How paywalls are poisoning public-interest research | The Spinoff

“Today, 51% of our New Zealand-based university research is made available to everyone – either through a university repository or by being published in a journal committed to using Creative Commons or other open licensing.

Which left a small group of highly profitable publishers in want of a business model. Enter the Performance Based Research Fund and international competition for university rankings.

When publishers with 40% profit margins start rebranding themselves as “information analytics” companies, it’s a good idea to take a close look at what they’re up to.

Let’s step back to 1955….”

The Colombo Statement: IDUAI 2018

“Having attended “The Asian Digital Revolution: Transforming the Digital Divide into a Digital Dividend through Universal Access”, a commemorative event held to celebrate the International Day for Universal Acces to Information (IDUAI) in Colombo on 28-29 September 2018:…

Considering the 2011 Strategy on UNESCO’s contribution to the promotion of Open Access (OA) to scientific information and research and taking into account specific needs in the countries of the South;…

The participants: …

Reaffirm the importance of empowering all citizens, especially young women and men and persons with disabilities, to develop a culture of openness and to become creators of content and innovation, including through access to information and quality education.

Reiterate the understanding of the Dakar Declaration on Open Access for the Global South, and state the necessity for establishing polycentric governance mechanisms for OA research and recommend that institutions and governments urgently collaborate to pilot and develop policies and enabling mechanisms to promote and publicize Open Scholarship and Open Science.

Call upon the governments to take firm steps and develop policies to mandate all the publicly funded research are available under Open Access; and also to earmark enough funding for necessary infrastructural and capacity enhancement.

Appreciate the Ljubljana Ministerial Statement and Open Educational Resources [OER] Action Plan 2017 which recognizes OER as a strategic opportunity to increase knowledge sharing and universal access to quality learning and teaching resources and call upon Governments and all relevant educational stakeholders, including civil society, to mainstream OER making them more broadly accessible including to persons with disabilities in support of achieving the Education 2030 Agenda.

Note the need to ensure institution-wide multi-sectoral training, attuned to people’s divergent and discrete needs, in particular those of disadvantaged groups and individuals, and designed to accustom and familiarize the community towards a more inclusive environment which can integrate the latest available technology (ODL, OER, FOSS, OA, etc.) into learning, teaching and training routines, applying the tenets of universal design for learning including UNESCO’s just published Competency Framework…

Recommend that OER be made accessible across media, including smart mobile devices and offline, in flexible and inclusive formats that support their effective and widest possible use, including by persons with disadvantages or disabilities, to learning, teaching and training, again in accordance with the tenets of relevant best practice….”

 

The economic implications of alternative publishing models: Prometheus: Vol 28, No 1

Abstract:  A knowledge economy has been defined as one in which the generation and exploitation of knowledge has come to play the predominant part in the creation of wealth. It is not simply about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge; it is also about the more effective use and exploitation of all types of knowledge in all manner of economic activities. One key question is whether there are new opportunities and new models for scholarly publishing that might better serve researchers and more effectively communicate and disseminate research findings. Building on previous work, this paper looks at the costs and potential benefits of alternative models for scientific and scholarly publishing, describing the approach and methods used and summarising the findings of a study undertaken for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the United Kingdom. It concludes that different publishing models can make a material difference to the costs faced and benefits realised from research communication, and it seems likely that more open access to findings from publicly funded research would have substantial net benefits.

Time to break academic publishing’s stranglehold on research | New Scientist

“HERE is a trivia question for you: what is the most profitable business in the world? You might think oil, or maybe banking. You would be wrong. The answer is academic publishing. Its profit margins are vast, reportedly in the region of 40 per cent.

The reason it is so lucrative is because most of the costs of its content is picked up by taxpayers. Publicly funded researchers do the work, write it up and judge its merits. And yet the resulting intellectual property ends up in the hands of the publishers. To rub salt into the wound they then sell it via exorbitant subscriptions and paywalls, often paid for by taxpayers too. (Some readers may scent a whiff of hypocrisy, given New Scientist also charges for its content. But good journalism does not come free.)

 

 

 

The academic publishing business model is indefensible. Practically everybody – even the companies that profit from it – acknowledges that it has to change. And yet the status quo has proven extremely resilient.

The latest attempt to break the mould is called Plan S, created by umbrella group cOAlition S. It demands that all publicly funded research be made freely available (see “An audacious new plan will make all science free. Can it work?”). When Plan S was unveiled in September, its backers expected support to snowball. But only a minority of Europe’s 43 research funding bodies have signed up, and hoped-for participation from the US has failed to materialise. Meanwhile, a grass-roots campaign against it is gathering momentum.

Plan S deserves a chance. The scientists who oppose it have real concerns, but are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Research funders should put their worries aside too, on behalf of the taxpayers who fill their coffers. Plan S only works if everyone gets on board; if it fails, it is hard to see how the iron grip of academic publishing can ever be broken….”

