How to make academic book reviews sustainable in a pay to publish environment | Impact of Social Sciences

“Book reviews, let alone academic book reviews, have received many premature notices of their demise. However, as Christina Lembrecht and Vassiliki Gortsas, discuss alongside a crisis in authorship, reviews also run the risk of being excluded from funding for open access publication….

In fact, four in every five (79%) of our authors said that book reviews – especially in journals – are the main way they keep up to speed with emerging scholarship in their field. Not only do book reviews serve as an important source of information, receiving them is still highly prized. The survey also found that 74% of our humanities authors judge the success of their book on the basis of how widely it gets reviewed….

As humanities scholars receive far less funding – or none at all for some types of content – the APC model could pose a major threat for the sustainability of book reviews as well as many other types of academic material….”

Sabina Leonelli’s “Philosophy of Open Science”

“In the book, Leonelli provides “a constructively critical reading” of the standard approach to open science which, she argues, is focused on sharing “objects” such as data and materials. In Leonelli’s view, this object-sharing approach has become an obstacle to promoting open science. Grounded in philosophies of science from Popper, Chang, Longino, and others, she puts forward an alternative, process-oriented view of open science that refers to efforts to establish “judicious connections among systems of practice.” …”

Do Open Access Mandates Work? A Systematized Review of the Literature on Open Access Publishing Rates

Abstract:  To encourage the sharing of research, various entities—including public and private funders, universities, and academic journals—have enacted open access (OA) mandates or data sharing policies. It is unclear, however, whether these OA mandates and policies increase the rate of OA publishing and data sharing within the research communities impacted by them. A team of librarians conducted a systematized review of the literature to answer this question. A comprehensive search of several scholarly databases and grey literature sources resulted in 4,689 unique citations. However, only five articles met the inclusion criteria and were deemed as having an acceptable risk of bias. This sample showed that although the majority of the mandates described in the literature were correlated with a subsequent increase in OA publishing or data sharing, the presence of various confounders and the differing methods of collecting and analyzing the data used by the studies’ authors made it impossible to establish a causative relationship.


A systematic literature review on research data management practices and services | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

Research data management (RDM) has been called a “ground-breaking” area for research libraries and it is among the top future trends for academic libraries. Hence, this study aims to systematically review RDM practices and services primarily focusing on the challenges, services and skills along with motivational factors associated with it.


A systematic literature review method was used focusing on literature produced between 2016–2020 to understand the latest trends. An extensive research strategy was framed and 15,206 results appeared. Finally, 19 studies have fulfilled the criteria to be included in the study following preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis.


RDM is gradually gaining importance among researchers and academic libraries; however, it is still poorly practiced by researchers and academic libraries. Albeit, it is better observed in developed countries over developing countries, however, there are lots of challenges associated with RDM practices by researchers and services by libraries. These challenges demand certain sets of skills to be developed for better practices and services. An active collaboration is required among stakeholders and university services departments to figure out the challenges and issues.

Research limitations/implications

The implications of policy and practical point-of-view present how research data can be better managed in the future by researchers and library professionals. The expected/desired role of key stockholders in this regard is also highlighted.


RDM is an important and emerging area. Researchers and Library and Information Science professionals are not comprehensively managing research data as it involves complex cooperation among various stakeholders. A combination of measures is required to better manage research data that would ultimately move forward for open access publishing.

Indicators of research quality, quantity, openness and responsibility in institutional review, promotion and tenure policies across seven countries

The need to reform research assessment processes related to career advancement at research institutions has become increasingly recognised in recent years, especially to better foster open and responsible research practices. Current assessment criteria are believed to focus too heavily on inappropriate criteria related to productivity and quantity as opposed to quality, collaborative open research practices, and the socio-economic impact of research. Evidence of the extent of these issues is urgently needed to inform actions for reform, however. We analyse current practices as revealed by documentation on institutional review, promotion and tenure processes in seven countries (Austria, Brazil, Germany, India, Portugal, United Kingdom and United States of America). Through systematic coding and analysis of 143 RPT policy documents from 107 institutions for the prevalence of 17 criteria (including those related to qualitative or quantitative assessment of research, service to the institution or profession, and open and responsible research practices), we compare assessment practices across a range of international institutions to significantly broaden this evidence-base. Although prevalence of indicators varies considerably between countries, overall we find that currently open and responsible research practices are minimally rewarded and problematic practices of quantification continue to dominate.

