Modes of access: the influence of dissemination channels on the use of open access monographs

Abstract:  Introduction. This paper studies the effects of several dissemination channels in an open access environment by analysing the download data of the OAPEN Library. 

Method. Download data were obtained containing the number of downloads and the name of the Internet provider. Based on public information, each Internet provider was categorised. The subject and language of each book were determined using metadata from the OAPEN Library. 

Analysis. Quantitative analysis was done using Excel, while the qualitative analysis was carried out using the statistical package SPSS. 

Results. Almost three quarters of all downloads come from users who do not use the Website www.oapen.org, but find the books by other means. Qualitative analysis found no evidence that channel use was influenced by user groups or the state of users’ Internet infrastructure; nor was any effect on channel use found for either the language or the subjects of the monographs. 

Conclusions. The results show that most readers are using the “direct download” channel, which occur if the readers use systems other than the OAPEN Library Website. This implies that making the metadata available in the user’s systems, the infrastructure used on a daily basis, ensures the best results.

Open Access for Impact: How Michael Nielsen Reached 3.5M Readers – SPARC

“Michael Nielsen recognizes that Open Access is often argued about in the abstract.  To help the discussion move from the conceptual to the concrete, he recently decided to openly share his experience of writing an open-access book, “Neural Networks and Deep Learning” http://neuralnetworksanddeeplearning.com/chap1.html  to illustrate the positive impact and far reach of online publishing….”

michael_nielsen on Twitter: “Open access is often argued about in the abstract. I want to talk about a specific case study where I have detailed data – usage patterns for my (open access) online book/monograph “Neural Networks and Deep Learning” https://t.co/Kwy23b9E11″

“Open access is often argued about in the abstract. I want to talk about a specific case study where I have detailed data – usage patterns for my (open access) online book/monograph “Neural Networks and Deep Learning” http://neuralnetworksanddeeplearning.com/chap1.html …

Would any of this have been possible closed access? Of course some of it would have. I might have made more money. But on nearly every other metric, I suspect being open access was a 100x or more multiplier on the impact….

To sum up: open access makes material freely available to people who would otherwise never even hear about it. This amplifying effect is not small, it is enormous.  And it applies in parts of the world woefully underserved by the existing publication system….

Some additional calibration data: an editor at a major academic press tells me great sales figures for a similar technical textbook in a “hot” field are typically about 5,000-10,000 a year.  So open access has a factor 200x or more here….”

Good citations | Feature | Law Society Gazette

“More academic journals are making their content freely available online through ‘open access’, making the dissemination of scholarly articles quicker and wider. [Jon Yorke, law professor at Birmingham City University] points to an academic paper he co-authored in 2013 on the EU and the abolition of the death penalty as ‘the most downloaded article in the Pace International Law Review’, with over 2,000 downloads by governments, institutions and non-governmental organisations.

‘With open access of journals globally, policy-makers can have at their fingertips instant access to the quality of material which they are required to [use to] form intricate arguments. It definitely helps them and they do listen to legal academics in that way,’ Yorke adds….”

Chris Bourg on the Compelling Vision for an Open Digital Commons

Chris Bourg, by L. Barry Hetherington, available under a CC-BY license

MIT Libraries Director Chris Bourg is one of the most salient voices in the library community for open access, diversity and inclusion, ethics in scholarly publishing, and social justice. As a keynote speaker for this year’s CC Global Summit, she’ll be discussing the nuances of the Open movement as an advocate for the digital commons and director of a major open access initiative.

Chris’s tweets and blog are must-follows – her dog, Jiffy, is an adorable and frequent guest star. In this interview, she discusses tech optimism, storytelling, diversity, and the fallacy of neutrality. Join Chris and more than 400 open advocates at the CC Global Summit in Toronto from April 13-15.

