Open and Shut?: The Open Access Interviews: Edith Hall

“Why is open access so contentious? In large part, I think, because although OA began as a bottom-up revolution it was never widely embraced by researchers. However, OA advocates managed to persuade governments, funders and institutions that their colleagues should be compelled to embrace open access. This has seen a series of ever more stringent OA mandates being imposed on researchers, increasing the bureaucratic burden on them (amongst other things).

Monographs are a particularly contested area because of their length, their narrative form, and the licensing issues that this raises.

 

It has not helped that OA advocates promised open access would reduce the costs of scholarly communication. In reality, costs have risen.

 

This last point is particularly troublesome in the UK context as OA policies have been introduced without providing the necessary funding to support them. As a result, researchers can discover that they have been mandated to make their work open access but cannot afford to pay the article-processing charge (APC) needed if they want to satisfy the government’s preference for gold OA.

 

This has been a challenge even for researchers at wealthy and prestigious institutions. Last year, for instance, Oxford University library had to inform faculty that its OA fund had been exhausted and so they should delay submitting to journals until it had been replenished. 

 

At the same time, the bureaucracy surrounding OA compliance has become so complex that universities have had to recruit legions of support staff to interpret and manage the escalating number of policies (some of which have proved contradictory). Indeed, such is the complexity now that even specialist support staff can struggle to decode the rules.

 

In short, the UK OA policy environment is far too complex, and it is seriously underfunded. For researchers, this is frustrating and depressing….”

Scholarly E-Books and University Presses – Part Two – The Scholarly Kitchen

“What happens to print when digital is available first and for free? Does print get cannibalized by free, open digital. Or does free, open digital lead to more print activity?

LB [Lisa Bayer]: Rather than a complement, which might imply subsidiary, I see e-books and aggregated digital content as equally important to print for scholarly books. For complex and diverse reasons, monographs are much less likely to be purchased in print editions by research libraries, especially given the enhanced accessibility, portability, and discoverability that digitally delivered content affords. When we send our content to aggregators, we join a huge network of scholarly publishers reaching thousands of institutions worldwide: that is mission-critical. At one of the last O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conferences I heard a smart person say, “The page is no longer primary.” For most of our customers, print books are still primary. But university presses operate in a file-based ecosystem, increasingly so with Open Access pilots and platforms such as Manifold, PubPub, Fulcrum, Humanities Open Book, and the Sustainable History Monograph Program….”

Expanding Access to U.S. Law: Harvard’s Caselaw Access Project

“For more than six years a team at Harvard University Law School’s Library Innovation Lab has been busy working on the Caselaw Access Project (CAP), an initiative to digitize a collection of 360 years worth of United States court cases dating from 1658 to 2018. The project was initiated in an effort to make case law freely and easily available to legal scholars and the public. Last month, the fruits of the team’s labors were realized with the official launch of CAP. The published CAP corpus comprises 6.4 million unique cases and over 40 million pages of U.S. federal, state, and territorial case law documents from the Law School library.

CAP was funded and made possible by Harvard Law School and, in part, through a partnership with legal research and analytics startup Ravel. The new digital repository will help lower the cost of accessing historical court cases and it opens up new opportunities for legal scholars and programmers to process large sets of legal data via the CAP API and bulk data service. The CAP API enables users to browse and download cases using a few short commands and through its “bulk data” feature users can download whole zip files of content.

In the interview below, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Research Associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, discusses how CAP got started and the goals of the project….”

Expanding Access to U.S. Law: Harvard’s Caselaw Access Project

“For more than six years a team at Harvard University Law School’s Library Innovation Lab has been busy working on the Caselaw Access Project (CAP), an initiative to digitize a collection of 360 years worth of United States court cases dating from 1658 to 2018. The project was initiated in an effort to make case law freely and easily available to legal scholars and the public. Last month, the fruits of the team’s labors were realized with the official launch of CAP. The published CAP corpus comprises 6.4 million unique cases and over 40 million pages of U.S. federal, state, and territorial case law documents from the Law School library.

CAP was funded and made possible by Harvard Law School and, in part, through a partnership with legal research and analytics startup Ravel. The new digital repository will help lower the cost of accessing historical court cases and it opens up new opportunities for legal scholars and programmers to process large sets of legal data via the CAP API and bulk data service. The CAP API enables users to browse and download cases using a few short commands and through its “bulk data” feature users can download whole zip files of content.

In the interview below, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Research Associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, discusses how CAP got started and the goals of the project….”

New ALPSP boss: academic publishing ‘could return to non-profit’ | Research Information

“Academic publishing could be about to return to a not-for-profit enterprise.

That is the view of Wayne Sime, new chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), who was interviewed in Research Information this month.

Sime was previously director of library services for the Royal Society of Medicine, and has also worked in the NHS and financial sector. He has been a chartered librarian since 2001 and became a fellow of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals) in 2009.

When asked what he believes will change in the industry over the next 10 years, Sime predicted an expectation that all scholarly communications will be freely distributed, and that search engines and social communities will be primary sources of useful information.

He continued: ‘We will need to adjust our practice and business model to reflect this new reality. The best way, I believe, to see the future is to expect a rapid drop in all kinds of government backing from the economy and to figure out a publication system that will adapt. 

‘We must remember that when we look back at the history of publishing, it has only been a recent development (mid-20th century onwards) that academic publishing become a profit-making enterprise. History may be about to repeat itself!’ …”

A Closer Look at Open Educational Resources | Cult of Pedagogy

“In our podcast interview, which you can listen to above, Karen and I talk about how OERs have gotten really, really good over the last few years, what some new platforms are doing to solve the quality problem, and where teachers can go to find outstanding materials—from single-use resources to full-year curricula—that are 100% free….”

Emergent Data Community Spotlight | Ithaka S+R

“Encouraging scholars to share research data with one another promises to increase research efficiency, reproducibility, and innovation. In a recent issue brief, Danielle Cooper and I argued for a new conceptual framework for understanding and supporting research data sharing: data communities. Data communities are formal or informal groups of scholars who share a certain type of data with each other, regardless of disciplinary boundaries, and those who wish to support data sharing should work to identify and support emergent data communities – groups of scholars who are on their way to developing an active, sustainable data sharing culture.

But what is it really like to build a data community from the ground up? To find out, I decided to interview experts who are at the forefront of growing emergent data communities in a variety of research areas….”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Peter Suber: The largest obstacles to open access are unfamiliarity and misunderstanding of open access itself

I’ve already complained about the slowness of progress. So I can’t pretend to be patient. Nevertheless, we need patience to avoid mistaking slow progress for lack of progress, and I’m sorry to see some friends and allies make this mistake. We need impatience to accelerate progress, and patience to put slow progress in perspective. The rate of OA growth is fast relative to the obstacles, and slow relative to the opportunities.”

Who is Coko? An interview with Coko Co-founder and visionary Adam Hyde : Collaborative Knowledge Foundation

The Scholarly Communications sector can learn a lot from open source and open processes. For example, at Coko we don’t actually own anything. It is the community that owns it. We facilitate the communities success and their success is our success. We share everything we have with them – code, methods, processes, PR, expertise, funding, successes, coffee! – and they in turn share those things with us. We are the community, the community is us. That can only happen in an environment of trust and trust is what openness – the core ingredient to best practice open source – is all about. If more people within the Scholarly Communications sector at large can learn to work like this then they will benefit from it greatly….”