Publishing infrastructure: the good, the bad, and the expensive

“Shared open infrastructure would transform research communication to make it faster, more open, and more complete. But the publishing industry continues to rely on closed, proprietary legacy platforms that put their data and business at risk. This is resulting in a lack of innovation at a time when we need research to speed up and be more accessible. Investment in open and shared infrastructure would radically improve scientific and scholarly communication….”

The good, the bad, and the expensive : Collaborative Knowledge Foundation

In her Crossref LIVE18 Keynote speech this week, Coko’s Kristen Ratan questioned the sense of the industry’s continuing resignation to being locked in to costly, print-based, outdated workflows and technologies (some of which are now owned by competitor publishers)….

Coko’s solution is a community-owned approach to infrastructure – sharing the development of the baseline infrastructure of our systems through open source technology, and innovating on the surface layer….

Kristen proposed: “We need to rethink our approach to infrastructure.  Right now you share only 10% of your infrastructure with services like Crossref and ORCID. Let’s have 90% of our infrastructure shared and 10% that is custom to your organization. That’s all you need in order to differentiate. With most of the infrastructure that is under the hood being shared and open, you can operate much more efficiently and reinvest those savings in innovation.”  

This approach has been transformative in other industries. Kristen referenced the shared infrastructure in industries such as banking and telecom.  Companies who compete head to head at the level of their branding and services are collaborating to achieve shared infrastructure solutions for the sake of their own and their customers’ efficiency. There are examples in open source as well, with OpenStack having almost the same market penetration as the closed source Amazon Web Services for cloud infrastructure….”

Publisciences – Sciences publishing by Researchers

“Scientific publication is an essential tool for the dis- semination and transfer of knowledge. Free access to publications and “bibliodiversity” are fundamen- tal both to researchers, who wish to broadcast their work and thus secure funding for it, and for the sci- entific community, which is fuelled by the progress of each of its members. Researchers ensure that scien- tific discoveries can be replicated. Today, publishers, via their editorial choices, influence the direction of research, whereas this should be the prerogative of researchers. As evidenced in the “Appel de Jussieu”(1), research- ers are in favour of an Open Access model, yet the community is faced with one pressing problem: “Who will foot the bill?”. Within the current Open Access model, publishing is expensive for authors/ researchers (from €1000 to €5000 for one article), despite low added value provided by publishers in terms of editing, but also reviewing. Peer review and validation are performed by other researchers for free. There is a real need to create a more af- fordable, more diverse, and fairer Open Access solu- tion. Researchers’ work, especially as authors and reviewers, is financed by public funds with no com- pensation provided by private publishers. An innovative cooperative We propose a scientific publication platform led by the research community itself. For the collective in- terest to prevail, we want to set up the first coop- erative platform dedicated to scientific publication. In France there is a type of business entity that suits this purpose perfectly: the SCIC. Short for Société Coopérative d’Intérêt Collectif (public interest cooperative company), this type of entity lets each par- ticipant weigh in as a stakeholder: researchers (authors and reviewers), publishers, public institutions and investors….”

New advances in open source infrastructure support: accelerated book digitization with Editoria

Abstract:  How can open source infrastructure support a modernized, accelerated book production workflow? The California Digital Library, the University of California Press and the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation collaborated to design a new platform – Editoria – to do exactly this, following a new user-driven design method to result in a simple, people-centric interface. This case study details the main problem facing publishers who are restrained by outdated, print-oriented production platforms, the ‘reimagining’ exercise and the iterative design process that has resulted in new technology which can be adopted, adapted and integrated by publishers.

PALCI – News – Project ReShare Launches: Community-owned Library Resource Sharing Platform Attracts Significant Contributions

A group of leading library and information organizations has come together to create Project ReShare – a new and open approach to library resource sharing systems. ReShare aims to inject new life into this space by developing a community-owned resource sharing platform.

