The Internet’s Own Instigator

“For the past 25 years or so, Carl Malamud’s lonely mission has been to seize on the internet’s potential for spreading information — public information that people have a right to see, hear, and read….

Indeed, Malamud has had remarkable success and true impact. If you have accessed EDGAR, the free Securities and Exchange Commission database of corporate information, you owe a debt to Malamud. Same with the database of patents, or the opinions of the US Court of Appeals. Without Malamud, the contents of the Federal Register might still cost $1,700 instead of nothing. If you have listened to a podcast, note that it was Carl Malamud who pioneered the idea of radio-like content on internet audio — in 1993. And so on. As much as any human being on the planet, this unassuming-looking proprietor of a one-man nonprofit — a bald, diminutive, bespectacled 57-year-old — has understood and exploited the net (and the power of the printed word, as well) for disseminating information for the public good….”

As OER Grows Up, Advocates Stress More Than Just Low Cost | EdSurge News

“Open educational resources hit a turning point in 2018. For the first time ever, the federal government put forward funds to support initiatives around open educational resources, and recent studies show that faculty attitudes towards using and adapting these openly-licensed learning materials are steadily improving….

But fans of OER are increasingly facing a problem. While OER started off as free online textbooks, it still costs money to produce these materials, and professors often need guidance finding which ones are high quality….”

Ways societies are transitioning subscription journals to OA: Interview with Mikael Laakso

“I’d say that the majority of the work that went into the report was a literature review. We were bringing together hundreds of different articles and reports about journals converting to OA. We used that from the outset to get an initial frame for understanding how, why, and when journals have converted to OA. We then approached a sample of stakeholders that we knew had interesting insights and experiences in observing and supporting these journal flips or conversions. We tried to cover most of the key areas that play a role in shaping the larger scholarly publishing landscape, so we got someone from the commercial publishing side, the research funder side, people who have been in positions in journals, and so on….

They are definitely rethinking economic models. For example, in Finland we’ve had an interesting proposal for a consortium model for funding society journals so that the flipped journals would be covered by the consortium of libraries or universities, but so far it’s been hard to get all libraries on board even though they all subscribe to opening science and they are all unified in the struggle against commercial publishers. It’s been difficult to kind of convince them that there needs to be a shift in their cost structure for supporting smaller society journals. I know that Canada is looking to do something similar, to have a consortium for flipping journals….

I personally do not think that author facing APCs are the future. That is not an effective use of time or money, and it puts many parts of the world and people at a disadvantage if they are not grant-funded or part of an academic institution….”

 

‘A truly exciting time’ | Research Information

Danny Kingsley, deputy director at Cambridge University Library, looks back at her early days at Australian National University – and forward to the many challenges facing librarians…

My PhD looked at why researchers overwhelmingly said that open access was a good idea, yet only 10 to 15 per cent of research was openly available. My findings (spoiler alert) were that disciplinary differences are incredibly important and that whatever solution you offer to the research community will need to be easy to use, not the risk status quo and demonstrate clear improvement to, and greater benefit than, the current system. (I’m not sure we have cracked that, by the way.)…

One of the advantages of working at Cambridge has been that it provides a huge stage: rightly or wrongly, what happens at Cambridge is big news. So we have been able to accelerate progress across the sector by acting openly, transparently and inclusively….

The nine strong open access team [at U of Cambridge] process more than 1,000 articles a month into our institutional repository, and answer thousands of queries from our research community. …

[T]he significant focus on open access and, increasingly, open research, potentially puts the library once more at the heart of the institution….”

Creating ‘fundamental truth’ | Research Information

“I joined Springer Nature a year ago from bol.com, which I co-founded and led for 20 years.  During my time there, the company developed from a small start-up to being the largest online retail platform for Dutch speaking consumers around the world…

Some of the very core processes of publishing haven’t changed as much as I would have expected and, coming as I did, from a digital process business, this was surprising.

And the degree of cooperation and coordination is also significantly lower than I expected, leaving many opportunities untapped.

