The research ecosystem is changing rapidly and profoundly, Elsevier/Ipsos MORI study shows | EurekAlert! Science News

In 10 years’ time, the academic world will see new funding models, methods of collaboration, and ways of conceptualizing research and measuring its impact – all driven by advances in technology, an empirical study, conducted by information analytics business Elsevier and market research organization Ipsos MORI, showed.

Tech advances are also likely to make research practice and publication faster, and more open. Researchers can expect to benefit from greater career flexibility, better feedback on their work and improved reproducibility.

These are some of the findings presented in the new report, “Research Futures – drivers and scenarios for the next decade“. The report is the result of a year-long, scenario-planning study, drawing on the opinions of more than 2,000 researchers globally, interviews with more than 50 expert stakeholders around the world (including futurists, publishers, funders and technology experts), and a comprehensive review of published literature.

The report lays out three plausible future scenarios showing how the world of research could transform over the next decade. These are [full summaries of each scenario are at the end]:

  • “Brave open world” – considers the rise of open science;
  • “Tech titans” – examines the growing influence and dominance of technology and technology companies; and
  • “Eastern ascendance” – considers a fragmented world in which China plays a key role….”

The business of academic publishing: “a catastrophe” – ScienceDirect

Richard Smith, a former editor at BMJ, reviews Jason Schmitt’s film, Paywall.

As I watched Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, I was taken back 30 years to when I thought for the first time about the business aspects of academic publishing. I was an assistant editor at the BMJ, and the editor asked me to join a meeting with a group of rheumatologists who wanted a share in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, a journal we owned. “We do the research published in the journal”, said one of the rheumatologists. “We do the peer review, we edit the journal, we read it, and we store it in our libraries. What do you do?” “Tell them what we do”, said the editor to me. I was at a complete loss….”

Thousands of scientists run up against Elsevier’s paywall

“Researchers at German institutions that have let their Elsevier subscriptions lapse while negotiating a new deal are hitting the paywall for the publisher’s most recent articles around 10,000 times a day, according to Elsevier — which publishes more than 400,000 papers each year.

But at least some German libraries involved in negotiating access to Elsevier say they are making huge savings without a subscription, while still providing any articles their academics request.

A major stumbling block to getting deals signed is institutions’ desire to combine the price they pay for subscriptions to pay-walled journals with the cost that libraries and researchers pay to make articles open-access….”

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….”

Open letter: UC retains access to articles for now as UC-Elsevier talks continue | UC Berkeley Library News

“As described in our open letter sent December 19, 2018, the University of California has been in negotiations to renew its systemwide license with scholarly journal publisher Elsevier.

Throughout these negotiations, UC has remained committed to two key goals: facilitating open access publishing of UC research, and holding down costs by integrating open access article processing charges (APCs) and subscription fees into a single contract.

UC and Elsevier have agreed to continue good-faith discussions for the time being. For now, access to Elsevier articles is expected to continue. Should we learn of any changes to access at UC, we will notify our community.

If Elsevier were to reduce access to subscribed content at any point, access to articles published from 2019 forward, as well as a limited amount of historical content, would no longer be available directly on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform. UC will still have direct access to most Elsevier articles published in 2018 or earlier.  

In that event, the Library will work with researchers to get them the articles they need through other means, such as interlibrary loan. Visit Alternative access to Elsevier articles on the Library’s website for more details….”

Elsevier journal negotiations | UC Berkeley Library

As described in our open letter sent December 19, 2018, the University of California has been in negotiations to renew its systemwide license with scholarly journal publisher Elsevier.

Throughout these negotiations, UC has remained committed to two key goals: facilitating open access publishing of UC research, and holding down costs by integrating open access article processing charges (APCs) and subscription fees into a single contract. 

UC and Elsevier have agreed to continue good-faith discussions for the time being. For now, access to Elsevier articles is expected to continue. Should we learn of any changes to access at UC, we will notify our community. Read more….”

European Commission envoy warns about mirror journals as way around open-access requirements

Research funders are being “taken for a ride” by publishers who launch new so-called mirror journals that mimic existing titles in an open-access format, according to the man spearheading an international effort to make more scholarship freely available.

Robert-Jan Smits, the European Commission’s open-access envoy, said there was something “fishy” about mirror journals, which duplicate the title and editorial board of existing, subscription-based journals.

Some of these mirror journals have emerged since the launch last September of the international initiative Plan S, led by Smits, which would make immediate open access mandatory for academics who win grants from participating funders….

Some publishers see mirror journals as a way of allowing researchers to continue to submit to a near identical journal while remaining Plan S compliant.

But the fear for those leading Plan S is that publishers will end up being paid twice: once for subscription to the original, closed journal, then again when collecting payments from researchers to publish open access in the mirror.

This “double-dipping” criticism has also been leveled at hybrid journals, which contain a mixture of closed and open-access articles….”

Plan S: how important is open access publishing? | Times Higher Education (THE)

Dislike of gold open access is also partly responsible for researchers’ opposition to Plan S. Lynn Kamerlin, professor of structural biology at Uppsala University, is one of the instigators of the open letter against it. While she pledges strong support for open access, she is happy with the current rate of progress and sees the recent “explosion” in the use of preprint servers as illustrative of the range of routes towards it. She fears that the details of Plan S’ “embargo requirements and repository technical requirements…are so draconian that paid-for gold becomes the easiest way to fulfil them”. This will convert the “nudges” towards gold in existing funder mandates (which she supports) into a “shove”, which will be “a disaster for the research community” because it will disadvantage those unable to pay article processing charges and “seriously jeopardise the much more rigorous quality control standards provided by high-quality society journals compared to the high-volume for-profit business model, which has an inbuilt conflict of interest”.

Nor is Kamerlin alone in expressing a concern that the allegedly lower standards of peer review practised by fully open access journals have compromised quality. But, for Suber, debating quality rather misses the point. “Yes, there is some low-quality open access work, but there’s also low-quality subscription journal work, and people who step back [to see the bigger picture] always acknowledge that,” he says. “Quality and access are completely independent of each other. Open access isn’t a kind of peer review, it’s a kind of dissemination.”

However, he agrees with Kamerlin that the “green” form of open access, whereby academics post work that is in subscription journals on their institutional repositories or elsewhere…is another good option….”

Journal editor hopes mass walkout quickens open access progress | Times Higher Education (THE)

The editor of a journal whose editorial board staged a mass walkout has said that he hopes that the decision encourages others to do the same.

After more than a year of crisis talks, the full editorial board of The Journal of Informetrics, a quarterly, peer-reviewed title published by Elsevier, resigned on 12 January, citing immovable differences over the publisher’s lack of progress towards open access….”

Where are we now?

“The results of publicly funded research must be freely available to all. By 2020, universities want to make all peer-reviewed articles by Dutch researchers open-access publications as standard. Following a request by the government, in 2013 the VSNU formulated a plan to achieve this goal.

‘The Dutch universities’ strategy is unique on the international stage,’ says Koen Becking, executive open-access negotiator for the VSNU and Executive Board President at Tilburg University. Together with Tim van der Hagen, Executive Board President at Delft University of Technology, and Anton Pijpers, Executive Board President at Utrecht University, he leads executive negotiations with the major publishing houses….

The Dutch approach is such a success because the universities have formed a single negotiating body and are supported by the government. In this regard, Becking refers to the government’s open-access policy, which was continued by the new government in 2017….”