Widespread use of National Academies consensus reports by the American public | PNAS

Significance

Advocates for open access argue that people need scientific information, although they lack evidence for this. Using Google’s recently developed deep learning natural language processing model, which offers unrivalled comprehension of subtle differences in meaning, 1.6 million people downloading National Academies reports were classified, not just into broad categories such as researchers and teachers but also precisely delineated small groups such as hospital chaplains, veterans, and science fiction authors. The results reveal adults motivated to seek out the most credible sources, engage with challenging material, use it to improve the services they provide, and learn more about the world they live in. The picture contrasts starkly with the dominant narrative of a misinformed and manipulated public targeted by social media.

Abstract

In seeking to understand how to protect the public information sphere from corruption, researchers understandably focus on dysfunction. However, parts of the public information ecosystem function very well, and understanding this as well will help in protecting and developing existing strengths. Here, we address this gap, focusing on public engagement with high-quality science-based information, consensus reports of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Attending to public use is important to justify public investment in producing and making freely available high-quality, scientifically based reports. We deploy Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), a high-performing, supervised machine learning model, to classify 1.6 million comments left by US downloaders of National Academies reports responding to a prompt asking how they intended to use the report. The results provide detailed, nationwide evidence of how the public uses open access scientifically based information. We find half of reported use to be academic—research, teaching, or studying. The other half reveals adults across the country seeking the highest-quality information to improve how they do their job, to help family members, to satisfy their curiosity, and to learn. Our results establish the existence of demand for high-quality information by the public and that such knowledge is widely deployed to improve provision of services. Knowing the importance of such information, policy makers can be encouraged to protect it.

Who Uses Open Access Research? Evidence from the use of US National Academies Reports   | Impact of Social Sciences

“A fundamental principle of open access is that publication technology enables the widest possible audience for research findings. However, the extent to which open research is used outside of academia is often underexplored. Drawing on a dataset covering over a million user comments about their use of US National Academies consensus study reports, Ameet Doshi, Diana Hicks, Matteo Zullo and Omar I. Asensio find widespread use of open research in the public sphere….

Our classification project reveals that the impact of these reports extend far beyond the research community (see Results, Fig 1). We find that half of all report downloads are used for non-academic purposes, including to improve the provision of services by medical professionals, local and regional planners, public health workers, and veterans’ advocates, to name just a few of the 64 total categories of report use.  Heavy use is made of Academies reports on STEM education and how people learn by teachers, school administrators and teachers’ coaches.  Other notable reports with their prominent users included Dying in America (chaplains), Nutrient Requirements for Beef Cattle (farmers), and Best Care at Lower Costs (clinicians and hospital administrators)….

Open access repositories require significant resources, both technological and human, to sustain and innovate. The National Academies Press, for example, has developed an engaging user interface to incentivize browsing and ease of access to NASEM publications. The PubMed Central server, developed and managed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), requires millions of dollars per year to operate. Our research indicates there is an identifiable payoff to society for these taxpayer investments into people, technology and design to support OA publishing….

Librarians and open access advocates have long presupposed that open access to high-quality scientific knowledge could and should be viewed as a public good. Our empirical research suggests that the initial utopian aspirations regarding the public use and societal impact of OA may indeed rest on sound footing.”

 

Open medical textbook series offers curriculum flexibility for faculty and cost savings for students | VTx | Virginia Tech

“Renée LeClair, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine associate professor, remembered her frustration when she designed an integrated course for first-year medical students and couldn’t find a single textbook or resource to support the classroom experience she envisioned. Thanks to a VIVA Open Course Grant, University Libraries Open Education Initiative, LibreTexts, and Virginia Tech Publishing, she and her colleague Andrew Binks teamed up to author their own.

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech Publishing, through Virginia Tech’s Open Education Initiative housed in the University Libraries, are publishing a five-volume textbook series for pre-clinical medical students that is adaptable and freely downloadable through Pressbooks and LibreTexts. This series aligns with the United States Medical Licensing Examination and is based on faculty experience and peer review….”

Using Affordable Course Materials: Instructors’ Motivations, Approaches, and Outcomes

Abstract:  Based on 30 interviews with instructors who implemented affordable materials in their courses at a large research university, this study explored their motivations for using such resources, the processes they employed, and the extent to which the new course materials influenced teaching methods and perceived learning outcomes. Results suggest that most instructors were motivated by both student cost savings and hoped-for improvements in teaching and learning. Instructors’ choices—such as the decision to adopt an existing textbook in full or to curate a collection of disparate materials—were strongly influenced by their perception of how well available resources aligned with their own teaching and learning goals. In general, instructors felt student learning slightly improved after they put the materials into use, but the extent of improvement seemed to vary across the approaches to implementation. Librarians can leverage these results to help motivate and support the selection and implementation of affordable materials.

