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Electronic Markets on self-archiving

Dear readers of Electronic Markets,

Welcome to the first issue of volume 26, which includes a collection of six articles. Three articles address the special theme on “ICT-based Networked Governance”, while another three are general research contributions. Prior to introducing these articles, the editorial links to the last editorial in issue 25/4, which discussed the reviewing process as the key element in safeguarding the quality of academic work (Alt et al. 2015a). Especially academic journals with a high impact factor feature competitive review processes, since many authors are interested in publishing their work in these journals. As indicated in Fig. 1, this is a self-reinforcing mechanism, as a large number of authors is attracted to publishing in these journals due to the importance of highly ranked publications for academic repuation and their role in academic qualification processes. Since researchers usually submit their best work to these journals and the journal’s space for accepted papers is limited, the successful papers feature a high maturity, which in turn increases the probability of becoming cited. Journals with many frequently cited articles are likely to have a higher impact factor, which again increases the incentives for authors to submit their work to the respective journal.

Fig. 1

Journal attractiveness cycle

Research process

The underlying assumption of this maturity is that the production, dissemination and validation of research results follow a sequential process (see Fig. 2). The documentation often starts with a working paper that forms the basis for discussions with colleagues and is summarized with the feedback in a - usually shorter - conference paper. After an assessment from the conference reviewers the conference submission is revised and – in case of acceptance at the conference – the paper is published in the conference proceedings. Based on the feedback from the conference reviewers and from the discussion at the conference many authors plan to submit their enhanced conference paper to an academic journal. Depending on the publishing policy of the conference, the paper is either included completely in the conference proceedings or as abstract only. The latter denotes the “opt-out”-option, which allows the author(s) to submit their unpublished conference paper as original work to an academic journal. In case the authors decide for a publication in the conference proceedings, many academic journals demand that this published version needs to be substantially enhanced prior to the journal submission (Alt and Österle 2014). Contrary to the peer-reviewing processes at academic conferences, evaluations at journals are more rigorous and involve multiple revisions, which are usually not feasible in the limited time schedule of conferences.

Accepted papers in academic journals are subsequently published in a physical and/or electronic version of the journal. The journal publisher ensures the dissemination of the research results in many catalogs and databases, thus contributing to enabling a cumulative research tradition. Published research results are the basis of subsequent research, which is “built” on prior research and presumably leads to an advance of scientific knowledge. It shows that the publication of research results in the journal is not the only option for making research available in the research community:

  • First, research results may already be published at earlier stages and many authors share working and conference papers on their own webpages or on open repositories (e.g. Citeulike, Researchgate, SSRN).

  • Second, academic journals may pursue an open source or a commercial business model. The former provide their content freely to the public, while the latter sell their content to readers.

Obviously, the diffusion of the Internet has facilitated the dissemination of academic research. Compared to the days, when journals were only available in print, access was limited to those who had access to scientific libraries. It was common – although not always compliant with the publisher’s copyright policies – that authors (snail) mailed paper copies of their articles to colleagues throughout the world to share their work with people who might lack access to the journal through a library. This has changed fundamentally in the digital age: Today, commercial journals are available Online and thus, provided that an organization (e.g. university library) has subscribed to the journal, readers of this organization may access all licensed journal material via the respective Online system from any computer connected to the Internet. Although sharing the link to the respective article with other readers is possible, access to the article is restricted unless the recipient’s organization has also subscribed to the journal. Otherwise, the reader needs to purchase the article before he/she can read it.

Open access publishing

The question arises whether the commercial publication model based on paywalls and toll access sufficiently allows academic journals to fulfill their societal responsibility to publish research results. Following Machlup (1981, p. 162) they should not only enhance the “society’s stock of recorded knowledge”, but also expand the whole society’s level of knowledge altogether. The answer is clear: In the commercial model, subscription fees are also access barriers to prior scientific knowledge and together with the constant decline of library budgets this goal is at risk (at the least) (Mann et al. 2009). Open access publishing has emerged as an approach that enables unrestricted access to scientific publications and knowledge. There are three ways (Jeffery 2006, see Fig. 2):

