“It’s hard to explain why this is taking so long” – scilog

When it comes into force at the beginning of 2021, the Open Access initiative “Plan S” is poised to help opening up and improving academic publishing. Ulrich Pöschl, a chemist and Open Access advocate of the first hour, explains why free access to research results is important and how an up-to-date academic publishing system can work.

Wiley Announces the Acquisition of Hindawi

“John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JWA) (NYSE:JWB) today announced the acquisition of Hindawi Limited, an innovator in open access (OA) publishing and one of the world’s fastest growing scientific research publishers, for a total purchase price of $298 million. The acquisition of Hindawi significantly increases Wiley’s position as a global leader in research by adding quality, scale and growth to the company’s open access publishing program.

Open access is a rapidly growing scholarly publishing model that allows peer-reviewed articles to be read and shared immediately, making important research broadly available. As a leader in open access publishing, Hindawi has played a critical role in advancing gold open access, an OA model in which validated articles are made immediately available for reading and re-use following the payment of a publication fee.

Hindawi, privately held and headquartered in London, has a robust portfolio of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific, technical, and medical journals, a highly efficient publishing platform, and a low-cost infrastructure. Wiley’s acquisition of Hindawi unlocks significant and profitable new growth by tapping deeper into the fast-growing OA market and by delivering innovative publishing services to researchers, societies, and institutions around the world. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020, Hindawi is projected to generate approximately $40 million in revenue with year over year growth of 50%….”

Auf einmal Laborratte – F.A.Z.

From Google’s English:  “What sounds like a success story has a dark backside, which was already visible last year when American librarians discovered that the leading scientific publishers, especially in the scientific, technical and medical fields, had equipped their online platforms with all the monitoring technologies for which are otherwise mainly the big Internet companies like Facebook and Google in the criticism. For example, if you take a closer look at the website of the renowned magazine “Nature”, you will come across dozens of corresponding tools: individual trackers that follow the page visitor, audience tools that combine data from many sources into profiles, finger printers that also identify users who want to prevent this through your browser settings….

The big science publishers have been turning away from the publishing industry for some time and towards the data analytics business. Similar to the Internet corporations, they use the big profits in their area to buy the market empty of alternatives and to incorporate more and more areas of the research cycle in the same way as they have already done with publications. A milestone in this was the contract that Elsevier-Verlag was able to secure in the Netherlands: all scientists should be able to publish Open Access without additional costs in the publication area if the universities in return license the publisher’s research information systems….

The embarrassment of the other publishers, the uncertainties in the libraries and the lack of foresight in the universities block solutions here. The thing is clear for a society that still wants to call itself an open society. The oligopoly of science publishers must be regulated just like that of other oligopolies. The upcoming Basic Platform Law offers a possibility for regulation at the European level. And at the national level, science organizations are called upon to stop the sell-off of science. Many good suggestions have long been on the table. It’s time to act.”

Amazon under pressure to lift ban on e-book library sales | TheHill

“Amazon’s refusal to sell e-books published in-house to libraries is sparking backlash as demand for digital content spikes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Librarians and advocacy groups are pushing for the tech giant to license its published e-books to libraries for distribution, arguing the company’s self-imposed ban significantly decreases public access to information.

“You shouldn’t have to have a credit card in order to be an informed citizen,” Michael Blackwell, director of St. Mary’s County Library in Maryland, told The Hill. “It’s vital that books continue to be a source of information and that those books should be democratically discovered through libraries.”

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A petition launched last week by Fight for the Future, a tech advocacy group, calls for Congress to pursue an antitrust investigation and legislative action against Amazon for its ban on selling e-books to libraries. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had nearly 13,000 signatures….

Amazon has indicated it is in discussions to allow its e-books to be licensed by libraries, but so far the public institutions are unable to access Amazon’s digital titles.

Issues surrounding library e-books go beyond Amazon. Traditional publishers have become increasingly restrictive regarding e-books, Blackwell said, but they at least offer options for libraries to license and distribute those books.

The crux of the issue is how e-books are sold. Whereas libraries can lend out physical copies of purchased books for as long as they hold up, libraries must adhere to licensing agreements that constrain how long they can keep e-books in circulation.

The top publishing firms typically have two-year licensing contacts for library e-books, with options to extend for another two years, said Alan S. Inouye, senior director of public policy and government relations at the American Library Association.

But unlike their traditional publishing peers, Amazon does not allow libraries to purchase the e-books it publishes, leaving no option for libraries to access what Amazon says is “over 1 million digital titles” that consumers “won’t find anywhere else.”…”

Open access: “Information wants to be free”?

“Below is a list of the main points I make in this document

– Internet mantras like information wants to be free misled OA advocates about what is possible in an online world. Amongst other things, these mantras led to the mistaken belief that publishing would be very much cheaper on the internet.

– BOAI was intended to achieve three things: to resolve the longstanding problems of affordability, accessibility, and equity that have long dogged scholarly communication.

– It now seems unlikely that the affordability and equity problems will be resolved, which will impact disproportionately negatively on those in the Global South. And if the geopolitical situation worsens, solving the accessibility problem may also prove difficult.

– OA advocates overestimated the wider research community’s likely interest in open access. This led them to lobby governments and funders to insist that they force open access on their peers. This was a mistake as it opened the door to OA being captured by neoliberalism.

– The goals of the OA movement are out of sync with the current economic and political environment. This is not good news for scholarly communication, for library budgets or for OA.

– Populism and nationalism pose a significant threat to open access. – The pandemic looks set to wreak havoc on budgets. This is likely to be bad news for OA.

