Kakai | An analysis of the factors affecting open access to research output in institutional repositories in selected universities in East Africa | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  INTRODUCTION Institutional repositories (IRs) present universities with an opportunity to provide global open access (OA) to their scholarship, however, this avenue was underutilised in two of the three universities in this study. This study aimed at proposing interventions to improve access to research output in IRs in universities in East Africa, and it adds to the depth of knowledge on IRs by pointing out the factors that limit OA in IRs, some of which include lack of government and funder support for OA and mediated content collection workflows that hardly involved seeking author permission to self-archive. METHODS A mixed methods approach, following a concurrent strategy was used to investigate the low level of OA in IRs. Data was collected from three purposively selected IRs in universities in East Africa, using self-administered questionnaires from 183 researchers and face-to-face interviews from six librarians. results The findings revealed that content was collected on a voluntary basis, with most of the research output deposited in the IR without the authors’ knowledge. The respondents in this study were, however, supportive of the activities of the IR, and would participate in providing research output in the IR as OA if required to do so. CONCLUSION The low level of OA in IRs in universities in East Africa could be increased by improving the IR workflow, collection development, and marketing processes. Self-archiving could be improved by increasing the researchers’ awareness and knowledge of OA and importance of IRs, while addressing their concerns about copyright infringement.

 

Review of: Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access

“In the nearly 20 years since the publication of the three declarations on open access (OA) (Bethesda, Budapest, and Berlin), many digital and economic developments have altered the landscape of open scholarly publishing. Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Infrastructures, and Global Politics of Open Access, a 25-chapter collection edited by Martin Paul Eve and Jonathan Gray, explores questions raised by these changes with a focus on how the intersection of technologies and traditions surrounding publishing and OA are informed by the past and may project into the future.

The book is divided into six parts: colonial influences; epistemologies; publics and politics; archives and preservation; infrastructures and platforms; and global communities. The editors have chosen well in assembling dozens of scholars and practitioners from both the Global South and Global North in this useful volume aimed at those who study and practice OA scholarship. Each of the chapters succeeds in advancing the conversation regarding either the historical dimensions or future directions of a particular facet of open scholarship. The collection seeks to provide a range of perspectives across current research and inform practice but is not introductory and those new to the conversation may do well to first read an overview of OA scholarly communication.1

As with many developments in digital technology, the earliest rhetoric around digital, OA scholarship was largely, even overly, optimistic. Many of the assumptions underpinning OA disruption posited inevitably greater freedom and openness in scholarly communication.

The volume opens with four chapters that complicate this narrative and offer a deeply insightful critique of the promise of OA scholarship, specifically as it relates to post-colonial societies. In Chapter 1, the author draws from Jacques Derrida’s scholarship on Plato’s Pharmacy to explore the ways that OA implementation can be a sort of pharmakon (“poison remedy”) by fostering healthy scholarly flourishing in some regions while acting to noxious effect in the African context. The theme of OA systems and the perpetuation of inequality are expanded upon in the second chapter while the final two chapters of the first section, drawing from current best practices, offer suggestions for a more just and inclusive future….” 

SocArXiv Papers | Dynamics of Cumulative Advantage and Threats to Equity in Open Science – A Scoping Review

Open Science holds the promise to make scientific endeavours more inclusive, participatory, understandable, accessible, and re-usable for large audiences. However, making processes open will not per se drive wide re-use or participation unless also accompanied by the capacity (in terms of knowledge, skills, financial resources, technological readiness and motivation) to do so. These capacities vary considerably across regions, institutions and demographics. Those advantaged by such factors will remain potentially privileged, putting Open Science’s agenda of inclusivity at risk of propagating conditions of “cumulative advantage”. With this paper, we systematically scope existing research addressing the question: “What evidence and discourse exists in the literature about the ways in which dynamics and structures of inequality could persist or be exacerbated in the transition to Open Science, across disciplines, regions and demographics?” Aiming to synthesise findings, identify gaps in the literature, and inform future research and policy, our results identify threats to equity associated with all aspects of Open Science, including Open Access, Open/FAIR Data, Open Methods, Open Evaluation, Citizen Science, as well as its interfaces with society, industry and policy. Key threats include: stratifications of publishing due to the exclusionary nature of the author-pays model of Open Access; potential widening of the digital divide due to the infrastructure-dependent, highly situated nature of open data practices; risks of diminishing qualitative methodologies as “reproducibility” becomes synonymous with quality; new risks of bias and exclusion in means of transparent evaluation; and crucial asymmetries in the Open Science relationships with industry and the public, which privileges the former and fails to fully include the latter.

COMMENTS OF THE LIBRARY COPYRIGHT ALLIANCE REGARDING COPYRIGHT AMENDMENT BILL

“IIPA [International Intellectual Property Alliance] attacked subsection 12D7(a) as a threat to “academic freedom” because it gives the author of a scientific article that is the result of a research activity primarily funded by the government the right to make the article available on an open access basis. This is a truly Orwellian argument. How does preserving a scientist’s right to make her research publicly available undermine her academic freedom? The statute doesn’t obligate her to provide open access, although the Government certainly has the authority to do so as a condition of its providing the research funding. Indeed, the United States government conditions it research grants on making the resulting articles available on an open access basis. So do the EU and many other research funders around the world.

