“Developing sustainable open access book publishing models is particularly important for university presses which see the benefits of increased dissemination, but already operate under razor-thin margins, and subscribe to open models have gained traction in recent years. To gather evidence that we hope will provide new options for open access models, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Association of University Presses and Ithaka S+R have just published our new research study on open access and sales revenue. Our key finding: open access monographs can generate significant revenue — both on the print side and digitally. …”
The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) and Ithaka S+R today publish “Print Revenue and Open Access Monographs: A University Press Study.” This report is the result of research funded by a Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to investigate the effect of open digital editions on the sales of print monographs.
“Today we are excited to announce that Ithaka S+R is embarking on a one-year research project, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, to assess the impact and implementation of open educational resources (OER) programs at public institutions of higher education. Through the project, we will develop a framework to guide sustainable OER adoption and implementation.
At their core, OER initiatives aim to increase student learning outcomes by reducing costs. Our project aims to explore how OER strategies have evolved to meet the needs of faculty and students. In particular, we will develop a holistic framework to assess the impact of OER programs and the challenges they face, paying particular attention to faculty perspectives, student learning outcomes, and equity and digital equity.
Drawing on lessons from the broader literature on teaching and learning initiatives in higher education, the project is guided by the following research questions:
To what extent are postsecondary higher education institutions concerned with sustaining open education initiatives?
What attributes do successful OER initiatives share?
How can institutions move from pilot to wider adoption?
What factors contribute to or inhibit the sustainability of new initiatives in postsecondary institutions? …”
“Open source software is the backbone of the digital economy and is critical to the development and maintenance of transparent, inclusive, and secure digital infrastructures. Universities and their employees rely on it daily for everything from basic communication to advanced research, and in turn make substantial contributions to the open source resources used within and beyond higher education. Over the past several decades, major corporations have created centralized offices, often known as Open Source Program Offices (OSPOs), to coordinate and nurture open source activities across their organization. While these offices have proven their value in private sector contexts, they are just beginning to make inroads into higher education, in large part due to leadership from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The Sloan Foundation has recently funded the establishment of OSPOs at 12 US research institutions. These pilot OSPOs will institutionalize open source principles, software, and cultures with the goal of improving the teaching, learning, and research practices on campus and creating social and economic benefits in and beyond the university.
Last month, the Sloan Foundation engaged Ithaka S+R to assess the effectiveness of university OSPOs in facilitating the development and maintenance of open source software. Through the “Leveraging OSPOs to Advance the Academic Research Enterprise” project, we will identify the characteristics that maximize the impacts of university OSPOs within and beyond campus. Our research will focus on three crucial areas: 1) alignment with unit-level and university-level strategic frameworks; 2) viability and sustainability of organizational structures and labor models; 3) growth of open source research cultures and practices.”
by Martin Eve
I have read, with some dismay, the draft of Ithaka S+R’s most recent report. I offer here some critical remarks that I hope will allow for revision of the work, which I believe offers an insular, digital-nationalist, exclusionary vision for the future of scholarly communications. The views herein are my personal take, not those of any organization for which I work.
First, structurally, the report is subheaded “Strategic Context and Shared Infrastructure”. It actually takes about 15 pages to get to anything that I would even vaguely deem to be “infrastructure”. But hey. But that’s not all. The report tells us that they interviewed 49 “infrastructure service providers, publishers, librarians, advocates, analysts, funders, and policy makers”. This is most admirable. The only problem is that, already, interviewees are publicly stating that they cannot find the contents of their interviews reflected in the report. Hmm.
OK, so then we wade through several pages of generic corporate speak about business models, which conveniently omits to mention the recent realisation by many publishers that APCs are not the future. But we then hit the first really problematic aspect: AI. But what do you think the future of scholarly communication might hold in this space? Perhaps cures for cancer? Perhaps an erasure of discrimination against non-English speakers, who now can write in entirely correct scientific English? Nope: “This has led to questions among publishers about how to monetize their publications as training data for commercial AI services”.
