Exploring the Hidden Impacts of Open Access Financing Mechanisms: AAAS Survey on Scholarly Publication Experiences & Perspectives

“While open access has tremendous benefits, the primary mechanism that has evolved to enable OA for publications – the article processing charge (APC) – has created concerning unintended consequences. APCs, which are fees paid to publish open access, have engendered a pay-to-play environment that is contributing to growing inequities in who can publish and where. In a recent survey, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sought insight into researchers’ and institutions’ experiences with scientific publishing. We received complete responses from 422 researchers across the country and learned that: 

• Most Researchers Do Not Currently Budget for Publishing Costs & Many Have Not Yet Paid APCs: Nearly two-thirds of researchers (n=264, 62.9%) reported that they did not budget for publishing costs. Slightly over one-third had never paid an APC.

• Most Researchers Find It Difficult to Obtain Funds for APCs: Of the researchers who had paid APCs (n=170) most reported it being very difficult (n=33, 19.4%) or difficult (n=56, 32.9%) to obtain funds to pay APC’s. Researchers at institutions ranging from 3,000 to 9,999 students were three times as likely to find it difficult to very difficult as researchers at institutions larger than 10,000 students.

• Most Researchers Are Using Grant Funds to Pay APCs: Among the researchers who had paid APCs (n=173), most used grant funding to cover costs (n=120, 69.4%). Women were nearly three times as likely as men to have paid APCs using grant funds. Of 89 institutions represented by librarians and administrators who responded to the survey, only about one-third (n=32, 36.0%) had funds to support APC payments by students and/or faculty.

• APCs Create Significant Tradeoffs for Researchers: Over three-quarters of researchers (n=115, 77.7%) reported foregoing purchases of materials, equipment, or tools to pay APCs, and nearly three-fifths (n=86, 58.1%) reported not attending workshops or conferences relevant to their work. Compared with men, women were more than 2.5 times as likely not to attend workshops and conferences so that they could pay APCs….

Recommendations Ensuring that OA policies across federal research agencies do not embed adverse consequences of APCs and related financing models in our nation’s scientific enterprise is paramount to the integrity of and trust in the enterprise. AAAS recommends study, evidence development, and response to:

• Understand the direct and indirect costs associated with OA policies and increased APCs.

• Ensure that federal policies solve access barriers, not create them.

• Provide clarity and consistency in OA policy terminology.

• Ensure alignment between OA policies and federal data policies.”

Exploring the Hidden Impacts of Open Access Financing Mechanisms: AAAS Survey on Scholarly Publication Experiences & Perspectives

“While open access has tremendous benefits, the primary mechanism that has evolved to enable OA for publications – the article processing charge (APC) – has created concerning unintended consequences. APCs, which are fees paid to publish open access, have engendered a pay-to-play environment that is contributing to growing inequities in who can publish and where. In a recent survey, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sought insight into researchers’ and institutions’ experiences with scientific publishing. We received complete responses from 422 researchers across the country and learned that:

• Most Researchers Do Not Currently Budget for Publishing Costs & Many Have Not Yet Paid APCs: Nearly two-thirds of researchers (n=264, 62.9%) reported that they did not budget for publishing costs. Slightly over one-third had never paid an APC.

• Most Researchers Find It Difficult to Obtain Funds for APCs: Of the researchers who had paid APCs (n=170) most reported it being very difficult (n=33, 19.4%) or difficult (n=56, 32.9%) to obtain funds to pay APC’s. Researchers at institutions ranging from 3,000 to 9,999 students were three times as likely to find it difficult to very difficult as researchers at institutions larger than 10,000 students.

• Most Researchers Are Using Grant Funds to Pay APCs: Among the researchers who had paid APCs (n=173), most used grant funding to cover costs (n=120, 69.4%). Women were nearly three times as likely as men to have paid APCs using grant funds. Of 89 institutions represented by librarians and administrators who responded to the survey, only about one-third (n=32, 36.0%) had funds to support APC payments by students and/or faculty.

• APCs Create Significant Tradeoffs for Researchers: Over three-quarters of researchers (n=115, 77.7%) reported foregoing purchases of materials, equipment, or tools to pay APCs, and nearly three-fifths (n=86, 58.1%) reported not attending workshops or conferences relevant to their work. Compared with men, women were more than 2.5 times as likely not to attend workshops and conferences so that they could pay APCs….”

