5 Scholarly Publishing Trends to Watch in 2020

“The vision for a predominantly open access (OA) publishing landscape has shifted from a possibility to a probability in the opinions of many. A 2017 Springer Nature survey of 200 professional staff working in research institutions around the world found that over 70% of respondents agreed scholarly content should be openly accessible and 91% of librarians agreed that “open access is the future of academic and scientific publishing.” …

As noted, there is growing consensus within academia that the majority of scholarly content will be available OA in the future — but how to reach that end is still a matter of debate. The announcement of Plan S in September 2018, an initiative by a consortium of national and international research funders to make research fully and immediately OA, sent shockwaves throughout academia. 2019 saw the release of the revised Plan S guidelines with some significant changes, including an extension of the Plan S deadline to January 2021, a clearer Green OA compliance pathway, and greater flexibility around non-derivative copyright licenses. What remains the same — and has been a matter of significant debate — is that Plan S will not acknowledge hybrid OA as a compliant publishing model.

In response to concerns raised by scholarly societies around the feasibility of transitioning to full and immediate OA publishing without compromising their operational funding, Wellcome and UKRI in partnership with ALPSP launched the “Society Publishers Accelerating Open Access and Plan S“ (SPA-OPS) project to identify viable OA publishing models and transition options for societies. The final SPA-OPS report was released in September of 2019, encompassing over 20 potential OA models and strategies as well as a “transformative agreement toolkit.” …”

The T&F buyout of F1000 neutralizes the Plan S threat infrastructures | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“What is actually happening here is that T&F is neutralizing the threat of Plan S. The Plan states that funded research must be published in pure (not hybrid) gold OA venues or under zero-embargo green. If these venues do not exist, because publishers do not convert their journals, then funders plan to ‘in a coordinated way, provide incentives to establish and support them when appropriate; support will also be provided for Open Access infrastructures where necessary’. I call these the ‘threat infrastructures’.

But the threat infrastructures are now not threatening to T&F….”

Is Medical Education Ready for Universal Open Access to Research? | Journal of Graduate Medical Education

“At the current rate of growth, aided by public access policies of the National Institutes of Health and other funders, as well as publishers’ growing open access options, we can reasonably expect that by 2030, readers will have universal public access to most biomedical research literature. This includes the medical education research of interest to readers of JGME. This exciting development is part of a larger open access movement in scholarly publishing that reflects a growing recognition that research and scholarship is better served by freely sharing this work, in ways that were not possible in the age of print. Given its value to science, open access is now attracting the institutional support needed to make it sustainable. At this point, close to half of current research across all disciplines of science is being made open by various means, whether by publication in open access journals, authors posting their final drafts (with publishers’ permission), or articles becoming open access after an embargo period.1 While there are competing models for how universal access will be achieved,2 amid sometimes bumpy negotiations between publishers and libraries,3 none of the stakeholders disagree over the contribution of open access to the advancement of science….

As teachers and educational researchers, our contribution to such considerations has been to study the points and basis of access for physicians and the public. For example, would physicians have the time and interest to access biomedical literature if it was fully open access? In one study, 336 physicians were provided free access to the literature through Stanford University libraries for a year.4 While two-thirds of the participants did not access a research article over that year (with some attributing this to a lack of reminders or promotion of the service), one-third viewed 1 article a week, on average, for purposes that ranged from assisting with clinical care to educating fellow physicians. Some reported withdrawal symptoms when the access ended; others informed us of how, prior to this study, they had been deterred from consulting research by encountering a paywall. The results suggested that physicians need to be informed of their growing access to research, and guidance on how to skillfully and effectively use this access should be added to their training. Building expectations of access to this work will support its realization, while providing guidance on its use will result in better medical education and better informed medical practices….”

The future(s) of open science – Philip Mirowski, 2018

Abstract:  Almost everyone is enthusiastic that ‘open science’ is the wave of the future. Yet when one looks seriously at the flaws in modern science that the movement proposes to remedy, the prospect for improvement in at least four areas are unimpressive. This suggests that the agenda is effectively to re-engineer science along the lines of platform capitalism, under the misleading banner of opening up science to the masses.

 

Is PLOS Running Out Of Time? Financial Statements Suggest Urgency To Innovate – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Time may be running out for the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

The San Francisco-based, non-profit open access (OA) publisher released its latest financials, disclosing that it ran a US $5.5 million dollar deficit in 2018 on $32M dollars of revenue. In order to cover this loss, it dug deep into its savings and sold off nearly $5M in financial investments.

This is not the first time the publisher spent more than it earned. Indeed, the last time PLOS made surpluses was 2015, when it had $30.6M in the bank. By 2017, PLOS’ savings had been cut nearly in half to $17M, and fell again to $11M in 2018. At the same time, 2018 salaries and other employee compensation went up by $1.8M (8%) from 2017, despite publishing 11% fewer papers….”

A look at prediction markets | Research Information

“Assessing the quality of research is difficult. Jisc and the University of Bristol are partnering to develop a tool that may help institutions improve this process.  

To attract government funding for their crucial research, UK universities are largely reliant on good ratings from the Research Excellent Framework (REF) – a process of expert review designed to assess the quality of research outputs. REF scores determine how much government funding will be allocated to their research projects. For instance, research that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour, will be scored higher than research that is only recognised nationally. 
 
Considerable time is spent by universities trying to figure out which research outputs will be rated highest (4*) on quality and impact. The recognised ‘gold standard’ for this process is close reading by a few internal academics, but this is time-consuming, onerous, and subject to the relatively limited perspective of just a few people.  …

Prediction markets capture the ‘wisdom of crowds’ by asking large numbers of people to bet on outcomes of future events – in this case how impactful a research project will be in the next REF assessment. It works a bit like the stock market, except that, instead of buying and selling shares in companies, participants buy and sell virtual shares online that will pay out if a particular event occurs – for instance, if a paper receives a 3* or above REF rating.  …”

A Crisis in “Open Access”: Should Communication Scholarly Outputs Take 77 Years to Become Open Access? – Abbas Ghanbari Baghestan, Hadi Khaniki, Abdolhosein Kalantari, Mehrnoosh Akhtari-Zavare, Elaheh Farahmand, Ezhar Tamam, Nader Ale Ebrahim, Havva Sabani, Mahmoud Danaee, 2019

Abstract:  This study diachronically investigates the trend of the “open access” in the Web of Science (WoS) category of “communication.” To evaluate the trend, data were collected from 184 categories of WoS from 1980 to 2017. A total of 87,997,893 documents were obtained, of which 95,304 (0.10%) were in the category of “communication.” In average, 4.24% of the documents in all 184 categories were open access. While in communication, it was 3.29%, which ranked communication 116 out of 184. An Open Access Index (OAI) was developed to predict the trend of open access in communication. Based on the OAI, communication needs 77 years to fully reach open access, which undeniably can be considered as “crisis in scientific publishing” in this field. Given this stunning information, it is the time for a global call for “open access” by communication scholars across the world. Future research should investigate whether the current business models of publications in communication scholarships are encouraging open access or pose unnecessary restrictions on knowledge development.

A Crisis in “Open Access”: Should Communication Scholarly Outputs Take 77 Years to Become Open Access? – Abbas Ghanbari Baghestan, Hadi Khaniki, Abdolhosein Kalantari, Mehrnoosh Akhtari-Zavare, Elaheh Farahmand, Ezhar Tamam, Nader Ale Ebrahim, Havva Sabani, Mahmoud Danaee, 2019

Abstract:  This study diachronically investigates the trend of the “open access” in the Web of Science (WoS) category of “communication.” To evaluate the trend, data were collected from 184 categories of WoS from 1980 to 2017. A total of 87,997,893 documents were obtained, of which 95,304 (0.10%) were in the category of “communication.” In average, 4.24% of the documents in all 184 categories were open access. While in communication, it was 3.29%, which ranked communication 116 out of 184. An Open Access Index (OAI) was developed to predict the trend of open access in communication. Based on the OAI, communication needs 77 years to fully reach open access, which undeniably can be considered as “crisis in scientific publishing” in this field. Given this stunning information, it is the time for a global call for “open access” by communication scholars across the world. Future research should investigate whether the current business models of publications in communication scholarships are encouraging open access or pose unnecessary restrictions on knowledge development.

Transformation at work – introducing Europe’s digital champions: Astrid Verheusen, transforming the research cycle | Europeana Pro

“As Executive Director of LIBER – the Association of European Research Libraries – I implement our strategy and manage our network of 450 libraries across 42 countries, as well as the office of seven staff in The Hague. Our strategy is about progressing the open science cause and powering sustainable knowledge in the digital age. We envision a world in 2022 in which open access will be the dominant form of publishing. A world in which research data is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).  We believe that by developing digital and participatory skills for research, the cultural heritage of tomorrow can be built on today’s digital information. …”

The Future of OA: A large-scale analysis projecting Open Access publication and readership | bioRxiv

Understanding the growth of open access (OA) is important for deciding funder policy, subscription allocation, and infrastructure planning. This study analyses the number of papers available as OA over time. The models includes both OA embargo data and the relative growth rates of different OA types over time, based on the OA status of 70 million journal articles published between 1950 and 2019. The study also looks at article usage data, analyzing the proportion of views to OA articles vs views to articles which are closed access. Signal processing techniques are used to model how these viewership patterns change over time. Viewership data is based on 2.8 million uses of the Unpaywall browser extension in July 2019. We found that Green, Gold, and Hybrid papers receive more views than their Closed or Bronze counterparts, particularly Green papers made available within a year of publication. We also found that the proportion of Green, Gold, and Hybrid articles is growing most quickly. In 2019:- 31% of all journal articles are available as OA. – 52% of article views are to OA articles. Given existing trends, we estimate that by 2025: – 44% of all journal articles will be available as OA. – 70% of article views will be to OA articles. The declining relevance of closed access articles is likely to change the landscape of scholarly communication in the years to come.