A small change in a law, a giant leap for knowledge sharing | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

Having been released at the same time as the first announcement of Plan S, a very important modification of the Belgian copyright law has gone somewhat unnoticed and it should not have! It is indeed a major groundbreaker in the open access to public research communication. The law now allows authors of publicly funded research articles to retain the right to make their original manuscripts freely available, even if otherwise specified in their contract with the publisher.  In terms of the legal protection of the researchers facing the increasingly frequent constraint on the part of funding bodies to make their publications available in Open Access, this law is of paramount importance. To my knowledge, it is the most progressive exception to a national copyright law worldwide to date….”

Thoughts on Plan S implementation guidelines – Open and Reproducible Research Group

“Having been asked to give feedback on the recent Plan S Implementation Guidelines for a working group, I thought I’d share my thoughts here. I’ve not really been keeping on top of the Plan S discussions, and given how late I am to the party, likely much of this has been said better elsewhere already. But anyway….”

Knowledge without boundaries: Advocacy campaign in Kenya for open access and institutional repositories | EIFL

“KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The University of Nairobi OA Policy was approved in December 2012 by the Senate members, who supported it overwhelmingly, and signed by the Vice Chancellor. The OA IR is now online. The policy became the third OA policy in the country following two other OA mandates adopted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology’s (JKUAT) Senate in April 2012 and Strathmore University in 2011.

  • Collaboration on OA advocacy between the Medical Students Association of Kenya (MSAKE), the University of Nairobi Library and the office of DVC Research, Production and Extension of the University of Nairobi has been strengthened. This has proved to be a good strategy to reach students and to work with them to ensure success of OA initiatives.

  • Ten repositories have been set up at ten institutions that participated in DSpace installation trainings, half of them are already on the web with the others are on local Intranets (pending  OA and IR policies approval by the relevant bodies).

  • Ten new OA and IR policies have been drafted, five of them have already been approved and five others are still pending approval by the Universities Management Boards and Senates.

  • Over 30 research institutions in Kenya are now aware of the importance of OA initiatives including the national policy makers. Government officials in ministries, top level managers in Higher Learning Institutions, researchers and students, ICT managers and the press are better informed about OA initiatives and many participants were ready to support their respective institutions in OA developments.

  • 300 researchers, students, research administrators and managers, publishers and policy makers were trained, which resulted in increased awareness of OA.

  • Great impact on OA Initiatives in KLISC Member Institutions and in Kenya as a whole. Was able to sensitize different stakeholders on OA initiatives….”

Towards Open Access Self Archiving Policies: A Case Study of COAR

Abstract:  This paper examines Open Access (OA) self archiving policies of different Open Access Repositories (OARs) affiliated to COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) as partner institutes. The process of scrutiny includes three major activities – selection of databases to consult; comparison and evaluation of Open Access policies of repositories listed in the selected databases and attached to COAR group; and critical examination of available self archiving policies of these OA repositories against a set of selected criteria. The above steps lead to reporting the following results: key findings have been identified and highlighted; common practices have been analyzed in relation to the focus of this paper; and a best practice benchmark has been suggested for popularizing and strengthening OARs as national research systems. This paper may help administrators, funding agencies, policy makers and professional librarians in devising institute-specific self archiving policies for their own organizations.

Open access and the reality of getting from here to there. | Dynamic Ecology

“The result for some time is going to be a mixed ecosystem where some journals are subscription based and some are gold OA with hefty APC charges. Could this be good for individual researchers? To put it simply, I don’t think so. I think this will be hell. …

My opinion is that the OA debate is in the end about who pays (author vs. reader) and that other issues like how much you pay, who you pay, and ancillary policies like Green OA (posting a pdf on your website), deposition with JSTOR (which is not technically OA because it has small sliding fees), etc are all much more important than OA….”

