Evaluation of the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning Open Educational Resources

Abstract:  Open Educational Resources (OER) “are learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others” (UNESCO). In November 2019, UNESCO adopted a resolution on OER that had five objectives:

1. Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER;

2. Developing supportive policy;

3. Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER;

4. Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; and

5. Facilitating international cooperation.

Overall this policy represents well the state of the art in OER and would serve to further the aims and objectives of open online education. Having said that, the document suffers from numerous cases of ambiguous terminology, some of it in places where serious misunderstandings could arise. The purpose of this article is to review this resolution, highlighting areas of ambiguity or where further discussion is needed in the OER community.

NISO Voting Members Approve Work to Update Journal Article Versions (JAV)

“The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced today that their Voting Members have approved a new work item to update the 2008 Recommended Practice, NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group. A NISO Working Group is being set up, and work is expected to begin in early 2021. 

Publication practices have changed rapidly since the publication of the original recommendations. For example, preprints have become much more important as a publication type in many disciplines, and publishers are increasingly experimenting with new ways to publish, update, and keep research alive. All of these versions of an article are important and citable, making the concept of a single ‘version of record’ less relevant. These additional processes to support public availability make the consistent assignment of DOIs to one or more versions challenging. 

The NISO JAV working group will define a set of terms for each of the different versions of content that are published, as well as a recommendation for whether separate DOIs should be assigned to them. They will address questions such as: Should there be a single DOI for an article, regardless of version? Different DOIs for each version? How are the identifiers connected and used? How do we define a version? As with all NISO output, the group’s draft recommendations will be shared for public comment before publication….”

Standards Committee Votes – 11/8/2020 – Association for Information Science and Technology | ASIS&T

“1) Voted YES on Approval of Proposed New Work Item: Update NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV)



Do you approve of a Proposed New Work Item: Update NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV)?


This ballot is to approve a proposed new work item to Update NISO RP-8-2008, Journal Article Versions (JAV) [https://www.niso.org/publications/niso-rp-8-2008-jav] to take into account publication practices that have been adopted over the past 12 years, especially the increasing circulation of preprints and the application of DOIs across the landscape….”

How is open access accused of being predatory? The impact of Beall’s lists of predatory journals on academic publishing – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  The aim of this paper is to investigate how predatory journals are characterized by authors who write about such journals. We emphasize the ways in which predatory journals have been conflated with—or distinguished from—open access journals. We created a list of relevant publications on predatory publishing using four databases: Web of Science, Scopus, Dimensions, and Microsoft Academic. We included 280 English-language publications in the review according to their contributions to the discussions on predatory publishing. Then, we coded and qualitatively analyzed these publications. The findings show the profound influence of Jeffrey Beall, who composed and maintained himself lists of predatory publishers and journals, on the whole discussion on predatory publishing. The major themes by which Beall has characterized predatory journals are widely present in non-Beall publications. Moreover, 122 papers we reviewed combined predatory publishing with open access using similar strategies as Beall. The overgeneralization of the flaws of some open access journals to the entire open access movement has led to unjustified prejudices among the academic community toward open access. This is the first large-scale study that systematically examines how predatory publishing is defined in the literature.


Systematize information on journal policies and practices – A call to action – Leiden Madtrics

In most research fields, journals play a dominant role in the scholarly communication system. However, the availability of systematic information on the policies and practices of journals, for instance with respect to peer review and open access publishing, is surprisingly limited and scattered. Of course we have the journal impact factor, as well as a range of other citation-based journal metrics (e.g., CiteScore, SNIP, SJR, and Eigenfactor), but these metrics provide information only on one very specific aspect of a journal. As is widely recognized, there is a strong need for a wider range of information on journals (see for instance here and here). Such information is for instance needed to facilitate responsible evaluation practices, to promote open access publishing, and to improve journal peer review.

The Library Commons: An Imagination and an Invocation – Jennie Rose Halperin on Vimeo

“Commons can take many forms, like gardens and cooperatives, but also neighborhood associations, consensus based community organizations, and more. In libraries, they may take the form of community cataloging projects, civic engagement projects in conversation with artists, community archives, or open and direct dialogue on topics that concern the community. Commons can be ephemeral or permanent, a long term project or a moment of transcendence.

As professionals concerned with the free and open dissemination of knowledge, librarians could represent the commons in their communities, but more often than not fall into the neoliberal paradigm of the managerial business class and free-market values. This talk will introduce librarians to modern commons theory and present alternatives, from Undercommons to worker power to decolonization, and outline alternative paths of resistance for knowledge workers striving to envision the world as it could be, not as it is.”

Dutch open science deal primarily benefits Elsevier – ScienceGuide

“In summary, the deal boils down to Elsevier offering Dutch (corresponding) authors open access publishing options in nearly all of its scientific journals. However, a number of journals from the Cell and Lancet families have been excluded from the deal, for now. Additionally, both sides agreed to work towards the creation of infrastructure for research data and information, and to enter into ‘open science’ projects. All of this comes at a price of € 16.4 million per year.

Going by headlines in the national newspapers, one would get the impression that the Dutch are making a giant step forward on the path to open access and open science. But is this really the case? ScienceGuide asked experts and (co)negotiators and scrutinized the fine print of the contract. As it turns out, parties have agreed on very specific definitions of open access and open science, with vague articles in the agreement to underpin them. Agreements that are at odds with earlier statements on open science and on rewards and recognition….

However, due to the ‘unique’ nature of the contract, no true comparison can be made with other agreements. Not only because various Elsevier tools and platforms are also included in the contract, but especially because of the arrangements around what has become known as ‘Professional Services’. The market value of the ‘open science’ component is, after all, unknown….”