Mike Taylor | Szymon Górnicki

An interview with paleontologist and OA advocate, Mike Taylor. 

“SG: You are a supporter of open access, open source and open data. Of course, science must be easily available for everyone. On the other hand, there are problems with funding research and paleoart, small number of jobs in paleontology. Do you have any thoughts on how to solve these problems?

MT: Well, first of all, open access, open source and open data do not threaten jobs in palaeontology at all. If anything, they create more of a market for research, as more can be done.

 

Palaeoart is a completely separate problem. Fundamentally, the compensation system is different. Academics are paid for doing their jobs, and the data-sets and papers they generate are in some sense by-products. Paying academics to use their data and papers would be ludicrous: they’ve already been paid. But (with maybe a very few exceptions) palaeoartists are not salaried. They get paid only in exchange for their services. For that reason, it’s morally defensible for them to use copyright to prevent their work from being copied, in a way that is not defensible for preventing copying of scholarly papers. It’s great when artists are able to work in ways that allow their work to be freely reproduced and modified, but that will always be the exception….

SG: Does PeerJ meet your expectations of academic publishing practices transformation?

MT: In almost all respects, absolutely. When I was putting together the Xenoposeidon-is-a-rebbachisaur paper, it literally didn’t even occur to me to send it anywhere but PeerJ. Their submission system is less painful than any other I’ve used, their editors are thorough, their peer-review system is efficient, effective AND transparent, their website is fine, their production is really careful, and of course they do all this at a superb low price. And they offer preprints, and an easy route to move from preprint to reviewed paper. I think that as things stand, they are BY FAR the best game in town: when I look at papers in traditional journals like JVP and Palaeontology now, with their hard-to-read two-column text and their tiny greyscale illustrations, they feel like relics of a bygone era.

If I have a reservation about PeerJ at all, it’s a rather churlish one: I wonder whether they could have been a bit MORE radical. But in reality, they probably hit the sweet spot: they’ve moved the Overton window now in a way that they couldn’t have done if they’ve been perceived as too left-field for the Big Names to publish in. But in fact, PeerJ is perceived now as one of the major venues for vertebrate palaeontology, in large part I think because established workers felt that it was recognisable enough as a journal that they were prepared to publish their work there.

There’s one other thing that does need to be mentioned: it worries me a little that PeerJ is privately owned. I know Pete Binfield and Jason Hoyt a little, and they are about the most principled and trustworthy owners a scholarly publishing operation could have. I am confident that they won’t sell out. But ultimately, anything that’s privately owned is to some degree vulnerable. Suppose they dilute their stock a bit more to bring in more investment. They become huge, Then Elsevier offers $500M for them, and the other shareholders group together and
force Pete and Jason to sell. It doesn’t seem likely, but it’s not impossible. I have grown increasingly convinced of the important of the https://cameronneylon.net/blog/principles-for-open-scholarly-infrastructures/ …”

Spotlight on the OASPA Board: Caroline Sutton – OASPA

“In the fourth of a series of interviews highlighting the important contributions of the Board, OASPA’s Events and Communications Coordinator, Leyla Williams, talked to Caroline Sutton, Head of Open Scholarship Development at Taylor & Francis. Caroline was OASPA’s first President of the Board in 2008….”

So, what is it really like to work in research support and scholarly communication? | Unlocking Research

“Inspired by the 23 librarians programmes which took place across the UK a few years ago we would like to offer those who are working in scholarly communication and research support a chance to share their thoughts with us in the form of short vox pop video interviews. Designed to be no more than two to three minutes in length these videos would outline what your role is, the core tasks of your job and the skills you wish you had developed prior to working in this area. We will host these videos online and over time build up a useful resource for the community at large and those looking to work in this area. Videos can be filmed on phones, tablets or anything else you have to hand.

We are aiming to launch the first wave of vox pops during Open Access Week 2018 (22 – 28th October) but the contributions don’t need to be restricted to those working in Open Access roles. We welcome contributions from anyone who considers that they work in any aspect of scholarly communication or research support, whether this is in a library or a different environment. To help you we have put together both a sample video and a list of questions below….”

Open and Shut?: “It is for publishers to provide Plan S-compliant routes to publication in their journals.”

“The problem right now, however, is that there is too little information on how Plan S would work in practice. This means it is nigh impossible for informed commentary to take place, and we are seeing frequent calls for clarification.

On 12th September, therefore, I invited Smits to do an interview with me, in the hope that he could provide that clarification. I suggested we do this either by telephone or email. Smits agreed and said he would prefer to do it by email. So, I emailed him a list of questions and waited for his replies. These arrived on Monday this week.  …”

The Plan S conversation continues

“Last week, the 10th Conference of the Open Access Publishing Association was held in Vienna… On the Tuesday afternoon Robert-Jan Smits spoke as part of a panel about Plan S. It was a calm measured discussion where he thanked many people who had worked with them to develop the plan. He noted that  things went ‘wild’ after releasing the plan, with over 70,000 tweets on the first day. The comments, he said, were mostly positive but there are some negative comments from publishers and some academics – which not surprising  because the plan is so robust. He also noted multiple positive comments from developing countries, thanking him ‘because they struggle to access research outputs.'”

How Open Commenting on Preprints Can Increase Scientific Transparency: An Interview With the Directors of PsyArxiv, SocArxiv, and Marxiv

“We believe more discourse around research is a good thing. To that end, we have partnered with Hypothesis, a third-party platform, to allow for annotation and discussion on our preprints services.  Annotation on preprints will increase transparency in scientific practices by enabling researchers to collaborate, discuss research with peers, and share additional information directly on preprints both before and after they are posted.”

“We don’t want to be caught napping:” Meet Hindawi’s new head of research integrity – Retraction Watch

“I’ve been in publishing since 2003 and although we have always seen some individual authors, reviewers and editors behaving badly, the scale and nature of the problem has changed. Some of this is down to technology and openness enabling detection of poor practices – such as better plagiarism detection and more content being online and thus easily searchable, particularly when it is not hiding behind a paywall – but we’re also seeing an industrialization of misconduct.”

Trends, challenges and opportunities for LIS education: an interview with Carol Tenopir | Library Connect

“[Q] How will open science influence LIS education?

 
[A] LIS education needs to address how open science issues, including open access and open data, affect scholarship, scholars and, ultimately, science and society. For example, there is the human side that involves helping researchers learn about and participate in the process, while recognizing their concerns. Librarians also need the technical skills to provide metadata services, manage institutional repositories and assist with research data management to further the open science practices at their institutions. Researchers are faced with funding and governmental regulations requiring deposition of data and articles in repositories. Information science professionals can help this happen by providing either repositories or links to repositories and helping researchers with the processes needed to deposit. Preservation is an important part of this as well. And the need for education about high-quality sources never goes away.”

 

A commitment to openness | Research Information

“I started life at Jisc as a programme manager, on a project that was jointly funded by the National Science Foundation in the US and Jisc. This was a fairly forward thinking project in digital libraries and from this, we began working on how to make sure researchers had maximum access to information and collections, and how we could do that collaboratively, building on expertise on both sides of the Atlantic.

At this, I managed the pilot site licence initiative, which in essence is what became Jisc Collections as it is today; it was about ensuring ongoing access as the world of journal archives became digital. The subsequent model licence, designed to provide a smooth transition from analogue, was, I think, a  world first, and the clauses added are aligned to the aspirations of the open access movement – as the world became born digital, open access was a logical next step. There were some real thought leaders in the sector at that time who made it their mission to ensure as many people as possible could have access to that publicly funded research, as a point of principle….”