Technology, Globalization, and Publishing Ethics: the 2017 Tokyo Wiley Executive Seminar

August 18, 2017 Yukari Arao

On July 30, 2017, more than fifty journal editors, editorial office administrators, funders, and librarians gathered at the Tokyo International Forum for our annual Tokyo Wiley Executive Seminar. We spent the day reflecting on innovations in publishing for a sustainable future, comparing experiences around the internationalization of journals, and sharing case studies for issues in peer review and publishing ethics.


In the first session, “Innovation in Publishing for the Future,” Gordon Tibbitts, SVP Corporate Development, Atypon Systems, Inc., spoke about the critical need for societies, publishers, and libraries to adapt in order to weather the rapid rate of change in scholarly communications. According to Gordon, societies in particular are well-placed to thrive amidst market changes. Societies can differentiate themselves, he proposed, by leveraging the quality of their brands and harnessing the power of search technology to make it easier for researchers to discover the research that is most relevant for them.

Speaking on behalf of Howard Ratner from CHORUS, Mark Robertson, President for Wiley Japan, shared the results of a recent successful pilot between CHORUS and JST (Japan Science and Technology Agency)-Chiba University. By leveraging existing networks, CHORUS can show institutional funders where the research they fund is being published, which articles are free, and when they became free.

Next up Janette Burke, University Librarian at Monash University, described how the role and function of libraries is changing. Monash’s print collection will soon be moved off-site to make more room for students, and in 2017 she expects that the library will spend nearly 90% of its budget on digital resources. Other priorities include making life easier for researchers by helping them comply with funding mandates, find the right journal for their work, and safeguard their intellectual property rights. The final speaker in the morning session was Miwako Doi, Auditor, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, who shared strategies for open data infrastructure and management based on the recommendations of the Science Council of Japan. 

The day’s second session focused on the benefits of internationalizing journals and was facilitated by Yuji Nakajima, Editor-in-Chief of Congenital Anomalies. According to findings from Japan’s Research Output and International Collaboration Trends, more than 85% of the readership for Japan’s research output comes from outside of Japan. Yuji also shared data suggesting that globally authored papers have higher impact - based on average number of citations per article - compared to locally authored papers, suggesting that internationalization could be key to improving the impact of a journal. Editors of Digestive Endoscopy, Cancer Science, Asian Economic Policy Review, and Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience also shared their strategies and experiences with internationalizing journals. This session was the most popular of the day according to the post-seminar survey.

The seminar closed with a focus on ethical issues in peer review. Jun Fudano, Professor at the Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology, talked about the challenges caused by the lack of peer reviewer training, the various biases which may arise throughout the peer review process, and the possible solutions to these issues. Trevor Lane, a Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Council Member and Education Director & Senior Publishing Consultant, Edanz Group, presented three COPE case studies for discussion: salami publication, peer reviewer selection policy, and peer review confidentiality. Seminar participants discussed the cases in small groups and then presented back to the room on the ethics problem in the case, actions taken, and preventive measures to avoid similar problems in the future. This session was facilitated by Choitsu Sakamoto, Professor Emeritus of Nippon Medical School and former Editor-in-Chief of Digestive Endoscopy, who was also involved in selection of the three cases.

After each session, there were spirited Q&A discussions between the panelists and the room of highly engaged delegates. In the first session on innovation, the discussion revolved around the future roles of societies, funders and governments and their dependences, as well as how data will become as much a part of future dialogue as the journal article itself. On internationalization, finding a solution to the significant problem that Japanese authors have a tendency not to cite the articles they publish in Japanese society journals engaged many editors in attendance. The ethics in peer review session could have continued for hours, as the potential solutions to the cases discussed were complex and open for interpretation. Many of the delegates said that as journal editors they themselves were facing similar ethical challenges, and that COPE’s recommendations would be very useful in their own work.

Overall it was a very engaging day, and according to the survey, 99% of attendees said that the seminar met their goals and expectations while 89% said that they would attend the Tokyo Wiley Executive Seminar in the future.

Image Credit: Yukari Arao

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