Open and Shut? The OA Interviews: Arul George Scaria

One common criticism of the open access and open science movements is that they tend to take a standardised view of science and scholarship, and so propose one-size-fits-all approaches when advocating for ways of making research and the research process more open and transparent. This often poses significant challenges for, for instance, researchers in non-STEM disciplines. It is also often deeply problematic for those based in the global South.

Science Europe’s Plan S: making it work for all researchers: A commentary by the British Academy

“The British Academy is firmly committed to Open Access (OA), as we have stated on numerous occasions. Our own Journal is published as OA, with no author charges. Many of the principles set out in Plan S are admirable as a direction of travel, and we fully support them. One particularly important element of the plan is the intention to cap OA ‘Gold’ publication fees,2 and the commitment that neither individual researchers nor universities with limited access to OA funds should have to pay them. David Sweeney, executive chairman of Research England, who has been named as one of the lead developers of Plan S, has stated that he is a strong proponent of ‘Green’ OA, which involves no fees to publishers, and some of the players in Science Europe have endorsed this as a possibility.3 Plan S also recognises, importantly, that open archives and repositories need to have a long-term archiving and curation function for the initiative to succeed….

The British Academy is, however, concerned about some implications of the plan, which we believe remain to be fully thought through….

All surveys of HSS academics indicate a substantial majority who will insist on the inclusion of a ‘No Derivatives’ (ND) element in the licence for any OA publication. The Academy thinks their concerns are fully justified, and has set out its reasons elsewhere….

 It is generally recognised that in HSS such [high-quality OA] journals and platforms are few in number, and have little profile. For them to be ready and academically respectable, with proper peer review, in 15 months, across the whole of Europe with some thirty academic languages and numerous disciplinary fields, seems highly unlikely….

We are, finally, concerned that Science Europe’s belief that OA must be immediate, without allowance for any type of embargo period, is not justified in the text. It comes across as surprisingly dogmatic, and contrasts with the tone of the rest of the document. …”


Open Humans: A platform for participant-centered research and personal data exploration | bioRxiv

Background: Many aspects of our lives are now digitized and connected to the internet. As a result, individuals are now creating and collecting more personal data than ever before. This offers an unprecedented chance for fields of human subject research ranging from the social sciences to precision medicine. With this potential wealth of data come practical problems – such as how to merge data streams from various sources – as well as ethical problems – how can people responsibly share their personal information? Results: To address these problems we present Open Humans, a community-based platform that enables personal data collections across data streams, enables individuals to take control of their personal data, and enables academic research as well as patient-led projects. We showcase data streams that Open Humans combines – such as personal genetic data, wearable activity monitors, GPS location records and continuous glucose monitor data – along with use cases of how that data is used by various participants. Conclusions: Open Humans highlights how a community-centric ecosystem can be used to aggregate personal data from various sources as well as how these data can be ethically used by academic and citizen scientists.”

Towards a Plan(HS)S: DARIAH’s position on PlanS | DARIAH

“On 4 September 2018, national science funders from 11 EU countries announced the launch of cOAlition S to express the collective will of making full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. The key principles to achieve this are articulated in their 10-point Plan S. According to the plan, from 2020, all scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants provided by participating national and European research councils and funding bodies must be published in compliant Open Access journals or on compliant Open Access platforms. To achieve this, research funders will cover the costs of publications as part of research grants.

The plan has sparked intense debates from the moment of its release. In addition to the signatories, there is a large group of key stakeholders, both on European and national levels, who have expressed their support and endorsement for the principles even if they still have not formally added their signatures to it.

DARIAH-ERIC joined this discussion forming a task force to work on a Position Paper that adds arts and humanities researchers and disciplines within this dialogue. DARIAH fully endorses the principles of Open Access and is in favour of powerful Open Access policies aiming to accelerate the transition towards full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications within a reasonably short time. However, we believe that Plan S reveals a strong bias toward the STEM perspective on not just publishing, but on research itself, which makes it diverge with the values of DARIAH and its key constituency, arts and humanities researchers, who most commonly do not fund their work through projects, and for whom the term ‘science’ may seem alienating….”

