Guest Post – The Nelson Memo and Public Access are Under Attack – Will Powerful Incumbents Come to its Rescue? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“On July 14, the Appropriations Committee of the US House of Representatives released the Fiscal Year 2024 bill for the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Section 552 of the bill, if passed into law, would effectively freeze the Nelson Memo for a year (specifically, through the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2024)….

To restate the question: will influential incumbents now fight for the Nelson Memo and its funding? Or will they see a chance to put it on ice or water it down, as they may have when the principles of Plan S in the UK and Europe were successfully (if controversially) implemented? …”

Oppose Section 552 That Will Block Taxpayer Access to Research – SPARC

“The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) has released an appropriations bill containing language that would block implementation of the 2022 updated OSTP policy guidance (the Nelson Memo) that would ensure immediate, free access to taxpayer-funded research. If enacted, this will prevent American taxpayers from seeing the benefits of the more than $90 billion in scientific research that the U.S. government funds each year.

Congress is currently working through its annual appropriations process and considering this troubling provision to block taxpayer access to research. Now is the time to tell Congress to remove Section 552 of the House Commerce, Justice, and Science bill! …”

Exploring faculty perspectives on open access at a medium-sized, American doctoral university – Insights

Abstract:  Faculty hold widely varying perspectives on the benefits and challenges afforded by open access (OA) publishing. In the United States, conversations on OA models and strategy have been dominated by scholars affiliated with Carnegie R1 institutions. This article reports findings from interviews conducted with faculty at a Carnegie R2 institution, highlighting disciplinary and individual perspectives on the high costs and rich rewards afforded by OA. The results reiterate the persistence of a high degree of skepticism regarding the quality of peer review and business models associated with OA publishing. By exploring scholars’ perceptions of and experiences with OA publishing and their comfort using or sharing unpublished, publicly available content, the authors highlight the degree to which OA approaches must remain flexible, iterative and multifaceted – no single solution can begin to accommodate the rich and varying needs of individual stakeholders.


Habits and perceptions regarding open science by researchers from Spanish institutions | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  The article describes the results of the online survey on open science (OS) carried out on researchers affiliated with universities and Spanish research centres and focused on open access to scientific publications, the publication process, the management of research data and the review of open articles. The main objective was to identify the perception and habits of researchers with regard to practices closely linked to open science and the scientific value added is that offers an in-depth picture of researchers as one of the main actors to whom this transformation and implementation of open science will fall. It focuses on the different aspects of OS: open access, open data, publication process and open review in order to identify habits and perceptions. This is to make possible an implementation of the OS movement. The survey was carried out among researchers who had published in the years 2020–2021, according to data obtained from WoS. It was emailed to a total of 8,188 researchers and obtained a total of 666 responses, of which 554 were complete, the rest being forms with some questions unanswered. The main results showed that open access still requires the diffusion of practices and services provided by the institution, as well as training (library or equivalent service) and institutional support from the competent authorities (vice rectors or equivalent) in specific aspects such as data management. In the case of data, around 50% of respondents stated they had stored data in a repository, and of all the options, the most frequently given was that of an institutional repository, followed by a discipline repository. Among the main reasons for doing this, we found transparency, visibility of data and the ability to validate results. For those who stated they had never stored data, the most frequent reasons for not having done so were privacy and confidentiality, the lack of a mandated data policy or a lack of knowledge of how to do it. In terms of open peer review, participants mentioned a certain reticence to the opening of evaluations due to potential conflicts of interest that may arise or because lower-quality content might be accepted in order to avoid conflicts. In addition, the hierarchical structure of senior researcher versus junior researcher might affect reviews. The main conclusions indicate a need for persuasion of OA to take place; APCs are an economic barrier rather than the main criterion for journal selection; OPR practices may seem innovative and emerging; scientific and evaluation policies seem to have a clear effect on the behaviour of researchers; researchers state that they share research data more for reasons of persuasion than out of obligation. Researchers do question the pathways or difficulties that may arise on a day-to-day basis and seem aware that we are undergoing change, where academic evaluation or policies related to open science, its implementation and habits among researchers may change. In this sense, more and better support is needed on the part of institutions and faculty support services.


