Stevan Harnad, Open Access: “Plan S” Needs to Drop “Option B”

“To combine Peter Suber’s <>post with George Monbiot <>’s: The only true cost (and service) provided by peer-reviewed research journal publishers is the management and umpiring of peer review, and this costs an order of magnitude less that the publishers extortionate fees and profits today.

The researchers and peer-reviewers conduct and report the research as well as the peer reviewing for free (or rather, funded by their institutions and research grants, which are, in turn, funded mostly by tax-payers).

Peer-reviewed research journal publishers are making among the biggest profit margins on the planet through almost 100% pure parasitism.

Alexandra Elbakyan’s Sci-Hub <>is one woman’s noble attempt to fix this.

But the culprits for the prohibitive pay-walling are not just the publishers: They are also the researchers, their institutions and their research grant funders — for not requiring all peer-reviewed research to be made Open Access (OA) immediately upon acceptance for publication through researcher self-archiving intheir own institutional open access repositories….

Instead the OA policy of the EC ("Plan S <>") and other institutional and funder OA policies worldwide are allowing
publishers to continue their parasitism by offering researcher' the choice between Option A (self-archiving their published research) or Option B (paying to publish it in an OA journal where publishers simply name their price and the parasitism continues in another key)....
The only thing that is and has been sustaining the paywalls on research has been publishers' lobbying of governments on funder OA policy and their manipulation of institutional OA policy with "Big Deals" on extortionate library licensing fees to ensure that OA policies always include Option B.

The solution is ever so simple: OA policies must drop Option B."

What if it were « Love Boat »? | Ouvertures immédiates / Immediate openings

“Imagine a very select and reputable travel agency that sells you a dream cruise for 250,000€. You obviously don’t have to bleed yourself to death to buy it. You can find other ways to travel, especially if you take the initiative and organise you own trip.

Now suppose that your career depends on a commission that will judge your merits based on the number and type of cruises you have completed and that will have a special indulgence for those you have purchased from the prestigious agency in question. The simple name of the agency is enough to convince the members of this committee of the quality of the trips it offers. Chances are you will try by any means to obtain the necessary funds to order a cruise there.

Now suppose that your employer decides that the prestige you have gained or strengthened in this way will reflect on his company. He’ll buy you the cruise, even if it’s outrageously expensive.

So let us ask ourselves the question: who is guilty ?
À. The ultra-chic travel agency ?
B. The traveller, that is, yourself ?
C. The members of the jury who use this criterion to evaluate you ? …”

Open Knowledge Institutions: Reinventing Universities

“Can 13 authors, from the USA, Germany, Australia, China and South Africa, many previously unknown to one another, get together and, from scratch, write a 150-page book –– on a topic none of them has tackled before –– in 5 days? 

If the group in question is committed to the same goals as MIT’s PubPub platform, to “socialize the process of knowledge creation”; [1] and if the process they use is a Book Sprint, a professionally facilitated “collaborative process that captures the knowledge of a group of experts in a single book,“ [2] then the answer is yes.

What drew our diverse group together is “open knowledge.” By this we mean not just the technical specifics of open access publishing or open source computing, and not just a general commitment to an open society, open government or open science, but a need to understand how these technical and social possibilities can be brought together in open knowledge institutions. 

Specifically, how can the most long-lasting, successful and expanding version of a knowledge institution –– the university –– face the mounting challenges of global, digital and contested knowledge systems, in order to transform universities into Open Knowledge Institutions?

We present the results of our work here to the wider community for annotation, commentary, constructive criticism and engagement, with a view to extending the collaborative spirit further. We want the book to gain further analytical richness and precision from crowd-sourced expertise. You are invited to join us as we work through some of the issues that may enable or stand in the way of socialising knowledge itself….”

Modes of access: the influence of dissemination channels on the use of open access monographs

Abstract:  Introduction. This paper studies the effects of several dissemination channels in an open access environment by analysing the download data of the OAPEN Library. 

Method. Download data were obtained containing the number of downloads and the name of the Internet provider. Based on public information, each Internet provider was categorised. The subject and language of each book were determined using metadata from the OAPEN Library. 

Analysis. Quantitative analysis was done using Excel, while the qualitative analysis was carried out using the statistical package SPSS. 

