Harvard Library Bulletin now open access through DASH

“Harvard Library Bulletin is Harvard Library’s flagship scholarly journal. In print since 1947, and published by Houghton Library since 2001, HLB is a cross-disciplinary publication whose articles focus on Harvard Library collections. On August 1, the entire print run of HLB —nearly 1,800 assets  in all— was made available for free online reading and download on DASH, Harvard University’s open-access repository. As of August 24, there have been over 35,000 page views and 6,600 article downloads. The deposits represent one phase of a multi-year project to convert HLB from a paid subscription print model to a fully open access and online publication that will launch in fall 2020 (more news soon to come)….”

Coronavirus: time to re-imagine academic publishing

“High-profile retractions have highlighted how the conventional model of academic publishing has struggled to keep pace with the race to understand the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The system is ripe for innovation. To that end, an open-access overlay journal known as Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19; see go.nature.com/3fufauw) uses the speed of technology to democratize the review process and strengthen the quality of research.

RR:C19 was launched this year by the MIT Press and the University of California, Berkeley, with support from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. Scientists, publishers and philanthropic foundations work together to swiftly deploy new models for digitally enabled publishing. The journal promotes rapid and transparent peer review of promising or controversial preprints, as well as dynamic curation of content (see B. M. Stern and E. K. O’Shea PLoS Biol. 17, e3000116; 2019).

Philanthropic foundations have been leaders in funding risky scientific ventures. In our experience, extending that support to advance the publishing process will boost the quality of research and accelerate its dissemination.”

Overlay model for peer review on repositories – open for public comment – COAR

“The resource-oriented nature of the Web is well suited to an environment which places value in the fact that control of resources is distributed across a large number of repositories. In such an environment, it makes sense to take a pass-by-reference approach to interaction between different networked services, rather than relying on machine or human mediated processes to pass copies of resources around the network.


Resources in repositories have stable URIs that can be used for referencing. This means that a request for review can be sent as a standards-based notification that carries a resource’s stable URI to the inbox of a review service. This also means that the review service can obtain the resource that is to be reviewed by visiting that stable URI. From there, the actual resource can be retrieved by following some simple standards-based navigational conventions (e.g., retrieve the full text of a preprint, automatically, from having accessed a landing page describing it). Generally, this means that it becomes possible to invoke and use remote services on the network, by passing instructions to them together with, crucially, URIs identifying particular resources.

This document presents some simple models and vocabularies for using standard notification protocols to achieve common interactions between repositories and overlay peer review services, based on the use cases provided….”

Ars Inveniendi Analytica | Published by Ars Inveniendi Analytica

“we believe that the mathematical community could and should engage into the creation of a line of arXiv overlay journals, covering the various areas of Mathematics, and publishing papers of the highest quality. We are thus launching, with the support of a group of colleagues who have accepted our invitation to serve as editors, an arXiv overlay journal in Mathematical Analysis, called Ars Inveniendi Analytica. This journal will benefit from the financial support of the University of Texas Libraries, and has been assisted in these initial stages by the Harvard Library, a member of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories….”

Communiqué: Meeting participants agree to work together on a technical architecture for distributed peer review on repository resources – COAR

“On January 23-24, 2020, COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) convened a meeting to investigate the potential for a common, distributed architecture that would connect peer review with resources in repositories. The aim of the meeting, hosted by Inria in Paris, France, was to share the current workflows of various projects and systems that are managing or developing overlay peer review on a variety of different repository types (institutional, preprint, data, etc.), and assess whether there is sufficient interest in defining a set of common protocols and vocabularies that would allow interoperability across different systems.

Meeting participants reviewed and discussed a number of different use cases. While each case has its own unique attributes, it was clear that there are significant similarities in terms of functionalities and objectives. A draft architecture for distributed peer review on repositories, applying existing web technologies and standards such as Linked Data Notifications and Activity Streams 2.0, was presented by Herbert Van de Sompel of DANS and prototyped by Martin Klein of Los Alamos National Laboratory. By the end of the meeting, there was a consensus by participants that it would be worthwhile to further specify the proposed architecture, through detailing the use cases, developing a common model, and further profiling the technologies. This work will be undertaken in the coming weeks and months.

The outcome of this work could be extremely powerful. It would allow us to move away from the current ‘system to system’ approach to a highly distributed, technically efficient overlay peer review architecture, which would enable any compatible repository and peer review service to participate in the network. This profiling builds on previous work of COAR such as Next Generation Repositories and Pubfair. COAR will provide regular updates about the progress of this work and all results will be widely shared once stable outcomes are available….”

