Should open access lead to closed research? The trends towards paying to perform research

Abstract:  Open  Access  (OA)  emerged  as  an  important  transition  in  scholarly  publishing  worldwide during the past two decades. So far, this transition is increasingly based on article processing charges (APC), which create a new paywall on the researchers’ side. Publishing is part of the research  process  and  thereby  necessary  to  perform  research.  This  study  analyses  the  global trends towards paying to perform research by combing observed trends in publishing from 2015 to 2020 with an APC price list. APC expenses have sharply increased among six countries with different  OA  policies:  the  USA,  China,  the  UK,  France,  the  Netherlands,  and  Norway.  The estimated global revenues from APC among major publishers now exceed 2 billion US dollars annually. Mergers and takeovers show that the industry is moving towards APC-based OA as the more profitable business  model.  Research publishing will be closed  to  those who cannot make an institution or project money payment. Our results lead to a discussion of whether APC is the best way to promote OA.

DORA Community Engagement Grants: Supporting Academic Assessment Reform | DORA

“DORA sought to fund ideas to advance assessment reform at academic institutions at any stage of readiness. Projects could be targeted to any level within an academic institution, including (but not limited to) reform efforts at the graduate program, department, library, or institution level, and should address one or more key aspects of education, planning, implementing, training, iteratively improving, and scaling policies and practices. More than 55 ideas were submitted from individuals and teams in 29 countries! After careful review, members of the Steering Committee selected 10 proposals to support….”

AsiaChem Magazine has joined ScienceOpen – ScienceOpen Blog

“The Federation of Asian Chemical Societies (FACS) is a federation of 32 chemical societies of countries and territories in the Asia Pacific, aiming to promote the advancement and appreciation of chemistry and the interests of professional chemists in the region. As of today, all activities and updates from the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, as well as cutting-edge science articles, publications on the history of chemistry, interviews, and essays, will be available on ScienceOpen, as AsiaChem, the official magazine of FACS, has joined our network….”

Boycott heralds Chinese publishing shake-up | May 3, 2022 | Times Higher Education (THE)

“China’s top research organisation has suspended its use of the country’s largest academic database, causing some scholars to question whether its stranglehold on the sector might be loosened. Several research institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have pulled out of its subscription to the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) due to mounting subscription fees, local news outlet Caixin reported. According to reports, CAS made the decision over mounting costs. In 2021, CAS paid ¥10 million (£1.2 million) to access the database, with a similar amount expected for 2022. Academics said the reasoning behind the move – long-simmering frustrations over fees – was understandable enough. But they wondered what its knock-on effects could be in a market largely controlled by a single, powerful player. Roughly 90 per cent of China’s journal articles are listed on CNKI, according to estimates.  Futao Huang, a professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education at Hiroshima University, suggested that CNKI’s monopoly was under threat. While he said it was “extremely difficult” to predict what could happen, a reduced role for CNKI “might open up the market to new players”, including open access platforms, which allow readers to access papers for free….

Fei Shu, a senior researcher in the Chinese Academy of Science and Education Evaluation at Hangzhou Dianzi University, argued that “oligopoly” was a more fitting term for the country’s research database market, but he was also sceptical that a move away from its biggest player would result in a proliferation of openly accessible journal articles. “In my perspective, some other research institutions will follow the CAS and stop [their] subscription if they cannot get a deal with CNKI,” similar to when Western sectors boycotted Elsevier in the past, he said. “However, it has little to do with open access. In China, due to [its] censorship, OA is not favoured and promoted by the government. I don’t believe that this situation will change in a short term.””

Guest Post – Open Access in Japan: Tapping the Stone Bridge – The Scholarly Kitchen

“April Fool’s Day is not really a thing in Japan, so whereas many companies in the West tend to avoid the first of the month when making important announcements, it is in no way unusual that the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), the nation’s second-largest public-sector research funder chose April 1st, 2022 to unveil its revised open access policy and implementation guidelines with a typical lack of fanfare outside of its home country….

Such a comparatively low-key approach is in line with past precedent as Japanese funding bodies such as JST, have typically opted for a light-touch and iterative approach to open access policies – which for the most part have been developed in consultation with publishers – in contrast to counterparts in other countries that have put forward more radical and headline-generating open access initiatives such as the US OSTP “Holdren Memo”, Plan S, and UKRI’s open access policy announced in mid-2021. Previous versions of the JST open access policy issued in 2013 and 2017 went little remarked upon in many open science circles and were notable for their conciliatory approach, in contrast to the openly-stated ambition to disrupt and reform the world of scholarly publishing of many other funders. Following this consultative tradition, the current policy was circulated in draft form to publisher members of CHORUS, of which JST is a participating funder, for comment prior to publication….

