Trove in trouble: why does it cost money to keep the resource online?

“The online database Trove may go offline in the middle of the year without additional funding.

Trove, which is owned and operated by the National Library of Australia (NLA), is a free resource which provides access to billions of digital documents, images, media and records of physical documents. It also contains millions of digitised Australian newspaper pages and issues.

Trove receives around 22 million hits per year, and is widely used by both academic researchers and members of the public.

So what does it cost to run an archive like it?…

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NLA requires $7-$10 million per year to keep Trove running in its current form….”

Funding Open Infrastructure as a Public Utility: A Preliminary Investigation in Water Utility Funding | Invest in Open Infrastructure, Jan 23, 2023

“In our engagements with infrastructure service providers, one of their biggest challenges we’ve repeatedly heard is the need for more stable funding for infrastructure services. Providers are developing more innovative strategies to sustain their work. However, through our conversations and analysis of funding trends, it became apparent that funding in the open infrastructure space remains largely unpredictable, and many providers continue to search for more stable and reliable sources of revenue to ensure the sustainability of the services they provide. In understanding how a stable and reliable model for funding open infrastructure in research and scholarly communication could be architected, we looked at how public utilities, in particular water utilities, are funded around the world. Today, we share a report from our preliminary investigation into water utility funding. Drawing on some of the preeminent literature and guidance on the topic from widely respected organizations (the OECD, WHO, and IRC), we highlight some key lessons for funding a robust infrastructure of open services. Key to this is understanding knowledge as a public good, like water, electricity, and natural gas, and how these vital public goods are best funded for reliable, robust, and sustainable supply in the long term….”

https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7076158

Time to Reform Academic Publishing | Forum

“In particular, as graduate, professional, and medical students, we have been shaped by the relics of an inequitable publishing model that was created before the age of the internet. Our everyday work—from designing and running experiments to diagnosing and treating patients—relies on the results of taxpayer-funded research. Having these resources freely available will help to accelerate innovation and level the playing field for smaller and less well-funded research groups and institutions. With this goal of creating an equitable research ecosystem in mind, we want to highlight the importance of creating one that is equitable in whole….

But today, the incentives for institutions do not align with goals of equity, and change will be necessary to help support a more equitable system. Nor do incentives within institutions always align with these goals. This is especially true for early-career researchers, who might struggle to comply with new open-access guidelines if they need to pay a high article publishing fee to make their research open in a journal that is valued by their institutions’ promotion and tenure guidelines.

To these ends, it is imperative that the process for communicating research results to the public and other researchers does not shift from a “pay-to-read” model to a “pay-to-publish” model. That is, we should not use taxpayer dollars to pay publishers to make research available, nor should we simply pass these costs on to researchers. This approach would be unsustainable long-term and would go against the equity goals of the new OSTP policy. Instead, we hope that funders, professional societies, and institutions will come along with us in imagining and supporting innovative ways for communicating science that are more equitable and better for research….”

The ‘OA market’ – what is healthy? Part 1 – OASPA

“I joined OASPA in the summer of 2022. Considering the point of representation, and the need to reflect a greater diversity of viewpoints, particularly from those outside of Europe, I’ve been gathering non-European perspectives on the ‘OA market’ work done so far. 

I had email conversations and in-person conversations via Zoom with 15 individuals. All participants were asked to review the work completed by OASPA in 2021 (as documented in the issue brief and reflections). Feedback was specifically sought about the ‘OA market’ and the three areas of focus outlined above….

1. Publishing can be a cost rather than a revenue/profit source…

2. Wide access is being achieved in ways that are not always recognized…

3. APCs and OA are (not?) the same…

4. How can libraries focus on content acquisition and (OA) publishing?…

5. Pricing is a huge problem…

6. “Brain drain” and (Western) market gain…

7. Equity first for better health and diversity…”

 

The future of global health research, publishing, and practice – The Lancet Global Health

“As we move into our tenth year of operation, we would like to build on our commitment to making global health research, publishing, and practice a more equitable and effective space. We are therefore effecting a number of initiatives. Before outlining them, however, a word on article processing charges. It is often brought to our attention that the fee that we charge to cover the cost of reviewing, technical editing, typesetting and graphics, online hosting, archiving, and promotion of accepted manuscripts is way beyond the reach of researchers from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We want to emphasise that we never, ever, expect researchers from any country to pay this charge from their own pockets. Our business model is based on the premise that more and more research funders are mandating gold open-access publication and are prepared to pay for it. If there is no such funding available and no, or only partial, funding available from institutional sources, then we waive or discount the fee. Whether the fee is paid or not does not affect the open-access nature of the article….”

