Participant Experiences and Financial Impacts: Findings from Year 2 of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative | Achieving the Dream

“This report expands on last year’s report with updated course and enrollment data as well as new findings about students’ perceptions of their OER courses and the institutional costs and actual student savings of OER degree pathways. A final report in September 2019 will include findings on student and course outcome data. Here are several highlights from this report that caught our attention:

  • The Initiative has spurred significant expansion of OER courses and enrollments at participating colleges.
  • Students find OER materials more relevant, easier to navigate, and better aligned with learning objectives than traditional textbooks.
  • Faculty see increased student engagement with OER materials.
  • College leaders see OER degrees connected to other institutional strategic goals, including affordability, increased access and equity, decreased time to degree, and improved pedagogy.
  • Students realize significant savings from use of free and open course materials, savings that can help them with financial challenges that might interfere with their ability to continue and succeed in their program of study….”

Free Textbooks Are Not Always Free: New Study Analyzes OER’s Costs to Colleges | EdSurge News

“When professors shift to assigning Open Educational Resources instead of publisher-produced textbooks, the move typically saves students money (and it can be a significant amount). But OER is not free, since it costs money to develop the materials, takes time for professors to evaluate and adopt them, and typically involves other campus-support services as well.

report released last week gives perhaps the most detailed accounting of the pricetag to colleges looking to make signiciant moves to OER….”

Statement on Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries | Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries

“This Position Statement on Controlled Digital Lending by Libraries (“Statement”) offers a good faith interpretation of U.S. copyright law for American libraries considering how to perform traditional lending functions using digital technology while preserving an appropriate balance between the public benefit of such lending and the protected interests of private rights holders. This Statement only applies to in-copyright works, as public domain works may be distributed without restriction. This Statement is not intended to describe the upper limits of the fair use or other rights of libraries, bind the signatories to any legal position, or constitute legal advice….”

Fifteen years in, what next for PLOS Biology?

PLOS Biology marked its fifteenth anniversary on October 13 (Fig 1). The year we published our first issue, 2003, Europe launched its first voyage to Mars, the SARS epidemic spread through 26 countries [1], and the Human Genome Project published all the nucleotide base pairs in our DNA. Our launch predated Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, smart phones and tablets. In the US at the time, 43% of households had dial-up, ‘slow internet’, 38% had no internet and only 19% had home broadband; only 1% of music sales were digital; and 37% of households had no cell/mobile phone [2]. Yet the promise of digital technology to transform scientific communication was already apparent. “Communication among scientists has undergone a revolution in the last decade, with the movement of scientific publication to a digital medium and the emergence of the Internet as the primary means for distributing information,” the PLOS founders wrote in our first issue [3]. “Millions of articles are, in principle, just a mouse-click away from our computers.” …”

Join OpenAIRE and FOSTER for a series of webinars and tutorials!

“Finally, it’s almost Open Access Week again! 

As has become a yearly tradition, OpenAIRE and FOSTER are hosting a new series of webinars and tutorials during Open Access Week 2018 (October 22 – 26). 

This year, we’re going for an interactive, mixed approach. You’ll have the chance to subscribe to dedicated ‘tracks’, each of which involves reviewing 1 or 2 short online tutorials along with some supporting information. We’ll even throw in an old-fashioned webinar here and there! You can subscribe to one (or all!) of these tracks and we’ll provide you with all relevant information you need the week starting October 15. You can browse the tutorials and learning materials at your own pace, and then bring any questions you might have to dedicated Q&A sessions during Open Access Week. We’ll have a range of Open Science experts on hand to help answer your questions.

All tutorials and webinars will be accessible without subscribing. However, if you would like to submit any questions beforehand, receive reminders or want to be kept in the loop afterwards, you’ll need to register (there is only one form, in this you can register for all tracks and webinars you want to attend). …”

FOAA Board recommendations for the implementation of Plan S

“ii. Define a clear transition path for hybrid journals to (Gold) OA. We suggest, in line with Stephan Kuster’s comment at the LERU meeting of October 2018, that to be compliant, the journal would need to be able to demonstrate it is transitioning within a 3-4 year period to fully gold OA by reporting on progress every year. iii. Provide clarity if and how green Open Access (OA) will be compliant. Green OA repositories seem to be endorsed only for preservation, not for OA itself. However, if compliant green OA is explicitly defined as unembargoed libre green OA, this is just as satisfactory as unembargoed libre gold OA, and this might incentivize publishers to hasten the transition of their journals to full gold OA. In this way, the value of repositories for OA itself can be acknowledged, not just for preservation and editorial innovation. iv. We strongly recommend that support for OA promised in Plan S infrastructure be public and open infrastructure, that is, platforms running on open-source software, under open standards, with open APIs for interoperability, owned or hosted by non-profit organizations. This should avoid infrastructure being acquired by large commercial publishers, which is a deliberate approach being taken to increase ownership of the whole scholarly communication ecosystem ….”

Mike Taylor | Szymon Górnicki

An interview with paleontologist and OA advocate, Mike Taylor. 

