The Scholarly Kitchen: Everybody Wants a Netflix for Books, by Joseph Esposito. “Some things seem self-evident–until they are not. One self-evident notion is that just as we have a Spotify and a Pandora for music, just as we have a Netflix for video, we should indeed have something akin to these services for books. It seems obvious to many people that only the sluggishness if not outright stupidity of publishers would get in the way of the inevitable. Of course, (this argument goes) no one should ever underestimate how stupid publishers can be. With some notable exceptions (e.g., HarperCollins) they remain skeptical about putting all their titles into aggregations controlled by third parties–which set the prices for the services and pay the publishers out of their meager revenue. Personally, I marvel at Pandora. I am a subscriber–for a whopping $36 a year–and stream Pandora approximately 8-10 hours a day, every day. I am listening to it now as I write this post (the Cold War Kids station). I don’t know how many songs I listen to in a year, but it must be in the thousands. How much does that come to per song? On the other hand, Pandora’s listeners are encouraged to purchase music they like. I have not purchased any music in years, and there is not a chance in the world that I will ever go to a CWK concert. I will enjoy Pandora while it lasts, but it does get at the point that record labels, movie studios, and publishers do not exist to make their users happy but to make their shareholders happy. What may appear to be sluggishness or lack of vision on the part of publishers may in fact be a shrewd understanding of their own interests.” More here.
Peter Murray-Rust: Elsevier admits it has been mis-selling Open Access and will be contacting mis-sold customers. “Elsevier’s Director of Access and Policy (was “Universal Access”) has commented on my blog posts… This confirms that Elsevier has been mis-selling Open Access products. The DoAP does not give sufficient detail to say exactly what so I don’t regard this reply as satisfactory. Given also that part of the problem appears to be a seriously broken IT infrastructure it cannot be accurate to use it to find problems. It is unclear whether the 11 customers were authors with mispublished articles or purchasers of rights through Rightslink.” More here.
‘Open Access Journals & Academics’ Behaviour’ , by Matteo Migheli and Giovanni B. Ramello. “The rising star of scholarly publishing is Open Access. Even some traditional journals now offer this option on author payment, and many full freely accessible journals are now available to scholars, providing relief to research institutions increasingly unable to afford the escalating subscription rates of serials. However, proper recognition of full Open Access journals by the community remains a major obstacle to overcome if they are to become a viable alternative for scholarly communication. Through a survey, this work investigates economics scholars’ attitudes to OA, and attempts to outline the state of practices and norms governing individuals’ publication choices.” More here.
Palgrave Macmillan: Access all Areas. “In March 2014 we are offering FREE online access to our entire portfolio of journals for one month, spanning across Business, the Social Sciences and the Humanities.” More here.
SPARC: Libraries Leading the Way on Open Educational Resources. “In celebration of Open Education Week (March 10-15, 2014), SPARC was pleased to present this webcast on March 13, about how academic and research libraries are leading the way on Open Educational Resources. Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that either reside in the public domain or carry a license that permits their free use, sharing and adaptation by all users. From textbooks to course materials, videos to software, journals to digital collections, the creation and sharing of open materials can reduce the cost of textbooks, expand access to knowledge, and support student success. This webcast features three librarians who have been leading OER projects on their campuses. Each provides an overview of the project, discusses the impact achieved for students, and provides practical tips and advice for other campuses exploring OER initiatives.” More here.
Research Information: Wellcome Trust releases details of APC spend. “The Wellcome Trust has released on figshare the details of article-processing charge (APC) payments that the funder made in 2012-13. The majority of the payments were in the late hundreds or low thousands. However, sums ranged from a low of £45.94 to a high of £13,200 for an open-access book. The £45.94 was for a paper entitled ‘The association between breastfeeding and HIV on postpartum maternal weight changes over 24 months in rural South Africa’, published with the American Society for Nutrition. The high of £13,200 was for ‘Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States 1850-2000,’ a book published with Palgrave MacMillan. The highest APC payment for an article was £6000 for a paper called ‘Laboratory Science in Tropical Medicine’, in a journal called Public Service Review. However, it is difficult to find details of this journal and the URL listed for this journal in the Wellcome Trust’s document now appears to be available for sale.” More here.
