Academics turn to paid newsletters for scholarly connection

“While not every professor leaves their job for a newsletter, a growing number of academics are turning toward the service, according to Substack. From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, the site saw a 107 percent jump in academic publishing, representing “thousands” of new publications, the company said. There also was a 42 percent increase in academic paid subscriptions.”

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….”


Open access publication of obstetrics and gynecology research in Africa: A dalliance between poverty and paywalls – Ubom – International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics – Wiley Online Library

This short synopsis is the only part of the article not behind a paywall: “Open access publishing remains a challenge in Africa due to poverty and poor research funding. There is a need for global action.”

Criticizing Paywall Publishing, or Integrating Open Access into Feminist Movement

Abstract:  Dominant scholarly publishing models, reliant on expensive paywalls, remain preferential throughout higher education’s landscape. This essay engages paywall publishing from a feminist communicative perspective by asking, how can publishing extend or prohibit feminist movements? Or, as Nancy Fraser (2013) asks, “which modes of feminist theorizing should be incorporated into the new political imaginaries now being invented by new generations” (2)? With these questions in mind, we integrate feminist epistemologies into publishing practices to argue that open access is integral to the feminist movement. The argument unfolds in three parts: first, we conduct a feminist criticism of paywall publishing by arguing that status quo practices constitute a dominant public based on onto-epistemological foundations of exclusion that systematically subordinate potentially liberatory knowledge Second, we consider open access as a feminist re-tooling that creates new political imaginaries. In this section, we place open access in conversation with bell hooks’s conception of literacy and Fraser’s counterpublic theory. We conclude by considering how to live feminist lives with these criticisms and re-toolings in mind.


Report from Equity in Open Access workshop #2: Why do professors pick paywalls? – OASPA

“Following workshop #1, OASPA’s second ‘Equity in OA’ workshop was held on 28 March 2023. The report from workshop #2 was published last week by Alicia Wise and Lorraine Estelle of Information Power. 

Researchers’ preferences for publishing behind paywalls was a recurring topic in workshop conversations, and our reflections on ‘Equity in OA’ workshop #2 are linked to the assertion that professors do pick paywalls – at least sometimes. But do they really want to? Drawing on discussions in workshop #2 and other sources, here are some thoughts on why this might be and what can be done about it….”

OASPA Equity in OA Workshop 2 Report | Zenodo

“The second OASPA workshop in the Equity in Open Access series took place on 28 March 2023, with publishers, librarians, funders, and other stakeholders. Participants came from a wide range of countries: Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Kenya, Mozambique, Netherlands, Panamá, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.

Participants built on the first workshop in which participants discussed why equity is important, current challenges to global equity, examples of good practice, and priorities for increasing equity in OA.

In the second workshop we explored ways to increase equity in two categories of OA models: those where transactions are per-article or where prices are based on article volume, and those where there are no author fees and prices are de-coupled from article numbers. We also explored ways to reassure researchers around the world that OA publishing is as credible as other forms of publishing.”

A new JSTOR fee model option to maximize access to knowledge: A letter from Kevin Guthrie – News – About JSTOR

“I recently shared the 2023 priorities ITHAKA has set to help provide the infrastructure the academic community needs to support research, teaching, and learning in an increasingly digital world. One of our most important aims is to provide universal access to as much content as possible. We are pursuing this through a range of initiatives, including Path to Open launched last month. I am excited to share another effort today: a new archive fee model that offers libraries another option to provide comprehensive access to all of our JSTOR Archival Journal and Primary Source collections.

Through this new model, the more than 5,000 institutions that have participated in our Expanded Access Program have an affordable way to continue the level of access they’ve had during the pandemic. It is also available to institutions that are not part of this program. We spent several years researching, testing, and refining this model in collaboration with libraries, consortia leaders, and publishers, and are grateful for their thoughtful guidance and encouragement. After hundreds of conversations and meetings, we have defined an approach that supports the broadest possible access to this material in a way that is sustainable for libraries, publishers, and JSTOR.

In brief, we have created a new single collection composed of all JSTOR Archival Journal and Primary Source collections and set an annual access fee (AAF) for this full collection for each institutional classification. Institutions who opt into this model will gain immediate access to the complete collection while starting at their current AAF level plus a modest adjustment of 2%-5% that continues to be applied annually until they reach the full fee. The annual fee adjustment percentage is based on the number of collections an institution currently licenses to recognize current investment. Institutions will eventually reach the same AAF for each classification, but the number of years to reach it will vary….”

Bypass Paywalls Clean – Get this Extension for ? Firefox (en-GB)

“Add-on allows you to read articles from websites that implement a paywall.

Not everyone is able to afford multiple subscriptions on many different news sites, especially when they just want to read a single article (from Twitter) without being enrolled in a monthly/yearly membership.

Notice: if you use this add-on regularly on the same website, please consider paying a subscription for it. Don’t forget that free press can’t be sustainable without funding….”

COVID research is free to access — but for how long?

“Scientific papers made free to access during the pandemic are rumoured to be disappearing behind paywalls. They aren’t — yet….

Now the pandemic is in its third year, and reports are circulating that the end of free-to-access COVID-19 research is nigh. If so, that would suggest publishers have decided that the COVID-19 emergency is over before world health authorities have. But is that the case?…

Nature has so far found only one publisher that has paywalled some previously free research papers. BMJ, based in London, decided this year to make COVID-19 research from most of its journals free for only one year from their publication date. But that policy does not include COVID-19 papers in flagship medical journal The BMJ, where no time limit applies, the publisher told Nature….