But most worrying is the fact that publishers are not seen as partners by some of our stakeholders, but as ‘the enemy’. This is extremely concerning given that there are many fundamental improvements that would create value for the research ecosystem and for which I can see no alternative other than for big publishers to be leading their implementation and playing a pivotal role in their delivery.

there are things we can and should be leading and implementing, both individually within our publishing houses and collectively as the academic publishing industry to create more value for the research ecosystem as a whole.

These include but are not limited to:

  • Helping researchers make their data, protocols and methods open and access the data sets of others. This has the potential to instigate a fundamental step change in enabling researchers to make use of existing information and build on it for the benefit of scientific advancement; 
  • Improving peer review quality and improved process to save time for all involved, including a vastly reduced time between submission and publication;
  • Driving change in the reputation and recognition models and metrics, for authors, researchers, members of our editorial boards and peer reviewers;
  • Publishing negative results and reproducibility studies at scale; and
  • Making usage easy: rather than fighting illegal use, we should create common standards and user-friendly interfaces that make it easy for every legally entitled user to search, discover, and consume the research information they need to advance discoveries….

Without a doubt the biggest challenge facing scholarly publishers over the next 10 years is need to rebuild trust between the research community (authors, researchers, funders, librarians) and publishers …

A further sentiment I’ve picked up is the negative feeling of dependency; researchers feel they are too dependent on publishers and they don’t like that….”

Benjamin Mako Hil – Research Symbiont Award Speech – YouTube

Speech by Benjamin Mako Hill that was recorded for the presentations of the Research Symbiont Awards on January 6, 2019. The General Symbiosis Award “is given to a scientist working in any field who has shared data beyond the expectations of their field. For example, we seek applications from symbiotic scientists working in sociology, ecology, astrophysics, or any other field of science.”

A sad story: The conference was held in Hawaii and Mako couldn’t attend. They showed this recording instead….”

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….”

5 Questions With… Devin Soper | Association of Southeastern Research Libraries

Q.4 If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Like many other contributors to this blog series, my first choice would be changing the promotion and tenure process to incentivize faculty to make their work open. Perhaps the best example of this, for me, is the Liège model, where faculty are required to deposit the full text of their works in the institutional repository in order to have them considered for the purposes of internal research evaluation / P&T. If even a few U.S. institutions were able to implement similar policies, I think that belief in the value of institutional OA policies (and the feasibility of Green OA, more generally) would soar as a result.

To vary the conversation a bit, a close second for me would be increased collaboration around big deal cancellations. I’m thinking here about the nationwide cancellations and renegotiations that have taken place in the Netherlands, Germany, and Finland, for instance, where hundreds of universities have banded together to cancel (and later renegotiate) their big deal contracts with Elsevier on the grounds of unsustainable pricing practices, insufficient respect for authors’ rights, and reluctance (if not outright opposition) to advance the cause of open access. In following these developments, I’ve long wished that we could present a similarly united front on these issues here in the U.S., whether at the state, regional, or national level….”

Open Access, the Global South and the Politics of Knowledge Production and Circulation: An Open Insights interview with Leslie Chan

“And 17 years on [since the BOAI], the biggest disappointment has been the institutions of higher education. Rather than actively support their own faculty and researchers with funding for tools and infrastructure for scholarly communication, or engage in collaborative development with peer institutions, universities have largely left researchers to fend for themselves. Institutional repositories, once a pride for some, have been left languishing in most cases. Instead, senior administrators have been contend with out-sourcing not only their knowledge infrastructure to commercial entities, but they also ceded control of the important task of reputation management to commercial firms, who are turning out to be the same entities that control the entire research infrastructure.  …”

Catherine Stihler appointed new CEO of Open Knowledge International – Open Knowledge International Blog

“Catherine Stihler has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge International.

 

Catherine has years of experience in the creation and sharing of knowledge on the global stage. She will join the OKI team in February, and will stand down as an MEP at the end of January after an extraordinary career in EU policy-making spanning nearly 20 years.

 

Catherine has served as an MEP for Scotland since 1999, where she lives with her husband and young children. In this role she has served as Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee and authored influential reports and opinions that have shaped EU policy.

 

She is also the former Rector of the University of St Andrews – where she received an honorary doctorate earlier this year. She has worked on digital policy, prioritising the digital single market, digital skills, citizen online data protection, copyright reform to support internet freedoms, and the role of Artificial Intelligence and automation….”