Covid-19 and Open Access in the Humanities: Impacts and Emerging Trends

Abstract:  Discussions of open-access publishing tend to center the scientific disciplines, and this trend has continued during the Covid-19 pandemic. But while the pandemic has certainly shed new light on the importance of openly accessible medical research, its effects—from economic impacts to attitudinal shifts—have been felt and speculated about across disciplines. This paper presents an investigation into present and future impacts of the pandemic on open-access publishing in the humanities, which have historically been slower to adopt open-access models than other disciplines. A survey distributed to scholarly publishing professionals, academic librarians, and others working in open-access humanities publishing sought to determine what changes these professionals had observed in their field since the start of the pandemic, as well as what impacts they projected for the long term. While the lasting effects of this still-evolving global health and economic crisis remain uncertain, the survey results indicate that open-access humanities professionals have already observed changes in areas including market demand, institutional interest, and funding, while many of them predict that the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the field. These findings contribute to an ongoing conversation about the place of the humanities in the openaccess publishing landscape and the need for sustainable institutional investment.

How open access can support Humanities book authors: Interview with Manuel Peréz García | For Researchers | Springer Nature

“Prof. Manuel Peréz García is a tenured Associate Professor at the Department of History, School of Humanities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. He has published two open access books within the Palgrave Macmillan book series Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History, for which he is editor-in-chief, called Global History and New Polycentric Approaches and Global History with Chinese Characteristics. In this interview, he talks about why open access is important not only for research in global history but also for society, authors and funders….”

Opening Up Scholarship in the Humanities: Digital Publishing, Knowledge Translation, and Public Engagement

Abstract:  Opening Up Scholarship in the Humanities: Digital Publishing, Knowledge Translation, and Public Engagement considers the concept of humanistic, open, social scholarship and argues for its value in the contemporary academy as both a set of socially oriented activities and an organizing framework for such activities. This endeavour spans the interrelated areas of knowledge creation, public engagement, and open access, and demonstrates the importance of considering this triad as critical for the pursuit of academic work moving forward—especially in the humanities. Under the umbrella of open social scholarship, I consider open access as a baseline for public engagement and argue for the vitalness of this sort of work. Moreover, I suggest that there is a strong connection between digital scholarship and social knowledge creation. I explore the knowledge translation lessons that other fields might have for the humanities and include a journalist–humanist case study to this end. I also argue for the value of producing research output in many different forms and formats. Finally, I propose that there are benefits to explicitly popularizing the humanities. In sum, this dissertation speculates on past, current, and future scholarly communication activities, and proposes that such activities might be opened up for wider engagement and, thus, social benefit.

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the flagship journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, will transition to Open Access starting in 2022

“Starting with Volume 30, Berghahn Journals will be the new publisher of Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, the journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. The journal will be leaving Wiley to embark on becoming a fully open access journal as a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro – Subscribe to Open (S2O) initiative, which will enter its third year in 2022….”

Open access books in the humanities | For Researchers | Springer Nature

“Humanities book authors value the benefits that publishing open access can bring. Open access books are easy to find and share, allowing for authors to increase the real-world impact of their work.

Open access can support authors’ desires to increase interdisciplinary discussion and use of their work, and to reach a larger and broader audience outside of their normal networks to students, policymakers and the general public. Publishing an open access academic book can also help with career advancement. 

On this page you can find interviews with some of our featured book authors talking about their experiences of publishing open access, as well as open access book highlights from our Humanities list (History, Literature, Culture and Media Studies, Religion and Philosophy). Open access funding can sometimes be challenging to find, so you can also find a list of some of the funders who have supported our featured books, and information on our free Funding Support Service….”

Statement on the Scholarly Merit and Evaluation of Open Scholarship in Linguistics | Linguistic Society of America

“Open Scholarship can be a key component for a scholar’s portfolio in a number of situations, including but not limited to hiring, review, promotion, and awards. Because Open Scholarship can take many forms, evaluation of this work may need different tools and approaches from publications like journal articles and books.  In particular, citation counts, a common tool for evaluating publications, are not available for some kinds of Open Scholarship in the same form or from the same providers as they are from publications. Here we share recommendations on how to assess the use of Open Scholarship materials including and beyond citations, including materials that both have formal peer review and those that do not not.

For tenure & promotion committees, program managers, department chairs, hiring committees, and others tasked with evaluating Open Scholarship, NASEM has prepared a discipline-agnostic rubric that can be used as part of hiring, review, or promotion processes. Outside letters of evaluation can also provide insight into the significance and impact of Open Scholarship work. Psychologist Brian Nosek (2017) provides some insight into how a letter writer can evaluate Open Scholarship, and includes several ways that evaluation committees can ask for input specifically about contributions to Open Scholarship. Nosek suggests that letter writers and evaluators comment on ways that individuals have contributed to Open Scholarship through “infrastructure, service, metascience, social media leadership, and their own research practices.” We add that using Open Scholarship in the classroom, whether through open educational materials, open pedagogy, or teaching of Open Scholarship principles, should be included in this list. Evaluators can explicitly ask for these insights in requests to letter writers, for example by including the request to “Please describe the impact that [scholar name]’s openly available research outputs have had from the research, public policy, pedagogic, and/or societal perspectives.” These evaluations can be particularly important when research outputs are not formally peer reviewed.

