News – The National Library of the Netherlands joins OLH LPS model

“We are delighted to announce that the National Library of the Netherlands has joined the Open Library of Humanities’ Library Partnership Subsidy system. The National Library of the Netherlands (Dutch: KB) is based in The Hague and was founded in 1798. The institution became independent of the state in 1996, although it is financed by the Department of Education, Culture and Science. The mission of the National Library of the Netherlands is to promote the visibility, usability and longevity of the Dutch Library Collection, defined as the collective holdings of all publicly funded libraries in the Netherlands. Unhindered access to these collections furthers the development of new ideas and allows researchers to build upon the ideas of their predecessors. The library houses two collections: the deposit collection and the scholarly collection. The deposit collection contains nearly all material published in the Netherlands. The scholarly collection of the National Library focuses traditionally on the humanities and more recently also on the social sciences.

The National Library has been supporting open access for some years now. It has recently published a “how to find open access publications guidance” and it participates in the National Platform Open Science….”

Columbia University joins OLH LPS model

“We are delighted to announce that Columbia University through its network of libraries has just joined the Open Library of Humanities’ Library Partnership Subsidy system….

The Open Library of Humanities is an academic-led, gold open-access publisher with no author-facing charges. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any kind of author fee.

 

Paula Clemente Vega, Marketing Officer for the Open Library of Humanities, welcomed Columbia University: “We are delighted to have Columbia University as member of our LPS model. Our member libraries are contributing together to the devising of an alternative to the APC model, which is both unsustainable for the majority of humanities scholars and the budgets of most universities in the context of the serial crisis. With the help of Columbia University we will continue to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities with neither author-facing, nor reader-facing charges.” …”

Open Access and the Humanities | FifteenEightyFour | Cambridge University Press

“First, in the United Kingdom at least, green open access – where authors deposit their accepted manuscripts or later versions in an institutional repository – has become entirely normalised as a result of funder policies associated with the Research Excellence Framework. An exponentially greater volume of material here, and in other countries around Europe, has become available in repositories. This has not led to the collapse of the subscription ecosystem but has meant that many more people are able to access research work.

Second, powerful international funder mandates, such as ‘Plan S’, have accelerated the schedule for OA. Importantly, for the humanities disciplines, guidance on a mandate for monographs will be forthcoming in 2021, so the timescale for implementation is emerging. We need to use this time to find business models that will allow for sustainable and perhaps scalable OA for books (hint: it’s not book processing charges). To appropriate the words of a prominent figure in other spheres of European politics in recent days: ‘please do not waste this time’.

Third, many humanists have realised the benefits of OA for their work, although they remain stymied from pursuing the ‘gold route’ because of the prevalence of article processing charges, which they cannot afford. New models such as those pioneered by my own Open Library of Humanities, but also Open Book Publishers, punctum books, and others, though, point the way towards business models that could achieve full access to the version of record, without author-facing charges. We now need other publishers to adopt these models themselves. The desire of humanists to publish openly is becoming more and more widespread, when the conditions are right. Fostering this positivity while working to make OA possible – rather than just relying on the coercion of funder mandates – is vitally important if we are to have a world that values humanistic knowledge.

Fourth, there is an increasing dialogue around global inclusivity in scholarly communications in general. While article processing charge models for OA have been criticized for excluding scholars from the Global South (to use a contested term), for instance, this has opened a broader dialogue around who is allowed to read and write within our academic publishing processes. For example, one might ask, what does it mean that English remains the lingua franca of scholarly publishing, derived from colonial legacies?…”

The OLH Open Consortial Offer

“The Open Library of Humanities welcomes expressions of interest from consortia, societies, networks and scholarly projects interested in joining the OLH as a bloc.

We believe that an open offer is advantageous for three reasons:

It is a collective and affordable expression of support for and commitment to scholarly open access.

It can be deployed as a cost-effective alternative to paying APCs for group publications, redirecting scholarly funds towards the creation of new research at the direct/indirect cost of production.

The mechanism of this offer allows larger partners in a group or consortium to support their peers, with each member paying according to their ability and benefiting according to their needs.

We also believe that it is crucial for collective actors to be aware of their options, and of the benefits of acting together in solidarity. The alternative is the prisoner’s dilemma scenario familiar to universities negotiating with legacy publishers. We know that we are all stronger when discussion is frank and transparent. 

First, how does the offer work? The OLH subsidy is banded based on the nationality of a joining institution. The banding also accounts for the relative size of the institution at a national level: for example, the cost for a large institution in the US is USD $2123 per annum, whereas the fee for a smaller US institution is USD $681 per annum….”

The OLH Open Consortial Offer

“The Open Library of Humanities welcomes expressions of interest from consortia, societies, networks and scholarly projects interested in joining the OLH as a bloc.

We believe that an open offer is advantageous for three reasons:

It is a collective and affordable expression of support for and commitment to scholarly open access.

It can be deployed as a cost-effective alternative to paying APCs for group publications, redirecting scholarly funds towards the creation of new research at the direct/indirect cost of production.

The mechanism of this offer allows larger partners in a group or consortium to support their peers, with each member paying according to their ability and benefiting according to their needs.

We also believe that it is crucial for collective actors to be aware of their options, and of the benefits of acting together in solidarity. The alternative is the prisoner’s dilemma scenario familiar to universities negotiating with legacy publishers. We know that we are all stronger when discussion is frank and transparent. 

First, how does the offer work? The OLH subsidy is banded based on the nationality of a joining institution. The banding also accounts for the relative size of the institution at a national level: for example, the cost for a large institution in the US is USD $2123 per annum, whereas the fee for a smaller US institution is USD $681 per annum….”