New program offering alternatives to textbooks saves West Virginia college students $250,000 in pilot semesters – West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Earlier this year, West Virginia’s public higher education office launched a program, Open Learning WV, that gives faculty the opportunity to implement Open Educational Resources (OER) as alternatives to traditional textbooks for their students. When the program was piloted in the spring 2021 semester, 34 faculty members created or adopted OER, and a handful more faculty adopted OER over the summer – resulting in more than $250,000 in savings for approximately 1,200 students.

The impact of open source software and hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU economy | Publications Office of the EU

This study analyses the economic impact of Open Source Software (OSS) and Hardware (OSH) on the European economy. It was commissioned by the European Commission’s DG CONNECT. It is estimated that companies located in the EU invested around €1 billion in OSS in 2018, which resulted in an impact on the European economy of between €65 and €95 billion. The analysis estimates a cost-benefit ratio of above 1:4 and predicts that an increase of 10% of OSS contributions would annually generate an additional 0.4% to 0.6% GDP as well as more than 600 additional ICT start-ups in the EU. Case studies reveal that by procuring OSS instead of proprietary software, the public sector could reduce the total cost of ownership, avoid vendor lock-in and thus increase its digital autonomy. The study also contains an analysis of existing public policy actions in Europe and around the world. The scale of Europe’s institutional capacity related to OSS, however, is disproportionately smaller than the scale of the value created by OSS. The study therefore gives a number of specific public policy recommendations aimed at achieving a digitally autonomous public sector, open R&D enabling European growth and a digitised and internally competitive industry.

Study about the impact of open source software and hardware on technological independence, competitiveness and innovation in the EU economy | Shaping Europe’s digital future

This study aims to investigate the economic impact of Open Source Software and Hardware on the EU economy.

Open Source is increasingly used in digital technologies. This required an in-depth analysis of its current role, position and potential for the European economy. Open Source Software (OSS) has become mainstream across all sectors of the software industry over the past decade. Conversely, the level of maturity of Open Source Hardware (OSH) currently appears far lower. However, the business ecosystem for OSH is developing fast. If OSH is to follow the same development as OSS, it could constitute a cornerstone of the future Internet of Things (IoT), the future of computing and the digital transformation of the European industry at the end of the digital decade.

The objective of the study was to investigate and quantify the economic impact of OSS and OSH on the European economy. The study also identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges of open source in relevant ICT policies, such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), digitising European industry, the connected car, high performance computing, big data, distributed ledger technologies, and more.

Economic evidence of the footprint of open source in the EU has been collected. A list of policy options to maximize the benefit of open source supporting a competitive EU software and hardware industry, which in turn supports the twin environmental and digital transformation of the EU economy is also proposed.

There are clear signals from investors on the huge value and potential of open source. Policies to maximize the return in Europe of this value may be required. In the short-term, the findings of the study will be used as a basis for policy options in many digital areas. In the long-term, the findings can be used for a new open source policy focused on the EU economy as a whole.

The main breakthrough of the study is the identification of open source as a public good. This shows a change of paradigm from the previous irreconcilable difference between closed and open source, and points to a new era in which digital businesses are built using open source assets. This information is essential to develop policy actions in the field. The study also values the economic impact of open source commitments on the EU economy.

Do ‘Inclusive Access’ Textbook Programs Save Students Money? A New Site Urges Everyone to Read the Fine Print

““Inclusive access,” a textbook-sales model touted as a way to ensure that students without deep pockets can afford books, doesn’t always deliver on that promise, according to a leading open-access advocacy organization. So the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition and its partners have launched a website they hope will encourage a healthy skepticism, and deeper research, into the increasingly popular model.

Inclusive access programs weave the cost of digital course materials into a student’s tuition and fees, and are marketed as a heavily discounted alternative to traditional print textbooks. More than 950 college campuses have adopted related programs since 2015, when a Department of Education regulation enabled institutions to include books and supplies in their tuition or fees.

But advocates of open educational resources like Nicole Allen, Sparc’s director of open education, worry that colleges — clamoring for low-cost textbook options — are buying into the model without knowing for sure whether it’s actually saving their students money, considering the breadth of used-book and rental options available….”

Affordable textbook programs save students $4.9 million | Nebraska Today | University of Nebraska–Lincoln

“Since 2019, affordable content programs have saved students an estimated $4.9 million on textbook costs, and have replaced over 80,000 textbooks with affordable content.

Multiple affordable textbook programs have been implemented at the University of Nebraska. There are two inclusive access programs: Follett Access (Campus Bookstore) and Unizin Engage. The third program is an OER seed grant program through the STAR initiative….”

