Digital History and the Politics of Digitization | Digital Scholarship in the Humanities | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Much has been made in recent years of the transformative potential of digital resources and historical data for historical research. Historians seem to be flooded with retro-digitized and born-digital materials and tend to take these for granted, grateful for the opportunities they afford. In a research environment that increasingly privileges what is available online, the questions of why, where, and how we can access what we can access, and how it affects historical research have become ever more urgent. This article proposes a framework through which to contextualize the politics of (digital) heritage preservation, and a model to analyse its most important political dimensions, drawing upon literature from the digital humanities and history as well as archival, library, and information science. The first part will outline the global dimensions of the politics of digital cultural heritage, focusing on developments between and within the Global North and South, framed within the broader context of the politics of heritage and its preservation. The second part surveys the history and current state of digitization and offers a structured analysis of the process of digitization and its political dimensions. Choices and decisions about selection for digitization, how to catalogue, classify, and what metadata to add are all political in nature and have political consequences, and the same is true for access. The article concludes with several recommendations and a plea to acknowledge the importance of digital cataloguing in enabling access to the global human record.


Open access is a case study for boosting research | The Financial Express

“On August 25, the US announced an open access policy to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to federally-funded research. Americans will now have free access to scholarly works, and by 2025, all federal agencies have to implement open access policies to ensure taxpayer-funded research is freely accessible to all citizens. India could follow this path, which may change the country’s higher education landscape and can be a vital tool for achieving SDG goals….

Thus, the price inelasticity of this monopolist market has been taken advantage of by selected commercial corporates (publishers) who do not produce or fund the research but use it as a raw material for commerce. Serial crisis also gave rise to shadow libraries like Library Genesis, Z-Library and Sci-Hub….

Since most research is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money—meaning the citizens indirectly fund it—the citizens therefore have the right to access the research output. OA can improve the verifiability and credibility of research output and taxpayers can also see the impact of the research they have funded….

Recently, India promised a ‘one nation, one subscription’ (ONOS) policy to get subscriptions for all citizens of major research work published globally, a step up from the existing subscription policy through the central library consortium e-ShodhSindhu. ONOS can be a prolific policy but whether it can address the issue of serial crisis is still a question….”

A fair pricing model for open access – Research Professional News

“The average research grant in South Africa, excluding strategic and infrastructure investments, is approximately 146,000 rand (€8,500). In 2021, the average charge for publishing an open-access research paper was nearly €1,600. High-impact journals charge far more: €9,500 at Nature, for example.

Here, in a nutshell, is the inequity of the financial model of open-access publishing. As currently constituted, publishing charges are stifling research capability and progress, as well as the career progression of researchers in low- and middle-income countries, and preventing a full transition to open research.

We need to move towards a globally agreed payment system for academic publishing services that is fair, equitable, transparent, and does not require the author to pay. In this article, we sketch the outline of such an alternative payment system….

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent.

Admittedly, some researchers may apply for publishing fees to be waived, but there is no globally agreed way for publishers to handle waivers, and researchers working in middle-income countries tend not to be eligible for such support. Moreover, waivers are often perceived as patronising and neocolonial. They are an in-or-out mechanism unilaterally controlled by the publisher, denying any agency to recipients.

Asking for a waiver imposes significant effort on authors. Waivers are also a financial risk to publishers who are understandably reluctant to award them. A submission to a 2020 consultation by the UK foreign ministry calculated that 57 per cent of hybrid journals from major publishers, which offer both subscriptions and open access, and 70 per cent of open-access journals published by small independent or university presses, did not offer fee waivers or discounts. The most visible global initiative delivering waivers, Research4Life, reports that, while effective, usage of its resources remains limited and has declined.

The system for meeting the costs of academic publishing is globally inequitable. This was underscored by the landmark United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Recommendation on Open Science of November 2021, which insisted that scholarly communication adopt “the principles of open, transparent and equitable access”. The recent memorandum from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, setting out a plan for open access to federally funded research from 2026, adds ‘equitable’ as a third condition to the more familiar requirements for ‘free’ and ‘immediate’ access. Equitable open access has therefore assumed a particular urgency….”

Asia tipped to follow US lead on open access | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Asian research powerhouses will introduce open access (OA) mandates within the next “two to three” years, experts have predicted, in the wake of last month’s landmark order by the Biden administration.