News – Janeway review

“The first thing to know about Janeway is that it is not just a submission system and platform. It is a complete publishing tool that allows the editors to basically operate as… a publisher. That makes it hugely empowering, and totally compensates the time investment.

Glossa publishes about 130 articles/year, so the work is rather demanding on a team of volunteer editors. A flawless and flexible submission system is a necessity. Janeway delivers.

First of all, it is flawlessly interoperable. Until July 2021, Glossa was published by Ubiquity press, who were using a customized version of OJS as a submission system. In July 2021, all essential Glossa data (articles, reviews, dates, reviewer list etc) were transferred to Janeway. The operation was carried out without a hitch. The Janeway team set up the platform for Glossa, and after a few nips and tucks it was ready for readers and authors. Editors have access to their journal platform and can directly edit policies and guidelines that are made available to readers and authors….”

[Review of] Plan S for Shock

“Robert-Jan Smits and Rachael Pells’s book Plan S for Shock: Science. Shock. Solution. Speed. (Ubiquity Press, 2022) tells the story of open access publishing – why it matters now, and for the future. In a world where information has never been so accessible, and answers are available at the touch of a fingertip, we are hungrier for the facts than ever before – something the Covid-19 crisis has brought to light. And yet, paywalls put in place by multi-billion dollar publishing houses are still preventing millions from accessing quality, scientific knowledge – and public trust in science is under threat. On 4 September 2018, a bold new initiative known as ‘Plan S’ was unveiled, kickstarting a world-wide shift in attitudes towards open access research. For the first time, funding agencies across continents joined forces to impose new rules on the publication of research, with the aim of one day making all research free and available to all. What followed was a debate of global proportions, as stakeholders asked: Who has the right to access publicly-funded research? Will it ever be possible to enforce change on a multi-billion dollar market dominated by five major players? Here, the scheme’s founder, Robert-Jan Smits, makes a compelling case for Open Access, and reveals for the first time how he set about turning his controversial plan into reality – as well as some of the challenges faced along the way. In telling his story, Smits argues that the Covid-19 crisis has exposed the traditional academic publishing system as unsustainable.”

‘Replacing Academic Journals’ | Jeff Pooley


There’s lots to unpack in the Brembsian alternative proposed here. One cornerstone is the adoption of open standards that—as best I understand it—would enable university repositories and nonprofit, community-led platforms like Open Library of Humanities (OLH) to form a kind of global, interoperable library. A second cornerstone is a regulated market for services. In an open procurement process, publishers and other firms—nonprofit or otherwise—would submit bids for peer review services, for example, or for copy editing or even writing software. The idea is that a regulated marketplace will, through competition enabled by open standards, discipline the overall system’s cost.

It’s a fascinating proposal, one that—as the paper notes—could be implemented with existing technologies. The problem is the lever of change. The incumbent publishers’ entrenched position, Brembs et al explain, renders a first move by libraries or scholars impractical. That leaves funders, whose updated rules and review criteria could, the paper argues, tip the incentive structure in the direction of an open, journal-free alternative.



An open-access history: the world according to Smits

“Aficionados will probably spot misstatements about the size of journal profits and taxpayer-funded research, along with a foreword that equates open access with author fees, a mistake the book itself avoids.

Perhaps the acid test for Plan S for Shock is whether it can reach a broad audience of scientists, rather than the already engaged experts. The book sometimes suffers from thickets of jargon that confuse many discussions of academic publishing — but its lively quotes could pull readers through.

This matters because one enduring puzzle of the OA movement is that it’s never really managed to engage the majority of scientists. Many researchers still don’t bother to archive their past peer-reviewed papers online, even if it’s been years since the work appeared in journals and it could now be shared — and even though studies suggest that openly shared articles attract more citations….”

Health Sciences Librarians’ Engagement In Open Science: A Scoping Review

Objectives: To identify the engagement of health sciences librarians (HSLs) in open science (OS) through the delivery of library services, support, and programs for researchers.

Methods: We performed a scoping review guided by Arksey and O’Malley’s framework and Joanna Briggs’ Manual for Scoping Reviews. Our search methods consisted of searching five bibliographic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, LISTA, and Web of Science Core Collection), reference harvesting, and targeted website and journal searching. To determine study eligibility, we applied predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria and reached consensus when there was disagreement. We extracted data in duplicate and performed qualitative analysis to map key themes.