As an open movement, it’s become difficult to live our values as the web’s content Commons have become increasingly enclosed and the halcyon days of internet utopianism seem long over. As a prominent figure in the movement and a crusader for open, how can we do better? What are tangible and intangible steps we can take as a movement to move the needle? How can libraries play a role? I think that generally speaking, I’m an optimist, but not a tech utopian. So I think we keep focusing on the ultimate goal and reasons for promoting an open digital commons. There are compelling stories to be told about the harms of information scarcity and knowledge monopolies, and there are equally compelling stories about ways in which open access to knowledge and culture helps us solve big (and small) challenges across the globe. We have to unearth and tell those stories, and bring more people and communities in to the cause. In some ways, the increasing commercialization of not just scholarship, but of our own personal, social, and behavioral data may be the wake-up call that leads to the next wave of organizing around creating a truly open, non-commercial, digital commons. I think libraries can play a role by acting as the trusted facilitators of information creation, exchange, and preservation that we have always been. A digital commons that combines the values of openness and sharing with the values of privacy and informed choice sounds an awful lot like a library to me – or at least the kind of network of libraries that many of us aspire to create and maintain.

In your position as Director of MIT Libraries, you are an outspoken advocate for open access and knowledge resources. The question of why libraries need to stand up for open access has been answered in a variety of places, but why are the MIT libraries central to this fight? A big part of what drew me to this job at MIT is the fact that MIT, and the MIT libraries in particular, combine a strong cultural commitment to openness with an equally strong commitment to building the infrastructure needed to openly share knowledge resources. MIT has led before in making the fruits of its research and teaching open to the world; with Harvard in 2008 and 2009 on passing Faculty Open Access Policies, and before by launching Open CourseWare in 2000, with the mission of sharing all of MIT’s course content online, for free. When the MIT Faculty passed the OA policy in 2009, they turned to the libraries to implement the policy. The libraries at MIT have long been seen as a key player in facilitating the dissemination of MIT research to the world, and frankly, we’ve been pretty good at it. Nearly 50% of MIT faculty journal articles written since 2009 are openly available to the world – that’s nearly 27,000 articles, downloaded nearly 9.5 million times.

We are in a great position in the MIT libraries to be able to partner with leading scholars across the Institute, in Engineering, Sciences, Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Architecture and Planning, to strategize on what’s next for open access. Through the work of the recently launched Ad hoc Task force on Open Access to MIT’s Research, which I am co-chairing with Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Professor and founding director of Creative Commons, Hal Abelson, we are basically asking what’s next? How can we push the needle further, and how can MIT continue to lead? Creating a more open scholarly record will require changes at the technological, legal/regulatory, political, and social levels; so our task force has experts from all those perspectives represented. We are also reaching out to experts across the globe to inform our recommendations.

We talk a lot in libraryland about whether the open access movement and/or institutional repositories have been successful, but/and I think what MIT has been able to do in getting nearly 50% of the journal articles of our faculty in our open repository is a compelling success story. And that success story is an MIT Libraries story, so I feel some obligation to build on that success and to leverage it for the broader community of libraries and other organizations who share the goal of opening up our cultural and scholarly heritage to a global audience.

In his ALA talk this year, Junot Diaz pulled no punches when it came to the issues of diversity in libraries. “I wish that libraries would finally have a reckoning and know that [staffs that are] 88% white means 5000% percent agony for people of color, no matter how liberal and enlightened you think you are,” he said. You cited this quote in a recent talk as well. In your opinion, how can we do better as a movement for free and open knowledge? As librarians, researchers, scientists, and artists? How can we, in his words, “decolonize libraries,” or in the parlance of this conference, “decolonize open?” I think we always have to ask who and what is missing, and continue to work to not just be more inclusive, but also to decenter white, western knowledge; and center the knowledge of marginalized communities.

But/and, instead of doing it ourselves we need to look to the people who are doing this work in and with those communities. Two examples I love are the work being done by Anasuya Sengupta and her colleagues at whoseknowledge.org, and P. Sanaith’s work creating and maintaining the People’s Archive of Rural India.

