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Curation Hubs: A description and explanation of an initiative to advance open criminology

The CrimRxiv Consortium will advance open criminology (“open-crim”) with Curation Hubs: expert- and community-led Collections of already-published criminology outputs. Each Hub focuses on a criminological niche, showcasing its “best,” “exemplary,” or otherwise notable works. ...

Published onMar 12, 2024
Curation Hubs: A description and explanation of an initiative to advance open criminology
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To discuss commissioning or supporting a Curation Hub, send an email to Scott Jacques, CrimRxiv’s Founder and Associate Director for Sustainability. For updates, follow us on Twitter @CrimConsortium.


Introduction

The CrimRxiv Consortium will advance open criminology (“open-crim”) with Curation Hubs: expert- and community-led Collections1 of already-published criminology outputs.2 Each Hub focuses on a criminological niche, showcasing its “best,” “exemplary,” or otherwise notable works. They’re nominated by the public; selected by a team of experts—“Curators”; supported by the Consortium.3 Each curated-work is framed as a Pub4 on CrimRxiv5 and displayed on the Hub.

Purpose

In any endeavor, the Consortium’s goal is to increase the quantity, LIS-quality,6 and impact of open-crim. We’re making it more equitable, inclusive, scientific, and useful, increasing everyone’s return-on-investment (ROI).7 Curation Hubs are designed to propel this mission. As a utilitarian organization, we strive to maximize their utility for the greater good.

Process

To achieve its goals, the Consortium invents, implements, and improves processes for open-crim (see Appendix A). As currently envisioned, the process for making Curation Hubs has three phases, each with its own subprocesses: Creation, Collaboration, and Culmination. There’s a dozen steps. The Consortium performs steps 1-4 and 7-11. Step 6 is for Curators, our experts. Step 5 is for the public, our stakeholders.

Creation

  1. The Consortium (“we”) commission the special Collection (“Hub”).

  2. We appoint the Hub’s Curators, including a “Chief” and “Board.”

  3. We announce the Hub and Curators.

Collaboration

  1. We invite everyone to participate with a “Call for Recommendations.”

  2. The public submits nominations for the Hub.

  3. Curators make selections to organize the Hub’s Table of Contents (TOC).

  4. We acquire the selections, helping authors as needed.8

Culmination

  1. We close the Call for Recommendations when the Hub is near or at capacity.

  2. We produce the Hub by creating a Pub for each curated-work9 and adding them to the Collection per the TOC, inclusive of metadata and house-style.

  3. We publish the Hub in its final form, as a book.

  4. We advertise the finished Hub.

Details on recommendation, i.e. nomination

Anyone can recommend anyone’s output for inclusion on a Hub. Nominations are taken on a rolling-basis to encourage timely and frequent submissions. The general instructions for submitting a recommendation are below. These are likely to change with time, so please always refer to a Hub’s Call for Recommendations to see its instructions.

Image 1. Instructions per Call for Recommendations as of March 1, 2024

Product

Recall the Consortium’s mission is to increase the quantity, quality, and usage of open-crim. Once we complete a Curation Hub, it’ll be our achievement; a “plus one”; a contribution to scholarship and “the literature.”10 In metadata, each Hub will be a book, citable like:

CrimRxiv Consortium. 2024. ‘Title of Hub’. Editor Jane Doe. CrimRxiv. doi.org/10.123456789/12345 (ISBN 0123456789)11

We’ll produce each Hub in accordance with high LIS-standards, so it’s better discovered, identified, crawled, and archived by academic interfaces. Each Hub will make an impact, measured in pageviews, users, and social-media mentions,12 for example. Moreover, each Hub will increase the citation- and altmetrics of the curated-works, advancing criminology and careers,13 by highlighting them—and ensuring they’re free for everyone to use.


Appendix

A. Mission, strategy, and success metrics

General to the Consortium

To maximize our (measured) success, the Consortium’s strategy is to focus on what’s in our control. Specifically, we invent, implement, and improve actions that directly, positively, and concretely increase the quantity, LIS-quality, and impact of open-crim. We have incremental, daily success. For example, when we: add a Pub to CrimRxiv, this is increasing the quantity of open-crim; do so with LIS best-practices, this is a quality-improvement;14 and, share the Pub on social media, this is more impact.15 Little acts adds up and are reportable.16

We can always do better. We can improve in a variety of ways. But we can’t afford to do everything at once.17 Even if we could, we wouldn’t want to because some impact-producing initiatives have low or negative ROI—“they’re not worth it.” Our goal for 2024 is to implement the long-planned, ever-evolving idea of Curation Hubs. By trying, we’ll better know their actual ROI, how to improve them, and whether to continue them—invest further.

Specific to the Consortium’s new initiative

Curation Hubs will directly, positively, and concretely increase the quantity and impact of open-crim. We increase the quantity with every additional Hub and every Pub added to it. This is because, to be clear, each such Hub and Pub is itself a contribution to open-crim (“n=1”). Their impact increases with pageviews, users, and social-media impressions, for example. We directly measure these on CrimRxiv and Twitter.18

To maximize open-criminology’s quantity and usage, we also need to improve perceptions of its quality. Curation Hubs are meant to help, but we don’t have a practical way to directly measure the perceived effect. That said, we hope these Hubs motivate authors to provide OA to their outputs: directly, by giving them an extra reason to do so (i.e., so their work has a chance of inclusion); indirectly, by demonstrating the best criminology-outputs often are OA and always can be OA. To the extent our hope comes true, we’ll have further advanced our mission.

