S Harnad: Pre-Green Fool’s-Gold and Post-Green Fair-Gold OA. I would be surprised if there were no subscription journlals that accepted the Bohannon sting paper for publication too. But I would be even more surprised if the same proportion of field-, age-, size- and impact-factor-matched subscription journals accepted it as did the pay-to-publish OA journals (“Gold OA”). Subscription journals have to maintain enough of an appearance of peer review to sustain their subscriptions. Pay-to-publish Gold OA journals just have to maintain enough of an appearance of peer review to attract authors (and maybe pay-to-publish is enough to attract many authors in our publish-or-perish world without even the appearance of peer review, especially along with the fashionable allure — or excuse — of the journal’s being OA). More here.
Opening the pod bay doors: Elsevier and the future of Open Access. Elsevier recently started offering Open Access options for most of its publications. A video highlitghts the new options authors have when they want to publish with Elsevier. The academic world is changing fast: many new editors are joining the marketplace, and old, big publishers such as Elsevier are threatened by start ups bringing the prices down. When you publish in an academic journal, you can either submit your paper for free, to classic, reader-pays journals, like what Elsevier offers, or you can pay to submit your paper and the publisher will make it available for free online. This last option is called Open Access. Needless to say, the Open Access movement is gaining traction, because people want more and more access to knowledge for free. But for a very long time, Elsevier and others have been seen as being all about profits. By bundling journals, Elsevier sells top journals such as The Lancet, with other less prestigious ones (the subscription costs thousands of dollars for each journal per year). Elsevier also has a 37-40% margin, which makes people wonder, especially librarians, if it isn’t just greed that runs Elsevier. More here.
Free access to Oxford content during the government shutdown. The current shutdown in Washington is limiting the access that scholars and researchers have to vital materials. To that end, we have opened up access for the next two weeks to three of our online resources: Oxford Reference, American National Biography Online, and the US Census demographics website, Social Explorer. More here.
Open access and scholarly monographs in Canada. The unprecedented access to knowledge enabled by the internet is a critical development in the democratization of education. The Open Access (OA) movement argues that scholarly research is a common good that should be freely available. In theory, university presses concur, however, providing such access is largely unsupportable within current business model parameters. This study presents an overview of OA in North America and Europe, focusing on the Canadian context. Given their relatively small market and current funding models, Canadian scholarly presses differ somewhat from American and European publishers vis-à-vis OA. Drawing both on information from industry stakeholders and relevant research, this paper aims to clarify how Canadian university presses might proceed with respect to OA. While the study does not make specific recommendations, possible business models are presented that might help university presses offset the cost of offering OA to the important body of scholarship that they publish. More here.
John Bohannon’s peer-review sting against Science. An extraordinary study has come to light today, showing just how shoddy peer-review standards are at some journals. Evidently fascinated by Science‘s eagerness to publish the fatally flawed Arsenic Life paper, John Bohannon conceived the idea of constructing a study so incredibly flawed that it didn’t even include a control. His plan was to see whether he could get it past the notoriously lax Science peer-review provided it appealed strongly enough to that journal’s desire for “impact” (designed as the ability to generate headlines) and pandered to its preconceptions (that its own publication model is the best one). So Bohannon carried out the most flawed study he could imagine: submitting fake papers to open-access journals selected in part from Jeffrey Beall’s list of predatory publishers without sending any of his fake papers to subscription journals, noting that many of the journals accepted the papers, and drawing the flagrantly unsupported conclusion that open-access publishing is flawed. Incredibly, Science not only published this study, but made it the lead story of today’s issue. More here.
Wiley: Open Access in the UK – will Gold or Green prevail?, Bob Campbell. A lot has happened in the 15 or so months since the Finch Group, an independent group of stakeholders set up by BIS (the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills), published its report on how research findings could be made more accessible, in June 2012. The report recommended Gold OA with CC-BY licences as the ultimate goal, but assumed a mixed economy ( OA and subscription/license based journals) for the foreseeable future. It also made it clear that the transition to Gold OA would require extra funding for APCs (Article Publication Charges). The Finch Group also suggested that wider access could be provided via public libraries in the UK. More here.
Looking for a project? Analyse open-access involvement by career-stage. The LSE Impact blog has a new post, Berlin 11 satellite conference encourages students and early stage researchers to influence shift towards Open Access. Thinking about this, Jon Tennant (@Protohedgehog) just tweeted this important idea: “Would be nice to see a breakdown of OA vs non-OA publications based on career-stage of first author. Might be a wake-up call.” It would be very useful. It makes me think of Zen Faulkes’s important 2011 blog-post, What have you done lately that needed tenure?. We should be seeing the big push towards open access coming from senior academics who are established in their roles don’t need to scrabble around for jobs like early-career researchers. Yet my impression is that in fact early-career researchers are doing a lot of the pro-open heavy lifting. Is that impression true? We should find out. More here.
