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.

 

What history can tell us about the future of scholarly society journals: Interview with Aileen Fyfe

“Open access policies and initiatives introduced in recent years, Plan S among the latest, have put increasing emphasis in academia on discussions about what the future of scholarly publishing should look like. There are mounting debates around whether universal OA is an achievable goal, and how publishers should transition journals to OA models. Many scholarly societies, in particular, have expressed concerns that widening OA mandates could compromise their operations because they rely on subscription journal revenues to cover costs.

It seems that the only real consensus among scholarly societies and other stakeholders in the great OA debate is that the way forward isn’t obvious, and traversing the developing OA landscape remains a daunting endeavor for many societies. However, despite the absence of a clear path ahead, there is some direction to be gained by retracing the steps taken to get to this point. Most have heard some form of the adage, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. For scholarly societies, in particular, looking to the history of society and association journal publishing, which far pre-dates the current predominantly subscription-based and corporate-controlled publishing system, could yield greater perspective in debates around the future of journals and research access.

Aileen Fyfe, professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews, knows the history of scholarly publishing and its many implications for the present-day inside and out. She has focused her research on the publishing and popularization of the sciences from a historical lense. Recent projects that Fyfe has worked on include a briefing titled “Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research,” and a collaborative project, “The Secret History of the Scientific Journal.” In the below interview, Fyfe shares an abridged history of journal publishing at scholarly societies and her thoughts on how scholarly publishing’s past can influence its present….”

Academic Libraries’ Stance toward the Future

Abstract:  The literature about academic libraries takes a strong interest in the future, yet little of it reflects on academic libraries’ underlying stance toward the years ahead: is there a sense of change or continuity? Is there optimism or pessimism? Consensus or divergence? This article explores these questions using data from interviews with a broad range of practitioners, commentators, and experts. Some see libraries as fundamentally unchanging, while others perceive innovation as a given. There is little consensus about upcoming trends. Some interviewees doubt libraries’ ability to deal with change, but others feel considerable optimism.

 

Where is the Publication Puck Going? Making Research Available “Upstream” of Publication – The Scholarly Kitchen

“If (for example) the seeds of Plan S were sown when funders began to introduce requirements and funding around access to research publications, what do today’s funder preferences and requirements tell us about how to prepare for tomorrow? Here is a handful of insights from the project….

95% of respondents considered that being able to demonstrate broader communications and impacts is important to their future funding and career progression….

The dialogue, and thus the focus of publisher efforts at the moment, continues to be around open access and data sharing – but funders’ focus seems to be moving on to other aspects of communication, with dissemination / impact plans, knowledge exchange / transfer and broader audiences all more commonly required by respondents’ funders than open access and data sharing. This may be an early indicator of emerging opportunities for publishers – helping researchers with knowledge exchange, knowledge transfer, and research commercialization….”