Clearly, not all interviewees were happy with this stance: “Some interviewees were highly critical of capitalism and/or commercial organizations, at least with respect to scholarly communication and its infrastructure. Several are concerned about the profitability of commercial providers and worry that commercial interests diverge from those of the academy, of researchers, or of science.” But this only gets a relatively brief outing as a concept.
“Many publishing organizations find that substantial components of the shared infrastructure are either no longer fit for purpose or do not yet exist to support emergent needs. There is widespread consensus that new investment in shared infrastructure is required and even some degree of agreement on the broad purposes that this shared infrastructure should serve. Yet these gaps exist, and rarely because of raw technical challenges. Rather, they are the result of stubborn strategic, governance, and business model impediments. At the working levels necessary to develop and sustain a thriving shared infrastructure, publishing organizations face real challenges in generating strategic alignment with each other. In many key categories, governance of the shared infrastructure extends beyond well-aligned publishing organizations, adding a further layer of complexity. And there is the ever-present issue of the business model and investment case—who pays, who will pay, and for what—which in turn provide incentives for innovation or inaction. Through this report, we hope to stimulate a discussion about the future of the shared infrastructure for scholarly communication with its key stakeholders. The draft you are reading now is issued in July 2023 for feedback, which can be shared with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org through August 31, 2023. We will publish a final version of this report in October 2023.”
“Scholarly communication is a complicated sector, with numerous participants and multiple mechanisms for communicating and reviewing materials created in an increasing variety of formats by researchers across the globe. In turn, the researcher who seeks to use the products of this system wishes to discover, access, and use relevant and trustworthy materials as effortlessly as possible. The work of driving efficiency into this complex sector while bringing its multiple strands together seamlessly for the reader (or, increasingly, for a computational user) rests on a foundation of infrastructure, much of it shared across multiple publishers and other providers. We are currently at work on an Ithaka S+R research study examining this shared infrastructure to support efforts to ensure it is fit-for-purpose. Today, we provide additional background about the project and a landscape review on shared infrastructure, which we published earlier this week….”
Google translate: Abstract: “Scholarly communication is a complicated industry, with numerous players and multiple mechanisms for communicating and reviewing materials created in an increasing variety of formats by researchers from around the world. In turn, the researcher who intends to use the products of this system wants to discover, access, and use relevant and reliable materials with as little effort as possible. The task of making this complex sector efficient and, at the same time, bringing its many aspects together seamlessly for the reader (or, increasingly, for a computer user) is supported by an infrastructure, much of it shared by multiple publishers. . In this landscape review, we aim to provide a high-level overview of the shared infrastructure that underpins scholarly communication. The purpose of this landscape review is to provide an overview of the shared infrastructure that we intend to examine in a larger project on the strategic context that has driven and will continue to drive the development of this infrastructure. This project will include a needs analysis of which parts of the shared scholarly communication infrastructure are working well and which can be improved, culminating in recommendations on where additional or revised collective action and community investment is indicated.”
Rieger, Oya Y., and Roger C. Schonfeld. « Common Scholarly Communication Infrastructure Landscape Review. » Ithaka S+R. Ithaka S+R. 24 April 2023. Web. 26 April 2023. https://doi.org/10.18665/sr.318775
“Earlier this month, Tracy Bergstrom joined Ithaka S+R as a program manager focused on collections and infrastructure….
[From Tracy:] Libraries, archives, and museums exist for the enrichment of the communities they serve, and free and open access to knowledge is a critical component of establishing a more equitable society. While this underlying mission remains constant, the tools we need to administer this vision are evolving rapidly….”
“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….”
