bjoern.brembs.blog » Scholarship has bigger fish to fry than access

” For the last 6-7 years, paying for subscriptions has ceased to be necessary for access. One sign of the changing times is the support that initiatives such as DEAL, Bibsam etc. have: two years without subscriptions to Elsevier and what do you hear out of, e.g., Germany? Crickets! Nothing! Of course, it would be silly to conclude that in these two years nobody in Germany has read any Elsevier articles. The reason for the silence and the continued support for DEAL is that we now can access anything we want without subscriptions….

With the realization that EOSC; Plan S, DEAL, etc. are actually working on different aspects of the same issue, the problem to be solved is no longer that scholars publish in toll-access journals, but that institutions haven’t come up with a more attractive alternative. If individuals are not to blame, than there is no reason to mandate them to do anything differently. Instead, institutions should be mandated to stop funding journals via subscriptions or APCs and instead invest the money into a modern, more cost-effective infrastructure for text, data and code. Obviously, in this specificity, this is nearly impossible to mandate in most countries. However, there is a mandate that comes very close. It has been dubbed “Plan I” (for infrastructure). In brief, it entails a three step procedure:

Build on already available standards and guidelines to establish a certification process for a sustainable scholarly infrastructure
Funders require institutional certification before reviewing grant applications
Institutions use subscription funds to implement infrastructure for certification….”

Publishing, technology, and lawsuits – IO: In The Open

“When Arizona State’s University Librarian, Jim O’Donnell, posted a link to an article about the status and strategy of four lawsuits brought in the past few years by commercial publishers on the LibLicense list, it started me on a series of rather disparate reflections about the state of scholarly communications.

Jim’s post was quite innocuous, of the “folks might be interested in this” variety, but he did note that some people might encounter a paywall. The article, “On the limitations of recent lawsuits against Sci-Hub, OMICS, ResearchGate, and Georgia State University,” by Stewart Manley, was published this summer in Learned Publishing, which is available, only with a subscription, through Wiley. My institution ended its Wiley “big deal” a year ago because we could no longer afford it, so I did encounter a paywall — $42 for this single, seven-page article (I ultimately obtained the article using inter-library loan, and am not providing a link to the pay-walled version). I commented, in response to Jim’s post, on this high cost of access, which leads to my first observation about the state of academic publishing.

It s not surprising that many replies to my comment came from people who routinely use the LibLicense list to defend the status quo in commercial publishing, but I was bemused by a common theme that emerged, that I should obtain the article by subscribing to Learned Publishing via a membership in the Society for Scholarly Publishing, which, I was told, was a good deal at $180, with a discount for librarians. Since one of the major points made by Manley, in the article this was all about, is that publishers are using litigation as a last-ditch effort to avoid the ramifications of digital technology, this struck me as quite ironic. The journal issue as a package for multiple articles, only some of which might interest any particular reader, is an anachronism related to print technology. One of the great new affordances of the digital environment is to break open the journal issue and provide article-by-article access. But, because of the continuing desire to maintain excessive profit margins, publishers have undermined this potential with big deals and paywalls. The solution suggested was to return to still another way of paying for lots of stuff I don’t need in order to see the article I do want, just as I had to do in the print era….”

Publishing, technology, and lawsuits – IO: In The Open

“When Arizona State’s University Librarian, Jim O’Donnell, posted a link to an article about the status and strategy of four lawsuits brought in the past few years by commercial publishers on the LibLicense list, it started me on a series of rather disparate reflections about the state of scholarly communications.

Jim’s post was quite innocuous, of the “folks might be interested in this” variety, but he did note that some people might encounter a paywall. The article, “On the limitations of recent lawsuits against Sci-Hub, OMICS, ResearchGate, and Georgia State University,” by Stewart Manley, was published this summer in Learned Publishing, which is available, only with a subscription, through Wiley. My institution ended its Wiley “big deal” a year ago because we could no longer afford it, so I did encounter a paywall — $42 for this single, seven-page article (I ultimately obtained the article using inter-library loan, and am not providing a link to the pay-walled version). I commented, in response to Jim’s post, on this high cost of access, which leads to my first observation about the state of academic publishing.

