Effects of copyrights on science

Abstract:  Copyrights grant publishers exclusive rights to content for almost a century. In science, this can involve substantial social costs by limiting who can access existing research. This column uses a unique WWII-era programme in the US, which allowed US publishers to reprint exact copies of German-owned science books, to explore how copyrights affect follow-on science. This artificial removal of copyright barriers led to a 25% decline in prices, and a 67% increase in citations. These results suggest that restrictive copyright policies slow down the progress of science considerably.

Guest Post: From Supermarkets to Marketplaces – The Evolution of the Open Access Ecosystem – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Sven Fund. Sven is the Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched and founder of fullstopp, a digital consulting agency serving publishers, libraries, and intermediaries. From 2008 to 2015, Sven was the CEO of Berlin-based publisher De Gruyter. Prior to that he served in different functions from Managing Director to Executive Board member at what is now Springer Nature. He is a lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Open access (OA) is undergoing yet another metamorphosis. So far, the space has been dominated by author-pays (via Article Processing Charges – APCs) models, both hybrid and “pure”. And while funders like Wellcome and the German Research Foundation are reviewing their policies – many of them a decade old by now – it is becoming ever clearer that APCs will not be the future of OA, at least not uniquely. With their normative approach of flipping traditional acquisition budgets, Ralf Schimmer, Kai Geschuhn and Andreas Vogler have been advocating in principle that which is now becoming reality: i.e. that in order to really shake up the academic publishing market, other transactional models are necessary….

To make OA really work, libraries have to cooperate and co-spend in order to shift the market-shaping from publishers to themselves. Publishers are structured like supermarkets: They operate as global consortia around their own products, generating demand, shouldering financial risk and investments and in the process generating profit. As long as libraries or other agents are not prepared to supersede this role with a better structure, the underlying problem will remain….”

Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature

“Pathfinders begins the necessary process of documenting early digital literature, specifically pre-web hypertext fiction and poetry, from 1986-1995. These literary works were produced with programming languages like BASIC or authoring systems like Storyspace and HyperCard and require a degree of interactivity between the reader and the work. They were also among the first computer-based works of literature to be sold commercially in the U.S. and, because of their availability through commercial distribution, were influential in shaping literary theory and criticism that, today, are used to discuss born digital writing. They are also literary works in danger of becoming inaccessible to the public because they were produced on and for computer platforms that today are obsolete….”

The Journal Impact Factor: A brief history, critique, and discussion of adverse effects

Abstract:  The Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is, by far, the most discussed bibliometric indicator. Since its introduction over 40 years ago, it has had enormous effects on the scientific ecosystem: transforming the publishing industry, shaping hiring practices and the allocation of resources, and, as a result, reorienting the research activities and dissemination practices of scholars. Given both the ubiquity and impact of the indicator, the JIF has been widely dissected and debated by scholars of every disciplinary orientation. Drawing on the existing literature as well as on original research, this chapter provides a brief history of the indicator and highlights well-known limitations-such as the asymmetry between the numerator and the denominator, differences across disciplines, the insufficient citation window, and the skewness of the underlying citation distributions. The inflation of the JIF and the weakening predictive power is discussed, as well as the adverse effects on the behaviors of individual actors and the research enterprise. Alternative journal-based indicators are described and the chapter concludes with a call for responsible application and a commentary on future developments in journal indicators.

Budapest Open Access Initiative | Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open

“Ten years ago the Budapest Open Access Initiative launched a worldwide campaign for open access (OA) to all new peer-reviewed research. It didn’t invent the idea of OA. On the contrary, it deliberately drew together existing projects to explore how they might “work together to achieve broader, deeper, and faster success.” But the BOAI was the first initiative to use the term “open access” for this purpose, the first to articulate a public definition, the first to propose complementary strategies for realizing OA, the first to generalize the call for OA to all disciplines and countries, and the first to be accompanied by significant funding. 

Today we’re no longer at the beginning of this worldwide campaign, and not yet at the end. We’re solidly in the middle, and draw upon a decade of experience in order to make new recommendations for the next ten years….”

A Review of Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate Policies

Abstract:  This article reviews the history of open access (OA) policies and examines the current status of mandate policy implementations. It finds that hundreds of policies have been proposed and adopted at various organizational levels and many of them have shown a positive effect on the rate of repository content accumulation. However, it also detects policies showing little or no visible impact on repository development, and attempts to analyze the effects of different types of policies, with varied levels of success. It concludes that an open access mandate policy, by itself, will not change existing practices of scholarly self-archiving. 

Poynder On Point: Ten Years After

“The open access (OA) movement has had some big wins this year: In July [2004], a cross-party group of British politicians called on the U.K. government to make all publicly funded research accessible to everyone “free of charge, online.” That same month, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations recommended that all NIH-funded research be made freely available 6 months after publication. But where did the OA movement come from, and where is it taking us? …”