B. Hubs and their types on CrimRxiv

Hubs are Collections

A “Hub” on CrimRxiv is a “Collection” on PubPub, our platform:

A Collection is the unit used to organize content. Collections can be used as simple tags, or they can be created to organize books, journal issues, or conference proceedings. All four collection types function the same, but books, journal issues, and conference proceedings allow you to add specific metadata, such as ISSN or ISBN, that allow them to be better cited, crawled, and archived by academic interfaces.19

In addition to Curation Hubs (detailed above), CrimRxiv has “Output Hubs” and “Member Hubs.” They’re based on “tags.” Curation Hubs will be created as books. More information about Output Hubs and Members Hubs is below.

Output Hubs

Since CrimRxiv’s start in 2020, our landmark Hubs are output-specific. For example, we have Collections for Preprints + Working Papers and Postprints + Versions of Record. We’re working toward Hubs for data, software, educational resources, and more. Anyone can submit their output to a Hub, with publication decisions made by our Moderators per our Moderation Policy. It will always be free for authors to publish their work on CrimRxiv and for readers to use it.

Member Hubs

In October 2023, we launched the CrimRxiv Consortium with Member Hubs. An example is that for UoM’s Department of Criminology. These Collections are used to aggregate and centralize their authors’ OA publications. These Collections are meant to incentivize and thank institutions for their participation in the Consortium.

C. Conceptions and provenance of Curation Hubs

The idea as of November 2021

The following text is an email I sent to a potential Curator in November 2021. It describes and explains my early conception of Curation Hubs, including current motivations and envisioned processes. Back-then, these Collections were referred to as “overlay journals”; then for a time, “top journals” (see next section). I ultimately changed the name to best match “Member Hubs,” which we launched in October 2023 along with the Consortium (see above).

Subject: increasing qualitative-crim’s impact in a way that is ~free, pragmatic, and representative

Dear NAME: I'm emailing to see if you’ll join a new editorial board. The group is amazing. Will you please join us?

As some background, last year I became editor of …Qualitative…Criminology. My other hats include Director of Criminology Open, a service of which is CrimRxivI think a lot about how we can better promote qualitative criminology. Not only increase its impact, but do so in a way that is ~free, pragmatic, and representative. The best option, I think, is to start an overlay journal: Open Qualitative Criminology.20 The “overlay” format gets around two major problems for a journal: getting a lot of good papers and getting reviewers. Instead, we would pick the “best” published papers (though I refer to them as “favorites”) that have already been peer-reviewed, with an emphasis on selecting papers that represent the kaleidoscope of perspectives and authors. Currently, there’s no single place for people to find/see the best qual-crim papers, but I think that’d do a lot to advance the area and advance careers. The overlay journal will do that by taking advantage of open access licenses, and, in so doing, educate people about open access and otherwise promote it.

If you'd like to learn a little more, here’s the journal’s about page.21 I've tried to be brief, but I'm happy to answer any questions. Thank you. Scott

Scott Jacques | Director, Criminology Open22 | Professor, Georgia State University

The idea as of early 2023

Before settling on the name, “Curation Hubs,” I started referring to “overlay journals” as “top journals.” I used this name to convey these Collections piggyback on existing journals. The following text is an early-2023 description of how we might approach the concept from a selection perspective (i.e., how to choose outputs for Hubs) and sustainability perspective (i.e., how to financially support and incentivize Hubs).

A Top Journal (TJ) is a new type of journal that centralizes and republishes the best, recent articles in peer-review journals. This is a high-ROI way to operate a journal because it removes the need to receive papers and reviews by, instead, choosing from the population of already peer-reviewed articles from this list of about 100 journals. We do this legally and easily by taking advantage of open access licenses. Each TJ is its own page on CrimRxiv and devoted to a criminology subspeciality (e.g., policing or, within it, community policing) and owned by a criminology group with expertise in the area (e.g., university, foundation, society, agency). The journal is a hub and repository for articles that exemplify the subspeciality’s quality and diversity, in approach and authors. This evaluation is done by area experts—a curator and curatorial board—appointed by the supporting institution. The experts use an online governance system that automatically tabulates results and sends notifies the appropriate parties. From there, we do everything to get the issue published; most important, we help selected authors to make their work open access, if not already, so it can be legally republished in the TJ. The end-product benefits everyone: the supporting institution and curatorial team make an impact on an area, marketing themselves as leaders; authors get a badge of distinction and more eyes on their work, increasing their impact; readers receive expert-curated reading lists of open access (free) articles. This is a high-ROI way, in short, for an institution to make its mark on and support (open) criminology. To cover our costs producing TJs, supporting institutions pay a one-time purchase fee and an annual maintenance fee, with profit reinvested into CrimRxiv’s general maintenance and improvement. The price to start a TJ in a given subspeciality reflects its perceived popularity. To incentivize investment and growth of each TJ, its supporting institution can sell it (for profit) to a new institution, with a 10% royalty paid to us. Please click “Create a submission” to learn more about partnering together.

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