Mozilla Science Lab, GitHub and Figshare team up to fix the citation of code in academia. “Academia has a problem. Research is becoming increasingly computational and data-driven, but the traditional paper and scientific journal has barely changed to accommodate this growing form of analysis. The current referencing structure makes it difficult for anyone to reproduce the results in a paper, either to check findings or build upon their results. In addition, scientists that generate code for middle-author contributions struggle to get the credit they deserve. The Mozilla Science Lab, GitHub and Figshare – a repository where academics can upload, share and cite their research materials – is starting to tackle the problem. The trio have developed a system so researchers can easily sync their GitHub releases with a Figshare account. It creates a Digital Object Identifier(DOI) automatically, which can then be referenced and checked by other people. The advantages over simply linking to GitHub are twofold. For one, the DOI points to the synced release on Figshare, so the data won’t be affected if the original GitHub repository is updated. The page on GitHub is still accessible for anyone who wants to review the project’s development, but this approach ensures the code referenced in a paper can be easily reviewed. For another, the DOI is a persistent link. Broken links are a growing problem for academia, as link structures are changed and online content is edited. “If your persistent link is pointing to something on Figshare, which is ‘this GitHub repository at that version, at that release,’ then even if the GitHub repository changes or Figshare changes its link structure, that DOI will always point to that object,” Mark Hahnel, founder of Figshare said.” More here.
PLOS Blogs: We can’t live with anything less than Open, by David Carroll. “The Open Access Button has mapped over 6,000 paywalls since it launched four months ago. We know this is just the tip of a very large restricted access iceberg and there is still so much work to do. Currently we are recruiting new student team members and a steering committee. We’ve also started developing Button 2.0 and will have exciting announcements in the upcoming weeks. To make sure you’re up to date on these follow us on Facebook and Twitter. The Open Access Button seeks to make the often invisible problem of paywalls visible, but paywalls aren’t the only open access problems that need to be made more visible. The last few days alone have highlighted problems with publishers and governments that need to be made visible. There’s the unethical and possibly illegal actions from the publisher Elsevier. Two years ago Dr. Mike Taylor blogged about Elsevier charging to download open access articles and last August Dr. Peter Murray-Rust called attention toElsevier charging to read open access CC-BY articles. On Sunday, Murray-Rust revisited the topic in “Elsevier are still charging THOUSANDS of pounds for CC-BY articles.” Murray-Rust found that many open access CC-BY articles were labeled as “All rights reserved” and users would be charged hefty sums for permission to reprint the articles. One example that Murray-Rust noted was Elsevier charging 8000 GBP for just the permission for 100 reprints of a CC-BY article that was incorrectly labeled as “All rights reserved.” No one should have to ask permission to re-use a CC-BY paper in any way.” More here.
The Disorder of Things: What Does It Mean To Start An Open Access Journal? “Following earlier interviews with Editors at Ethics & Global Politics and the newly open Cultural Anthropology, we present yet another insight into how to do open access, this time with Professor Kim Weeden of Cornell, a Deputy Editor of the new open access journal Sociological Science, which launched earlier this year. As the name suggests, this is a sociology journal (and a ‘general interest’ one at that), indicating yet another field in which open access is being taken seriously whilst International Relations languishes (not withstanding para-IR examples like Ethics & Global Politics and our friends at the Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies). So what can we learn from the Sociological Science model? As usual, I’ve stuck some thoughts on at the end.” More here.
Impact of Openness on Institutions. “A collection of interviews with administrators and faculty on the impact that open education projects and practice has had on their institutions. Additional interviews and studies will be added.” View here.