Towards peer review as a group engagement | JLIS.it

Abstract:  I discuss from an economic perspective two of the most recent suggestions to reform the peer review system: (a) payment to referees; (b) ex post peer review. I show that strong economic arguments militate against these ideas.

With respect to payment to referees I use results from the economic analysis of prosocial behavior and the private production of public goods, which show that the supply of monetary incentives has the paradoxical effect of reducing the willingness of agents to collaborate, insofar as they substitute intrincic motivation with extrinsic motivation.

With respect to ex post peer review, I show that it fails to offer sufficient incentives to researchers, since it is anonymous, depersonalized, and weak in its marginal impact on publishing decisions. I take this argument to criticize the lack of theorizing, in the side of radical proponents of Open access, about the conditions for transition from the subscription model to the Open model. It is this lack of critical attention to economic arguments that has led to the unintended but dramatic outcome of a net increase in the cost of scientific publishing, as documented in very recent papers.

Finally, I advance a proposal for admitting payments to referees, but not as individuals but as groups of researchers. I offer this idea to open discussion.

Open Access Publishing: A Study of UC Berkeley Faculty Views and Practices

Abstract:  This project focused on open access (OA) publishing, which enhances researcher productivity and impact by increasing dissemination of, and access to, research. The study looked at the relationship between faculty’s attitudes toward OA and their OA publishing practices, including the roles of funding availability and discipline. The project team compared University of California Berkeley (Berkeley) faculty’s answers to questions related to OA from the 2018 Ithaka Faculty Survey with the faculty’s scholarly output in the Scopus database. Faculty Survey data showed that 71% of Berkeley faculty, compared to 64% of faculty nationwide, support a transition to OA publishing. However, when selecting a journal to publish in, faculty indicated that a journal having no cost to publish in was more important than having no cost to read. After joining faculty’s survey responses and their publication output, the data sample included 4,413 articles published by 479 Berkeley faculty from 2016 to 2019. With considerable disciplinary differences, the OA publication output for this sample, using data from Unpaywall, represented 72% of the total publication output. The study focused on Gold OA articles, which usually require authors to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) and which accounted for 18% of the publications. Overall, the study found a positive correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Thus, Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA. 

Library Impact Research Report: Open Access Publishing: A Study of UC Berkeley Faculty Views and Practices – Association of Research Libraries

Overall, the UC Berkeley study found a positive correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Therefore, UC Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA.

Global Professional Publishing 2022-2026 : Market Research Report

“Key Findings

Among the key findings highlighted in the report are:

The largest segment withing professional publishing is Tax, Accounting and Business, which generated revenue of $40.8 billion in 2021, gaining 7.1% year over year.
RELX continues its reign at the top of the professional publishing industry, delivering revenue of $8.9 billion in 2021 with a market share of 11.9%
Strategic M&A activity, a tight market focus, and application of advanced technology has powered the tax, accounting, and business segment as the growth engine for professional publishing.
Content-drive technology, incorporating AI, machine learning and other advanced technologies is creating new opportunities for publishers to drive growth and improve profitability….”

Science for all – 360

“Scientists or their institutions must often pay high subscription fees to multiple journals to keep up with what’s happening in their field. In response to complaints about high and rising subscription fees, the publishing houses have brought in different forms of ‘open access’, or free-to-read journals. In order to pay for the cost of curating the journals, and vetting and editing the papers, the journals may charge an up-front fee to publish.

