The Open Tide – How openness in research and communication is becoming the default setting | Impact of Social Sciences

“Open Access to research findings is often presented as an end unto itself. However, the ethos of open access, to enable a greater sharing and utilisation of research knowledge, suggests a more complex network of scholarly communication. Presenting the findings of a recent report on the development of Open Access, Daniel Hook explores how the open trajectories of the UK and the US have diverged and what this means for research collaboration and research systems in these countries….

Our recent report examined the rise of Open Access at national level since 2000.  Unsurprisingly, the world has changed significantly in this 16-year period. Notably, research is now more collaborative and funders are generally more actively supportive of Open Access than in 2000. Amongst a number of insights, a notable development has been the plateau in US Open Access production at around 41% of total, while the UK progressed from 40% to 52.5% in the same time (Figure 1)….

US funders have taken a less interventionist approach to Open Access. The US continues to produce more papers and Open Access by volume than any other country; it has the broadest range of international research collaborations and continues to invest heavily. Yet such a large ship is less easy to steer. It may be inappropriate to compare the speed of movement of the US to smaller countries, but it is clear that Open Access benefits from a firm direction being set by those with influence….”

Openness: An interview with Daniel Hook, CEO of Digital Science – The Scholarly Kitchen

I think that biggest barrier is the existing system of incentives – people are not made professor for making their research openly available — that needs to change. The current system was never built to scale to the current size of the research world. I think that there will be some radical changes in scholarly communication and evaluation. Research, however, is quite rightly a conservative world. Systems need to be tried and tested – we can’t afford to switch to a system that is susceptible to effects like fake news.  So, I don’t think that change will happen quickly….

As a researcher, I want it to be simple. I don’t want to have to find money from different pots to publish my work. I don’t want to have to understand licensing and copyright law nor do I want to have to understand if my funder’s requirements are at odds with my institution’s requirements of me or indeed my government’s views on what constitutes open. I also really don’t want to have to go through the same thing with my data and my software as well as my journal article. So, in short, yes, I do think that there needs to be simplification. Not wanting to wade into the minefield that is Plan S, I will say that one thing that must be welcome to everyone is that there is now clear coordination going on between different stakeholders. Ideally this would lead to a framework or standard that allows stakeholders to adopt or to sign up to a standardized set of Open Access requirements that are internally consistent and easy to understand….”

From Finch to Plan S: and you may ask yourself, well how did I get here?

Collection launched: 06 Mar 2019

The Finch Report reaches the grand age of seven this year, and with the advent of Plan S, Insights wanted to commemorate the progress and the frustration with open access (OA) and open science with a special collection.

We have gone through the catalogue of previously published articles to give an interesting overview of what has been happening at the coalface since the Finch report. Post Finch, Sykes suggested that ‘there is nothing inevitable about the triumph of open access’. The bigger picture that emerges from the articles is certainly that a great deal of effort and compromise have brought us to a place much closer to the end-game than we were back in 2012. However, as the various articles show, there is a great diversity of thought on how to get to where we think we ought to be. There is a value in healthy debate, particularly when there is the benefit that OA can bring. In the days leading up to the Plan S announcement, articles in Insights signalled a more urgent tone (Earney, 2018; Lundén, Smith and Wideberg, 2018) as things were not moving fast enough in navigating the bumpy golden road towards OA (Otegem, Wennström and Hormia-Poutanen, 2018). This is something that cOAlition-S explicitly targeted. Finally, Johnson (2019) brings the special collection to a close with a round-up of the immediate aftermath post Plan S. Like you, we await the next chapter….”

Open Research Position Statement | Scholarly Communication

Open Research Working Group – Position statement on Open Research: Approved by Research Policy Committee at its meeting on 22 November 2018 and by the General Board of the Faculties on 16 January 2019….

