Times Higher Education: Open access body needed ‘to coordinate implementation’. A formal body should be set up to coordinate efforts to implement open access, the Finch Group has recommended. The proposal is the main conclusion of the group’s review, published on November 18, of progress in implementing its original June 2012 report, which was commissioned by the government and forms the basis of the UK’s open-access policy. The review, titled Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: How to Expand Access to Research Publications, follows a reconvention in September of the group, which includes representatives from universities, libraries, publishers and research funders. The review says that although “significant” progress has been made on implementing the original report, with both Research Councils UK and the Higher Education Funding Council for England adopting open-access mandates, efforts are needed to coordinate ongoing efforts. More here.
The Scholarly Kitchen: The Natural Limits of Gold Open Access, by Joseph Esposito. Everything has limits. While there is much discussion about the limitations of the traditional publishing model, where users or their proxies (e.g., libraries) pay for access, the natural limits of open access (OA) publishing are often overlooked or are discussed only in unproductive, heated online forums. What I propose to do here is to identify some of the natural limits of the Gold variety of OA publishing with the aim of focusing subsequent discussion on how to moderate or eliminate those limitations. I said that traditional publishing has its limits, too, and that they are well known, but perhaps it would be advisable to rehearse those limits briefly. The most significant characteristic of traditional publishing is that is designed to operate in a market economy. For some, anything that smacks of the marketplace is anathema for scholarly activity, but even more moderate souls will be prompted to ask what happens when there is literally no market? This is not an unusual situation for scholarly material. Some research is so specialized that the number of interested readers is tiny, at least today (who would want to predict the impact of research a decade or a century from now?). Such specialized work exists, if it can be made to exist at all, outside the marketplace. Other material lacks a market for the simple reason that there is no money to pay for it. This is the case for a great deal of scholarly material in the developing world, and even in the First World a library with no money to spend represents no market at all. Traditional publishing has limits and they are marketplace limits. More here.
Free Publications in PeerJ Until 2014. In the past year, PeerJ has had two ‘free submission periods’ in which we encouraged authors in specific subject areas to publish with us for free. These limited-time promotions resulted in increased submissions, which showed that despite our already low prices there is a large community for whom price is still a consideration when trying Open Access – this must change. More here.
Forced Open-Access publishing, by Pieter Spronck. The Dutch Secretary of State for Education Sander Dekker proposes to make it mandatory for Dutch scientists to only publish in Open Access journals (i.e., free to read) by 2016. If the proposal is really formulated like that, it is one of the most damaging, costly, and unnecessary proposals I have ever seen in science. First of all: the quality of a scientist is, in general, measured by the citations he gets and the impact of the journals in which he publishes. The highest-impact journals which lead to the most citations are, at present, not Open Access and will not be Open Access by 2016. If Dutch scientists are no longer allowed to publish in journals which are not Open Access, their standing in the scientific world will suffer. This is coupled with the fact that most Open Access journals require the contributors to pay for publishing in them. The reason that many scientists avoid Open Access journals is that they have no budget to pay for publication. Forcing scientists to publish in Open Access journals leads to two consequences: (1) a considerable part of the science budget will be spent on just paying a third-party to put publications online; and (2) many Open Access journals are low-quality because they are only interested in money, so they accept (almost) everything from anyone who pays — meaning that the scientific quality of Dutch publications will probably decrease. More here.
Open and Shut? Ann Okerson on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done? Given her background, Okerson is well placed to give an informed view on the current state of Open Access. Inevitably, she views matters through the eyes of a librarian. What is striking to me, however, is that — at a time when many librarians have come to view publishers as the enemy — Okerson appears surprisingly balanced and objective in her views. It is no surprise, then, that she views herself as belonging to the “pragmatic wing” of the OA movement. “I’m always thrilled with ‘better,’ but I also like ‘now’”, she says. For that reason, she adds, her biggest disappointment is “the way that the desire for the best can get in the way of the really pretty darned good. The dialogue that we need to have among academics, librarians, publishers, and policymakers breaks down when it becomes ideological, and real opportunities can be missed.” What in Okerson’s view is the current state of Open Access? “I remember getting my head around the concept of the asymptote back in Algebra II, that ideal line the curve is trending towards, closer and closer without ever absolutely reaching,” she says. “That’s my mental model for how we are progressing with open access. We’ll likely never get 100% there, but the trend and progress are real. If we were all a little less ideological, a little more pragmatic, there would be a variety of things we could be doing now that would advance our objectives and push the curve closer to the ideal line.” More here.