Modelling Overlay Peer Review Processes with Linked Data Notifications

In November 2017, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) published a report outlining the technologies and behaviours of the Next Generation Repository (NGR). In the report, the NGR Working Group argues that repositories must take their place in a resource-centric network, where the individual resources (metadata and actual content) within the repositories are interconnected on the Web both with each other and, more importantly with resource-oriented networked services. These links between resources and overlay services can bring many new opportunities for broadening the scope of the services offered by repositories and 3rd party initiatives. The emphasis on moving to a fully resource-centric paradigm presented in the vision for the Next Generation Repository offers an opportunity to exploit what programmers call “pass by reference” – a notion which underlies the fundamental function of the Web.

One specific use case related to this vision is the linking of repository resources with services providing commentary, annotation and peer reviews; a use case that is currently being considered by several different initiatives in the scholarly communications landscape. The wide distribution of resources (typified by articles) in repositories, coupled with the growing interest in overlay journals, introduces the possibility of adopting an asynchronous notification paradigm to achieve interoperability between repositories and peer review systems….”

New MIT Press Journal to Debunk Bad COVID-19 Research

“Preprint servers play an increasingly important role in the scholarly publishing landscape. They are a popular platform for researchers to get early feedback on their research. They are also a space where researchers can publish research products and data sets not typically published in traditional journals. The process is fast — publication of open-access research that anyone can read is immediate.

The downside of this open publication system is that sometimes controversial or poor-quality research can garner a lot of attention on social media or in news articles, said Stefano Bertozzi, professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. In the clamor for information about COVID-19, it is easy for misinformation to spread online, he said.

To combat this, MIT Press and the Berkeley School of Public Health are launching a new COVID-19 journal, one that will peer review preprint articles getting a lot of attention — elevating the good research and debunking the bad.

The Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 journal will be led by Bertozzi, who will serve as the first editor in chief. Unlike a traditional journal, authors will not submit their work for review. Instead, the Rapid Reviews team will select and review already-published preprint articles — a publishing model known as an overlay journal.   …”

The MIT Press and UC Berkeley launch Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 · Rapid Reviews COVID-19

“The MIT Press announced today the launch of Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19), an open access, rapid-review overlay journal that will accelerate peer review of COVID-19-related research and deliver real-time, verified scientific information that policymakers and health leaders can use….

Using artificial intelligence tools, a global team will identify promising scholarship in preprint repositories, commission expert peer reviews, and publish the results on an open access platform in a completely transparent process. The journal will strive for disciplinary and geographic breadth, sourcing manuscripts from all regions and across a wide variety of fields, including medicine; public health; the physical, biological, and chemical sciences; the social sciences; and the humanities. RR:C19 will also provide a new publishing option for revised papers that are positively reviewed….”

Strengthening the Open Science Ecosystem Through Preprints

“When rapid and open sharing occurs, it is usually in venues (like scientific conferences or within networks of collaborators) accessible only to researchers from well-resourced and established institutions, creating additional barriers to researchers from emerging countries or under-resourced areas, preventing them from participating in the scientific discourse.

Preprints are poised to change this. In addition to enabling rapid sharing, preprints also 1) offer novel opportunities for feedback and peer review; 2) improve the overall quality, integrity, and reproducibility of research outputs; and 3) help prevent scooping and incentivize early collaboration.

These benefits can be dramatically enhanced by third-party services (authoring tools, commenting platforms, and machine extraction projects) that act as both inputs and outputs to preprints. As arXiv founder Paul Ginsparg envisioned in the early 1990s, preprints can provide “a relatively complete raw archive, unfettered by any unnecessary delays in availability” on top of which “any type of information could be overlayed… and maintained by any third parties,” including tools for validation, filtering, and communication….”

5 Scholarly Publishing Trends to Watch in 2020

“The vision for a predominantly open access (OA) publishing landscape has shifted from a possibility to a probability in the opinions of many. A 2017 Springer Nature survey of 200 professional staff working in research institutions around the world found that over 70% of respondents agreed scholarly content should be openly accessible and 91% of librarians agreed that “open access is the future of academic and scientific publishing.” …

As noted, there is growing consensus within academia that the majority of scholarly content will be available OA in the future — but how to reach that end is still a matter of debate. The announcement of Plan S in September 2018, an initiative by a consortium of national and international research funders to make research fully and immediately OA, sent shockwaves throughout academia. 2019 saw the release of the revised Plan S guidelines with some significant changes, including an extension of the Plan S deadline to January 2021, a clearer Green OA compliance pathway, and greater flexibility around non-derivative copyright licenses. What remains the same — and has been a matter of significant debate — is that Plan S will not acknowledge hybrid OA as a compliant publishing model.

In response to concerns raised by scholarly societies around the feasibility of transitioning to full and immediate OA publishing without compromising their operational funding, Wellcome and UKRI in partnership with ALPSP launched the “Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access and Plan S“ (SPA-OPS) project to identify viable OA publishing models and transition options for societies. The final SPA-OPS report was released in September of 2019, encompassing over 20 potential OA models and strategies as well as a “transformative agreement toolkit.” …”