Indonesia tops open-access publishing charts

 

European funders have been leading a charge under ‘Plan S’ to make more of the scientific literature free to read. Yet the nations that publish the highest proportion of their research papers open access (OA) aren’t in Europe, according to a preliminary analysis shared with Nature. Instead, countries in southeast Asia, Africa and South America are leading the way — thanks to a flourishing network of local open-access journals and publishing portals….”

Web annotation tool Hypothesis hits a milestone

The team behind Hypothesis, an open-source software tool that allows people to annotate web pages, announced in March that its users had collectively posted more than 5 million comments across the scholarly web since the tool was launched in 2011. That’s up from about 220,000 total comments in 2015 (see ‘Comment counts’). The company has grown from 26,000 registered users to 215,000 over the same period….”

Observing open access | Research Information

However, it is not until more recently that we have seen the emergence of truly international efforts to coordinate OA. The emergence of Plan S, through cOAlition S, is the newest wave of innovation that seeks to break through the impasse that has developed in some countries. In our report, we observed the US had faltered in its progress toward increasing OA, levelling off at around 42 per cent of overall publication output through OA channels in both 2012 and 2016.  

Of course, it will be several years until Plan S is implemented and we still don’t know how it will finally be realised. However, with recent progress in Germany on Projekt DEAL and the new guidelines from REF 2021, it is clear that not only are both the UK and Germany travelling toward an open future, but also that, since those two countries are among the most collaborative in the world after the US, there are many countries who benefit from the stance taken by those with a progressive agenda.

The UK’s overall percentage of OA content has grown rapidly, outpacing both Germany and the US in recent years. As shown in Figure 1, the UK’s approach to policy around OA has paid dividends. This is not to say that this hasn’t taken significant sustained investment and resource – but innovation seldom comes for free….

In 2021, this will inevitably have an impact on the choices that smaller institutions can make regarding their REF returns, the results of those returns, and the potential funding balance going forward. Research England is clearly not insensitive to these challenges, as it has included a number of options for institutions to argue for exceptions and include a percentage of non-OA outputs. However, the direction is clear: open access will form part of the REF for the first time and it has been thoroughly embedded in the most recent guidance on submission, panel criteria and working methods published by Research England. This is a strong signal to the community and a strong ‘measurement’ that pushes the sector toward open access….”

 

Crowdsourcing in medical research: concepts and applications

Abstract:  Crowdsourcing shifts medical research from a closed environment to an open collaboration between the public and researchers. We define crowdsourcing as an approach to problem solving which involves an organization having a large group attempt to solve a problem or part of a problem, then sharing solutions. Crowdsourcing allows large groups of individuals to participate in medical research through innovation challenges, hackathons, and related activities. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the definition, concepts, and applications of crowdsourcing in medicine. This multi-disciplinary review defines crowdsourcing for medicine, identifies conceptual antecedents (collective intelligence and open source models), and explores implications of the approach. Several critiques of crowdsourcing are also examined. Although several crowdsourcing definitions exist, there are two essential elements: (1) having a large group of individuals, including those with skills and those without skills, propose potential solutions; (2) sharing solutions through implementation or open access materials. The public can be a central force in contributing to formative, pre-clinical, and clinical research. A growing evidence base suggests that crowdsourcing in medicine can result in high-quality outcomes, broad community engagement, and more open science.

How big are preprints? – Adam Day – Medium

Current estimates put the total number of peer-reviewed research articles at around 100m. Growth is around 3.5–4m articles per annum and accelerating. ArXiv, the largest preprint server in the world, has published only 1.5m preprints and is currently putting out around 100k preprints per annum. ArXiv (and preprint servers generally) are accelerating too, but there’s still a lot of catching up to be done….”

The value of a journal is the community it creates, not the papers it publishes | Impact of Social Sciences

“Initially PLOS ONE was a “club” of radicals who could afford to experiment with a new publishing model. This resulted in a higher than expected initial JIF and a massive influx of new authors, who were attracted to this (now) “proven” publishing model. Consequently, article processing times expanded (congestion), the initial sense of community became harder to maintain and the influx of articles ultimately reduced the JIF, leading to the flight of authors that were just seeking access to the prestige of the journal. The journal then shifted from a community (if not properly a knowledge club, as the disciplines were too disparate) to a social network market, which it could not sustain.

Scientific Reports follows a similar trajectory, but for different reasons. Initial submissions were not driven by a desire to be radical or progressive, as the concept of a mega-journal was already proven. Rather, Scientific Reports launched as a social network market, providing access to the prestige of the Nature brand. This model in turn became unsustainable, as the journal developed its own reputation and niche, which had been carefully planned through the naming (which does not include the name “Nature”) to avoid any dilution of the existing Nature brand.

 

What does this mean for Open Access and for initiatives like PlanS? Note that the club-theoretic model is ambivalent about how payments are made. We see similar patterns of growth and decline for subscription and APC journals alike. However the model is arguably better configured to understand how to create knowledge-value efficiently, because it asks how a community can be created and sustained, and how open access to membership can both stimulate and dilute knowledge-making itself. In our next post, we will discuss the implications of our model for planning a transition to full open access.”

Open-access chemistry textbooks gain popularity

“In October 2018, the US Department of Education gave LibreTexts, an OER portal based at the University of California, Davis, a $4.9 million grant to develop free, open textbooks in targeted subjects, including chemistry. The goal for the chemistry materials is to develop resources that will enable schools to offer an ACS-approved bachelor’s degree with zero cost for textbooks. ACS evaluates programs to determine whether they meet the guidelines established by the society’s Committee on Professional Training. The consortium developing LibreTexts includes 11 institutions beyond UC Davis, plus the California State University system. The consortium and its predecessor, ChemWiki, previously received funding from the US National Science Foundation….

Professors who want to use LibreTexts can use the existing materials as is, or they can mix and match the various textbooks available to make their own. The consortium currently contains 61 chemistry textbooks, 58 of which are in English and 3 of which are in Spanish.

Brett McCollum, a chemistry professor at Mount Royal University, in Canada, adopted LibreTexts for one section of his general-chemistry class in 2015. After a successful trial run, his department adopted it for all sections of both semesters of general chemistry the following year….

Rather than linking to existing LibreTexts pages, McCollum replicates those pages on his own course pages within LibreTexts and edits them to fit the focus of his class. “Having that freedom to tailor the book was really valuable to me,” he says….

McCollum envisions a future with most OER development funded by governments. In Canada, most provinces already have an OER initiative, he says. “Canada sees this as an important path forward for equity and for enabling students from diverse backgrounds to engage more fully in higher education,” McCollum says. “We have a vision of sharing nationally and internationally” the materials from the OER initiatives….

One thing that differentiates OpenStax from commercial publishing is the OER provider doesn’t need to constantly release new editions of its books to keep ahead of a used-book market. OpenStax books are available free to students electronically or for a nominal cost if a student prefers to have a printed version….”