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Seeing the forest for the trees and the changing seasons in the vast land of scholarly publishing

Article information

Sci Ed. 2024;11(1):81-83
Publication date (electronic) : 2024 January 30
doi : https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.325
Korean Movement Disorder Society, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to Soo Jung Shin iless@naver.com
Received 2023 October 18; Accepted 2023 November 14.
  • Meeting: Online Workshop for Academic Journal Editors (2023-A03)

  • Date: September 20, 2023

  • Venue: Virtual conference

  • Organizer: Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE)

  • Theme: State of the art in scientific publishing

As I engage in various tasks related to medical publishing for the Journal of Movement Disorders, I sometimes become so engrossed in the minutiae that I lose sight of the bigger picture—that is, as the saying goes, I lose sight of the forest for the trees. In doing so, I may inadvertently overlook the ever-changing seasons in the vast realm of academic publishing.

In this context, attending a workshop offers a valuable opportunity to gain an objective perspective on the work I have been engaged in. As the adage states, “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” A workshop also provides a chance to identify and address any overlooked shortcomings that I may have mistakenly thought I understood. Additionally, attending a workshop makes it possible to acquire and apply the most recent knowledge in a novel manner—much like ascending a staircase of experience and unveiling a window to a more expansive view.

The Online Workshop for Academic Journal Editors, which started at 9 AM and continued until noon on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, consisted of five lectures. The first presentation, titled “Paper Mill Status and Editorial Responses,” was delivered by Cheol-Heui Yun, Chair of the Publication Ethics Committee at the Korean Council of Science Editors (KCSE) and Seoul National University. Yun provided a comprehensive overview of paper mills and the challenges they pose in the context of open science. I had the opportunity to learn about a report [1] jointly produced by the Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) in the United Kingdom and the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM). This report explores the operational methods, historical background, scale, and specific areas of concern related to paper mills. It also proposes specific recommendations to address these issues, which can be implemented in journal publishing.

The second session, titled “State of the Art of Open Access,” was presented by Kihong Kim, President of KCSE at Ajou University. I gained insights into Plan S, a policy for open access to scientific publishing, implemented by European funding agencies in January 2021. According to the Plan S policy, funding for transformative (hybrid) journals will cease by December 2024, and any journals failing to meet the stipulated conditions will be discontinued prior to this date [2]. A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy memo has also declared that all federal funding agencies in the United States will adopt and implement a policy akin to Plan S by the end of 2025 [3]. A comprehensive discussion has been initiated on the no-pay publishing model, which involves the publication of journals using only public funds, without any publication or subscription fees. This policy could potentially address issues related to predatory journals and paper mills to a certain extent. However, it remains uncertain whether the publishing industry will sustain this model, the amount of public funding required to cover publishing costs, and whether academic freedom will be compromised due to the excessive promotion of academic publishing.

The third presentation, entitled “ChatGPT and Article Writing, Reviewing, and Publishing,” was delivered by Sun Huh from Hallym University. He discussed the applications of ChatGPT-4 (OpenAI), a leading artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, in the context of article writing, manuscript review and editing, and academic journal publishing [4]. The consideration of whether AI chatbots like ChatGPT could be employed for peer review led me to acknowledge the necessity of creating submission guidelines for AI chatbots.

In the fourth lecture, Joo-Hyung Ryu, the Editor-in-Chief of GeoData—the premier data journal in Korea, published by the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) —shared the history of GeoData and the details of the society’s launch. This lecture offered valuable insights into the world of data journals and data papers, significantly broadening my understanding of these topics.

The final lecture, titled “Preprint Update,” was delivered by Soo-Young Kim, Chair of the Education and Training Committee of KCSE, from Hallym University. This lecture provided an informative opportunity to examine the evolution of preprint status since the first workshop on preprints held by KCSE in 2020.

Since 2017, there has been a notable increase in the participation in preprints, a trend significantly amplified by the COVID-19 outbreak. Major journals now widely accept preprints as a crucial element of open science. They offer several advantages, including the swift dissemination of research findings, abundant opportunities for enhancement via comprehensive feedback prior to publication, and the capacity to assert ownership of research outcomes [5]. I paid close attention to the lecture, given that our journal does not allow preprints.

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly transformed the landscape of academic journals, presenting a significant challenge for editors. In this era, advanced tools such as AI have led to a proliferation of misinformation and mistrust. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain transparency in how these tools are used to generate and disseminate information [6]. This workshop highlighted the expanding role of editors in safeguarding the credibility of scientific research. I am grateful to the organizers of this insightful workshop, which has strengthened my confidence in our journal management and my approach to work.


Conflict of Interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.


The author received no financial support for this work.

Data Availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analyzed.

Supplementary Materials

The author did not provide any supplementary materials for this article.


1. Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), ; STM. Paper mills: research report from COPE & STM. COPE; 2022;https://doi.org/10.24318/jtbG8IHL.
2. Plan S. Transformative journals: frequently asked questions [Internet]. European Science Foundation; 2020. [cited 2023 Sep 20]. Available from: https://www.coalition-s.org/transformative-journals-faq/.
3. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP issues guidance to make federally funded research freely available without delay [Internet]. OSTP; 2023. [cited 2023 Sep 20]. Available from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/ostp/news-updates/2022/08/25/ostpissues-guidance-to-make-federally-funded-researchfreely-available-without-delay/.
4. Huh S. Issues in the 3rd year of the COVID-19 pandemic, including computer-based testing, study design, ChatGPT, journal metrics, and appreciation to reviewers. J Educ Eval Health Prof 2023;20:5. https://doi.org/10.3352/jeehp.2023.20.5.
5. Smart P. The evolution, benefits, and challenges of preprints and their interaction with journals. Sci Ed 2022;9:79–84. https://doi.org/10.6087/kcse.269.
6. Flanagin A, Bibbins-Domingo K, Berkwits M, Christiansen SL. Nonhuman “authors” and implications for the integrity of scientific publication and medical knowledge. JAMA 2023;329:637–9. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2023.1344.

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