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Welcome to the Publishing Research Consortium


The Publishing Research Consortium is a group of associations and publishers, which supports global research into scholarly communication in order to enable evidence-based discussion.

Our objective is to support work that is scientific and pro-scholarship. Overall, we aim to promote an understanding of the role of publishing and its impact on research and teaching.

The Publishing Research Consortium produces a GUIDE to TEXT MINING and SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING

PRC has produced this easy-to-read guide - in about 20 pages including glossary etc - to help remove the confusion which surrounds this topic. It takes the reader through what text and data mining are (and the difference between them), how they are done and what publishers and others have to do to enable them. People in different fields can mean different things by these terms, but armed with this you should be able to discern what type of 'mining' they are actually referring to. It is hoped this will be useful not only to scholarly publishers, but to all those potentially involved, including policymakers, librarians and even researchers themselves.

(February 2013)

Report on the potential role of intermediaries in the payment of APCs

RIN has produced a report of a (mainly) interview study looking at the potential roles and issues surrounding the payment of APCs (Article Publication Charges) for Gold Open access. It looks at a variety of issues, including those for publishers.

(December 2012)


Effect of PMC on freely available articles from the APS?

A new study by Phil Davis looks at downloads of freely available articles from the American Physiological Society journals' site when they are also made available on PubMedCentral . A control group of 'non-PMC' articles is used. It looks as though the APS site suffers a 14% loss. The link above is to the Scholarly Kitchen post which also gives links to the original published article by Davis as well as some interesting discussion.

(September 2012)


Retracted Papers - what happens to them? Phil Davis has published an interesting study in the Journal of the Medical Library Association, on what happens to retracted papers after retraction - are they still accessible? Are they still cited? - indeed, many of them are. He also explores the implications of this, and some steps which might help solve the problem. He's also summarised this on the Scholarly Kitchen

(August 2012)


The Access Question. Alice Meadows, Bob Campbell and Keith Webster of Wiley-Blackwell have published a piece in Learned Publishing looking at and critiquing some of the studies done on access to scholarly research. It was picked up and covered by Scholarly Kitchen.

(July 2012)

FINCH report published The report of the group chaired by Dame Janet Finch on expanding access to research publications has now been published. While its recommendations are for the UK, it recognises the international nature of the system and is relevant to all interested in this topic.

(June 2012)

PEER project ends - presentations available. The PEER project, a collaborative project investigating the impact of depositing papers in repositories, ended on 31 May 2012. The full report is also now published. Presentations made at the 'end of project' meeting in Brussels are available on the PEER site (www.peerproject.eu)

(June 2012)


Would libraries cancel subscriptions if content were available free after 6 months? ALPSP and the PA have just completed a study, which took the form of a very simple survey of librarians round the world, gaining over 200 responses. It asked one main question: 'If the (majority of) content of research journals was freely available within 6 months of publication, would you continue to subscribe?'  - and asked them, if appropriate, to give separate answers for STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) journals and for HASS (Humanities, Arts and Social Science) journals.

(May 2012)

Editorial in Nature on Text mining. An editorial in Nature gives a fairly clear and succinct view of text mining (and the distinction between it and data mining) and exhorts publishers and researchers to do more to facilitate it.


(March 2012)

JISC report on text mining. JISC has published a report into the benefits and barriers of text mining. It was unable to do the kinds of case studies it wanted because of the lack of material, whic it in turn attributes partly to the barriers involved. It believes that text mining offers considerable benefits and recommends that, in the UK, the copyright exception for text mining as recommended in a recent report (known as the Hargreaves report in the UK) should be implemented

(March 2012)

Report on Access to Journal Literature. (Actual title: 'Access to Scholarly Content: Gaps and Barriers). The third in the series of collaborative studies (PRC, RIN and JISC) is now available from the old RIN site (RIN has reinvented itself with a new website -not for this report but for new stuff: www.researchinfonet.org ). Like other well-founded studies, it finds that the vast majority of researchers find access to the research literature either very easy or easy but that gaps remain.

(Feb 2012 - report is dated Dec 2011)

Research data added for Access vs. Importance Global study (see item in list below). We've now added the specifc data on the survey responses received in this study both in csv and xls form.

Sense About Science study on Peer Review - full report available. This 2009 study (url below) updates some of the earlier PRC study. Lots of fascinating detail in its 136 pages e.g. find out why reviewers do it, and how many of them actually enjoy it!


(added Feb 2012)


Final report on behavioural part of PEER study published. This study, which was a qualitative look at researchers' attitudes to OA, has just been published. There are some interesting differences in the attitudes and awareness across subject fields. Most of the attitudes are quite conservative, and there is a clear expression of the necessity of retaining journal articles, whatever types of OA are considered. October 2011

The impact of free acccess to the scientific literature: a review of the literature. An article by Phil Davis and William Walters. As well as reviewing, the authors offer conclusions (e.g. access is generally improving) and possible implications for libraries and publishers.Journal of the Medical Library Association July 2011, vol 99, 3, p 208-217

Peer review: recent experiences and future directions   A review article by Mark Ware, from the journal New Review of Information Networking

Journal Article Mining: a research study into Practices, Policies, Plans .....and Promises Eefke Smit and Maurits van der Graaf. PRC June 2011 153pp. This is a study commissioned by PRC which offers the first comprehensive look at what publishers and others are doing, and plan to do, in both data and text mining of the scholarly, mainly journal, literature. Lots of fascinating detail from a number of viewpoints - from 29 interviews and 190 detailed responses to a survey.

