Does Open Access Really Increase Impact? A Large-Scale Randomized Analysis

The Open Access Citation Advantage (OACA) has been a major topic of discussion in the literature over the past twenty years. In this paper, we propose a method to constitute a control group to isolate the OACA effect. Thus, we compared citation impact (MNCS) of 2,458,378 publications in fully OA journals to that (weighted MNCS) of a control group of non-OA publications (\#10,310,842). Similarly, we did the same exercise for OA publications in hybrid journals (\#1,024,430) and their control group (\#11,533,001), over the period 2010-2020. The results showed that there is no OACA for publications in fully OA journals, and that there is rather a disadvantage. Conversely, the OACA seems to be a reality in hybrid journals, suggesting that a better accessibility in this context tends to improve the visibility of publications. The lack of OACA for publications in fully OA journals is to be expected, as a great proportion of OA journals are newly created and less attractive to high-impact senior researchers.Another striking result of this paper is the fall of the OACA from 2016. The citation advantage fell from 70% to 9% between 2016 and 2020 (for publications in hybrid journals). We wonder if this fall is linked to the increase in the notoriety of pirate sites (eg Sci-Hub) from 2016. In other words, the democratization of pirate sites instantly cancels the positive effect of OA publication insofar as the question of access to scientific content no longer arises.

Navigating Open scholarship for neurodivergent researchers | FORRT – Framework for Open and Reproducible Research Training

“We are a group of early-career neurotypical and neurodivergent researchers that are a part of the Framework of Open Reproducible Research and Training (FORRT) community, aiming to make academia and the open scholarship community more open to neurodiversity. Everyone, no matter what they identify with, is welcome in this group. We aim to discuss how open scholarship can be intersected with the neurodiversity movement, and emphasise how differences should be highlighted and accepted, whilst supporting the idea of accessibility. Our neurodiversity team is a group that currently consists of individuals that have autism, dyspraxia/DCD, speech-language differences, ADHD, dyslexia, or are neurotypical allies. If you have these or other neurominorities and wish to be part of the team, you are more than welcome to join!…

Discussions have been, however, scarce regarding not only how open scholarship can advance the neurodiverse movement, but also how it can benefit from it. It is thus a priority to build community to discuss how the neurodiversity movement can be included in open scholarship, as the lived experience of neurodivergent individuals (including encountered barriers) may help to enhance accessibility, allowing open scholarship to be truly open (Whitaker & Guest, 2020)….”

 

Harvard Data Commons – An ecosystem of integrated tools for research data

“The vision of the Harvard Data Commons is to improve the researcher experience by automating the flow of research data from research computing environments to management, publication, discovery and preservation environments.  

This will result in an increased ability to meeting sponsor requirements for: 

Data integrity

Data provenance

Reproducibility of research….”

Watkinson | What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about humanities book publishing so far? A view from North America | The Journal of Electronic Publishing

“Ground down for years by the conflation of lack of physical circulation with a lack of interest, humanities publishers saw the passion unleashed when access to monographs became ubiquitous and easy. Publishers who were long-term skeptics of open access have become proponents, although still worried about how to sustain it financially….

How do we help these readers discover books and journals they can access? As the exponential growth of humanities titles in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) shows, a lot of literature is becoming permanently open access. However, good luck in doing a subject search for just open access content! Because US libraries have outsourced cataloging to companies such as EBSCO and ProQuest that rely on sales revenue to fund human-powered metadata enrichment, there is little incentive to surface open access books or even identify them as such. Small humanities journals are sometimes less visible because their publishers can’t create and distribute metadata (something DOAJ exists to help with). Academic books are also often invisible to the computers that mine full-text and metadata because the standards used in book publishing cater to print rather than electronic discovery. That’s because the trade giants dominate US book publishing and focus on selling bestsellers through Amazon.com rather than serving the needs of academic libraries. The consequence is that humanities book publishers spend all their efforts on BISAC codes (designed to help booksellers in arranging shelves), ONIX feeds (heavy on availability statuses), and ISBNs (using the same 13-digit UPC format as cereal boxes). Their focus on the print supply chain leaves little time for allocating digital object identifiers (DOIs), Open Researcher and Contributor IDs (ORCIDs), or Research Organization Registry (ROR) identifiers, the building blocks of the digital ecosystem. The challenge of managing temporarily free-to-read materials during the pandemic and the switch to open has catalyzed some libraries to rediscover the importance of “technical services” that were in danger of being consigned to the building’s basement. The combination of untapped demand for poorly tamed information has also opened the doors to increasingly sophisticated informal organizations. The pirate site Z-Library, for example, offers millions of books and journal articles for free with a robust search mechanism and clean user interface. Based probably in Russia, outside the boundaries of copyright policing, Z-Library is both a symptom of unmet global demand and an existential threat to many academic publishers’ current sustainability models.

