Editorial: Can Journals, as Trusted Intermediaries, Cut Through the Signal-to-Noise Problem in Medical Publishing?

“Although open-access publication has its upsides, for purposes of this essay, I am going to lump publishing in open-access journals in with posting to preprint servers as potentially problematic. My reason for doing so is that both make it harder for clinicians to separate helpful research from distracting, unhelpful, and in the case of preprint servers, unvetted material. In previous editorials, I’ve highlighted some redeeming qualities of open-access publication [17, 18]; I also note that open access is a publication option here at CORR®. But from where I sit today, it’s becoming clear to me that the distortion of publication incentives that are inherent to fully open-access journals does not serve readers (or their patients) very well….”

Commentary: The publication pandemic

“The rise of OA and the megajournals has turned out to be a lucrative model for publishing houses.1,2 But is it good for the scientific community as a whole? Opinions on this differ from field to field, with the more translational fields, like biology and medicine, taking a more enthusiastic stance and more fundamental fields, like mathematics and physics, a more skeptical one. (See the commentary by Jason Wright in Physics Today, February 2020, page 10, and reference 3.)

There is also a noticeable generational difference of opinion. Some younger scientists view the trend toward OA scientific journals more favorably than their older colleagues do. …”

Open access publication: Academic colonialism or knowledge philanthropy? – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publication of scholarly articles in journals has come to be celebrated as opening up new knowledge base to researchers, making knowledge a ‘public-good’. What seems to have gone amiss is a deep-seeded exclusion and discrimination that OA furthers by being blind to authors’ location. I argue that OA entrenches prevailing ‘academic colonialism’, without any reflection on transforming existing academic hierarchies. The paper brings forth the idea of academiccolonialism leading to a hierarchization of scholarships, wherein the authors belonging to the so-called Global South stand at a disadvantage.

 

Open access publication: Academic colonialism or knowledge philanthropy? – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publication of scholarly articles in journals has come to be celebrated as opening up new knowledge base to researchers, making knowledge a ‘public-good’. What seems to have gone amiss is a deep-seeded exclusion and discrimination that OA furthers by being blind to authors’ location. I argue that OA entrenches prevailing ‘academic colonialism’, without any reflection on transforming existing academic hierarchies. The paper brings forth the idea of academiccolonialism leading to a hierarchization of scholarships, wherein the authors belonging to the so-called Global South stand at a disadvantage.

 

AAP Vows to Protect Copyright from All Challengers

“Challenges to copyright protection are also happening at the state level, Pallante warned, where library lobbyists and “tech-funded” special interest groups are working to “divert copyright protection away from Congress to state assemblies,” an apparent reference to Maryland’s passage of a law late last week that would force publishers to make any digital content they license to consumers available as “an electronic literary product” to public libraries in the state “on reasonable terms.” The AAP opposed the law, and in her remarks, Pallante argued that these state efforts “are clearly preempted by the express language of the federal Copyright Act,” while also spinning a “false narrative.”

Pallante said libraries are an important part of the publishing ecosystem, but added that, “authors, publishers, and bookstores also have policy equities, which is why Congress enacted a singular cohesive federal copyright system that has address the ownership and sale of books since 1790.” She also hit back against what she said are lobbyists pushing states to fund open educational resources “through ugly misinformation campaigns aimed at publishers” and designed to replace publishers’ materials.

In a final point about copyright, Pallante said that the lawsuit the association filed a year ago against the Internet Archive for copying 1.3 million scans of books is still in discovery, but said the IA’s activities “are well outside the boundaries of both the law and copyright commerce, and ultimately pose an existential threat to the copyright framework on which authors and publishers rely.”…”

Guest post: The Fully OA agreement – an essential component of a diverse open access world – OASPA

“Much of the recent effort to transition scholarly publishing to open access1 (OA) has focused on ‘Transformative Agreements’2 that incentivize change among subscription or mixed-model publishers3. Supporting such publishers to transition to OA is important to transform the system of scholarly publishing. However, it is equally important to support existing fully OA publishers – who already deliver open content by default in ways that comply with Plan S and fulfill its original principles and spirit – and to recognize the centrality of their role in normalizing OA and bringing it to the mainstream. 

As fully OA publishers, we welcome the pivotal role institutions and libraries are playing in supporting open access, and we look forward to co-creating the systems and publishing agreements that will enable them to support their authors in publishing OA. …

Most fully OA publishers have published open access since their founding. While we have costs associated with developing new OA models, we do not have costs or issues related to transitioning from subscription publishing to a new publishing model. Moreover, we are confident in the efficiencies that our full focus on OA allows, and in the transparency of our finances. While Article Processing Charges (APCs) still dominate the OA business model, we have been instrumental in developing and experimenting with a myriad of other potential ways to support OA, including institutional agreements and membership-style models. We have also pioneered many of the important innovations in scholarly publishing that have developed alongside OA, such as article-level metrics, preprint facilitation, open data facilitation, peer review innovations, rapid publication, and waiver programs. We have also helped focus attention on the methodological and ethical rigor of research. In short, fully OA publishers are an instrumental and essential component of the scholarly publishing landscape. We add diversity and author choice and publish OA to serve our research communities without being compelled by a changing scholarly publishing landscape.