Results: We included fifty-four studies. Research methods included descriptive or narrative approaches (76%); surveys, questionnaires, and interviews (15%); or mixed methods (9%). We labeled studies with one or more of FOSTER’s six OS themes: open access (54%), open data (43%), open science (24%), open education (6%), open source (6%), and citizen science (6%). Key drivers in OS were scientific integrity and transparency, openness as a guiding principle in research, and funder mandates making research publicly accessible.

Conclusions: HSLs play key roles in advancing OS worldwide. Formal studies are needed to assess the impact of HSLs’ engagement in OS. HSLs should promote adoption of OS within their research communities and develop strategic plans aligned with institutional partners. HSLs can promote OS by adopting more rigorous and transparent research practices of their own. Future research should examine HSLs’ engagement in OS through social justice and equity perspectives.

Toward Open Research: A Narrative Review of the Challenges and Opportunities for Open Humanities | Journal of Communication | Oxford Academic

Open research represents a new set of principles and methodologies for greater cooperation, transparent sharing of findings, and access to and re-use of research data, materials or outputs, making knowledge more freely available to wider audiences for societal benefit. Yet, the future success of the international move toward open research will be dependent on key stakeholders addressing current barriers to increase uptake, effectiveness, and sustainability. This article builds on “An Agenda for Open Science in Communication,” raising dialog around the need for a broader view of open research as opposed to open science through a deeper understanding of specific challenges faced by the humanities. It reviews how the multifaceted nature of humanities research outputs make open communication formats more complex and costly. While new avenues are emerging to advance open research, there is a need for more collaborative, coordinated efforts to better connect humanities scholars with the communities they serve.

ON-MERRIT D6.1 Investigating Institutional Structures of Reward & Recognition in Open Science & RRI | Zenodo

This document reports on the research conducted under Task 6.1 “Investigating institutional structures or reward and recognition in Open Science & RRI”. Our work assesses the extent to which Open Science (OS) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) are embedded in promotion processes at research performing institutions and analyses the disparity between what is valued by institutions and what is valued by researchers in the context of promotion processes.

The deliverable presents two original research studies contributing to a better understanding of current reward structures, incentives and practices as they are applied across geographical boundaries:

The first study provides a systematic analysis of institutional Promotion, Review and Tenure policies (PRT) to determine the extent to which they, at this point in time, embed OS and RRI indicators. This study builds on Task 3.1 in which an initial international dataset of PRT policies was collected and annotated.
The second study is based on an international survey of active researchers. It aims to assess their attitudes towards OS and RRI as well as their experience with the application of assessment indicators in PRT processes at their institutions. Additionally, it aims to identify promising incentives that would encourage researchers to practice OS and RRI.

Our findings hence show that researchers are ready for change. Yet as we look ahead to what those changes might be, we must be careful not merely to propagate the “tyranny of metrics” responsible for many of the ills within the current system. Simply uncritically introducing further indicators accounting for OS/RRI practices may do more harm than good. We hence close with considerations of the need to change not just indicators, but rather norms, and with provisional recommendations for policy-makers, institutions and researchers (to be developed in later ON-MERRIT tasks)

Book Review – Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Meanwhile, Google had only just gone public with an IPO in 2004. That year, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Google announced its Publisher Program, which promised to support the same type of search functionality. Publishers willingly signed up, unaware that the Library Project would be announced two months later. The Library Project was ambitious, digitizing titles acquired for collections held at Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, and the New York Public Library. This was a breathtaking step farther than Amazon, and the information community was thunderstruck as it tried to process the implications of what such an expansion could mean. 

This is the story that is told in Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization by Deana Marcum and Roger Schonfeld (full disclosure, Roger is a regular contributor to this blog). Note the subtitle. This book documents from a library perspective the implications and long-term impact of Google’s move to make a significant corpus of “offline content searchable online” through optimized means of scanning and digitization. The outcome of Google’s ambitious project would ultimately be diminished, due to constraints resulting from extended legal battles, but key library leadership has managed to create the infrastructure needed to sustain and carry on the massive digitization needed. There were significant barriers to that work, as the authors note, despite the fact that “in this story, there are many actors, all of good intentions. Inevitably, it is also a story of limitations and failures to collaborate.” …”