Times Higher Education: Open access papers ‘gain more traffic and citations’. “It found that, after 180 days, articles whose authors had paid for them to be made open access had been viewed more than twice as often as those articles accessible only to the journal’s subscribers. A further analysis of more than 2,000 papers published in Nature Communications between April 2010 and June 2013 revealed that open access articles were cited a median of 11 times, compared with a median of seven citations for subscription-only articles. The paper concludes that open access papers enjoy a “small” citation advantage in all disciplines except chemistry.” More here.
Highlights of #altmetrics: July 2014 by Keita Bando. View feed here.
WISER: Open Access Oxford – what’s happening? “A briefing on open access publishing and Oxford’s position: Green vs. Gold; funder mandates and publisher policies; Oxford Research Archive (ORA) and Symplectic; OA website/ helpline; what’s new.” Takes place on Wednesday, 20 August, 11:00-12:00 at IT Training Room, Social Science Library, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford, OX1 3UQ. More here.
Scholarly Kitchen: Stick To Your Ribs: The Impact Factor’s Greatest Hits (and Misses), by David Crotty. ”
The release of new Impact Factors always results in a great deal of work for publishers, editors, analysts and consultants as we pore through the numbers and figure out exactly what they mean. Love it or hate it, the Impact Factor still holds major sway over the careers of academic researchers as well as the submission rates and overall health of journals. With that in mind, I dug back into our archives to offer up some of our articles examining the Impact Factor, from a variety of angles. We’ll return with a new post tomorrow, once the dust settles.” More here.
Open access in the developing world: The meaning of ‘impact’: prestige or relevance for developing world research? “There is an interesting circularity about the impact story in the developing world. With the expansion of the number of developing country journals in the index, the inclusion of the Latin American open access journal platform, SciELO in the Wed of Science (the Thomson Reuters citation indexes), it would seem that there is a courtship going on in which the developing world is being drawn into the journal impact tables. This is a two-way process, as has recently been analyzed in the Latin American context by Vessuri, Guédon and Cetto where they express concern that the search for ‘international’ status for SicELO journals through a chase for impact factors tends to work against development agendas, giving rise to serious concerns about equity.” More here.
Academic Matters: Open Access and the Public Purse. “Last year, we were introduced to a “Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy,” put forward by NSERC and SSHRC to harmonize their requirements with the CIHR. Under this policy, all peer-reviewed journal articles based on research funded by these councils must be made available through Open Access (OA), free and online. Researchers could either publish in a journal that is OA or has OA options, or deposit the article in an OA repository within twelve months of publication. There is much to applaud here, particularly for those of us who have long supported OA as a means of making our work more widely available to international research communities that cannot afford increasingly high journal subscription fees or Canadians who are not physically within reach of a university library. The view, however, gets a little different once we realize that this policy does not foster OA in general, just select research publications (grant-funded journal articles), and allows federally funded research grants to be used to pay the Article Processing Charges (APCs) sometimes required for OA publication. Because of this particular focus, one of the effects of the proposed policy would be to foster the transfer of considerable funds from federal research councils to the large multinational publishers who charge some very high APCs. Such implications are not addressed in the recently published overview of the feedback SSHRC and NSERC received on its proposal, “Opening Canadian Research to the World: Summary of Responses to Draft Tri‐Agency Open Access Policy Consultation” and arguably run counter to support for the “Draft” as a matter of taxpayer fairness (see, for example, Michael Geist’s column on this topic).” More here.
Baden-Württemberg setzt auf E-Science: Strategiepapier und Förderprogramm. “Das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst des Landes Baden-Württemberg hat gestern ein 120-seitiges “Fachkonzept zur Weiterentwicklung der wissenschaftlichen Infrastruktur” (PDF) vorgestellt. Zur Umsetzung des Konzeptes werden Mittel in Höhe von 3,7 Mio. Euro breitgestellt. Mit dem Förderprogramm soll der “Ausbaus einer leistungsfähigen, effizienten und innovativen Informationsinfrastruktur für die wissenschaftlichen Einrichtungen in Baden-Württemberg” vorangetrieben werden.
Das Strategiepapier setzt auf dem “Gesamtkonzept für die Informationsinfrastruktur in Deutschland” der Kommission Zukunft der Informationsinfrastruktur (KII) und anderen Aktivitäten – z. B. der Schwerpunktinitiative “Digitale Information” der Wissenschaftsorganisationen – auf und widmet sich fünf zentralen Handlungsfeldern:
- Lizenzierung elektronischer Informationsmedien
- Open Access
- Virtuelle Forschungsumgebungen”
Rijksmuseum case study: Sharing free, high quality images without restrictions makes good things happen. “The Rijksmuseum has found a way to support broad access to its rich collection of cultural heritage resources. And it’s done so in such as way that promotes interest by new audiences, recuperates costs, and upholds the principles of supporting unrestricted access to the digital public domain.” More here.
