“Often, “big idea” academic projects create high expectations for major change, generate enthusiasm and funding, and yet ultimately fail to deliver on their promised benefits. I recently stumbled on a case where that didn’t happen: the JSTOR Labs and Columbia University Libraries collaboration on the Reimagining the Monograph (RTM) project, which led to the relatively rapid creation of the TopicGraph prototype tool. As figure 1 shows, TopicGraph’s interface has monograph topics arranged in order of importance on the left (for quick scrolling), with key phrases and words highlighted in the text on the right. The interface, even in beta form, simply looks obvious. It looks almost ridiculously obvious — like iPhone-swipe-gesture obvious or peanut-butter-and-chocolate obvious — raising the question: Why hasn’t this been done before?…
The goal was to do more and get more value from the existing monographic infrastructure. Through this focus, the team landed on a particular research question or, in the parlance of design thinking, a testable hypothesis: In the transition to digital, what print-specific benefits might have been lost for readers of scholarly monographs? The team also pondered a companion question: What digital affordances might not yet have been tapped to enhance the use of digital monographs? …”
“We [Bristol Universityh Press] offer a range of flexible open access options for both journals and book publishing which continue to evolve, and we are always interested in working with our authors to explore new ideas.
Abstract: This article provides an overview of open access publishing and its emergence in the arts. Open access scholarship, which is online, free for users to access, and free of most licensing restrictions, has enjoyed numerous successes in the sciences and is gaining widespread attention in the humanities and social sciences. Its presence in the arts, however, has been marginal. The author examines the various reasons for the problematic reception of open access publishing in image-rich disciplines like art history, highlights notable open access projects, and explores their potential impact on art librarianship.
“This document is a report prepared for the JSTOR Presses project “Exploring Usage of Open Access Books via the JSTOR Platform”. JSTOR’s Open Access Books platform launched in October 2016. The first four publishers to submit content to the platform were UCL Press, University of Michigan Press, Cornell University Press and California University Press. Usage of the OA books made available via JSTOR by these publishers has been far in excess of the usage that each publisher has previously recorded via other distribution channels. This report is the outcome of research commissioned and funded by the four presses. It engages with usage data made available by JSTOR relating to OA books in order to assist publishers in understanding how their OA content is being used; inform strategic decision making by individual presses in the future; and shed light on the potential for data relating to the uses of OA books to support the potential of open access books to reach wide audiences. Additional key aims of the research are to help inform JSTOR in the development of the JSTOR OA Books platform; and to inform the development of JSTOR usage reporting. Ensuring that JSTOR usage reporting reflects the needs of OA publishers is also an important goal of the project. All four publishers have contributed to a discussion of the role and practicalities of usage reporting services provided by JSTOR. The project focuses primarily on data collected by JSTOR and made available to the research team for the purposes of this study. The data considered in the report relates to the period between 12 August 2015 and 7 August 2017. This data has been augmented by a short questionnaire and interviews, carried out by phone with some of the publishers. It is important to note that books considered in this report became available via the JSTOR platform at different times. Some of the books included in the data set are also available in both OA and gated formats via the JSTOR platform.”
“Digital scholarly book files should be open and flexible. This is as much a design question as it is a business question for publishers and libraries. The working group returned several times to the importance of scholarly book files being available in nonproprietary formats that allow for a variety of uses and re-uses…. Another pointed out that the backlist corpus of scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences is an invaluable resource for text-mining, but the ability to carry out that research at scale means that the underlying text of the books has to be easy to extract. “It’s so important to be able to ‘scrape’ the text,” one participant said, using a common term for gathering machine-readable characters from a human-readable artifact (for example, a scanned page image)….Whether a wider group of publishers and technology vendors will feel that they can enable these more expansive uses of a book file without upending the sustainability of the scholarly publishing system is a larger question than this project sought to answer….Our working group also pointed to other challenges for the future of the monograph that have little to do with its visual representation in a user interface: for example, what might be a viable long-term business model for monographs, and whether a greater share of the publishing of monographs in a free-to-read, open-access model can be made sustainable….As interest continues to grow in extending the open-access publishing model from journals to scholarly books, publishers and librarians are working to understand better the upfront costs that must be covered in order to operate a self-sustaining open-access monograph publishing program—costs that have been complicated to pin down because the production of any given scholarly book depends on partial allocations of staff time from many different staff members at a press, and different presses have different cost bases, as well….”
“Yesterday, in response to this week’s indictment of a 24-year-old Harvard researcher and Internet activist [Aaron Swartz] for allegedly hacking into MIT’s network and collecting nearly five million scholarly articles, a second hacker released more than 18,592 (32 gigabytes) of subscription-only research obtained from the same service. The second man identified himself as Greg Maxwell, a 31-year-old “technologist, recreational mathematician, and scientific hobbyist” from northern Virginia….Maxwell says he released the papers for similar reasons. He says the papers come from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and were published before 1923, which means they’re in the public domain (his claim has not been independently verified). “This knowledge belongs to the public,” he argues. For the sake of scientific progress, Maxwell says, such databases shouldn’t keep research under lock and key at all, let alone beyond their copyright expiration, as is the current practice. “Progress comes from making connections between others’ discoveries, from extending them, and then from telling people,” he says….”
“The archive [of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society] was digitized in 1999 by JSTOR, the US-based archive for academic journals, for a sum in the ‘high five figures in US dollars’. Royal Society commercial director Stuart Taylor says they have been thinking about making part of the archive free for some time. As digitization of print works gets easier and cheaper, “we do not feel it is justifiable to continue charging for access [to out-of-copyright material]”, Taylor said. The Royal Society’s pay-per-view income for the entire archive (including papers after 1941) amounts to less than 0.5% of their total publishing revenues.
In July, programmer Greg Maxwell uploaded nearly 19,000 articles from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, all of them published before 1923, onto the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay (in stated support for computer coder Aaron Swartz, who is still facing a federal indictment for downloading over 4 million articles from JSTOR). The Royal Society’s release today means that the articles Maxwell uploaded are all now free to view. Maxwell’s action did not affect the Society’s decision, says Taylor….”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors.”