Introduction by: Danielle Padula, Community Development Coordinator at Scholastica
Welcome to a guest issue of Against The Grain compiled by Scholastica! This issue is all about why academic journals should be focused on supporting authors and how better author support can improve journal publishing, expand the reach of scholarly research, and even propel the open access movement.
What do we mean by author support? There are many areas where researchers submitting manuscripts to academic journals will have questions about the peer review and publishing process. Author support is about answering those questions and fulfilling the needs of authors throughout the entire publishing lifecycle – from giving authors the tools and information they need to submit their manuscript all the way through helping authors promote their published articles.
Among key ways that journals should support authors are supplying clear guidelines on how to format a manuscript to meet journal requirements, providing adequate software and services for authors to use to submit their manuscript and manage revisions, and clearly communicating publishing requirements such as copyright and ethical policies. Additionally, journals should consider how they are supporting authors post-publication to help them expand the reach of their articles and to understand how their articles are being read, shared, and cited. This guest issue offers a comprehensive overview of the primary areas of author support journals should focus on.
We’ve brought together articles (see links below) from a wonderful group of contributors, without whom this issue would not be possible. A big thanks to:
- Ben Mudrak, PhD, Strategic Partnerships Director at Research Square, who discusses how journals can better communicate ethics and authorship policies to authors
- Johan Rooryck, Professor of French Linguistics at Leiden University, who overviews why journals should follow fair open access principles and how to start
- Chris Morrison, Copyright, Software Licensing and IS Policy Manager at the University of Kent and Dr. Jane Secker, Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City University of London, who discuss common sources of copyright confusion among authors and how to avoid them (with the help of a board game they created!)
- Amy Rees, Customer Support Manager at Altmetric, who shares ways journals can help authors expand the reach of their articles by tracking article level metrics
- Brian Cody, Co-Founder and CEO of Scholastica, who shares steps journals can take to improve authors’ peer review and publishing experience.
As a journal management software and service provider, Scholastica helps journals manage the entire digital publishing lifecycle from peer review to typesetting, all the way through final publication. Most of the journals we work with are focused on improving the efficiency of their editorial team and finding and retaining reviewers. But there’s another area that we’ve found all journals should be thinking about that has wide-reaching implications for individual publications and the greater scholarly community — author support. How journals support authors can make a big difference in the quality of submissions they receive, their reputation within a field, and even the publishing and access models they are able to implement.
This guest issue is intended for journal editors as well as the wider scholarly community. We believe that academic journal publishers, editors, librarians and other members of the academic community should be aware of the needs of researchers submitting to journals and how fulfilling those needs can advance scholarship and open access.
We hope you enjoy this guest issue – we had a lot of fun producing it!