 

How can librarians and publishers sustain an ecosystem of humanities publishing in which access to the digital version of each title is free? Who pays the cost of publishing in fields that lack the grant funding of science, technical, and medical fields (STM)? The recognition that open access models that require authors to pay article processing charges (APCs) or book publishing charges (BPCs) are fundamentally inequitable to the many who cannot pay has led to new “hybrid” funding models. Several North American university presses have combined parent institutional support, payments from individual libraries and consortia, and grant funding where available to support OA book publishing. These include the Direct to Open program from the MIT Press, Fund to Mission from the University of Michigan Press, and the multi-institutional membership model that powers Lever Press. Beyond the university presses, “scholar-led” publishers such as Punctum Books and many library publishers provide options that rely on substantial volunteer labor and support in kind. All of these models rely on library support to a greater or lesser extent. Already under pressure from the inflationary costs of STM periodicals, this funding may not be able to scale. The Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) initiative is jointly led by the Association of American Universities, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of University Presses. This program aims to bring provosts to the table, providing funding for their faculty members to publish books as open access that is separate from the library’s allotment. An open question that the University of North Carolina Press is exploring is whether individual scholars will be willing to spend money on print copies of books that are available open access. Their Sustainable History Monograph Pilot already suggests that this may vary by field….”

Full article: Emergence of New Public Discovery Services: Connecting Open Web Searchers to Library Content

Abstract:  A growing number of new public citation databases, available free of charge and accessible on the open web, are offering researchers a new place to start their searching, providing an alternative to Google Scholar and library resources. These new “public discovery services” index significant portions of scholarly literature, then differentiate themselves by applying technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, to create results sets that are promoted as more meaningful, easier to navigate, and more engaging than other discovery options. Additionally, these new public discovery services are adopting new linking technologies that connect researchers from citation records to full text content licensed on their behalf by their affiliated libraries. With these new sites logging millions of sessions a month, they present unique opportunities for libraries to connect to researchers working outside the library and challenges in how the library can make itself obvious in the user workflow.

 

Sustainable eBook Acquisition and Access: The not-for-profit Perspective – Charleston Hub

“…We launched an OA eBook program in 2016 that has grown to include more than 7,700 titles. Libraries can use free MARC records or activate the OA titles in their discovery service, and users can cross-search all OA and licensed eBooks with all other content types on our platform. The ease of discovery on JSTOR has led to strong usage of the OA titles. In 2021 alone, there were more than 11 million uses of the OA eBooks worldwide.

A Learning Journey

While some publishers have eagerly experimented with OA models, others fear being left behind. These publishers share the mission to make scholarship more accessible but worry that the lack of grant support and viable business models are not well understood by the government agencies and funders that are creating OA mandates. The potential for libraries converting to models such as “subscribe to open” could alleviate these concerns, but few of our smaller and medium-sized publishers have the ability to undertake such a change themselves. They lack the resources and bandwidth to design new business models and advocate for funding. We have been working on various Open Access models in support of our publishers and to meet the demand from libraries and researchers for more OA content. First, in our “Convert to Open” model, publishers have identified eBooks already available for sale on JSTOR to convert to OA without incurring any additional costs to do so. The usage data for these titles shows the strong impact of opening up backlist scholarly content and making it discoverable to researchers around the world. We reviewed 336 titles from 30 publishers that were converted from licensed eBooks to OA in 2019 and 2020 and documented the usage for each title one to two years prior to being converted to OA and an equivalent one to two years after. The usage for these titles increased by 3,279% after being converted to OA. We have also developed a “Publish as Open” model in collaboration with libraries and publishers to support the publication of new titles directly as OA. In 2019, the Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP, a CRL initiative) approached JSTOR to support a low-cost OA pilot for new titles from Argentinian publisher CLACSO, the Latin American Council of Social Sciences. To date, this collaboration has made 340 CLACSO titles freely accessible on JSTOR. The titles have been used more than 940,000 times by users across 195 countries. Sócrates Silva, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian for Columbia and Cornell and President of SALALM, described the project’s importance for bridging a critical gap in the scholarly communications system. “Despite established OA publishing models for scholarly works in Latin America, monograph discovery and preservation infrastructure for this important content in U.S. libraries is virtually nonexistent. This multi-partner, horizontal, and librarian-led pilot is testing out sustainable partnerships that take into account the monograph lifecycle from publisher to library” (JSTOR, 2021). Based on the success of this pilot and ongoing support to fund future OA titles for CLACSO, we are working with LARRP to expand our collaboration and support other selected Latin American publishers. In the coming years, we plan to expand this model to other publishers in partnership with the academic community….”

