How badly do authors want open access? What priorities do authors really have? Bringing data to the discussion | Dynamic Ecology

“Somewhat contradicting that result is this interesting study by Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo (https://www.liberquarterly.eu/article/10.18352/lq.10280/). It shows a couple of things. First journals that flip and go from free to publish to OA pay to publish have not seen a decline in the number of submissions. This suggests that at the moment plenty of authors are happy with the pay-to-publish OA APC model (although this doesn’t contradict the previous survey that shows that free to publish is even more popular; about 7-11% are Gold or Hybrid OA and another 13-16% ambiguous Bronze OA according to Piwowar et al 2018, which means at 20-25% of papers published by a pay-to-publish model OA this is less than the 35% who said free to read is a high priority). But this article also has some scary results. The cost to publish OA (i.e article publishing charges or APC) is showing hyperinflation, increasing at 3x the rate of inflation. And indeed higher APC charges led to HIGHER submission rates. It is clear that OA is going to be subject to the same dysfunctional prestige or premium goods market rules that earlier models have been subject to as well. If all journals are gold OA, this is only going to result in the rich having easier access to prestigious journals. Notions of all OA APC being $500 or less appears not to reckon with how much authors with grants are willing to pay for prestige/visibility (and also appears not to reckon with the actual costs of publishing journal articles at their current quality levels, but that is a post for a future day)….”

Academic review promotion and tenure documents promote a view of open access that is at odds with the wider academic community | Impact of Social Sciences

“Overall, the results of our survey give reason to be optimistic: the majority of faculty understand that OA is about making research accessible and available. However, they also point to persistent misconceptions about OA, like necessarily high costs and low quality. This raises questions: How might these misconceptions be affecting RPT [review, promotion, and tenure] evaluations? How should researchers who want to prioritise the public availability of their work guard against the potential that their peers hold one of these negative associations? And, as a community, how can we better communicate the complexities of OA without further diluting the central message of open access? Perhaps we can begin by adequately representing and incentivising the basic principles of openness in our RPT documents.”

So, are early career researchers the harbingers of change? – Nicholas – 2019 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Interestingly, open science, which is something that many ECRs are still only waking up to as a concept, is the next most unchanging aspect. The large gap between positive attitudes (30%) and more practice (14%) is partly explained by the fact that it is only just obtaining traction and partly because of fears over tenure and reputation. Take Spanish ECRs, for instance, where assessment policies and reputational concerns – absolutely critical, of course, to ECRs in obtaining secure employment – conspire to prevent the ready adoption of open science in practice. That is not to say that all ECRs are completely happy with all the component parts of open science. Thus, they tend not welcome the visibility open peer review brings with it as it could have reputational consequences, as one French ECR said: ‘Open Peer Review is tricky because you engage your own reputation as a reviewer’. Open data can be a poisoned chalice as well because ECRs do not want to give away their data until they have fully exploited it, as one Spanish ECR told us: ‘Sharing data is good for verification and reproducibility, but we should wait before we do this until they have been completely exploited to avoid losing our competitive edge’. Nevertheless, a number of counties (e.g. France and Poland) are rolling out open science national plans, and funders will expect compliance down the line….

Returning to the question posed at the very beginning of the study, whether ECRs are the harbingers of change, weighting up all the evidence, the answer has to be yes, albeit a slightly qualified yes. The drivers of change are social media, open science, and collaboration propelled by ECRs’ Millennium generation beliefs. …

Indeed, there may be plenty of papers exhorting ECRs to embrace open practices (Eschert, 2015; Gould, 2015; McKiernan et al., 2016), but no research robustly showing that ECRs are in fact rushing to do this. Of course, most of these studies predate the Harbingers study, so, maybe, things have changed in the interim, which explains why the results of this study, indicating that the scholarly walls have been breached in places, and ECRs have planted one foot in the future, is at odds with the research of many of our peers. …”

FAIRness of Repositories & Their Data: A Report from LIBER’s Research Data Management Working Group | Zenodo

Based on the FAIR Data Principles, two questionnaires were created. The first (hereafter #Q1 – see Appendix #1) targeted repository managers and/or librarians and consisted of 40 questions. The second (hereafter #Q2 – see Appendix #2) targeted technical staff responsible for repository development and maintenance and consisted of 25 questions. 

