WLIC/IFLA2017: UBER for scholarly communications and libraries? It’s already here…

WLIC/IFLA2017: UBER for scholarly communications and libraries? It’s already here…

You all know of the digital revolution that is changing the world of service – Amazon, UBER, AirBnB, coupled to Facebook, Google, Siri, etc. The common feature is a large corporation (usually from Silicon valley) which builds a digital infrastructure that controls and feeds off service providers. UBER doesn’t own taxis, and takes no responsibility for their actions. AirBnB doesn’t own hotels, Amazon doesn’t have shopfronts. But they act as the central point for searches, and they design and control the infrastructure. Could it happen for scholcom / libraries? TL;DR it’s already happened.

You may love UBER, may accept it as part of change, or rebel against it.  If you want to save money or save time it’s probably great. If you don’t care whether the drivers are insured or maintain their vehicles, fine. If you don’t care about regulation, and think that a neoliberal market will determine best practices, I can’t convince you.

But if you are a conventional service provider (hotels, taxis) you probably resent the newcomers. If you are blind, or have reduced mobility,  and are used to service provision by taxis you’ll probably be sidelined. UBER and the rest provide what is most cost-effective for them, not what the community needs.

So could it happen in scholarly communications and academic libraries? Where the merit of works is determined by communities of practice? Where all the material is created by academics, and reviewed by academics? Isn’t the dissemination overseen by the Universities and their libraries? And isn’t there public oversight of the practices?

No.

It’s overseen and tightly controlled by commercial companies who have no public governance, can make the rules and who can break the rules and get away with it. While the non-profit organizations are nominally academic societal, in practice many are controlled by managers whose primary requirement is often to generate income as much as to spread knowledge. The worth of scientists is determined not by community acclaim or considered debate but by algorithms run by the mega-companies. Journals are, for the most part, created and managed by corporations. Society journals exist, and new journals are created, but many increasingly end up by being commercialised. What role does the Library have?

Very little.

It nominally carries out the purchase – but has little freedom in a market which is designed for the transfer of money, not knowledge. In the digital era, libraries should be massively innovating new types of knowledge, not simply acting as agents for commercial publishers.

So now Libraries have a chance to change. Where they can take part in the creation of new knowledge. To help researchers. To defend freedom.

It’s probably the last great opportunity for libraries:

Content-mining (aka Text and Data Mining, TDM).

This is a tailor-made opportunity for Libraries to show what they can contribute. TDM has been made legal and encouraged in the UK for 3 years. Yet no UK Library has made a significant investment, no UK Vice Chancellor has spoken positively of the possibilities, no researchers have been encouraged. [1]

And many have been discouraged – formally – including me.

Mining is as revolutionary as the printing press. Libraries should be welcoming it rather than neglecting or even obstructing it. If they don’t embrace it, then the science library will go the way of the corner shop, the family taxi, the pub. These are becoming flattened by US mega-corporations. Products are designed and disseminated by cash-fed algorithms.

The same is happening with libraries.

There is still time to act. Perhaps 6 months. Universities spend 20,000,000,000 USD per year (20 Billion) on scholarly publishing – almost all goes to mega-corporations. If they spent as little as 1% of that (== 200 Million USD) on changing the world it would be transformative. And if they did this by supporting Early Career Researchers (of all ages) it could change the world.

If you are interested, read the next blog post. Tomorrow.

[1] The University of Cambridge Office of Scholarly Communication ran the first UK University meeting on TDM last month.

 

ContentMine at IFLA2017: The future of Libraries and Scholarly Communications

ContentMine at IFLA2017: The future of Libraries and Scholarly Communications

 

I am delighted to have been invited to talk at IFLA (https://www.ifla.org/annual-conference), the global overarching body for Libraries of all sorts. I’m in a session 232 (see http://www.professionalabstracts.com/iflawlic2017/iplanner/#/grid ) with
Congress Programme, IASE Conference Room 24.08.2017, 10:45 – 12:45

Session 232 Being Open About Open – Academic & Research Libraries, FAIFE and Copyright and Other Legal Matters

 

What’s FAIFE? It’s https://www.ifla.org/faife

The overall objective of IFLA/FAIFE is to raise awareness of the essential correlation between the library concept and the values of intellectual freedom  …
Monitor the state of intellectual freedom within the library community
Respond to violations of free access to information and freedom of expression

I share these views. But freedom of access and freedom of expression is under threat in the digital world. Mega-corporations control content and services and are actively trying to claw more control, for example by controlling the right to post hyperlinks to scholarly articles – even open access – (“Link Tax”)

 

https://www.communia-association.org/2016/05/12/ancillary-copyright-publishers-right-link-tax-bad-idea-name/

And recently

https://openmedia.org/en/link-tax-slammed-major-spanish-newspaper-el-pais

 

I have spent 3-4 years on the edge of the political arena and I’ve seen how hard companies fight to remove our rights and to give them control.

 

And we need your help.

If you are a librarian, then you can only protect access to knowledge by actively fighting for it.

That means you. Not waiting for someone to create a product that you can buy

 

By actively creating the scholarly infrastructure of the future and embedding rights for everyone.

Now, for the first and possibly the last time we have an opportunities for libraries to make their own contribution to freedom.

 

I’ve set up the non-profit organization https://contentmine.org  which promotes three areas for fighting for freedom:

 

  • Community. The community deserves better from academia, and the community is willing to help, if given the chance. The biggest communal knowledge creation is in Wikimedia and we are working with them to make high-quality knowledge universally created and universally available.

