Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing | Impact of Social Sciences

“Over recent years, Knowledge Unlatched has harnessed the effectiveness of its consortial funding model to become the largest gatekeeper to open access for scholarly books. But as Marcel Knöchelmann describes, the changing of its status from that of a community interest company to a German GmbH or public limited company, and that it is now fully owned by the consultancy fullstopp, has gone largely uncommunicated. This information has assumed greater pertinence and urgency following the decision to appoint fullstopp to collect and analyse data that will be used to inform future policy decisions on open access. The researchers, publishers, and librarians inevitably impacted by the outcomes of this consultation should be afforded the transparency to know that the parent company of the commercial entity which stands to profit from a future of open access book publishing is advising on what the future of open access book publishing in the UK should be….”

Springer Nature are not a friend to Open Access – Green Tea and Velociraptors

“So, if we look at history, Springer Nature (SN) are the definition of bandwagon jumpers. Things like arXiv (1991), SciELO (1997) and PLOS (2000) were leaders on OA from around. SN acquired BMC (2008) and Frontiers (2013, via merger with Nature Publishing Group) to essentially neutralise them as a competitive threat. And also make it look like they cared about OA That does not mean they lead the way. This is like Microsoft saying they lead the way on Open Source because they purchased GitHub. It is propaganda.

In reality, Springer Nature have been dragged kicking and screaming into the OA space. They are part of a multi-billion dollar empire that has thrived based on a business model of preventing access to knowledge. OA was obviously a threat to that, so historically they fought hard against it until the could find a way to subvert it into a new revenue stream. Hence, their love of hybrid and high-APC OA. Even now, SN are launching new Nature-branded journals that are subscription only! That is not leadership. It is showing that they are using their brand strength to continue to pervert the scholarly communication process. Nature Communications costs $5000 (+VAT) for authors to publish their own work. No other industry operates this backwards. I refuse to believe that for an efficient, quality publishing system it costs more to publish a paper than it does to live in Bali for a year. (And I know how much this costs). It is daylight robbery, pure and simple, and the taxpayers and researchers are the ones who suffer. And again, statistically, if you look at the proportional figures, if SN are a “leader” in OA publishing, using the exact same numbers they are also still one of the largest barrier-based publishers out there.”

*Here, all of the statements that are made are demonstrably false based on how SN conduct their business in public (one example here).”

WHY ARE UNIVERSITIES OPEN ACCESS LAGGARDS?

“In all this, where are the big university research libraries and their core clientele, the professoriate? Absent from the vanguard and oft en fi ghting rearguard battles against open access, is the dispiriting answer. As a caste, the professoriate has ignored and at times resisted their universities’ attempts to make them deposit at least prepublication versions of works in open access repositories. Even though the average academic monograph now sells but sixty copies, and even though professors happily collect that part of their salaries intended to cover the research eff ort, they insist on being counted among the independent creators, entitled to publish their works as they please and collect royalties as best they can.26 The worst off enders are those who are vested in copyright as authors of textbooks which they hope will sell widely and make them wealthy. Scholarly societies in the humanities oft en live off the subscriptions to their journals. These were usually sold at reasonable prices, but many have now thrown in their lot with the big presses, becoming bundled as part of packages that are off ered to university libraries in take-it-or-leave-it deals….

Digitality has fundamentally undermined copyright. We are mostly salaried content producers now who do not need its protections. Dissemination has become signifi cantly costless, removing the other main argument for copyright. The university world is that part of content production which least needs or deserves traditional copyright. It is that part which should be most interested in universal access and the extraordinary promise it holds out for the world outside the academic bubble. But despite that, it is barely a follower and often a hindrance. For shame!”

Plan S and the Global South – What do countries in the Global South stand to gain from signing up to Europe’s open access strategy? | Impact of Social Sciences

“Plan S raises challenging questions for the Global South. Even if Plan S fails to achieve its objectives the growing determination in Europe to trigger a “global flip” to open access suggests developing countries will have to develop an alternative strategy. In this post Richard Poynder asks: what might that strategy be?…”

Open access, at what costs? | SpringerLink

“The publishing model that most politicians and funders now seem to embrace, is called ‘Open Access’. Access to the manuscript is free, but the researchers (yes, you) foot the bill; in which case, it could be argued that the cost of open access publication should be included in the research budget….

Danger! …

If an individual researcher pays then, maybe, the quality of a study or manuscript is no longer necessarily the concern of the publisher. So-called ‘predatory’ journals discovered this hole in the market, and accept whatever paper of whatever quality as long as it is being paid for. Alternatively, articles are now being deposited in open access repositories, without any peer review or formatting requirements….”

Time to plan for Plan S – Watson – 2019 – Nursing Open – Wiley Online Library

Heard of “Plan S”? You will. Plan S arose from the work of an international group called Coalition S. Their aim is to have all published research available open access immediately on publication. The coalition has some powerful membership organizations, mainly across Europe but in some other countries too. Coverage is not yet universal, and some key organizations have not signed up. However, the coalition has one powerful financial backer in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, given the widespread—and sometimes misplaced—enthusiasm for open access, this is likely to gather momentum. On the face of it “Plan S” seems entirely laudable and altruistic, however, it raises a number of issues for both researchers and publishers….”

Data and Open Access Parasites: NEJM is at it again

In 2016, the New England Journal of Medicine published an editorial against data sharing in research, calling those who re-analyze published data, “parasites”. Yesterday, the journal published another editorial in a similar vein, but this time against open access. I don’t have time to rebut each pernicious editorial attacking open access, but this one is high profile and is currently gleefully being shared by opponents of open access (for example, here is a VP from Elsevier promoting it)….”

 

Mixed reactions to Wiley German deal | Research Information

Concerns have been raised over a new publishing deal between Wiley and a German consortium of 700 research institutes, libraries and universities. 

The deal, which is being described as the first country-wide agreement in a leading research nation, was announced at the APE conference in Berlin, Germany in January but the details have only recently been made public. The deal is described as ‘publish and read’, a system that is seen by some as a move towards open access….

Commentators have pointed out that the deal protects German researchers from ‘double-dipping’ – they will no longer have to subscribe to Wiley’s journals as well as paying to publish in them – but there have also been complaints that researchers in the Netherlands are paying a significantly lower fee (1,600 euros) to publish with Wiley.

Jon Tennant, founder of the Open Science MOOC, tweeted: ‘I find it impossible to see this as a success in any way. Public funds are being directly converted into private profits. This is absurd. The per-article cost is more than buying a brand new MacBook pro. For publishing a paper. Zero goes to authors, zero to reviewers.’ “

Plan S may ‘consolidate power of big publishers’, academy warns | Times Higher Education (THE)

Speaking at London Book Fair, James Rivington, head of publications at the British Academy which funds humanities and social science research, said many journals run by learned societies may struggle to adapt to Plan S rules (which come into effect in January 2020) and may seek commercial alliances to survive….”

Plan S may ‘consolidate power of big publishers’, academy warns | Times Higher Education (THE)

Speaking at London Book Fair, James Rivington, head of publications at the British Academy which funds humanities and social science research, said many journals run by learned societies may struggle to adapt to Plan S rules (which come into effect in January 2020) and may seek commercial alliances to survive….”