform is currently seeking qualified editors for editorial boards, in all possible subject areas.
Many subjects are already covered, but not those concerned with ethnobiology, ethnobotany and other ethnosciences.
Today I offered to be a founding editor for an "Ethnosciences" editorial board.
Does anyone here think that it might be good to establish such a Board at PeerJ?
Here is the main text of the note I sent:
Currently in the world there are a small number of journals that specialise in ethnobiology and ethnobotany, but few that deal with how humans interact with other aspects of the natural world.
It might be good, at this stage in PeerJ development, to build an editorial board for any contributions in the 'ethnosciences' (ethnozoology, ethnobotany, ethnomycology, ethnomedicine, ethnogeology, etc.). These are all areas that overlap.
[They] have in common a focus on people in particular places or cultures, and their interactions with the natural world.
By Research Cooperative, 2013-01-19
Recently I learned that the Science and Technology Select Committee, House of Lords (London, UK) was accepting submissions on a report of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings the Finch Group. The group was chaired by Dame Janet Finch, and the report, Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications, was published on 18 June 2012 (See Research Information Network, Internet, 18th Jan. 2013).
Today, at the last minute literally, I submitted the statement below. To summarise, I want to urge attention to the process of getting research published, and the people involved, and the value of the relationships that develop among people involved.
What happens before research is published may be of just as much importance to the scientific and social process as what happens afterwards. Scientific communication, as social product, does not emerge from a social vacuum. Without attention to the full communication ecosystem, attempts to develop open access science will fall on their feet.
Creating and developing the Research Cooperative is an attempt to give attention to the full communication ecosystem, in a practical and socially integrated manner.
My submission (below) was accepted, and we can track the progress of the inquiry on the open access inquiry page of the Committees website: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/science-and-technology-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/open-access/
House of Lords,
Science and Technology Committee,
re Research Councils UK (RCUK) Open Access policy
I am a New Zealand citizen resident in Japan, and working here as a full-time researcher at a national research institution (see full address below). I am currently collaborating in research projects with Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Warwick University.
I am also creator and administrator of The Research Cooperative (http://researchcooperative.org), an NPO social network for researchers, editors, translators, publishers and others involved in research communication. This network currently has almost 6,000 members globally, including many in the UK.
I write as someone with practical interests in open access publishing.
First I should state my strong support for the following statement in the Executive Summary of the Finch Group report: Our view is that the UK should embrace the transition to open access, and accelerate the process in a measured way which promotes innovation but also what is most valuable in the research communications ecosystem. (my underlining)
This submission also relates to the following issue:
* Engagement with publishers, universities learned societies and other stakeholders in developing the new open access policies.
I strongly urge the Committee to take a broad view of who the "other stakeholders" are, and also of what is most valuable in the research communications ecosystem. Regarding the latter, please understand that the ecosystem includes all the people involved in the production of scientific communications, before publication and distribution, and that these people include, in addition to researchers and students, the editors, proofreaders, copyeditors, illustrators, photograpers, IT specialists, website designers, reviewers, printing companies, language service companies, academic writing teachers, and so on. When we consider the costs and value, please understand that the needed involvement of all these also has costs, and also has value in terms of the social interactions that allow scientists to learn how to write and communicate effectively. Collaboration, and mutual support, and relationships of trust are part of the value embedded in the research communications ecosytem, but are fragile and not universally available.
I will summarise my further concerns as follows:
1. In the world of academic publishing, UK-based publishers and journals have been historically important, and remain important, for many research communities outside the UK, especially in the Commonwealth countries. Such communities can also be regarded as stakeholders, since they are often also contributors. The fate of historically important research journals published in the UK is of international interest.
2. The Open Access movement has addressed various important questions concerning the costs of publishing and distribution, but has not - to my knowledge - addressed important questions concerning the costs of preparing papers for publication. I will expand in three parts below (a-c)
a) To reduce publication costs, many Open Access publishers push the process of copyediting back onto the author, rather than taking full responsibility for the final presentation standards of the research they publish.