The first is the most attractive to authors and readers. Pure open access journals publish all their content freely without restrictions on their own web sites, which are retrievable via the web and search engines, but often not listed in catalogs and indexes like the commercial journals. For example, various options for open access are available via the Creative Commons licences (Suber 2015). However, publishers of commercial journals have noticed the importance of the open access movement and subsequently developed their own open access options. One is called the “golden” way in open access publishing where publishers, such as Springer, charge authors a lump sum, which should cover for the missing revenues and allows free access to their article. The full text is accessible via the publisher’s server (e.g. and is indexed, abstracted and referenced by many abstracting and information services, bibliographic networks, subscription agencies, library networks, as well as consortia and thus may be retrieved easily by people interested in the authors’ work. At Electronic Markets, the fee for golden open access currently amounts to US$ 3’000 or EUR 2’200 (Springer 2015b). Furthermore, the editors of Electronic Markets may nominate three articles from each volume for the Gold open access option. In 2015, those three articles were: “The Impact of customizable Market Interfaces on Trading Performance” by Florian Teschner, Tobias T. Kranz and Christof Weinhardt (Teschner et al. 2015), “How to bridge the boundary? Determinants of inter-organizational social software usage” by Melanie Steinhüser, Alexander Richter and Stefan Smolnik (Steinhüser et al. 2015), as well as “Smart tourism: foundations and developments” by Ulrike Gretzel, Marianna Sigala, Zheng Xiang and Chulmo Koo (Gretzel et al. 2015).


Obviously, the golden way safeguards the classical publishing model and transfers the costs to the authors. However, they usually exceed the budget of most authors, which implies that most work remains behind the paywalls. Another option is self-archiving or the so-called “green” way. Self-archiving refers to the publication of articles, which have been accepted for publication by the journal’s editors (postprint). This means that authors are entitled to publish the author-created version after a specified embargo period. Self-archiving was first applied by physicists. This community already started in 1991 to upload research papers both before and after the review (preprints and postprints) to a central, open archive named (Harnad 2001). As of December 2015, this eprint archive holds more than 1.1 million articles, which are openly available to any Internet user. In this respect, the physicists are ahead of other disciplines, especially the social sciences. Policies about self-archiving vary not only between disciplines but also among publishers. While some publishers prohibit authors from self-archiving their own articles, others allow it under certain conditions or even without restrictions. Those different policies lead to an increasingly complex situation, which creates intransparencies for many authors. That is where RoMEO (Rights Metadata for Open‐archiving) comes in. RoMEO is part of SHERPA Services based at the University of Nottingham (SHERPA 2015a) and provides a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self- archiving of journal articles on the Web and in open access repositories. Here, authors may either search for a specific publisher or a journal in order to learn about the respective self-archiving policy. For example, Springer is rated as a green publisher and Electronic Markets a “RoMEO green” journal (SHERPA 2015b). Whereas “RoMEO green” confirms the most open self-archiving policy there are other versions labeled blue (“authors may archive post-print, i.e. final draft post-refereeing, or publisher's version/PDF”), yellow (“authors may archive pre-print, i.e. pre-refereeing”) and white (“archiving not formally supported”) (SHERPA 2015c).

According to “RoMEO green”, authors are also allowed to publish previous versions online. The so-called pre-print version of the manuscript is considered the version of the paper before peer review. The foremost reason from an author’s perspective to do this might be to timestamp the respective article in order to ‘protect’ their original ideas and to avoid plagiarism. Usually, those articles are referred to as ‘unpublished working papers’ or they might be marked with the label ‘under review’. Although this procedure is comprehensible, from an editor’s point of view, it might also interfere with the double-blind review process as the article and the authors could be identified more easily by the reviewers.

In RoMEO green it is important to consider that depending on the copyright regulation signed by the author he/she might only be allowed to “self-archive” the version that was sent to the publisher in the author’s formatting after a grace period. For example, Electronic Markets allows self-archiving on the author’s own website twelve months after the article was published as long as the author does not upload the publisher's PDF version and includes an acknowledgement to the original source of publication as well as a link including the DOI to the published journal article (Springer 2015a).

