Will Trump White House tear down journal paywalls? Many anxiously await a decision | Science | AAAS

“Scientific publishers, universities, librarians, and open-access (OA) advocates are waiting anxiously to see whether the Trump administration will end a long-standing policy and require that every scholarly article produced with U.S. funding be made immediately free to all.

Such a mandate has long been fiercely opposed by some publishers and scientific societies that depend on subscription revenues from journals. But critics of paywalls argue they are expensive and outmoded, and that tearing them down is the best way to advance scientific research.

On 6 May, the deadline passed on a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for public comments on ways to expand public access to the fruits of federally funded research, including published papers, data, and computer codes. In February, OSTP also asked for input on the benefits and challenges of making the roughly 220,000 papers produced annually by U.S.-funded researchers immediately free on publication, and on “effective approaches” to making that happen….”

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak highlights serious deficiencies in scholarly communication | Impact of Social Sciences

“As research and government responses to the COVID-19 outbreak escalate in the face of a global public health crisis, Vincent Larivière, Fei Shu and Cassidy R. Sugimoto reflect on efforts to make research on this subject more widely available. Arguing that a narrow focus on research published in high ranking journals predominantly in English has impeded research efforts, they suggest that the renewed emphasis on carrying out open research on the virus presents an opportunity to reassess how research and scholarly communication systems serve the public good….

This is a positive step, but it does not go far enough to address public needs. The papers and book chapters that have been liberated by this measure represent only a tiny proportion of the available literature on coronavirus. According to the Web of Science (WOS), 13,818 articles have been published on the topic of coronaviruses since the late 1960s. More than half (51.5%) of these articles remain closed to access. The coronavirus is admittedly a large family of viruses and one might question relevance of older works to the current outbreak. However, as an example, the three papers on COVID-19 published in the February 15th issue of the Lancet relied on 69 distinct WOS-indexed papers, of which 73.2% are in the set of 13,818 coronaviruses papers. The oldest reference in these papers is to 1988, underscoring the fact that although the corona virus may be novel, research on the corona virus in fact draws on a long tail of often closed research literature….

The embeddedness of this scientific literature within much wider streams of research also highlights the limitations of this approach. The 13,818 coronavirus articles cite more than 200,000 articles—from virology to cancer and from public health, to genetics and heredity (Figure 1). Less than one third of the cited articles from which the “coronavirus articles” drew information and inspiration were other “coronavirus articles”. …”

Open and Shut: Open Access in Hybrid Educational Technology Journals 2010 – 2017 | The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning

Abstract:  Little is known about open access publishing in educational technology journals that employ a hybrid model which charges authors only if they wish to publish via gold open access. In this study we sought to address this gap in the scholarly understanding of open access publishing in hybrid journals that publish research into the intersection of education and technology. We analysed three categories of article access types: gold, green, and limited access, and collected data on their prevalence in the seven-year period from 2010-2017 across 29 journals. Data was gathered from Scopus, Unpaywall, Sherpa RoMEO, and via manual searches of the journal websites, resulting in a dataset comprising the metadata of 8,479 articles. Our findings highlight that most research remains locked behind paywalls, that open access publishing through legal means is a minority activity for the scholars involved, and that the complexity and costs of legal open access publishing in these journals may be inhibiting the accessibility of research to readers.

 

How paywalls are poisoning public-interest research | The Spinoff

“Today, 51% of our New Zealand-based university research is made available to everyone – either through a university repository or by being published in a journal committed to using Creative Commons or other open licensing.

Which left a small group of highly profitable publishers in want of a business model. Enter the Performance Based Research Fund and international competition for university rankings.

When publishers with 40% profit margins start rebranding themselves as “information analytics” companies, it’s a good idea to take a close look at what they’re up to.

Let’s step back to 1955….”

Simba Information: Scientific & Technical Publishing Bucked Headwinds, Posted Strong Growth in 2018

“The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.

The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers….”

Reprints Desk | Home

At Reprints Desk, we are revolutionizing the way research is traditionally done by making personalized access to full-text scientific literature and intelligent data insights time- and cost effective. Reprints Desk’s award-winning Article Galaxy research intelligence platform, powered by an ecosystem of interconnected, app-like gadgets, coupled with unparalleled, 24/7 customer support, makes Reprints Desk the first choice of R&D organizations worldwide….”

The open access wars: How to free science from academic paywalls – Vox

“This is a story about more than subscription fees. It’s about how a private industry has come to dominate the institutions of science, and how librarians, academics, and even pirates are trying to regain control.

The University of California is not the only institution fighting back. “There are thousands of Davids in this story,” says University of California Davis librarian MacKenzie Smith, who, like so many other librarians around the world, has been pushing for more open access to science. “But only a few big Goliaths.”

Will the Davids prevail?…”

We just moved off of Medium and onto freeCodeCamp News. Here’s how you can use it – Contributors – The freeCodeCamp Forum

For example, I am one of the most-followed authors on Medium, with 158,000 followers. And yet Medium barely shows my articles to anyone anymore.

Here’s are Medium’s analytics for an article I wrote about freeCodeCamp’s efforts to help more blind people learn to code ….

Medium only showed the article to about 1,000 people total, despite nearly half of all people who viewed it reading the entire thing.

The reason: I didn’t put my article behind Medium’s paywall.

As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much “distribution” within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall.

At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay.

This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible….”

We just moved off of Medium and onto freeCodeCamp News. Here’s how you can use it – Contributors – The freeCodeCamp Forum

For example, I am one of the most-followed authors on Medium, with 158,000 followers. And yet Medium barely shows my articles to anyone anymore.

