AMWA-EMWA-ISMPP joint position statement on medical publications, preprints, and peer review

“The potential value of rapid publication should be weighed against the potential harm of inadequate validation of the final output. There is a danger that lowering the threshold of publication oversight sets a precedent that cannot be easily reversed, potentially eroding standards and public trust in medical science2.

We have joined in a multi-party consortium among three eminent professional organizations for medical communication professionals – AMWA, EMWA, and ISMPP – to advocate for the adoption of standards by all stakeholders to better ensure the integrity of published scientific and medical information. Thus, the following Joint Position Statement has been developed to provide practical and implementable suggestions to uphold data integrity and quality, and the transparency of medical publications….”

Addressing the Alarming Systems of Surveillance Built By Library Vendors – SPARC

“On April 2nd, news broke that RELX subsidiary LexisNexis signed a multi-million dollar contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to reporting on the ICE contract by the Intercept, LexisNexis’ databases “offer an oceanic computerized view of a person’s existence” and will provide the agency with “the data it needs to locate people with little if any oversight.” 

While this contract may be new, it is just the latest development in an alarming trend that SPARC is following. Two major library vendors—RELX and Thomson Reuters—have been building sophisticated, global systems of surveillance that include online tracking technologies, massive aggregation of user data, and the sale of services based on this tracking, including to governments and law enforcement. 

Dollars from library subscriptions, directly or indirectly, now support these systems of surveillance. This should be deeply concerning to the library community and to the millions of faculty and students who use their products each day and further underscores the urgency of privacy protections as library services—and research and education more generally—are now delivered primarily online. …

As alarming as these surveillance technologies are in their own right, they may already be crossing into academic products. Surveillance researcher Wolfie Christl has reported ThreatMetrix tracking code is now embedded in the ScienceDirect website, raising serious questions about what patron information is being collected and toward what purposes….

The Library Freedom Project’s Vendor Privacy Scorecard highlights the many privacy concerns across a wide selection of library vendors….”

The Changing Landscape of Open Access Publishing: Can Open Access Publishing Make the Scholarly World More Equitable and Productive?

Abstract:  Almost 50% of scholarly articles are now open access in some form. This greatly benefits scholars at most institutions and is especially helpful to independent scholars and those without access to libraries. It also furthers the long-standing idea of knowledge as a public good. The changing dynamics of open access (OA) threaten this positive development by solidifying the pay-to-publish OA model which further marginalizes peripheral scholars and incentivizes the development of  sub-standard and predatory journals. Causal loop diagrams (CLDs) are used to illustrate these interactions.


Exploring Perpetual Access: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  When libraries transitioned their collection development from primarily print to greater reliance on e-resources, acquisition methods also shifted from a sales contract to a licensing business model. This shift effected the long-held perception that academic libraries support education and research through the preservation and provision of the scholarly record in perpetuity. Libraries can encourage copyright holders to participate in digital preservation initiatives, but to date few initiatives have seen a large uptake. Open Access publishing further amplifies this vulnerable situation. At risk is the assurance that digital scholarly content in all formats remains available to future users. This review of the digital preservation landscape examines a variety of case studies that shed light on the impact e-resource licensing strategies have on safeguarding perpetual access; the use of the unique rights libraries have under copyright law to preserve intellectual property; and the technological access complexities of digital preservation. Recognizing that practical, economic, and culturally responsive initiatives are limited by a library’s local capacity, the need to preserve e-resources has energized an increasing number of collaborative solutions. Using the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ concept that local efforts help build a National Digital Platform, this scan of diverse initiatives explores the evolving framework emerging in support of ensuring future access to digital scholarship.


A View Of The Future Of Our Data

“Similarly, many well-intentioned advocates of open data failed to see how free information has always concentrated power in the owners of the fastest information-processing machines. Like the publishers of centuries past, the richest technology companies will always lead in extracting value from open data, giving them unearned leverage over the rest of society. So putting data into the public domain actually does precisely the opposite of leveling the playing field.

If individual data ownership is Scylla, the mythical sea monster who devoured unwary sailors, then open data is Charybdis, the whirlpool near Scylla’s cave. Finding the narrow path between the two means treating data like a police force or a water system — that is, as the subject of widely shared yet deeply responsible governance….”