Members of LIBER’s Research Data Management (RDM) Working Group circulated the questionnaires between December 2018 and February 2019. Responses were collected from managers and/or librarians of 29 repositories for the first (#Q1) questionnaire. 

In addition, technical staff responsible for the development and maintenance of 14 repositories (Table 1) responded to the second (#Q2) questionnaire. In 11 cases, repositories filled out both #Q1 and #Q2.   

In this report, the responses for both questionnaires have been merged and analyzed to gain a comprehensive picture about FAIRness at the level of repositories and their data….”

Mapping the Scholarly Communication Landscape – 2019 Census | Educopia Institute

This report documents the design, methods, results, and recommendations of the 2019 Census of Scholarly Communication Infrastructure Providers (SCIP), a Census produced by the “Mapping the Scholarly Communication Infrastructure” project team (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Middlebury College, 2018-19). The SCIP Census was created to document key components comprising the organizational, business, and technical apparatuses of a broad range of Scholarly Communication Resources (SCRs) – the tools, services, and systems that are instrumental to the publishing and distribution of the scholarly record….

We conducted the Census through direct invitations, contacting just over 200 identified scholarly communication resource providers by email to participate. The Census remained open for a condensed, month-long collection period (February 18-March 22, 2019). More than 60 SCRs responded to us during this period, and more than 40 tools, services, and platforms ultimately participated in the Census….

Our findings include the following, each of which is elaborated upon in the report:

  • We need a standardized taxonomy for the various functions performed by SCRs. It is currently difficult to differentiate between the broad range of functions offered by SCRs. It is also challenging to understand which steps are common in scholarly communications and publishing workflows, and what SCR choices might work for each of these steps.
  • SCRs operating within nonprofit and hosted environments report ongoing challenges in raising and sustaining appropriate levels of funding to enable them to build and maintain services over time. These SCRs need additional support if they are to be viable options for institutional use.
  • Connected to the above, sunsetting in our scholarly communication technical environment is often considered a sign of failure. Instead, we need to welcome it as a sign of a healthy overall environment. We also need to further explore the value of mergers, migrations, and other mechanisms that may provide the necessary administrative, fiscal, and social infrastructure to help support the technical development and maintenance SCRs require. Scaled, leveraged efficiencies (e.g., multiple programs hosted by a single entity with shared leadership and staffing) may help to bring needed expertise while also maintaining a lower overhead.
  • SCRs need guidance, mentorship, training, and opportunities to refine their visions, technical platforms and design, financial and HR models, community engagement and outreach practices, and governance frameworks, as well as the decision-making processes that undergird each of these elements. This need applies particularly to several key areas of development:
    • Vision and Strategy. The Census evidenced that many SCRs lack clarity in their expressions of their purposes and goals. This is quickly mendable through specific, targeted investments in business practices that are well understood and documented across a wide variety of fields.
    • Technical Development and Design. Findings that stood out included the high variability in the number and type of software developers that currently participate in SCRs and the challenges to code contribution that exist in some environments, including Open Source Software projects and programs.
    • Financial and Staffing. Of all of the areas of concern that have been highlighted in this report, none is more compelling than the financial self-descriptions provided by respondents. Many SCRs report that they have low-to-no financial reserves. Most also do not reconcile their books on a regular schedule, and most lack the basic checks and balances that keep businesses safe from both accidental and purposeful financial misreporting.
    • Community Engagement and Governance. Deeper evaluation into current community engagement and governance strategies is needed at an individual SCR-level, but the collated and aggregated results from the Census show that most SCRs are engaging in a range of community-building activities and all responding SCRs prioritize in-person events as one part of their approach. We must work harder to ensure that governance bodies regularly evaluate the financial health of the organizations they are empowered to serve, and that external structures help to train both these Boards and staff members to do functions (e.g., accounting for revenues, not just expenditures) that simply are not business-as-usual within most academic environments….”

