“Robert Hudson, who has served in various roles in the libraries at Boston University since 1979, as Director of University Libraries from 1992, and most recently as University Librarian since 2007, has announced that he plans to step down from his administrative leadership role and retire from the University. He will continue to serve as University Librarian through the completion of the search process for his successor….Bob has been an important leader in the University’s implementation of OpenBU – aimed at strengthening our commitment to the widest possible archiving, online sharing, and dissemination of BU research and scholarship. In particular, he was instrumental in passing the 2009 Open Access Policy and the effort to move BU from an “Opt-In” to an “Opt-Out” implementation of this policy for faculty scholarly articles in 2015. Over the past several years, Bob has strategically led library-wide organizational change and the continual development of expertise within the library staff to respond to new impact areas (such as Open Access) and to shift resources from print-based processes and collections to digital and emerging areas….”
“Publicly, Mr. Beall has put most of the blame on his own university [for the demise of his blacklist of predatory journals]. As his professional home, that’s where he felt the longest and most direct pressure. Despite being a tenured associate professor of library science, Mr. Beall has spent the past two years working out of a small cubicle similar to a student’s study carrel, in daily fear, he says, of a new supervisor’s threats to make his conditions much worse.
The university, for its part, has said it values Mr. Beall’s work on his list, has spent many years defending it, and provides him a work space similar to that of other librarians. “There have been no documented cases of internal threats against him that leadership or university counsel is aware of,” says Emily Williams, a university spokeswoman.
“They’re trying to make me as uncomfortable as possible.” Mr. Beall insists otherwise. “They’re trying to make me as uncomfortable as possible,” he said in an interview from an empty room down the hall, where he escapes for private conversations.
But the Swiss publisher angry that it had showed up on his blacklist, Frontiers Media, may have played an even bigger role….”
“‘Common wisdom,’ according to the authors of a new piece in Nature, “assumes that the hazard of predatory publishing is restricted mainly to the developing world.” But the authors of the new paper, led by David Moher of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, found that more than half — 57% — of the 2,000 articles published in journals they determined were predatory were from high-income countries. In fact, the U.S. was second only to India in number of articles published in such journals. We asked Moher, who founded Ottawa Hospital’s Centre for Journalology in 2015, a few questions about the new work.”
“Publisher paywalls are the bane of scientists and students in Kazakhstan, she says, and the existing solution was cumbersome: Post a request on Twitter to #IcanhazPDF with your email address. Eventually, a generous researcher at some university with access to the journal will send you the paper.
What was needed, she decided, was a system that allowed that paper to be shared—with absolutely everyone. She had the computer skills—and contacts with other pirate websites—to make that happen, and so Sci-Hub was born (see main story, p. 508). Elbakyan sees the site as a natural extension of her dream of helping humans share good ideas. “Journal paywalls are an example of something that works in the reverse direction,” she says, “making communication less open and efficient.”
Running a pirate site and being sued for what is likely to be millions of dollars in damages hasn’t stopped Elbakyan from pursuing an academic career. Her neuroscience research is on hold, but she has enrolled in a history of science master’s program at a “small private university” in an undisclosed location. Appropriately enough, her thesis focuses on scientific communication. “I perceive Sci-Hub as a practical side of my research.” …”
“In the longer-term future, one could envision a system where researchers post their scientific contributions; a paper, a single figure, a method, a hypothesis; where we have the potential to make smaller contributions to the global knowledge base and get credit for those contributions in a manner that is more rapid and incremental. This would allow multiple scientists to collaborate and contribute to what we now know of as a single paper. Part of the challenge of the next 10 years is the problem of increasing information overload. Journals in the life sciences are aware that preprints have been around in physics for 25 years, and that the existence of preprints do not diminish the need for journals in that field. It is already impossible for a person to read all the relevant literature in their area, and this will only get harder. We need better tools to read and comprehend the literature, and a lot of these tools will be given by innovations in software and machine learning. My hope is that more of the literature is accessible to text and data mining, which will enhance our ability to understand the literature beyond that of a single human reader….”
The announcement comes at a time when we are seeing a rising tide of preprint servers being launched, both by for-profit and non-profit organisations – a development all the more remarkable given scholarly publishers’ historic opposition to preprint servers. Indeed, so antagonistic to such services have publishers been that until recently they were often able to stop them in their tracks. “
In 2014, University of California, Davis University Library and the California Digital Library collaborated on an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant-funded project to explore costs associated with moving scholarly journal subscriptions in the U.S. market entirely to an Article Processing Charge business model, known also as ‘Gold Open Access.’ We contacted MacKenzie Smith, one of the principal investigators, in order to get her reflections on the process of gathering the data, and to discuss some implications of the findings. The interview suggests that the ‘Pay It Forward’ model could be successful over time, following a necessarily complex transition period.