Times Higher Education: PeerJ’s $99 open access model one year on. “When, in 2012, a new open access biomedical journal with a peculiar name and a smirking blue monkey for a mascot announced that it would let academics publish a paper a year for a one-off fee of just $99 (£59), some observers checked that it was not April Fool’s Day. One goal of the open access movement had always been to slash the amount of money universities transferred to publishers’ coffers. Yet evenPlos One, the previous “darling” of open access advocates, felt the need to charge authors $1,350 per article. Yet here was that journal’s former publisher, Peter Binfield, proclaiming that PeerJ could do even more for vastly less. Kent Anderson, chief executive and publisher of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, wrote in a Scholarly Kitchen blog soon after the announcement that “after scooping my brain back into my skull once I’d absorbed this apparently foolhardy approach to cash flow and sustainability…it began to dawn on me that perhaps what PeerJ is headed toward is more akin to a freemium model, like WordPress, where you can publish for free if you accept limited functionality and some Google ads, or you can pay premium fees to get rid of the ads and get more robust functionality”. PeerJ did announce higher fees of $199 for the right to publish two papers a year and $299 for unlimited publishing rights. And the fact that the papers it publishes average four and a half authors also pushes up the average cost of publishing a first paper to nearly $450, even on the cheapest plan. But Mr Anderson’s expectation that the journal would charge extra fees for everything from peer review to search engine optimisation has not been realised.”” More here.
LSE Blogs: Institutional repositories provide an ideal medium for scholars to move beyond the journal article. “Institutional repositories (IRs) should actively collect the full range of work produced by scholars and researchers — not just “green” versions of peer-reviewed journal articles but student theses, data, working papers, blog posts, and more. In doing so, IRs become vital platforms that leverage the potential of the Web to reach a broader audience, bring new voices to scholarly discourse, and create opportunities for collaboration. Peer review is the gold standard for scholarly publishing, and IRs do not require that materials be peer reviewed. Yet scholarly communication has always encompassed far more than peer-reviewed journal articles or monographs. Many of the materials in Academic Commons, our institutional repository at Columbia — such as conference videos, presentations, and technical reports and other “grey literature” — are not supported by the same access and preservation infrastructure enjoyed by more formal modes of scholarly publication. The IR may be the only viable long-term access and preservation option for such items. We hear from depositors ranging from undergraduates to full professors that repository features such as stable storage, permanent URLs, a means for attribution, and search engine optimization are of great benefit to their work.” More here.
LSE Blogs: The ‘avalanche of change’ in higher education must be contextualised in terms of the government’s broader neoliberal policies. “A recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research has made headlines calling for urgent transformation of British universities if they are to survive sweeping technological change. From massive open online courses (MOOCs) to open access, John Holmwood argues these changes are less about transformative technology and more about privatised commercialisation and must be understood as part of the wider neo-liberal context in which they have emerged.” More here.
The Scholarly Kitchen: Rick Anderson at the Smithsonian: “Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?” by Rick Anderson. “I was recently invited to give a talk as part of a lecture series titled The Open Access Future, sponsored by the Smithsonian Libraries, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the Smithsonian’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. I decided to focus on the issue that has been troubling me most lately: why is it so hard to have conversations about OA that don’t devolve into shouting matches and accusations of bad faith? What has led to this state of affairs, how bad is the problem now, and what can we do to create a more open, inclusive, and reasonable environment for discussion of the complex issues surrounding OA and the economics of scholarly communication generally? I came up with a provocative title (“Is a Rational Discussion of Open Access Possible?”) and delivered the lecture on March 10, 2014. Here’s the archived video of the lecture and of the discussion that followed. (The full text and accompanying slides are also available; comments are welcome both there and here. However, I will not be monitoring or responding to any related Twitter traffic, having learned from experience how difficult and frustrating it is to carry on meaningful discussion of complicated topics in 140-character bursts.)” More here.
New Website Brings Innovative Dimension to Open Access Research Articles.”Journal Click have incorporated an innovative new algorithm that notes the current research document topic and offers a listing of what other users have viewed. This approach promises to save time and help those writing papers or studying access highly relevant research in a much more efficient and comprehensive manner.” More here.