Open Access, Books, and the Tricky Transition | School of Advanced Study

“The Third Research Excellence Framework, scheduled for the mid-2020s, now has a mandate for open access books. Despite calls from the digitally enlightened, however, most humanities long-form writing remains very much ensconced within the traditions and economics (both symbolic and financial) of the printed book. In this talk, I will discuss the challenges of a migration from conventional books to an open access model and the range of approaches that are currently being taken.

In the age of data mining, distant reading, and cultural analytics, scholars increasingly rely upon automated, algorithm-based procedures in order to parse the exponentially growing databases of digitized textual and visual resources. While these new trends are dramatically shifting the scale of our objects of study, from one book to millions of books, from one painting to millions of images, the most traditional output of humanistic scholarship—the single author monograph—has maintained its institutional pre-eminence in the academic world, while showing the limitations of its printed format. Recent initiatives, such as the AHRC-funded Academic Book of the Future in the UK and the Andrew W. Mellon-funded digital publishing initiative in the USA, have answered the need to envision new forms of scholarly publication on the digital platform, and in particular the need to design and produce a digital equivalent to, or substitute for, the printed monograph. Libraries, academic presses and a number of scholars across a variety of disciplines are participating in this endeavour, debating key questions in the process, such as: What is an academic book?  Who are its readers? What can technology do to help make academic books more accessible and sharable without compromising their integrity and durability? Yet, a more fundamental question remains to be answered, as our own idea of what a ‘book’ is (or was) and does (or did) evolves: how can a digital, ‘single-author’ monograph effectively draw from the growing field of digital culture, without losing those characteristics that made it perhaps the most stable form of humanistic culture since the Gutenberg revolution? Our speakers will debate some of these questions and provide their points of view on some of the specific issues involved. After their short presentations, all participants are invited to bring their own ideas about, and experience with, digital publishing to the table.”

Finding a third way to open access | Research Information

Entrenched viewpoints on both sides of the open access debate risk leaving authors stuck in no man’s land, argues Rob Johnson….In politics, the ‘third way’ emerged as a synthesis of right-wing economics and left-wing social policies. Perhaps it’s time for us to embrace a ‘third way to OA’ – enabling us to harness the dynamism of commercial players in the interests of opening up research findings to the world.

NeuroChambers: Why I hate the ‘tone debate’ in psychology and you should too

“There’s this idea that open science will attract more ‘disciples’ if it comes across as having a more positive, inclusive tone. Goodness me, what a load of honking bullshit this is. Open science will attract individual adopters for three reasons: (1) when scientists grow a conscience and appreciate that their public mission demands transparency and reproducibility; (2) when scientists decide to take advantage of individual incentives (career and social) for being open (e.g. Registered Reports, joining SIPS etc.); (3) when funders, journals and institutions make it a requirement. All of these are in progress. The cold embrace of open science by gatekeepers and regulators is in the post – it is only a matter of time before transparent, reproducible practices will be required if you want to spend public money. That’s why I tell early career researchers to get ahead now because the ground is shifting under your feet….”

Scholarly Communications Licence

“PA [Publishers Association] members are deeply concerned about a proposal from a scholarly communications working group to introduce a new model licence within HEIs. The SCL would give the implementing university a non-exclusive licence to make work open access on publication, in conflict with any green open licence in place with a publisher, and with an option for a researcher to secure a waiver from the HEI should the publisher require it. 

Principal concerns are the significant administrative burden on researchers, institutions and publishers that could arise as waivers are requested; a conflict with UK policy on OA; the way the SCL seeks immediate non-commercial re-use rights for all UK research outputs; and the potential limit it places on the choice of researchers over where to publish. …”

The persistent Green vs Gold OA controversy and its deep flaws

“Arguments against APC funding like the one above are both frequent and angry-sounding, and have been flowing in again from the OAI10 Conference in Geneva twitter feed. They’re also problematic. The way the argument is put out suggests that the dichotomy is between APC-based Gold and Green OA. While it’s an understandable claim for more funding for Green OA-based infrastructure to which one is far from being unsympathetic, it follows a biased logic: 

[…]

While fully respecting the demands for a more Green OA-friendly approach in research funder policies, my view is that since we happen to have this enormous opportunity that library-managed APC funding offers in terms of OA advocacy, it’s in everyone’s best interest to try to exploit it leaving aside controversies that divert the attention from the rather evident fact that it’s a co-existence of different models we’re clearly heading towards.”

Dear Martin… « Walt at Random

“Maybe I’m misreading Eve’s article; maybe he’s not actually suggesting that there hadn’t been much OA activity in the humanities. Because there has, starting from the very beginning (quite a few of the earliest OA journals were in the humanities, including PACS-L Review, Postmodern Culture, EJournal and New Horizons in Adult Education. I guess it bothers me to see all the work that’s been done to date somewhat minimized–and, again, I may be unfair in reading Eve that way. I’d much rather see a celebration of the enormous amount of work that’s been done in OA by humanities people (certainly including librarians) along with a call to do more and a recounting of innovations. But that’s just me, someone who’s been nattering on about ‘free electronic journals’ for at least 20+ years now.”

Publishers and Open-Resource Advocates Square Off on the Future of Course Content – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“At a friendly yet spirited debate last month over the pros and cons of open educational resources, publishers and OER advocates agreed on at least one thing: The “old” textbook market is broken.”

Green Is Not the New Gold: Beware of False Models for Open Access – ASCB

“Green OA would be an easy solution because it sounds like OA and seems to interfere minimally with current publishing mechanisms, but I will argue that it is an expensive halfway house with limited benefit to the scientific community or indeed the public. If we want OA to work in a sustainable manner for papers in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals, it has to be gold and not green. And even if we don’t care about peer review or quality control by journals, there is a better solution than institutional green OA for disseminating articles: the posting of preprints….”