The Long Slog: OA Baby Steps, Great Leaps Forward, And Two Steps Back. As someone mostly new to the discussion and work of open access, I find some of the most interesting aspects of the ongoing public discourse are the attempts by various players to discredit open access efforts through grandstanding (especially by various publishers) or via publicity stunts such as the recent “sting” operation by John Bohannon in Science Magazine. It strikes me that striving for open access sometimes feels like a David vs. Goliath battle. In this period of upheaval in the slowly changing system of scholarly communication, with its hard-to-fathom, lop-sided economic model, combined with the OA movement’s uphill battle for recognition, understanding, support, and implementation; while there are, and will continue to be nay-sayers and doom-sayers, the only way we will get to a workable, sustainable, affordable scholarly communication system that supports research and the growth of knowledge, is by taking baby steps. Through these baby steps, like making sure we respond thoughtfully to stunts, as many in our movement have done (see links below), we will eventually make great leaps forward (like the creation in 2011 of COAPI, the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions, as a resource for others looking to pass OA policies at their institutions), yet we must acknowledge that occasionally, we will take two steps back. I, for one, am in it for the long slog. More here.
Seeking a Path toward Open Access for Books. A friend recently asked me to give some thought as to how to devise a financially sustainable program to make books open access (OA). This is not an easy problem. While a clear method for making research articles OA now exists and has been validated by the marketplace (I refer to the Gold OA programs of such organizations as PLoS, Hindawi, and BMC), books are a different matter. For one thing, they are longer; thus the author fees would have to be significantly higher–much, much larger than the $1,350, say, charged by PLoS ONE. What author could afford that? Another problem is that grant money for books is not nearly as generous as it is for scientific articles. Part of this is a reflection of the curious fact that books are disproportionately based in the humanities, whereas the sciences are more article-driven: the sciences get the funding, which eventually finds its way into author-pays articles. From a technical point of view, it’s easy to make books OA; from a financial point of view, it’s hard to make books OA. More here.
PLOS Blogs: Reusing, Revising, Remixing and Redistributing Research. The initial purpose of Open Access is to enable researchers to make use of information already known to science as part of the published literature. One way to do that systematically is to publish scientific works under open licenses, in particular the Creative Commons Attribution License that is compatible with the stipulations of the Budapest Open Access Initiative and used by many Open Access journals. It allows for any form of sharing of the materials by anyone for any purpose, provided that the original source and the licensing terms are shared alongside. This opens the door for the incorporation of materials from Open Access sources into a multitude of contexts both within and outside traditional academic publishing, including blogs and wikis. Amongst the most active reusers of Open Access content are Wikimedia projects like the over 280 Wikipedia, Wikispecies and their shared media repository, Wikimedia Commons. In the following, a few examples of reusing, revising, remixing and redistributing Open Access materials in the context of Wikimedia projects shall be highlighted. More here.
Making your publications open access: Resources to assist researchers and librarians, Diane Dawson. It has now been more than a decade since the Budapest Open Access Initiative coined the term open access (OA) and united a movement to free scholarly literature from access barriers. Incredible progress has been made in this time with the launching of thousands of OA journals, open repositories, and mandates from institutions, funders, and various levels of government in countries around the world. The momentum only seems to be increasing in recent years. OA is now considered to be inevitable, with one prediction estimating that it will be the dominant model for scholarly literature in the next decade. This guide is intended to be a practical tool to help busy researchers, and the librarians who support them, make the transition to OA. The focus herein is on freely available online resources that will assist in making research publications OA; the closely associated, and rapidly growing, area of research data is beyond the scope of this column. Read here.
Generation Gap in Authors’ Open Access Views and Experience, Reveals Wiley Survey. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced the results of its 2013 author survey on open access, with over eight thousand respondents from across Wiley’s journal portfolio. The survey is a follow up to Wiley’s 2012 open access author survey and is the second such survey conducted by Wiley. This year new sections were added including research funding and article licenses. Consistencies were seen between the 2012 and 2013 surveys in authors’ desire to publish in a high-quality, respected journal with a good Impact Factor, but the survey also shed light on differences between early career researchers (respondents between the ages of 26-44 with less than 15 years of research experience) and more established colleagues in their opinions on quality and licenses. Differences were also seen across funding bodies and in the funding available for open access to different author groups. More here.
UK joins universities nationwide in support of Open Access. UK has a history of supporting public access to research. In 2008 the University Senate passed a resolution supporting the 2008 National Institutes of Health’s policy providing public access to publicly funded research. Former Provost Kumble Subbaswamy signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities three years ago. In addition, UK Libraries is a member of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). More here.
All 3 winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine have published papers in PLOS ONE.