Free our knowledge: Platinum Open Access Campaign

“Publicly-funded research should be free to read, reuse and free for authors to publish (“Diamond” or “Platinum Open Access”). High quality Platinum Open Access journals already exist in most disciplines, but often languish without the support of researchers who feel pressured to publish in ‘prestigious’ traditional journals. The academic community creates nearly all of the value that determines journal ‘prestige’, however, and as such a widespread and simultaneous statement of exclusive support for the Platinum Open Access model would bolster the reputation of these journals, decrease the incentive to publish in traditional journals, and allow the community to transition the value we provide to more efficient and cost-effective journals with minimal risk to individual researchers.

By signing this campaign, you will pledge to exclusively support fee-free Open Access journals. Your pledge will only go into effect if a critical mass of peers in your field sign the same pledge (choose your own threshold when you pledge, according to your circumstances)….”

The open access shift at UWA Publishing is an experiment doomed to fail

“A statement released by UWA claims the changes will help “to guarantee modern university publishing into the future”, foreshadowing “a mix of print, greater digitisation and open access publishing.”…

The notion that a respected publishing house can be replaced by open access publishing is disproved by examining other Australian university presses, such as the now-closed University of Adelaide Press, founded in 2009 with a mission to be an open access publisher….

Sydney University Press, which was relaunched in 2003 after closing in 1987, has employed a “hybrid approach” to open access. It is now returning to a more standard university publishing model….

Open access has an important role to play in academic publishing, but it is laughable to claim UWA Publishing’s cultural impact can simply be replaced through open access….

 

Petition · Right to share publications · Change.org

“As scientists and scholars, we create the intellectual content that appears in APA [American Psychological Association] Journals. We conduct the research, write the papers and review the work at no cost to your journals. We also edit your journals for minimal income. This makes the academic publication system incredibly profitable for publishers.

It deeply concerns us that APA uses these profits to pay staff to threaten us to remove these products of our free labor from our academic websites, where other academics can read and build on our work. 

We engage in practices like voluntary reviewing for APA because we feel a commitment to producing a public good that others can use to promote scientific progress. By using these profits to restrict us from sharing our own work, you have privatized a public good and made our relationship transactional. Of course, it is entirely within your rights to do so.

If you wish to make this relationship transactional, we demand that you use the profits from our work to pay us for reviewing. If we learn that you have pressured any of the signees to remove their own APA publications from their academic website, then all signees will demand that you pay us $300 per review (unless otherwise agreed upon in writing). 

In short, you have a simple choice: You continue to accept our free labor and allow us to share the products of our labor on our academic websites OR we move to a transactional relationship and you pay us for our reviewing and we use that money to pay for open access rights for our papers (or any other purpose we deem relevant).”

What happened when a professor was accused of sharing his own work on his website

“Like many academics, William Cunningham, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, shares his own articles — published and soon-to-be — on his website. And like most academics, he does so in the interest of science, not personal profit.

So Cunningham and hundreds of his colleagues were recently irked by a takedown notice he received from the American Psychological Association, telling him that the articles he had published through the organization and then posted on his website were in violation of copyright law. The notice triggered a chain of responses — including a warning from his website platform, WordPress, that multiple such violations put the future of his entire website at risk. And because the APA had previously issued similar takedown notices, the threat of losing his website seemed real to Cunningham.

In response, psychologists started a petition to the APA, saying that if it didn’t stop policing authors’ personal websites for the sharing of science, then it needed to pay peer reviewers $300 for each article review….”

E-books at local libraries: Inside the fight between publishers and librarians over buying and lending policy.

“In July, Macmillan announced that come November, the company will only allow libraries to purchase a single copy of its new titles for the first eight weeks of their release—and that’s one copy whether it’s the New York Public Library or a small-town operation that’s barely moved on from its card catalog. This has sparked an appropriately quiet revolt. Librarians and their allies quickly denounced the decision when it came down, and now the American Library Association is escalating the protest by enlisting the public to stand with libraries by signing an online petition with a populist call against such restrictive practices. (The association announced the petition Wednesday at Digital Book World, an industry conference in Nashville, Tennessee.) What’s unclear is whether the association can get the public to understand a byzantine-seeming dispute over electronic files and the right to download them….”

Free our knowledge

“The scholarly publishing system is inefficient, expensive, and promotes questionable research practices. Intense competition between researchers discourages us from embracing solutions to these problems (‘Open Science’), for fear we might risk our careers in the process. Our mission is to ‘kickstart’ progress by first organising a critical mass of support for certain Open Science practices (e.g. Open Access publishing), and then acting in a coordinated fashion to instantiate these practices as a new cultural norm….