The most noticeable difference between the new policy and previous iterations is the introduction of an embargo period which stipulates that at minimum the Accepted Manuscript (AM) of any paper arising from a project submitted for funding to JST after the go-live date of April 1, 2022, must be made publicly accessible in an institutional or public repository in Japan within 12 months of publication of the resultant journal article. Whilst cautious by European standards, this is the first time that an embargo of any type has been included in the JST policy. In addition to AMs of research articles, the policy covers those of review articles and conference papers. While the revised policy signals a preference for the green route and does not mandate that the VoR be made available open access, publication as an open access article is a “permitted” route and under the new policy, APCs are fully reimbursable from grant money….

Furthermore, it is notable that both the policy and its implementation guidelines are silent on the twin subjects of transformative journals and transformative agreements. …

Advocates of faster and more radical transformation will probably lament the lack of clarity or silence on certain issues – such as a ban on publishing in hybrid journals and gaps around CC BY licensing for the AM – that have become totemic in many open access circles and offer a more lukewarm response. Those in the latter group may find some consolation in the knowledge that in Japan, caution does not necessarily indicate disapproval and is often regarded as a virtue, encapsulated in the phrase: ???????? (Ishibashi wo tataite wataru) “to tap on a stone bridge before crossing.” Cautious progress may initially be slower than those who rush headlong, but caution helps avoids missteps. And you’re still going across the bridge.”


Japan Science and Technology Agency revises its open science policy

JST revised JST Policy on Open Access to Research Publications and Research Data Management (JST Open Science Policy) in consideration of recent trends of Open Science both inside and outside Japan in April 2022. This policy defines JST’s basic stance on Open Access to research publications and management of research data resulting from research projects funded by JST. Researchers who participate in those projects are required to handle research results appropriately complying with this policy.

Brill Publishes New Open Access Series with Support from Max Planck Institute

Academic publisher Brill is proud to announce the addition of the series Agriculture and the Making of Sciences 1100-1700: Texts, Practices, and Transcultural Transmission of Knowledge in Asia (AMOS) to its publishing portfolio in Asian Studies. All volumes in this series will be published in Open Access with financial support from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG).

China overtakes the US in terms of research quality, finds study – Physics World

“The quality of China’s scientific research output exceeded that of the US in 2019. That is according to a new analysis by researchers in the US, which also found that China had already overtaken the European Union in terms of research quality by 2015.  

China’s total research output has grown rapidly in recent years, but there has been a widespread belief that the “quality” – judged by the number of citations papers receive – is not as high as other countries. A common measure of a nation’s research quality is the percentage of its papers appearing in the top 1% of the most-cited papers globally. Since citation practices vary widely across disciplines, researchers typically weight the citation data of papers according to their fields, before comparing countries’ scientific output. When comparing field-weighted citation data, the US has a higher percentage of research in the top 1% worldwide than China does….”

Transformative Agreement signed between the Microbiology Society and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences | Microbiology Society

“The Microbiology Society and Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) are pleased to announce their transformative agreement starting in 2022. The Publish and Read model will allow researchers at affiliated institutions to publish an unlimited number of Open Access (OA) articles in hybrid and fully OA titles, as well as have full reading access to the Society’s journal portfolio….”

The Roles of Female Involvement and Risk Aversion in Open Access Publishing Patterns in Vietnamese Social Sciences and Humanities

Purpose: The open-access (OA) publishing model can help improve researchers’ outreach, thanks to its accessibility and visibility to the public. Therefore, the presentation of female researchers can benefit from the OA publishing model. Despite that, little is known about how gender affects OA practices. Thus, the current study explores the effects of female involvement and risk aversion on OA publishing patterns among Vietnamese social sciences and humanities.

Design/methodology/approach: The  study  employed  Bayesian  Mindsponge  Framework  (BMF) on a dataset of 3,122 Vietnamese social sciences and humanities (SS&H) publications during 2008–2019. The Mindsponge mechanism was specifically used to construct theoretical models, while Bayesian inference was utilized for fitting models.

Findings: The  result  showed  a  positive  association  between  female  participation  and  OA  publishing probability. However, the positive effect of female involvement on OA publishing probability was negated by the high ratio of female researchers in a publication. OA status was negatively associated with the JIF of the journal in which the publication was published, but the relationship was moderated by the involvement of a female researcher(s). The findings suggested that Vietnamese female researchers might be more likely to publish under the OA model in journals with high JIF for avoiding the risk of public criticism.

