Openjournals.ge is an open access multidisciplinary publishing platform for Georgian academic journals run by EIFL’s partner in Georgia, the Georgian Integrated Library Information System Consortium (GILISC), and ‘Ivane Javakhishvili’ Tbilisi State University (TSU) National Science Library of Georgia.
“Transformative agreements make OA publication by authors in participating institutions as simple as possible. They are contracts between publishers and universities that fold the cost of publishing (article publication charges (APCs)) into subscription contracts and comply with various OA funder mandates. In short, they enable researchers to publish their research OA at no cost to them as the fees and admin are covered by their institutions.
According to figures from the ESAC initiative, there has been a 60% year on year increase in TAs since 2014 when they first started recording the deals. They have been gaining momentum in Europe for several years and are now appearing in the US, Latin America, Canada, Australia and spreading across other countries around the world.
IOP Publishing now has transformative agreements with over 300 institutions in 17 countries. The agreements come in a variety of forms, no two are exactly the same as member institutions are diverse with different sets of requirements. The number of years the agreement is in place can vary from one to three years, the types of journals included can differ, some have limits on the number of OA articles, others are uncapped. Our starting principle is to offer unlimited agreements to stimulate the greatest uptake. We see them as the most effective shift to a more open future at scale….”
“Open Access (OA) is growing every year. The agreements that EIFL has negotiated with publishers for waived or discounted Article Processing Charges (APCs) are one of the drivers of this global growth.
It is important that library consortia and libraries in EIFL partner countries can monitor the open access publications by affiliated authors. This information enables them to observe the impact of university strategies for open access, and to report progress to all stakeholders.
However, gathering open access publication data is challenging, involving many hours of effort, and it is complex due to the many systems and processes used by publishers.
The OA Switchboard initiative is addressing this issue by providing automated real-time alerts to research institutions/libraries and funders about open access publications of affiliated authors. This article-level metadata will enable EIFL to ensure that authors in our partner countries who are eligible for waivers and discounts negotiated by EIFL are receiving them. EIFL will also be able to provide standardized, timely and accurate publication-level metadata to partner library consortia and libraries….”
“In February 2022, EIFL and IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) distributed an online survey to librarians seeking information on experiences relating to copyright and licensing of electronic resources during the pandemic. …
While temporary expanded access granted by publishers to certain electronic resources was a welcome gesture, it either didn’t last long enough or the usage conditions were too complicated to allow the content to be meaningfully integrated into teaching and research activities (48%)….
To help alleviate these situations, librarians looked to use alternative materials. For example, librarians in Malawi ramped up efforts to identify, encourage and promote use of open access materials and open educational resources. In Uganda, librarians made full use of materials in the public domain or content available under an open licence, for example, the National Curriculum Development Centre produced home-schooling materials licensed for non-commercial uses, such as teaching.
The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of open access for education, science and society and the need for a copyright ecosystem that supports online education and research. As the above examples show, current copyright rules fell short of what was needed during the pandemic….”
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, librarians in EIFL partner countries began to alert EIFL about problems providing access to educational resources during lockdowns, in particular much needed textbooks. For printed materials in the library’s collection, there are often no licensed electronic versions available, especially for textbooks and other materials in local languages. In this situation, copyright law determines what librarians can and cannot do to alleviate the situation.
EIFL has put together a tip sheet on the steps to take, from a copyright perspective, to guide librarians in emergency situations when institutions are forced to close, for example, due to extreme weather, conflict, or pandemics. There are also links to resources and further information.
If the copyright law does not allow the library to supply a digital copy, unfortunately there often isn’t a quick fix. However, forewarned is forearmed and we hope that the tip sheet will encourage librarians to check their copyright law, and to initiate any national copyright law reforms that are needed to support access to resources for online education now and in any future emergency situations….”
“EIFL joins more than 40 organizations to endorse the Action Plan for Diamond Open Access, which sets out priority actions required to further develop and expand a sustainable, community-driven Diamond Open Access scholarly communication ecosystem. The plan was launched on 2 March by Science Europe, cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
The Action Plan follows publication of the landmark Open Access Diamond Journals Study, published by Science Europe and cOAlition S in March 2021. According to the study, there are an estimated 17,000 – 29,000 Diamond Open Access journals worldwide, making them an essential component of scholarly communication, publishing 8 to 9 % of the total volume of articles published, and 45% of open access publishing….”
“In order to contribute to making open access the default where research articles are openly available for everyone to read and publishing in open access is affordable, EIFL has developed a set of principles for negotiating agreements with publishers, drawing on negotiation principles developed by other library organizations. EIFL represents library consortia in countries with a wide range of economic situations. Some of the library consortia receive free access whereas others are eligible for highly discounted access to paywalled content….”
Advancing OA publishing in EIFL partner countries
We have updated and revised the EIFL checklist of good practices in using the free and open software Open Journal System (OJS) for journal editing and publishing. OJS is the most widely used publishing software in EIFL partner countries.
