Call for Papers: The Global Transition to Open: Structuring Library Sustainability Toward a More Equitable Knowledge Ecosystem | Commonplace

We invite contributions to a series that explores how libraries are realigning their collections spending with their values around Open. We ask that abstracts of 300 words or fewer be submitted by Monday, September 13, 2021 (please see key details below). 

Libraries face a dizzying and growing array of open access investment opportunities. These range from open infrastructure to new open access publisher agreements. Although libraries can be motivated by altruism when investing in open initiatives, many are trying to embed “openness” into their collections strategies. This is much easier said than done when emerging open access models rarely mimic the legacy subscription or one-time purchase models upon which the library community has grown accustomed. This series seeks to examine the challenges and efforts underway at academic libraries as they make their way forward in this new environment. 

An article published in the Commonplace in June 2021 titled “Balancing Investments in Open Access: Sustainability and Innovation” inspired this upcoming series. In this article, Annie Johnson raises questions that many in the library community are starting to ask: 

“So how can we ensure that our support for open does not become unsustainable in the face of continued cuts to our collections budget? And perhaps more importantly, how can we make informed, strategic decisions about which initiatives to support (and which not to support) when each agreement takes so much time to evaluate, and staff are already spread so thin?”[undefined]

These are critical questions that all academic libraries are facing. We believe sharing our stories and learnings at this important juncture will help us to collectively navigate the challenges ahead and, critically, to create a more equitable and just scholarly communication system.

We seek proposals that will address topics or questions, such as:

What guiding goals and principles can help libraries make decisions and measure the efficacy of their spending?

How is “transformative” defined? What are we transforming?

How are libraries balancing local reading and publishing needs with the desire to transform global scholarly communications?

How do we bridge the organizational divide between collections and scholarly communications?

Who are the key stakeholders and how do we secure their buy-in?

When should we go it alone and when do we partner?

How do we align open knowledge practices and spending with issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice?

How can libraries talk to each other and/or across campus about these topics? 

What new top-down models encourage new, sustainable, and open frameworks (rather than just operate within the existing, legacy structure)? Who has implemented them, and how?

Describe strategies for libraries that do not have a Press at their university, that can still support local open scholarly publishing efforts.

Anything you think we’ve missed!

Business of Knowing: Bringing about [infra]structural change to Knowledge Communication – a summer 2021 series | Commonplace

This Commonplace series comprises essays in response to a call for submissions that itself was a response to channel community conversation prompted by the essay “Clarivate, ProQuest, and our Resistance to Commercializing Knowledge.”

List of Contributions:

Ahearn, Catherine, and Sarah Kearns. 2021. ‘The Business of Knowing: Bringing about [Infra]Structural Change to Knowledge Communication’. Commonplace, June. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.ec94434e.

Ayers, Phoebe, and Samuel J. Klein. 2021. ‘The Invisible Citation Commons’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.5af8c64c.

Brundy, Curtis, and Ginny Steel. 2021. ‘Subscribe to Progress: Advancing Equity Through Openness’. Commonplace, August. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.20811f1e.

Chan, Joel. 2021. ‘Sustainable Authorship Models for a Discourse-Based Scholarly Communication Infrastructure’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.8b4aad0c.

Cressman, Colleen. 2021. ‘Trust in Infrastructure’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.ae158f91.

Kaufman, Peter B. 2021. ‘Video and Knowledge Communication’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.22ccbe45.

Kearns, Sarah, and Catherine Ahearn. 2021. ‘It’s All of Our Business’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.70cc6804.

Kraker, Peter. 2021. ‘Now Is the Time to Fund Open Infrastructures’. Commonplace, August. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.a1d2856b.

Martin, Shawn J. 2021. ‘Historical Choices and Knowledge Production’. Commonplace, August. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.5ebdd587.

Pooley, Jefferson. 2021. ‘Collective Funding to Reclaim Scholarly Publishing’. Commonplace, August. https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.250139da.

Rudmann, Dan, Kayshini Holbourne, and Elli Gerakopoulou. 2021. ‘Hire Everyone: Scholarly Publishing and Cooperative Sustainability’. Commonplace 1 (1). https://doi.org/10.21428/6ffd8432.72cb6467.

Collective Funding to Reclaim Scholarly Publishing | Commonplace

by Jefferson Pooley

The open access movement has dropped barriers to readers only to erect them for authors. The reason is the article processing charge (APC), which typically runs $3,000 to $5,000. The APC model, with its tolled access to authorship, is the subscription model seen through a camera obscura: author paywalls in place of reading paywalls.

Most scholars cannot afford the steep fees, a fact masked by the privileged segment who can: scientists in the rich industrialized world, and scholars in a handful of wealthy European countries and North American universities. The fees are often paid via so-called “read-and-publish” deals, which fold APCs into the subscription contracts that libraries negotiate with publishers.

The emerging APC regime is also re-anointing the commercial oligopolists—the same five firms that fleece universities through usurious subscription charges. Springer Nature, Elsevier, and their peers are, with every read-and-publish deal, transitioning their enormous profit margins from tolled to open—and capturing the lion’s share of library spending in the process. Librarians continue to fund the tolled system, while also—at the richer institutions—picking up the tab for their faculty’s author fees. The result is an incumbent-publisher spending lockdown, one that ratifies the APC regime.