Klebel & Ross-Hellauer (2023) The APC-barrier and its effect on stratification in open access publishing | Quantitative Science Studies

Thomas Klebel, Tony Ross-Hellauer; The APC-barrier and its effect on stratification in open access publishing. Quantitative Science Studies 2023; 4 (1): 22–43. doi:


Current implementations of Open Access (OA) publishing frequently involve article processing charges (APCs). Increasing evidence has emerged that APCs impede researchers with fewer resources in publishing their research as OA. We analyzed 1.5 million scientific articles from journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals to assess average APCs and their determinants for a comprehensive set of journal publications across scientific disciplines, world regions, and through time. Levels of APCs were strongly stratified by scientific fields and the institutions’ countries, corroborating previous findings on publishing cultures and the impact of mandates of research funders. After controlling for country and scientific field with a multilevel mixture model, however, we found small to moderate effects of levels of institutional resourcing on the level of APCs. The effects were largest in countries with low GDP, suggesting decreasing marginal effects of institutional resources when general levels of funding are high. Our findings provide further evidence on how APCs stratify OA publishing and highlight the need for alternative publishing models.


The Second Digital Transformation of Scholarly Publishing: Strategic Context and Shared Infrastructure

“Many publishing organizations find that substantial components of the shared infrastructure are either no longer fit for purpose or do not yet exist to support emergent needs. There is widespread consensus that new investment in shared infrastructure is required and even some degree of agreement on the broad purposes that this shared infrastructure should serve. Yet these gaps exist, and rarely because of raw technical challenges. Rather, they are the result of stubborn strategic, governance, and business model impediments. At the working levels necessary to develop and sustain a thriving shared infrastructure, publishing organizations face real challenges in generating strategic alignment with each other. In many key categories, governance of the shared infrastructure extends beyond well-aligned publishing organizations, adding a further layer of complexity. And there is the ever-present issue of the business model and investment case—who pays, who will pay, and for what—which in turn provide incentives for innovation or inaction. Through this report, we hope to stimulate a discussion about the future of the shared infrastructure for scholarly communication with its key stakeholders. The draft you are reading now is issued in July 2023 for feedback, which can be shared with us directly at through August 31, 2023. We will publish a final version of this report in October 2023.”

The future of academic publishing | Nature Human Behaviour

“We asked a diverse group of scientists to comment on the future of publishing. They discuss systemic issues, challenges, and opportunities, and share their vision for the future….

Humberto Debat: A large portion of traditional academic publishing is unequal, exclusionary, unsustainable and opaque1. Nearly 70% of scientific journal articles are locked behind paywalls2. The publishing industry has sequestered and commoditized scientific literature. It is a scandal….”


A Simple Replication Agreement Could Improve Trust in Science – Scientific American

“One of the major challenges driving the replication crisis is that scientists often do not share all information needed to replicate their work. Access to research materials is especially crucial for the replication of computational studies, given the increasing utilization of computational methods and the data-reliant nature of such studies on large data sets. Unfortunately, it is far from guaranteed.

There are many reasons why….

To address this conflict, we propose a new policy instrument that could facilitate studies’ replicability without depriving scientists of their IP protection: the conditional access agreement (CAA). In short, the CAA establishes a private, controlled channel of communication for the transfer of replication materials between authors and replicators. This allows for on-demand replicability while maintaining the proprietary potential of a scientific study.

Under the CAA mechanism, when submitting a paper for publication, an author would execute an agreement with the journal, pledging to provide full access to replication materials upon demand by other researchers. The agreement would specify that anyone requesting access to the materials can only obtain it upon signing a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA would prohibit the use of the replication materials delivered by the original authors for any purpose other than replication….”

Publication in open access journals at a university of technology in South Africa | South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science

Abstract:  Researchers in South Africa publish in journals that have a high impact factor and are accredited by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as this will bring financial support to the researcher and the affiliated Institution for continuous publication. Moreover, these researchers do so for possible ranking of their universities and to seek collaboration with international and national researchers. However, publishers make it difficult for researchers to publish because of the Article Processing Charges that increase annually. Therefore, the study’s main objective is to propose general benefit guidelines for the use of open access by researchers. The unit of analysis was the university’s Institutional Repository (IR) and Scopus, a database which the university subscribes to. The IR has a collection of research outputs that include peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, and datasets. Hence, a quantitative and qualitative research approach was selected, where content analysis was used to collect data whereby research output from 2016 to 2020 was identified from both the IR and Scopus. The study examined, investigated, and explored the hindrances and challenges faced by researchers when publishing in open access journals (OAJ) with specific reference to South Africa. The study drew from a few organised threads of confirmation which make up the current dialogue on OAJ, comprising of peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, and other forms of communication. A manual Systematic Literature Review (SLR) method was applied to collect data from Scopus and the IR. The ethical considerations for conducting the study included permission to use the university’s IR and to collect primary data from academics in the selected university. The results show that publishers are making it difficult for researchers to publish in open access, because of the outrageous publishing costs involved.