AAAS Survey: Many Researchers Face Difficulties Paying Open Access Fees | American Association for the Advancement of Science

“The APC “is a model that freezes inequities into place,” said Sudip Parikh, chief executive officer of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals. Parikh announced the survey findings Oct. 25 at the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Forum – and offered recommendations to ensure that public access policies benefit readers and ensure equitable opportunities for researchers.

AAAS collected 422 responses from U.S. researchers between March and September 2022 to better understand how open access publishing trends and costs are affecting the scientific enterprise and received survey responses from librarians and administrators representing 89 institutions. According to the survey findings, 63 percent of researchers had paid an APC at some point in their career. Among those who had previously paid APCs and answered survey questions about experiences paying APCs, 52 percent of respondents reported that it was difficult or very difficult to obtain those funds, and 69 percent of respondent had used grant funds to cover APC costs.

The ability of researchers to obtain funding for APCs varied based on institution size, the survey found.  Researchers at institutions with a student body between 3,000 and 9,999 students were three times as likely to find it very difficult to obtain funds for APCs as their counterparts at larger institutions with more than 10,000 students, adjusting for gender, race, and length of time conducting research. The survey also found gender disparities in funding for APCs: women were three times as likely to use grant funds to pay for APCs than their male counterparts, adjusting for race, length of time conducting research, and institution size.

Paying APCs can result in tradeoffs for researchers seeking to advance their work and their careers. Researchers who had paid APCs reported they diverted funds they might have otherwise spent on equipment or professional development. More than three-quarters of researchers reported forgoing purchases of materials, equipment or tools, while more than half reported using funds they may have otherwise spent on workshops or conferences. Women were 2.5 times as likely as men to forgo a professional development opportunity in order to pay APCs. …”

“Open Access Publishing Biases OER” by Chelsee Dickson and Christina Holm

Knowing that the peer review process can introduce issues of bias, what then of other aspects of the publishing cycle? For example, what of the subvention funding provided by some institutions to support their faculty in pursuing dissemination of research in Open Access (OA) journals? This Open Educational Resource (OER) will present an overview of the OA landscape and provide learners with tools to develop their own inquiries into the inequities present within the OA publishing industry. All assignments include suggested grading rubrics and build upon one another in a cumulative manner.

[2208.08426] “We Need a Woman in Music”: Exploring Wikipedia’s Values on Article Priority

Abstract:  Wikipedia — like most peer production communities — suffers from a basic problem: the amount of work that needs to be done (articles to be created and improved) exceeds the available resources (editor effort). Recommender systems have been deployed to address this problem, but they have tended to recommend work tasks that match individuals’ personal interests, ignoring more global community values. In English Wikipedia, discussion about Vital articles constitutes a proxy for community values about the types of articles that are most important, and should therefore be prioritized for improvement. We first analyzed these discussions, finding that an article’s priority is considered a function of 1) its inherent importance and 2) its effects on Wikipedia’s global composition. One important example of the second consideration is balance, including along the dimensions of gender and geography. We then conducted a quantitative analysis evaluating how four different article prioritization methods — two from prior research — would affect Wikipedia’s overall balance on these two dimensions; we found significant differences among the methods. We discuss the implications of our results, including particularly how they can guide the design of recommender systems that take into account community values, not just individuals’ interests.

 

[2208.08426] “We Need a Woman in Music”: Exploring Wikipedia’s Values on Article Priority

Abstract:  Wikipedia — like most peer production communities — suffers from a basic problem: the amount of work that needs to be done (articles to be created and improved) exceeds the available resources (editor effort). Recommender systems have been deployed to address this problem, but they have tended to recommend work tasks that match individuals’ personal interests, ignoring more global community values. In English Wikipedia, discussion about Vital articles constitutes a proxy for community values about the types of articles that are most important, and should therefore be prioritized for improvement. We first analyzed these discussions, finding that an article’s priority is considered a function of 1) its inherent importance and 2) its effects on Wikipedia’s global composition. One important example of the second consideration is balance, including along the dimensions of gender and geography. We then conducted a quantitative analysis evaluating how four different article prioritization methods — two from prior research — would affect Wikipedia’s overall balance on these two dimensions; we found significant differences among the methods. We discuss the implications of our results, including particularly how they can guide the design of recommender systems that take into account community values, not just individuals’ interests.