Any alternative to the prevailing scholarly communication system must be built atop a different funding model, one that excludes neither readers nor authors. In broad strokes, that model will center on direct support for publishing, drawn from funds currently allotted to subscription and APC spending. The same funders who finance the tolled-and-APC system—libraries but also foundations and government agencies—will, on this approach, redirect budgets to underwrite a diverse, community-led publishing ecosystem. Call it the collective funding model, predicated on open access for both readers and authors.

[…]

Knowledge Futures Group has a new website

New website!

Knowledge Futures Group builds infrastructure for a more effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy.

 

Knowledge Futures Group is an independent nonprofit organization powered by academic, industry, and advocacy groups. Together we build and support products and protocols to make knowledge open and accessible to all.

Founded in 2018 as a partnership between the MIT Press and the MIT Media Lab, Knowledge Futures Group was created to build sustainable tools and technologies for libraries, presses, museums, activist organizations, researchers, and others whose knowledge work seeks to serve collective understanding and the public. What began as a handful of grad students working on publishing tools grew to an organization focused on addressing the systemic challenges faced by public-oriented groups beholden to infrastructure that is designed with misaligned incentives and unjust power dynamics.

In September 2019 we formally organized as an independent 501c3 nonprofit. Today, we are committed to building a full-stack of technology protocols and products that demonstrate an effective, equitable, and sustainable knowledge economy is possible. We work with partners to design for interoperability and to catalyze a distributed ecosystem of development.

Software Engineer, the Underlay Project · KFG Notes

“The Knowledge Futures Group is hiring a software developer to help us build the Underlay, a distributed public knowledge graph. We’re looking for someone with strong full-stack web development skills and an interest in semantic web and decentralized web technologies. You’ll get to work with experimental technologies, make significant contributions to product direction, and help shepherd a research project into the real world. We will pay you competitively with startups, let you work from wherever you want, and take you and your ideas seriously. Join us!…”

Knowledge Infrastructure and the Role of the University · Commonplace

“As open access to research information grows and publisher business models adapt accordingly, knowledge infrastructure has become the new frontier for advocates of open science. This paper argues that the time has come for universities and other knowledge institutions to assume a larger role in mitigating the risks that arise from ongoing consolidation in research infrastructure, including the privatization of community platforms, commercial control of analytics solutions, and other market-driven trends in scientific and scholarly publishing….

The research community is rightfully celebrating more open access and open data, yet there is growing recognition in the academic community that pay-to-publish open access is not the panacea people were hoping for when it comes to affordable, sustainable scholarly and scientific publishing. Publication is, after all, only one step in a flow of research communication activities that starts with the collection and analysis of research data and ends with assessment of research impact. Open science is the movement towards open methods, data, and software, to enhance reproducibility, fairness, and distributed collaboration in science. The construct covers such diverse elements as the use of open source software, the sharing of data sets, open and transparent peer review processes, open repositories for the long-term storage and availability of both data and articles, as well as the availability of open protocols and methodologies that ensure the reproducibility and overall quality of research. How these trends can be reconciled with the economic interests of the publishing industry as it is currently organized remains to be seen, but the time is ripe for greater multi-stakeholder coordination and institutional investment in building and maintaining a diversified open infrastructure pipeline.”

KFG Announces Four New Programs · KFG Notes

“KFG will use its resources intentionally and in partnership with others (you!) to ask: how do we enable just and inclusive life cycles of knowledge? How do we build trustworthy information environments to support a better-informed society? How do we meaningfully measure impact? How do we ensure universal access to knowledge? With the help of partners, we will explore the cultural and technological answers to these questions through four new programs:

Knowledge Ecosystems: We examine how knowledge ecosystems exist today, develop playbooks to improve them, and facilitate new knowledge life cycles accelerated through multi-institution collaboration.

Community Publishing: We build infrastructure to enable community-driven publishing toward more thorough, trustworthy, and inclusive models for publishing platforms and tools.

Universal Data: We research and develop tools for discovery, provenance, and interoperability of data, to ensure transparent and universal access to public knowledge.

Measuring Knowledge: We craft and deliver new analytics that aligns with the growth, learning, and empowerment afforded by modern knowledge ecosystems to redefine impact and success….”

KFG Announces Four New Programs · KFG Notes

“KFG will use its resources intentionally and in partnership with others (you!) to ask: how do we enable just and inclusive life cycles of knowledge? How do we build trustworthy information environments to support a better-informed society? How do we meaningfully measure impact? How do we ensure universal access to knowledge? With the help of partners, we will explore the cultural and technological answers to these questions through four new programs:

Knowledge Ecosystems: We examine how knowledge ecosystems exist today, develop playbooks to improve them, and facilitate new knowledge life cycles accelerated through multi-institution collaboration.

Community Publishing: We build infrastructure to enable community-driven publishing toward more thorough, trustworthy, and inclusive models for publishing platforms and tools.

