Pressure to publish and TA journal delays make OA journals look good

Melissa Gregg, Damn the publishers, The Australian Higher Education, May 27, 2009.  (Thanks to Colin Steele.)  Excerpt:

How much longer can Australian universities accept the lack of outlets to publish research in this country? The Excellence in Research for Australia [ERA] initiative will make publishing outcomes more important than ever….

Scholarly publishing for unknown authors is in a state of almost complete lock-down. Leading professors will tell you it’s been that way for years….

The ERA emphasis on quality and quantity bears no realistic relationship to the opportunities that are available to the majority….

The situation is nothing short of alienating. The highlight of the job – getting published – has become an exercise in minimising losses from poor odds.

If emerging scholars were actually consulted about the changes affecting their prospects, they’d testify that open access journals with effective peer review systems already demonstrate alternatives to this model. Aside from the worldwide exposure it offers research, the great benefit of online publishing is its speed. It allows young academics to contribute to their field in a timeframe that can match today’s steep requirements for employability….

Comment.  Note that the January 2009 draft guidelines for the ERA research assessment program expect that most research articles will be deposited in OA repositories.  (I don’t know whether this expectation made it into the final version of the guidelines.)  Apparently that deliberate, direct support for green OA has been supplemented in practice by inadvertent, indirect support for gold OA, as scholars like Gregg discover that the delays at conventional TA journals hinder their career advancement under the new rules.

Suggestions on cancelling journals

Barbara Fister, Notes from a Catastrophe: Easing the Pain of Budget Cuts, Library Journal, May 28, 2009.

Nine suggestions for librarians on how to cancel journal subscriptions when rising prices and shrinking budgets make it necessary.  Here’s the ninth:

Take advantage of a teachable moment: Discuss with faculty how you see their students doing research. Help them understand how much full-text databases and the familiarity of Google have influenced undergraduate research practices. Talk about what’s behind the crazy escalation in the cost of journals. Tell them how to find journals they can publish in that are open access and why that may make their own research more likely to be cited. You could even make an opportunity to take your own stand —as we did [at Gustavus Adolphus College] when our library passed its own open access pledge….

OA survey for scholars in the humanities and social sciences

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is running a survey on OA for scholars in the humanities and social sciences. 

Don’t be deterred by the German introduction.  The survey itself is in English.  (Here’s the introduction in Google’s English.)

PS:  In my first draft of this post, I mistakenly said that the whole survey was in German.  Thanks to Klaus Graf for the correction.

Over the horizon: document sharing with Google Wave

This morning at the Google I/O Developer Conference (San Francisco, May 27-28, 2009), Google launched a developer preview of a new communications platform called Wave 

Wave will be open source, rest on open standards (particularly HTML 5), and offer open APIs.  It’s an ambitious, versatile tool that will implicate OA primarily in the ways in which it supports document sharing and collaborative document writing. 

For an early review of Wave’s capabilities, see the article by Juan Carlos Perez in PC World or the article by MG Siegler in TechCrunch.

Also see the Wave "about" page, the Wave developer blog.

Update (5/29/09).  The 120 minute video demo of Wave wasn’t available yesterday but it’s available today.  Recommended. 

OA bibliography of Canadian books moves to new home

Library and Archives Canada, Launch of Book History Databases, press release, April 24, 2009. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the launch of five major databases which catalogue thousands of publications on the history of print culture in Canada from its beginnings in the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century [History of the Book in Canada].

These scholarly electronic resources, which have been available through the Internet via Dalhousie University’s website since 2003, were originally funded in 2000 by a Major Collaborative Research Initiative Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Not only were they developed to support the preparation of publishing six volumes (three in English, three in French) chronicling the history of print culture in Canada, but also to establish important resources for advancing the field when the project concluded. …

Recognizing the value of this rich suite of databases for Canadian scholarship, Library and Archives Canada has agreed to receive and relaunch the databases, so that they will continue to be publicly accessible and will grow in importance as new records are added and thus contribute to Canadian studies and History of the Book scholarship in significant ways.

Article metrics at PLoS

Peter Binfield, Article-Level Metrics at PLoS (presentation to NISO), everyONE, May 27, 2009.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to give a presentation entitled “Article-Level Metrics (at PLoS and Beyond)”, to a webinar organised by [the National Information Standards Organization]. The presentation, and synced audio, can be viewed at Myplick. The web resources which are mentioned in the presentation are located here. …

Although a handful of journals have now started to provide online usage data for each article, PLoS is going further than this. We are at the start of a program to provide citation data, usage data, social bookmarking activity, media coverage, blog coverage, commenting activity, ’star’ ratings, and more, on every article that we publish. This presentation explains our motivation for this program, as well as what we have done so far and our plans for future developments. …