It s not surprising that many replies to my comment came from people who routinely use the LibLicense list to defend the status quo in commercial publishing, but I was bemused by a common theme that emerged, that I should obtain the article by subscribing to Learned Publishing via a membership in the Society for Scholarly Publishing, which, I was told, was a good deal at $180, with a discount for librarians. Since one of the major points made by Manley, in the article this was all about, is that publishers are using litigation as a last-ditch effort to avoid the ramifications of digital technology, this struck me as quite ironic. The journal issue as a package for multiple articles, only some of which might interest any particular reader, is an anachronism related to print technology. One of the great new affordances of the digital environment is to break open the journal issue and provide article-by-article access. But, because of the continuing desire to maintain excessive profit margins, publishers have undermined this potential with big deals and paywalls. The solution suggested was to return to still another way of paying for lots of stuff I don’t need in order to see the article I do want, just as I had to do in the print era….”

International Day for Universal Access to Information

“Since 2016 UNESCO marks 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information” (IDUAI), following the adoption of the 38 C/Resolution 57 declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).  

The IDUAI has particular relevance with Agenda 2030 with specific reference to:

SDG 2 on investment in rural infrastructure and technology development,
SDG 11 on positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas and
SDG 16 on initiatives to adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information….”

Access to Information Is Not Universal: Here’s Why That Matters

Today is the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

Image credit: UNESCO, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

You may be wondering why this day is necessary—particularly in 2019, when the average person is inundated with an estimated 34 gigabytes of information every day, from emails and text messages to Youtube videos and news programs. In fact, it’s easy to take information for granted. However, access to public information, in particular, is not universal.

“Although technology has increased the amount of information and systematized the collection of data, people and communities across the world still lack access to critical, public information,” explains Bushra Ebadi. As a researcher and Executive Committee Member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Bushra relies on public information to study and develop solutions for issues such as insecurity, corruption, inequality, and climate change.

Access to information “is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression” and “a key enabler towards inclusive knowledge societies.”

According to Moez Chakchouk, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, access to information “is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression” and “a key enabler towards inclusive knowledge societies.” Despite this, UNESCO says that many governments “do not have national legislation on access to information as a specific expression of the law,” otherwise known as freedom of information legislation. This means that millions of people do not have the right or the ability to access public information. Further, “Even when these laws exist they are not necessarily abided by,” adds Bushra, “there can be a lot of red tape to access information in a timely manner.”

This lack of access is particularly worrying for researchers and activists, like Bushra. Without universal, open access to data from governments or research institutions, for example, developing effective solutions to global problems is difficult.

A Closer Look At Government Data

Increasingly, governments are using tools like Creative Commons’ CC0 Public Domain Dedication (CC Zero) to maximize the “re-use of data and databases” by clarifying that these resources are in the public domain and not restricted by copyright. However, there are many instances when data collected by governments are not made easily accessible (e.g., through an online data portal or open source data set).

In 2017, the World Wide Web Foundation found that almost every country included in its Open Data Barometer report failed to adequately share important data with the public. For example, only 71% of the observed government data sets were published online, only 25% were available via an open license, and only 7% of government data sets were truly open—meaning they “can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.” The Foundation also reported that many of the available data sets were “incomplete, out of date, of low quality, and fragmented.”

In her work, Bushra often relies on government data to conduct policy research, but has routinely experienced problems. “The relevance of the data is largely dependent on how and what information was collected, as well as the format it is available in,” she explains. While studying issues related to forced migration and gender discrimination in the Global South, for example, she found it difficult to access reliable data.

