‘Access is not really the main issue anymore’ | Research Information

The biggest challenge is the circularity of the entire structure of how we communicate with each other: things are tied up in a way that makes it very difficult to break up. The publishers, librarians, and faculty scientists all have very different perspectives, and it’s very difficult to cooperate when everyone has different perspectives and different interests. In a short phrase: it’s a social problem. 

Libraries, for instance, say “we would instantly drop our subscriptions, if we knew that faculty would be publishing elsewhere” because they don’t realise that if we publish elsewhere we risk our jobs. You just have to look up job ads for faculty or tenure track positions, and you’ll see we have to publish in certain journals if you want that job. Usually librarians are quite aghast or surprised when I tell them that this is the choice we have, they seem to see it as some subliminal self-stroking ego if we publish in certain journals. If one looks at our journal system and most journals that virtually guarantee you a job, those are journals that are also publishing the least reliable science. If you’ve done that for the last 30 years, then maybe it’s no surprise that we’re wondering about the reliability of science….”

Living in Denial: The Relationship between Access Denied Turnaways and ILL Requests: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Access denied turnaway statistics are provided to libraries to help with serials collection development, but very little research about turnaways is available. This article examines the relationship between access denied turnaways and interlibrary loan (ILL) requests at one institution in an attempt to deepen our understanding of turnaways. The study showed that there is a moderate correlation with an overall ILL requests to turnaways ratio of 11.4%. The strength of the relationship and the ILL requests to turnaways ratio do vary depending on the publisher/provider. The article also discusses potential explanations and implications as related to the relationship.”

Paris’s High Court has ordered French ISPs to block access to the pirate libraries LibGen and Sci-Hub

For more than a decade, publishing research articles have been a lucrative business for research institutes. As a result, some sites such as Sci-Hub and LibGen have gained popularity because of offering free access to scientific articles obtained through web scraping.

For instance, Sci-Hub has more than 25 million articles, readily accessible by researchers from all over the world. But Sci-Hub and LibGen have come under intense pressure from academic publishers who are not happy with the service.

The academic publishers believe Sci-Hub and LibGen are pirate libraries which are a threat to their multi-billion dollar industry. The publishers have unsuccessfully drafted ways to shut the services down through lawsuits.

But on March 31, there was a victorious breakthrough for the academic publishers after the French Judiciary ordered several of the largest French ISPs to block access to the pirate libraries; LibGen and Sci-Hub….”

New, powerfully simple library tool to deliver articles. No subscription needed.

“InstantILL is one box that instantly delivers papers your patrons need and simplifies your ILL process. It’s free and easily set up in minutes….

The Open Access Button is building a world where?—?regardless of a campus’ subscription access?—?there is a simple, community-owned, one-stop shop for students and researchers to get free, fast, and legal access to articles. We’re partnering with IUPUI to advance that mission through InstantILL, a new service that builds on ILL’s ability to give patrons rapid, easy access to any article, at any time, and at no cost. InstantILL will enable your campus to improve article delivery with or without a subscription and save money, and in turn, create a stronger negotiating position with publishers in reducing subscription costs….

InstantILL is a free, community-owned, and open source tool, and you’ll be able to get up and running in a matter of minutes. You can skip learning to code or a new ILL system, booting up a server, or tweaking logo placement. InstantILL just works with your current systems and brand….”

How I made my own open-access “research portal” – Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre

It is difficult – but not impossible – to access academic articles if you don’t have access to journal subscriptions. In this blog, I go through my experience in trying to gain access to academic articles and data while working at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), and how I tried to make the process as easy and efficient as possible. I hope that by sharing the story, and sharing the research portal that I created, that researchers without access to journal subscriptions have more of a chance to find the information they need.

The portal aggregates over 750 sources of online, open data, academic and government articles and makes them searchable through a customisable Google search tool. Most of the work was in finding these resources; putting them in the custom Google search tool was simple. I provide a link to an Excel sheet with all the sources below….”

Scientist says researchers in immigrant-friendly nations can’t use his software | Science | AAAS

A German scientist is revoking the license to his bioinformatics software for researchers working in eight European countries because he believes those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders. From 1 October, scientists in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark—”the countries that together host most of the non-European immigrants“—won’t be allowed to use a program called Treefinder, informatician Gangolf Jobb wrote in a statement he posted on his website….”

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….”