EDITORIAL STANDARDS OF QUALITY: EXAMINING PATTERNS OF HEALTH IN SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING
The emergence of online and “open access” publishing has created massive changes in the publishing industry, some of which are yet to be fully realized. Since the invention of the printing press and until the advent of online options, publishing remained a fairly stable industry and scholarly publishing developed patterns of institutional “behavior” that came to be relied upon to assure that what is published is valid, accurate, reliable, and worthy of the public trust.
The emergence of the open-access business model that shifts the cost of publishing from subscribers who pay to read journal content, to authors who pay an Article Processing Charge to open their work to the public, began with the worthy intention of making scientific findings freely available to all scientists who have an interest in building on the work of other scholars, and to the public that might benefit from the work produced by scientists. Indeed, this intent remains one of the defining commitments that has sustained the growth of credible and legitimate open access publishing.
However, the opportunity for profit that is created in a model where an author pays a fee to support the publication of their work has proven to be irresistible to individuals with shady intentions, resulting in the phenomenon we now know as “predatory publishing.” Predatory publishers prey on unsuspecting authors who are eager to have their work published, luring them with the opportunity to pay to publish—an opportunity that is often “sweetened” with promises of rapid review, discounts for future publications, and other enticements. Typically these publishers post information on their Web sites that do not stand the test of scrutiny or collaboration (such as fake Impact Factor scores) and unreliable information about the individuals who are represented as being involved as Editors or reviewers.
So, it is important for all nurses who are involved in work that relies on what is published in nursing's scholarly journals—whether online, open access, or traditional paper subscription journals—to understand the patterns that constitute standards of integrity in publishing. In a nutshell, the key principles to look for include the following:
- Practices that protect against commercial and personal influence on editorial content, including peer review, and author statements related to any conflict of interest
- Evidence that all persons involved in selection and production of editorial content are fully qualified and adhere to Committee on Publication Ethics Codes of Conduct
- Transparent processes that assure that all editorial content has been adequately vetted by experts in the field.
- Assurance that all editorial content is permanent and that it is and will remain discoverable for the foreseeable future.
At the outset in 1978, Advances in Nursing Science (ANS) established patterns and practices that assure editorial integrity for the journal, and these standards have remained in place throughout all the production and formatting changes that have occurred. Our editorial practices are fully described in our “Information for Authors” page at http://edmgr.ovid.com/ans/accounts/ifauth.htm. These guidelines now include detailed description of the ANS hybrid model that retains the journal as a subscription journal, but it also provides an option for authors, after their manuscripts are accepted for publication, to pay an Article Processing Charge to retain copyright of their article, and to make their article open to the public.
The International Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE) has provided information to help guide nursing editors, scholars, readers, and students in understanding the new challenges involved in publishing. The INANE collaborative statement that provides a foundation for understanding the distinction between sound open access publishing and predatory practices is available in the September 2014 “Nurse Author and Editor” newsletter (http://www.nurseauthoreditor.com/article.asp?id=261). There is also more information about the meaning of “open access” on the ANS blog at http://ansjournalblog.com/2014/11/26/open-access-what-it-is-and-what-it-is-not/. We welcome your comments and questions on the blog, and hope you will follow the blog to receive e-mail alerts with each new post!
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN