Mellon Foundation grant to support investigation into hidden costs of open infrastructure

“We are excited to announce that Invest in Open Infrastructure, a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science and Society, has been awarded a grant of $135,125 USD from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the costs and current funding patterns of open infrastructure. The grant will enable us to hire our first Research Data Analyst, building our capacity to investigate the underlying costs associated with open infrastructure projects and the current funding landscape.

This work will build on our efforts from this past fall to analyze philanthropic funding data in the sector, a dataset that pulls publicly available funding data together to examine for funding concentrations, gaps, and other trends.

In addition, this role will also lead research and analysis on the costs associated with leading open infrastructure projects through a series of focused use cases….”

Mellon Foundation grant to support investigation into hidden costs of open infrastructure

“We are excited to announce that Invest in Open Infrastructure, a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science and Society, has been awarded a grant of $135,125 USD from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to explore the costs and current funding patterns of open infrastructure. The grant will enable us to hire our first Research Data Analyst, building our capacity to investigate the underlying costs associated with open infrastructure projects and the current funding landscape.

This work will build on our efforts from this past fall to analyze philanthropic funding data in the sector, a dataset that pulls publicly available funding data together to examine for funding concentrations, gaps, and other trends.

In addition, this role will also lead research and analysis on the costs associated with leading open infrastructure projects through a series of focused use cases….”

An analysis of use statistics of electronic papers in a Korean scholarly information repository

Abstract:  Introduction. This study aimed to analyse the current use status of Korean scholarly papers accessible in the repository of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information in order to assess the economic validity of the maintenance and operation of the repository.

Method. This study used the modified historical cost method and performed regression analysis on the use of Korean scholarly papers by year and subject area.

Analysis. The development cost of the repository and the use volumes were analysed based on 1,154,549 Korean scholarly papers deposited in the Institute repository.

Results. Approximately 86% of the deposited papers were downloaded at least once and on average, a paper was downloaded over twenty-six times. Regression analysis showed that the ratio of use of currently deposited papers is likely to decrease by 7.6% annually, as new ones are added.

Conclusions. The need to manage currently deposited papers for at least thirteen years into the future and provide empirical proof that the repository has contributed to Korean researchers conducting research and development in the fields of science and technology. The benefit-cost ratio was above nineteen, confirming the economic validity of the repository.

A Billion Dollar Donation: The Cost, and Inefficiency of, Researchers’ Time Spent on Peer Review

Abstract:  Background

 The amount and value of researchers’ peer review work is critical for academia and publishing. However, it is rarely recognized, its magnitude is unknown, and alternative ways of organizing peer review labor are rarely considered. Methods In this paper, we provide an estimate of researchers’ time and the salary-based contribution to the peer-review system, using publicly available data. Results We found that the total time reviewers globally worked on peer reviews was over 100 million hours in 2019, equivalent to over 12 thousand years. The estimated monetary value of the time US-based reviewers spent on reviews was over 1.1 billion USD in 2019. For China-based reviewers, the estimate is over 600 million USD, and for UK-based, over 200 million USD. Conclusions While these results are only rough estimates, they highlight the enormous amount of work and time that researchers provide to the publication system, and the importance of considering alternative ways of structuring, and paying for, peer review. We foster this process by discussing some alternative models that aim to improve the return on investment of scholarly publishing.

Financial Overview – PLOS

“2019 Highlights (see figures below for a fuller picture)

As of December 31st, 2019, PLOS had net assets of $11.8 million, improved by $1.1 million compared to the previous year’s $10.7 million.
Of the 2019 year-end net assets, cash and unrestricted investments totaled $12.5 million compared to $11.5 million at year-end 2018.
For the year ending December 31st, 2019, PLOS generated total revenues of $31.6 million compared to total revenues of $31.7 million for the year ending December 31st, 2018. 
2019 total expenses of $30.5 million compared with $38 million in 2018.
2019 yielded a net operating surplus of $1.1m compared to a net operating deficit of $6.3m in 2018.
PLOS provided $1.7 million in annual Publication Fee Assistance. …”