Open access briefing: OA monographs in the UK | Jisc scholarly communications

“Research England (formally HEFCE) has stated that monographs must be published OA for inclusion in the REF2027 (Hill, 2018). Based on the REF2014 submissions, where publication dates for books submitted ranged from 2008 to 2013 (Tanner, 2016), titles submitted for the REF2027 will likely be being researched now for publication in 2021 or later. This presents a relative urgency for a functional, interoperable and transparent OA market to be developed that supports the long tail and is flexible enough to suit the diversity of AHSS research and its funding streams….”

Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

“The whole reasoning around open access for books is now aligned to a commercial agenda, where authors invest in openness with the prospect of greater downloads, citations, and impact in return. Marcel Knöchelmann argues that the free market paradigm is particularly ill-suited to humanities and social sciences book publishing and its many diverse scholarly communities. Equitable foundations for open scholarship should mean having shared infrastructures that support openness, without openness being for sale. We need to radically rethink collaborative efforts to preserve diversity and refocus the intentions of openness on scholarship – requiring a new, community-focused approach….”

University of Huddersfield Press Becomes First to Use Hosted Janeway Service for Journals

“The Open Library of Humanities, Birkbeck’s Centre for Technology and Publishing, and the University of Huddersfield Press have entered into an agreement to migrate the Press’s journals to the Janeway platform.

Janeway is a modern, open-source academic publishing platform written in Python using the Django framework. It has a commitment to an easy-to-understand codebase; an aesthetically pleasing design; and top-end functionality, including a preprint server and overlay journal support. The platform only supports open-access publishing and will never incorporate paywall facilities into its code. Janeway is developed by the Centre for Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London.

Professor Martin Paul Eve, project lead on Janeway at Birkbeck, University of London, said: “We are delighted that Huddersfield University Press has become the first external Press to migrate its journals to our software platform. In this way we aim to provide a low-cost solution for external partners seeking a technological platform for their open publishing enterprises. As a result, everyone benefits from high-quality research being made openly available.” …”

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem: Report, Slides, Video Available Online | Association of Research Libraries® | ARL®

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) is a five-year pilot initiative to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs. Scholars face growing difficulty in finding publishers for their monographs as academic library budgets shrink and demand for monographs falls. The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) formally launched TOME in 2017 to collaboratively address this problem.

Cantor, Stanford Libraries make Warhol photography archives publicly available | Stanford News

“For those who ever wondered about the exact design of John Lennon’s iconic glasses or what it would have been like to have had a front-row seat at Maria Shriver’s wedding to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the newly accessible archive of Andy Warhol’s photography provides a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the social and art-world celebrities of the time.


Now available through the Stanford Libraries’ SearchWorks catalog, Spotlight gallery, and the Cantor’s website, this archive – of 3,600 contact sheets and 130,000 images – provides a unique ability to view the world through the lens of Warhol’s 35mm camera, which he took with him everywhere he went during the last decade of his life. The collection, which is the most complete collection of the artist’s black-and-white photography ever made available to the public was acquired by the Cantor from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc. in 2014….”

What is ‘Plan S’ and Why Are Many Publishers Worried? – Publishing Perspectives

” “With Plan S there has been a lack of consultation, a lack of consideration, a lack of detail, and a lack of time,” said Malavika Legge, acting director of publishing for Portland Press and the Biochemical Society, at an event on Thursday called “Get Smart About Plan S.”

Plan S is said to stand for science, speed, solution, and shock. Moreover, it is clear from the reactions on the stage that “shock” sums up what the publishers on stage feel about the radical open access plan announced only on September 4 by the European Research Council. The plan is supposed to be implemented by 2020, which in the timescale of publishing is—as Legge says—“already here.”\

Bewilderment may be a better word for the mood of the session whose participants all claimed to be committed to open access publishing. …

The panelists felt that even if Plan S accelerates the transition to open access publishing, it still represents an existential attack on the academic publishing industry. While some publishers say they are staring into the headlights of Plan S like a deer, others say it should be a call-to-arms by the industry to challenge the stereotype that all they care about is profit.”