ReShare’s open source software will be built with a modular architecture focused on user-centric design. Organizations can adapt the system to their specific needs and experiment with new service models. Users will have the option to install the platform locally or select a preferred vendor for hosting and support. ReShare’s Apache 2.0 software license will allow libraries, developers, and vendors to innovate freely. Project ReShare is currently seeking membership in the Open Library Foundation, which will own the project’s intellectual property….

Members of the community are contributing leadership, expertise, and resources to the ReShare project. PALCI is providing $100,000 to kickstart UX design and development. Index Data adds several staff to lead project planning and software development. Other partnering organizations are dedicating developer time, infrastructure support, and in-kind contributions. The Steering Committee will soon announce ways for other organizations to contribute toward ReShare’s vision….”

Biting the hand that feeds – the obfuscation of publishers | Unlocking Research

Let’s not pull any punches here. We are unimpressed. Late last week HEFCE published a blog: Are UK universities on track to meet open access requirements? In the blog HEFCE identified the key issues in meeting OA requirements as:

  • The complexity of the OA environment
  • Resource constraints
  • Cultural resistance to OA
  • Inadequate technical infrastructure.

Right. So the deliberate obstruction to Open Access by the academic publishing industry doesn’t factor at all?…”

ScholarLed – Open Access Presses

“ScholarLed is a consortium of six academic-led, not-for-profit, open access book publishers that was formed earlier this year. Individually we comprise Mattering PressMayFly Booksmeson pressOpen Book PublishersOpen Humanities Press, and punctum books, and collectively we are seeking to develop powerful, practical ways for small-scale, academic-led Open Access presses to grow and flourish in a publishing landscape that is changing rapidly. We want to make sure that change is for the better.

To achieve this, we are sourcing funding to resolve some of the most pressing barriers preventing small publishers from interfacing with large-scale organisations and processes. We have developed a detailed set of interlinking projects to create open infrastructure that will enable: (a) discovery, (b) mutually supportive partnerships, (c) integration into university library, repository and digital learning environments, (d) cost reductions in title management and production achieved by economies of scale, (f) integrated capacity building amongst scholar-led presses, (e) access to and development of funding channels for open access content, (f) the selling of print and digital editions alongside open access editions, (g) the re-use of open access content, and (h) the proper archiving of open access content.

We invite you to join us. Read the full proposal and let us know if you want to be involved in any or all of the projects….”

Plan S will bring many changes, but the death of the repository should not be one | Jisc scholarly communications

“On the eve of Open Access Week, Bill Hubbard argues that we must not forget university repositories as the bedrock of open research….

Science Europe’s Plan S has been viewed as a somewhat revolutionary move after years of frustration at the rate of progress in open access. At Jisc, our response to the announcement was a positive one – we need to remove hurdles for the research community and engage the public in the groundbreaking, publicly funded work that takes place at our universities.

We are particularly pleased that the national research funding organisations signing up to Plan S have focused on establishing robust criteria for high-quality OA journals and platforms, support for OA infrastructure and monitoring compliance. These have been areas of Jisc’s work for some time.

We should note that a vital part of the infrastructure is in place. The global repository network, which has been painstakingly built over the past 15 years, has become a staggeringly bountiful source of freely available research.

The discovery service Core shows more than 11 million full-text articles from repositories and elsewhere. Plan S will give these a dramatic boost….”


Open access briefing: OA monographs in the UK | Jisc scholarly communications

“Research England (formally HEFCE) has stated that monographs must be published OA for inclusion in the REF2027 (Hill, 2018). Based on the REF2014 submissions, where publication dates for books submitted ranged from 2008 to 2013 (Tanner, 2016), titles submitted for the REF2027 will likely be being researched now for publication in 2021 or later. This presents a relative urgency for a functional, interoperable and transparent OA market to be developed that supports the long tail and is flexible enough to suit the diversity of AHSS research and its funding streams….”

Open access briefing paper: Fixing the UK repository landscape | Jisc scholarly communications

“This paper outlines the current state of the organisational, cultural and technical landscape related to OA repositories in the UK, trends and recent developments, and suggestions for improvement….”