Prestigious journal Science explains that this “allow[s] their rigorous peer review shepherded by professional editors, careful editing, access to all relevant data, striking and informative visuals, and an engaging website. Importantly, we put substantial post-publication resources into preventing misinformation by informing accurate coverage of research through mainstream and social media.”

From January 1, Science will begin allowing authors to republish their papers on a university server for free. The shift comes hot on the heels of a new US government policy requiring taxpayer funded research to be freely available.

About 20 years after the internet first threatened to upset the scientific publishing world, it seems real change is coming. A plethora of different ways of sharing scientific findings are proliferating, from draft papers on ‘pre-print’ servers, to university-hosted repositories. As science faces global challenges, the need to quickly and equitably share information will only increase. The fledging publishing models being explored today may become the engine of world change in the near future….”

How can I persuade my institution to support collective funding for open access books? (Part Two) · Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

“As Sharla Lair at LYRASIS says “The transformation of scholarly publishing happens one investment at a time. You can’t do everything, but you can do something.” In the UK, several libraries (including the Universities of St Andrews, Manchester, Sussex, and Salford, among others) are all implementing innovative strategies to enable ethically-aligned support for OA that mesh with budget constraints. The university KU Leuven has an approach worth studying (more on this below), as does that of Utrecht, Iowa State University, the University of Kansas, Guelph, Temple University, University of California and MIT Library. But even libraries that are not in a position to make strategic overhauls can still agree criteria by which they can start to assess deals. 

Practical approaches – a case study from the library at KU Leuven…

Economics and Equity in the Development of Open Research Europe – Munin conference presentation | Zenodo

“Open Research Europe (ORE) is the open access peer-reviewed publishing platform offered by the European Commission as an optional service to Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe beneficiaries at no cost to them. The platform enables researchers to publish open access without paying out of their research budgets and while complying with their open access obligations.

These are the outputs from an interactive session run by Rob Johnson at the 17th Munin Conference on 30 November 2022 to gather delegates’ feedback on the future operationalisation of Open Research Europe as a collective publishing enterprise.

These outputs supplement the following paper and report: …”

Updates on the Future for 2023 – openoregon.org

“Peeking around the corner into 2023, the barriers preventing faculty from more widespread adoption of OER are the usual ones: time and money. Further, Oregon’s statewide OER program is working with faculty who are worn out by the ongoing pandemic and responding to heightened student needs.

Beyond these obvious constraints, though, here are four big challenges we’re thinking about right now.

Do these resonate for your program? Do you have something different on your mind? Comments are open!…”

Nature announces support for authors from over 70 countries to publish open access: Authors from low-income and lower-middle income countries to be able to publish for free in Nature and the Nature research journals

From today, primary research from authors from over 70 countries classified by the World Bank as low-income (LIC) or lower-middle-income economies (LMICs) accepted for publication in either Nature or one of the Nature research journals (e.g. Nature Chemistry, Nature Sustainability) can now be published Gold open access at no cost. This move recognises that local funding is rarely available for publishing OA in specialist journals like Nature, whose characteristics such as in-house editorial teams and low acceptance rates make it difficult for authors from these countries who are less well-funded.  

European academies hit out at high author charges for open access publishing | Science|Business

“Open access means more and more scientific research is free to read. But now there are complaints about ‘massive’ fees that must be paid upfront by authors and claims commercial publishers are making excessive profits….

ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, claims commercial publishers are making the large profits from open access publishing under what is known as the gold model, which allows journal papers to be free to read as soon as they are published.

Instead of journal subscriptions, publishers are paid article processing charges (APCs). These fees can sometimes be thousands of euros.

The financial burden is shifting away from the readers of papers and onto the authors. This is putting a strain on academics around the world, particularly those in less well-off countries, ALLEA says in a report published last month. These fees are often rolled into partner agreements with big publishers, but researchers not covered by these agreements must usually pay APCs.

ALLEA claims that publishers make around $2 billion per year from APCs….

Robert-Jan Smits, president of Eindhoven University of Technology and former European Commission director general for research, who is a leading advocate for open access, told Science|Business that a cap should be placed on APCs to “avoid an explosion of costs,” saying, “There is enough money in the system, it is just in the wrong place.” …”