Under the US decision, the published results of federally funded research must be made immediately and freely available to readers, starting from 2025. This follows the introduction of similar rules across Europe and the UK, spearheaded by the Plan S initiative.

Home to four of the top 10 research-producing countries – China, Japan, South Korea and India – Asia now appears poised to become the next battleground….”

A Fair Pricing Model for Open Access

“A pay-per-article publishing model raises issues of regional and global equity. In Europe, the implied price per article in transformative agreements varies from one country to another, based on no rationale other than historical subscription spending. Globally, APCs for individual open-access articles are identical for customers from Norway to India, irrespective of their income levels.

This is a peculiar and possibly unique global pricing model. The local prices of products and services with a global reach—think of medication, soft drinks or cinema tickets—typically vary with local purchasing power. They cost what the market can bear. Even old-fashioned subscriptions take local purchasing power into account, leading to differentiated prices for the same service.

It is unclear why APCs and transformative agreements are not priced as a function of what local markets can bear. The consequence, however, is stark: for the most part, researchers and institutions based in lower- and middle-income countries simply cannot afford either of these pay-per-article models. While some of these countries have negotiated cost-neutral transformative agreements, it is not clear whether these are equitable in terms of local purchasing power.

In much of the world, the money is not there to pay APCs geared to the richest nations—especially as APCs have consistently risen faster than inflation. Countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development spend an average of 2.2 per cent of gross domestic product on R&D. For the United States, the figure is 3.5 per cent. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in contrast, the average is 0.7 per cent, while South Africa’s figure of 0.75 per cent is well above the continent’s average of just 0.4 per cent….”

Recalibrating the Scope of Scholarly Publishing: A Modest Step in a Vast Decolonization Process | SciELO Preprints

Khanna , S., Ball, J., Alperin, J. P., & Willinsky, J. (2022). Recalibrating the Scope of Scholarly Publishing: A Modest Step in a Vast Decolonization Process. In SciELO Preprints.

Abstract: By analyzing 25,671 journals largely absent from journal counts and indexes, this study demonstrates that scholarly communication is more of a global endeavor than is commonly credited. These journals, employing the open source publishing platform Open Journal Systems (OJS), have published 5.8 million items and represent 136 countries, with 79.9 percent publishing in the Global South and 84.2 percent following the OA diamond model (charging neither reader nor author). More than half (54.6 percent) of the journals operate in more than one language, while publishing research in 60 languages (led by English, Indonesian, Spanish, and Portuguese). The journals are distributed across the social sciences (45.9 percent), STEM (40.3 percent), and the humanities (13.8 percent). For all their geographic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity, the Web of Science indexes 1.2 percent of the journals and Scopus 5.7 percent. On the other hand, Cabells Predatory Reports includes 1.0 percent of the journals, while Beall lists 1.4 percent of them as predatory. A recognition of the expanded scope and scale of scholarly publishing will help ensure that humankind takes full advantage of what is increasingly a global research enterprise.


Preprints in Chemistry: a Research Team’s Journey** – Ciriminna – ChemistryOpen – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  The benefits of publishing research papers first in preprint form are substantial and long-lasting also in chemistry. Recounting the outcomes of our team’s nearly six-year journey through preprint publishing, we show evidence that preprinting research substantially benefits both early career and senior researchers in today’s highly interdisciplinary chemical research. These findings are of general value, as shown by analyzing the case of four more research teams based in economically developed and developing countries.


Open Science, equity and the Brazilian context

“Open Science, a global movement created by the scientific community, has undertaken efforts aimed at increasing the popularity of scientific knowledge production and making the results of scientific research widely accessible to society. Open Science principles, which aim to make research outcomes freely available through scientific journals or open access repositories, and to promote transparency to their processes, replication and reproducibility, have generally been well received by the scientific community. Its transparent, accessible and collaborative nature is widely recognized, but discussion of potentially reckless aspects for implementation, such as the costs of participation and the need for a favorable policy agenda, are also in focus.1


As this “umbrella of strategies” spreads, some questions become more frequent: how can we promote equity from such an inequitable basis, after all? The venue for the “open science party” has been set, but the capacity of the guests to take part in it has not been the same. Surveys show that the article processing charges (APCs), charged by international open access journals have increased sharply and constituted a barrier to the visibility of scientific production of researchers globally.2,3 Thus, the Brazilian scientific community is among those agents whose capacity to participate is compromised by budget constraints for research and the lack of resources directed to publication fees by funding agencies in Brazil.