For scholars preparing hiring, review, promotion, or other portfolios that include Open Scholarship, we recommend not only discussing the Open Scholarship itself, but also its documented and potential impacts on both the academic community as well as broader society. Many repositories housing Open Scholarship materials provide additional metrics such as views, downloads, comments, and forks (or reuse cases) alongside citations in published literature. The use and mention of material with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) can be tracked using tools such as ImpactStory, Altmetric.com, and other alternative metrics. To aid with evaluation of this work, the creator should share these metrics where available, along with any other qualitative indicators (such as personal thank-yous, reuse stories, or online write-ups) that can give evaluators a sense of the impact of their work. The Metrics Toolkit provides examples and use cases for these kinds of metrics. This is of potential value when peer review of these materials may not take the same form as with published journals or books; thoughtful use and interpretation of metrics can help evaluators understand the impact and importance of the work.

The Linguistic Society of America reaffirms its commitment to fair review of Open Scholarship in hiring, tenure, and promotion, endorses all of these approaches to peer review and evaluation of Open Scholarship, and encourages scholars, departments, and personnel committees to take them into careful consideration and implement language about Open Scholarship in their evaluation processes.”

Intersections: Library Publishing and Scholarly Societies | Library Publishing Coalition

“Beyond acquiring new publications and getting hands-on experience with scholars who do the work of publishing, this work also provides an opportunity for me to help a discipline with knowledge and resources that may be unique to our field of Library Publishing and Scholarly Communication broadly – and the capacity and resources to do that work. One such opportunity has led to one of the most meaningful projects in my career so far. I was delighted to have the opportunity to provide feedback on and early draft of the LSA’s 2018 Statement on the Evaluation of Language Documentation for Hiring, Tenure, and Promotion. This Statement cited the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) in an argument that the intense data management work involved in Language Documentation projects should be viewed on par with other scholarly outputs when evaluating hiring and promotion portfolios, and gives practical advice for doing so. Based on the findings of the RPT Project from the ScholComm Lab at Simon Fraser University, open publishing and open scholarship generally are not mentioned often in Review, Promotion, or Tenure documents, and that this is a very practical barrier for scholars to engage in more open practices. After the LSA’s Statement about Language Documentation was adopted, I heard use cases where scholars and department chairs were able to effectively use this Statement to advocate for hiring and promoting linguists who devote incredible amounts of energy to the careful documentation and sharing of language data.

At this same time, some chairs of linguistics departments had become involved in a project from NASEM’s Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science to identify ways to encourage open scholarship in review documents. Since I had volunteered to be the Chair of the Committee on Scholarly Communication in Linguistics, I was invited to introduce representatives from the Roundtable, Greg Tananbaum and Chris Bourg, at the Department Chairs Meeting in 2020 to talk about this initiative. After their presentation, multiple linguistics department chairs mentioned the usefulness of the 2018 Statement on Language Documentation. As I sat on the sidelines and listened, I sensed the opportunity to create a Statement on the Scholarly Merit and Evaluation of Open Scholarship in Linguistics that would extend the utility of the Language Documentation Statement for all linguists who engage in Open Scholarship. I brought the idea to the committee, and members were enthusiastic about the opportunity. We worked over the next year and a half to draft a statement, conduct an open asynchronous review, make multiple rounds of edits, present at an open meeting at the 2021 Annual Meeting, and finally submit the Statement for approval of the LSA’s Executive Committee. I am proud to say that this Statement was adopted by the LSA on April 29, 2021, and you can now read it published officially on the Linguistic Society of America’s website. When you read it, you will no doubt see resources familiar to Library Publishers – including DORA, the Metrics Toolkit, NASEM’s Roundtable, and the RPT Project. These resources, although familiar to us in the Library Publishing world, are brand new to many linguists reading this Statement. And for Library Publishers, open scholarship products are often the kinds of materials we publish, whether in the form of journals, books, educational resources, datasets, or digital projects; yet our authors are often actively disincentivized from producing this kind of work by evaluation systems that privilege closed-access, traditional forms of scholarship. If we want to enrich and expand our publishing ecosystem, we must lower the barriers that scholars face when they do this work….”

What are preprints? [Originally published in DADOS’ blog in May/2021] | SciELO in Perspective

“In 2020, DADOS began accepting the submission of manuscripts from preprint servers. However, there are still many concerns from the academic community, especially in the Social Sciences, about what preprints are and what changes they bring to the traditional framework of scientific assessment and publication. Our goal here is to answer these questions briefly, in addition to explaining in a simple way how to submit a preprint to DADOS. To this end, we have prepared a schematic of how manuscripts are evaluated in the traditional double-blind review system and how it has been modified in the preprint model. Next, we have a video and a podcast episode (both available in Portuguese only) about how DADOS will incorporate preprints, followed by a text summarizing this material….”

Open Access in the Humanities: What, Why, and How | The Courtauld

“The Courtauld’s new Digital Art History Research Group (#DAHRG) is pleased to welcome Professor Martin Eve to give the first of two keynote seminars. In Open Access in the Humanities: What, Why, and How, Prof. Eve will provide a general background to open access. He will also highlight its challenges and economics. Finally, he will speak about The Open Library of Humanities (OLH), for which he is Project Director. OLH is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs)….”