Here’s are Medium’s analytics for an article I wrote about freeCodeCamp’s efforts to help more blind people learn to code ….

Medium only showed the article to about 1,000 people total, despite nearly half of all people who viewed it reading the entire thing.

The reason: I didn’t put my article behind Medium’s paywall.

As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much “distribution” within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall.

At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay.

This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible….”

FreeCodeCamp Moves Off of Medium after being Pressured to Put Articles Behind Paywalls – WordPress Tavern

After four years of publishing on Medium, FreeCodeCamp is migrating all of its articles to its own open source publishing platform, a modified version of Ghost. The platform allows approved authors to cross-post their blog articles on the new FreeCodeCamp News site for free, without any ads….

In the detailed public announcement on the FreeCodeCamp forums, Larson said he noticed his articles started to get less distribution after he decided that putting them behind a paywall would not be compatible with the mission of his organization….

“As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much ‘distribution’ within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall,” Larson said. “At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay. This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible.” …

“But over the past year Medium had become more aggressive toward us,” Larson said. “They have pressured us to put our articles behind their paywalls. We refused. So they tried to buy us. (Which makes no sense. We’re a public charity.) We refused. Then they started threatening us with a lawyer.” …”

FreeCodeCamp Moves Off of Medium after being Pressured to Put Articles Behind Paywalls – WordPress Tavern

After four years of publishing on Medium, FreeCodeCamp is migrating all of its articles to its own open source publishing platform, a modified version of Ghost. The platform allows approved authors to cross-post their blog articles on the new FreeCodeCamp News site for free, without any ads….

In the detailed public announcement on the FreeCodeCamp forums, Larson said he noticed his articles started to get less distribution after he decided that putting them behind a paywall would not be compatible with the mission of his organization….

“As of 2019, Medium won’t give you much ‘distribution’ within their platform unless you’re willing to put your articles to be behind their paywall,” Larson said. “At the same time, if you do put your article behind their paywall, you’re limiting your readership to just the people who have the resources to pay. This is at odds with the goals of the freeCodeCamp community. We want to make these learning resources as widely available as possible.” …

“But over the past year Medium had become more aggressive toward us,” Larson said. “They have pressured us to put our articles behind their paywalls. We refused. So they tried to buy us. (Which makes no sense. We’re a public charity.) We refused. Then they started threatening us with a lawyer.” …”

The Pricing of Legal Information – Slaw

There is a good reason why lawyers need to get retainers: unlike a house, the products they provide can’t be repossessed, and it’s difficult to know how much they are worth. Lawyers aren’t selling a win, they are selling information, advice, and services which aim to optimize the outcome based on the situation. Improved information is worth a great deal to clients in aggregate (I have done some research into the value of improved information for parties to litigation here), but it’s difficult to know how much particular information will be worth in a particular situation before it is acquired.

This leads to difficulties in how to price legal services, because lawyers want to make a good return on their labour and expertise, and clients tend to want to pay less than their services may be worth because they are informational in nature. Given this dynamic, it makes sense that lawyers would look for a mechanism like the billable hour to quantify the value of the work they deliver.

In turn, the work publishers and libraries do is also difficult to price. Large commercial legal publishers are well known for not disclosing the prices associated with their sales contracts and a large part of this is because they are trying to harvest as much value as possible from each customer. Different areas of practice are more or less profitable and different people value particular research tools differently, which means that they have different willingness to pay.

By charging everyone different rates, the publishers aim to get the maximum value customers are willing to pay….”

Living in Denial: The Relationship between Access Denied Turnaways and ILL Requests: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Access denied turnaway statistics are provided to libraries to help with serials collection development, but very little research about turnaways is available. This article examines the relationship between access denied turnaways and interlibrary loan (ILL) requests at one institution in an attempt to deepen our understanding of turnaways. The study showed that there is a moderate correlation with an overall ILL requests to turnaways ratio of 11.4%. The strength of the relationship and the ILL requests to turnaways ratio do vary depending on the publisher/provider. The article also discusses potential explanations and implications as related to the relationship.”

Paywalls block scientific progress. Research should be open to everyone | Jason Schmitt | Education | The Guardian

“Academic and scientific research needs to be accessible to all. The world’s most pressing problems like clean water or food security deserve to have as many people as possible solving their complexities. Yet our current academic research system has no interest in harnessing our collective intelligence. Scientific progress is currently thwarted by one thing: paywalls.

Paywalls, which restrict access to content without a paid subscription, represent a common practice used by academic publishers to block access to scientific research for those who have not paid. This keeps £19.6bn flowing from higher education and science into for-profit publisher bank accounts. My recent documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, uncovered that the largest academic publisher, Elsevier, regularly has a profit margin between 35-40%, which is greater than Google’s. With financial capacity comes power, lobbyists, and the ability to manipulate markets for strategic advantages – things that underfunded universities and libraries in poorer countries do not have….”

The Federal Courts Are Running An Online Scam – POLITICO Magazine

“Every day, dozens of hungry reporters lurk inside something called PACER, the online records system for America’s federal courts. These days, they’re mostly looking for the latest scraps of intel on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian inference into the 2016 presidential election. And everyone, from lawyers to researchers to activists, uses the system to find similar criminal cases, track the latest arrests of terrorism suspects or argue for sentencing reform.

But I’m here to tell you that PACER—Public Access to Court Electronic Records—is a judicially approved scam. The very name is misleading: Limiting the public’s access by charging hefty fees, it has been a scam since it was launched and, barring significant structural changes, will be a scam forever….

The U.S. federal court system rakes in about $145 million annually to grant access to records that, by all rights, belong to the public….”