Heading for the open road: costs and benefits of transitions in scholarly communications . (CEPA - Joel Cook, Daniel Hulls, David Joss and Mark Ware Consulting - Mark Ware) April 2011 52pp. A report commissioned by PRC,RIN, Wellcome Trust,RLUK,JISC. One in a series looking at transitions in part of formal scholarly communication (i.e.journal research articles). This modelled 5 scenarios, all with specific assumptions attached: Green OA, Delayed Access, Gold OA, Licence (national), and Transactional. It is probably unfair to try to reduce their lengthy conclusions to one point - so good to follow the link and read the report. However, if forced to do so, a version of gold OA with limits appears to be the report's most favoured scenario.

Open Acess, Readership, citations: a randomized controlled trial of scientific journal publishing. P. Davis. FASEB Journal doi 10.1096/fj.11-182988 March 2011. This study looked at 36 journals. The conclusion is that OA leads to increased downloads but not to a citation advantage.


Access vs. Importance: a global study assessing the importance of and ease of access to professional and academic information - Phase1 results

This study for PRC gained responses from over 3800 researchers world-wide and asked them about what types of information were important to them, and how easily they found they could get access to them. All disciplines rated journal articles as the most important. While 93% found access to them either 'very easy' or 'fairly easy', there were other important types of information, such as data sets, to which access was difficult. PRC would like to extend these studies to include users of research information who do not themselves publish.

We've added the specifc data on the survey responses received in this study both in csv and xls form

Press Release for this study

December 2010


Research Publication Characteristics and Their Relative Values: A Report for the Publishing Research Consortium

This is a PRC-commissioned study by Carol Tenopir et al of the Center for Information and Communication Studies, University of Tennessee. It looks at the importance of a series of characteristics of a publication and the interaction between them, for 400 researchers and faculty members from 12 countries. Top in importance are that the publication should be relevant, and available online at no personal cost. Then the journal itself and the fact that it should be peer-reviewed are the most important characteristics.

PDF version of the report

Press Release for this study.

(November 2010)


E-only journals: overcoming the barriers

This report, dated November 2010, is one of a series of four studies whose principal funders are JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), RIN (the Research Information Network), RLUK (Research Libraries UK), and PRC. The other studies are on 'access gaps', 'the dynamics of improving access', and on future scenarios. The present study is the first to be completed. It contains a series of recommendations to the different sectors, as well as exhortation to work together. To publishers, it recommends pricing policies to encourage the move to e-only, and finds, as usual in any such study, that in the UK the fact that VAT is levied on electronic subscriptions is a significant barrier.

(November 2010)

Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies

This is the latest Ithaka S+R (Ithaka is the body which, amongst other things, runs JSTOR and Portico - S+R is their Strategy and Research arm) survey of academics. They've been doing them every three years since 2000 and map the trends in academics' habits and views on the use of digital materials. Thus each report is a valuable snapshot. Key findings this time include:

  • the academic library is increasingly disintermediated in the discovery process, risking irrelevance in one of its core functions
  • academics' growing comfort with systems opens up new opportunities for libraries and publishers, and new challenges on preservation
  • There remains a fundamental conservatism towards systematic or dramatic change to the scholarly communication system

(Apr 2010)


ALPSP Survey of e-books.

This is the report of a survey undertaken in 2009 to provide a snapshot of what publishers are currently doing in e-books. It charts the tremendous rise in activity as well as the number of titles available, and the (still) relatively small percentage of total sales accounted for by e-books.

(Mar 2010)


Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: an exploration of faculty values and needs in seven disciplines

A study which took place over 2007-2010, from UC Berkeley. A key finding was that traditional cultures in the disciplines still rule. e.g. no evidence that what they call 'tech-savvy' graduate students are showing any inclination to buck the traditions and norms of their disciplines.

(Jan 2010)


Report and Recommendations from the Scholarly Publishing Roundtable.

This is an important report (available from the American Association of Universities (AAU) giving an agreed perspective from almost all participants, from all relevant sectors) on the question of free access to the results of federally funded research)

(January 2010)

Patterns of information use and exchange: case studies or researchers in the life sciences

A Research Information Network (RIN) report from the end of 2009. Its findings are very interesting, if not surprising. They found that researchers follow their own ways of working and these diverge from the 'top-down' policies of funders etc

Overcoming barriers: access to research information content

Another RIN study from late 2009. This is not original research but rather summarises the findings of 5 other studies

Joint statement on research into transitions in scholarly communications

The PRC is one of the signatories of a joint statement which outlines a portfolio of proposed research projects.

(November 2009)

New Report published - Access by UK small and medium-sized enterprises to professional and academic information

The PRC's fifth Research Report studies an often-neglected market segment, that of small businesses.

People in high-tech small buinesses value information more highly, and read more journal articles, than those in larger companies.  Of those that consider information important, 71% felt they had good access, and 60% that it was better than 5 years ago.  However, more than half sometimes had difficulty accessing an article, and there are a number of steps that could be taken to improve access, with corresponding benefits to UK plc.

(September 2009)

Follow-up Peer Review survey

Sense About Science has conducted a follow-up to the PRC's 2007 survey on Peer Review, to identify the preferences and concerns of authors and reviewers and to collate their views on future changes in peer-reviewed publishing.  The analysis, to be published in mid-September, both identifies trends from comparison with the earlier survey, and also explores new issues that are likely to affect editors, publishers, reviewers and authors in the next few years.

(September 2009)

Copyright © 2007 Publishing Research Consortium. Except as shown otherwise on particular documents, the information on the PRC web site may be copied in part or in whole without authorisation on condition that acknowledgement is given to the author (where applicable) and to PRC.

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