Power and the paywall: A Black feminist reflection on the socio-spatial formations of publishing

“Who owns knowledge? How do we disseminate it to benefit societal goals and values that speak norms of justice? Who should have access to knowledge? For whom should knowledge serve? In our time, the highly active landscape of knowledge production via publication, with widespread immediate interconnectivity of scholars around the world, allows for the making of a stronger intellectual community. It can be argued that this one of many impacts of globalization, in that academics are more interconnected than ever before, just as world economies, geopolitics, and global media. Moreover, the scholars who present new knowledges or make visible alternative knowledges come from a wider range of backgrounds than ever before, including non-white/Euro-descendant racial and ethnic groups, working class people, all genders, all sexualities, and non-Western nations. Beyond that, scholars are engaging with a broader body of research subjects and ideas that can transform society in exciting ways.

Understanding this means that theorizing the possibilities of open access is a productive dialogue. The challenges of paywalls are multiple and overlapping. Engaging in such debates calls for deconstructing the value of knowledge repositories guarded behind a pay schedule. There are a number of questions to raise regarding the gatekeeping mechanisms of paywalls: How do paywalls represent a form of power? For what reason do we create a financial barrier to intellectual labor? Aside from hosting intellectual work (in digital and print form), what is the necessity of creating a corporate system that profits from labor that journal hosting bodies are not financially or otherwise accountable to? The perspective in this paper is largely situated in a North American – primarily United States-based – perspective….

Widespread open access publishing would bring about a more just distribution of knowledge within the United States and globally.”

Personal open access report with one click – SNF

Which of my scientific publications are openly accessible? As of now, researchers in Switzerland can find the answer to this question by using the “SNSF Open Access Check” web application. This prototype searches articles that have been published since 2015.

Will Trump White House tear down journal paywalls? Many anxiously await a decision | Science | AAAS

“Scientific publishers, universities, librarians, and open-access (OA) advocates are waiting anxiously to see whether the Trump administration will end a long-standing policy and require that every scholarly article produced with U.S. funding be made immediately free to all.

Such a mandate has long been fiercely opposed by some publishers and scientific societies that depend on subscription revenues from journals. But critics of paywalls argue they are expensive and outmoded, and that tearing them down is the best way to advance scientific research.

On 6 May, the deadline passed on a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for public comments on ways to expand public access to the fruits of federally funded research, including published papers, data, and computer codes. In February, OSTP also asked for input on the benefits and challenges of making the roughly 220,000 papers produced annually by U.S.-funded researchers immediately free on publication, and on “effective approaches” to making that happen….”

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak highlights serious deficiencies in scholarly communication | Impact of Social Sciences

“As research and government responses to the COVID-19 outbreak escalate in the face of a global public health crisis, Vincent Larivière, Fei Shu and Cassidy R. Sugimoto reflect on efforts to make research on this subject more widely available. Arguing that a narrow focus on research published in high ranking journals predominantly in English has impeded research efforts, they suggest that the renewed emphasis on carrying out open research on the virus presents an opportunity to reassess how research and scholarly communication systems serve the public good….

This is a positive step, but it does not go far enough to address public needs. The papers and book chapters that have been liberated by this measure represent only a tiny proportion of the available literature on coronavirus. According to the Web of Science (WOS), 13,818 articles have been published on the topic of coronaviruses since the late 1960s. More than half (51.5%) of these articles remain closed to access. The coronavirus is admittedly a large family of viruses and one might question relevance of older works to the current outbreak. However, as an example, the three papers on COVID-19 published in the February 15th issue of the Lancet relied on 69 distinct WOS-indexed papers, of which 73.2% are in the set of 13,818 coronaviruses papers. The oldest reference in these papers is to 1988, underscoring the fact that although the corona virus may be novel, research on the corona virus in fact draws on a long tail of often closed research literature….

The embeddedness of this scientific literature within much wider streams of research also highlights the limitations of this approach. The 13,818 coronavirus articles cite more than 200,000 articles—from virology to cancer and from public health, to genetics and heredity (Figure 1). Less than one third of the cited articles from which the “coronavirus articles” drew information and inspiration were other “coronavirus articles”. …”

Open and Shut: Open Access in Hybrid Educational Technology Journals 2010 – 2017 | The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning

Abstract:  Little is known about open access publishing in educational technology journals that employ a hybrid model which charges authors only if they wish to publish via gold open access. In this study we sought to address this gap in the scholarly understanding of open access publishing in hybrid journals that publish research into the intersection of education and technology. We analysed three categories of article access types: gold, green, and limited access, and collected data on their prevalence in the seven-year period from 2010-2017 across 29 journals. Data was gathered from Scopus, Unpaywall, Sherpa RoMEO, and via manual searches of the journal websites, resulting in a dataset comprising the metadata of 8,479 articles. Our findings highlight that most research remains locked behind paywalls, that open access publishing through legal means is a minority activity for the scholars involved, and that the complexity and costs of legal open access publishing in these journals may be inhibiting the accessibility of research to readers.


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….”

Simba Information: Scientific & Technical Publishing Bucked Headwinds, Posted Strong Growth in 2018

“The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.

The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers….”

Reprints Desk | Home

At Reprints Desk, we are revolutionizing the way research is traditionally done by making personalized access to full-text scientific literature and intelligent data insights time- and cost effective. Reprints Desk’s award-winning Article Galaxy research intelligence platform, powered by an ecosystem of interconnected, app-like gadgets, coupled with unparalleled, 24/7 customer support, makes Reprints Desk the first choice of R&D organizations worldwide….”

The open access wars: How to free science from academic paywalls – Vox

“This is a story about more than subscription fees. It’s about how a private industry has come to dominate the institutions of science, and how librarians, academics, and even pirates are trying to regain control.

The University of California is not the only institution fighting back. “There are thousands of Davids in this story,” says University of California Davis librarian MacKenzie Smith, who, like so many other librarians around the world, has been pushing for more open access to science. “But only a few big Goliaths.”

Will the Davids prevail?…”

We just moved off of Medium and onto freeCodeCamp News. Here’s how you can use it – Contributors – The freeCodeCamp Forum

For example, I am one of the most-followed authors on Medium, with 158,000 followers. And yet Medium barely shows my articles to anyone anymore.

Here’s are Medium’s analytics for an article I wrote about freeCodeCamp’s efforts to help more blind people learn to code ….

Medium only showed the article to about 1,000 people total, despite nearly half of all people who viewed it reading the entire thing.

The reason: I didn’t put my article behind Medium’s paywall.

As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much “distribution” within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall.

At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay.

This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible….”