Spokespeople from other publishers — including the giants Elsevier, Springer Nature and Wiley — told Nature that they are keeping their COVID-19 research papers free. (Nature’s news team is editorially independent of Springer Nature, its publisher.) The US National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, which runs the PubMed Central repository, told Nature that it has not received any requests to withdraw the free versions of COVID-19 papers that many publishers have placed there….

In his August post, Kiley observed that publishers have now agreed four times in seven years to open up paywalled research for public-health emergencies — for Zika, Ebola, COVID-19 and, earlier this year, for monkeypox. He urged that open access shouldn’t be “dictated by the perceived urgency of a disease”, but should apply to all research. The world faces other challenges, such as climate change and food and water security, he noted. Also in August, supporters of open-access research launched a multi-year campaign to make climate and biodiversity research free in perpetuity….”

What do participants think of our research practices? An examination of behavioural psychology participants’ preferences | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  What research practices should be considered acceptable? Historically, scientists have set the standards for what constitutes acceptable research practices. However, there is value in considering non-scientists’ perspectives, including research participants’. 1873 participants from MTurk and university subject pools were surveyed after their participation in one of eight minimal-risk studies. We asked participants how they would feel if (mostly) common research practices were applied to their data: p-hacking/cherry-picking results, selective reporting of studies, Hypothesizing After Results are Known (HARKing), committing fraud, conducting direct replications, sharing data, sharing methods, and open access publishing. An overwhelming majority of psychology research participants think questionable research practices (e.g. p-hacking, HARKing) are unacceptable (68.3–81.3%), and were supportive of practices to increase transparency and replicability (71.4–80.1%). A surprising number of participants expressed positive or neutral views toward scientific fraud (18.7%), raising concerns about data quality. We grapple with this concern and interpret our results in light of the limitations of our study. Despite the ambiguity in our results, we argue that there is evidence (from our study and others’) that researchers may be violating participants’ expectations and should be transparent with participants about how their data will be used.



Mozilla adds tiered subscription plans to MDN Web Docs • The Register

“The Mozilla Developer Network, which hosts free, open access to web standard documentation, tools, samples and other good stuff, is going pay-for-play with a premium subscription plan that adds new personalization features. 

The Firefox maker announced today the subscription service, called MDN Plus, saying it will add three features for paid MDN users at launch: Notifications, collections, and MDN Offline….”

Toll-based access vs pirate access: a webometric study of academic publishers | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to draw a comparison of the Web traffic ranking, usage and popularity of websites of databases of reputed publishers, namely, ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight, that provide access on subscription basis with Sci-Hub, on the basis of data obtained from Alexa databank ( Sci-Hub is a website that provides pirated open-access to the research literature, where piracy, according to The Economic Times (2020), refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content.


Under present study, the quantitative study of the collected data was carried out with help of descriptive research methodology. The Alexa databank was singled out as the source of data. This study crawled through Alexa databank on 01.12.2019 and collected relevant data regarding Sci-Hub, ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight using the search terms, and sequentially. Different criteria were taken into consideration, which include global traffic rank, the average number of page views per user, time taken for uploading, bounce rate, percentage of users, the number of in-links and daily time spent on the site.


The results of this study showed that ScienceDirect has the highest traffic rank and in-linking sites among the surveyed databases. But highest number of page visits were recorded for Sci-Hub with fastest downloading speed. It has also been observed that the users spent less time on ScienceDirect and Emerald Insight as compared to Sci-Hub. This study further observed that Sci-Hub has the lowest bounce rate. Users from both the developing and developed economies use the Sci-Hub, though the highest number of visitors belongs to the developing nations.


This study provides an overview of the performance of toll-based publishing databases with pirated database based on different criteria through World Wide Web. Though, this study in no way supports or endorses the unauthorized and illegal access to knowledge, but such data helps in depicting and analyzing how much a particular database is accessed by its users all over the globe and also determines and illustrates the time spent by users while accessing a specific database, thus, providing the user preferences in information seeking activities. This study provides an overall view of adoption of open resources.

RSC Select: One token. One article download

“RSC Select gives you on-demand access to groundbreaking research in the chemical sciences without being tied to a subscription.

An RSC Select token is valid for two years, and buys you one article download. Tokens can be used on any article, published in any Royal Society of Chemistry journal since 1841….

One token is around £42.50 ($64.60)….”

Paywalls Everywhere You Go? Get to the Goodies With These Two Paywall Ladder Bookmarklets – ResearchBuzz

“The thing about a lot of the news behind paywalls is that it doesn’t stay behind paywalls. It gets syndicated, sometimes to paywall-free sources. Most stories, even those paywalled, have a paragraph or so of content. To find these articles elsewhere, you could easily copy a phrase and then look for it in Google News. Or you could make a couple of bookmarklets and have a one-click, instant search for different case scenarios.


In this article we’re going for the latter option: two bookmarklets that will help you get to articles you can’t access otherwise. They won’t work 100% of the time, but I think you’ll be surprised at how short some of those paywalls are….”

IEEE – IEEE and Edge Announce Partnership to Enhance Research Data Management and Collaboration with IEEE DataPort

“Edge, a nonprofit research and education network and technology partner, has announced a partnership with IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity. The two organizations will collaborate to offer increased awareness of institutional subscriptions to IEEE DataPort — a web-based, cloud services platform supporting the data-related needs of the global technical community — making it available to academic, government, and not-for-profit institutions across the United States.

IEEE DataPort provides a unified data and collaboration platform which researchers can leverage to efficiently store, share, access, and manage research data, accelerating institutional research efforts. Researchers at subscribing institutions will gain access to the more than 2,500 research datasets available on the platform and the ability to collaborate with more than 1.25 million IEEE DataPort users worldwide. The platform also enables institutions to meet funding agency requirements for the use of and sharing of data….”