Report Dozens of scientific journals have vanished from the internet, and no one preserved them

tom_mai78101

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Eighty-four online-only, open-access (OA) journals in the sciences, and nearly 100 more in the social sciences and humanities, have disappeared from the internet over the past 2 decades as publishers stopped maintaining them, potentially depriving scholars of useful research findings, a study has found.

An additional 900 journals published only online also may be at risk of vanishing because they are inactive, says a preprint posted on 3 September on the arXiv server. The number of OA journals tripled from 2009 to 2019, and on average the vanished titles operated for nearly 10 years before going dark, which “might imply that a large number … is yet to vanish,” the authors write.

The study didn’t identify examples of prominent journals or articles that were lost, nor collect data on the journals’ impact factors and citation rates to the articles. About half of the journals were published by research institutions or scholarly societies; none of the societies are large players in the natural sciences. None of the now-dark journals was produced by a large commercial publisher.

Still, “The analysis demonstrates that research integrity and the scholarly record preservation … are at risk across all academic disciplines and geographical regions," says Andrea Marchitelli, managing editor of JLIS.it, the Italian Journal of Library, Archives, and Information Science, who was not involved in the study. Publishers should dedicate money to improve preservation, he says.

A new mandate by research funders set to take effect in January 2021 requires preservation schemes—but most online-only journals currently lack such plans, the authors say. The new preservation rule is contained in Plan S, backed by mostly European research funders. Scholars financed by Plan S funders must make the articles OA (immediately free to read upon publication).


Read more here. (Science Magazine)
 
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