Thousands of scientists run up against Elsevier’s paywall

“Researchers at German institutions that have let their Elsevier subscriptions lapse while negotiating a new deal are hitting the paywall for the publisher’s most recent articles around 10,000 times a day, according to Elsevier — which publishes more than 400,000 papers each year.

But at least some German libraries involved in negotiating access to Elsevier say they are making huge savings without a subscription, while still providing any articles their academics request.

A major stumbling block to getting deals signed is institutions’ desire to combine the price they pay for subscriptions to pay-walled journals with the cost that libraries and researchers pay to make articles open-access….”

Book Review: Shadow Libraries: Access to Knowledge in Global Higher Education » Open@VT

Shadow Libraries is a collection of country studies exploring “how students get the materials they need.”  Most chapters report original research (usually responses to student surveys) in addition to providing useful background on the shadow library history of each nation (Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, India, Poland, and South Africa).  As editor Karaganis puts it in his introduction, the book shows “the personal struggle to participate in global scientific and educational communities, and the recourse to a wide array of ad hoc strategies and networks when formal, authorized means are lacking… ” (p. 3). Shadow libraries, sometimes called pirate libraries, consist of texts (in this case, scholarly texts) aggregated outside the legal framework of copyright.

Karaganis’ introductory chapter does an excellent job summarizing the themes connecting the chapters, and is worth reading by itself.  For example, the factors leading to the development of shadow libraries are common to each country covered: low income; a dysfunctional market in which materials either aren’t available or are overpriced; a rising student population; and easy access to copying and/or sharing technology. The student population boom in low and middle-income countries in the last 20 years is remarkable- quadrupling in India, tripling in Brazil, and doubling in Poland, Mexico, and South Africa.  At the same time, reductions in state support for higher education have exacerbated the affordability problem, leaving the market to meet (or more commonly, not meet) demand.  Add to this the tendency of publishers to price learning and research materials for libraries rather than individuals, and the result is a real crisis of legal access….”

High Prices Cost Lives: Matt Might’s Plea for Open Research – SPARC

The Mights’ story is one of many that highlight the impact of open science and open access.  It’s through access to the latest research that patients and their families can find the best care and support.

Once his son’s condition was given a name, Might set out to learn all he could to help Bertrand. “To find answers, we needed more patients and we didn’t have time,” he says.

Might wrote a blog about Bertrand’s condition that he hoped would go viral and rank high when someone searched on Google.  Within two weeks of posting, another patient was identified.  Over time, Matt helped build a community of patients, researchers and doctors to focus on how to treat and cure Bertrand’s rare disease. It enabled the group to form a foundation and raise money for research.  Members of the patient community then volunteered to participate in the research trials….

With Might’s help, Bertrand’s disease has gone from the unknown to a condition with multiple treatments….

At UAB, Might has helped develop a tool to digest abstracts from medical literature using artificial intelligence.  This can help patients connect the dots with what might be therapeutic for a given condition. The powerful reasoning tool (mediKanren) was successfully prototyped about a year ago with funding from the National Institutes of Health and is available free to the public….

As the Mights experimented with treatment options for Bertrand, they continued to do research and then share it with others. “I’m very much an open book, anything I find I publish,” Might says. “I’m very pro open science and beyond into open source. If there is code that backs up a paper, I also make that open source and publicly available.” …

“Restricting access to the full medical literature is going to cost lives,” says Might….”

Science ouverte le défi de la transparence, Bernard Rentier (Open Science The Challenge of Transparency, Bernard Rentier)

From Google’s English:

“Bernard Rentier, Open Science, the challenge of transparency, Preface by Philippe Busquin, Royal Academy of Belgium, L’Académie en Poche Collection n ° 114, Dec.2018, 152 p. ISBN / EAN: 978-2-8031-0659-2

A new way of conceiving scientific research, open science, was born with the computer revolution. In the wake of Open Access (free access to the results of research funded by public money), it accompanies the great ideal of transparency that today invades all spheres of life in society. This book describes its origins, perspectives and objectives, and reveals the obstacles and obstacles to private profit and academic conservatism.”

Elsevier Gets Blocked in Sweden After it Legally Requires Internet Providers to Make Sci-Hub Locally Inaccessible | Open Science

Even though Elsevier, which had failed to sign journal subscription contracts with Swedish university libraries over their demands for Open Access, has won a battle against Sci-Hub, an illegal platform for sharing scientific articles, in local courts in Sweden, Bahnhof, a local internet service provider, both complied with the injunction not to offer access to pirated content and effectively counter-blocks local attempts at browsing the websites of Elsevier and the Swedish court….”

Alternative routes to scholarly articles and research outputs

Many scholarly and peer-reviewed articles can be read open access today on the web. A number of free services and archives have developed tools and services helping users to discover research output in an easy and simple way: through installing a browser extension or plug-in; by using academic search engines and archives, or, by contacting the author directly. In the following text, we list a selection of services and ways to find scientific articles. The choice is yours….”

Pesticide Studies Won E.P.A.’s Trust, Until Trump’s Team Scorned ‘Secret Science’ – The New York Times

“The project, run by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, and funded in part by the Environmental Protection Agency, is still going all these years later. Known as Chamacos, Spanish for “children,” it has linked pesticides sprayed on fruit and vegetable crops with respiratory complications, developmental disorders and lower I.Q.s among children of farm workers. State and federal regulators have cited its findings to help justify proposed restrictions on everything from insecticides to flame-retardant chemicals.

But the Trump administration wants to restrict how human studies like Chamacos are used in rule-making. A government proposal this year, called Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science, could stop them from being used to justify regulating pesticides, lead and pollutants like soot, and undermine foundational research behind national air-quality rules. The E.P.A., which has funded these kinds of studies, is now labeling many of them “secret science.” …”