DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Reference Rot in the Digital Humanities Literature: An Analysis of Citations Containing Website Links in DHQ

Abstract:  The ubiquity of the web has dramatically transformed scholarly communication. The shift toward digital publishing has brought great advantages, including an increased speed of knowledge dissemination and a greater uptake in open scholarship. There is also an increasing range of scholarly material being communicated and referenced. References have expanded beyond books and articles to include a broad array of assets consulted or created during the research process, such as datasets, social media content like tweets and blogs, and digital exhibitions. There are, however, numerous challenges posed by the transition to a constantly evolving digital scholarly infrastructure. This paper examines one of those challenges: link rot. Link rot is likely most familiar in the form of “404 Not Found” error messages, but there are other less prominent obstacles to accessing web content. Our study examines instances of link rot in Digital Humanities Quarterly articles and its impact on the ability to access the online content referenced in these articles after their publication.


How Scientific Publishers’ Extreme Fees Put Profit Over Progress | The Nation

“On April 17, the premier journal NeuroImage’s entire editorial team, comprising more than 40 scientists, resigned over the “unethical fees” charged by the journal’s academic publisher, Elsevier. With more than $2 billion in annual revenue, the publisher’s profit margin approaches 40 percent—rivaling that of Apple and Google. “Elsevier has become kind of like the poster child for evil publishing companies,” said neuroscientist Kristen Kennedy, one of the recently resigned senior editors.

Kennedy relies on taxpayer money to study the aging brain. At the University of Texas at Dallas, federal grants help fund the staff, equipment, and experiments in her lab. But this public money, largely from the National Institutes of Health, is being drained by exorbitant publishing fees….”

The future of scholarly publishing – 2023 – Journal of Food Science – Wiley Online Library

“Take-up of Open Access (OA) publication in the Journal of Food Science (JFS) has increased substantially in the past year, and we continue to monitor this. In JFS, we published about 10% of our manuscripts as OA last year, but it’s significantly higher in Comprehensive Reviews (CRFSFS). We’ve heard of publishers pushing society journals to switch to Gold OA (fully-OA publications), but our near-term future will still be hybrid publishing with authors deciding if they want to pay for OA.

Another concern in the move to OA is the risk that underfunded researchers will not be able to pay the OA fees. We participate in Research4Life, so authors in low-income nations can get waivers, but will APC be an obstacle for researchers from middle-income nations not on the Research4Life list?…”

Are open access article processing charges affordable for otolaryngologists in low-income and middle-income countries?

Abstract:  Purpose of review 

Open access articles are more frequently read and cited, and hence promote access to knowledge and new advances in healthcare. Unaffordability of open access article processing charges (APCs) may create a barrier to sharing research. We set out to assess the affordability of APCs and impact on publishing for otolaryngology trainees and otolaryngologists in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Recent findings 

A cross-sectional online survey was conducted among otolaryngology trainees and otolaryngologists in LMICs globally. Seventy-nine participants from 21 LMICs participated in the study, with the majority from lower middle-income status (66%). Fifty-four percent were otolaryngology lecturers while 30% were trainees. Eighty-seven percent of participants received a gross monthly salary of less than USD 1500. Fifty-two percent of trainees did not receive a salary. Ninety-one percent and 96% of all study participants believed APCs limit publication in open access journals and influence choice of journal for publication, respectively. Eighty percent and 95% believed APCs hinder career progression and impede sharing of research that influences patient care, respectively.


APCs are unaffordable for LMIC otolaryngology researchers, hinder career progression and inhibit the dissemination of LMIC-specific research that can improve patient care. Novel models should be developed to support open access publishing in LMICs.

How to cultivate good closures: ‘scaling small’ and the limits of openness | Samuel Moore

Text of a talk given to the COPIM end-of-project conference: “Scaling Small: Community-Owned Futures for Open Access Books”, April 20th 2023.

Open access publishing has always had a difficult relationship with smoothness and scale. Openness implies seamlessness, limitlessness or structureless-ness – or the idea that the removal of price and permission barriers is what’s needed to allow research to reach its full potential. The drive for seamlessness is on display in much of the push for interoperability of standards and persistent identifiers that shape the infrastructures of openness. Throughout the evolution of open access, many ideas have been propagated around, for example, the necessity of CC BY as the one and only licence that facilitates this interoperability and smoothness of access and possible reuse. Similarly, failed projects such as One Repo sought to create a single open access repository to rule them all, in response to the perceived messy and stratified institutional and subject repository landscape.

Yet this relationship between openness and scale also leads to new kinds of closure, particularly the commercial closures of walled gardens that stretch across proprietary services and make researcher data available for increasing user surveillance. The economies of scale of commercial publishers require cookie-cutter production processes that remove all traces of care from publishing, in exchange for APCs and BPCs, thus ensuring that more publications can be processed cheaply with as little recourse to paid human labour as possible. Smoothness and scale are simply market enclosures by another name.



