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Zendy Talks Affordable Access & Open Access Publishing With ChronosHub

calendarJun 22, 2022 |clock12 Mins Read

In this webinar, Zendy Co-Founder Kamran Kardan joined an expert panel to discuss current issues and solutions for researchers regarding accessing content and paying for OA publications. 

The panel was hosted by Open Access publishing expert Romy Beard, with other guests including researcher and ecosystems ecologist Dr Varun Varma and Plos Strategic Partnerships Director Sara Rouhi


Challenges of Open Access

Open publishing is becoming increasingly popular. However, researchers are still experiencing many challenges when they want to access paywalled content such as previous research and archived material. 

Similarly, Open Access (OA) publishing can be an unaffordable route for unfunded researchers or researchers whose institutions haven't signed up for any OA agreements, such as NGOs or organisations leveraging research. 

Bringing together a range of perspectives, the panel discussed a vast array of topics, including OA agreements, discounts, waivers, technical and cultural barriers, the role and value of publishers that end-users often don't see, and the solutions that companies like Zendy are proposing to support affordability and accessibility. 

A Researchers Perspective

Dr Varun Varma commenced panel discussions by recounting his personal experience as a researcher and the many barriers he has faced in accessing content and publishing his research. After studying in the UK and then moving to a developing country to commence a PhD, Dr Varma felt what he described as his ‘first shock’ of access when suddenly, his access to journals was ‘extremely limited’ simply because he was now located in a different region. 

Regional-based access limitations are one of the core pillars of inequality that many industry commentators address in conversations about reform. With the signing of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) publishers’ contract launched in 2020 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, inclusivity and equality within the academic publishing sector are under the spotlight. 

The flow-on effect of access limitation in developing regions is far-reaching as it significantly increases the time involved in screening literature. What should take weeks then takes months, and as Dr Varma indicated, the tedious nature of the process leaves researchers with missing references, sometimes making the paper incomplete. 

The Publishing Spectrum

The narrative for academic publishing is shifting rapidly, with many moving elements working in parallel to ultimately address the pain points of the end-user. 

Institutions, publishers, organisations, researchers, librarians, and end-users are all key drivers forcing immense movement and excitement across the entire spectrum of academic publishing and content consumption. 

Paid content sits at the crux of the spectrum. The major challenges of availability and affordability associated with paid content motivate other players, such as Open Access and illegal content platforms. 

While the Open Access movement generates rapid support and participation, its scattered nature makes the content difficult to discover. Each publisher has an element of Open Access, while some are completely open access. This is great news for end-users who need access to new content, but older content is few and far between, making the research process arduous. 

The third participant in the publishing spectrum is illegal content publishing platforms. Praised by many for eliminating barriers to access, unlicensed publishing platforms pose a great risk to the future of research. It all comes down to the role of analytics, and the immense need for the data publishers’ produce based on usage.

The Economy of Academic Publishing 

What is the role of a publisher? This is a question asked time and time again. As journal subscription costs increase and the cost of article processing charges (APCs) weigh heavy on researchers, many people wonder where that money goes. And importantly, how does society benefit?

As PLOS Strategic Partnerships Director, Sara Rouhi and Zendy Co-Founder Kamran Kardan explain, publishers completely absorb the exponential costs of technical infrastructure, analytics, and marketing. Here’s why these processes matter: 

Sara Rouhi, of PLOS, discussed some of the key-value points of publishers and the incredible costs associated in detail throughout the ChronosHub webinar while highlighting PLOS' approach to making the business of OA equitable. She also detailed, the future of Open Access business models must diversify to survive and account for regional affordability, cost-recovery, reducing author friction, and engaging Read institutions. 

Despite this value, it is evident that the paid publishing model is not sustainable, as it hinders the frameworks of inclusivity and equality. As publishers work on their models of diversification, there are many fast movers in the industry offering alternative methods for publishing and access. 

The Zendy Movement: Accessibility & Affordability 

With so many moving elements within the Open Access and academic publishing domains, Zendy has a clear mission and purpose of addressing the tribulations of all key stakeholders in the conversation. 