2.1 The University recognises contributions from researchers at all career stages, working collaboratively across a wide range of disciplines. Across the disciplinary spectrum there are a wide range of cultural settings that influence both capacity for and appropriateness of fully Open Research. Open publications and open data l take different forms, and require different approaches, in each of these settings. The University supports the academic freedom of researchers to pursue new knowledge, and to choose the means of dissemination; but within that free choice, the University encourages outputs of research, and where appropriate the accompanying data, to be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

2.2 The University relies on its researchers to uphold principles of scholarly rigour so that open materials are of the highest research quality and, where appropriate, will aid reproducibility. This may include:


  • where possible, ensuring all publications are Open Access;
  • where appropriate and possible, making openly available the underlying data relating to these publications;
  • sharing protocols openly;
  • collaborative approaches including blogging, online editions, releasing teaching materials, pre-print deposit….”

Open access ‘seems such a seismic change’ | Research Information

“There isn’t a single challenge that runs evenly across all of the disciplines, but the biggest one we’re facing is how we can make open access work in a way that preserves what’s good about current scholarly publishing activities, and is also sustainable and allows for innovation. It’s very difficult to move past open access at the moment. It seems such a seismic change in how we think about the way we publish. 

In the UK open access has largely been implemented through hybrid journals, and the recent Plan S announcement is very firmly positioned against hybrid journals – so the system is still clearly being shaken up. There may have been a sense that journal publishing had settled down into this hybrid model, but it didn’t deliver entirely on the promise of open access and allowed publishers to preserve what they were doing without having to innovate quite so much. We’re going to have to find ways of working around that. 

A particular concern for people like me, a historian working in digital humanities, is how we accommodate books in all of this. The business models for book publishing are not really there yet, although there are some interesting experiments. It’s also the case that digital and open book content is largely excluded from ways of measuring usage. The price of a lot of academic books is an issue as well. Are there ways that we can work together to try to bring cost down?  That’s not an easy problem to fix either, but it’s an ongoing challenge in terms of recommending books to students and inequalities of access to this material….”

‘Historical Google Earth’ project captures a changing Britain | Culture | The Guardian

A “historical Google Earth” featuring aerial photographs of Britain going back to 1945 has been made freely available by Cambridge University.

The vast archive captures 70 years of change across urban and rural landscapes, from the bomb-scarred postwar period to the emergence of motorways and skyscrapers.

The aerial photographs, showing Britain from the air from the 1940s up to 2009, were taken by former wartime RAF pilots at the instruction of the Cambridge archaeologist Kenneth St Joseph.

The first 1,500 photographs, covering almost every corner of the UK, were published on Friday, the first batch from an archive of almost 500,000….”

The Unstoppable Rise of Sci-Hub: How does a new generation of researchers perceive Sci-Hub? | Impact of Social Sciences

“How do early career researchers (ECRs) use Sci-Hub and why? In this post David Nicholas assesses early career researcher attitudes towards the journal pirating site, finding a strong preference for Sci-Hub amongst French ECRs. He raises the question, will Sci-Hub prove the ultimate disruptor and bring down the existing status quo in scholarly communications?…”

Information Manager: Research And Scholarly Communications at University of Hertfordshire

This is an exciting opportunity for an information professional to join our Research and Scholarly Communications Team.

Working collaboratively with colleagues in the Research and Scholarly Communications Team, Research Office and other key stakeholders the post holder will manage and advise on the publishing and management of research outputs; the curation and dissemination of research information, responsible metrics driven personal and institutional publication strategy; and compliance with Open Access policy and other funder mandates.

Working with the Research and Scholarly Communications Manager the post holder will have a collaborative role in delivering end-to-end support for research and scholarly communications offered by LCS with the aim of developing the relationship with researchers and standardising support processes. The post holder will provide effective liaison between the University research community and colleagues within Library and Computing Services responsible for service design and delivery….”

Cambridge University Press signs major UK Open Access deal « Librarians « Cambridge Core Blog

Cambridge University Press has agreed a Read and Publish deal with Jisc Collections, which will help UK universities and colleges make a sustainable transition to publishing Open Access content in our Cambridge journals. The agreement covers both the payment for institutions to access the Press’s journals and the Article Processing Charges their authors would normally pay to publish their work Open Access in those journals.

With UK institutions at different stages in the transition to Open Access, the deal has been drawn up to allow them to move at a pace which suits them. The terms of the agreement include options for institutions to begin the transition, with increases in Open Access publishing linked to a decrease in subscription spending….”