This may be done explicitly, in the instructions for authors, or it may done covertly, by simply accepting poorly-edited manuscripts for journals that the publisher has little interest in. I have attended a meeting where a representative of a major English-language publisher admitted that for journals with limited specialist audiences, the publisher takes a relaxed attitude to the standard of English, while hoping to maintain the standard of content. This is a difficult compromise to make. Poor content and poor presentation are closely correlated. For reviewers, badly prepared papers are difficult to read closely, and review standards may fall when journals ask reviewers to be lenient about the presentation.
b) Within the UK itself, and across different countries, there exist wealth gaps that limit how much institutions and individuals can spend on editing, illustration, and translation. Such costs are already mainly pushed onto individual researchers or their employers. These pre-submission costs should be given consideration as well the costs for submission, review, copyediting, distribution, and archiving. When discussion turns to the question of transparency in publishing costs, this should also include the existing costs (in time and money) to prepare papers for publication.
c) In various countries, including the UK, when graduate students have to prepare a 'thesis' in English as a second language (ESL writing), there is a tendency for supervisors and institutions to recommend preparing a 'thesis by papers'; in other words, the student may be given the option of putting most effort into the publication of short papers (that require less writing, in quantitative terms) rather than preparing a longer but unpublished thesis.
Many graduate students are thus under pressure to publish early, before they have had much opportunity to develop their thinking and writing skills through the process of writing a longer thesis. The students (and their departments) must determine how much to spend in order to publish each paper. As a result, students in wealthy departments may have chances to publish in high impact journals that charge high author fees and offer open access for readers, while students in less wealthy departments may have to pay fees themselves, and thus be limited to journals that continue to accept papers at no cost (traditional subscription journals).
For foreign students in the UK, who must necessarily spend more for editing costs (on average), the early pressure to publish creates a further economic barrier to academic success.
A journal may be 'Open Access' for readers, but the road to that journal may be far from open. 'Gold-Standard' open access journals are too rare to have much impact on this problem. If a Gold-Standard journal is also maintaining a high standard of presentation (as it should), then economic barriers (at the preparation stage) may still exist for many researchers and graduate students.
I am sorry that I cannot offer any easy solutions to these problems. My aim is merely to recommend these problems for consideration by the Committee.
Dr Peter J. Matthews
Field Sciences Laboratory &
Department of Social Research
National Museum of Ethnology, Senri Expo Park, Suita City, Osaka 565-8511, Japan.
Tel. +81-6-6878-8344 (office).
Tel. +81-6-6876-2151 (exchange, J. only)
By Research Cooperative, 2012-10-15
I arrived in Oxford last night for a short visit, after a long journey from Japan.
Today I will give a talk to some archaeologists. If I have time, I'll go for a walk and try to photograph the front entrance of Oxford University Press. We passed by last night, and it looks very grand.
I'd like to make our network famous by association! :-)
Perhaps I can stuff our brochure through the front door, and hope that the cleaner does not throw it away.
Postscript: The next day the morning sun was brilliant; I could photograph the imposing entrance, and then tried to enter.
"No sir, you may not enter here" a watchful door guard announced, stepping forward with authority and a brisk step.
This was the staff entrance. A morning rush of staff was arriving on foot and by bicycle. Behind the gates, a courtyard led on to a huge complex of buildings. Another day of serious work was starting at this giant of world academic publishing. It is a giant physcially and in academic terms.
Feeling dwarfed, I walked on to enjoy other destinations.
On a fine day, Oxford is a great place for walking, and I would rather be out than in.
By Research Cooperative, 2012-05-21
Here at the Research Cooperative we wish to support new journals and publishers that are genuinely able to support research communication by authors, research institutions, and academic associations.
This must include journals of no repute, since new journals by definition have not had time to develop a reputation, good or bad.
We therefore need ways to weed out scam or near-scam journals that have been created in order to trap authors and collect author fees.... another term for this is 'predatory publishing' (see the Scholarly Open Access blog on this subject).
Even if a journal is being produced in good faith, authors have a right to know exactly who is publishing their work, and how, and why.
Every author should seek such information before choosing a publisher and publication. It is naturally difficult for new journals to build their reputation, and to gain sufficient support to gain long term stability.
Whenever a new journal is started, there is always a risk that it will fail soon (within months or a few years), and the authors' work will be lost or no longer easy to find.
Accepting such risk is reasonable if:
- we want to support the journal with our contributions,
- the journal or publisher is making sincere efforts for good reasons, and
- a secure repository exists for the issues published, so that they can be found even if the journal ceases to be published and the journal website is closed.
We do not support publishers and journals that are managed anonymously. We may choose to delete anonymous or suspicious requests for the attention of our members and authors, without notification.
The owners of such journals are clearly unwilling to take responsibility for long term management of the journals. There is no reason for authors to trust them, even if the owners have a sincere wish to help others.
Full or substantial transparency in the operation of a publisher or journal is the primary requirement for support from our network.
We do have further criteria for acceptance or rejection. Each case will be judged according to a range of criteria. Further criteria are indicated below.