Since 2019, Zendy has spearheaded a movement to change the dialogue of academic content access, especially in emerging regions where quality content and affordable avenues of access are few and far between.  

As a firm believer in empowering communities through knowledge, Zendy CEO Kamran Kardan saw a new way to connect end-users with quality content from top publishers. Instead of hitting paywalls for every piece of content, Zendy Plus was developed as a subscription-based service to reduce end-user costs without compromising access. Zendy users can access unlimited content for the monthly price of a single research paper. 

Currently available with a free 7-day trial in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, Zendy Plus is constantly updated with new research material. 

Addressing the global need for access, Zendy offers Zendy Open, a comprehensive open-access library available for free in all regions. 

While a relatively new concept, this hybrid user-centric model for affordable access is gaining traction. 

For more information about the ChronosHub Webinar, Open Access, Publishing, or Zendy, please don't hesitate to reach out to us: hello@zendy.io

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What is research design? A comprehensive guide to design types, components and challenges

calendarOct 30, 2023 |clock12 Mins Read

Research design is the strategy that tackles collection, interpretation and discussion of data, it determines how research will be carried out. A well-planned research design ensures that the methods correspond with research objectives, quality data is collected and analysis is done appropriately. Research design is essentially the blueprint that guides the research writing process, shaping the questions, methods, and conclusions. In this blog, we explore the key components of research design, discuss different approaches and methodologies, and provide insights into how to create a robust design that yields valuable insights. Types of Research Design Before beginning the research process, it is imperative to determine the type of research design that will comprehensively answer or prove the research question or statement. Research DesignDefinitionExploratoryExplores the gaps in research, which are areas that have not been explored in depth.DescriptiveFocuses on everything besides the “why”. Descriptive research aims to obtain sufficient information to describe a phenomenon.ExplanatorySpecifically investigates the “why”. Sets out to equip reader with further knowledge on the subject area and predict developmental trajectory.ExperimentalThis is the process of carrying out research in a controlled and objective manner to produce credible results that align with a thesis statement.Cross-sectionalThis is an observational study that measures both the outcome and exposure of certain stimuliLongitudinalThese are repetitive cross-sectional studies where participants are observed over a long period of time.Case studyThis is an in-depth study conducted over a period of time to observe the development of a situation or a person. Components of Research Design Design components are the building blocks of constructing an effective research design. To yield objective findings, the research design should be set up in a way that every relevant contributing factor is either a variable or a control to influence the experiment appropriately. Design ComponentRelevance and DefinitionResearch questionThe research question is what the research or project is designed to answer, formulating and phrasing the research question dictates the data collection and analysis methods.HypothesisThis is a proposed explanation that is based off of the limited research and evidence, it is the starting point of further research and investigation.VariablesThese are measurable factors. There are 2 kinds of variables; independent and dependent and they are used to observe cause and effect relationships.Data collection methodsThese are the ways in which primary research can be conducted and the most common ones are surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations etc.Sampling techniquesThese are strategies to select participants based on relevant factors. The most common techniques are snowball, cluster, stratified, systematic, randomised, quota and convenience.Data analysisThis is the most crucial stage of research as it summarises the data in an analytical manner to establish patterns, trends or relations. Creating Effective Research Design For a research design to be effective, all the components must align with one another. To ensure this alignment, the researcher should determine whether the data needs to be qualitative or quantitative while also considering the scope of the research question and the answer the study derives. To avoid misalignment of components, refer to the order below: • Your research objectives must be consistent with the “gap” that your research is addressing. • Your research questions must be aligned with research objectives. • Your hypotheses must be aligned with your research questions. • Your research method must be appropriate to research objectives and research questions. • Your research design must be consistent with your research method. • Your research methodology must be consistent with research design. Common Challenges & Tackling Them Participant and sample collection The most efficient way to attract participants is to have incentives and learn to “sell” your research project to potential participants, this would make them more willing to partake in the study. Finding research collaborators The first place to look for collaborators is within your own professional network. However, if you’ve struggled to find them, then you can look into expanding your network by attending academic conferences. Another tip is to look for collaborators that challenge you to see your research through different aspects. Finding research funding To find research funding, try to branch out to international sources as well. Look for online sources and apply, this can help put you in touch with international researchers which also fosters collaboration and inclusivity within your research. In conclusion, research design is the compass that guides the expedition into the realm of knowledge. It is a meticulous process that, when executed effectively, paves the way for discovery, innovation, and progress. As we highlighted the key components of research design, this blog uncovered its multifaceted nature. From the types of research design, each with its unique purpose and methodology, to the essential components that form the building blocks of an effective design, it is clear that a well-planned approach is essential. FAQs What is the role of research design in research study? The purpose of research design is to dictate the effective plan to carry out the study. It is the approach with which a study is executed, it ensures that all variables within the study are carefully planned for and accurately measured. How does the choice of design impact data collection? The chosen research design ensures that all relevant factors within the research study can be analyzed to provide clear insights. The design determines whether the data collected will be qualitative, quantitative or a mix of both. What are the key differences between exploratory and experimental research designs? The main difference is that experimental research is done in a controlled environment and exploratory research seeks to answer a question or address a phenomenon or statement. How can a strong research design enhance the validity of study results? The strongest research designs avoid far-fetched correlations, rigorously test the hypothesis, and ensure that the results are generalisable. table, th, td { border: 1px solid; } td { padding: 8px; } td a { color: rgb(234 170 0); } table { margin: 20px 0 } ul li, ol li { margin: 0 0 0 40px; } ul li a{ --tw-text-opacity: 1; color: rgb(234 170 0); } ol { list-style: auto; } ul { list-style: disc; }

