Paradox of Open: Responses – Open Future

“We received a number of responses to the Paradox of Open, which we published in the online anthology Paradox of Open: Responses. These include:

Misunderestimating Openness by James Boyle proposes three ideas for the open movement to thrive in the digital environment of today and tomorrow.
The Paradox of Growth – Unintended consequences of Open by Anna Mazgal suggests ways for the open movement to address the harms perpetrated in the platform ecosystem with “care protocols” online.
Openness and Digital Human Rights by Zuzanna Warso analyzes the complicated relationship between human rights and openness.
Beyond the Fetish of Open by Balázs Bodó questions openness as a goal per se, and invites to reflect on what are the objectives that openness can help to achieve.
Creative Communities by Jeni Tenisson highlights the need for the open movement to enable and nurture creative communities to thrive.
How Openness Becomes Exclusionary by Leonhard Dobusch describes the diversity deficits within the open movement.
Public Memory Challenges and the digital black hole by Carolina Botero takes stock of the digital public space’s role in preserving content, thus safeguarding public memory.
The Evolving Shape of “The Copyright Wars” by Derek Slater highlights how the “copyright war” should stay on the open movement’s radar as it has been evolving – and it is not over yet….”

Open Access & Open Science: failure is not an option for any party | LERU

“LERU welcomes the presently developed draft Council Conclusions on “high-quality, transparent, open, trustworthy and equitable scholarly publishing”, to be adopted at the Competitiveness Council meeting of 23 May 2023[1]. They take Open Access to the next stage of implementation across Europe and thus represent a key move in embedding Open Science into the European research landscape. Many LERU papers, on Open Access, Open Data and Open Science have advocated the same causes.

For LERU, it is important that the upcoming Council Conclusions recognize that the increasing costs for scholarly publishing associated with certain business models may cause inequalities in communities and actually prove to be unsustainable for research funders and universities. Many people are now aware of the increase in publishing prices and the spread of transformative agreements, a result of which is a consolidation of the oligopoly in the publishing system.

The essential problem occurs when there are no reductions in price but increases, and where the resulting coverage is low. The threat is what will happen if everything is flipped to Open Access with high APC charges, both individual and under an agreement….”

The Invisible Workload of Open Research · Journal of Trial & Error

Abstract:  It is acknowledged that conducting open research requires additional time and effort compared to conducting ‘closed’ research. However, this additional work is often discussed only in abstract terms, a discourse which ignores the practicalities of how researchers are expected to find the time to engage with these practices in the context of their broader role as multifaceted academics. In the context of a sector that is blighted by stress, burnout, untenable workloads, and hyper-competitive pressures to produce, there is a clear danger that additional expectations to engage in open practices add to the workload burden and increase pressure on academics even further. In this article, the theories of academic capitalism and workload creep are used to explore how workload models currently exploit researchers by mismeasuring academic labour. The specific increase in workload resulting from open practices and associated administration is then outlined, including via the cumulative effects of administrative burden. It is argued that there is a high chance that without intervention, increased expectations to engage in open research practices may lead to unacceptable increases in demands on academics. Finally, the individual and systematic responsibilities to mitigate this are discussed.

Current concerns on journal article with preprint: Korean Journal of Internal Medicine perspectives

Abstract:  Preprints are preliminary research reports that have not yet been peer-reviewed. They have been widely adopted to promote the timely dissemination of research across many scientific fields. In August 1991, Paul Ginsparg launched an electronic bulletin board intended to serve a few hundred colleagues working in a subfield of theoretical high-energy physics, thus launching arXiv, the first and largest preprint platform. Additional preprint servers have since been implemented in different academic fields, such as BioRxiv (2013, Biology; and medRxiv (2019, Health Science; While preprint availability has made valuable research resources accessible to the general public, thus bridging the gap between academic and non-academic audiences, it has also facilitated the spread of unsupported conclusions through various media channels. Issues surrounding the preprint policies of a journal must be addressed, ultimately, by editors and include the acceptance of preprint manuscripts, allowing the citation of preprints, maintaining a double-blind peer review process, changes to the preprint’s content and authors’ list, scoop priorities, commenting on preprints, and preventing the influence of social media. Editors must be able to deal with these issues adequately, to maintain the scientific integrity of their journal. In this review, the history, current status, and strengths and weaknesses of preprints as well as ongoing concerns regarding journal articles with preprints are discussed. An optimal approach to preprints is suggested for editorial board members, authors, and researchers.