Science has been deeply marked by advances and setbacks, in Brazil. Even in the early 2000s, the structural working conditions, regional imbalances, funding options and conflicts between the public and private sectors were already seen as challenges.4 The situation has not changed much and, despite an upward trend in federal government spending on science and technology, from 2003 to 2015, this trend was reversed as of 2016, reaching levels below the investments in 2009 by 2020.5 This funding setback has imposed heavy burdens on the entire scientific community, reflected in difficulties to maintain institutions and projects, and consequent expansion of barriers, making Brazilian researchers even more distant from the effective implementation of Open Science….”

Job: Africa Regional Strategy Lead | Association for Progressive Communications | Deadline for applications: 1 October 2022

“…The Africa Regional Strategy Lead will provide direction for and coordinate APC’s advocacy work and movement building strategy on digital rights and internet governance in the region. This will include developing and implementing Africa-focused projects, supervising staff supporting this work and working closely with APC staff leading other areas of work in Africa. The Africa Regional Strategy Lead will contribute to strengthening relationships between APC and its members and partners in the region and will work closely with APC teams working on global policy advocacy. Start date: 15 November 2022.* Deadline for applications: 1 October 2022 * The successful applicant is expected to attend the Internet Governance Forum in Ethiopia on 28 November to 2 December 2022. Location: The applicant can work from anywhere but must come from and live on the African continent….”

Access to science for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries: challenges and future perspectives

Abstract:  Background and objectives: Science education developed historically from experimentation science to model theories of cognition. Digitization in medical science brought about new challenges of access to science for education and publishing. The aims of our study are to describe the differences in access to science and scientific publications for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries, and to identify difficulties and their association with demographic, workplace, social and personal factors. Methods: We performed a thirty-nine-question-survey to define access to science from two major perspectives, scientific education, and scientific publishing. We explored scientific education through demographic data and scientific resources (institutional, online, personal), and evaluated scientific publishing of thesis and articles according to demographic data, number of publications, and difficulties with publishing. Results: Our study identified personal and environmental factors interfering with scientific access, some of which are attributed to junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries as age, gender, ethnicity, income and work and life-balance. A heavier load was observed for African scientists. The main scientific resources used for medical education were Journals 82,9%, Congresses 79,4%, and Sci-Hub 74,5%. Junior scientists are facing major difficulties in writing in science due to linguistic (56,5%), financial (64,7%), scientific (55,3%), and logistic (65,3%) factors. Conclusions: This paper suggests that ethnicity, age, gender, and work-life balance can all impact access to science at different levels. The challenge now is to create digital platforms that modernize medical education and help build bridges for research within diverse scientific communities

Resolving the location of small intracontinental earthquakes using Open Access seismic and geodetic data: lessons from the 2017 January 18 m<SUB>b</SUB> 4.3, Ténéré, Niger, earthquake – NASA/ADS

Abstract:  A low-magnitude earthquake was recorded on 2017 January 18, in the Ténéré desert in northern Niger. This intraplate region is exceptionally sparsely covered with seismic stations and the closest open seismic station, G.TAM in Algeria at a distance of approximately 600 km, was unusually and unfortunately not operational at the time of the event. Body-wave magnitude estimates range from mb 4.2 to mb 4.7 and both seismic location and magnitude constraints are dominated by stations at teleseismic distances. The seismic constraints are strengthened considerably by array stations of the International Monitoring System for verifying compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty. This event, with magnitude relevant to low-yield nuclear tests, provides a valuable validation of the detection and location procedure for small land-based seismic disturbances at significant distances. For seismologists not in the CTBT system, the event is problematic as data from many of the key stations are not openly available. We examine the uncertainty in published routinely determined epicentres by performing multiple Bayesloc location estimates with published arrival times considering both all published arrival times and those from open stations only. This location exercise confirms lateral uncertainties in seismologically derived location no smaller than 10 km. Coherence for interferometric synthetic aperture radar in this region is exceptionally high, and allows us to confidently detect a displacement of the order 6 mm in the time frame containing the earthquake, consistent with the seismic location estimates, and with a lateral length scale consistent with an earthquake of this size, allowing location constraint to within one rupture length (?5 km)-significantly reducing the lateral uncertainty compared with relying on seismological data only. Combining Open Access-only seismological and geodetic data, we precisely constrain the source location, and conclude that this earthquake likely had a shallow source. We then discuss potential ways to continue the integration of geodetic data in the calibration of seismological earthquake location.


