Could This Search Engine Save Your Life? – The Chronicle of Higher Education

One of the Allen Institute’s priorities is an academically oriented search engine, established in 2015, called Semantic Scholar (slogan: “Cut through the clutter”). The need is great, with more than 34,000 peer-reviewed journals publishing 2.5 million articles a year. “What if a cure for an intractable cancer is hidden within the tedious reports on thousands of clinical studies?,” Etzioni once said.

Although Semantic Scholar has focused so far on computer and biomedical sciences, Etzioni says that the engine will soon push into the social sciences and the humanities as well. The Chronicle spoke with him about information overload, impact factors’ imperfect inevitability, and the promise and perils of AI….”

Thousands of Copyrighted Works Will Now Be Freely Available to Teachers – Teaching Now – Education Week Teacher

“Teachers—especially those of English or the arts—rely on famous works of literature, music, and film in their classes, copying and repurposing them to analyze with students.

But often, embedding these works in curricula to share with other teachers or making them available to students can raise questions about copyright: How much of an original movie or poem can a teacher include, and how widely can resources made with these materials be distributed?

As of Jan. 1, thousands of works are newly exempt from these questions. At the beginning of 2019, anything that was originally copyrighted in 1923 passed into the public domain—meaning that anyone can use and reprint it, free of charge and without permission….”

Science Europe – The Scientific Committee for the Social Sciences

Following Science Europe’s Position Statement: ’Principles on the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications‘ (April 2013), a sub-group of the Committee’s members is currently advising the Science Europe Working Group on Open Access (OA) on how the policy affects different fields within social sciences, for example how the potentially higher costs associated with OA will impact on junior researchers or on those working in fields where the costs of publishing monographs will become prohibitive….”

Open access monograph business models

Abstract:  In recent years, a number of business models have been developed for open access (OA) monographs in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). While each model has been created in response to specific circumstances and needs, some commonalities can be observed. This article outlines some of the main types of model to support the costs of publishing OA books and provides examples of these models across the world.

It is followed by three short sketches providing more depth on: firstly, a traditional publisher’s OA monograph offer; secondly, a licensing-based model which draws from existing library budgets; and finally, an experiment with delayed open access for books in philosophy: http://dx.doi.org/10.1629/2048-7754.118

Open Access Information Service for Researchers in Theology

Abstract:  Tübingen University Library offers a continuously improved next generation bibliographic database for theology and religious studies. The “Index theologicus” database is available worldwide in open access. It is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) in the funding program “specialised information services” . This paper informs about the background of the project and the steps the Library took in order to transform a legacy online content database system into one of the most important international bibliographies in theology without increasing the number of staff involved.

TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)

TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) advances the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open access 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. To collaboratively address this problem, the Association of American Universities (AAU)Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) launched this initiative in spring 2017. 

In each of the first five years, colleges and universities participating in TOME are providing at least three baseline publishing grants of $15,000 to support the publication of open access monographs. Publishers accepting these grants—for eligible books that have been approved through the usual editorial and peer-review processes—are making high-quality, platform-agnostic, digital editions freely available. These TOME-supported monographs will make new research freely available online, increasing the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opening up knowledge to more readers….”

ALLEA Response to Plan S

“ALLEA [All European Academies] supports open access as a major step towards realising the universality of science and welcomes the ambition of Plan S in this regard. Implementation will however require extensive consultation and dialogue with all parties, in particular the research performing communities represented through ALLEA and other scientific stakeholders….

In summary, ALLEA broadly welcomes Plan S but with major caveats. The time scale envisaged for such a complex transformation is clearly unrealistic if the preconditions identified by ALLEA in its earlier statements are to be implemented prior to Plan S becoming operational; the funding agencies have to provide the necessary funds in their budgets for paying the publications fees, resolve the question of promotion of early career researchers, consider the special circumstances of minority disciplines, address the IP issues, and the like. To do this it will be essential to engage the full spectrum of affected parties and policy makers. Scholarly communication is the life-blood of research and it is in all our interest to make this as reliable, efficient, sustainable, trustworthy and open as possible. In particular, critical peer review and community evaluation is crucial and must be properly incentivised, enabled and rewarded. ALLEA looks forward to working with the initiators of Plan S, endorsing organisations, as well as other stakeholders in facilitating this necessary transformation of not just academic publishing, but the whole system of research evaluation, accreditation and validation. We note also that the universality of science requires that this be a global transformation of the research ecosystem, but one which can be initiated and led by Europe.”

3D-printed reconstructions provide clues to ancient site | EurekAlert! Science News

“Part of the ancient archaeological site of Tiwanaku, Bolivia, believed by Incans to be where the world was created has been reconstructed using 3D printed models of fragments of an ancient building. The results are presented in a study published in the open access journal Heritage Science.

Researchers at UC Berkeley, USA, created accurate, 3D-printed miniature models of architectural fragments to reconstruct the Pumapunku building in the Tiwanaku site. Considered to be an architectural wonder of its time (AD 500-950), Pumapunku has been ransacked over the last 500 years to a point where none of the remaining 150 blocks that comprised the original building remain in their original place….”

OASPA Member Spotlight: African Minds

In 2000, I set up a company that offered publishing services to research NGOs in South Africa. These NGOs wanted to publish their research, and we offered them design, editing, typesetting and print management services. We encouraged our clients to use print-on-demand and we set up distribution channels for their publications. By 2008, we realised that some of the NGOs wanted a publisher rather than a service provider. So we began by setting up African Minds, first as an imprint and, by 2012, as separate legal entity in the form of non-profit, public benefit trust, with a board of trustees and an editorial board.

All our books are open access with no embargo periods, and we also sell printed books; the two aren’t mutually exclusive. We explore all available dissemination channels to increase access to knowledge.  

We did some research on university presses in Africa and found that at one university over 60% of the books authored by academics at that institution over a 3-year period were published by a predatory publisher. We believe that our emphasis on working closely with authors and on being transparent contributes positively to growing the African knowledge base. We are a small team, but we try our best to deepen authors’ understanding of the publishing process by being responsive and accessible. And by placing the emphasis on access rather than on sales….

We aren’t reliant on income from book sales, so we don’t face the same challenges that commercial publishers do. Our overheads are low, and we have no permanent staff. We donate a much of our free time to running African Minds although this is beginning to change as the number of publications increases. All publishing costs are covered by the publication fees which, in turn, are paid from authors’ research funds. Although I should note that not all our titles incur publication fees. We are mindful of the fact that academics from some universities in Africa, and in some disciplines, struggle to secure research funding. In such cases, African Minds waives all publication fees. The forthcoming title, African Markets in Nairobi by Mary Njeri Kinyanjui is an example of such a title. …”