“SG: You are a supporter of open access, open source and open data. Of course, science must be easily available for everyone. On the other hand, there are problems with funding research and paleoart, small number of jobs in paleontology. Do you have any thoughts on how to solve these problems?

MT: Well, first of all, open access, open source and open data do not threaten jobs in palaeontology at all. If anything, they create more of a market for research, as more can be done.


Palaeoart is a completely separate problem. Fundamentally, the compensation system is different. Academics are paid for doing their jobs, and the data-sets and papers they generate are in some sense by-products. Paying academics to use their data and papers would be ludicrous: they’ve already been paid. But (with maybe a very few exceptions) palaeoartists are not salaried. They get paid only in exchange for their services. For that reason, it’s morally defensible for them to use copyright to prevent their work from being copied, in a way that is not defensible for preventing copying of scholarly papers. It’s great when artists are able to work in ways that allow their work to be freely reproduced and modified, but that will always be the exception….

SG: Does PeerJ meet your expectations of academic publishing practices transformation?

MT: In almost all respects, absolutely. When I was putting together the Xenoposeidon-is-a-rebbachisaur paper, it literally didn’t even occur to me to send it anywhere but PeerJ. Their submission system is less painful than any other I’ve used, their editors are thorough, their peer-review system is efficient, effective AND transparent, their website is fine, their production is really careful, and of course they do all this at a superb low price. And they offer preprints, and an easy route to move from preprint to reviewed paper. I think that as things stand, they are BY FAR the best game in town: when I look at papers in traditional journals like JVP and Palaeontology now, with their hard-to-read two-column text and their tiny greyscale illustrations, they feel like relics of a bygone era.

If I have a reservation about PeerJ at all, it’s a rather churlish one: I wonder whether they could have been a bit MORE radical. But in reality, they probably hit the sweet spot: they’ve moved the Overton window now in a way that they couldn’t have done if they’ve been perceived as too left-field for the Big Names to publish in. But in fact, PeerJ is perceived now as one of the major venues for vertebrate palaeontology, in large part I think because established workers felt that it was recognisable enough as a journal that they were prepared to publish their work there.

There’s one other thing that does need to be mentioned: it worries me a little that PeerJ is privately owned. I know Pete Binfield and Jason Hoyt a little, and they are about the most principled and trustworthy owners a scholarly publishing operation could have. I am confident that they won’t sell out. But ultimately, anything that’s privately owned is to some degree vulnerable. Suppose they dilute their stock a bit more to bring in more investment. They become huge, Then Elsevier offers $500M for them, and the other shareholders group together and
force Pete and Jason to sell. It doesn’t seem likely, but it’s not impossible. I have grown increasingly convinced of the important of the …”

PREreview-PLOS Open Access Week Preprint Journal Club Information

“What if you could participate in a preprint journal club from anywhere in the world, unencumbered from the constraints of having to physically sit around a table at an institution? 

At PREreview, we want to take preprint journal clubs to the next level:  we are trying to change the way we do scholarly reviews. Live PREreview preprint journal clubs are hosted via an online community call, which allows anyone with internet or phone-in capabilities to join the discussion. This format also promotes inclusivity by following a structure that provides a means to join the discussion silently in written form, and vocally. 
Each live PREreview preprint journal club will be hosted by two facilitators with experience in mediating calls and will emphasize providing constructive feedback to the authors to help them improve their manuscript, and maybe even highlight new avenues of future research. During the call we will follow a template of questions that will allow us to record and collate feedback into a formal PREreview. As PREreviews are given a free DOIs and are linked from the preprint on bioRxiv, your compiled review will be citable and discoverable….”

Expertos reclaman revisar el sistema de evaluación de los investigadores para impulsar la ciencia abierta – Noticia – ISGLOBAL

“October 9, 2018

The review of the evaluation system of the research staff is essential to promote open science

The review of the evaluation system of the research staff is essential to promote open science

ISGlobal co-organizes a B · Debate on open science in the Spanish context and in Europe Experts and experts, convened by B · Debate , an initiative of Biocat and Obra Social “la Caixa”, agreed that the review of the evaluation system of research personnel is essential to promote open science , a movement that promotes a science more accessible to everyone, that is effective, reproducible and transparent.


Currently, many times the evaluation of a researcher’s career continues to focus on the number of publications and the impact factor of the scientific journals where his articles appear. Different international movements have already underlined the importance of revising this system to improve the way in which the quality of the results and the impact of the research are evaluated , such as the San Francisco Declaration of Evaluation of Research . Apart from the quantity, the evaluation of the research must also take into account the quality….”

Opening up Peer Review | MDPI Blog

“It is now a little over four years since MDPI first started to offer an option for open peer review, as announced on this blog and in the journal Life. We have recently taken a look at the popularity of this feature, the results of we found very encouraging. In short, a large percentage of papers are published with their review reports. In fact, it has proven so popular that we have decided to make open peer review an option for all MDPI journals….”