The Challenges of Conducting Open Source Research on China – bellingcat

“The People’s Republic of China is well known for its efforts to restrict the free flow of information online. With this in mind, this guide provides an overview of some of the challenges facing open source researchers investigating China-  focusing primarily on those outside China. For those who are just getting started in open source research on China, it is designed to give an idea of the difficulties you may face. Since 2017 evolving censorship tactics and increased regulations that reduce anonymity online have made open source research on China increasingly difficult. Methodologies that researchers have used successfully in the past are often rendered useless by new restrictions if Chinese authorities become aware of them. Access to Chinese websites and social media apps, as well as methods for investigating them, are therefore currently shrinking. 

The current range of difficulties may sound bleak – and to a certain extent it is – but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t finding creative ways to work around them, or that there aren’t clear ways that developers and other researchers can work to improve things. To better understand the current situation, Bellingcat interviewed a dozen China researchers who specialise in tech or human rights, including in Xinjiang and Tibet, about the challenges they’re facing doing open source research on China….”

Final WP4 Report: Governing Scholar-Led OA Book Publishers | Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

We are pleased to announce the release of the final report from COPIM’s Governance Work Package (WP4), titled Governing Scholar-Led OA Book Publishers: Values, Practices, Barriers. This report develops some of the issues we have previously explored within COPIM with regard to community governance, such as the challenges of governing a collective and the relationship of governance to common resources, to explore how these apply in practice to the publication of books by small-to-medium Open Access publishers, as well as what barriers they have faced in implementing their governance models. It presents and discusses the results of six interviews with small and medium Open Access publishers from the ScholarLed consortium. It then offers some recommendations and insights into how other small and medium Open Access publishers might set up and/or improve their governance practices, including how the Open Book Collective and Open Book Futures project might support them in doing so.

Governing Scholar-Led OA Book Publishers was written by Dr. Judith Fathallah, with the kind assistance of the following interviewees:

François van Schalkwyk, Director of African Minds

Joe Deville, Co-Founder of Mattering Press

Jeff Pooley, Director of mediastudies.press

Mercedes Bunz, Co-Founder of meson press

Alessandra Tosi, Co-Director of Open Book Publishers

Eileen Joy, Co-Director of punctum books.

After a contextual discussion on the need for scholar-led OA publishers and governance issues related to the concept of the knowledge commons, the report presents the interview data. The publishers discuss the impetuses to startup their presses; incorporation and its forms; the elements, resources and actors in their governance structures; the evolution of governance structures and processes; their current mechanisms and procedures;t ransparency and self assessment; their relationships with institutions and organizations; and their perspectives on current governance.

Some reccomendations are then made to assist new publishers in considering their governance, and links to tools and resources provided.

The report has been published as a living document on COPIM’s Open Documentation Site (PubPub), and is also availabe as a time-stamped PDF version on Zenodo at https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7801216.


Academic Scholars and Libraries on the path to Open Access: A study

Abstract:  The study looks into the perspectives and actions that academics and librarians have on open access publishing. According to the findings of the study, there are substantial obstacles to the implementation of open access publishing, including worries about the publication’s quality and funding. There is a strong emphasis placed on the role that libraries play as crucial stakeholders in the transition to open access publication. According to the findings of the study, raising awareness and educating people about open access, as well as pushing for regulations and funding that support open access publication, are all important next steps. The findings demonstrate the importance of a scientific publishing system that is both open and fair to all authors.


Science Publishing Innovation: Why Do So Many Good Ideas Fail? – Science Editor

“Over a decade ago, BioMed Central (BMC) recognized the importance of postpublication discussion. Prepublication review can improve papers and catch errors, but only time and subsequent work of other scientists can truly show which results in a publication are robust and valid. Unlike a print journal (or print as a medium, in general), the Internet permits the readers to comment on published papers over time. So in 2002 BMC developed and enabled commenting on every one of its articles across its suite of journals. Not only does this allow for postpublication review, but it enables readers to easily ask authors and other readers a question, with public responses enriching the original manuscript, clarifying, and helping to improve the comprehension of the work.

This is a terrific idea, but it didn’t really catch on….

Remarkably, despite the creation of arXiv for physicists in 1990 and despite the enthusiastic embrace of preprints by the physics community, it has been assumed this is impossible for biology. The common argument is that biologists are different from physicists and the arXiv success is not informative. What many did find telling is the death of the 2007 preprint initiative from the Nature Publishing Group (NPG). NPG tried preprints with Nature Precedings, but adoption was low and in 2012 NPG pulled the plug on the experiment.3 This triggered some skepticism about the prospects of the bioRxiv preprint effort from Cold Spring Harbor Lab (CSHL) Press.4 Critics told the director of CSHL Press, John Inglis, that a preprint for biologists simply couldn’t work.5

Once again, we must ask the cause of the Nature Precedings failure. Did NPG kill it because biologists wouldn’t behave in the same way as physicists? We know that isn’t the case. Preprints in biology are all the rage today….

