The case for an inclusive scholarly communication for social sciences and humanities

Abstract:  This article presents a vision for a scholarly communication research infrastructure for social sciences and humanities (SSH). The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressing need to access research outputs without the traditional economic and temporal barriers. This article explores the current scholarly communication landscape, assessing the reasons for the slower uptake of open access in SSH research. The authors discuss such frontiers as commercial interests, sources of academic prestige and discipline-specific genres.

This article defines and discusses the key areas in which a research infrastructure can play a vital role in making open scholarly communication a reality in SSH: (1) providing a federated and easy access to scattered SSH outputs; (2) supporting publication and dissemination of discipline-specific genres (e.g. monographs, critical editions); (3) providing help with evaluation and quality assurance practices in SSH; (4) enabling  scholarly work in national languages, which is significant for local communities; (5) being governed by researchers and for researchers as a crucial factor for productive, useful and accessible services; (6) lastly, considering the needs of other stakeholders involved in scholarly communication, such as publishers, libraries, media, non-profit organisations, and companies.
They conclude that a scholarly-driven, inclusive, dedicated infrastructure for the European Research Area is needed in order to advance open science in SSH and to address the issues tackled by SSH researchers at a structural and systemic level.

The resilience of scientific publication: From elite ancient academies to open access – Mallett – 2021 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

Scientific publication has been a key part of the scientific method since the inception of Philosophical Transactions in 1665.
The scientific publications industry has grown exponentially along with science, incorporating technological innovations along the way, and adapting journal processes and practices to changing needs of science as it matured.
Of all the technological innovations over more than 300?years, the move to online journals may be the most significant, making open access to content practical for the first time.
The open?access movement is disrupting the economics of journal publishing, which is hoped will make the industry more competitive: the ability of the publications industry to adapt to open access will be a measure of its resilience.
The demand for articles published in reputable journals continues to grow as readers trust the credibility of peer reviewed journal articles, and good authors value the prestige of publishing in the best journals.
It is difficult to predict what new functionalities may be included in articles of the future or what additional services publishers and editors will provide, but there is every reason to believe that scientific journal articles are here to stay….”

The resilience of scientific publication: From elite ancient academies to open access – Mallett – 2021 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

“Key points

 

Scientific publication has been a key part of the scientific method since the inception of Philosophical Transactions in 1665.
The scientific publications industry has grown exponentially along with science, incorporating technological innovations along the way, and adapting journal processes and practices to changing needs of science as it matured.
Of all the technological innovations over more than 300?years, the move to online journals may be the most significant, making open access to content practical for the first time.
The open?access movement is disrupting the economics of journal publishing, which is hoped will make the industry more competitive: the ability of the publications industry to adapt to open access will be a measure of its resilience.
The demand for articles published in reputable journals continues to grow as readers trust the credibility of peer reviewed journal articles, and good authors value the prestige of publishing in the best journals.
It is difficult to predict what new functionalities may be included in articles of the future or what additional services publishers and editors will provide, but there is every reason to believe that scientific journal articles are here to stay….”

Can Publishers Maintain Control of the Scholarly Record? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“More recently, as Oya and Roger analyzed in the spring, an alternative vision for preprints has emerged, one pursued by all of the major commercial publishers, among others. In this new model, publishers are promoting preprints but at the same time working to domesticate them, bringing them within their article submission workflows and linking preprints and versions of record in a way that will over time serve to deprecate the ability of the former to disrupt the latter. By restructuring the place of preprints less as part of a global research community (for example, for high energy physics) and instead linked directly with journal brands, publishers hope they will reinforce the existing value proposition. It remains to be seen how this vision will dovetail with, or perhaps over time impede, the mandate of community-based preprint services such as arXiv and bioRxiv to provide publisher-neutral platforms, decoupling the early sharing of research from the formal publishing stage in a way that enables authors to avoid having their findings associated exclusively with specific journals. …

 

If anything, the landscape for research data is more complicated than that for preprints. It has come to include domain-specific structures, cross-institutional generalist structures, and increasingly substantial institutional investments. There are also some interesting new models developing for dataset discovery and capturing datasets within records associated with researcher identity. …

 

The scholarly record is fracturing, as shown by these twin examples of preprints and research datasets. Publishers are pursuing an effort to integrate preprints into their workflows and value propositions, but whether they will succeed in doing so remains to be seen. They seem to be far less certain of how to similarly integrate research data, which does make sense given that datasets correspond less directly to the published article than does a preprint….

