“Even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, staff at MIT Press were noticing a problem with preprint servers. Over time, more and more preprints were being published and drifting into mainstream media, even government, in ways that weren’t always helpful and were sometimes even misleading.
Then came coronavirus. As Nick Lindsay, director of journals and open access at MIT Press, puts it: ‘These issues were exacerbated as the sheer volume of research we were seeing on bioRxiv, medRxiv and other preprint servers was immense. Literally thousands of preprints were going out there with no review, and we started to see some really troubling things take place.’
Amid the torrent of data released onto preprint servers, research clangers emerged and withdrawals, retractions and expressions of concern followed. For example, in late January, 2020, a bioRXiv preprint from a group of researchers from the India Institute of Technology reported HIV insertions in the spike of SARS-CoV-2 that were not present in past coronaviruses. The researchers also speculated these had been placed in the virus intentionally. Then around a week later, a ResearchGate preprint from a researcher at the South China University of Technology and colleague, proposed that coronavirus ‘probably originated from a laboratory’….
Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19), headed up by Professor Stefano Bertozzi from Public Health at the the University of California Berkeley, quickly followed. Described as an ‘open-access overlay journal’, the publication aims to accelerate the peer review of Covid-19-related research preprints to advance findings and prevent the dissemination of false or misleading news….”
“The American Academy of Arts & Sciences and The MIT Press are today announcing that Daedalus, Journal of the American Academy, will now be an open access publication. The MIT Press has published Daedalus on behalf of the Academy since 2003. Years of volumes and hundreds of essays previously behind a paywall have been ungated and made freely available….”
Epistemic Alienation in African Scholarly Communications: Open Access as a Pharmakon – Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou
Scholarly Communications and Social Justice – Charlotte Roh, Harrison W. Inefuku, and Emily Drabinski
Social Justice and Inclusivity: Drivers for the Dissemination of African Scholarship – Reggie Raju, Jill Claassen, Namhla Madini, and Tamzyn Suliaman
Can Open Scholarly Practices Redress Epistemic Injustice? – Denisse Albornoz, Angela Okune, and Leslie Chan
When the Law Advances Access to Learning: Locke and the Origins of Modern Copyright – John Willinsky
How Does a Format Make a Public? – Robin de Mourat, Donato Ricci, and Bruno Latour
Peer Review: Readers in the Making of Scholarly Knowledge – David Pontille and Didier Torny
The Making of Empirical Knowledge: Recipes, Craft, and Scholarly Communication – Pamela H. Smith, Tianna Helena Uchacz, Naomi Rosenkranz, and Claire Conklin Sabel
The Royal Society and the Noncommercial Circulation of Knowledge – Aileen Fyfe
The Political Histories of UK Public Libraries and Access to Knowledge – Stuart Lawson
Libraries and Their Publics in the United States – Maura A. Smale
Open Access, “Publicity,” and Democratic Knowledge – John Holmwood
Libraries, Museums, and Archives as Speculative Knowledge Infrastructure – Bethany Nowviskie
Preserving the Past for the Future: Whose Past? Everyone’s Future – April M. Hathcock
Is There a Text in These Data? The Digital Humanities and Preserving the Evidence – Dorothea Salo
Accessing the Past, or Should Archives Provide Open Access? – István Rév
Infrastructural Experiments and the Politics of Open Access – Jonathan Gray
The Platformization of Open – Penny C. S. Andrews
Reading Scholarship Digitally – Martin Paul Eve
Toward Linked Open Data for Latin America – Arianna Becerril-García and Eduardo Aguado-López
The Pasts, Presents, and Futures of SciELO – Abel L. Packer
Not Self-Indulgence, but Self-Preservation: Open Access and the Ethics of Care – Eileen A. Joy
Toward a Global Open-Access Scholarly Communications System: A Developing Region Perspective – Dominique Babini
Learned Societies, Humanities Publishing, and Scholarly Communication
“The MIT Press has received a three-year $850,000 grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for open-access (OA) monographs. The press, a leader in OA publishing for almost 25 years, will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front- and backlist titles.
Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press and principal investigator for the grant, sees it as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly monographs. “Until the mid-1990s, most U.S. university presses could count on sales of 1,300–1,700 units, but today monograph sales are typically in the range of 300–500 units,” says Brand. “Many presses make up this difference with internal subsidies or subventions from institutional or philanthropic sources, but this is not sustainable and often unpredictable. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, this generous award from Arcadia will allow us to develop and test a flexible OA sustainability model that can then be adapted to the needs of our peers.”
There is growing consensus within the university press community that publishing academic monographs through a durable OA model may be the best way to advance scholarship and fulfill their mission. The U.S.-based Association of University Presses comprises 148 member presses that collectively publish approximately 15,000 monographs per year. Crafting and promoting a viable OA model for this community — and leading the way, as the MIT Press intends to do — would represent a major breakthrough….”
“Preprint servers play an increasingly important role in the scholarly publishing landscape. They are a popular platform for researchers to get early feedback on their research. They are also a space where researchers can publish research products and data sets not typically published in traditional journals. The process is fast — publication of open-access research that anyone can read is immediate.
The downside of this open publication system is that sometimes controversial or poor-quality research can garner a lot of attention on social media or in news articles, said Stefano Bertozzi, professor of health policy and management at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health. In the clamor for information about COVID-19, it is easy for misinformation to spread online, he said.
To combat this, MIT Press and the Berkeley School of Public Health are launching a new COVID-19 journal, one that will peer review preprint articles getting a lot of attention — elevating the good research and debunking the bad.
The Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 journal will be led by Bertozzi, who will serve as the first editor in chief. Unlike a traditional journal, authors will not submit their work for review. Instead, the Rapid Reviews team will select and review already-published preprint articles — a publishing model known as an overlay journal. …”
“The MIT Press announced today the launch of Rapid Reviews: COVID-19 (RR:C19), an open access, rapid-review overlay journal that will accelerate peer review of COVID-19-related research and deliver real-time, verified scientific information that policymakers and health leaders can use….
Using artificial intelligence tools, a global team will identify promising scholarship in preprint repositories, commission expert peer reviews, and publish the results on an open access platform in a completely transparent process. The journal will strive for disciplinary and geographic breadth, sourcing manuscripts from all regions and across a wide variety of fields, including medicine; public health; the physical, biological, and chemical sciences; the social sciences; and the humanities. RR:C19 will also provide a new publishing option for revised papers that are positively reviewed….”
“Thanks to a three-year, $850,000 grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, the MIT Press is performing a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and will develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for open access (OA) monographs. The Press, a leader in OA publishing for almost 25 years, will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front and backlist titles….”
“I’m excited to announce that the MIT Press has published its first open access (OA) monographs on the MIT Press Direct platform. Supported by a generous grant from the Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, the project is part of a larger initiative to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly works on specialized subjects.
In 2019, the MIT Press received a three-year $850,000 grant from the Arcadia Fund to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for OA monographs. As part of the project, the Press will also undertake a pilot program to implement the resulting framework for scholarly front and backlist titles….”
Note: PLOS and other prominent organizations delivered the following letter to the Trump Administration on January 17, 2020. We encourage all publishing organizations and scholarly societies who would like to join us in support of OA in the USA to reach out to us at email@example.com — we can prepare an expanded letter with more signatories as necessary. Please also consider voicing your support on social media with the hashtag #OAintheUSA.
“The Knowledge Futures Group is a non-profit technology organization where promising new projects nurtured at knowledge institutions get built to scale and compete with proprietary alternatives.
Founded at MIT, directed by educators, publishers, and technologists, and supported by a consortium of funders and partners, the KFG brings the intelligence and experience of knowledge institutions together with the product development speed and capacity of technology companies.