The future of scholarly books is open (access) | Group | Springer Nature

“The majority of book authors support the idea that all future scholarly books should be open access (OA). This is one of the key findings of a new white paper presented by Springer Nature at the OAI-11 conference at CERN this week. Based on the responses of 2,542 book authors who were surveyed by Springer Nature in February and March 2019, the white paper provides a global view of book authors’ attitudes towards OA. The survey looks at researchers’ motivations for publishing a book, and analyses the parameters and key drivers which influence academics to publish OA or not. The white paper also identifies major obstacles to OA publication which book authors still face: from a lack of awareness of OA publishing options and low funding, to concerns about how OA books are perceived. The white paper is freely available for download. 

Other key findings include: •    Pro-OA attitudes are stronger among junior researchers, researchers based in Europe and Asia, and previous OA book authors •    Ethical reasons (equality in access) and reaching a larger audience are identified as key motivations for choosing OA for books •    The majority of authors want more financial support from funders for OA book publication •    Gold OA is the most preferred policy for OA books •    Reputation of publishers matters less to OA authors but is still the deciding factor for publication….”

Open and Equitable Scholarly Communications: Creating a More Inclusive Future

“For many years, the academic and research library workforce has worked to accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship. While significant progress has been made, barriers remain. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) seeks to stimulate further advances through this action-oriented research agenda, which is designed to provide practical, actionable information for academic librarians; include the perspectives of historically underrepresented communities in order to expand the profession’s understanding of research environments and scholarly communication systems; and point librarians and other scholars toward important research questions to investigate.

This report represents a yearlong process of reviewing the scholarly and practice-based literature to take into account established investigation coupled with extensive public consultation to identify the major problems facing the academic library community. Through interviews, focus groups, workshops, and an online survey, over 1,000 members of the ACRL community offered their thoughts and expertise to shape this research agenda. Incorporating guidance and input from ACRL’s Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and an advisory panel, this document recommends ways to make the scholarly communications and research environment more open, inclusive, and equitable….”

Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2018

“While faculty are increasingly interested in an open access publication model, traditional scholarly incentives continue to motivate their decision-making. Approximately two-thirds of respondents in this survey cycle indicated they would be happy to see the traditional subscription-based publication model replaced entirely by an open access system, which represents a greater share of respondents compared to the previous survey cycle. However, only four in ten faculty indicate open access characteristics of journals as highly influential in publication decisions.

There is substantial interest in use of open educational resources for instructional practices, particularly from younger faculty members. About six in ten respondents are very interested in using open educational resources (OER), and roughly half strongly agreed that they would like to adopt new instructional approaches with OER….”

Exploring factors impacting student engagement in open access courses: Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning: Vol 34, No 2

Abstract:  Studies on student engagement in learning have mainly focused on undergraduate degree courses. Limited attempts have been made to examine student engagement on open access enabling courses, which is targeted to underrepresented students in higher education. Students on open access enabling courses are at high risk due to a low academic achievement in high school, the gap between schooling, work and post-secondary education, and different kinds of personal and academic barriers. This paper reports on a pilot quantitative study using a survey method undertaken at an Australian university. The study examined a range of issues related to student engagement, including learning barriers, engagement and experience in learning, skills attained, motivation to complete study, career pathway, and key reasons for selecting a particular pathway. The study found that online students are less engaged in learning and, therefore, efforts need to be made to improve their sense of belonging to the university. The findings of the study are critical due to high attrition on open access enabling courses and it argues the need to improve the engagement, retention, and success of students on such courses.