 

 

We now have tools which can create the next generation of scholarly knowledge – for everyone.

 

But YOU can and must help.

 

IFLA has very generously given us workshop time for a demonstration and discussion of Text and Data Mining (TDM)

 

Imperial Hall 23.08.2017, 11:45 – 13:30

Session 199 Text and Data Mining (TDM) Workshop for Data Discovery and Analytics – Big Data Special Interest Group (SIG)

 

We’ll be giving simple hands-on web demonstrations of Mining , interspersed with the chance to discuss policy and investment in tools, practices and people. Especially young people. No future knowledge required.

This is (hopefully) the first of several blogs.

 

Quitting For-Profit Preprints | science of psych

“I’ve decided to quit academia.edu and researchgate and put all of my pre-prints/manuscripts on PsyArXiv. I deleted any manuscript copies that I had uploaded to academia.edu and RG and removed my accounts from them. I’m writing you because you posted a copy of our collaborative work on researchgate. It is of course your prerogative as to how you share our work, but I thought I might ask you to consider taking that copy of our paper down. I’m trying to streamline access points for our work and also to redirect traffic away from these commercial sites. PsyArXiv is indexed by Google scholar, so the work remains freely accessible in a space backed by a non-profit entity (the Open Science Framework). Another benefit of OSF is that it is backed by a large preservation grant, so that the works on PsyArXiv will be supported in perpetuity even if OSF grows or changes.”

NAFTA Negotiations: Authors Alliance Joins Public Interest Groups in Support of Transparency and Balanced Copyright Policy | Authors Alliance

“Today, Authors Alliance joins with other public interest advocates such as Creative Commons, SPARC, Internet Archive, OpenMedia, and Public Knowledge to sign on to a statement in support of transparency and balanced copyright policy in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The statement was sent to the trade ministries of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, urging all three countries to make trade negotiation processes more transparent, inclusive, and accountable.

Closed-door trade agreements are not the right forum to create intellectual property policy, particularly when negotiations lack transparency. It is critically important that drafts of international agreements that address intellectual property issues be publicly available for comment so that authors and other stakeholders can weigh in on the proposed rules that will bind all member states. Moreover, such agreements are not flexible enough to account for rapid changes in technology.”

BEAT: An Open-Science Web Platform

“With the increased interest in computational sciences, machine learning (ML), pattern recognition (PR) and big data, governmental agencies, academia and manufacturers are overwhelmed by the constant influx of new algorithms and techniques promising improved performance, generalization and robustness. Sadly, result reproducibility is often an overlooked feature accompanying original research publications, competitions and benchmark evaluations. The main reasons behind such a gap arise from natural complications in research and development in this area: the distribution of data may be a sensitive issue; software frameworks are difficult to install and maintain; Test protocols may involve a potentially large set of intricate steps which are difficult to handle. To bridge this gap, we built an open platform for research in computational sciences related to pattern recognition and machine learning, to help on the development, reproducibility and certification of results obtained in the field. By making use of such a system, academic, governmental or industrial organizations enable users to easily and socially develop processing toolchains, re-use data, algorithms, workflows and compare results from distinct algorithms and/or parameterizations with minimal effort. This article presents such a platform and discusses some of its key features, uses and limitations. We overview a currently operational prototype and provide design insights.”

The open science movement: Revolution is underway | PhySoc Blogs

“The world’s first academic science journal, Philosophical Transactions, was published by the Royal Society in 1665. At last count there were some 11,365 science journals spanning over 234 disciplines by 2015, and yet the primary model of scientific publishing remained largely unchanged throughout the centuries.

As a fresh-faced, naïve PhD student, I recall the horror I felt upon learning that my hard work would be at the mercy of a veiled, political peer-review process, that I’d be left with little option but to sign away my rights to publishers, and too often forced to choose between burning a hole in my wallet or forgoing access to a potentially critical paper!”

Academia.edu | Academia’s Partnership with Britann…

“Academia has teamed up with Encyclopedia Britannica to offer access to all of Britannica’s content to Academia Premium users.

 Academia is also inviting its members to contribute as authors on Britannica’s Publisher Partner Program. We’ve joined dozens of institutions including UC Berkeley, Northwestern University, the University of Melbourne and others in support of the initiative, which aims to expand Britannica’s free, open access content.”

Sowing the Seeds of Journal Success: Cultivating Relationships with Journal Editors and Staff

Since 2007, the University of Kansas Libraries has provided support to the KU community for the management and distribution of online scholarly journals and other publications, and currents hosts over 20 scholarly journals. While much of the literature about library publishing focuses on issues such as technical infrastructure, policies and processes, skills and training, or economic models–all important areas to address, to be sure–this presentation will focus on a less documented aspect of library-based publishing: building and maintaining relationships with journal editors and staff. This is often time consuming and hidden labor, but has been key to the ongoing viability of our program. Through regular and ongoing engagement with our journal partners we can keep abreast of their evolving needs, catch potential issues before they blossom into problems, and create goodwill and trust that we can tap into down the road when advocating to administrators about the value of the publishing program. We will share and discuss the various outreach and engagement efforts (successful and unsuccessful) that we have pursued, including regular meetings of our “Editors Forum”, an email listserv for journal editors and staff, regular check-ins regarding journal operations, and coordinated efforts with related library initiatives such as open access and digital humanities. We will advocate for an intentional, multi-faceted approach to building relationships with journal editors as a key aspect of a sustainable publishing program.