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Open Access Week 2023: Interview With Kamran Kardan and Sara Crowley Vigneau

calendarOct 25, 2023 |clock7 Mins Read

Imagine a world driven and progressing through the dissemination of objective research. This is the vision that introduced Open Access week. What begun in 2007 as Open Access day through the partnership of student volunteers and SPARC, has since become a globally recognised movement and event that stands to disseminate quality academic research without paywalls and restrictions so that global societies are free to make informed decisions towards progress; the Open Access movement has also assisted in creating more inclusive and collaborative research communities. A brief history of open access While the movement began taking form in the late 2000s, the first few open access journals appeared between the late 80s and early 90s and were disseminated through emails, newsgroups and volunteer labor. Due to this emerging trend, an online repository known as e-prints was founded by American physicist, Paul Ginsparg in 1991. This database was then renamed ArXiv.org in 1999 which encouraged the publishing industry to establish other open access databases like SciELO, BioMed Central, PubMed Central and more. Zendy’s open access journey Zendy is one such digital library that was inspired by the Open Access movement. Zendy offers affordable access and open access research content on one platform. Open Access week is significant to Zendy as we stand to create knowledgeable global communities by disseminating quality academic research from leading publishers. Our co-founder, Kamran Kardan says “I have been involved in the Open Access movement since its earliest days. I had also done my thesis around it. Since then, I have been concerned about what triggers the movement. I believe the biggest motivator of the movement is affordability; as access to journals was paid for with taxpayer money, to access research that was also funded through taxpayer money. This overlapping cost drives the movement.” He went on to express, “Looking at the challenges faced by pirated access and given the vast content that is still paywalled, it leaves room to explore a different business model known as affordable access. It’s not something that’s new, as this is present in the entertainment industry as many of us have Netflix and Spotify subscriptions. Zendy has taken that and applied it to scholarly research.” The 2023 Open Access Week marks 16 years since its inception. The theme for this year is “community over commercialisation” which encourages open conversation around open access initiatives that serve communities and those that engage in commercialising academia, essentially this year's theme places open access initiatives under a microscope. It also sets out to highlight the importance of freely available scholarly materials to teachers, researchers, and lifelong learners. Open access week provides academics with the perfect opportunity to learn of and spread open access initiatives to help widen the conversation and normalise open access alternatives across the world of publishing. Driving change with the SDGs The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) place great emphasis on the open access movement. Opening academic research to the wider public not only helps individuals make informed decisions but also contributes to creating more inclusive scientific communities while accelerating global collaboration on interdisciplinary research. Broadening opportunities in education and increasing global literacy rates directly supports SDG-4 (Ensuring Quality Education). Zendy’s Partnerships Relations Manager, Sara Crowley Vigneau says, “Open access reduces inequalities in access to content that is directly relevant to the SDGs, promoting a more equitable and inclusive publishing system. From the start of 2023, Zendy’s readership has seen an increase of professionals outside of academia and essentially, this is what open access does, it increases the societal relevance of academic research.” She went on to express, “The role of open access in supporting the SDGs is to broaden scientific and policy related conversations by ensuring researchers from all regions can contribute to research regardless of funding. This also opens the door to academic research being published in local languages, thereby eliminating language barriers and allowing for research to be region-specific to increase its relevance rather than just following the leading, benchmark research from developed regions.” As we observe Open Access week in 2023, it is imperative to recognise the collaborative progress made by the ecosystem of open access stakeholders, including researchers, institutions, publishers, and providers. Publishing open access benefits readers and researchers alike, as it increases the visibility of research. While there is still significant progress to be made, the world of academia has seen an influx of initiatives to empower research communities and create stronger and more inclusive collaborative ecosystems. Discover millions of open access research papers across an array of disciplines on Zendy now. h2 { font-size: 24px; padding: 10px 0 5px; } p { padding-bottom: 1rem; }

