Research England awards £2.2m to project to improve and increase open access publishing – Research England

A new Research England funded project is set to help universities, researchers, libraries and publishers to make more, and better, use of open access book publishing. It will enable greater access to world-leading research and increase its impact.

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) is a partnership led by Coventry University and also consisting of:

  • Birkbeck, University of London, Lancaster University and Trinity College, Cambridge
     
  • The ScholarLed consortium of established open access presses (Open Book Publishers, punctum books, Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press, and meson press)
     
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library and Loughborough University Library
     
  • Infrastructure providers the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and Jisc, and international membership organisation The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC)….”

Knowledge Futures Group: An interview with Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press – The Scholarly Kitchen

The MIT Knowledge Futures Group is a new joint venture of the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab. Its ultimate goal is to help build a more sustainable scholarly publishing ecosystem. As we grow — adding resources, new staff and now new advisors — we’re looking to accelerate the path from research breakthrough to application and societal benefit, developing tools that enrich and fortify our knowledge infrastructure. At the same time, we’re trying to galvanize a real movement towards greater institutional and public investment in that infrastructure, by serving as a model for it and partnering actively with aligned initiatives. It’s worth pointing out that MIT has a strong track record in homegrown knowledge infrastructure. It is, after all, the birthplace of Dspace and Open Courseware….”

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….”

What happens when books enter the public domain? Testing copyright’s underuse hypothesis across Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada by Rebecca Giblin :: SSRN

Abstract:  The United States (‘US’) extended most copyright terms by 20 years in 1998, and has since exported that extension via ‘free trade’ agreements to countries including Australia and Canada. A key justification for the longer term was the claim that exclusive rights are necessary to encourage publishers to invest in making older works available — and that, unless such rights were granted, they would go underused. This study empirically tests this ‘underuse hypothesis’ by investigating the relative availability of ebooks to public libraries across Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. We find that books are actually less available where they are under copyright than where they are in the public domain, and that commercial publishers seem undeterred from investing in works even where others are competing to supply the same titles. We also find that exclusive rights do not appear to trigger investment in works that have low commercial demand, with books from 59% of the ‘culturally valuable’ authors we sampled unavailable in any jurisdiction, regardless of copyright status. This provides new evidence of how even the shortest copyright terms can outlast works’ commercial value, even where cultural value remains. Further, we find that works are priced much higher where they are under copyright than where they in the public domain, and these differences typically far exceed what would be paid to authors or their heirs. Thus, one effect of extending copyrights from life + 50 to life + 70 is that libraries are obliged to pay higher prices in exchange for worse access.

This is the first published study to test the underuse hypothesis outside the US, and the first to analyse comparative availability of identical works across jurisdictions where their copyright status differs. It adds to the evidence that the underuse hypothesis is not borne out by real world practice. Nonetheless, countries are still being obliged to enact extended terms as a cost of trade access. We argue that such nations should explore alternative ways of dividing up those rights to better achieve copyright’s fundamental aims of rewarding authors and promoting widespread access to knowledge and culture.

Countries with longer copyright terms have access to fewer books (pay attention, Canada!) / Boing Boing

Rebecca Giblin (previously) writes, “We’ve just dropped a new study we’ve been working on for a year. You know how it keeps being claimed that we need longer copyrights because nobody will invest in making works available if they’re in the public domain? Heald and some others have done some great work debunking that in the US context, but now we’ve finally tested this hypothesis in other countries by looking at the relative availability of ebooks to libraries. It’s also the first time anyone has been able to compare availability of identical works (by significant authors) across jurisdictions. The books we sampled were all in the public domain in Canada and NZ, all under copyright in Australia, and a mix in the US (courtesy of its historical renewal system).”

“So what’d we find? That Canada and NZ (public domain) have access to more books and at cheaper prices than Australia (copyright) and the US (mixed). Also that publishers don’t seem to have any problem competing with each other on the same popular titles. And, sadly but not surprisingly: 59% of our sampled ‘culturally significant’ authors had no books available to libraries in any country regardless of copyright status. That’s because even the shortest terms wildly outlast most books’ commercial life (even where they still have cultural value). …”

2nd HIRMEOS Webinar: A Peer-review Certification System for Open Access Books – Hirmeos Project

The webinar is aimed at presenting the peer-review certification service developed in the course of the HIRMEOS project.

Peer-review has a critical importance in scholarly communication, but both its practices and understanding exhibit a great deal of opacity. This is especially true for the peer review processes concerning open access monographs.

The HIRMEOS Open Book Peer-Review Certification service is a response to the increasing need for transparency and a better understanding of book peer review processes. The certification system, developed in collaboration with the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), provides a convenient way to reassure authors and evaluation agencies about the scientific quality of Open Access books. In the webinar, we are going to introduce this service to different communities by bringing together the perspectives of scholars, publishers, developers and librarians. …”

The Monograph Is Broken. Long Live the Monograph. – The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Despite the steadfast nature of this trust dynamic in publishing, scholarly-book publishing has been in a self-professed state of crisis for at least the past quarter century, even as the number of scholarly books published increases each year. This crisis is rooted in the desire of — and necessity for — scholars to publish monographs at a time when sales of such books continue to dwindle. These conflicting pressures are exacerbated by other changes, such as the growth of digital publishing and open access….”

OA monographs: policy and practice for supporting researchers | Jisc

“There is a growing trend across European countries to include open access monographs in funder policy. Most recently, this push towards open access mandates was captured in the revised guidance on Plan S, published on 30 May 2019, stating that “cOAlition S will, by the end of 2021, issue a statement on Plan S principles as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance”. 

In the UK, Research England has mandated open access for monographs submitted to the Research Excellence Framework beyond the 2021 assessment and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a signatory of Plan S, has launched its own open access policy review. This will cover monographs and book chapters….”

OA monographs: policy and practice for supporting researchers | Jisc

“There is a growing trend across European countries to include open access monographs in funder policy. Most recently, this push towards open access mandates was captured in the revised guidance on Plan S, published on 30 May 2019, stating that “cOAlition S will, by the end of 2021, issue a statement on Plan S principles as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance”. 

In the UK, Research England has mandated open access for monographs submitted to the Research Excellence Framework beyond the 2021 assessment and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a signatory of Plan S, has launched its own open access policy review. This will cover monographs and book chapters….”