 

Changing the gender narrative with open access | Impact of Social Sciences

“There can be no doubt that the challenges faced by academic women are real. However, we wondered whether dominant narratives about ‘research excellence’ and the narrow datasets and approaches used to measure success might also be masking stories about women’s achievements as pioneers and practitioners of open research; as well as of the new paths that women are charting for themselves; and the institutional changes that can help them to succeed.

Our review of existing research on the relationship between gender and open access (OA) found examples of the ways in which OA publishing is already benefiting women. We found evidence that OA is one of the tools that should be considered when developing strategies for addressing structural disadvantages faced by women in research.

Examples of OA’s positive impact for women include the neutralisation of the gender citation advantage in Political Science through open repositories (Green OA); more elite women researchers selecting open journal publishing (Gold and Hybrid OA), or equivalent to men, providing a positive increase for women’s research output and visibility; mixed women and men authorships publishing more in Gold OA journals; and higher positioning of women in authorship statements (first or last) in open science publications…”

Changing the Academic Gender Narrative through Open Access

Abstract:  In this article, we ask whether dominant narratives of gender and performance within academic institutions are masking stories that may be both more complex and potentially more hopeful than those which are often told using publication-related data. Influenced by world university rankings, institutions emphasise so-called ‘excellent’ research practices: publish in ‘high impact’, elite subscription journals indexed by the commercial bibliographic databases that inform the various ranking systems. In particular, we ask whether data relating to institutional demographics and open access publications could support a different story about the roles that women are playing as pioneers and practitioners of open scholarship. We review gender bias in scholarly publications and discuss examples of open access research publications that highlight a positive advantage for women. Using analysis of workforce demographics and open research data from our Open Knowledge Initiative project, we explore relationships and correlations between academic gender and open access research output from universities in Australia and the United Kingdom. This opens a conversation about different possibilities and models for exploring research output by gender and changing the dominant narrative of deficit in academic publishing. 

 

How academic institutions can help to close Wikipedia’s gender gap

“The world’s largest online encyclopedia mirrors society’s bias towards male achievements. Employers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine can help to change that….

Since 2018, 500 Women Scientists, a grass-roots advocacy organization of which we are all members, has run more than 30 Wikipedia edit-a-thon sessions — workshops in which Wikipedia experts and novices come together for a guided crash course on the website and a few hours of focused editing. Over biscuits and coffee, we’ve built a community of contributors who are committed to tackling inequalities in the online encyclopedia. We have sponsored in-depth editor training with Wiki Education — a non-profit organization that builds partnerships between academia and the Wikimedia Foundation, which funds Wikipedia and its sibling projects — to address this under-representation….

In the past four years, we’ve created and edited more than 3,000 pages, which have been viewed more than 80 million times: 80 million opportunities to share diverse stories of those working in STEMM, and to slowly change the face of science….

A 2021 ethnographic study3 demonstrated that biographies of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community who meet Wikipedia’s notability criteria are more frequently nominated for deletion than are men’s biographies. Take Nobel laureate Donna Strickland, a physicist at the University of Waterloo in Canada: pre-Nobel, her Wikipedia entry had been tagged for ‘speedy deletion’, and was subsequently deleted, within six minutes of going live. …

In 2018, only 17.7% of Wikipedia biographies written in English were about women — four years later, the number has increased to 19.2%. This is essential progress, but incremental. We need more editors to collectively chip away at Wikipedia’s gender, racial, geographical and societal bases….”

 

Gender Equality in Open Scholarship – Library Conferences – Research Guides at United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library

“Exploring one of the key themes highlighted at the DHL-DESA 2nd Global Open Science Conference, this virtual dialogue among early career researchers will focus on gender equality in the Open Science suite of activities. Panelists will share their experiences and knowledge surrounding open science, feminism and gender parity mainstreaming, discuss barriers to early-career researchers’ success relevant to gender and the related power dynamics, aiming to identify methods that open science can benefit from feminist epistemology, strengthen young career researchers and activist’s position in their striving to push for open scholarship.”

