INASP survey of Bangladesh publishers provides learning points on practices, trends and challenges

(27 January 2016) A recent INASP survey of Bangladesh’s publishing sector provided key learning points that are informing current and future projects and activities in the region.

The survey asked editors-in-chief, editorial board members, managers and other scholarly journal staff about trends and patterns in the publishing sector in Bangladesh. 86 responses provided key information on online publishing and Open Access, copyright and licensing issues, competition and predatory practices, and bibliographic identifiers. INASP is using the findings to inform future activities as part of its ongoing work to support local research dissemination in Bangladesh, including the AuthorAID and Journals Online projects.

Some ways in which INASP is responding to trends and challenges in the Bangladesh scholarly communication sector are:

  • Making iThenticate plagiarism-checking software available for free to journal editors through CrossCheck. The survey results revealed mixed attitudes towards Open-Access publishing, with some respondents feeling that it encouraged plagiarism.
  • Including enhanced content on copyright and licensing in journal quality training for editors. Many respondents were unclear on copyright law and the importance of author licenses. INASP’s Editor’s Resource Pack also contains a licensing checklist for editors, a pro forma copyright assignment form and an example license for publication.
  • Responding to Bangladeshi publishers’ need to be recognised as legitimate, as part of a new cross-industry campaign entitled Think.Check.Submit. The campaign aims to help researchers identify legitimate journals prior to submission by looking at criteria such as membership of recognized industry initiatives and the quality of the peer-review process.
  • Placing more emphasis on raising awareness of bibliographic tools such as ISSN and DOIs, in response to indications of a lack of awareness these tools, which are some of the indicators of journal quality.

The survey also re-confirmed editors’ concerns about the quality of the submissions they receive from authors and the amount of time required to edit and format papers before publication. The AuthorAID project continues to address this need by providing research-writing courses, as well as a mentoring platform to match early-career scientists to published researchers. INASP is also working with BanglaJOL and editors to improve journal quality and raise the profile of southern journals internationally in response to Bangladeshi journals reporting increased competition from overseas publications.

Sioux Cumming, Programme Manager, Journals Online, who led the Bangladesh research, says: “The survey has confirmed the importance of many INASP programmes in Bangladesh that support local research dissemination. It has also prompted us to focus on certain aspects of our work, particularly in combatting plagiarism and improving understanding of copyright issues, Open Access and bibliographic identifiers”.

The announcement in full is here.