Editorial Officer (Open Library of Humanities) (479) – Birkbeck, University of London

The post-holder’s main role will be to oversee the editorial processes at the academic journals published by the Open Library of Humanities (OLH). This will include the organisation of peer review for articles in the OLH Journal, as well as conducting copyediting and proofreading of articles in this journal. More broadly the role involves liaising with journal editors, authors, and peer reviewers and answering queries about editorial and production matters. The role will also require contact with external suppliers for typesetting and production services. 

The ideal candidate will be a highly productive and motivated individual. S/he will be expected to be an independent worker with problem-solving skills and a strong record of professional communications. Knowledge of universities, the humanities disciplines and scholarly publishing – especially around open access – would be an advantage.

Text of Digital Library Futures keynote (Cambridge, 21st May 2019) | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

There is a short story by the famous Argentine author, Jorge Luis Borges, of a civilization possessed of a holy book. The book must, at all costs, be protected and preserved for the future. It is encased within a dark and mighty sarcophagus to ensure its safety from quote “humidity, heat, damp, cold, ice, fire, wind, rain, snow, sleet, prying fingers, hard stares, the gnawing of rats, sonic disintegration, the dribbling of infants, and the population at large” end quote. The special caste of custodians in the story – a kind of priesthood of knowledge – are confident that they can protect the book; especially from this last and most damaging group, the population at large. Indeed, as time goes by and greater swathes of this growingly democratic population request access to the book, the priesthood formulate ever-more contrived rationales for the protection of the artefact. The intrinsic value of the book, to use a term from the report that forms the basis of today’s symposium, seems, in the story, to be increased by its scarcity of access, even as its instrumental value to society grows lesser by the day. For even the priesthood do not really know or understand the contents of the book that they guard. They have only the peripheral metadata context within which to work: the sacredness of the artefact, but also the sacredness of the notion of preservation. As preservation becomes an end in itself for the priesthood, the barbarian populace eventually overwhelm the fortification and prise open the sacred sarcophagus. The story draws to a close as the lay tribes examine the holy book, over the corpses of the priesthood, to find that it is written in a language and script that is completely indecipherable and that has been lost to time; as meaning has eroded over the span of artefactual preservation.

Borges, of course, never actually wrote such a story. But he could have and it did sound vaguely plausible as a transparent allegory of the phenomenon under discussion today. Namely: what is the tension between, and the resolution of, preservation and access for non-print legal deposit? How is it that we have come to a situation where the path-dependence of print has so thoroughly conditioned the access possibilities for the digital that its most salient property – that of non-rivalrous dissemination – must be once more made rivalrous and discarded? And what of the structures of meaning that themselves naturally erode over time, like an entropic process, in the digital space? How, without some form of continuous access, can we ensure that we can still read our digitally preserved heritage over even a decadal timespan?…

But the 909 articles published or supported solely by the platform that I run, the Open Library of Humanities, in its first year accumulated 118,686 unique views. That is, this tiny number of open access articles were viewed by more people than a UK national-level pilot giving on-site access to vast quantities of subscription material across all disciplines over almost double the same time period. This kind of study is most often used to show that “very few people want to read this material, so why should an industry reconfigure its economics to accommodate such changes?” I think that our platform shows exactly the opposite, though. For this is where my interests in open access coincide with issues of user-centric thinking about non-print legal deposit. In a world where we can demonstrate by example that there is an audience for even the most abstruse types of humanities scholarship, it is becoming increasingly problematic to separate preservation from any kind of distributed networked access….”

OLH Readership and Cost Reports for 2018-2019

“That said, here are the key numbers for February 13th 2018 to February 13th 2019 for the Open Library of Humanities and the journals that we publish and fund:

  • We published 443 articles.
  • These articles were uniquely downloaded 61,155 times.
  • These articles were uniquely viewed 337,237 times.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per published article was £2.41.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per download was £0.02.
  • Taking the USD median fee level, the cost per institution per view was £0.003….”

Plan S feedback | Innovations in Scholarly Communication

We have a few overall recommendations:

  • Improve on the why: make it more clear that Plan S is part of a broader transition towards open science and not only to make papers available and OA cheaper. It is part of changes to make science more efficient, reliable and reusable.
  • Plan S brings great potential, and with that also comes great responsibility for cOAlition S funders. From the start, plan S has been criticized for its perceived focus (in intent and/or expected effects) on APC-based OA publishing. In our reading, both the principles and the implementation guidance recognize for all forms of full OA publishing, including diamond OA and new forms of publishing like overlay journals. However, it will depend to no small extent on the actual recognition and support of non-APC based gold OA models by cOAlitionS funders whether plan S will indeed encourage such bibliodiversity and accompanying equity in publishing opportunities. Examples of initiatives to consider in this regard are OJS journal systems by PKP, Coko open source technology based initiatives, Open Library of HumanitiesScoap3Free Journal Network, and also Scielo and Redalyc in Latin America.
  • The issue of evaluation and assessment is tied closely to the effects Plan S can or will have. It is up to cOAlitionS funders to take actionable steps to turn their commitment to fundamentally revise the incentive and reward system of science in line with DORA into practice, at the same time they are putting the Plan S principles into practice. The two can mutually support each other, as open access journals that also implement other open science criteria such as pre-registration, requirements for FAIR data and selection based on rigorous methodological criteria will facilitate evaluation based on research quality.  
  • Make sure to (also) provide Plan S in the form of one integrated document containing the why, the what and the how on one document. Currently it is too easy to overlook the why. That document should be openly licensed and shared in a reliable archive.
  • In the implementation document include a (graphical) timeline of changes and deadlines….”