Suggestions to authors

In RoMEO green, authors might also want to upload their paper to a repository provided by an institution, community, or organization, e.g. the author’s university or the funder’s repository, which is referred to as an institutional repository. Similar restrictions apply to institutional repositories and the author’s final version of the article may only be published on the institutional repository after an embargo period of twelve months, including acknowledgement of the original source of publication. Self-archiving of an article on a repository is in the interest of all involved parties. First, the respective articles and thus its authors receive an enhanced visibility. Second, interested readers might retrieve the article more easily. Thus, the likelihood of the article being cited increases, which is in the journal’s and the publisher’s interest (see Fig. 1). Several public repositories are available for self-archiving as well, in particular CiteULike, Mendeley, ResearchGate, or the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Fig. 2

Publishing process

In addition to self-archiving, other opportunities exist for authors to raise attention to their work. First, authors may publish the article’s metadata (e.g. the article’s abstract and the keywords) to repositories of their choice after the paper has been accepted for publication by the journal. Publishing metadata is not subject to the copyright agreement between authors and the publisher. Full text may be added to the respective entry after the twelve-month embargo. Second, mentioning latest work on social media sites, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, also increases the visibility of publications. Third, new business models are looming like in other industries. For example, the sharing economy (Puschmann and Alt 2016) introduced the use of resources by many users and replaces the ownership of these resources. Similar to Spotify in the music industry, readers could also obtain temporary access to an article for a fee that is significantly lower than purchasing the article. One service following this model is, which in fact claims to work “like Spotify but for academic articles” (deepdyve 2015). For sure, the academic publishing market will see more approaches like this, which is why three guest editors are preparing a special issue in Electronic Markets on this topic.

In summary, self-archiving contributes to the dissemination of knowledge which is in the interest of the research community and societies overall. Furthermore, all parties involved in academic publishing might benefit from self-archiving. From an editor’s point Electronic Markets strongly recommends authors to make use of self-archiving and make their work available according to the guidelines (Springer 2015a) on online repositories of their choice.

Papers in issue 26/1

The present special issue focuses on ICT-based Networked Governance and is comprehensively introduced in the preface by the guest editors (Loukis et al. 2016). After proposing theoretical perspectives on networked governance, the authors focus on several types of networks before addressing the evolving concepts of network governance. Finally, they provide a detailed introduction to the three special issue papers: “The governance strategies for public emergencies on social media and their effects: A case study based on the microblog data” by Qingguo Meng, Nan Zhang, Xuejiao Zhao, Fangling Li and Xin Guan (Meng et al. 2016), “The geographic concentration of China's e-business enterprises: Where they gather and why” by Yu Sun, Xingxuan Kuang and Dazhi Sun (Sun et al. 2016) and “How and why network governance evolves: Evidence from a public safety network” by Dax Jacobson (Jacobson 2016). At this point, we would like to thank Sharon Dawes from the University of New York at Albany, USA, Euripides Loukis from the University of Aegean, Greece, Marijn Janssen from Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, and Lei Zheng from Fudaan University, China, for organizing this special issue.

In addition, three general research papers are included in this issue. First, Sophie Cockroft and Saphira Rekker address “The relationship between culture and information privacy policy” (Cockroft and Rekker 2016). Second, Sebastian Derikx, Mark de Reuver and Maarten Kroesen investigate the question “Can privacy concerns for insurance of connected cars be compensated? A discrete choice experiment" (Derikx et al. 2016). This paper is an extended version of a selected paper from the Bled eConference and available via open access. Both articles link to Electronic Markets’ special issue “Personal data markets” (25/2) on privacy (see Alt et al. 2015b; Spiekermann et al. 2015). Last, but not least, Christian Matt and Thomas Hess present results regarding the “Product fit uncertainty and its effects on vendor choice” (Matt and Hess 2016). This paper considers consumer behavior and includes a laboratory experiment to analyze the effects of product fit uncertainty on consumers’ vendor selection.

We hope you enjoy reading this issue and wish you all the best for 2016.

Best regards from Leipzig and St. Gallen,

Rainer Alt, Carsta Militzer-Horstmann, Hans-Dieter Zimmermann


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Alt, R., Militzer-Horstmann, C. & Zimmermann, HD. Electronic Markets on self-archiving. Electron Markets 26, 1–5 (2016).

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