Join the movement by pledging your support for each of the research practices below. For each campaign, you will select a ‘support threshold’ that determines when your pledge becomes active and deanonymised, thus preventing any risk to your career until you have the support of your research community….”

Elsevier and the Open Science Monitor: Where are we at? – Green Tea and Velociraptors

For some time now, many of us having been deeply unimpressed with the fact that Elsevier, one of the chief opponents to the progress of Open Science, will be helping to monitor the future of Open Science in Europe. Metaphors about foxes and hen-houses have been flying everywhere.

We have launched several initiatives to try and combat this.

One of these was a formal complaint to the EU Ombudsman and the European Commission. Herein, we outlined 2 major groups of issues. The first was more around the awarding process to Elsevier and their group itself, and some elements which we believed required more transparency. The second was around the role of Elsevier, issues with the proposed methods, and the enormous conflicts of interest apparent in having Elsevier monitoring services and processes that they and their competitors sold.

 

Following this, there were a flurry of exchanges, the most important one being that the EU Commission produced a detailed report to respond to our questions. While this clarified many of the issues, mostly regarding the award process itself, it did not adequately address a number of others; primarily regarding the bias and conflicts of interest around Elsevier and the proposed methodologies.

 

 

Our latest step here was to obtain a copy of the awarding contract, which we have now made public (with permission). The original tender is still online here. It seems that pretty much everything checks out here from the EC, as we should have expected. We really appreciate the efforts of the Commission here in providing detailed responses and more transparency to our queries; especially after the callous dismissals by Elsevier and the Lisbon Council that we received when we originally raised these issues. It seems that our concerns were extremely well founded, as justified by the fact that the EC had to perform a full investigation into the process. No apology from either Elsevier or the Lisbon Council for their ad hominem retorts has been given since….

More than 1100 people signed our original complaint to the EU Ombudsman. However, as this was just drafted as a Google Doc, they weren’t ‘formal’ signatories. As such, one additional step taken was to launch a petition through the EU to request that Elsevier be removed as the sole contractor for the Open Science Monitor. It took a while to get processed, but this finally went live here recently….

What is next then?

Well, this is where things get a little vague. The Commission don’t seem to care about Elsevier, and their continuous exploitation of the public purse and research enterprise. They seem to not be fully conscious of the conflicts of interest inherent in having Elsevier in a position in which they will so clearly benefit from. They also do not seem to appreciate the fairly offensive irony in having Elsevier monitoring a system that was essentially catalysed by their regressive business practices….”

Researchers sign petition backing plans to end paywalls

More than 1,400 researchers have signed an online letter backing the principles of Plan S, the bold open-access initiative led by research agencies who say that, by 2020, papers resulting from their funding should be immediately free to read on publication.

The petition, launched on 28 November, comes as scientists continue to debate the pros and cons of the European-led plan, which was announced in September and is now supported by 16 national science funders and charities….”

Support Diego Gomez: An Update

“Last Summer, we learnt about the case of Diego Gomez. Diego Gomez, a Colombian graduate student, currently faces up to eight years in prison for doing something thousands of researchers do every day: posting research results online for those who would not otherwise have a way to access them.”

Bullied Into Bad Science: Leading individuals and institutions in adopting open practices to improve research rigour

“We are postdocs and a reader in the humanities and sciences at the University of Cambridge. We are concerned about the desperate need for publishing reform to increase transparency, reproducibility, timeliness, and academic rigour of the production and dissemination of scholarly outputs (see Young et al. 2016Smaldino & McElreath 2016).

We have identified actions that institutions and managers can take to better support ECRs (below). These actions are crucial for our success because we are eager to publish openly and at places that keep profits inside academia in accordance with many modern online publication venues (Logan 2017). However, ECRs are often pressured into publishing against their ethicsthrough threats that we would not get a job/grant unless we publish in particular journals (Carter et al. 2014Who is going to make change happen?Kent 2016; usually these journals are older and more familiar, have a print version, a high impact factor, and are not 100% open access). These out of date practices and ideas hinder ECRs rather than help us: evidence shows that publishing open access results in increased citations, media attention, and job/funding opportunities (McKiernan et al. 2016). Open dissemination of all research outputs is also a fundamental principle on which ECRs rely to fight the ongoing reproducibility crisis in science and thus improve the quality of their research.

To support ECRs in this changing publishing landscape, we encourage funders, universities, departments, and politicians to take the following actions (below) and to announce these actions in public statements….”