Inefficient publishing industry costs us billions. Unrealized opportunities cost us much more.

“Almost 20 years since Budapest Open Access Initiative, library consortia are finally leading the move with large scale journal cancellations. Editors can preserve and improve journal’s reputation and quality by changing to fairer and better services.

The new Plan S initiative by major national research funding agencies declares paywalled publishing venues unsuitable for their funded researchers. Still room is left for pay-to-publish barriers, where numerous problems have been documented.

Both initiatives still affect only tiny fractions of global academic publishing and we are currently very far from a large scale transition to cheaper more efficient models allowed by available technologies….”

Scaling up paywalled academic article sharing by legal means

“It was a Sunday afternoon at the summer house in the Finnish countryside. Sitting by the lake to keep cool in blazing heat I was lazily browsing Twitter. That’s when I bumped into this widely shared tweet by Holly Witteman: “If you read a paper, 100% goes to the publisher. If you just email us to ask for our papers, we are allowed to send them to you for free, and will be genuinely delighted to do so.” Those who are not familiar with how the publishing industry works might wonder why could such an archaic means for sharing knowledge be in anyone’s interest. Research papers have been in digital format for a while and the internet, which was originally invented by Tim Berners Lee precisely for sharing articles between researchers, has been there for 20 years. Surely there are more effective ways for sharing than email….

At Iris.ai we’re working to change that by launching R4R. By facilitating requesting and sharing of papers via email, the initiative aims to make the process of sharing as speedy and frictionless as possible, targeting particularly those resources that are not yet accessible via open repositories. Technically R4R is a simple tool designed for unlocking access to scholarly articles when the existing open access services fall short….”

 

HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week | US Department of Health and Human Services

“Experts say the database of carefully curated medical guidelines is one of a kind, used constantly by medical professionals, and on July 16 will ‘go dark’ due to budget cuts.

The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for doctors, researchers and others in the medical community. Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the database is known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse [NGC], and it’s scheduled to “go dark,” in the words of an official there, on July 16. Medical guidelines like those compiled by AHRQ aren’t something laypeople spend much time thinking about, but experts like Valerie King, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Research at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said the NGC is perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available. “Guideline.gov was our go-to source, and there is nothing else like it in the world,” King said, referring to the URL at which the database is hosted, which the agency says receives about 200,000 visitors per month. “It is a singular resource,” King added. Medical guidelines are best thought of as cheatsheets for the medical field, compiling the latest research in an easy-to use format. When doctors want to know when they should start insulin treatments, or how best to manage an HIV patient in unstable housing — even something as mundane as when to start an older patient on a vitamin D supplement — they look for the relevant guidelines. The documents are published by a myriad of professional and other organizations, and NGC has long been considered among the most comprehensive and reliable repositories in the world. AHRQ said it’s looking for a partner that can carry on the work of NGC, but that effort hasn’t panned out yet. “AHRQ agrees that guidelines play an important role in clinical decision making, but hard decisions had to be made about how to use the resources at our disposal,” said AHRQ spokesperson Alison Hunt in an email. The operating budget for the NGC last year was $1.2 million, Hunt said, and reductions in funding forced the agency’s hand.”

The New Government Omnibus Spending Bill Shows That Science Advocacy Matters

“Congress will now be required to post Congressional Research Service reports (reports on policy issues that are completed by Congress’s research arm) on the Internet. This will mean better public access to nonpartisan, taxpayer-funded research and ensure transparency, something UCS has long been advocating for….”

Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy into a Legal Right to Know | John Willinsky | Slaw

“Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.”

I raise this policy because, what began a decade ago, has only grown in scope, in Canada and globally, suggesting open access is here to say. This seems worth considering in terms of its implications for the Canadian government’s current review and potential reform of the Copyright Act.

The first thing to note with Tri-Agency Policy is that it considerably abridges the author and publisher’s right to restrict access, limiting it to twelve months rather fifty years after the author’s death (whether the author retains the copyright or assigns it to the publisher, which is often a condition for publication in scholarly publishing). This is a radical turnaround, given that Canada, like other countries, had previously done nothing but extend the copyright term limit, from the original twenty-eight years, with a fourteen-year extension, of the first Copyright Act of 1875….”

Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy into a Legal Right to Know | John Willinsky | Slaw

“Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from Agency-supported research are freely accessible within 12 months of publication.”

I raise this policy because, what began a decade ago, has only grown in scope, in Canada and globally, suggesting open access is here to say. This seems worth considering in terms of its implications for the Canadian government’s current review and potential reform of the Copyright Act.

The first thing to note with Tri-Agency Policy is that it considerably abridges the author and publisher’s right to restrict access, limiting it to twelve months rather fifty years after the author’s death (whether the author retains the copyright or assigns it to the publisher, which is often a condition for publication in scholarly publishing). This is a radical turnaround, given that Canada, like other countries, had previously done nothing but extend the copyright term limit, from the original twenty-eight years, with a fourteen-year extension, of the first Copyright Act of 1875….”