The fundamental problem blocking open access and how to overcome it: the BitViews project

Abstract:  In our view the fundamental obstacle to open access (OA) is the lack of any incentive-based mechanism that unbundles authors’ accepted manuscripts (AMs) from articles (VoRs). The former can be seen as the public good that ought to be openly accessible, whereas the latter is owned by publishers and rightly paywall-restricted. We propose one such mechanism to overcome this obstacle: BitViews. BitViews is a blockchain-based application that aims to revolutionize the OA publishing ecosystem. Currently, the main academic currency of value is the citation. There have been attempts in the past to create a second currency whose measure is the online usage of research materials (e.g. PIRUS). However, these have failed due to two problems. Firstly, it has been impossible to find a single agency willing to co-ordinate and fund the validation and collation of global online usage data. Secondly, online usage metrics have lacked transparency in how they filter non-human online activity. BitViews is a novel solution which uses blockchain technology to bypass both problems: online AMS usage will be recorded on a public, distributed ledger, obviating the need for a central responsible agency, and the rules governing activity-filtering will be part of the open-source BitViews blockchain application, creating complete transparency. Once online AMS usage has measurable value, researchers will be incentivized to promote and disseminate AMs. This will fundamentally re-orient the academic publishing ecosystem. A key feature of BitViews is that its success (or failure) is wholly and exclusively in the hands of the worldwide community of university and research libraries, as we suggest that it ought to be financed by conditional crowdfunding, whereby the actual financial commitment of each contributing library depends on the total amount raised. If the financing target is not reached, then all contributions are returned in full and if the target is over-fulfilled, then the surplus is returned pro rata.

Do Download Reports Reliably Measure Journal Usage? Trusting the Fox to Count Your Hens? | Wood-Doughty | College & Research Libraries

Abstract:  Download rates of academic journals have joined citation counts as commonly used indicators of the value of journal subscriptions. While citations reflect worldwide influence, the value of a journal subscription to a single library is more reliably measured by the rate at which it is downloaded by local users. If reported download rates accurately measure local usage, there is a strong case for using them to compare the cost-effectiveness of journal subscriptions. We examine data for nearly 8,000 journals downloaded at the ten universities in the University of California system during a period of six years. We find that controlling for number of articles, publisher, and year of download, the ratio of downloads to citations differs substantially among academic disciplines. After adding academic disciplines to the control variables, there remain substantial “publisher effects”, with some publishers reporting significantly more downloads than would be predicted by the characteristics of their journals. These cross-publisher differences suggest that the currently available download statistics, which are supplied by publishers, are not sufficiently reliable to allow libraries to make subscription decisions based on price and reported downloads, at least without making an adjustment for publisher effects in download reports.

 

What does local use of Sci-Hub look like? – iNode

“Mindful of privacy issues, I asked a friend in campus IT to take a list of 6 or 7 domains and derive an extract file from the DNS query logs, providing just date, time and query string for anything that matched the domain information I provided.  Here’s an excerpt of the result: …

Producing this extract is now part of a weekly cron job so I’ll be able to monitor the relative use of these sites over the coming months.  In this one particular instance, I can’t wait for the Fall term to begin…

So what did I find by monitoring DNS queries between July 3rd and July 10th?

 

The graph shows activity for users on the campus network.  A better name for this post might be, “What does local use of ResearchGate look like?”…

Here are the numbers if you include off-campus traffic to subscription sites (DNS resolution happens here since our proxy server is on the campus network):

  • Sci-Hub (includes the .tw, .se, and .ren domains): 87
  • ResearchGate: 1186
  • Springer-Link: 551 (391 on-campus users; 160 via campus proxy server)
  • Google Scholar: 977
  • ScienceDirect: 1730 (1306 on-campus users; 424 via campus proxy server)
  • Engineering Village: 129 (111 on-campus users; 18 via campus proxy server)….”