Decolonizing scholarship and decolonizing the web will require radical collaboration across many social, geographical, and political divides; and will have to be based on mutual exchanges of knowledge and skills. All of that requires trust, which is something that takes time to build and is based on relationships and authentic human connection. So if we want to decolonize open, then maybe we need to decolonize our social networks first.

One of the longest running and most frustrating conversations within libraries is whether they are “neutral.” (As you write, you are strongly on the “hell no” side.) Can you speak to the politics of neutrality within the open movement, and particularly as it regards seemingly “neutral” actors like CC licenses and libraries? How does the conversation about “neutrality” relate to issues of diversity and inclusion within the free knowledge movement? I don’t think of CC licenses or libraries as neutral. They are both predicated on the idea that people ought to have the ability to freely create, share, and access knowledge and cultural materials. That’s actually a pretty radical idea. Even if CC licenses and libraries can be and are used to provide access to a huge range of ideas and viewpoints, that doesn’t make them neutral. One of the arguments I make is that you can’t be neutral if one side argues that certain ideas should not be available in libraries (whether those ideas are contained in books representing LGBTQ families, or in gatherings of neo-Nazis) and another side argues that you have to include all ideas and viewpoints. You can’t satisfy both sides – you can’t keep the LGBTQ book and not keep the LGBTQ book at the same time. I may start calling this the Schrodinger’s Library argument against neutrality.

The fact that libraryland continues to have these debates about neutrality is really frustrating, and is very much related to issues of diversity and inclusion. So many of the library debates about neutrality are theoretical and academic and detached, and I think that reflects the stark lack of diversity in our profession. Too often the argument that it is a moral imperative for libraries to represent all sides of an issue, and to serve all patrons regardless of beliefs, come from a position of privilege and relative safety. For marginalized folks, it can feel like these debates about neutrality are really debates about whether we have to honor and engage with people who deny our very humanity and seek our destruction. Many of us would argue that allowing those who deny the humanity and basic dignity of others to coopt the legitimacy of our libraries and our profession to spread their hatred and intimidation is not in any way a neutral choice.

What is the need for Creative Commons today and why are you coming to keynote the Summit? What I love about Creative Commons and the CC community is that it is driven by a compelling vision of an open digital commons, and that it provides the tools for people across the globe to choose how they want to participate in that commons. That combination of an abiding belief that openly accessible culture and knowledge are good for society, with a commitment to honoring individual choice is powerful; and it resonates with what I think is needed to advance the perpetual project of decolonizing and opening up the internet.

The post Chris Bourg on the Compelling Vision for an Open Digital Commons appeared first on Creative Commons.

Kristin Antelman, Leveraging the Growth of Open Access in Library Collection Decision Making

“A primary goal for collection management is assessing the relative value of continuing information resources. A variety of new environmental factors and data are pertinent to relative value. One of the emerging metrics is the degree to which the articles within a subscription journal are also available open access (OA). That OA level directly affects the value of a journal subscription. This paper outlines a theoretical model for accounting for open access in decision making by proposing an Open Access-adjusted Cost per Download metric. Refinements to the metric are also discussed, as well as how it can be applied, and the broader scholarly communication implications of leveraging open access in library decision making….