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A Guide on How to Effectively Write an Academic Research Paper

calendarJul 10, 2023 |clock22 Mins Read

Writing research papers is a fundamental aspect of academia that plays a key role in developing and disseminating knowledge accurately. It serves to communicate new findings, ideas, and theories to a broader audience within the scholarly community. Research paper writing is a systematic approach to investigating, analysing, and synthesising information. The importance of research papers lies in their ability to enhance the collective understanding of a subject, generate new insights, and encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In this blog, we venture into the meticulous process and various aspects of research paper writing; from carefully choosing a research topic to overcoming common challenges, this blog is your pocket guide to advancing your research writing skills. Choosing an Appropriate Topic The first step to choosing a research topic is to identify the specialism and subject area that your research would be relevant to and thoroughly study the research that is already available within the field; this will reveal the gaps of research within the subject. There are 2 ways in which the gaps in research can be approached; either by adding new aspects to prevalent topics or moving away from the trending topics and venturing into a lesser-explored part. Working on new research provides the subject with a fresh perspective that can lead to newer advancements than adding to a prevalent topic. However, working on a prevalent topic offers an array of credible citations and previous research. The way your research question is phrased should invoke exploration and inquiry from readers, while also accurately describing the matter that the research paper will be exploring and investigating. Conducting the Research To execute reliable scholarly research there are a number of measures to be taken. From laying the initial research framework to executing primary research, it is beneficial to place careful strategies at every phase of the research process. The following steps break down the recommended research flow. Execute preliminary exploration: Before diving into primary and secondary research, conduct a preliminary exploration of the topic. Familiarize yourself with existing knowledge, theories, and research findings related to your area of interest. Develop a research plan: Create a research plan that outlines how to efficiently gather the required information. Identify the sources you will require (e.g., scholarly articles, books, primary sources) and research methods you will apply (e.g., surveys, experiments, interviews). A well-structured plan will ensure a systematic approach to your research. Utilise credible sources: Rely on credible sources to gather information. Academic journals, databases, books, and reputable websites are excellent starting points. Evaluate the credibility of sources by considering factors such as author expertise, publication date, peer-review process, and the reputation of the publishing platform. Here are some recommended reliable databases: Google Scholar, Zendy, IEEE, EBSCO Take effective notes: As you gather information, take organized and concise notes. Summarize key points, record bibliographic details, and note any relevant concepts or ideas. Properly cite and reference your sources to avoid plagiarism and ensure accurate attribution. Analyze and synthesize information: Once you have collected a substantial amount of data, analyze and synthesize the information to draw meaningful conclusions. Identify patterns, trends, and relationships within the data and critically evaluate the findings in relation to your research question. Identify any gaps in the existing literature that your research could address. Ethical considerations: Adhere to ethical guidelines throughout your research process. Obtain necessary permissions, protect participant confidentiality, and ensure the ethical use of data. Familiarize yourself with the ethical standards set by your institution or discipline and maintain integrity in your research practices. Structuring the Research Paper The structure of the research paper ensures a smooth flow of research. This showcases the author’s thoroughness on the available literature and how their own research affects the trajectory of the subject. Each component of the research paper presents evidence-based explanations of the approaches to the methodology, analysis and literature review sections. The structure is designed to present the transition of the research stages appropriately. A) Title and Abstract The title and abstract page of the research paper is the reader’s first impression. It should be written in a completely objective tone and should allow the reader to accurately skim and gain insight into the gist of the research aims and findings. B) Introduction