A Registry of Editorial Boards – a new trust signal for scholarly communications? – Crossref

“Whilst most journal websites only give the names of the editors, others possibly add a country, some include affiliations, very few link to a professional profile, an ORCID ID. Even when it’s clear when the editorial board details were updated, it’s hardly ever possible to find past editorial boards information and almost none lists declarations of competing interest.

We hear of instances where a researcher’s name has been listed on the board of a journal without their knowledge or agreement, potentially to deceive other researchers into submitting their manuscripts. Regular reports of impersonation, nepotism, collusion and conflicts of interest have become a cause for concern.

Similarly, recent studies on gender representation and gender and geographical disparity on editorial boards have highlighted the need to do better in this area and provide trusted, reliable and coherent information on editorial board members in order to add transparency, prevent unethical behaviour, maintain trust, promote and support research integrity….

We are proposing the creation of some form of Registry of Editorial Boards to encourage best practice around editorial boards’ information and governance that can easily be accessed and used by the community….”

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

Abstract
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.

Unveiling the veiled: Wikipedia collaborating with academic libraries in Africa in creating visibility for African women through Art+Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

This study aims to show that digital literacy can serve as a tool for effecting social change and highlights the achievements of an academic library in digital content creation using the Wikipedia platform.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted qualitative research method, Interview and document analysis were used for data gathering. Data gathered were analysed using content (conceptual) analysis.

Findings

Findings showed that the library has created or edited digital content for various categories of women, such as women in academia, industry and politics. These entries have received more than eight million views over a period of two years, which shows that the entries are being utilised. However, the editing exercise had been confronted with challenges such as accessing reliable citations in terms of the notability and verifiability policy of Wikipedia amongst others.

Practical implications

Currently, people rely more on online resources for their research, leaving physical library resources unused. Even, more students start their research online using Wikipedia. Thus, libraries could create visibility for their physical material using regularly visited sites like Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wikidata; otherwise, these physical materials will remain invisible to the people that needed them.

Originality/value

Contributing to Wikipedia by creating a new entry or editing an existing one can help students to deepen their knowledge about a subject; Wikipedia editing may serve as an avenue for improving information literacy skills. Drawing from the theory of cyberfeminism as used in the study, information and communications technology has the potential to empower women and transform gender relations.

Open access publishing seeks to improve equity, but article processing charges may have the opposite effect – The Publication Plan for everyone interested in medical writing, the development of medical publications, and publication planning

“The current momentum to increase open access (OA) publishing has been touted as a way to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in scientific research. However, to publish an article OA, authors must often pay an article processing charge (APC), which can be thousands of pounds per article. A recent report, published in Quantitative Science Studies, suggests that certain authors are more able to pay APCs and, therefore, publish OA – potentially leading to bias….

The results showed that authors were more likely to publish OA if they were:

 

male
employed at a prestigious university (defined by membership in the exclusive Association of American Universities)
associated with a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline
receiving federal research funding (because this funding often comes with OA mandates)
more advanced in their careers (full professor vs assistant or associate professor)….”

Author gender bias in paediatric journals and FOAM – Round – – The Clinical Teacher – Wiley Online Library

Not even an abstract is OA. 

Excerpt: “Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) is a novel and expanding method of communicating best practice and research findings. FOAM refers to blogs, podcasts, websites, applications and other freely available resources used for medical education. Given its accessibility for potential authors, removal of funding needs and independence from large institutions, FOAM may be less subject to gender bias than traditional publishing methods. We, as a group of medical students who frequently use FOAM, collaborated with two paediatricians who develop FOAM resources, in order to assess and discuss the extent of gender bias in paediatric FOAM. Our team is actively working towards gender equality in medicine, most notably through Dr Knight’s work as co-founder of Women Speakers in Healthcare and founder of www.paediatricfoam.com.

To our knowledge, there is no previously published work investigating gender bias within FOAM. FOAM’s novel nature provides a unique opportunity to recognise, assess and tackle potential gender bias before FOAM becomes more institutionalised. To this end, we conducted a study collecting data on author gender within paediatric peer-reviewed and FOAM sources….”