In this light, we encourage and propose a greater focus on “Fully OA” publishing agreements (sometimes referred to as “Pure Publish” agreements). While much time and energy is by necessity devoted to Transformative Agreements and transforming subscription models, we propose a balanced approach whereby institutions also partner with fully OA publishers to fulfill their open research strategies and serve the needs of their research and teaching communities. We are certain that libraries do not want authors to be forced (or simply habituated) into NOT choosing a fully OA publisher simply because institutional agreements exist only with transitioning subscription or mixed-model publishers. …”

Halt the h-index – Leiden Madtrics

“Sometimes, bringing home a message requires a more visual approach. That’s why recently, we teamed up with a graphic designer to create an infographic on the h-index – or rather, on the reasons why not to use the h-index.

In our experience with stakeholders in research evaluation, debates about the usefulness of the h-index keep popping up. This happens even in contexts that are more welcoming towards responsible research assessment. Of course, the h-index is well-known, as are its downsides. Still, the various issues around it do not yet seem to be common knowledge. At the same time, current developments in research evaluation propose more holistic approaches. Examples include the evaluative inquiry developed at our own centre as well as approaches to evaluate academic institutions in context. Scrutinizing the creation of indicators itself, better contextualization has been called for, demanding to derive them out “in the wild” and not in isolation.
Moving towards more comprehensive research assessment approaches that consider research in all its variants is supported by the larger community of research evaluators as well, making a compelling case to move away from single-indicator thinking.
Still, there is opposition to reconsidering the use of metrics. When first introducing the infographic on Twitter, this evoked responses questioning misuse of the h-index in practice, disparaging more qualitative assessments, or simply shrugging off responsibility for taking action due to a perceived lack of alternatives. This shows there is indeed a need for taking another look at the h-index….”

Discomfort with Gold OA · Commonplace

“In this essay, I’m going to make the case that open access agreements that rely upon a pay-to-publish model are good for the groups who sign them but bad for the overall system.  To do that, I’ll start with a quick refresher on public goods and then use that framework to discuss the state of open access and the variations in different colors as they relate to public goods.undefined  After laying out a model of open access as a public good, I’ll argue that what we are actually building is not a system rooted in public goods but one that has merely shifted the entry barriers from readers to authors.  I’ll conclude by offering some hope for the future, again rooted in the social science of public goods….”

Open access ‘excludes’ developing world scientists – SciDev.Net

“Pay-to-publish models adopted by science journals ‘exacerbate the exclusion of researchers from the global South’.

Open access publishing is excluding many developing world scientists as complex fee waiver systems fall short, say leading researchers….”

Opening Access, Closing the Knowledge Gap? Analysing GC No. 25 on the Right to Science and Its Implications for the Global Science System in the Digital Age eBook (2021) / 0044-2348 | Nomos eLibrary

Abstract:  The Corona pandemic as never before shows the advantages of Open Science and Open Access (OA), understood as the unrestricted access to research data, software and publications over the internet. It might accelerate the long-predicted “access revolution” in the academic publishing system towards a system in which scientific publications are freely available for readers over the internet. This paradigm shift, for which the “flipping” of this journal is but one of many examples, is underway, with major research funding organisations at the national and international levels massively supporting it. The call for OA has now also been taken up by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which in its recent General Comment (GC) No. 25 explicitly asks states to promote OA. Following the line of argument of the OA movement, the Committee finds that OA is beneficial to democracy, scientific progress and furthermore a tool to bridge the “knowledge gap”. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the GC and its implications for the global science system in the digital age. It argues that the great merit of the GC lies in highlighting that “benefitting” from science includes access to science as such and not only to its material outcomes. This underscores the independent meaning of the right to science which so far was primarily seen as an enabler for other social rights. However, when it comes to OA, the GC has problematic flaws. It simply assumes that OA is beneficial to the right to science, overlooking that the OA model which is likely to become the global standard risks to benefit the already privileged, namely researchers and publishers of wealthy institutions in the Global North, further sidelining those at the margins. Rather than narrowing existing gaps, it risks to further deepen them. In order to remain meaningful in the face of the fundamental criticism it faces, human rights law needs to address systemic issues and inequalities in the science system and beyond.