In the winter of 2012, Alexei Stoliartchouk and I came up with the idea for protocols.io—a central place where scientists can share and discover science methods. We wanted to create a site where corrections and the constant tweaking of science methods could be shared, even after publication in a journal….

Few people know about bioprotocols.com, but many know about OpenWetWare (OWW) and Nature Protocol Exchange—both open-access community resources for sharing protocols. Both have been mentioned to me countless times as evidence that protocols.io wouldn’t work. As with preprints, the problems that OWW and Protocol Exchange faced seemed to be proof that biologists would not share details of their methods on such a platform. As with bioRxiv, we are in the early days of protocols.io, but judging from the growth in the figure below, it’s hard to argue that biologists don’t need this or that they won’t take the time to publicly share their methods….”

The Publisher Playbook: A Brief History of the Publishing Industry’s Obstruction of the Library Mission

Abstract:  Libraries have continuously evolved their ability to provide access to collections in innovative ways. Many of these advancements in access, however, were not achieved without overcoming serious resistance and obstruction from the rightsholder and publishing industry. The struggle to maintain the library’s access-based mission and serve the public interest began as early as the late 1800s and continues through today. We call these tactics the “publishers’ playbook.” Libraries and their readers have routinely engaged in lengthy battles to defend the ability for libraries to fulfill their mission and serve the public good. The following is a brief review of the times and methods that publishers and rightsholder interests have attempted to hinder the library mission. This pattern of conduct, as reflected in ongoing controlled digital lending litigation, is not unexpected and belies a historical playbook on the part of publishers and rightsholders to maximize their own profits and control over the public’s informational needs. Thankfully, as outlined in this paper, Congress and the courts have historically upheld libraries’ attempts to expand access to information for the public’s benefit.


Registered report: Survey on attitudes and experiences regarding preregistration in psychological research | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  Background

Preregistration, the open science practice of specifying and registering details of a planned study prior to knowing the data, increases the transparency and reproducibility of research. Large-scale replication attempts for psychological results yielded shockingly low success rates and contributed to an increasing demand for open science practices among psychologists. However, preregistering one’s studies is still not the norm in the field. Here, we conducted a study to explore possible reasons for this discrepancy.


In a mixed-methods approach, we conducted an online survey assessing attitudes, motivations, and perceived obstacles with respect to preregistration. Respondents (N = 289) were psychological researchers that were recruited through their publications on Web of Science, PubMed, PSYNDEX, and PsycInfo, and preregistrations on OSF Registries. Based on the theory of planned behavior, we predicted that positive attitudes (moderated by the perceived importance of preregistration) as well as a favorable subjective norm and higher perceived behavioral control positively influence researchers’ intention to preregister (directional hypothesis 1). Furthermore, we expected an influence of research experience on attitudes and perceived motivations and obstacles regarding preregistration (non-directional hypothesis 2). We analyzed these hypotheses with multiple regression models and included preregistration experience as a control variable.


Researchers’ attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and the perceived importance of preregistration significantly predicted researchers’ intention to use preregistration in the future (see hypothesis 1). Research experience influenced both researchers’ attitudes and their perception of motivations to preregister, but not the perception of obstacles (see hypothesis 2). Descriptive reports on researchers’ attitudes, motivations and obstacles regarding preregistration are provided.


Many researchers had already preregistered and had a rather positive attitude toward preregistration. Nevertheless, several obstacles were identified that may be addressed to improve and foster preregistration.

Open yet everywhere in chains: Where next for open knowledge? Vogin-IP Lezing, March 16 2023

“My presentation will have three parts


Openness in Chains, laying out some of the problems associated with the usage of openness


Painting a different picture, showing how flourishing organisations make use of openness. In particular, showing how openness is not an end in itself, but related to the notion of agency (agentschap)


Finally, what does this different picture mean for individual institutions? What can information professionals do so that their organisations escape from the current chains and reclaim a modified sense of openness and agency…”

Implementing open science in East Africa is picking up speed

“Stakeholders, including academics, researchers and policy-makers in Tanzania, intend to adopt open science and present the plan to the government and implementation partners for funding. However, the decision to make research more accessible means they also have to deal with several challenges.

The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), Tanzania’s Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Public Library of Science (PLOS), and Training Centre in Communication Africa hosted a High-Level Multi-Sectoral National Open Science Dialogue for Academic and Research Institutions in Tanzania in mid-February 2023 to discuss the matter – three years after the initial decision to enter into a partnership that would promote open-science principles in the region….”