Research  limitations:  The  study  could  only  provide  evidence  on  the  association  between  female  involvement  and  OA  publishing  probability.  However,  whether  to  publish  under  OA  terms  is  often  determined  by  the  first  or  corresponding  authors,  but  not  necessarily  gender-based.Practical  implications:  Systematically  coordinated  actions  are  suggested  to  better  support  women and promote the OA movement in Vietnam.

Sci-Hub downloads show countries where pirate paper site is most used

“Download figures for Sci-Hub, the popular but controversial website that hosts pirated copies of scientific papers, reveal where people are using the site most. The statistics show that users accessing Sci-Hub from China are by far the most active — and that with more than 25 million downloads, usage in China outstrips the rest of the top ten countries combined (see ‘Global resource’).

Perhaps surprisingly, the figures also show that the United States, in second place, has about one-third as many downloads, at 9.3 million. “There is a widespread opinion that Sci-Hub is of no use in the United States, because universities have money to pay for subscriptions, but that is not true,” says Alexandra Elbakyan, the site’s founder.

The statistics are updated daily and show the number of downloads from each country over the past month — but they are not normalized for the size of the research population….”

International Tensions and “Science Nationalism” in a Networked World: Strategies and Implications

“The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Executive Roundtable that took place as part of the CNI Fall 2020 Virtual Membership Meeting examined the collision between developing international tensions and science nationalism on one side, and trends towards global, network-based collaboration and scholarly communication, particularly as driven by the adoption of open science practices, on the other….

There is a very broad-based effort to restructure the terms of open access (OA) publishing across the globe through so-called “transformative agreements” and efforts such as the European Union-based Plan S, which stipulates (among other things) that scientific publications resulting from publicly funded research be published in OA journals or platforms. Currently there’s a rough and still tentative alignment between the US and Europe on this effort; in particular, there is some ambiguity about the extent of support by US federal funders, as distinct from research universities (who have a wide range of views), for the Plan S style approach. Given the scale of publishing by Chinese researchers, it seems likely that unless China supports this restructuring effort, the economics globally will be at best problematic. While a few years ago some Chinese scholarly organizations seem to have expressed conceptual support for both this kind of OA and related initiatives about open research data, it’s unclear where this commitment now stands, or how it may relate to other emerging Chinese scholarly publishing strategies….

Some recent policy announcements seem to suggest that China is de-emphasizing the importance of publishing in very high prestige Western journals; interestingly, this is being cast as consistent with the efforts of Western and global open science advocates to focus assessments of scholarly impact on quality rather than quantity, and to de-emphasize measures such as the impact factor of the journals that results are published in. Note that to the extent that China is, or may be, investing in a national publishing infrastructure, this implies shifting investment away from contributions that might support a global restructuring of the Western scholarly publishing system (discussed above) towards new OA models. …”

Tracing the footsteps of open research data in China

Abstract:  While the scientific research value, economic value and social value ofresearch data have become increasingly apparent, the significance of openresearch data has reached a consensus. This article gives an introductionto open research data policies and measures in China, and reports on thestatus of constructing necessary infrastructure, specifically open datarepositories. We compare open data repositories in China and Westerncountries in terms of scale, subject distribution, data policies, service andcontent operations. In addition, this article summarizes methods and moti-vations for data sharing among researchers in China. Finally, the paper dis-cusses the characteristics, potential problems and challenges of China’sopen research data practices. We conclude with some suggestions for thefuture development of open research data in China from data policy, infra-structure construction, compliance with international standards andnorms, credibility and influence improvement, incentives for data sharingand encouraging data sharing research practices.

China releases over 7.43 mln pieces of biological resource data

“The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has officially published a catalog of biological resources, with more than 7.43 million pieces of biological resource data released.

The catalog collects biological resource data from 72 resource libraries in 40 research institutes of the CAS, which includes biological specimens, plant resources, genetic resources, animal experiment resources, and biodiversity monitoring network resources.

All the resource data are available to the public on network portals, the CAS said….”

Open Access Publication and Article Processing Charges (APCs) in Japan Report on the FY2020 Survey

JUSTICE conducted a survey on the number of published articles written by researchers who belong to institutions in Japan, Open Access availability, and total estimated APC costs. For this survey, we used the Web of Science article level metadata file provided by Clarivate Analytics to the National Institute of Informatics (NII). The survey results were published with permission from Clarivate Analytics. This report is an updated version of the FY2019 Survey.