Yes, Alternative Proteins Really Do… | The Breakthrough Institute

“Federally funded research dramatically lowers barriers for scientists in the public and private sector to conduct research and accelerate technological development. Unlike its private counterpart, federally funded research can be open-access and makes knowledge and technologies publicly available. Open-access research benefits everyone, companies and academic researchers alike, and would prevent the siloing of intellectual property within specific companies. Such non-proprietary technology and knowledge can help bring new competitors into the market and help drive both competition and further innovation based on the open-access findings. Although open-access research will also benefit incumbents to the industry, federal support to develop the alternative can build the alternative protein industry’s capacity to compete with conventional products in the long term….”

Does open access to academic research help small, science-based companies? | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This study investigates the extent to which a company’s usage of open access (OA) literature for R&D activities depends on its size. The authors’ assumption is that smaller pharmaceutical companies have less access to (usually expensive) journal subscriptions.

Design/methodology/approach

A fixed-effect Poisson model was used to study a panel dataset of USPTO pharmaceutical company patents. The dependent variable is the count of citations to OA resources in a given company patent.

Findings

Results support current anecdotal evidence that many SMEs suffer from high journal prices.

Originality/value

This result justifies the assumption made by policymakers about the potentially positive impact OA mandates have on national innovation activity. It was also shown that collaborating with universities can be a potential coping mechanism for companies that struggle to gain access to the journals they need. In addition to the novelty of its findings, this study introduces a new way to study the impact of OA in nonacademic contexts.

Economic assessment of the impact of the new Open Access policy developed by UK Research and Innovation

“2. Key findings

2.1 The UK’s academic publishing sector is world-leading and generates nearly 60% more value for the UK economy than it earns in profits. The UKRI Policy will affect the ability of all types of academic publishers – commercial organisations, learned societies and university presses alike – to contribute to the UK’s research ecosystem.

2.2 If the proposed UKRI Policy is pursued, the estimated loss to UK-based journals would be in the order of GBP 292 million per year or approximately GBP 2.0 billion in the period from 2022 to 2027. For some, monograph publishing will become unsustainable. This would prevent publishers from making the necessary investment to maintain the quality and impact of UK research, and perhaps even lead to some smaller publishers going out of business. The associated loss of economic output would be in the order of GBP 3.2 billion.

2.3 A significant proportion of the loss to UK-based journals would represent the loss of export revenue, with foreign entities standing to gain the most financially from the UK transition. Indeed, there would be a substantial ‘first-mover’ disadvantage for the UK, as a research-intensive nation, to transition at a faster rate than the rest of the world.

2.4 The UKRI Policy could also mean an increase in expenditure for research intensive universities in the UK in the order of GBP 130-140 million per annum, if a significant number of journals were to transition to ‘Fully OA’ in response to the UKRI Policy. In this scenario, the ‘Top 20’ most research-intensive universities in the UK would need to cover approximately half of the anticipated increase in publication costs.

2.5 Moreover, UK libraries would still need to subscribe to content that is not currently available on an OA-basis. The cost saving associated with certain journals or monographs transitioning to ‘Fully OA’ would be modest, in the order of a few million pounds per year.

2.6 Importantly, the UKRI Policy would inhibit scholars’ ability to conduct research in their respective disciplines in an effective and accurate way, with an associated cost to research productivity. Indeed, the Policy could dilute the benefits that could be expected from OA to the published outputs of academic research. Ultimately, UK research would risk becoming less impactful and less wellregarded, with a knock-on effect on the UK’s standing as a global research hub….”

Open Response to “Economic impact of UKRI open access policy” report – The Official PLOS Blog

“While we are not setting out to provide an extensive review and analysis of this report, we do want to generally refute the assertion that OA via the UKRI policy is economically damaging, and we’ll provide some references that support this position….

PLOS believes that publishers globally should be leading the efforts to devise and develop the next generation of business models that are able to support their operations in an Open Access context. This will, of course, require deep, and sometimes difficult, work by transitioning publishers. But we strongly believe this work is not outside the acceptable effort level of conscientious members of the scholarly publishing industry that have been aware of Open Access, and its benefits, for at least the last 20 years….

to successfully set up the most efficient,  frictionless Open Access ecosystem, we should leverage the existing budgets and infrastructures of scholarly publishing but with OA as the outcome. This way, Open Access is not viewed as a destructive force, or something external and different that traditional publishers are not part of, but simply as the new way to publish and communicate research that all publishers can facilitate..”

Economic Impact Assessment – Publishers Association

“The economic impact of a new Open Access (OA) policy from UK Research and Innovation Report (UKRI) is assessed in this report, produced by FTI Consulting.

The main focus of this exercise was to:

assess the impact of specific policy conditions that have been proposed for journal articles and long-form research publications (monographs), using the existing policy framework as a benchmark; 
consider the impact of the UKRI policy on different groups of stakeholders within the scholarly communications ecosystem;
understand the immediate economic impact of the proposed policy and how this might change in the future in light of industry trends; and
compare the impact of the policy proposals against UKRI’s stated policy objectives….”