Delhi HC Might Have Killed Intellectual Liberty

“In what may be a landmark case related to copyright law, Delhi HC ordered online article and book repositories Sci-Hub and Libgen to stop uploading material from thousands of journals controlled by Elsevier, Wiley India and American Chemical Society….”

White Paper · Quartz OA

“We are excited to share with you our vision for a more fair and sustainable future for independent open access publishing. In our white paper, we describe our learnings about the challenges of Open Access publishing and propose a new, cooperative, route to OA: Quartz Open Access….

We did our research and found the answers to our questions in many discussions and research pieces produced by our fellow academics as well as journalists. As we researched our way through the intricacies of the scholarly communication ecosystem, we became avid supporters of the open science movement and open access publishing. We also found that open access is not the same experience for everyone and some of the questions we asked above are more relevant for early-career researchers, those in the humanities and social sciences and those coming from less well-funded institutions as well as low- and lower-middle-income countries. We became increasingly aware of the existence of unintended consequences of the various OA policies resulting in increasing inequalities or perpetuating the same systems that have led to creating these inequalities in the first place. Independently, we came up with similar ideas to address these issues and then came together as a team to try and develop a solution to some of the barriers hampering the transition towards just, fair and sustainable open access publishing.

As newcomers, we looked into the different successful – and less so – initiatives, we explored the values associated with scholarly communication and academic research, we dug into the related publishing fields and found inspiration in some of the business models now applied in journalism and creative industries. We explored new technologies such as peer-to-peer networks and blockchain to see how these can help solve some of the problems in the transition towards open access academic publishing. We also drew inspiration from the proposed solutions to the crisis of accountability in big tech and the responsible innovation and value-sensitive design approaches to developing technological systems.

Our proposal to face these challenges is powered by three key components: 1) a platform cooperative allowing exchanges within the OA ecosystem, 2) a browser extension allowing readers to support open access content and communities, and 3) a crowdfunding infrastructure for OA….”

Guest Post – Trends, Challenges, and Needs of Research in the Global South: Learnings as Research4Life Turns 20 – The Scholarly Kitchen

Access to research knowledge is essential for developing new research and for informed policy decisions. But access to knowledge is not equal around the world; researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are significantly disadvantaged by access challenges. This was the burning problem that Research4Life was set up to address, 20 years ago this year as the print to electronic migration was just gaining speed. Launched as Hinari by the World Health Organization (WHO) with 1500 journals from six major publishers, it now offers users up to 132,000 resources from 180 international partners. But partnering with publishers to facilitate access is not enough in itself; the resources have to be used effectively in a way that is relevant to users’ research, implementation and beyond. This is why, every five years Research4Life commissions in-depth reviews of its work to understand how the work of the partnership is experienced from the users’ as well as the partners’ perspectives – looking at its infrastructure, external context or landscape, and user experience. Together, the reviews serve as a solid evidence base for future evolution as Research4Life plans its strategy for the next five years. Our most recent set of evaluations were conducted in 2020-2021.

Guest Post – Trends, Challenges, and Needs of Research in the Global South: Learnings as Research4Life Turns 20 – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Access to research knowledge is essential for developing new research and for informed policy decisions. But access to knowledge is not equal around the world; researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are significantly disadvantaged by access challenges.

This was the burning problem that Research4Life was set up to address, 20 years ago this year as the print to electronic migration was just gaining speed. Launched as Hinari by the World Health Organization (WHO) with 1500 journals from six major publishers, it now offers users up to 132,000 resources from 180 international partners. But partnering with publishers to facilitate access is not enough in itself; the resources have to be used effectively in a way that is relevant to users’ research, implementation and beyond.

This is why, every five years Research4Life commissions in-depth reviews of its work to understand how the work of the partnership is experienced from the users’ as well as the partners’ perspectives – looking at its infrastructure, external context or landscape, and user experience. Together, the reviews serve as a solid evidence base for future evolution as Research4Life plans its strategy for the next five years. Our most recent set of evaluations were conducted in 2020-2021….”

The time for open science is now

“UNESCO is developing a Recommendation on Open Science which will be submitted to member states for approval in November 2021….

This calls for new types of funding arrangement between universities and publishers or funding agencies and publishers that are in a position to offer sustainable alternatives to either the ‘author-pays’ or ‘reader-pays’ models….

There is a growing number of viable alternatives to the author-pays system. These range from national or regional funding agreements to membership-based systems or co-operatives grouping multiple institutions. Among the latter is SciELO. This network now encompasses 16 countries in Latin America and Europe, along with South Africa. Similarly, AmeliCA and Latindex have been designed as regional networks composed of public institutions and research agencies from different countries….

