Building for the Long Term: Why Business Strategies are Needed for Community-Owned Infrastructure – The Scholarly Kitchen

“We are beginning to see the first practical implementations of open source tools, steps toward the research community attempting to reclaim scholarly communications from the commercial interests which have dominated it for the last half century or so. Community-led projects have taken on an increased urgency after the recent spate of acquisitions of essential infrastructure by commercial interests (bepress, as one example, is now a cog in Elsevier’s research workflow strategy). The goals here are both laudable and achievable, but when we think about scholarly communications, we must take the long-term view. Our strategies must be aimed toward permanence and preservation – of systems that will be self-sustaining and stand the test of time — rather than just hoping more support will come along once the initial grant runs out. Are there ways we can help these efforts succeed?

Over the last decade, a clear picture has emerged from the research community. What they want from their system of scholarly communications includes openness, transparency, and expanded access to research outputs including, but not limited to, the final published paper. The drive toward open infrastructure is meant to level the playing field and do away with lock-in to any individual company. What remains unclear is how to make these things happen and who is going to pay for them. Library budgets are already strained to the limit, funders don’t seem to be offering large increases in financial support, and researchers are objecting to seeing their research funds diverted to paying publishing costs….”

Building for the Long Term: Why Business Strategies are Needed for Community-Owned Infrastructure – The Scholarly Kitchen

“We are beginning to see the first practical implementations of open source tools, steps toward the research community attempting to reclaim scholarly communications from the commercial interests which have dominated it for the last half century or so. Community-led projects have taken on an increased urgency after the recent spate of acquisitions of essential infrastructure by commercial interests (bepress, as one example, is now a cog in Elsevier’s research workflow strategy). The goals here are both laudable and achievable, but when we think about scholarly communications, we must take the long-term view. Our strategies must be aimed toward permanence and preservation – of systems that will be self-sustaining and stand the test of time — rather than just hoping more support will come along once the initial grant runs out. Are there ways we can help these efforts succeed?

Over the last decade, a clear picture has emerged from the research community. What they want from their system of scholarly communications includes openness, transparency, and expanded access to research outputs including, but not limited to, the final published paper. The drive toward open infrastructure is meant to level the playing field and do away with lock-in to any individual company. What remains unclear is how to make these things happen and who is going to pay for them. Library budgets are already strained to the limit, funders don’t seem to be offering large increases in financial support, and researchers are objecting to seeing their research funds diverted to paying publishing costs….”

As technology like AI propels us into the future, it can also play an important role in preserving our past – Microsoft on the Issues

“Our new AI for Cultural Heritage program will use artificial intelligence to work with nonprofits, universities and governments around the world to help preserve the languages we speak, the places we live and the artifacts we treasure. It will build on recent work we’ve pursued using various aspect of AI in each of these areas, such as:

  • Work in New York , where we have collaborated with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to explore ways in which AI can make The Met’s Open Access collection accessible, discoverable and useful to the 3.9 billion internet-connected people worldwide.
  • Work in Paris at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, where we have partnered with two French companies, HoloForge Interactive and Iconem, to create an entirely new museum experience with mixed reality and AI that paid homage to Mont-Saint-Michel, a French cultural icon off the coast of Normandy.
  • And in southwestern Mexico, where we’re engaged as part of our ongoing efforts to preserve languages around the world to capture and translate Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomiusing AI to make them more accessible to people around the world….”

flashPub

“We focus on making micropubs visibile, citable, and usable in compelling research narratives that engage the community and inspire new lines of inquiry….

We will never charge subscription fees or APCs for academic users. All researchers are welcome to publish!…

All content is deposited in leading public repositories, ensuring your contributions are preserved and acessible forever….

Our peer review system balances the benefits of open review and the value of traditional review. It’s fast, easy, and to the point….”

 

Birkbeck to play leading role in project to transform open access academic publishing — Birkbeck, University of London

“Birkbeck, University of London is to play a leading role in the transformation of the academic book-publishing environment, thanks to over two million pounds worth of funding from Research England.

The Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project partners Birkbeck with Coventry University, who led on the bid, Lancaster University, the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library, Loughborough University Library, and Trinity College, Cambridge, as well as forging external links with ScholarLed (Mattering Press, meson press, Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, punctum books), Jisc Collections, The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), The British Library, and The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC).

The project will put in place the currently missing but requisite infrastructures, business models, governance procedures, re-use strategies, preservation structures, and outreach programmes for the proposed mandate for open access books in the anticipated Third Research Excellence Framework. Birkbeck, in particular, will be seeking to work with external publishing partners to transform their business models….”

Open Science essential for new Horizon Europe funding programme – SPARC Europe

“SPARC Europe is pleased with the endorsement, on April 17, by the European Parliament (EP) of the Political Partial Agreement on Horizon Europe, the next research and innovation framework programme. Back in March 2019, the EP and Council of the European Union had reached a provisional agreement as part of the trilogue process. That agreement was approved by the Council on April 15. With that vote, European legislators demonstrated that they stand “behind the idea to keep the EU at the forefront of global research and innovation,” said Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, in an online statement. This agreement sends a strong signal about the importance of science and innovation for the future of Europe and shows Europe’s potential to lead in the promotion of Open Science and Open Access policies.”

Text of Digital Library Futures keynote (Cambridge, 21st May 2019) | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

There is a short story by the famous Argentine author, Jorge Luis Borges, of a civilization possessed of a holy book. The book must, at all costs, be protected and preserved for the future. It is encased within a dark and mighty sarcophagus to ensure its safety from quote “humidity, heat, damp, cold, ice, fire, wind, rain, snow, sleet, prying fingers, hard stares, the gnawing of rats, sonic disintegration, the dribbling of infants, and the population at large” end quote. The special caste of custodians in the story – a kind of priesthood of knowledge – are confident that they can protect the book; especially from this last and most damaging group, the population at large. Indeed, as time goes by and greater swathes of this growingly democratic population request access to the book, the priesthood formulate ever-more contrived rationales for the protection of the artefact. The intrinsic value of the book, to use a term from the report that forms the basis of today’s symposium, seems, in the story, to be increased by its scarcity of access, even as its instrumental value to society grows lesser by the day. For even the priesthood do not really know or understand the contents of the book that they guard. They have only the peripheral metadata context within which to work: the sacredness of the artefact, but also the sacredness of the notion of preservation. As preservation becomes an end in itself for the priesthood, the barbarian populace eventually overwhelm the fortification and prise open the sacred sarcophagus. The story draws to a close as the lay tribes examine the holy book, over the corpses of the priesthood, to find that it is written in a language and script that is completely indecipherable and that has been lost to time; as meaning has eroded over the span of artefactual preservation.

Borges, of course, never actually wrote such a story. But he could have and it did sound vaguely plausible as a transparent allegory of the phenomenon under discussion today. Namely: what is the tension between, and the resolution of, preservation and access for non-print legal deposit? How is it that we have come to a situation where the path-dependence of print has so thoroughly conditioned the access possibilities for the digital that its most salient property – that of non-rivalrous dissemination – must be once more made rivalrous and discarded? And what of the structures of meaning that themselves naturally erode over time, like an entropic process, in the digital space? How, without some form of continuous access, can we ensure that we can still read our digitally preserved heritage over even a decadal timespan?…

But the 909 articles published or supported solely by the platform that I run, the Open Library of Humanities, in its first year accumulated 118,686 unique views. That is, this tiny number of open access articles were viewed by more people than a UK national-level pilot giving on-site access to vast quantities of subscription material across all disciplines over almost double the same time period. This kind of study is most often used to show that “very few people want to read this material, so why should an industry reconfigure its economics to accommodate such changes?” I think that our platform shows exactly the opposite, though. For this is where my interests in open access coincide with issues of user-centric thinking about non-print legal deposit. In a world where we can demonstrate by example that there is an audience for even the most abstruse types of humanities scholarship, it is becoming increasingly problematic to separate preservation from any kind of distributed networked access….”