Zotero synchronisiert Texte. Die neue Zotero-Version enthält ein zusätzliches Feature, die Volltext-Synchronisation. Aktualisiert man seine Zotero-Installation, erhält man folgende Meldung: “Zotero can now sync the full-text content of files in your Zotero libraries with zotero.org and other linked devices, allowing you to easily search for your files wherever you are. The full-text content of your files will not be shared publicly. You can change this setting later from the Sync pane of the Zotero preferences.” More here.
Manage research papers on the go with PaperShips, by Alex Hope. Designed for iPad and iPhone, PaperShip syncs with Zotero and Mendeley libraries, providing access to all items stored inside them. To add new references, it also imports directly from the web and automatically downloads full text PDFs when available. Each PDF can be annotated and highlighted, then stored back within the library with every modification saved. Annotated documents can also be shared via email, text messages, Facebook and Twitter. In use I have found PaperShip to be fast and reliable. Set up was as easy as adding in my Zotero or Mendeley username and password. You can decide if you want to download your complete library of papers to your device or choose to download individually as and when you need them. So far in use the app has been rock solid and reliable, one of the main problems that I had with other systems. It also looks good and has an intuitive interface taking cues from email apps such as Gmail and Mailbox. More here.
The Open Access Button has mapped 300 denials to research articles since yesterday’s launch.
Big Deals, Big Macs and Consortial Licensing, by Open Access Archivangelism. Ann Okerson (as interviewed by Richard Poynder) is committed to licensing. I am not sure whether the commitment is ideological or pragmatic, but it’s clearly a lifelong (“asymptotic”) commitment by now. I was surprised to see the direction Ann ultimately took because — as I have admitted many times — it was Ann who first opened my eyes to (what eventually came to be called) “Open Access.” In the mid and late 80’s I was still just in the thrall of the scholarly and scientific potential of the revolutionarily new online medium itself (“Scholarly Skywriting”), eager to get everything to be put online. It was Ann’s work on the serials crisis that made me realize that it was not enough just to get it all online: it also had to be made accessible (online) to all of its potential users, toll-free — not just to those whose institutions could afford the access-tolls (licenses). And even that much I came to understand, sluggishly, only after I had first realized that what set apart the writings in question was not that they were (as I had first naively dubbed them) “esoteric” (i.e., they had few users) but that they were peer-reviewed research journal articles, written by researchers solely for impact, not for income. More here.
The Guardian: Push button for open access. Two medical students are helping to turn the dream of making scientific research papers freely accessible into a reality, using the internet of course. Some say the meek will inherit the earth but in fact it will be the young. More especially, those young people who know their way around computer technology and who have sparks of imagination and creativity. We have see this already among independent music and film makers and the bright young things who founded the computer companies and internet businesses that have changed the world. That change is also enveloping the business of scholarly publishing, where the 350 year old practice of distributing research results in journals printed on paper is disappearing fast. It’s not just that research is appearing on screens instead of the printed page — the whole approach to the dissemination of information is being transformed. Rather than charging readers for access, through a dysfunctional market that generates rich pickings for large publishing corporations off the back of unsustainable prices rises, the move now is to lever the power of the internet to facilitate free or open access for readers. This shift entails a complex series of challenges to many entrenched business practices and aspects of academic culture. I won’t go into the details here (those who are interested should start out with this accessible overview from Peter Suber), but one of the most remarkable and valuable features of this transformation that the push to open access is coming from ground level, from the people who understand the internet best. More here.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: ‘Open Access Button’ Designed to Raise Awareness, Improve Access. This morning, a team of developers and researchers announced the release of a new research tool in the form of a browser bookmarklet: the “Open Access Button.” The bookmarklet will work with a variety of browsers, and it’s intended to allow the user who installs it “to track the impact of paywalls and help you get access to the research you need,” in the words of the creators: “People are denied access to research hidden behind paywalls every day. This problem is invisible, but it slows innovation, kills curiosity and harms patients. This is an indictment of the current system. Open Access has given us the solution to this problem by allowing everyone to read and re-use research. … By using the button you’ll help show the impact of this problem, drive awareness of the issue, and help change the system. Furthermore, the Open Access Button has several ways of helping you get access to the research you need right now.” More here.