The need for open access and natural language processing | PNAS

“In PNAS, Chu and Evans (1) argue that the rapidly rising number of publications in any given field actually hinders progress. The rationale is that, if too many papers are published, the really novel ideas have trouble finding traction, and more and more people tend to “go along with the majority.” Review papers are cited more and more instead of original research. We agree with Chu and Evans: Scientists simply cannot keep up. This is why we argue that we must bring the powers of artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and open access to the forefront. AI/ML is a powerful tool and can be used to ingest and analyze large quantities of data in a short period of time. For example, some of us (2) have used AI/ML tools to ingest 500,000+ abstracts from online archives (relatively easy to do today) and categorize them for strategic planning purposes. This letter offers a short follow-on to Chu and Evans (hereafter CE) to point out a way to mitigate the problems they delineate….

In conclusion, we agree with CE (1) on the problems caused by the rapid rise in scientific publications, outpacing any individual’s ability to keep up. We propose that open access, combined with NLP, can help effectively organize the literature, and we encourage publishers to make papers open access, archives to make papers easily findable, and researchers to employ their own NLP as an important tool in their arsenal.”

Spend less time looking for articles with accessible datasets – The Official PLOS Blog

“We’re testing a new experimental open science feature intended to promote data sharing and reuse across the PLOS journal portfolio. A subset of PLOS articles that link to shared research data in a repository will display a prominent visual cue designed to help researchers find accessible data, and encourage best practice in data sharing….”

New Project Will Unlock Access to Government Publications on Microfiche – Internet Archive Blogs

“Government documents from microfiche are coming to archive.org based on the combined efforts of the Internet Archive, Stanford University Libraries, and other library partners. The resulting files will be available for free public access to enable new analysis and access techniques. 

Microfiche cards, which contain miniaturized thumbnails of the publication’s pages, are starting to be digitized and matched to catalog records by the Internet Archive. Once in a digital format and preserved on archive.org, these documents will be searchable and downloadable by anyone with an Internet connection, since U.S. government publications are in the public domain….

The collection includes reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, the Department of Interior, and other government agencies from the 1970s to the present. There are also transcripts of congressional hearings and other Congressional material that contain discussion of potential laws or issues of concern to the public, Jacobs said….

Microfiche is not a format that can be easily read without using a machine in a library building. Many members of the public are not aware of the material available on microfiche so the potential for finding and using them is heightened once these documents are digitized. And as the information is shared with other federal depository libraries, there will be a ripple effect for researchers, academics, students, and the general public in gaining access….”

Dear Colleague Letter: Effective Practices for Making Research Data Discoverable and Citable (Data Sharing) (nsf22055) | NSF – National Science Foundation

“This Dear Colleague Letter describes and encourages effective practices for publicly sharing research data, including the use of persistent digital identifiers (PDIs).

Datasets underpinning published research findings are expected to be shared with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time. Data-sharing holds numerous benefits, from enabling broader research collaboration, through facilitating transparency and solidifying confidence in scientific research, to providing increased resources for teaching and education purposes. Recent studies found that research articles containing a link to data in a repository have markedly higher usage and visibility. Discoverable and citable data also serve to reduce barriers to entry for junior researchers, scientists in under-served communities, and researchers from underrepresented and minority groups, thus enabling improved implementation of open science principles.

The nature of digital data produced during research may vary among the different topical disciplines encompassed by the field of Materials Research. Most often, digital research data comprise one or more of the following: raw data files collected using experimental instrumentation and converted into digital format; digital files of processed experimental data; video and animation files; numerical data produced by computer simulations or computational models; computer code, scripts, software, software documentation and user manuals developed as part of the research project; digital files of theoretical models, protocols, and methods; educational, instructional, and training materials.

Open-access data sharing platforms (data repositories) comprise the most efficient way to publish and share research data1. Moreover, as long-term data curation and preservation are core to their mission, data repositories provide a stable means for data preservation. Upon publication of a dataset, most repositories automatically generate a citation for the data, which includes identifying metadata such as the archiving repository, the data’s author(s), and a PDI such as a digital object identifier (DOI). A DOI is a unique and persistent digital identifier, which, when assigned to a digital entity such as a dataset, remains unchanged over the lifetime of the object. Having a DOI (or other form of PDI) from an open-access repository renders data findable, accessible, and readily citable. Searchable global registries of data repositories provide information on indexed repositories to help researchers identify the most appropriate ones2. In the case where a suitable repository is not available, researchers are strongly encouraged to use their institutional digital repositories, which typically issue DOIs to institutionally hosted content….”