Negative attributes of a publisher or journal
1. The journal claims an international or high reputation despite being no more than, say one or two or three years old.
2. The journal description uses a template text that can be easily found on many other new journals, is not original in any way, and is not cogent.
3. No specific historical background is given, indicating why the journal was created, by the particular people or organisations involved in creating it.
4. The chief editor or secretary are not identified by name and address, or details cannot be verified by more than one means, or consist only of links to profiles set up on free social networks.
5. Contact details are similarly insufficient for editorial board members.
6. Supporting organisations or institutions are not identified with details that can be verified by more than one means, or the details consist only of links to profiles set up on free social networks or directory sites.
7. All important email addresses (editors, board members, info, journal contact address, fee recipients etc.) end in non-institutional suffixes (e.g. gmail.com and yahoo.com), or end in suffixes belonging to the domain of the publisher or journal.
8. Journal details cannot be found in reputable journal databases and monitoring services such as Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), ScienceDirect, FirstSearch at OCLC.org, WorldCat.org, or SCImago Journal & Country Rank. (NB In the WorldCat search system, the 8 digit ISSN number must be entered with a hyphen in the middle).
9. Journal and publisher details are mainly or only found in databases or directories that have no good reputation, accept all submissions, or are not focused on academic or educational publications.
If a journal cannot be found using an ISSN number reported on the journal website, then this is immediately a cause for concern, since the cost to register a journal is not high, and the process is quick (from my own experience with a museum serial based in Japan). Journals can help themselves by linking their website to the search field of a reliable ISSN search service.
10. Authors are asked to submit and commit an accepted paper (e.g. by signing a copyright statement) to the journal before knowing who or what will be receiving any payment needed for processing or distribution.
11. The copyright statement is effective immediately, from the date of signing, rather than being effective only if and after the article has been published. Authors should be able to withdraw a publication at any time before an actual publication deadline, if they have a good reason to, without the publisher being able to claim ownership of copyright of the unpublished paper.
12. The copyright policy of the publication or publisher is not explained in a public statement, or will not be explained to the author until after the paper has been accepted or published.
13. The journal or publisher asks authors to transfer all possible copyrights and use-rights to the journal or publisher, including for example: copying for educational purposes, translation rights, archiving rights, and other rights and uses that authors might like to keep or at least negotiate; a journal can benefit from favourable (and free!) publicity if authors and readers are free to copy and transmit articles for research and educational purposes, so a tight copyright policy also suggests a short-sight journal management.
14. The journal title is badly designed and does not correspond to the journal aims described elsewhere in the journal description or website. For example, the title may contain redundant terms, or indicate a theme that is either much more narrow or much broader than that described in a full explication of the journal aims.
15. Journal operating costs or funding sources or supporting organisation(s) are not explained in any concrete terms, and there is no way to access a public record of the accounts of the journal or the publisher
Note: for truly global academic publishers that are listed public companies, and for many public research organisations, we can at least expect to see some public record in the form of annual reports, even if these do not refer to specific journals (privately held companies are usually not legally required to reveal a public record, though it may be to their advantage to do so).
16. Although the journal is evidently based in a country with low income levels (e.g. as indicated by the composition of the editorial board), author fees are high relative to income levels in that country, and are not expressed in the currency of that country.
17. The journal, journal editor, or journal publisher have no discoverable reputation. Of course, this is unfair for new journals and new publishers, but newcomers to academic publishing must accept that it takes time to build up a publication from nothing. Reputation is where much of the value of any publication resides, especially in the academic world. It can be established with personal and local networks, a small-scale publication well-made, and then gradually expand.
18. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Terms of Service' (TOC) statement, or similar statement, or the TOC link does not work.
19. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Support' page or link, or the 'Support' link does not work.
20. The website of the publisher or journal has no 'Privacy' statement or link, or the 'Privacy' link does not work.
Suggestions for other criteria are welcome (please comment below, or contact me with a private message)
I, for one, would like to see journals offer forums where readers, authors, and journal editors can all meet and discuss any aspect of a journal's operation - i.e. an open feedback loop, with appropriate moderation.
These are serious matters. We do need help from Co-op members in order to avoid introducing false or misleading information into our network. (Contact the author of this message if you can help).
See also this comment: Know a good journal when you see it!
Scholarly Open Access (Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing)
Update (3rd April 2017): the above privately maintained site became an established go-to reference but ceased operation abruptly in 2016. Please see the Internet Archive and other sources for information about the site and the efforts of Jeffrey Beall, the site author.
