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DOAJ: handmaiden to despots? or, OA, we need to talk | Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir les savoirs communs

“As any movement grows and flourishes, decisions made will turn out to have unforeseen consequences. Achieving the goals of the movement requires critical reflection and occasional changes in policy and procedure.The purpose of this post is to point out that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) appears to be inadvertently acting as a handmaiden to at least one despotic government, facilitating dissemination of works subject to censorship and rejecting open access journals that would be suitable venues for critics of the despotic government. There is no blame and no immediately obvious remedy, but solving a problem begins with acknowledging that a problem exists and inviting discussion of how to avoid and solve the problem. OA friends, please consider this such an invitation….”

Myth busting: DOAJ is not inclusive – News Service

“One of the most common criticisms levelled at DOAJ, particularly over the last 5 years, is that the index is not inclusive enough; that its coverage is poor; and that it lists only a fraction of the open access journals that exist. Our research shows that many journals reported as “missing” from DOAJ have a failed application or have been removed for not meeting DOAJ standards….”

Open source NLP and machine learning for legal texts. What is Blackstone and how did we build it? — ICLR&D

“On 7 August 2019, the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting’s newly formed research lab, ICLR&D, launched the prototype version of its legal natural language processing system, Blackstone.

For a more technical run down of what Blackstone is and how to use it, go over to the project’s GitHub repository here. The purpose of this article is to provide a more general account of how Blackstone came into being and the thinking driving its development….

Blackstone is an experimental project to investigate the ways in natural language processing can be used to impose control and structure on legal content generated in uncontrolled environments. The project’s deliverable is an open source piece of software, the Blackstone library, that allows researchers and engineers to automatically extract information from long, unstructured legal texts (such as judgments, skeleton arguments, scholarly articles, Law Commission reports, pleadings etc.) …”


Introducing Lawvocado: The Caselaw Access Project Newsletter | Library Innovation Lab

“Today we’re sharing Lawvocado, our newsletter from the Caselaw Access Project.

Delivered right to your inbox, Lawvocado will be the source for news and developments from the Caselaw Access Project and stories in our orbit.

Subscribe and catch up with our first issue….”

Exploring Canadiana: A Use Case for Wikidata – Hanging Together

“My colleagues Jean Godby, Karen Smith-Yoshimura, and Bruce Washburn, along with a host of partners, have just released Creating Library Linked Data with Wikibase: Lessons Learned from Project Passage, a fascinating account of their experiences working with a customized instance of Wikibase to create resource descriptions in the form of linked data. In the spirit of their report, I’d like to offer a modest yet illustrative use case showing how access to the relationships and properties of the linked data in another Wikibase environment – Wikidata – smoothed the way for OCLC Research’s recent study of the Canadian presence in the published record.

Maple Leaves: Discovering Canada Through the Published Record is the latest in a series of OCLC Research studies that explore national contributions to the world’s accumulated body of published materials. A national contribution is defined as materials published in, about, and/or by the people of that country. The last category presents a special challenge: how to assemble a list of entities – people and organizations – associated with a particular country from which authors, musicians, film makers, and other creators of published works can be identified?…”

The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform: Catching Up to Plan S and Going Further | The Official PLOS Blog

“It is worth pausing here for a brief aside about the distinction between open sharing, open publishing of research resources, and open access publishing of articles. All of these are important but for open science to be successful the distinction between them has to be clear.

Open sharing consists of making research resources available in a way they can be freely accessed and used. Sharing datasets in a repository or data sharing platform like Dryad, or code used for data analysis and visualization via a service like Github, are good examples. Sharing in this way rapidly disseminates resources and makes them available for use and adaptation by others as quickly as possible. Open publishing of research resources, however, involves the filtration of these resources through other researchers. These peer researchers make sure that the shared resource – whether it is data, code, single figures, or any of the plethora of resources developed throughout the scientific process – is in a form that is standard and easily usable by others, as well as presenting those resources in a curated form on a website or repository. Open access publishing of articles is the primary target of efforts like Plan S and relates to publishing scholarly articles in such a way that they are freely accessible and usable.

The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform (CONP), along with myriad other organizations, are developing the resources needed to enable open sharing, open publishing of research resources, and open publishing of articles. By doing so the CONP is helping open science and reduce the current inequalities in access to all of the tools and research outputs science needs to thrive….

Opening science requires the collective effort of funders, data sharing platforms, academic institutions, and individual scientists. Science doesn’t have to be opened all at once, but steps down the open road must be taken, and must be taken now. The CONP will provide tools and guidance, but scientific culture shift requires a concerted community effort.

Some first steps needed to enable the open publishing of all research resources include: (1) forging agreements and partnerships between journals and open science platforms to make it easy for scientists to share their data, publish it in a curated form, and link it to publications, (2) promotion and tenure policies at academic institutions that value the sharing and publishing of data on par with producing articles, (3) funding agencies that require (and enforce) sharing and publishing data, code, and materials associated with publications as a condition of receiving a grant, and (4) a commitment from scientists themselves to change the culture of science towards openly sharing and publishing as many of their resources as they can.”


Survey of Academic Library Open Access Publication Fee Pay Practices

“This report presents data from 73 academic libraries about their open access publication fee payment practices.  The 53-page study enables its end users to answer questions such as: How much have libraries spent in the past year on publication fees for open access and hybrid journals for their institution’s authors?  How much will they spend in the next year? What percentage of libraries pay such fees at all or have plans to?  What share of these fees are paid by libraries and what share by other departments and entities of the college or university? Have academic libraries partnered with consortia or other libraries to negotiate these fees?  How many articles did the pay for in the past year?  How many do they plan to pay for in the next year? 

Data in the report is broken out for R1 and R2 research universities, for doctoral level institutions and for those offering only BA/MA degrees.  In addition the data is broken out for public and private colleges, and by enrollment and tuition levels, and other variables, including work title, age and gender of the survey participant.

Some of the report’s many findings are that:

35.3% of R1 research universities in the sample had a line item in their budgets for the payment of author processing fees for hybrid and open access journals
20.51% of public institutions sampled said that departments or entities other than the academic library at their college or university contributed to the payment of author processing fees.
5.88% of BA/MA granting colleges in the sample have partnered with other colleges or universities or consortia to negotiate the level of author processing fees with publishers of hybrid or open access journals….”

Journal’s plan to review preprints aims to kill ‘desk rejects’ | Times Higher Education (THE)

“An open access pioneer’s plan to “reshape” peer review, which will see experts evaluate preprints regardless of whether they are due to be published in a particular journal, has sparked debate among academics.

Michael Eisen, editor-in-chief of eLife, said that the online periodical would start taking requests to conduct reviews of preprints on the BioRxiv server even if they had not been formally submitted to the title. The reviews themselves would then be posted on BioRxiv for everyone to read.

This would mark a significant shift from the traditional model of peer review, under which submissions are “triaged” by journal staff ahead of potential review by experts, which inform a decision on whether to publish the paper and are shared with the authors only….”