Challenges with Open Access Institutional Repositories in Ghana

Abstract:  The libraries of institutions of higher education have developed institutional repositories to manage their research output and showcase the work of their institutions. A variety of software has been used. Most libraries have structured the repositories so that they are available through open access (OA) to the world. Some institutions have mandated that faculty and research staff place their publications in the repositories. Not all has been plain sailing and many issues and challenges have emerged. This chapter examines the nature of open access institutional repositories (OAIRS), outlines their development in Ghana and discusses issues which have arisen. It also reports on a study undertaken of institutional repositories in Ghana and suggests ways to go forward to ensure effective implementation of institutional repositories.

An overlooked financial problem in healthcare: Article processing charges – ScienceDirect

“If the US government and the European Union would forbid their researchers to pay APCs, this might have a similar result, certainly if other governments would follow: these authors would no longer pay APCs, and publishers would accept this because libraries will not be interested in journals that boycott so many manuscripts. Without library subscriptions and payment of APCs by American and European authors, almost all journals will financially break down unless another source of income will be found. Because progress of science is a conditio sine qua non for modern society, society (i.e., governments) will eventually be willing to make arrangements with science publishers to pay lump sums as a substitute for APCs, just like now such sums are paid for access to journals.

Obviously, the abandonment of APCs (and comparable charges) will be complicated, but there will be important advantages: predatory journals, for instance, will disappear so that the contamination of good scientific literature by low-quality contributions will (almost) completely be stopped.

Authors and their employers would profit because they need no longer worry about APCs; publishers would profit for several reasons: (1) they would have a fairly fixed income, (2) they would not have to spend time to decide (subjectively!) about waiving APCs, and (3) they would no longer have predatory journals as competitors; databases would no longer need to handle articles of almost countless amounts of commonly low-quality articles published in predatory journals; and finally (but most importantly), medical researchers would be able to consider newly published medical literature as reliable, since the tsunami of paid-for articles published solely for reasons of publish-or-perish would be stopped: a bright and promising future for the medical community and for society!”

An offer the journal couldn’t refuse | Nordic Perspectives on Open Science

The article describes a two-year project (running from 2021 to 2022) that worked on getting Danish Open Access journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The project was run in partnership by Copenhagen Business School (CBS Library), Royal Danish Library and Aalborg University Library, in close collaboration with DOAJ. All of the journals that participated are hosted on the libraries’ Open Journal Systems (OJS). In this article the authors demonstrate some of the challenges the journals and the project group faced in the inclusion process and in the assistance the project provided, as well as learning outcomes and perspectives.

Exploring the merits of research performance measures that comply with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and strategies to overcome barriers of adoption: qualitative interviews with administrators and researchers | Health Research Policy and Systems | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

In prior research, we identified and prioritized ten measures to assess research performance that comply with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, a principle adopted worldwide that discourages metrics-based assessment. Given the shift away from assessment based on Journal Impact Factor, we explored potential barriers to implementing and adopting the prioritized measures.


We identified administrators and researchers across six research institutes, conducted telephone interviews with consenting participants, and used qualitative description and inductive content analysis to derive themes.


We interviewed 18 participants: 6 administrators (research institute business managers and directors) and 12 researchers (7 on appointment committees) who varied by career stage (2 early, 5 mid, 5 late). Participants appreciated that the measures were similar to those currently in use, comprehensive, relevant across disciplines, and generated using a rigorous process. They also said the reporting template was easy to understand and use. In contrast, a few administrators thought the measures were not relevant across disciplines. A few participants said it would be time-consuming and difficult to prepare narratives when reporting the measures, and several thought that it would be difficult to objectively evaluate researchers from a different discipline without considerable effort to read their work. Strategies viewed as necessary to overcome barriers and support implementation of the measures included high-level endorsement of the measures, an official launch accompanied by a multi-pronged communication strategy, training for both researchers and evaluators, administrative support or automated reporting for researchers, guidance for evaluators, and sharing of approaches across research institutes.


While participants identified many strengths of the measures, they also identified a few limitations and offered corresponding strategies to address the barriers that we will apply at our organization. Ongoing work is needed to develop a framework to help evaluators translate the measures into an overall assessment. Given little prior research that identified research assessment measures and strategies to support adoption of those measures, this research may be of interest to other organizations that assess the quality and impact of research.

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….”