Bikas blog(comments on computer science journals, and criteria for verifying them)
Brian Martin(scientific fraud and the power structure of science)
Fake Journals Team (no updates since 2011; link deactivated here 3rd April 2017)
By Research Cooperative, 2012-04-04
There seems to be some wishful thinking about the power of internet technology to launch new journals.
The fact that online journals can be set up with an off-the-shelf system, does not mean that people will read them or that authors will submit papers of value.
Many specialist journals already exist, with concise names.
Now it seems that many new journals try to distinguish themselves by adding terms such as 'global' or 'universal' to what might otherwise be a concise title. In the past, publishers were more modest, and made do with 'national', or 'international'.
A star example of successful open access publishing is the PLoS collection of journals. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) started with a single journal, and has been gradually expanding, over many years.
Time is needed to build up the support of contributors, reviewers, editors, readers, and academic organisations. Such support, from many people, is needed for any journal to flourish.
Any new journal needs to show how it has obtained such support, or how it can hope to build such support.
Unfortunately, numerous new journal editors or managers are trying to establish entire families of journals almost instantaneously. Since it is clearly impossible to do this and build the necessary support networks at the same time, potential contributors must look carefully at what each journal offers, what it will cost in comparison to other journals (i.e. what payment the contributor is expected to make) -- and whether there is any true academic merit in having original work published in a new journal that is unlikely to have continuity and a long future.
Authors must also beware of the fact that if they do not have to pay until after the paper is accepted, they may have trouble getting the paper accepted by another journal because the first journal has already accepted the paper. This form of delayed payment can in fact be a trap that makes it difficult to retract a paper from the submission and publishing process, if the author realises too late that the cost is going to be too high. So again - beware!
It is likely that more new journals fail than succeed - soon after being launched, and despite the sincere efforts of their owners and editors.
Establishing a new journal that fills a gap in the academic publishing world requires a huge amount of dedication by many people. If authors are asked to make large payments in order to publish in journals with no history or reputation, they should at least be able to see how those funds are really used. A new journal should be investing any income in making the journal better.
Unscrupulous journal owners could try to establish a journal with the primary intention of using author fees for the income of the journal owner, without being able to provide any service of value in return.
Some major existing academic publishers also charge high fees, for profit, but they can do this because their journals have a reputation that is valuable to the author, are known to have support within the academic community, and have access to appropriate and skilled reviewers and editors. There are reasons to be concerned about how such journals are managed and priced, and new publishers cannot expect authors to contribute articles and pay high costs when the journal is not already well known.
To give authors more confidence in a new journal, it might be useful if author payments are not made to journal account, but to an author-controlled account that the author can use -- at his or her discretion -- to directly pay the editors and copywriters involved in producing a publication, and to the web-hosting company for a stated fraction of the journal hosting costs, and eventually to the journal owner. The margin that then goes to the journal owner could then be made transparent, and might appear more reasonable.
Unfortunately, making online payments, and negotiating prices, is difficult for many people, for a variety of reasons, so this idea may not be practical.
To produce a serious journal does involve numerous costs, and these costs are greatest for journals that:
(a) lack a volunteer support network, and
(b) mainly attract contributions from authors who are not experienced writers, and whose work therefore needs more attention from reviewers and copy-editors.
A volunteer support network can be provided by an existing academic Society, for example, if such a Society decides to publish a journal.
My advice to authors is to look carefully at how costs are explained, the identity and qualifications of the journal owners and managing editors, and evidence for academic support from reviewers, academic societies, and so on.
Meanwhile, I invite authors not to contribute to the above-mentioned "Universal Journal of Global Studies of Everything" as this journal does not exist (I hope). This joke title also includes redundancy, something that I see all too often in my own work as an editor. As the non-editor of the above non-journal, I take full responsibility.
I do encourage authors to seriously investigate any new journal that might offer to handle their papers Our network has been designed in part to assist new publishers, in addition to well-established and well-known publishers.
The fact that our network offers support to a journal is no guarantee that the journal will succeed, or that the journal is suitable for an author's work, or that the journal owners really have the capacity to build and maintain a journal that they have launched.
If a sincere attempt to start a journal does eventually fail, then all participants in the fiasco (authors, reviewers, editors, and journal owners) may nevertheless learn useful lessons.
FINAL NOTE: a quick way to discover many new online publishing efforts is to conduct a keyword search on phrases used in the explanatory section of an existing new online journal.
The titles of many new online journals show similarities and repetition ("the Global this", "International that", and "Universal other"), and so do their contents!
See for example, a Google search on the phrase "except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture, or thesis" (from an author guidelines section).
This phrase has been used by many different publishers, which suggests a large amount of automation (and possibly plagiarisation) in the very process of establishing new journals.