From the perspective of the individual institution, transformation of the broader scholarly communication system will always be indirect. Each research library can focus on journal value, supporting new OA models where applicable, and making decisions that support management flexibility suitable for a rapidly changing environment. Since the library shields costs from journals’ primary stakeholders (readers), the library bears the responsibility to be good stewards of those resources. If we choose not to use OA in decision making, even as the data becomes more readily available and reliable, we are not being good stewards of our institutional resources, and we are not serving future researchers as much as we could be through development of collectively heterogeneous and deep collections.33 One of the broadest questions research libraries are faced with is an ethical one: are we perpetuating a legacy, and suboptimal, scholarly communication system that does not best serve either current or future researchers? While the impact of the perpetuation of the traditional journal subscription model on research libraries’ collective collection diversity is out of scope here, it is relevant to note that continued commitment to the model, especially in the form of a big deal, constrains experimentation with—and adoption of—new OA funding models. The resulting lack of budget flexibility, even in the presence of organizational will to make substantive changes, consigns OA-related initiatives to the margins where they are largely disconntected from the core players and systemwide economic forces. Transition to a competitive OA journal market will require disruption of the current market.34 Until libraries use all available data, including about OA, to reduce expenditures on traditional subscription journals, large publishers will continue to develop a separate author-facing market (Hybrid OA) and to restrict non-market OA (Green). A meaningfully reduced spending on traditional subscription journals will push lower value journals into unsustainability as subscription journals; they may then become viable through competing for authors as Gold OA journals, or they may be nonviable and be eliminated. The OA-adjusted Cost per Download is one tool to support libraries in leveraging, and even just thinking about, all of the data that is available to us in a rapidly changing scholarly communication landscape.”

The Evolving Institutional Repository Landscape

“”To gain insights and gather data on IR operations, we conducted interviews, an open survey, and web research to obtain a snapshot of the current perspective and potential role of IRs in a changing landscape….The Directory of Open Access Repositories (DOAR) in the UK includes various types of repositories, such as disciplinary (e.g., arXiv) and governmental (e.g., NLM). Isolating institutional repositories worldwide shows a total of nearly 3,000 IRs. Data from DOAR indicates that there are 478 IRs in 396 institutions in North America. However, an analysis of clients listed on the websites of five platform providers suggests that there are at least 600 IRs in an estimated 500 organizations in North America….When asked about content migration, 25% indicated that they had plans to migrate in the next one to three years, while more than half of the remaining 75% indicated no plans to migrate at this time….IRs depend on Google for content discovery, and that requires attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Fortunately, SEO was the top activity of survey respondents to increase discovery, followed by more traditional library tools, metadata, and open access resources….The leading metric identified by survey respondents was growth over time, which recognizes the effort involved in building this digital collection. Usage metrics on the performance of the repository were followed by a total of items added in the current period….According to survey respondents, deposits were made by librarians at 94% of IRs. Although half of institutions indicate that faculty and students make deposits, it is clear that the majority of content is mediated or deposited by library staff. Nearly half of the institutions have one or less than one equivalent staff working on the IR. The average staff for an IR is one or two people….”

IRUS-UK

“IRUS-UK (Institutional Repository Usage Statistics UK) is a Jisc-funded national aggregation service, which provides COUNTER-conformant usage statistics for all content downloaded from participating UK institutional repositories (IRs)….

The service consolidates COUNTER-conformant statistics providing opportunities to demonstrate the value and impact of IRs:

  • facilitates comparable, standards-based measurements
  • provides an evidence base for repositories to develop policies and initiatives to help support their objectives
  • provides consistent and comprehensive statistics, presenting opportunities for benchmarking at a national level
  • developing a user community that will ensure that the service is responsive to user requirements….”

Fordham Law Faculty Ranks High on SSRN

“Fordham Law School’s faculty rank among the most prolific and most highly downloaded legal scholarship writers, according to SSRN, a widely used open-access online repository. Fordham Law professors rank 8th all-time among U.S. and international law schools in authors posting papers (245), 18th in papers posted (1,379), and 20th in total number of downloads (335,295), based on figures updated on Jan. 1 listing SSRN’s top 750 law schools. In the past 12 months, Fordham also ranked 22nd in the United States and 27th globally in total downloads (37,113), and 22nd and 36th respectively in number of new papers (85)….”

Open and Shut?: Realising the BOAI vision: Peter Suber’s Advice

Peter Suber’s high-priority recommendations for advancing OA.