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DepositOf Academics, Publishers and Journalists: Popular Evolutionary Psychology in the UK

Evolutionary psychology (EP) is an emerging area of research, mostly located in the social sciences, which stresses the importance of, and seeks to investigate further, the evolutionary origins of modern human psychology and behaviour. Over the 1990s, claims made by evolutionary psychologists were extensively debated on a popular level in the UK, particularly through the publication of ‘popular science’ books on the subject, and by the appearance of many academics in the mass media discussing the issues raised. In such discussions, evolutionary psychology claims were often closely related to discussions of sexual politics, differences between men and women, and changes in workplace and family roles. Other subjects interlinked with evolutionary psychology in the media included concerns over biological determinism, developments in genetics, biotechnology and neurobiology, and changes in the political landscape during the 1990s. This research is a case study of these popular debates, looking at the UK press and other media coverage of evolutionary psychology from 1990 until 2001. I have carried out quantitative (including content) analyses of the press, and qualitative analyses of wider media coverage, alongside in-depth interviews with academic and media actors involved in popular evolutionary psychology.

DepositUntangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research

This briefing paper aims to provide a historical perspective that can inform the debates about what the future of academic publishing should look like. We argue that current policy regarding open access publishing, and many of the other proposals for the reform of academic publishing, have been too focused on the opportunities and financial challenges of the most recent changes in digital communications technologies and have given undue weight to commercial concerns. In 2013, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded a 4-year project on the editorial and commercial history of the world’s oldest-surviving scholarly journal (‘Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: a social, cultural and economic history of a learned journal, 1665-2015’, AH/K001841). The project is led by Dr Aileen Fyfe at the University of St Andrews in partnership with the Royal Society. The project team convened a workshop at the Royal Society, 22 April 2016, on ‘The Politics of Academic Publishing, 1950-2016’. This briefing paper is informed by the contributions of those who attended that day, and we thank them for their insights.

DepositOpening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing

‘Public access to publicly funded research’ has been one of the rallying calls of the global open access movement. Governments and public institutions around the world have mandated that publications supported by public funding sources should be publicly accessible. Publishers are experimenting with new models to widen access. Yet financial flows underpinning scholarly publishing remain complex and opaque. In this article we present work to trace and reassemble a picture of financial flows around the publication of journals in the UK in the midst of a national shift towards open access. We contend that the current lack of financial transparency around scholarly communication is an obstacle to evidence-based policy-making – leaving researchers, decision-makers and institutions in the dark about the ­systemic implications of new financial models. We conclude that ­obtaining a more joined up picture of financial flows is vital as a means for researchers, institutions and others to understand and shape changes to the sociotechnical systems that underpin scholarly communication.