Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the ‘open’ label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not only to be open but non-profit too. The profit motive is fundamentally misaligned with core values of academic life, potentially corroding ideals like unfettered inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and cooperative progress. There are obstacles to forging a non-profit alternative, from sustainable funding to entrenched cynicism, but such a goal is worthy and within reach.”

Open access: Half the time Unpaywall users search for academic journal articles that are legally free to access — Quartz

“Now a new study has found that nearly half of all academic articles that users want to read are already freely available. These studies may or may not have been published in an open-access journal, but there is a legally free version available for a reader to download.

To arrive at this conclusion, researcher Heather Piwowar and her colleagues used data from a web-browser extension they had developed called Unpaywall. When users of the extension land on an academic article, it trawls the web to find if there are free versions to download from places such as pre-print services or those uploaded on university websites.

In an analysis of 100,000 papers queried by Unpaywall, Piwowar and her colleagues found that as many as 47% searched for studies that had a free-to-read version available. The study is yet to be peer-reviewed, but Ludo Waltman of Leiden University told Nature that it is ‘careful and extensive.'”

Learning to be open: Open Access as a deliberate academic practice – Futures

“I believe open access is the way to do right by one’s research and maintain the integrity of the work, as much as we’re doing right by society at large through our research. We need to also empower early-career academics to know exactly what control they have over their own work, and what can be done with it, and in making a principled decision about access to their research. These decisions need to be considered at the beginning of the research process already and not just at the end. Just as with any new mode of practice, open access has a learning curve that requires deliberate and purposeful practice, but pays off very quickly in terms of citations, research impact, and social impact. So the next time you have a paper waiting to be written, look up the open access options in your discipline. In the meanwhile, make sure to find the preprint copies of all your published papers and deposit them in your institutional repository.”

After Science Journal Publishing is Over…

“As we move remorselessly into a world where no individual or team can hope either to read or keep track of the published research in any defined field without machine learning or AI support, primary publishing becomes less important than getting into the dataflow and thus into the workflow of scholarship .  It still helps to be published in Nature or Cell , but that could take place after visibility on figshare or F1000. Get the metadata right , ensure the visibility and reputation management can commence . So the first question about the post journal world is ‘ Who keeps score and how is worth measured ?’  And then we come to the next question . If the article is simply a waystage data report , and all the other materials of scholarly communication ( blogs , presentations etc) can be tracked , and the data from an experimental sequence can be as important for reproducibility as the article , and reports of  successfully repeated experiments are as important in some instances as innovation, then the scheme of Notification and communication and cross-referencing must be open , community-owned and universally available , so how does it get established ?”

Missing the Target: The UK Scholarly Communications License – The Scholarly Kitchen

“There are any number of issues to be addressed in the premises of the UK Scholarly Communications License, among them the longstanding and keen interest of higher education in acquiring intellectual property rights to the work of their researchers. But we want to focus here on some of the implications for our discipline, history, as illustrative. History research is published in journals, but it is very much a book discipline. The publishing systems for each are themselves distinctive. History journals are mostly published by non-profit organizations, often university presses, and require intensive editorial work. Because the formulation of text in argument is the primary research output, derivative use is not as applicable or desirable as it might be for other fields. That is, we produce essays with interpretive arguments, not data or experimental findings. Additionally, institutional publication of scholarly articles raises all kinds of issues related to intellectual property and third-party rights. Scholars across the arts and humanities regularly cite or use in their articles third-party sources (including privately and institutionally owned manuscripts and printed works, poetry, literature music, art etc.). It is extremely unlikely that the rights holders of such materials will abandon their third-party rights and allow libraries to publish their materials. The result will be an administrative burden for libraries and academics, and create potential legal problems too. Historical organizations have devised a variety of ways to increase the reach of these outputs. And for these reasons and more, historians have strongly advocated for flexible approaches to Open Access. Many convenings have resulted in the development of Green OA to recognize the diversity of needs and practices of disciplines and fields, primarily but not only in HSS.”

Impact of Social Sciences – Formalised data citation practices would encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse

“It is increasingly common for researchers to make their data freely available. This is often a requirement of funding agencies but also consistent with the principles of open science, according to which all research data should be shared and made available for reuse. Once data is reused, the researchers who have provided access to it should be acknowledged for their contributions, much as authors are recognised for their publications through citation. Hyoungjoo Park and Dietmar Wolfram have studied characteristics of data sharing, reuse, and citation and found that current data citation practices do not yet benefit data sharers, with little or no consistency in their format. More formalised citation practices might encourage more authors to make their data available for reuse.”

No, Institutional Licensing is Not the Solution to Textbook Prices | The Digital Reader

“Textbook prices have been rising faster than healthcare for decades. this has inspired the growth in use of open educational resources and even degree programs that don’t require paid textbooks.

Arthur Attwell, on the other hand, has a different solution. He wants schools to license textbooks just like they currently license access to academic journals.”

The strange world of academic publishing | Ecology Ng?tahi

“A couple of days ago I tried to explain to my parents (non-scientists, obviously) how publishing a paper works and why it is so important for us scientists. No problem to wrap your head around the publish or perish principle. Naturally they wanted to know where they could read these papers and that’s where the story became a little bit more complicated and confusing for an outsider. It just doesn’t make sense to them that scientists give their work to publishers for free and that reviewers and editors, who also put in considerable work hours don’t see a penny either. The publishing companies on the other hand earn huge amounts of money by selling single articles to individuals and more importantly journal subscriptions to numerous university and research libraries worldwide. The big publishing houses basically make their profits from selling free work from scientists back to them through the university libraries with profit margins of up to 40%. Sounds a bit insane, right?”

Dear Martin… « Walt at Random

“Maybe I’m misreading Eve’s article; maybe he’s not actually suggesting that there hadn’t been much OA activity in the humanities. Because there has, starting from the very beginning (quite a few of the earliest OA journals were in the humanities, including PACS-L Review, Postmodern Culture, EJournal and New Horizons in Adult Education. I guess it bothers me to see all the work that’s been done to date somewhat minimized–and, again, I may be unfair in reading Eve that way. I’d much rather see a celebration of the enormous amount of work that’s been done in OA by humanities people (certainly including librarians) along with a call to do more and a recounting of innovations. But that’s just me, someone who’s been nattering on about ‘free electronic journals’ for at least 20+ years now.”

Guest Editorial: Open Access: Principles, Practice, and Potential – ACS Omega (ACS Publications)

“As working scientists, many of us become imbued (by processes of which few are conscious) with the principles articulated by Robert Merton that hold science to be a collective and cumulative activity in which the core responsibility is to communicate knowledge—even if it is distorted by career incentives that focus less on the substance of our accomplishments than where they are published. The duty of communication is primarily to other scholars, but from the formation of the very first learned societies the scientific community has a sense of its public obligations.

That sense of duty has been sharpened by the arrival of open access and extended by governments seeking better returns on public investment in research. The Finch report’s statement in 2012 that “The principle that the results of research that has been publicly funded should be freely accessible in the public domain is a compelling one, and fundamentally unanswerable” captured the zeitgeist and was accepted without demur by the UK government.(4) Similar proclamations have been made by administrations in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.

Of course, words are cheaper than actions, and open access has yet to deliver fully on the promise of providing faster, fairer, and cheaper access to research information. In part this is due to historical baggage. The entanglement of the principles of scholarly communication with increased commercializm in publishing and with rising managerialism in university governance has intensified our preoccupation with journal-based measures of prestige. That has retarded the dissemination of knowledge as authors chase impact factors and locked in the market advantages of the largest publishers.(2)”