UW Faculty Senate votes to support UW Libraries bargaining and licensing priorities in scholarly journal subscription negotiations — UW Libraries

On May 16, the UW Faculty Senate voted unanimously to approve a Class C Resolution expressing its support for the UW Libraries Licensing Principles and bargaining priorities in upcoming journal package negotiations with major journal publishers. The legislation, sponsored by the Faculty Council on University Libraries, endorses the Libraries’ negotiation and licensing priorities and voices support for:

  • Bringing down subscription costs and increases to a sustainable level that will not imperil other collection and service needs
  • Ending non-disclosure agreements to allow the Libraries to disclose their contractual terms and permit greater market transparency
  • Allowing interlibrary loan to facilitate resource sharing
  • Protecting the rights of users to share articles with students and colleagues
  • Ensuring the privacy and data security of all users
  • Protecting the ability of students and researchers to continue to access journals and articles
  • Supporting the University’s Open Access policies by allowing re-use and embargo-free deposit rights and protecting researchers’ copyright in their own research
  • Enabling greater market flexibility and responsiveness by negotiating contracts on a 3-year basis
  • Providing equitable service and access to information for all our library users….”

Exploring Open Access Ebook Usage | hc:24147 | Humanities CORE

Abstract:  This white paper was prepared by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project, Understanding OA Ebook Usage: Toward a Common Framework. Primary authors are: Brian O’Leary (BISG) and Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas). The project team, who contributed editing and improvements, include Charles Watkinson (University of Michigan), Lucy Montgomery (Curtin University/KU Research), Cameron Neylon (Curtin University/KU Research), and Katherine Skinner (Educopia Institute). Copyright for this white paper is held by BISG and licensed to the general public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Transformative Publishing: Requirements for a new publishing standard A proposal from Springer Nature

“A transformative publisher would commit to:

1. Continuously increase the average level of OA take-up across its transformative journals portfolio at least at the rate permitted by the commitments of research funding bodies, institutions and consortia

2. Promoting the benefits of OA using comprehensive summaries of article metrics to authors of primary research articles prior to submission, at submission and during the peer-review process to allow for comparisons to be made and therefore to maximise the take-up of the OA option via a series of online reports, seminars and webinars

3. Updating authors regularly on their articles’ usage, citations and online attention while showcasing the advantages of OA publishing and encouraging take-up of the OA option in future submissions to that transformative journal

4. Providing annual public reports on the greater benefits of OA article usage and citations compared with other content published in these transformative journals and utilise this data in wider promotion of OA benefits

5. Reporting on the OA and subscription content volumes and usage of its transformative journals portfolio so that institutional librarians could evaluate the cost per article cost and the article cost per download of their subscription content

6. Being more transparent about their subscription pricing policies, enabling institutional librarians to understand how subscription pricing takes account of any reductions in the volume of subscription content

7. Operating more transparent APC pricing policy that explains the value and cost rationale of each APC pricing band ….”

BISG Releases White Paper on Open Access Ebook Usage – Book Industry Study Group

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has published a white paper on “Exploring Open Access Ebook Usage”. The paper, co-authored by Brian O’Leary (BISG) and Kevin Hawkins (University of North Texas), is the product of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project, “Understanding Open Access Ebook Usage: Toward A Common Framework.”

The white paper summarizes current practices in tracking usage of open-access (OA) monographs, whose stakeholders include authors, publishers, funders, vendors, libraries, and readers. To serve the needs of this wide-ranging set of stakeholders, the paper recommends establishing a “data trust” to help manage and understand OA ebook usage.

The paper also recommends further work to:

  1. Define the governance and architecture of the data trust
  2. Create a pilot service that implements the defined governance and architecture
  3. Use relevant open-source technologies that support open OA usage tracking
  4. Develop personas and use cases that demonstrates who benefits from OA usage data
  5. Build engagement across multiple markets
  6. Better document the supply chain for OA monographs…”

Visiting Scholar: Preprint Uptake and Use Project – scholcommlab

“The ScholCommLab and ASAPbio are seeking a Visiting Scholar to collaborate with us on a special project about preprints uptake and use (details below). This funded position is open to faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students (enrolled full-time at an accredited institution) interested in joining us for a 2-4 month long research stay in Vancouver, Canada….”

Visiting Scholar: Preprint Uptake and Use Project – scholcommlab

“The ScholCommLab and ASAPbio are seeking a Visiting Scholar to collaborate with us on a special project about preprints uptake and use (details below). This funded position is open to faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students (enrolled full-time at an accredited institution) interested in joining us for a 2-4 month long research stay in Vancouver, Canada….”