Article vs Journal Impact – Perspective from PLOS ONE Editorial Director Damian Pattinson. “I don’t think the Impact Factor is a very good measure of anything, but clearly it is particularly meaningless for a journal that deliberately eschews evaluation of impact in its publications decisions. Our founding principle was that impact should be evaluated post-publication. In terms of the average number of citations per article, my sense is that this is changing due to the expanding breadth of fields covered by PLOS ONE, not to mention its sheer size (we recently published our 100,000th article). When you grow as quickly as we have, your annual average citation rate will always be suppressed by the fact that you are publishing far more papers at the end of the year than at the beginning.” More here.
The Guardian: Open access: are effective measures to put UK research online under threat? “The universities of the UK should not squander the opportunity to put in place an effective mechanism for making their published research freely available […] A great deal of water has passed under the bridge in the two years since the UK government reinvigorated its push towards open access – making publicly funded research papers freely available online. Although there is broad agreement on the policy, vociferous debates have raged over the details of implementation. Should the UK policy favour goldopen access – making research papers freely available via the journal where they are published – or green open access, where the paper (usually the author’s final revision following peer review) is placed in a freely accessible university repository? Much of the debate has revolved around efficacy and costs. It is widely believed that gold open access may be cheaper in the long run – particularly if it encourages transparent market competition – but it may be an expensive policy during any transition away from established subscription models. The policy implemented by Research Councils UK favours gold open access but leaves the final choice to the authors. While pragmatic, this approach risks ongoing confusion in the minds of academics in what is a complex policy area. However, moves towards open access received a significant boost earlier this year when the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HECFE) – acting on behalf of equivalent bodies for the rest of the UK – announced that only papers that have been placed in institutional repositories will be considered eligible for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF), a periodic exercise that assesses the quality of the outputs of UK university departments. This is a powerful linkage because REF assessments determine how HEFCE disburses its research funds and universities take them very seriously.” More here.
Times Higher Education: Should you Mooc and match? ‘Another professor’s learning materials? In my course? It’s more likely than you think. The non-profit research organisation Ithaka S+R this month released its highly anticipated report on its work with the institutions in the University System of Maryland, which for the past 18 months have experimented with courseware from Carnegie Mellon University, Coursera and Pearson in face-to-face courses. Backed by a $1.4 million (£0.8 million) grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the study aimed to produce some sorely needed research about massive open online courses and their usefulness to brick-and-mortar institutions. Eighteen months later, the Mooc frenzy has calmed, and Ithaka’s findings are similarly muted. “Our findings add empirical weight to an emerging consensus that technology can be used to enhance productivity in higher education by reducing costs without compromising student outcomes,” researchers Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Chingos, Christine Mulhern and Richard Spies write. In other words, hybrid courses that mix online content with face-to-face instruction can be just as good, though not necessarily better, than traditional courses. But a second research question – whether faculty members can use course content created by their counterparts at other institutions, potentially saving both time and resources – produced less clear results.”‘ More here.
Bjöen Brembs: Are We Paying US$3000 Per Article Just For Paywalls? “This is an easy calculation: for each subscription article, we pay on average US$5000. A publicly accessible article in one of SciELO’s 900 journals costs only US$90 on average. Subtracting about 35% in publisher profits, the remaining difference between legacy and SciELO costs amount to US$3160 per article. With paywalls being the only major difference between legacy and SciELO publishing (after all, writing and peer-review is done for free by researchers for both operations), it is straightforward to conclude that about US$3000 are going towards making each article more difficult to access, than if we published it on our personal webpage. Now that is what I’d call obscene.
Just to break the costs of legacy publishing down in detail:
|Actual costs of typesetting, hosting, archiving, etc.
Is There a Difference Between xMOOCs and cMOOCs? “Of course, classifications in education are not about black & white, either/or boxes. Classifications like “xMOOC/cMOOC” are really more of generalized categories that kind of coalesce around certain characteristics. But most people know that they are not hard, fast lines. One problem that is emerging in education is misunderstanding what educational classifications are and what they aren’t. MOOC designs that mix elements of xMOOCs and cMOOCs are not a sign that the classifications are wrong. They are a sign that we need to understand the underlying differences even more or we could continue to confuse and polarize the issue even further. More and more learners are discovering the difference between instructivism and connectivism (even if they don’t know those words), and are wanting to learn in their preferred paradigm.” More here.
Peter Suber: The harm caused by myths about open access. ‘For a vivid sense of the harm caused by common misunderstandings of OA, read the comments in this survey carried out at the University of Saskatchewan in November 2012 and released this month.
It’s depressing how many respondents who like the idea of OA in theory turn away from it in practice because they believe one of three particular falsehoods about it:
1. All OA is gold OA (through journals).
The truth: Green OA (through repositories) is an alternative to gold OA, and even more plentiful than gold OA. There are several ways to arrange for permission to provide green OA even for work published at the very best peer-reviewed journals.
2. All or most peer-reviewed OA journals charge publication fees.
The truth: Most (67%) charge no fees at all. In fact, the majority (75%) of non-OAjournals charge author-side fees and only a minority of OA journals do so.