US Library Survey 2022 – Ithaka S+R

“In this sixth iteration of the project, we continued to track high-level issues of strategy, leadership, budget, staffing, and institutional alignment. We also introduced new batteries of questions related to broader trends in higher education, including remote and hybrid learning, talent retention, and research data management, and expanded our coverage of open access and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA)….

Deans and directors see an increasingly open future—one they believe will result in an increase in costs for their institution. Roughly one quarter of deans and directors across institution type believe transformative agreements are a great mechanism for moving their institutions into the future of open access. Yet, a third of directors do not see libraries and publishers as allied with one another when it comes to open access developments. Directors believe an increasingly open future will not result in cost-savings….”

The Rapid Growth of Mega-Journals: Threats and Opportunities | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Mega-journals, those that publish large numbers of articles per year,1 are growing rapidly across science and especially in biomedicine. Although 11 Scopus-indexed journals published more than 2000 biomedical full papers (articles or reviews) in 2015 and accounted for 6% of that year’s literature, in 2022 there were 55 journals publishing more than 2000 full articles, totaling more than 300?000 articles (almost a quarter of the biomedical literature that year). In 2015, 2 biomedical research journals (PLoS One and Scientific Reports) published more than 3500 full articles. In 2022, there were 26 such prolific journals (Table). The accelerating growth of mega-journals creates both threats and opportunities for biomedical science….”


OpenAI co-founder on company’s past approach to openly sharing research: ‘We were wrong’ – The Verge

“Yesterday, OpenAI announced GPT-4, its long-awaited next-generation AI language model. The system’s capabilities are still being assessed, but as researchers and experts pore over its accompanying materials, many have expressed disappointment at one particular feature: that despite the name of its parent company, GPT-4 is not an open AI model.

OpenAI has shared plenty of benchmark and test results for GPT-4, as well as some intriguing demos, but has offered essentially no information on the data used to train the system, its energy costs, or the specific hardware or methods used to create it….

Speaking to The Verge in an interview, Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s chief scientist and co-founder, expanded on this point. Sutskever said OpenAI’s reasons for not sharing more information about GPT-4 — fear of competition and fears over safety — were “self evident”:…

OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit but later became a “capped profit” in order to secure billions in investment, primarily from Microsoft, with whom it now has exclusive business licenses….

When asked why OpenAI changed its approach to sharing its research, Sutskever replied simply, “We were wrong. Flat out, we were wrong. If you believe, as we do, that at some point, AI — AGI — is going to be extremely, unbelievably potent, then it just does not make sense to open-source. It is a bad idea… I fully expect that in a few years it’s going to be completely obvious to everyone that open-sourcing AI is just not wise.” …”

Should AJE allow submissions of manuscripts that have been previously posted on preprint servers and received media attention? | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  In weighing the question of whether AJE should accept preprints that have received press coverage, we need to keep in mind three sets of interests: the public interest, the publisher’s interest, and the author’s interest. During public health emergencies, such as a pandemic, the author’s interests (rapid communication of scientific findings to the public) are aligned with the public interest (learning about life-saving information as early as possible). However, the interests of different parties are not always aligned. In most cases, preprinted articles do not concern matters of life or death. Widespread dissemination of studies via preprint services conflicts with the journal editor’s interest in delivering fresh, original content. Dissemination of study results prior to peer review can occasionally backfire and cause unintended harm if the findings turn out to be false.


The chasm between the scholarly record and grey literature | Research Information

“In January, nine organisations timed the release of new research with the specific aim of impacting the discussions of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Three of the nine, sharing findings about global risks, tax, and trust, attracted significant media attention. None of the reports are available via a publisher. They matter not just because of their impact but because they are but the tip of a growing mountain of valuable research that is being posted, not published. And, because it is posted, not published, it’s a growing mountain of vital research that’s missing from the scholarly record….”

Measuring Back: Bibliodiversity and the Journal Impact Factor brand. A Case study of IF-journals included in the 2021 Journal Citations Report. | Zenodo

Abstract:  Little attention has been devoted to whether the Impact Factor (IF) can be considered a responsible metric in light of bibliodiversity. This paper critically engages with this question in measuring the following variables of IF journals included in the 2021 Journal CItation Reports and examining their distribution: publishing models (hybrid, Open Access with or without fees, subscription), world regions, language(s) of publication, subject categories, publishers, and the prices of article processing charges (APC) if any. Our results show that the quest for prestige or perceived quality through the IF brand poses serious threats to bibliodiversity. The IF brand can indeed hardly be considered a responsible metric insofar as it perpetuates publishing concentration, maintains a domination of the Global North and its attendant artificial image of mega producer of scholarly content, does not promote linguistic diversity, and de-incentivizes fair and equitable open access by entrenching fee-based OA delivery options with rather high APCs.