– Rather than being a democratic force for good, the internet created power laws and network effects that saw neoliberalism morph into neofeudalism and paved the way for the surveillance capitalism and data extractivism that the web giants have pioneered. These negative phenomena look likely to become a feature of scholarly communication too.

– Today we see a mix of incompatible strategies being pursued by libraries, funders, and OA advocates – including unbundling, transformative agreements and the adoption of publishing platforms, as well as experiments with scholar-led and “collective action” initiatives. There appears to be no coherent overarching strategy. This could have perverse effects, which has in fact been an abiding feature of OA initiatives.

– OA advocates have unrealistic expectations about diamond open access and the possibility of the research community “taking back ownership” of scholarly communication.

– While publicly funded OA infrastructures would be highly desirable there currently seems to be little likelihood that governments will be willing to fund them, certainly at the necessary scale and with sufficient commitment.

– OA advocates have probably overplayed their claim that publishers are engaged in price gouging. Nevertheless, the industry consolidation we have seen has led to a publishing oligopoly that now dominates scientific publishing in a troubling way. And as these companies develop ever larger and more sophisticated platforms and portals, we can expect to see more worrying implications than high costs emerge. Unfortunately, governments and competition authorities currently seem either not to understand the dangers or are unwilling to act….”

Connecting the Knowledge Commons — From Projects to Sustainable Infrastructure – Vertical Integration in Academic Publishing – OpenEdition Press

Abstract:  This paper attempts to illustrate the implications of a simultaneous redirection of the big publishers’ business strategy towards open access business models and the acquisition of scholarly infrastructure utilizing the conceptual framework of rent-seeking theory. To document such a transformation, we utilized financial databases to analyze the mergers and acquisitions of the top publicly traded academic publishers. We then performed a service analysis to situate the acquisitions of publishers within the knowledge and education life-cycles, illustrating what we term to be their vertical integration within their respective expansion target life-cycles. The vertical integration is analyzed via a rent theory framework and described to be a form of rent-seeking complementary to the redirection of business strategies to open access. Finally, the vertical integration is noted to generate exclusionary effects upon researchers/institutions in the global south.

 

How to achieve short-term green open access and long-term radical reform of scholarly communication. The BitViews Project as a test case – Archive ouverte HAL

Abstract : The Open Access movement has reached adulthood, but not maturity: fewer than one-third of newly-published peer-reviewed articles are available open access (OA) and progress widening OA has stalled. Scores of uncoordinated initiatives try to achieve universal OA, but academic journal publishing is still dominated by a handful of powerful commercial publishers. Individual authors show little interest in OA and indeed have to be mandated (see the UK REF or Plan S) to release their research on OA. The BitViews Project is a low-cost, no-risk, high-return initiative to turn all academic journals «green» through a combination of blockchain technology, provision of appropriate incentives to authors, and a new crowdfunding mechanism. The project is predicated on the active participation of individual libraries taking direct action. The paper will provide an interim report on the progress of the project and an account of how libraries and their various associations (both in the global South and in the global North) have reacted to the project. The concluding section of the paper sketches a possible direction for academic journal publishing in the near future. Huge savings and increased efficiency can flow to the academy from finally dissolving its current one-sided contract with publishers and from reclaiming control of the peer-review process. Practical and incentive-based suggestions are proposed for the transition from publisher-owned to academy-owned peer review.

 

How to achieve short-term green open access and long-term radical reform of scholarly communication. The BitViews Project as a test case – Archive ouverte HAL

Abstract : The Open Access movement has reached adulthood, but not maturity: fewer than one-third of newly-published peer-reviewed articles are available open access (OA) and progress widening OA has stalled. Scores of uncoordinated initiatives try to achieve universal OA, but academic journal publishing is still dominated by a handful of powerful commercial publishers. Individual authors show little interest in OA and indeed have to be mandated (see the UK REF or Plan S) to release their research on OA. The BitViews Project is a low-cost, no-risk, high-return initiative to turn all academic journals «green» through a combination of blockchain technology, provision of appropriate incentives to authors, and a new crowdfunding mechanism. The project is predicated on the active participation of individual libraries taking direct action. The paper will provide an interim report on the progress of the project and an account of how libraries and their various associations (both in the global South and in the global North) have reacted to the project. The concluding section of the paper sketches a possible direction for academic journal publishing in the near future. Huge savings and increased efficiency can flow to the academy from finally dissolving its current one-sided contract with publishers and from reclaiming control of the peer-review process. Practical and incentive-based suggestions are proposed for the transition from publisher-owned to academy-owned peer review.

 

Publishing, P&T, and Equity, an Open Access Week Miniseries, Part 3: How Librarians Became Experts on Publishing and Equity

Happy Open Access Week! This is the final installment in our 3-part mini-series of blog posts on Publishing, P&T, and Equity. The overarching issue: how to reform our research evaluation processes to eliminate bias and promote structural equity. On Monday I argued for ending P&T standards that reward journal ‘prestige.’ On Wednesday I wrote about why institutions who want to build structural equity should reward open publishing practices in their research evaluation processes. Today I will conclude with a little meta-piece on the Library’s place in all this.

Publishing, P&T, and Equity, an Open Access Week Miniseries, Part 3: How Librarians Became Experts on Publishing and Equity

Happy Open Access Week! This is the final installment in our 3-part mini-series of blog posts on Publishing, P&T, and Equity. The overarching issue: how to reform our research evaluation processes to eliminate bias and promote structural equity. On Monday I argued for ending P&T standards that reward journal ‘prestige.’ On Wednesday I wrote about why institutions who want to build structural equity should reward open publishing practices in their research evaluation processes. Today I will conclude with a little meta-piece on the Library’s place in all this.