Community call: Open source technology development for science communications and publishing | Events | eLife

“In this community call, at 11am New York | 4pm London on October 24, 2018, we invite the developers and the users of technology for science communications and publishing from all corners to join in and share projects that are underway, learn more about what others are up to and how they’ve solved tricky problems, and consider where collaboration can contribute to the path forward….”

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem: Report, Slides, Video Available Online | Association of Research Libraries® | ARL®

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) is a five-year pilot initiative to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs. Scholars face growing difficulty in finding publishers for their monographs as academic library budgets shrink and demand for monographs falls. The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) formally launched TOME in 2017 to collaboratively address this problem.

Inefficient publishing industry costs us billions. Unrealized opportunities cost us much more.

“Almost 20 years since Budapest Open Access Initiative, library consortia are finally leading the move with large scale journal cancellations. Editors can preserve and improve journal’s reputation and quality by changing to fairer and better services.

The new Plan S initiative by major national research funding agencies declares paywalled publishing venues unsuitable for their funded researchers. Still room is left for pay-to-publish barriers, where numerous problems have been documented.

Both initiatives still affect only tiny fractions of global academic publishing and we are currently very far from a large scale transition to cheaper more efficient models allowed by available technologies….”

Open access at a crossroads

“Publishers of scientific journals are facing renewed threats to their business models from both sides of the Atlantic. As European science funders promote a radical new open-access (OA) publishing mandate they unveiled last month, the Trump administration is considering changes to a five-year-old directive governing the public release of research literature sponsored by federal agencies.”

The Tangled Web of Scientific Publishing — The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

“How to vet submitted manuscripts, how to reform the inefficient and in many ways corrupt, journal system, how best to limit costs; all are tricky questions. I offer no simple answers, but here are some suggestions as starting points for debate:

  • Consider abolishing the standard paper-journal structure. (The system I describe below also allows for aggregators to arise, selecting papers based on quality or interest area as a substitute for area-specific journals.)
  • Suppose that all submissions, suitably tagged with interest-area labels by the author, were instead to be sent to a central SUBMISSIONS repository. (A pirate site containing “scraped” published papers, Sci-Hub, already exists and there are already open access repositories where anyone can park files.)
  • Suppose there were a second central repository for prospective reviewers of the papers submitted to the first repository. Anyone who is interested in reviewing manuscripts ? usually but not necessarily a working scientist—would be invited to submit his or her areas of interest and qualifications to this REVIEWER repository.
  • Reviewing would then consist of somehow matching up manuscripts with suitable reviewers. Exactly how this should be done needs to be debated; many details need to be worked out. How many reviewers? What areas? How much weight should be given to matching reviewers’ expertise, in general, and in relation to the manuscript to be reviewed? What about conflict of interest, etc.? But if rules could be agreed on, the process could probably be automated.
  • Reviewers would be asked to both comment on the submission and give it two scores: (a) validity—are the results true/replicable? (b) Importance—a more subjective judgment.
  • If a reviewer detects a remediable flaw, the manuscript author should have the opportunity to revise and resubmit and hope to get a higher score.
  • Manuscripts should always be publicly available unless withdrawn by the author. But after review, they will be tagged with the reviewers’ evaluation(s). No manuscript need be “rejected.”
  • Employers/reviewers looking at material to evaluate for promotion, salary review, etc. would then have to decide which category of reviewed manuscript to count as a “publication.” Some might see this as a problem—for employers if not for science. But publishing unreviewed material is well accepted in some areas of scholarship. The NBER, for example, has a section called “Working Papers” which “are circulated prior to publication for comment and discussion.”
  • Interested readers can search the database of manuscripts by publication date, reviewers’ scores, topics, etc. in a more flexible and unbiased way than current reliance on a handful of “gatekeeper” journals.

This is not a finished proposal. Each of these suggestions raises questions. But one thing is certain: the present system is slow, expensive, and inadequate. Science needs something better….”

The STM Report An overview of scientific and scholarly publishing: Fifth edition, October 2018

“Average publishing costs per article vary substantially depending on a range of factors including rejection rate (which drives peer review costs), range and type of content, levels of editorial services, and others. The average 2010 cost of publishing an article in a subscription-based journal with print and electronic editions was estimated by CEPA to be around £3095 (c. $4,000), excluding non-cash peer review costs. An updated analysis by CEPA in 2018 shows that, in almost all cases, intangible costs such as editorial activities are much higher than tangible ones, such as production, sales and distribution, and are key drivers in per article costs (page 73).

The potential for technology and open access to effect cost savings has been much discussed, with open access publishers such as Hindawi and PeerJ having claimed per article costs in the low hundreds of dollars. A recent rise in PLOS’s per article costs, to $1,500 (inferred from its financial statements), and costs of over £3,000 ($4,000) per article at the selective OA journal eLife call into question the scope for OA to deliver radical cost savings. Nevertheless, with article volumes rising at 4% per annum, and journal revenues at only 2%, further downward pressure on per article costs is inevitable (page 74)….

