Times Higher Education: Open-access initiatives to benefit the academy. A variety of schemes would allow the academy to reclaim control of its knowledge and labour, says Steffen Böhm. “Such a concerted effort by all players could result in the UK becoming a beacon of open-access publishing. By cutting out the parasitic publishing middle men, the academy could reclaim control of its knowledge, funding and labour.” Read article here.
Riding the crest of the altmetrics wave: How librarians can help prepare faculty for the next generation of research impact metrics, by Scott Lapinski, Heather Piwowar, and Jason Priem. Traditional impact measures, most commonly the JIF and the h-index, continue to be the source of much debate, and, over the years, have provoked many suggestions for ways in which their interpretation (or algorithms) could be improved. Altmetrics is not a complete answer to whatever shortcomings are inherent within these traditional impact measures. However, altmetrics do allow assessment directly at the product level, rather than the publication. Moreover, they cover the growing diversity in scholarly products, platforms, and people. Of course, early excitement in altmetrics’ potential must be tempered by appropriate caution; research into the validity and reliability of altmetrics is still in its infancy. However, as we transition from a paper-native to a Web-native scholarly communication system,15 these new metrics are likely to grow in importance. As they do, librarians are well positioned to inform and support researchers and decision makers in their use. Read article here.
PloS One: Do Altmetrics Work? Twitter and Ten Other Social Web Services. Statistically significant associations were found between higher metric scores and higher citations for articles with positive altmetric scores in all cases with sufficient evidence (Twitter, Facebook wall posts, research highlights, blogs, mainstream media and forums) except perhaps for Google+ posts. Evidence was insufficient for LinkedIn, Pinterest, question and answer sites, and Reddit, and no conclusions should be drawn about articles with zero altmetric scores or the strength of any correlation between altmetrics and citations. Nevertheless, comparisons between citations and metric values for articles published at different times, even within the same year, can remove or reverse this association and so publishers and scientometricians should consider the effect of time when using altmetrics to rank articles. Finally, the coverage of all the altmetrics except for Twitter seems to be low and so it is not clear if they are prevalent enough to be useful in practice. Read here.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: Rise of ‘Altmetrics’ Revives Questions About How to Measure Impact of Research. “As that phrasing indicates, altmetrics data can’t reveal everything. Mr. Roberts points out that if someone tweets about a paper, “they could be making fun of it.” If a researcher takes the time to download a paper into an online reference manager like Mendeley or Zotero, however, he considers that a more reliable sign that the work has found some kind of audience. “My interpretation is that because they downloaded it, they found it useful,” he says.” Read article here.
Economics of scholarly communication in transition. Abstract: Academic library budgets are the primary source of revenue for scholarly journal publishing. There is more than enough money in the budgets of academic libraries to fund a fully open access scholarly journal publishing system. Seeking efficiencies, such as a reasonable average cost per article, will be key to a successful transition. This article presents macro level economic data and analysis illustrating the key factors and potential for cost savings. Read here.
Does Openness and Open Access Policy Relate to the Success of Universities? Extended Abstract, by Pekka Olsbo. “In the table we can see that at least in Netherlands and Sweden there is a deep connection between the ranking of universities, repositories and the openness of the universities. But the most interesting developments can be seen, if we look at the trends described in figure 1 and table 1. If we compare the top 5 universities of these countries we can see, that Finland, Denmark and Norway have improved their placing in openness substantially compared to Switzerland and even the whole RWU. These same countries seem to be in their way up also if we look at the development of relative citation impact in recent years. The positions of Switzerland and Austria have weakened in both openness and relative citation impact. Actually these trends seem to go hand in hand in all eight countries. One explaining factor could be the Open Access policy of these countries and universities.” Read here.
Research Funders Propose Steps to Promote Open Access. A group of research funding organizations from around the world today put its weight behind open access (OA) to the scientific literature but stopped short of making concrete policy recommendations for its members. The landscape for research and publishing is too varied to come up with general solutions, leaders of the Global Research Council (GRC) said today at the end of the group’s second annual meeting in Berlin. For instance, GRC’s Action Plan towards Open Access to Publications does not recommend making it compulsory for grantees to publish their work in journals that comply with an established OA policy, as some of its members do; it also doesn’t wade into the hotly debated choice between “gold” and “green” OA models. (In the gold model, authors pay to publish in a journal that makes papers freely available on the web; in green, they publish in any journal but also “self-archive” their paper in a public repository.) Such issues differ from one region of the world to the other and also depend on the funder’s mandate, said Peter Strohschneider, president of the German Research Foundation and co-host of the meeting, today at a press conference. More here.
California Open Access Legislation Clears Latest Hurdle. The House Assembly today passed the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609). The act is now set to be heard in the Senate later this summer… Meanwhile Open Access momentum continues in other states. The New York Open Access bill, S.4050 (Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research) will be considered by the Senate Finance committee next week. PLOS will continue to follow these developments and keep you updated. More here.
Deep Impact: Unintended consequences of journal rank, by Björn Brembs, Katherine Button and Marcus Munafò. Most researchers acknowledge an intrinsic hierarchy in the scholarly journals (‘journal rank’) that they submit their work to, and adjust not only their submission but also their reading strategies accordingly. On the other hand, much has been written about the negative effects of institutionalizing journal rank as an impact measure. So far, contributions to the debate concerning the limitations of journal rank as a scientific impact assessment tool have either lacked data, or relied on only a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences of our current scholarly communication system with respect to various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings or retractions). These data corroborate previous hypotheses: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery functions of the current journal system. Read here.
The transnational open access movement: paper to be presented at the Global Communication Association conference in November, by Heather Morrison. This paper explores the potential for the open access movement as a natural experiment in achieving an effective transnational advocacy network outside of the issues involving obvious harm to human rights identified by Keck and Sikkink as most likely to succeed. The shared basic goal of open access to scholarly works may open up the possibility of a high level global conversation on the impact of neoliberal ideology with scholarly communication as an example. The potential for various participants to overcome differences in sub-instrumental goals to achieve the greater (but less specific) common vision of open access will be explored. More here.
Wellcome Trust extends open access policy to include scholarly monographs and book chapters. The Wellcome Trust today announces that it is to extend its open access policy to include all scholarly monographs and book chapters written by its grantholders as part of their Trust-funded research. More here.
Publishing: Evolution, Disruption & the Future: Conference on 12th June 2013, Business School, Edinburgh. Entry is free. Topics include: Open Information, Innovation & Communication: Making Publicly Funded Information Free; Publish or Perish? The profound shift in scholarly publishing and how the future looks; Tom Pollard, Ubiquity Press; Scholarly Publishing: To Infinity and Beyond, Matt Mckay, International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM); MOOCs and Textbooks: Future Competitors or Complementors? Mark Lester, Open University; Panel session: The future of academic publishing; Session Two: From Gutenberg to Amazon and Beyond: The Evolving Modes of Publishing; Lean & Agile: what publishing can learn from startups, Rachel Willmer, Luzme; and much more. See programme here.