For the publishing sector, this fracture seems to pose challenges. Those parties that are concerned about consolidation and profit margins in publishing might see in these challenges an opportunity. While perhaps unrealistic, as a thought exercise, we wonder what it would look like to make a large-scale capital investment in promoting the fracture? Might scholarly societies or others interested in stewarding research communities find a way to promote a refactored scholarly record? ”

Prestige Journal Publisher, Nature, Slaps Scientists In The Face

“This is outrageous. $11,500 is more than scientists earn in a year in some countries, as Forbes blogger Madhukar Pai pointed out. What’s truly outrageous is that they’re asking for this payment from a community that does all the work for them for free. If Nature is going to treat scientists like suckers, it’s time we stopped playing along….

Of course, Nature journals will still allow scientists to publish papers the old-fashioned way, where they don’t pay the €9,500 fee and where the journal then owns the paper. Rather than doing that, or paying the outrageous fee, let’s hope this money grab makes scientists look elsewhere for a place to publish their findings. And while we’re at it, let’s tell the Nature editors we won’t be reviewing for them any longer….”

How Prestige Journals Remain Elite, Exclusive And Exclusionary

“How does Nature’s diversity commitment square with their own fee options? Do elite, prestige journals actually care about equity and diversity? Is Nature, one of the largest and most profitable publishers, leading in addressing inequities and setting an example to other publishers? And what do scientists in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), people who are rarely consulted, think about Nature’s new policy?

To address these questions, I consulted 20+ scientists from around the world….”

Good News: Academics Can Make Their Articles Published In Top Journal Nature Freely Available As Open Access. Bad News: They Must Pay $11,000 For Each One | Techdirt

“The research will indeed by freely available to the world, but the authors’ institutions have to cough up the massive sum of $11,000 for every article. That will make Nature compliant with Plan S, while ensuring that loads of money continues to roll in. It also means that educational institutions won’t be saving any money when their researchers can read some Nature publishing papers for free, since they must pay out huge sums for their own academics to appear in these titles. This is a classic example of double-dipping — what is more politely called “hybrid open access.” Nature the publisher will get paid by institutions to make some articles freely available, but it will continue to be paid by subscribers to access material that has already been paid for. Plan S may mean that Nature and other publishers make even more money….”

Branding Scholarly Journals: Transmuting Symbolic Capital into Economic Capital | CIRST

“In this paper, we analyze a relatively recent commercial strategy devised by large academic publishers, consisting in the branding of their most prestigious scientific journals. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s model of capital conversion, we show how publishers transfer the symbolic capital of an already prestigious journal to derivative journals that capture part of the prestige of the original brand and transform it into new economic capital. As shown by their high impact factors, these new journals, bearing the mark of the original journal in their titles, are rapidly adopted by researchers. Through manuscript transfer mechanisms, publishers also use part of the papers rejected by their flagship and highly selective jour-nals to recycle and monetize them in lower impact or open access derivative journals of their lists.

Publishing, P&T, and Equity, an Open Access Week Miniseries, Part 1: Stop Rewarding Journal “Prestige”

“-Part 1 (this post!) will discuss why updating P&T standards to eschew journal level metrics and journal prestige is an important strategy for advancing equity and inclusion, as well as open access.

-Part 2 (Wednesday-ish) will suggest that rewarding open practice and open publishing in P&T standards is an important step toward affirmatively promoting equity and inclusion in the academy (and in the communities we serve).

-Part 3 (Friday-ish) is a kind of postscript that explains a bit about why libraries are especially interested in these issues and how we see the intersection of Open Access, Equity/Inclusion, and Promotion and Tenure with perhaps a unique clarity relative to other parts of the scholarly ecosystem….”

bjoern.brembs.blog » Who’s responsible for the lack of action?

“There are regular discussions among academics as to who should be the prime mover in infrastructure reform. Some point to the publishers to finally change their business model. Others claim that researchers need to vote with their feet and change how they publish. Again others find that libraries should just stop subscribing to journals and use the saved money for a modern publishing system. Finally and most recently, people have been urging funding agencies to use their power to attach strings to their grant funds and force change where none has occurred….

We, the scientific community and all institutions supporting them, are all responsible for change.

The more relevant question is: who is in the strategically best position to break the lock-in-effect and initiate change?

Researchers decide if they evaluate colleagues on glamour proxies that deteriorate the reliability of science by valuing “novelty” above all else, or if they stand up and demand an infrastructure from their institutions that supports reliability, saves time and provides for an optimized workflow in which they can focus on science again, instead of being constantly side-tracked by the technical minutiae of reviews, meetings, submissions, etc.
Libraries decide how to spend their ~10b€ annually: on subscriptions/APCs in opaque and unaccountable negotiations, exempt from spending rules or on a modern infrastructure without antiquated journals and with a thriving, innovative market that allows them to choose among the lowest responsible bidders?
Funders decide whether to support scientists at institutions that fund monopolists and reward unreliable science, or those that work at institutions which spend their infrastructure and research funds in a fiscally responsible way to provide an infrastructure that preserves not only text, but data and code as well, ensuring the reliability and veracity of the results….”