Renew the Open Textbook Pilot Grant Program – SPARC

“The Open Textbook Pilot is a federal grant program that supports projects at institutions of higher educations that create or expand the use of open textbooks to achieve savings for students. First funded by Congress in the bipartisan fiscal year 2018 budget bill then renewed for a second year, the program has awarded $10 million in grants through the U.S. Department of Education.

SPARC and U.S. PIRG co-lead a national campaign to secure this first-ever federal funding, and we are now working to renew and strengthen the funding for a third year….

SPARC is working to renew and strengthen the Open Textbook Pilot funding in the FY20 budget. We are calling on Congress to increase the amount of funding, increase the number of grants available, and require the Department of Education to run a new competition.

While the timeline of the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process is still unclear, the House and the Senate have taken steps toward renewing the Open Textbook Pilot. In June 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2740 which includes a $5 million appropriation. On September 18, 2019, the Senate released bill language and the accompanying report for the relevant budget bill, which includes a $6 million appropriation—a $1 million increase—along with instructions for the Department of Education to run a new competition….”

OA in the Open White Paper Surfaces Challenges, Opportunities, Next Steps for Open Access Collecting – Association of Research Libraries

“A new white paper from the Supporting OA Collections in the Open project documents a series of conversations with librarians with expertise in collections, acquisitions, scholarly communication, and administration, from diverse institutions, regarding their experiences and attitudes towards financially supporting open access (OA) content. The project was led by librarians at James Madison University (JMU), in partnership with the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

Funded by a grant from the US Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), OA in the Open convened a series of national forums where community members discussed their needs, values, and priorities in relation to open access collection development. The forums clarified areas of opportunity and friction, and led to productive discourse and identification of common themes about collective funding of public-goods content.

Through moderation that leveraged the insights and interactions of focus group participants, the project team developed a white paper that articulates the challenges, opportunities, and potential mechanisms for building an OA collection development system and culture and that motivates the community toward collective action….”

OA in the Open: Community Needs and Perspectives

Abstract:  The National Forum described here was proposed as a first step in surfacing community requirements and principles toward a collective open access (OA) collection development system. The Forum asked participants to envision a collective funding environment for libraries to contribute provisioning or sustaining funds to OA content providers. A critical component of this project was to bring together groups of interested and invested individuals with different priorities and perspectives and begin to build a community of engagement and dialogue. By analyzing focus group feedback and leveraging the insights and interactions of participants, this paper presents the challenges, opportunities, and potential next steps for building an OA collection development model and culture based on a community of collective action.

Next Generation Library Publishing partnership awarded $2.2M from Arcadia to improve scholarly publishing infrastructures | Educopia Institute

“Educopia Institute is pleased to announce an award in the amount of $2,200,000 from Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—in support of the “Next Generation Library Publishing” project. 

Through this project, Educopia and its partner institutions—California Digital Library (CDL), Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), Longleaf Services, LYRASIS, and Strategies for Open Science (Stratos)—will provide new publishing pathways for authors, editors, and readers by advancing and integrating open source publishing infrastructure to provide robust support for library publishing. …”

Next Generation Library Publishing partnership awarded $2.2M from Arcadia to improve scholarly publishing infrastructures | Educopia Institute

“Educopia Institute is pleased to announce an award in the amount of $2,200,000 from Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—in support of the “Next Generation Library Publishing” project. 

Through this project, Educopia and its partner institutions—California Digital Library (CDL), Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), Longleaf Services, LYRASIS, and Strategies for Open Science (Stratos)—will provide new publishing pathways for authors, editors, and readers by advancing and integrating open source publishing infrastructure to provide robust support for library publishing. …”

Bassel Khartabil Fellowship

“This unique and life-changing fellowship promotes the values important to Bassel’s work and life: open culture, radical sharing, free knowledge, remix, collaboration, courage, optimism, and humanity.