Gold Open Access Journals: From scientists’ “publish or perish” to publishers’ “publish to get rich” – Mapping Ignorance

This situation is clearly not sustainable. Scientists, workers of science, receive pressure from multiple agents. On the one hand, we need to publish (publish or perish is still a valid leitmotif for us). But now we need to publish Q1 journals if we want to promote and get funds to keep doing research. And we should do this not just for ourselves (I’m at the end of my career, I can’t promote further than being a full professor with six sexenios6), but especially for keeping our labs alive for the future of our people, PhD students and junior associate professors. And now, we are also pressed to publish open access. This is indeed promoted and required by the national 2011 “Ley de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación” (Science, Technology and Innovation Act) if your research has been produced with public funding. And Spain is not an isolated case. This is happening everywhere. Open access philosophy apparently promotes a democratic, solidary and transparent science system, so that governments and public funding agencies are demanding the researchers to acquire the compromise of publishing OA as a sine qua non requisite just to apply for funds. We keep this compromise thanks to Green Open Access, publishing our pre-prints in public, free-access repositories of our institutions. I wonder why we don’t skip the journal and just publish our manuscripts in the repository without the need for journal submission and peer review. I sincerely think that the quality of my papers would be more or less the same (I’m very perfectionist and know how to do my job after 30 years of experience), and the publication time would be substantially reduced….

This is the problem. Is there a solution? I think the answer is YES. Scientists have, logically, a leading role in scientific publication and the solution to this unbearable situation is in our hands. We cannot be working for the benefit of private companies anymore. Moreover, measures of governments and funding agencies designed to promote open access policy (enforcing researchers to publish in OA journals; reaching millionaire agreements with publishing oligopolistic companies) have failed because they were inadequate. The solution is that, once again, science workers (scientists) start leading and commanding the publication of our results. Scientific societies, national and international, were promoters of classical journals….”

COAR’s Feedback on the Guidance on the Implementation of Plan S

“We recognize and agree with the aim of transforming the publishing industry, however to truly improve and transform the system there needs to be a multipronged approach, with a number of actions undertaken concurrently. We would like to stress the importance of repositories as complementary mechanisms for advancing innovation in research communications, as outlined in the COAR Next Generation Repositories report and ensure that their role is adequately reflected in Plan S.

In general, COAR supports the implementation guidelines outlined in Plan S and therefore we will focus our comments on the requirements for repositories. COAR and others in the repository community have significant concerns related to several of the requirements for repositories, a number of which we argue are not necessary and will create artificial barriers to the participation of universities and other research organizations in the scholarly communication system. While some of these recommendations may be ‘nice to have’, they are not prerequisites for robust and interoperable repository services. Instead they could result in driving repository functionality in the wrong direction, create too high of a bar for less resourced institutions, and further centralize research infrastructures and services because they cannot be adopted, leading to a replication of the existing inequalities in the scholarly communication system. 

We strongly urge Plan S to remove or reword some of the requirements, and move others into a “Recommended additional criteria” section, such as the section that has been included in the Open Access Journals and Platforms section. …”

Open Access: “Plan S” Needs to Drop “Option B” – Open Access Archivangelism

But the culprits for the prohibitive pay-walling are not just the publishers: They are also the researchers, their institutions and their research grant funders — for not requiring all peer-reviewed research to be  made Open Access (OA) immediately upon acceptance for publication through researcher self-archiving intheir own institutional open access repositories.

Instead the OA policy of the EC (“Plan S“) and other institutional and funder OA policies worldwide are allowing publishers to continue their parasitism by offering researcher’ the choice between Option A (self-archiving their published research) or Option B (paying to publish it in an OA journal where publishers simply name their price and the parasitism continues in another key)….

And many researchers are ignoring the embargoes and spontaneously self-archiving their published papers — and have been doing it, inclreasingly  for almost 30 years now (without a single lawsuit).

But spontaneous self-archiving is growing far too slowly: it requires systematic mandates from institutions and funders in order to break out of the paywalls.

The only thing that is and has been sustaining the paywalls on research has been publishers’ lobbying of governments on funder OA policy and their manipulation of institutional OA policy with “Big Deals” on extortionate library licensing fees to ensure that OA policies always include Option B.

The solution is ever so simple: OA policies must drop Option B.”