WARNING DOAJ Publications – DOAJ News Service

“There is a website lurking on the WWW from an outfit that calls itself ‘DOAJ Publications’ or ‘Doaj publisher’. They have a Twitter account too.

Please note that this company is not affiliated with us in any way nor sanctioned by us.

We have emailed the company to ask them to stop using the DOAJ name as we think it is being used to deliberately mislead people.

If you can help raise awareness by sharing this message, we’d be grateful.”

Better incentives are needed to reward academic software development | Nature Ecology & Evolution

“Open software underpins most research today, increasing accessibility for scientists to perform state-of-the-art analyses. Positions that require programming skills have correspondingly doubled over the past decade3. The accuracy and reproducibility of scientific results is increasingly dependent on updating and maintaining software. However, the incentive structure in academia for software development — and especially maintenance — is insufficient. It is time that appropriate incentives are embraced to reflect their importance….”

Will Humanities and Social Sciences Publishing Consolidate? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today, I want to introduce a scenario that I believe should be modeled out by strategists, both in the publishing and library communities. In introducing this scenario, I want to underscore that I do not believe it to be inevitable, nor do I wish to advocate for it. But part of my job is to wonder about the future and to identify some scenarios that can inform planning in our sector. One of the scenarios that I have been considering more and more is a major consolidation among humanities and social sciences (HSS) publishers. 

In this piece, I focus primarily on consolidation among the US, UK, and EU commercial primary publishers. In this segment, consolidation is pursued largely through market-driven acquisitions and strategic partnerships. The same market factors that I discuss below will equally impact not-for-profit HSS publishers, but they may not wish, or may find it difficult, to consolidate in the same fashion. In some ways, though, this analysis may be of greatest importance for those that will find it most difficult to lead….

Finally, given the largely reactive concerns in academia and academic libraries to consolidation in STEM scholarly communication and infrastructure segments, is there any form of strategic investment or advocacy that can, from advocates’ perspective, constructively shape the HSS market before the consolidation scenario develops any further?”

Finding Balance: Collaborative Workflows for Risk Management in Sharing Cultural Heritage Collections Online

“Digitizing rare and unique historical documents so they can be shared online is mission-critical work for most cultural heritage institutions, but it can be difficult to complete this work, especially intellectual property rights management, at a scale that matches user demand. The authors of this open educational resource offer guidance for creating scalable, cross-functional workflows using a risk-management approach that increases efficiency and distributes responsibility for rights assessment work more equitably across stakeholders. It includes advice for navigating knowledge gaps, building an engaged team with the right skillsets, reimagining workflows, and rethinking traditional archival processing workflows to build capacity for rights analysis during arrangement and description. Each chapter includes a helpful exercise for implementing this guidance in your own institution.”

T&F copyright advice. Author, beware. | Plan S

“The information provided by T&F, whilst having a veneer of assisting authors, is nothing of the sort. The nub of the matter is, T&F wants the author’s rights so they can own and control the content of the article. This does not seem right to me – the researcher should own and control the content that they created, based on the discoveries they made, and that were paid for by others such as taxpayers, a funder, or an institution – not the publisher. 

An author may well want a publisher to carry out valuable services, such as copyediting, etc, and they should be paid for those services. This does not mean they should own and control the content. It is, therefore, imperative that authors retain their rights so they can: 

Make and distribute any print or digital copies of the content they wish 
Distribute print or digital copies to any lecture, class, conference or other group, commercial or non-commercial, as they wish
Share copies of and content from their article with whomever they choose (the entire world if wanted), whenever they choose, using whatever channel they choose.
Use their articles in any other works they create as they wish, whether dissertation, thesis, or anything else
Post their accepted manuscript wherever they choose, whenever they choose, whether their institution’s repository or a commercial academic network such as ResearchGate.

T&F is not alone in imposing such restrictions. Similar restrictions abound in other publishers’ terms and conditions. My recommendations: 

Authors: Be aware; Read the terms and conditions carefully before signing 
Researchers: Most importantly, retain your rights in line with advice from UNESCO, European Universities Association (EUA), Global Young Academy (GYA), LIBER and here, and others.
Universities: step up to the plate and support your researchers, so they don’t have to deal with unacceptable and complex terms and conditions – adopt an institutional authors’ rights retention policy as soon as possible (see numerous examples on cOAlition S blog)…”