Open access agreement for Egypt | Open research | Springer Nature

“Starting 01 January 2022, if you are a corresponding author affiliated with a participating Egyptian institution, you may be eligible to publish open access in our journals with fees covered under a Transformative Agreement plus fully OA agreement. 

This agreement will cover all the public, private and national universities, as well as the research centers related to the ministry of higher education and scientific research and all other governmental ministries in Egypt. …”

Declaración de CLACSO “Una nueva evaluación académica y científica para una ciencia con relevancia social en América Latina y el Caribe» | Universo Abierto

From Google’s English:  “This declaration was approved by the XXVII General Assembly of CLACSO, within the framework of the  9th Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Social Sciences , in Mexico City in June 2022. In turn, it was enriched with the contributions of various regional and international specialists and representatives of CLACSO member centers, who participated in the plenary “Balance, perspectives and challenges for a new agenda for academic evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean” at the International Seminar of the  Forum Latin American Scientific Evaluation (FOLEC)- CLACSO  during the 9th. Conference.

In this way, CLACSO-FOLEC, together with a multiplicity of actors and actors committed to the issue, has managed to consolidate a common Declaration of Principles and high consensus on responsible academic evaluation from and for Latin America and the Caribbean. Following these guidelines, CLACSO-FOLEC seeks to promote the implementation of these principles – converted into proposals and tools for action – by the National Science and Technology Organizations, scientific institutions and higher education in the region. Likewise, it mobilizes the study and survey of good practices and different innovations in the evaluation processes,     

We would very much like your individual and/or institutional support for the Declaration. For that, you can offer your adhesion in the link.”

Needs for mobile-responsive institutional open access digital repositories | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this study is to promote mobile-responsive and agile institutional open-access digital repositories. This paper provided an x-ray of the tilted research approach to open access (OA). Most underlying causes that inhibit OA, such as lack of mobile-friendly user interfaces, infrastructure development and digital divides, are not sufficiently addressed. This paper also indicated that academic libraries over-relied on open-source software and institutional repository, but most institutional repositories are merely “dumping sites” due to how information is classified and indexed.


This paper adopted meta-analysis by mining data sets from databases and provided thematic clustering of its content analysis through network visualisation to juxtapose the existing research gaps and lack of mobile-first insights needed to provide open-access information to the library’s users to consume information via mobile platforms. The retrieved dataset was discussed in tandem with the literature and the author’s insights into systems librarianship knowledge.


The library and information science (LIS) has not addressed how the academics could escape the pay-for-play cost, which was an exclusion tactic to disenfranchise emerging scholars and those without sufficient financial resources to choose between visibility, citation or publishing their outputs in journals without the possibility of citations, which is very important to their academic advancements. The LIS must shift its paradigm from mere talking about OA by producing graduates with the requisite skill to design, develop and host platforms that could enhance indexing and citations and import references. The current design of the institutional repository could be enhanced and promote easy navigation through mobile devices. Thereby taking into accounts internet bandwidth and digital divide, which still hinders accessibility of online resources.

Research limitations/implications

This paper covered research within the LIS fields, and other outputs from other disciplines on OA were not included.

Practical implications

This paper showed the gaps that existed within the LIS campaign on OA, the research focuses of the LIS scholars/research librarians and the needed practical solution for the academic libraries to move beyond OA campaign and reconfigure institutional repository, not as dumping sites, but as infrastructure to host peer-reviewed journals.

Abu-Ghazaleh stresses the importance of the outcomes of the National Open Science Conference in Tunisia

“Under the guidance of His Excellency Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global and Chairman of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), and under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Moncef Boukthir, Tunisian Minster of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the National Conference on “Open Science – The Way Forward” was successfully conducted in Tunisia, with the participation of more than hundred high-level representatives of government institutions, universities and research institutions from Tunisia….”