The introduction section gives the reader a thorough background into your research area. Your topic can be introduced as a broad subject and then narrowed down to your specific research question, this provides the reader with an understanding of your positioning within your field of study. The introduction section has 5 main goals: Introduce the field of study Present and summarise existing literature Establish your approach Describe the problem statement that the paper will investigate Provide an overview of the research paper’s structure Example: The field of Marine Biology gains more traction as debates on marine pollution cause controversy in media outlets (Introduction to field). According to Smith (2022), one of the leading causes of marine pollution is the increase in plastic within the oceans, which leads to habitat destruction. This suggests that human water activities are contributing to the decline in the longevity of marine life (Present and summarize literature). This research paper aims to thoroughly investigate the extent of sea tourism in key regions and establish a comprehensive comparison of the state of the marine life within these regions (Establish approach). Furthermore, this paper highlights the threats that water activities pose to the trajectory of research within marine biology and investigates whether potential safety measures or ceasing human water activities would be more effective in preserving marine life (Description of problem statement). This research paper will present a comprehensive literature review that analyses recent debates, findings and incidents in marine life that have been directly caused by human activities and then highlight the key methodologies utilised to investigate and compare water tourism against the state of marine life in key regions; additionally, the paper consists of a thorough analysis of the findings and proposes safer practices (Structure of research paper). C) Literature Review The literature review is an important component of any research paper, it serves as a thorough analysis and evaluation of the available sources, debates, themes and gaps within the respective field of study. This section is the researcher’s opportunity to discuss and present all the relevant sources to exhibit their own familiarity and positioning on the subject. A well-written literature review depicts and presents a thorough analysis, criticism and identification of on-going debates and studies within the field, this information is not just presented and cited but also dissected. Listed below are a few beneficial questions to cross-check when writing a literature review. Trends: Which theories and methodologies are more referenced and utilised? Themes: What concepts and debates persist across the sources? Debates and conflicts: Where do the sources disagree and why? Critical publications: Any influential theories or studies that changed the direction of the field? Gaps: What is missing from the literature? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed? It is important to note that within certain disciplines there is an abundance of sources, debates and findings; to conduct an efficient literature review in these cases, the author can simply stick to the specialism or sources that are directly relevant to the research paper rather than approaching it as a broad topic. D) Methodology The research methodology section depicts the data collection and analysis process of the research. In this component of the paper, the researcher has to explain the selected data collection methods and how they are appropriate and efficient for the kind of research that was conducted. This needs to be written in detail specifying the method, sample size, measures taken to ensure objectivity and other relevant variables. The methodology section needs to include the following: The type of research conducted How the data was collected and analysed Any tools or materials the research utilized How research biases were avoided Why these methods were selected This section solves the ‘How?’ and allows readers to evaluate the reliability and credibility of the findings. E) Results & Analysis The findings section in an academic research paper is where the results of the research are presented. Firstly, start by clearly stating the research objectives and hypothesis or research questions that guided your study. Then, present the data and findings in a logical and organized manner, using tables, charts, or graphs if appropriate. Interpret the findings by discussing their implications, relating them to existing literature, and addressing any limitations or potential biases. Finally, conclude the section by summarizing the key findings and their significance in relation to the research objectives. When writing the findings section, ensure clarity and conciseness by using a straightforward and objective writing style. Avoid interpretation or speculation in this section; save