“By restricting access to those who can afford it or have power and privilege, we support a system and culture of elitism…”

To compensate for this lack of data, researchers must often rely on data collected by non-government entities—which are typically kept behind expensive paywalls. According to Bushra, this is particularly detrimental. “By restricting access to those who can afford it or have power and privilege, we support a system and culture of elitism in which a select group of people with access are able to dictate what is done with information and how it is used.”

Attendees meet at Rights Con, Tunisia 2019Image credit: Rights Con 2019, CC BY-NC 2.0

The Power of Information

Universal, open access to public information, particularly government data, not only facilitates scientific collaboration and innovation, it also empowers communities that have been historically marginalized and silenced.

“Access to information is intrinsically tied to the right to know and the right to exist,” Bushra emphasizes, “and without access to information, citizens lack the tools they need to hold their governments and people in power accountable.”

Information is powerful—that’s why, even in 2019, the International Day for Universal Access to Information remains not only important, but necessary.

To learn more and get involved, visit UNESCO’s website or sign up for their newsletter.

The post Access to Information Is Not Universal: Here’s Why That Matters appeared first on Creative Commons.

Meta and Kopernio partner to provide easy access to full-text scientific articles | Research Information

“Millions of full-text scientific articles will soon be available through an easy copyright-compliant one-click process, thanks to a new partnership between Kopernio, part of the Web of Science Group and Meta, a free biomedical discovery tool from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Meta users will have faster, easier access to millions of full-text scientific articles through Kopernio’s free web browser plug-in, giving scientists one-click access to complete versions of the latest relevant research delivered directly in their Meta feed.

Meta users will have the option to install the Kopernio plugin for one-click retrieval of full-text articles that are accessible to them, either by integrating with institutional subscriptions or by offering a copyright-compliant open access alternative. When the version of record is available via institutional subscriptions, librarians and institutions will receive full usage reporting via the original publisher, as Kopernio usage is COUNTER compliant….”

Invisible Shackles: The Monopolization of Public Access Legal Research due to Government Failures

“The creation of a system that relies on past decisions, or precedent, such as case law, without providing an opportunity to meaningfully organize such information has circumvented the principle of public access to the law. In fashioning such a flawed scheme, the government has relinquished responsibility and vested in private parties the power to structure significant portions of the legal system on their own. Now, more than two centuries after the inception of the United States legal system, sophisticated corporations have captured the market for legal research and the government has provided no viable alternative that serves the public interest.

This comment argues that the current paradigm for legal research, particularly for free information such as state and federal case opinions and statutes, federal agency regulations, and many law review or journal articles, is one that inhibits rather than promotes public access to the law. The core problem is that properly organized and intelligible legal data is sealed away behind paid, proprietary software while official government sources remain archaic, unintuitive, and disordered….”

Our legal case against Turkey’s block of Wikipedia has been expedited. Here’s what that means. – Wikimedia Foundation

“Today, the Wikimedia Foundation welcomes the news that our case brought before  the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to lift the block of Wikipedia in Turkey has been communicated to the Turkish Government and given priority status by the court, just two months after the case was filed with the court. Priority status is granted rarely and reserved for the most important, serious, and urgent cases before the court and signals the critical impact our case could have in curbing government censorship online.

Two years ago, the Turkish government blocked Wikipedia. We believe free access to knowledge and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights, and by blocking Wikipedia, the Turkish government violated these rights for everyone living in the country. After extensive discussions with the Turkish government and challenging the block in Turkish courts, we were left with no choice but to bring our petition to the ECHR, an international court which hears cases of human rights violations within the Council of Europe….”

Library Provides Tips to Access Elsevier Articles | UC Davis

“Last week, Elsevier discontinued the University of California’s access to 2019 articles, and older articles in some of its journals. Articles published before 2019 in the vast majority of journals used by UC scholars continue to be available via its online platform, ScienceDirect.

This represents a significant change for UC researchers. To provide support through that transition, the library is offering a range of tips and help sessions to help UC Davis scholars access articles that are no longer directly available from the publisher’s website….”