Results. Almost three quarters of all downloads come from users who do not use the Website, but find the books by other means. Qualitative analysis found no evidence that channel use was influenced by user groups or the state of users’ Internet infrastructure; nor was any effect on channel use found for either the language or the subjects of the monographs. 

Conclusions. The results show that most readers are using the “direct download” channel, which occur if the readers use systems other than the OAPEN Library Website. This implies that making the metadata available in the user’s systems, the infrastructure used on a daily basis, ensures the best results.

Compliance with requirement to report results on the EU Clinical Trials Register: cohort study and web resource | The BMJ

Abstract:  To ascertain compliance rates with the European Commission’s requirement that all trials on the EU Clinical Trials Register (EUCTR) post results to the registry within 12 months of completion (final compliance date 21 December 2016); to identify features associated with non-compliance; to rank sponsors by compliance; and to build a tool for live ongoing audit of compliance….

Results Of 7274 trials where results were due, 49.5% (95% confidence interval 48.4% to 50.7%) reported results. Trials with a commercial sponsor were substantially more likely to post results than those with a non-commercial sponsor (68.1% v 11.0%, adjusted odds ratio 23.2, 95% confidence interval 19.2 to 28.2); as were trials by a sponsor who conducted a large number of trials (77.9% v 18.4%, adjusted odds ratio 18.4, 15.3 to 22.1). More recent trials were more likely to report results (per year odds ratio 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.07). Extensive evidence was found of errors, omissions, and contradictory entries in EUCTR data that prevented ascertainment of compliance for some trials.

Conclusions Compliance with the European Commission requirement for all trials to post results on to the EUCTR within 12 months of completion has been poor, with half of all trials non-compliant. EU registry data commonly contain inconsistencies that might prevent even regulators assessing compliance. Accessible and timely information on the compliance status of each individual trial and sponsor may help to improve reporting rates.

Europe’s academics fail to report results for 90% of clinical trials

“An analysis of data from the European Union’s Clinical Trial Register — published in The BMJ1 on 13 September — shows that around 50% of the listed trials have not complied with guidelines that say results must be reported within 12 months.

The researchers who conducted the analysis found that only 11% of trials run by academic centres — such as those led by universities, governments, hospitals or charities — had published outcomes after completion (see ‘Failing to comply’’)….

Furthermore, only 11 of the major sponsors of clinical trials — entities that are responsible for at least 50 trials on the register — had reported 100% of results, all of which were companies.

This compares to a total of 32 major sponsors that had not reported any results from their trials. All of these are academic institutions, rather than companies.”

o’Peer: open Peer review

“Following a Peer Review session at the AAAS meeting this week, I am going to record my thoughts for posterity, proselytizing shamelessly about my vision for the future of peer review.

So… let me begin with the catchy name. The system I propose is entirely reliant on the Internet, and everyone knows that the first requirement for success of any new Internet entity is a catchy name. I trust (especially in context) that the intended connotations are obvious: Peer needs no explanation; the O’ prefix stands variously for of or by peers and for a shortening of Open, which you will see is a key feature. That being said, if you want to call it something else, go for it! This is only a suggestion….

What we really need is a (multiparameter) “credibility profile” for each reviewer of any paper. If every would-be referee were thus rated, it might be feasible to Open up peer review without erasing its effectiveness….”

Open Access och Big Business Hur Open Access blev en del av de stora förlagen

English title: Open Access and Big Business: How Open Access Became a Part of Big Publishing

Article in Swedish with this English abstract: This study explores the Open Access phenomenon from the perspective of the commercial scientific publishing industry. Open Access has been appropriated by commercial publishers, once sceptical opponents of the concept, as a means among others of distributing scholarly publications. The aim of this study is to highlight a possible explanation as to how this has come about by looking at the internal and external communication of two of the main scholarly publishing industry organizations, the STM Association and the PSP division of the AAP. Via a thematic analysis of documents from these organizations, the dissertation aims to explore how the publishers’ communication regarding Open Access has changed over time. Furthermore, the study takes on how these questions are interlinked with notions of power and legitimacy within the system of scholarly communication. The analysis shows two main themes, one that represents a coercive course of restoring legitimacy, where publishers’ value-adding is stressed and at the same time warning of dangerous consequences of Open Access. The other theme represents a collaborative course of action that stresses the importance of building alliances and reaching consensus. Results show that there has been a slight change in how the publishing industry answers to public policies that enforce Open Access. One conclusion is that this is due to the changing nature of said policies.