The fellow is expected to lead projects or initiatives that will catalyze free culture, particularly in societies vulnerable to attacks on freedom of expression and free access to knowledge. Special consideration will be given to applicants operating within closed societies, under adverse circumstances, and in developing economies where other forms of support are scarce….”

Next Gen Library Publishing partnership awarded $2.2M Arcadia grant to improve scholarly publishing infrastructure – Office of Scholarly Communication

“Educopia Institute and California Digital Library are pleased to announce an award in the amount of $2,200,000 from Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin—in support of the “Next Generation Library Publishing” project. 

Through this project, Educopia and its partner institutions—California Digital Library (CDL), Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), Longleaf Services, LYRASIS, and Strategies for Open Science (Stratos)—will provide new publishing pathways for authors, editors, and readers by advancing and integrating open source publishing infrastructure to provide robust support for library publishing. …”

Open access books events in New York and Boston | Open research page title | Springer Nature

“Springer Nature is holding two free multidisciplinary events for researchers and scholarly book authors in September 2019, exploring how open access can help make the most out of research.

Topics included:

Why should academics publish an open access book?
What funding is available for open access books?
Author case studies showcasing OA book authors’ experiences …”

Open science and modified funding lotteries can impede the natural selection of bad science | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  Assessing scientists using exploitable metrics can lead to the degradation of research methods even without any strategic behaviour on the part of individuals, via ‘the natural selection of bad science.’ Institutional incentives to maximize metrics like publication quantity and impact drive this dynamic. Removing these incentives is necessary, but institutional change is slow. However, recent developments suggest possible solutions with more rapid onsets. These include what we call open science improvements, which can reduce publication bias and improve the efficacy of peer review. In addition, there have been increasing calls for funders to move away from prestige- or innovation-based approaches in favour of lotteries. We investigated whether such changes are likely to improve the reproducibility of science even in the presence of persistent incentives for publication quantity through computational modelling. We found that modified lotteries, which allocate funding randomly among proposals that pass a threshold for methodological rigour, effectively reduce the rate of false discoveries, particularly when paired with open science improvements that increase the publication of negative results and improve the quality of peer review. In the absence of funding that targets rigour, open science improvements can still reduce false discoveries in the published literature but are less likely to improve the overall culture of research practices that underlie those publications.

Team Awarded Grant to Help Digital Humanities Scholars Navigate Legal Issues of Text Data Mining – UC Berkeley Library Update

“We are thrilled to share that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $165,000 grant to a UC Berkeley-led team of legal experts, librarians, and scholars who will help humanities researchers and staff navigate complex legal questions in cutting-edge digital research….

Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining have had to navigate a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. For instance, imagine the researchers needed to scrape content about Egyptian artifacts from online sites or databases, or download videos about Egyptian tomb excavations, in order to conduct their automated analysis. And then imagine the researchers also want to share these content-rich data sets with others to encourage research reproducibility or enable other researchers to query the data sets with new questions. This kind of work can raise issues of copyright, contract, and privacy law, not to mention ethics if there are issues of, say, indigenous knowledge or cultural heritage materials plausibly at risk. Indeed, in a recent study of humanities scholars’ text analysis needs, participants noted that access to and use of copyright-protected texts was a “frequent obstacle” in their ability to select appropriate texts for text data mining. 

Potential legal hurdles do not just deter text data mining research; they also bias it toward particular topics and sources of data. In response to confusion over copyright, website terms of use, and other perceived legal roadblocks, some digital humanities researchers have gravitated to low-friction research questions and texts to avoid decision-making about rights-protected data. They use texts that have entered into the public domain or use materials that have been flexibly licensed through initiatives such as Creative Commons or Open Data Commons. When researchers limit their research to such sources, it is inevitably skewed, leaving important questions unanswered, and rendering resulting findings less broadly applicable. A growing body of research also demonstrates how race, gender, and other biases found in openly available texts have contributed to and exacerbated bias in developing artificial intelligence tools. …