Balancing Privacy With Data Sharing for the Public Good – The New York Times

“This data protection agency could be combined with, a government website created in 2009 that assembles and hosts hundreds of thousands of data sets for public use. Together they could form a kind of federal data library, democratizing knowledge for the digital age.

Just as traditional libraries curate and organize their collections, so could a digital library, adding new data sources and cleaning and assembling them for public use. A federal data library could also take the lead in developing and using new tools such as differential privacy, a technique designed to preserve important features of data while protecting individual identities.

Data’s increasing value as an economic resource requires a new way of thinking. Strict privacy protections are needed to make socially valuable data available for the public good.”

On COVID-19, cognitive bias, and open access | PNAS

“The scientific literature, with its impenetrable jargon, field-specific methodologies, and assumptions of familiarity with a specific body of knowledge, is, for the most part, written for trained scientist readers. It’s certainly not optimally designed for the casual nonspecialist reader, nor should it be, and correcting biases in occasional readers of the scientific literature has not traditionally been the responsibility of the scientific community. The move toward open access publishing, however, in a way, is making it our responsibility, particularly if the idea is that the general public, having provided the means for federal funding of research, is owed immediate access to the products of that research. Making the scientific literature widely and immediately available probably should bring with it an obligation for making not just the data accessible but every aspect of scientific research more accessible….

One small step toward increasing the accessibility of data might be recognizing and addressing potential cognitive biases in an expanded version of a “significance statement,” an element that is appearing in an increasing number of scientific papers….

Today, instructions to authors specify that the Significance Statement should “explain the significance of the research at a level understandable to an undergraduate-educated scientist outside their field of specialty…..

As open access publication becomes the norm across the publishing landscape, making data more accessible while at the same time anticipating and making a greater effort to correct potential cognitive biases may be among many tools that the scientific community can use to reduce the likelihood of misperceptions that can lead to widespread rejection of policies and recommendations based on solid scientific evidence, a cultural phenomenon that appears to have grown as exponentially as COVID-19 in the United States in 2020….”

Will Plan S support or pervert Open Access ? | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

“From its inception, the open access movement has postulated that publishing costs should be controlled by research institutions and funded by redirecting resources after canceling journal subscriptions. In reality, things have proved more complex. Although « transformative agreements” that cover both publishing and reading have rapidly increased the percentage of articles published in open access in some institutions, the details of these agreements are generally kept secret and so their scope is difficult to compare.

Nevertheless, it is clear that making most articles open access but for a fee, if tariffs are not a realistic reflection of actual costs, will explode university library budgets (Harvard estimates this increase at 71%) and mark large differences in the ability to publish. Indeed, this could create a vicious circle whereby well-funded researchers publish more, gain more visibility as well as recognition and, as a result, get more funding.

If Plan S does not explicitly monitor and maintain, within the terms of its open publication requirement, an insurmountable ceiling on publication costs, these perverse effects of budget explosion will be inevitable. This is now where the challenge of communicating public research lies….”

Le Plan S et l’Open Access : soutien ou perversion ? | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

From Google’s English:  “Open access is enjoying increasing success . Since 2017, the majority of new articles in all academic disciplines, especially in science, have been published in open access. In 2020, at the request of UNESCO , most publishers removed toll barriers from articles on the COVID-19 pandemic in order to quickly understand the characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and accelerate the development of vaccines and treatments. In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic will have made many understand the usefulness, even the absolute necessity, of instant and open communication in the face of a large-scale collective challenge….

Another danger is that, by its binding nature (which is also its strength and its chance to operate), Plan S offers traditional publishers a tempting opportunity to demand publication rights (called APCs, article processing charges) excessively. high, in order not to cover costs, but to compensate for the shortfall in the cancellation of subscriptions….

Coalition S seeks to exert downward pressure on publishing prices by seeking transparency. When a grant recipient’s research is published, Plan S requires publishers to disclose their rates to funders, including the cost of services such as screening, organizing peer review. , improved writing and proofreading. The coalition is committed to sharing this information openly with authors and institutions, in the hope of ensuring some level of price control….

Some authors are also hesitant because of the requirement that they publish in prestigious and high-impact journals to obtain tenure, promotion or the means to carry out their work. In addition, they may fall victim to the misconception that journals which only offer open access articles lack rigor.


In addition, paying to publish in journals which benefit from the prestige of their publishing house creates a flagrant inequality between researchers according to the financial means at their disposal….”