 Gold open access is sometimes taken as synonymous with the article publication charge (APC) business model, but strictly speaking simply refers to journals offering immediate open access on publication. A substantial fraction of the Gold OA articles indexed by Scopus, however, do not involve APCs but use other models (e.g. institutional support or sponsorship). The APC model itself has become more complicated, with variable APCs (e.g. based on length), discounts, prepayments and institutional membership schemes, offsetting and bundling arrangements for hybrid publications, read-and-publish deals, and so on (page 97)….

It is unclear where the market will set OA publication charges: they are currently lower than the historical average cost of article publication; and charges for full open access articles remain lower than hybrid, though the gap is closing. Calls to redirect subscription expenditures to open access have increased, but the more research-intensive universities and countries remain concerned about the net impact on their budgets (page 101; 139). …

Recent developments indicate a growing willingness on the part of funders and policymakers to intervene in the STM marketplace, whether by establishing their own publication platforms, strengthening OA mandates or acting to change the incentive structures that drive authors’ publication choices (page 113). …

Concerns over the impact of Green OA and the role of repositories have receded somewhat, though not disappeared. The lack of its own independent sustainable business model means Green OA depends on its not undermining that of (subscription) journals. The evidence remains mixed, with indications that Green OA can increase downloads and citations being balanced against evidence of the long usage half-life of journal articles and its substantial variation between fields. In practice, however, attention in many quarters has shifted to the potentially damaging impact of Social Collaboration Networks (SCNs) and pirate websites on subscriptions (pages 114; 174). …” 

UNIFI demands Open Access and gives its full support to FinELib’s negotiation goals

”We can make science more efficient by making research based knowledge available to everybody”

Universities Finland UNIFI considers it to be important that Open Access principles will be implemented quickly and therefore gives its full support to the FinELib consortium’s goals in the negotiations with international science publishers.

Europe has a plan to force academic publishers to make research free to read

“The clumsily named cOAlition S (“OA” is for “open access.” The “S” for science, or solution) is a group of science funding agencies from 11 European countries. Altogether, these funders — which include UK Research and Innovation and the Research Council of Norway — spend $8.8 billion per year on grants to scientists for their research. That big financial footprint gives them some power to stipulate conditions for accepting the grant money.

Here’s what they want: By 2020, these funders will mandate that anyone who gets money from them must publish their results in a journal without a paywall. Private funders, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, already stipulate any papers that come from their grants must be open access. The cOAlition S is following their lead.

Currently, some journals make articles open access after a period of some months after publication. (Studies funded by the NIH, which spends about $30 billion on grants a year, are currently released to the public in this delayed manner.) But the cOAlition S won’t stand for this either. The studies, their declaration states, “cannot be monetized in any way.” …”

Open Access och Big Business Hur Open Access blev en del av de stora förlagen

English title: Open Access and Big Business: How Open Access Became a Part of Big Publishing

Article in Swedish with this English abstract: This study explores the Open Access phenomenon from the perspective of the commercial scientific publishing industry. Open Access has been appropriated by commercial publishers, once sceptical opponents of the concept, as a means among others of distributing scholarly publications. The aim of this study is to highlight a possible explanation as to how this has come about by looking at the internal and external communication of two of the main scholarly publishing industry organizations, the STM Association and the PSP division of the AAP. Via a thematic analysis of documents from these organizations, the dissertation aims to explore how the publishers’ communication regarding Open Access has changed over time. Furthermore, the study takes on how these questions are interlinked with notions of power and legitimacy within the system of scholarly communication. The analysis shows two main themes, one that represents a coercive course of restoring legitimacy, where publishers’ value-adding is stressed and at the same time warning of dangerous consequences of Open Access. The other theme represents a collaborative course of action that stresses the importance of building alliances and reaching consensus. Results show that there has been a slight change in how the publishing industry answers to public policies that enforce Open Access. One conclusion is that this is due to the changing nature of said policies. 

‘Publication favela’ or bibliodiversity? Open access publishing viewed from a European perspective – Mounier – 2018 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  A number of initiatives exist in European countries to support open scholarly communication in humanities and social sciences. This article looks at the work of Open Access in the European Research Area through Scholarly Communication (OPERAS), a consortium of 36 partners from all over Europe, including many university presses, that is working to build a future European infrastructure to address the challenges in open access publishing. Their initial study, OPERAS?D, revealed a variety of models among the partners influenced by national cultures. Although the partners’ activities were found to be fragmented, they also reflect the ‘bibliodiversity’ that exists in European societies. To address the challenge of fragmentation, it is argued that, by following a cooperative model, European actors can benefit by sharing expertise, resources, and costs of development for the good of all. As a future infrastructure to support open scholarly communication across Europe, OPERAS aims to coordinate a range of publishers and service providers to offer researchers and societies a fully functional web of services to cover the entire research lifecycle.