Abstract: Open research data is one of the key areas in the expanding open scholarship movement. Scholarly journals and publishers find themselves at the heart of the shift towards openness, with recent years seeing an increase in the number of scholarly journals with data-sharing policies aiming to increase transparency and reproducibility of research. In this article we present two case studies which examine the experiences that two leading academic publishers, Taylor & Francis and Springer Nature, have had in rolling out data-sharing policies. We illustrate some of the considerations involved in providing consistent policies across journals of many disciplines, reflecting on successes and challenges.
“I know of a case where an unemployed researcher saw his postdoctoral research paper blocked in limbo by Taylor & Francis after acceptance, with the demand that the author either pays the hefty APC of $2500 or formally withdraws the manuscript. All he was offered was a minor discount. Eventually, that ex-postdoc’s former employer conceded to his pleas and agreed to pay the APC. Only that it hasn’t happened yet and the accepted proofread paper is stuck for already over half a year in the Taylor & Francis black box, unpaid and unpublished. You can call it blackmail if you like. [this story has been corrected, I initially wrote the author was in luck and the university did pay.] …”
“The results of publicly funded research must be freely available to all. By 2020, universities want to make all peer-reviewed articles by Dutch researchers open-access publications as standard. Following a request by the government, in 2013 the VSNU formulated a plan to achieve this goal.
‘The Dutch universities’ strategy is unique on the international stage,’ says Koen Becking, executive open-access negotiator for the VSNU and Executive Board President at Tilburg University. Together with Tim van der Hagen, Executive Board President at Delft University of Technology, and Anton Pijpers, Executive Board President at Utrecht University, he leads executive negotiations with the major publishing houses….
The Dutch approach is such a success because the universities have formed a single negotiating body and are supported by the government. In this regard, Becking refers to the government’s open-access policy, which was continued by the new government in 2017….”
“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the Chinese government’s censorship of academic journals that the British publishing house Taylor & Francis provides to Chinese libraries.
Taylor & Francis, whose publications include the Asian Studies Review, confirmed on 20 December 2018 that its Chinese importer, a government offshoot, decided in September 2018 to block 83 of the 1,466 academic journals to which Taylor & Francis provides access in China….
The German publishing house Springer Nature, which owns the science magazines Nature and Scientific American, as well as the Journal of Chinese Political Science and the publishing house Palgrave Macmillan, confirmed in November 2017 that the Chinese authorities had forced it to block online access to around one per cent of its articles within China.
Three months before that, the Cambridge University Press (CUP), another respected academic publishing house, reported that, at the Chinese authorities’ request, it was blocking access within China to 300 articles in the online archives of its China Quarterly journal. In response to the ensuing outcry, the CUP restored access….”
“Fundamentally, content licenses between KU Libraries and a publisher are about providing access to licensed content to KU students, faculty, and staff. Fine. This IR section of the T&F content license isn’t about that; it’s about them determining how we can support our institutional authors who publish in T&F journals. Since our IR is an institutional service for our authors, I don’t see why a publisher should have any voice in determining how we provide that service so long as we’re operating within the law. If KU didn’t have an open access policy then the impact would be negligible in the short term (notwithstanding the above critiques of 13.2.3, 13.2.4, and 13.3). I say in the short term because it might limit the ability of an institutional library to support a future OA policy should their faculty ever adopt and seek to implement one. Given the sustained growth of OA policies, that seems likely if this section becomes standard. This section seems directly intended to undermine Harvard-style (rights retention) institutional open access policies and tie institutions to author agreements (that the institution doesn’t sign) by codifying rights granted in those agreements in an institutional agreement. Content licenses arguably have nothing to do with how we support our faculty authors, so this has no place in a content license, IMO. Of course, that’s being challenged in the UC read and publish proposal to Elsevier, and there are isolated incidents of elite institutional libraries getting better deals for their faculty authors through these agreements. I wouldn’t presume to limit that kind of experimentation. However, anecdotally, I’ve heard of several attempts to add language to content agreements that would advance author rights, by requiring the publisher to provide accepted manuscripts for all institutionally-authored articles published in their journals, for example, which were categorically rejected by the publisher representatives. Why then should we not categorically reject their attempts to play the other side of that card, even if they weren’t problematic as I’ve described? If the only institutions who are able to successfully achieve better deals for their authors via content agreements are elite, where does that leave the rest of us? For our part, we have struck this whole IR section from our draft agreement and are waiting on a T&F reaction….”
“In the fourth of a series of interviews highlighting the important contributions of the Board, OASPA’s Events and Communications Coordinator, Leyla Williams, talked to Caroline Sutton, Head of Open Scholarship Development at Taylor & Francis. Caroline was OASPA’s first President of the Board in 2008….”
Transparency is essential for scientific progress. Access to underlying data and materials allows us to make progress through new discoveries and to better evaluate reported findings, which increases trust in science. However, there are challenges to changing norms of scientific practice. Culture change is a slow process because of inertia and the fear of unintended consequences.
One barrier to change that we encounter as we advocate to journals for more data sharing is an editor’s uncertainty about how their publisher will react to such a change. Will they help implement that policy? Will they discourage it because of uncertainty about how it might affect submission numbers or citation rates? With uncertainty, inaction seems to be easier.
“Leading academic publisher Taylor & Francis is developing natural language processing technology to help machines understand its books and journals, with the aim to enrich customers’ online experiences and create new tools to make the company more efficient.
The first step extracts topics and concepts from text in any scholarly subject domain, and shows recommendations of additional content to online users based on what they are already reading, allowing them to discover new research more easily. Further steps will lead to semantic content enrichment for more improvements in areas such as relatedness, better searches, and finding peer-reviewers and specialists on particular subjects….”