The checklist, by Iryna Kuchma, Manager of the EIFL Open Access Programme, takes forward a key goal of EIFL – to ensure the growth and sustainability of digital repositories and journal publishing platforms.
OJS is created by the Public Knowledge Project (PKP), which is a multi-university initiative developing free and open source software to improve the quality and reach of scholarly publishing.
This is the second version of the checklist. It includes more details about the current production release of software – OJS 3, and tips on organizational identifiers plugin, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) registration, copyright and licensing, the PKP Project Preservation Network and journal content accessibility. And we’ve updated the ‘further reading’ list.
“We have updated and revised How To Make Your OA Repository Work Really Well, the EIFL checklist that repository managers and administrators, librarians and others can use to improve institutional open access (OA) repositories that use DSpace free and open source software.
DSpace is the most commonly used repository software in EIFL partner countries.
This is the fifth revision of the Checklist. We have included the new DSpace 7.1 software release – the largest release in the history of DSpace software. We have updated information about repository interoperability, and added COAR controlled vocabularies, OpenAIRE and Wikipedia to the discoverability section. We have also updated the repository policy and licensing sections and added more tips on ORCID-DSpace integrations….”
As the United Nations Climate Change Conference, officially known as the 26th Conference of Parties, or COP26, continues in Glasgow, Scotland, I’m pleased to share some good news. The Open Society Foundations approved funding for Creative Commons, SPARC and EIFL to lead a global campaign promoting open access to climate and biodiversity research. This is a promising new strategy to encourage governments, foundations, institutes, universities and environmental organizations to use “open” to accelerate progress towards solving the climate crisis and to preserve global biodiversity. Catherine Stihler, CC’s CEO and a native of Scotland, publicly announced the campaign during her keynote at the University of St Andrews’ Power to the people event and will have the opportunity to announce the campaign at a COP26 fringe event – Open UK: Open Technology for Sustainability – on 11 November. CC is particularly happy to have the opportunity to work closely with our longtime allies in the open access movement to ensure that this effort is truly a global campaign, and hope that this initiative will help to provide a blueprint for future funding of similar collaborative campaigns.
Climate change, and the resulting harm to our global biodiversity, is one of the world’s most pressing challenges. The complexity of the climate crisis requires collaborative global interventions that center on equity and evidence-based mitigation practices informed by multidisciplinary research. Many researchers, governments, and global environmental organizations recognize the importance of the open sharing of research to accelerate progress, but lack cohesive strategies and mechanisms to facilitate effective knowledge sharing and collaboration across disciplinary and geographic borders.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the power of open access to democratize knowledge sharing, accelerate discovery, promote research collaboration, and bring together the efforts of global stakeholders to tackle the pandemic took center stage. Scientists embraced the immediate, open sharing of preprints, research articles, data and code. This embrace of openness contributed to the rapid sequencing and sharing of the virus’ genome, the quick development of therapeutics, and the fastest development of effective vaccines in human history. The lessons learned during the pandemic can – and should – be applied to accelerate progress on other urgent problems facing society.
The goal of this project is to create a truly global campaign to promote open access, open science and open data as effective enabling strategies to accelerate progress towards solving the climate crisis and preserving global biodiversity. It will develop effective messaging, strategies, and tactics to empower stakeholders currently leading critical climate and biodiversity work to embed open practices and policies in their operations, and make open sharing of research the default.
We expect to identify the most important climate and biodiversity research publications not already OA and coordinate a campaign to open those publications, remove legal and policy barriers to applying open licenses to research articles, influence key funders (governments, foundations, and institutes) of climate science and biodiversity research to adopt and implement strong OA policies, and identify opportunities to open climate and biodiversity educational resources so students, teachers and citizens can learn about these global challenges and help contribute to solutions.
We will encourage global environment organizations to adopt open licensing policies to ensure all their content is free to be reused, built upon and shared for the global public good, delivering on their SDG commitments. We will engage with researchers, universities and policy makers in the Global South to ensure inclusive outcomes throughout.
We will share additional news on this campaign as it progresses.
Ramune Petuchovaite, EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme Manager, will take part in the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) 2021.
Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager, will participate in the 2021 Annual Meeting and General Assembly of COAR (the Confederation of Open Access Repositories). EIFL is a founding member of COAR.
Ramune Petuchovaite, EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme Manager, will participate in the 16th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) – a global forum that brings together stakeholders from government, industry and civil society to discuss public policy issues relating to the internet governance.
“The EIFL Licensing Programme has been negotiating open access agreements with publishers since 2016. These include waived and discounted Article Processing Charges (APCs), as well as free and discounted read & publish terms, and aim to increase the amount of open access publishing output. We currently have 11 agreements with publishers, six of which were signed in 2020.
Many publishers have APC waiver and discount schemes for authors from developing and transition economy countries. However, publishers’ eligibility criteria can change unexpectedly; hybrid journals are usually excluded, and many researchers are not aware of these schemes as they are not always well publicized….”