In support of open infrastructures: A statement from OPERAS in response to the ‘Open Research Library’, a new initiative from Knowledge Unlatched – OPERAS

On May 16, Knowledge Unlatched (KU) launched a new hosting platform for Open Access monographs, the Open Research Library (ORL). Notwithstanding its name, we do not consider the Open Research Library to qualify as an open infrastructure.

The statement from KU opens as follows:

“Free access to scientific content is often limited due to the fragile technical infrastructure around it: content is stored in a variety of versions at various locations and without any uniform search functionalities. The Open Access initiative Knowledge Unlatched has addressed this growing problem and is now launching the Open Research Library together with several international partners. Its goal is to unite all Open Access (OA) book content over the coming months. To this end the Open Research Library is working with publishers and libraries worldwide and is open to all providers and users of quality-assured research content.”

While we can agree with the observation that ‘free access to scientific content is often limited due to the fragile infrastructure around it’, we do not think this initiative is helpful in strengthening the Open Access infrastructure for monographs.

OPERAS, the European Research Infrastructure dedicated to open scholarly communication in the Social Sciences and Humanities, supports the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures: infrastructures should be open, transparent, sustainable, and community-governed. OPERAS is dedicated to develop a distributed research infrastructure in close collaboration with the scholarly community, in accordance with these principles. OPERAS has demonstrated its support of these principles in various projects:

  • the HIRMEOS project, a collaborative project of five European book publishing platforms to develop a shared set of added value services, in order to make these available to the scholarly community and enable integration with the open science ecosystem;
  • the development of the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) as a central platform to improve transparency and quality assurance around Open Access monographs;
  • the upcoming, recently funded project TRIPLE, an innovative discovery service aimed at increasing the discovery, access, reuse and societal impact of Social Sciences and Humanities artefacts (data, publications and projects).

In our opinion, the ORL does not meet the criteria for open infrastructures. On the contrary, based on the statement from KU and the early release of the ORL, the approach of this platform closely resembles well-known internet strategies to quickly achieve a dominant position by aggregating all available content and offering a free service to the community, while aiming for a lock-in of users and stakeholders. The ORL is neither open nor transparent, in particular regarding its governance.

While we are not against commercial ventures or market competition, we strongly believe that vital infrastructures supporting Open Science should not fall in the hands of commercial operators. These infrastructures should be a collective responsibility of stakeholders in scholarly communication. We see SCOSS and the recent launch of the IOI initiative as positive signs that this collective responsibility can become a reality. With this in mind, we think that the ORL is not helpful, and could well be harmful, on the road to establishing a distributed, open and sustainable infrastructure for Open Access monographs.


This statement is the outcome of an open consultation with the OPERAS Core Group. 20 May 2019.

Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm | Impact of Social Sciences

“The whole reasoning around open access for books is now aligned to a commercial agenda, where authors invest in openness with the prospect of greater downloads, citations, and impact in return. Marcel Knöchelmann argues that the free market paradigm is particularly ill-suited to humanities and social sciences book publishing and its many diverse scholarly communities. Equitable foundations for open scholarship should mean having shared infrastructures that support openness, without openness being for sale. We need to radically rethink collaborative efforts to preserve diversity and refocus the intentions of openness on scholarship – requiring a new, community-focused approach….”

DOAJ’s open letter to SSHA communities about Plan S – News Service

“The recently published Royal Historical Society (RHS) working paper on Plan Scontains some errors about the role that DOAJ might play in Plan S certification. These misunderstandings are commonplace and we, the DOAJ Management Team, have seen them before in other responses to Plan S. They are disappointing but they are not surprising….

The DOAJ Management Team recently decided that it is time to do a bit of “myth-busting“. Therefore we are publishing this open letter, partly as a response to the RHS paper, mostly as a way of addressing the misunderstandings that have been circulated on social media, but also as a call to SSHA communities to collaborate with us….

We felt it was important to respond to this particular statement because it illustrates that there is a great need to support social science, humanities and arts (SSHA) communities. DOAJ is keen to work more closely with SSHA communities and the organisations and bodies working with them to enable them to become fully familiar with the driving forces behind open access, in a way that the STEMM communities already are….

In 2015, DOAJ tightened its acceptance criteria and made all the 10 000+ indexed journals reapply to remain indexed. Many SSHA journals failed to submit a re-application to us, or didn’t meet enough of the criteria to remain indexed. It is not enough to expect these journals to simply come to us and apply. We must go to them and help them understand why being indexed in DOAJ is a good thing, but we cannot do it alone. With this post, we are putting out an open call to representative groups in the social sciences, humanities and arts to collaborate with us and help us to identify journals that are fit for purpose, and which should be indexed in DOAJ….

The RHS paper describes an understandable concern that Plan S disadvantages SSHA journals, many of which do not charge APCs. We were pleased to read this comment as this echoes exactly the concern which DOAJ presented to cOAlition S during the feedback period. The current draft of the Plan S requirements glosses over any journals, SSHA or otherwise, that do not charge APCs and these are the journals that DOAJ is trying to protect and promote….

Many commentators of Plan S have mentioned either that many journals in DOAJ are not Plan S compliant or that it is hard to identify Plan S compliant journals currently indexed in DOAJ. If cOAlition S confirms that DOAJ is a partner in Plan S implementation then the DOAJ Management Team will adapt DOAJ, both the website and the editorial processes, to allow journals to apply for Plan S compliance.

  • We will add a separate stream for those journals seeking Plan S compliance.
  • Being indexed in DOAJ will not equal Plan S compliance.
  • We will make it possible for journals to be indexed appropriately in DOAJ: Plan S compliant or DOAJ compliant or compliance for both.
  • We understand that many of the journals which eventually achieve Plan S compliance probably aren’t in DOAJ today.
  • We do expect that many of the journals in DOAJ today may not even want to apply for Plan S compliance.
  • We will work hard to make sure that Plan S compliant journals are quickly and easily identifiable by users….”