“Developing, maintaining, and sustaining fit-for-purpose community infrastructure is a challenge in the higher education and research sectors, particularly when the technology and policy environments are in flux. Ithaka S+R has conducted a variety of projects and studies touching on these issues over several years. Today, I’m pleased to share that we are launching a new study focusing on shared infrastructure in support of scholarly communication, with support from STM Solutions. The Project For some time, shared infrastructure has been a key enabler for delivering the services that authors and readers need from scholarly communication. Services like reference linking, repositories, identifiers, single sign-on, and digital preservation have supported the digital transformation of scholarly publishing, enabling new and improved services and achieving real efficiencies for all stakeholder communities. Looking ahead, it is necessary to sustain and in some cases improve existing shared infrastructure, even as next generation shared infrastructure must be developed to support the research community…. As part of this project, we will be conducting interviews this spring with individuals from major stakeholder groups, including infrastructure providers, researchers, open science community members, publishers, and librarians, among others. This spring, we will publish a landscape overview of shared infrastructure for scholarly communication. Over the summer, we will issue a draft report of our findings to allow for broad input. We expect to publish the final report in the fall….
And, with respect to shared infrastructure, we have just launched a project with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and other partners to design and prototype a shared community infrastructure that will support collections and collecting, with our work focused on governance and sustainability issues for this collaboration….”
“Our latest US Faculty Survey examined faculty perspectives and attitudes about using and creating Open Educational Resources (OER). Not only were we able to track how these perspectives changed over time, but we were also able to understand how the pandemic affected OER consumption and creation. As expected, the adoption and creation of OER textbooks, course modules, and video lectures increased since the last national survey cycle, yet faculty indicated that they are less interested in creating and using them going forward.
This discrepancy can be puzzling for librarians, teaching and learning center staff, and administrators to navigate as they seek to better support faculty and students. Often the OER landscape is challenging for faculty members, and the continued lack of incentives, either monetary or through new professional development opportunities, may be at the root of their lack of interest.
To better understand faculty perceptions about OER, we invited two James Madison University librarians to discuss their experiences supporting faculty with accessing, using, and creating OER:
Yasmeen Shorish, Director of Scholarly Communications Strategies and Special Advisor to the Dean for Equity Initiatives
Liz Thompson, Open Education Librarian…”
“In the coming months, we’ll be inviting broad community participation in a variety of initiatives to deliver on these aims.
We’re charting a path to open access for scholarly books in partnership with university presses and libraries to support publishing diverse voices and ideas
We’re fully integrating Artstor and JSTOR to deliver a high-quality, multi-content research and teaching experience
We’re launching hosting and preservation services to enable libraries to share their digital collections with millions of users around the world and to ensure their long-term sustainability
We’re taking steps to preserve emerging digital scholarship and collections of under-represented materials through experimentation and collaboration with publishers and archives
We’re rolling out an updated funding model to enable vastly increased access to the extensive journal archive and primary source collections the scholarly community has helped us to create
We’re gearing up for our next wave of growth for Constellate, our new teaching and learning platform for text analysis….”
“Over the past several decades, US federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health have made substantial investments in building an infrastructure to support open sharing of research data among researchers. These investments have funded the creation of a host of platforms and tools, among the most important of which are the decentralized network of domain and generalist repositories available to researchers. The technical infrastructure necessary for widespread deposit and reuse of data is now relatively mature.
Researchers’ behaviors, however, have lagged behind. In many fields, data sharing is still more of an ideal than a reality. Indeed, recent results from a national survey of faculty conducted by Ithaka S+R
indicate that while two out of three faculty in scientific and medical fields believe that depositing research data in public repositories is important, just 40 percent of scientists and half of faculty in medical fields report that they often or occasionally share research data….
Since 2019, Ithaka S+R has also been tracking a third incentive through case studies of what we have called “data communities.” Data communities are fluid networks of scientists who voluntarily exchange and reuse data across disciplinary boundaries to advance shared or complementary research goals. Examples of data communities include: FlyBase, the Cambridge Structural Database and ZooArchNet….”