The $450 question: Should journals pay peer reviewers? | Science | AAAS

“During the debate at the virtual Researcher to Reader conference, arguments for paying reviewers were presented by James Heathers, a former research scientist in computational behavioral science who is now chief scientific officer at a technology startup, Cipher Skin. Last year, Heathers drew attention after publishing a manifesto, “The 450 Movement,” which argued that $450 would be a reasonable fee for for-profit publishers to pay him per peer review. Heathers based that number, in part, on what business consultants in his field would command. Other reviewers might negotiate lower amounts, he added.

Joining Heathers on the propayment team was Brad Fenwick, senior vice president at Taylor & Francis, a for-profit publisher with some 2700 journals. The pair contended that paying reviewers could ameliorate some widely noted flaws of peer review, including long delays in receiving reviews that too often lack depth and substance.

An antipayment team, however, predicted dire consequences if $450 fees became the norm. Subscription costs would soar and unethical reviewing could proliferate, argued a team that included Alison Mudditt, CEO of PLOS, the nonprofit publisher of open-access articles, and Tim Vines, a publishing consultant and founder of DataSeer, a data-sharing tool.

Here are excerpts from the debate, which have been edited for clarity and brevity. Following the excerpts, you’ll find the results of surveys that gauged which side the audience found more persuasive….”

Open Educational Resources and Affordability: A Three-Part Webcast Series | Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)

“ACRL’s traveling RoadShow workshops are on hold until it’s safe to resume large in-person gatherings, but we’re working to bring you the same great content through virtual experiences. These “Off-RoadShows” have been designed to help academic library professionals tackle the greatest issues facing the profession today

The three-part OER and Affordability webcast series will help you understand the basics of open educational resources (OER) and how libraries can be involved in affordability initiatives at your institution….”

How open access to scholarly journals helps students and researchers – The Hindu

“Over the past decade, there has been a rising clamour for more accessibility of scholarly journals. Those available in print are subscription based making it challenging for other researchers to access, verify, reproduce, cite or utilise research papers, further resulting in restricting the community from engaging in multiple aspects of research.

With technological advancement, students and researchers no longer have to sift through piles of physical research papers and journals. While the print form of such resources is still relevant in this digital era, online infrastructure has made these resources more accessible. Considering the present crisis, many institutions are setting up repositories or open access platforms to make paywalled research papers accessible across the globe. The Open Access platforms have become a movement around the world….”

Publishing Philosophy Open Access Without a Particle Collider | Impact of Social Sciences

Open Access often appears to be a monolithic concept, covering all fields of research and publication. However, in practice its application is to a large extent determined by the needs and resources available to different academic communities. In this post, Bryan W. Roberts and David Teira discuss open access publishing in philosophy and how an emerging generation of open publications has developed to meet the needs of an academic discipline where funding for publication is scarce.

Grossmann, Brembs (2021) Current market rates for scholarly publishing services | F1000Research

Grossmann A and Brembs B. Current market rates for scholarly publishing services [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. F1000Research 2021, 10:20 (https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.27468.1)

Abstract: For decades, the supra-inflation increase of subscription prices for scholarly journals has concerned scholarly institutions. After years of fruitless efforts to solve this “serials crisis”, open access has been proposed as the latest potential solution. However, the prices for open access publishing are also high and are rising well beyond inflation. What has been missing from the public discussion so far is a quantitative approach to determine the actual costs of efficiently publishing a scholarly article using state-of-the-art technologies, such that informed decisions can be made as to appropriate price levels. Here we provide a granular, step-by-step calculation of the costs associated with publishing primary research articles, from submission, through peer-review, to publication, indexing and archiving. We find that these costs range from less than US$200 per article in modern, large-scale publishing platforms using post-publication peer-review, to about US$1,000 per article in prestigious journals with rejection rates exceeding 90%. The publication costs for a representative scholarly article today come to lie at around US$400. We discuss the additional non-publication items that make up the difference between publication costs and final price.