Is there a place for a Subscription Journal in an Open Access world?

“At the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) in San Diego later this month [30 May, 2 p.m.] I will assert that yes, a subscription journal can continue its subscription business-model while effectively accelerating the transition of their discipline to Open Access—but only in the right circumstances, and only if a publisher adopts what I call “Maximum Dissemination” of the authors’ work, including elimination of its paywall….

Accepting an author’s final accepted manuscript (post peer-review) is the ideal point at which the publisher could take on the mantle of providing maximum dissemination of the author’s work.

Imagine at that point that a publisher informs the author as follows:

 

  • Congratulations. Your article “xxxxx” has now passed peer-review and has been accepted for publication in the Journal of yyy.
  • Part of our commitment to you is that we will seek maximum dissemination of your work, both the published version that we will now be preparing and your Author’s Accepted Manuscript (post peer-review) for those who do not yet subscribe to the Journal of yyy.
  • Upon publication of our published version we will archive your accepted manuscript in an Open Repository that meets all the requirements of sustainable accessibility. If you have a preference for which Open Repository, you’d like it submitted to, please check the appropriate box(s) below:
  • {The author’s home institution Institutional Repository}
  • {An Open Repository used by many in this particular discipline.}
  • {A National Repository used by scholars in the scholar’s home country.}
  • {etc.}…”

Principios y Valores – AmeliCA

[Undated] From Google’s English: 

Principles and values

one.
Scientific knowledge generated with public funds is a common good and access to it is a universal right.
two.
Open Access must be protected legally to avoid the appropriation of scientific knowledge for profit.
3.
Open Access has no future or meaning without an evolution in the systems of evaluation to research.
Four.
The consolidation of Open Access must consider the transition to digital scientific communication as an essential axis.
5.
The economic investment in Open Access must be consistent with its benefit to society, just as commercial solutions are paid.
 
6
The adverse economic scenarios that the AA faces must be overcome with work schemes based on collaboration and sustainability, favoring that the scientific publication continues sustained and led by the academy.
7
It is necessary to recognize the diversity of scientific journals and stop the pressures that seek to homogenize them. For their part, journals should support the strengthening of institutional repositories through the disappearance of embargo and assignment of rights policies.
8
The social impact of science is the basis of the existence of Open Access.
9
It is necessary to respect the different dynamics of generation and circulation of knowledge by area, especially the dynamics of Social Sciences and Humanities.
10
Open Access must be permanently conceptualized and defined accordingly. The three “B” homogenize the conditions of the development of science and the conditions of the South are different from those of the North….”

Flash Call for Discussants – Hirmeos Project

The HIRMEOS project is looking for members of the research community and scholarly communication experts who are interested in contributing to its workshop Shaping new Ways to Open the Book by participating as a discussant. The HIRMEOS consortium will cover travel and accommodation costs of the selected participants….”

Laying the Foundation for Community-Driven, Open Cultural Gazetteers

Abstract:  Geospatial humanities projects rely on information found in gazetteers to supply the infrastructure for projects. However, a majority of spatial gazetteers provide place names and geographical coordinates but lack contextualizing information that give meaning to a place, making them insufficient resources for humanities inquiry. In this article, I explore contemporary approaches to data collection and models for cultural gazetteers set forth by early modern chorographical traditions to lay the foundation for building community-driven, open cultural gazetteers. Concurrently, the role of the public in providing Volunteered Geographical Information (VGI) by harnessing user-friendly tools is explored.

Aligning Social Media Indicators with the Documents in an Open Access Repository

Abstract:  In this paper we describe our current efforts towards building a framework that extends the functionality of an Open Access Repository by implementing processes to incorporate the ongoing trends in social media into the context of a digital collection. We refer to these processes collectively as the Social Media Engine. The purpose of our framework is twofold: first, we propose to challenge some of the preconceived notions of digital libraries by making repositories more dynamic; and second, by challenging this notion we want to promote public engagement and open scholarship. As a work in progress, we believe that a real challenge lies in investigating the implications that these two points introduce within the context of the humanities.

Ancient history – modern lessons: Can a new wave of Classics scholars save the world? (Paid Content by University of Warwick from The Chronicle of Higher Education) – The Chronicle of Higher Education

[Note that this piece is not a news piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education, but “Paid for and created by University of Warwick.”]

“This is an incredibly exciting time to study the ancient world Scott argues. Because now new technologies are enabling the advance of research and teaching techniques in classics and ancient history and the subject is shooting off into exciting new areas of study and ways of understanding the people of the ancient world. He explains: “The digital revolution allows us to explore these worlds in more depth or in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Virtual reality brings places and situations to life for us, if we can’t get there in person. 3D printing allows us to recreate artefacts and from there we can recreate scenes from ancient history.” …”

Ancient history – modern lessons: Can a new wave of Classics scholars save the world? (Paid Content by University of Warwick from The Chronicle of Higher Education) – The Chronicle of Higher Education

[Note that this piece is not a news piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education, but “Paid for and created by University of Warwick.”]

“This is an incredibly exciting time to study the ancient world Scott argues. Because now new technologies are enabling the advance of research and teaching techniques in classics and ancient history and the subject is shooting off into exciting new areas of study and ways of understanding the people of the ancient world. He explains: “The digital revolution allows us to explore these worlds in more depth or in ways we hadn’t imagined before. Virtual reality brings places and situations to life for us, if we can’t get there in person. 3D printing allows us to recreate artefacts and from there we can recreate scenes from ancient history.” …”