that for the discussion section. Use subheadings to divide the findings into sections to ensure easy navigation for readers. F) Discussion The discussion section of the research paper is where the researcher presents an in-depth analysis of the importance, relevance and description of the results. It should focus on the evaluation of the findings and associate back to the literature review and subject area, this section should discuss how the findings support your initial hypothesis. You may include the following in your discussion section: Summary: A brief recap of the key results and research output Interpretations: What do the results mean? Implications: Why do the results matter? Limitations: What can’t the results depict? Recommendations: Slight modifications for further studies to get more accuracy G) Conclusion The conclusion is the last part of the research paper. It should be concise yet engaging, leaving the reader with a thorough recap and understanding of your findings, as well as the answer to the initial research question. Your conclusion should include: The answer to your main research question A summary of the research process Depict any new knowledge you have contributed Wrap up your thesis or dissertation H) References & Citations After the conclusion, the research paper must consist of a reference list. This has to be in alphabetical order and in the correct citation format that the respective institution or discipline follows. The citation list allows readers and researchers to create a framework of knowledge and refer to articles that further support your research and argument, this allows for more educational awareness around your area of research. Proofreading and Editing In the world of academia, accuracy and precision is the core of the dissemination of research. Research papers are read and referenced by researchers globally hence there’s little room for error. The proofreading and editing process within academia is rigorous, everything from the format to the grammar is carefully reviewed repeatedly. Listed below are recommended proofreading practices: Review grammar: Grammatical mistakes are common and often missed, it is crucial to review the placement of grammatical marks while proofreading the content. For example, s small misplacement of a comma can lead to contextual misinterpretations Review Clarity: The academic language is designed to eliminate bias and room for misunderstanding. It is classified as a tone of voice of it’s own to maintain it’s objective and factual nature, to avoid the lack of clarity in research papers; it is recommended to re-read and review all the written content to assess whether it is widely comprehensive. Seek Feedback: A fresh set of eyes on a research paper is always beneficial. Feedback can expose mistakes and misinterpretations that the author could have missed due to rigorously working on the research paper. Writing research papers is a craft that requires thorough attention to detail. Each section of a research paper is tackled and approached in a unique way to ensure the flow of information is smooth. The methodology section ensures the reliability of the research, while the results and analysis section presents the findings in a clear and organized manner. The discussion section provides an in-depth analysis and interpretation of the results, while the conclusion summarizes the key findings and their implications. Proper referencing and citations are essential for acknowledging the contributions of other researchers. Lastly, the proofreading and editing process ensures accuracy and clarity in the final research paper. By following these steps, researchers can effectively contribute to their respective fields, drive progress, and foster academic excellence. Frequently Asked Questions How long should a research paper be? The length of research papers varies greatly depending on the topic. Research papers are in-depth, but it is common to find short research papers ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 words. More comprehensive research papers range between 10,000 to 20,000 words. How do I choose a good research topic? Always choose a topic you have an interest in. When you care about the topic, the research process will be more in-depth and enjoyable. Once you have a broad idea of the topic, you can then narrow down your idea by immersing yourself in reading material. It’s essential to review new and old literature on the same topic to help you understand different perspectives. What are the common mistakes to avoid in research paper writing? Always avoid plagiarism first and foremost, as it will impact your credibility as a researcher and writer, no matter how interesting your idea is. Other common mistakes include grammatical errors, repetition, inconsistent formatting, a weak abstract, and overly complex language. Discover millions of e-books, journal articles, proceedings and more on Zendy now.