With UNESCO being the sole United Nations agency with a mandate for science, it was logical that it should take up the question of open science. In 2019, UNESCO’s 193 member states tasked the Secretariat with developing an international standard-setting instrument in the form of a Recommendation on Open Science, to be adopted in November 2021. These instructions emanated from the Organization’s supreme governing body, the General Conference, which meets every two years….

As we move towards a global consensus on the issue, the first draft text of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science has defined open science as an umbrella concept combining various movements and practices aiming to:l make scientific knowledge, methods, data and evidence freely available and accessible to everyone;l increase scientific collaboration and the sharing of information for the benefit of both science and society; andl open the process of scientific knowledge creation and circulation to societal actors situated beyond the institutionalized scientific community….”

As we move towards a global consensus on the issue, the first draft text of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science has defined open science as an umbrella concept combining various movements and practices aiming to:l make scientific knowledge, methods, data and evidence freely available and accessible to everyone;l increase scientific collaboration and the sharing of information for the benefit of both science and society; andl open the process of scientific knowledge creation and circulation to societal actors situated beyond the institutionalized scientific community.

Open Access in Indonesia

Abstract:  Despite the absence of funding pressures that explicitly mandate a shift toopen access (OA), Indonesia is a leader in OA publishing. Indonesia subscribes to a non-pro?t model of OA, which differs from that promoted by Plan S. The penetration of bibliometric systems of academic performance assessment is pushing Indonesian scholars away from a local non-pro?t model of OA to a model based on high publication charges. This article consider swhether Plan S promotes or undermines the ability of Indonesian scholars to develop systems of OA adapted to local resource constraints and research needs.

Practical Idealism: UC’s Approach to Open Access

MacKenzie Smith, University Librarian and Vice Provost of Digital Scholarship at the University of California, Davis, provides the following commentary on UC’s recent transformative agreements with Elsevier and other publishers.

Harnessing digital technologies to advance research and knowledge in the South | INASP

“To formulate appropriate policy and practical responses policy makers, practitioners and researchers in Africa, Asia and Latin America need knowledge and ideas that are rooted in their own contexts, and which address their specific problems and needs.

Too often, knowledge produced in the North dominates the search results, papers and reports that can be easily accessed online. Limited digitisation of research reports and data makes it difficult for knowledge users to access and build on relevant existing work in their field. …

Our vision is of a digital platform that makes Southern knowledge more visible, and which empowers experts and practitioners in the South to learn, to create new knowledge and collaborate to solve their own priority problems.

We want to build a community-driven, social learning environment to: 

Grow a global, connected community, spanning different disciplinary and thematic expertise, creating a critical mass of knowledge and experience that enables questions to be answered quickly and allowing members to overcome knowledge barriers that they encounter 
Connect evidence producers and evidence users and provide spaces through which they can identify research questions and develop new initiatives 
Facilitate access to Southern transdisciplinary research through intelligent search algorithms  
Provide a foundation from which research institutions can be supported and empowered to develop their own in-house learning programmes, connecting digital communities to locally-run, in-person training and mentoring, and offering routes towards institutional sustainability.  …”

Call for partners: Empowering Southern researchers and evidence professionals through an AI-enabled social learning platform | INASP Blog

“INASP believes there is an opportunity to leverage new technologies in service of Southern knowledge systems, and we seek partners to work with us to identify possibilities and to test and build new tools.

We are inviting proposals from Africa, Asia and Latin America for small grants of approximately $3000 (£2,100) to enable groups to organise and host a series of discovery workshops to explore these ideas further….”

EIFL agreements result in increased OA publishing | EIFL

“The EIFL Licensing Programme has been negotiating open access agreements with publishers since 2016. These include waived and discounted Article Processing Charges (APCs), as well as free and discounted read & publish terms, and aim to increase the amount of open access publishing output. We currently have 11 agreements with publishers, six of which were signed in 2020. 

Many publishers have APC waiver and discount schemes for authors from developing and transition economy countries. However, publishers’ eligibility criteria can change unexpectedly; hybrid journals are usually excluded, and many researchers are not aware of these schemes as they are not always well publicized….”

Latin America could become a world leader in non-commercial open science

“In the 1990s, new repositories and databases were born that would become pillars of a solid infrastructure for open-access scientific communication. With the launch of the open access journals databases Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, the digitisation of scientific journals was given a boost and a quality seal was granted to published research. With a strong public imprint, these repositories acted as a springboard for the development of non-commercial open access environment that is today the hallmark of the region.

Latin America now has the optimal conditions to create open science infrastructure that capitalises on these previous efforts. And two examples stand out.

Brazil’s BrCris was developed by the Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia alongside major national public agencies. Brazil is an immense country, with a professionalised scientific and technological system that has produced many databases on a national scale, making integration a huge challenge. Examples include the Open Data Portal, the CV system Plataforma Lattes and the directory of research groups known as CNPQ….

The second case is that of the PerúCRIS platform. It was first devised when Peru approved its Open Access Law in 2013. The need then arose to integrate three scientific information platforms: the directory of researchers, the national directory of institutions and the national network of repositories. The new platform also includes all undergraduate and graduate theses….”