3. All or most fees at fee-based OA journals are paid by authors out of pocket.
The truth: Most fees (88%) at fee-based OA journals are paid by the authors’ funder or employer. In fact 96% of authors who make their peer-reviewed articles OA pay no fee at all, because they make their work green OA rather than gold, because they publish in a no-fee OA journal, or because their fee at a fee-based journal was paid by their funder or employer.’ More here.
Steps to Implementing Open Educational Resources | Academic Impressions. ‘Join us for an online training to learn the key steps in OER implementation for a course or program. Our expert instructors will prepare you to address the challenges that arise including:
- Selection of open educational resource and provider
- Managing course design and modifications
- Improving faculty adoption
- Providing a quality student experience’
Open Education Summer Reading List.
Brill Announces New Suite of Open Access Journals. ‘Brill, the international scholarly publisher, announces a new suite of open access journals covering four major disciplines. In the Brill Open program, Brill is now announcing the launch of four new full Open Access journals in the following disciplines: Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, and Biology. These journals will offer a pure open access environment. Each journal will be divided in sections that align with the major subject areas in the discipline. Each of the four new Brill Open journals will have a dedicated editorial board and undergo the same rigorous peer review and uphold the same high-quality publication standards that Brill is known for. In addition, once accepted, papers will be published online in just one month. The Brill Open program makes research freely accessible online in exchange for an Article Publication Charge (APC). This can be by choice, or to comply with funding mandates or university requirements. As a rule, APCs are not charged until a paper is accepted for publication. In 2014 and 2015 the four new Open Access journals will offer reduced APCs and waive all submission fees.View the APC details here.’ More here.
OER Research Hub: July Round-Up. ‘July kicked off with the release of a range of our research on open textbooks during the aptly named Open Textbook Research week. With contributors from all of our fantastic open textbook collaborators, this was a great chance to see what work we’ve been doing together. Beck (OERRH researcher) and Megan Beckett (Siyavula) co-authored a series of blog posts on the survey findings in South Africa, Clint Lalonde of BCcampus told us more about the Open Textbook Project Geography sprint in an exclusive post and we also released the revised OpenStax College educator survey findings, preliminary student survey findings and three educator interviews. Phew! With 11 blog posts in total there’s a wealth of research to explore. […] Later in the month, we also released the full audio of last year’s OpenEd13 interview with co-author of OpenStax College Introductory Statistics, Barbara Illowsky. This is an incredibly rich interview with Barbara telling us about the journey of Collaborative Statistics, which she co-authored with Susan Dean, the students at De Anza College in California, why their open textbook is licensed CC-BY, her work with Cable Green to “influence OER policy”, student savings and how open has improved quality. Catch up on Part One and Part Two … perfect summertime listening! […] Half way through July Beck, Rob and Martin headed to Berlin to participate in this year’s Open Knowledge Festival (#OKFest14). The festival took place in the amazing Kulturbrauerei which provided a great space to host a vast array of sessions on openness in all different kinds of contexts, including education. Did you manage to catch our session on Wednesday at unFestival?! For the bigger picture check out our Storify and the official OKFest day-by-day reviews!’ More here.
The Conversation: Technology improves higher learning, it doesn’t kill it. ‘As MOOC mania approached its peak in 2012, Anant Agarwal, the president of the Massive Open Online Course platform edX, claimed:
Online education for students around the world will be the next big thing in education. This is the single biggest change in education since the printing press.
The claim was repeated many times. Indeed, 15 years earlier, management guru Peter Drucker had anticipated this:
Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won’t survive. It’s as large a change as when we first got the printed book.
That seemed improbable since university lectures have been as important in the five-and-a-half centuries since Gutenberg invented the printing press as they presumably were for the three-and-a-half centuries before. Yet printing had profound and pervasive effects on society, as has been established by many, notably Elizabeth Eisenstein in her study on The Printing Press as an Agent of Change. In a paper published recently in History of Education, I considered how printing changed universities, such as their lectures and libraries.’ More here.
Reports of MOOCs’ demise have been greatly exaggerated, by Craig Weidermann. ‘Last year’s exuberance about the impact of massive open online courses has fizzled. MOOCs have been widely eulogized as “overpromised,” “off course,” and just plain “enough already!” This much ballyhooed and belittled phenomenon is clearly neither the cure for all that ails higher education, nor the end of colleges and universities as we know them. But in our urge to find the next big thing, we shouldn’t ignore what MOOCs can offer to learners around the world and to institutions of higher education. Our true return on investment for MOOCs may be difficult to quantify — and it may not be monetary. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. “MOOCs have advanced the conversation and sharpened our focus on helping students learn. And that’s the ultimate return on investment. MOOCs are showing potential to attract applicants and engage alumni. Penn State’s GIS Mapping MOOC, for example, increased traffic to our GIS graduate program website by 400 percent. In addition, MOOCs are creating communities of online learners around the world and in some cases providing critical employment skills.’ More here.