Universal Data: We research and develop tools for discovery, provenance, and interoperability of data, to ensure transparent and universal access to public knowledge.

Measuring Knowledge: We craft and deliver new analytics that aligns with the growth, learning, and empowerment afforded by modern knowledge ecosystems to redefine impact and success….”

Editorial Manager, PubPub · KFG Notes

“The Knowledge Futures Group is hiring an Editorial Manager to help curate and produce content for two of its products, PubPub1, a collaborative and open publishing tool for the academic web, and Commonplace, a new publication of the KFG. We’re looking for someone with strong writing and editorial skills, knowledge of academic publishing, and interest in experimenting with new publishing practices. You’ll get to work directly with authors and editors, and use those experiences to experiment and contribute to the KFG’s editorial plans and PubPub’s roadmap. We will pay you competitively, let you work from wherever you want, and take you and your ideas seriously. Join us!…”

Editorial Manager, PubPub · KFG Notes

“The Knowledge Futures Group is hiring an Editorial Manager to help curate and produce content for two of its products, PubPub1, a collaborative and open publishing tool for the academic web, and Commonplace, a new publication of the KFG. We’re looking for someone with strong writing and editorial skills, knowledge of academic publishing, and interest in experimenting with new publishing practices. You’ll get to work directly with authors and editors, and use those experiences to experiment and contribute to the KFG’s editorial plans and PubPub’s roadmap. We will pay you competitively, let you work from wherever you want, and take you and your ideas seriously. Join us!…”

How Do We Find Ourselves Here? Context for Increased Institutional Investment and Ownership of Infrastructure · Commonplace

“How have institutions become so disconnected from the workflow and publication tools that their researchers depend upon to do research, communicate it, validate it? How can this tremendous outsourcing be corrected? How can universities better understand the need for investing in public infrastructure?

We hope that this reading list will provide background and food for thought….”

About The Commonplace · The Knowledge Futures Commonplace

“The Knowledge Futures Group (KFG) is committed to building and sustaining open infrastructure for public knowledge that puts researchers in control of the tools they use everyday to solve society’s biggest challenges. Our newest product, The Commonplace, is a publication that invokes the title’s Latin roots of locus communis to create a space where people discuss the digital infrastructure and policies needed to distribute, constellate, and amplify knowledge for the public good.

The Commonplace will bring together mission-aligned individuals, institutions, and organizations to contribute to the larger conversation about the many social implications of open and closed infrastructure: the distributed and centralized systems that undergird our modern modes of information sharing and communication. We will pinpoint emergent practices and new ways of thinking that benefit everyone. The goal for The Commonplace is thus to reflect a multitude of viewpoints around what the future of knowledge should look like toward collective action and broader advocacy. We will integrate our resources across the KFG and with our partners to bring people together, build infrastructure, and advocate for a more sustainable and collaborative process for ongoing knowledge creation and data stewardship. …”

Webinar: Rapid communication of COVID-19 research – ASAPbio

“Join ASAPbio and the Knowledge Futures Group for a conversation about new ways of sharing scientific information relevant to the coronavirus pandemic via preprints, rapid peer review, and more. Individual talks will be followed by a round-table discussion and an audience Q&A period….”

The Case for an Institutionally Owned Knowledge Infrastructure

“Academic journals, the dominant dissemination platforms of scientific knowledge, have not been able to take advantage of the linking, transparency, dynamic communication and decentralized authority and review that the internet enables. Many other knowledge-driven sectors, from journalism to law, suffer from a similar bottleneck — caused not by a lack of technological capacity, but rather by an inability to design and implement efficient, open and trustworthy mechanisms of information dissemination.

Fortunately, growing dissatisfaction with current knowledge-sharing infrastructures has led to a more nuanced understanding of the requisite features that such platforms must provide. With such an understanding, higher education institutions around the world can begin to recapture the control and increase the utility of the knowledge they produce….

But signs suggest that the bright future envisioned in the early days of the internet is still within reach. Increasing awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the many bottlenecks that the commercial monopoly on research information has imposed are stimulating new strategies for developing the future’s knowledge infrastructures. One of the most promising is the shift toward infrastructures created and supported by academic institutions, the original creators of the information being shared, and nonprofit consortia like the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and the Center for Open Science….

The Case for an Institutionally Owned Knowledge Infrastructure

“Academic journals, the dominant dissemination platforms of scientific knowledge, have not been able to take advantage of the linking, transparency, dynamic communication and decentralized authority and review that the internet enables. Many other knowledge-driven sectors, from journalism to law, suffer from a similar bottleneck — caused not by a lack of technological capacity, but rather by an inability to design and implement efficient, open and trustworthy mechanisms of information dissemination.

Fortunately, growing dissatisfaction with current knowledge-sharing infrastructures has led to a more nuanced understanding of the requisite features that such platforms must provide. With such an understanding, higher education institutions around the world can begin to recapture the control and increase the utility of the knowledge they produce….

But signs suggest that the bright future envisioned in the early days of the internet is still within reach. Increasing awareness of, and dissatisfaction with, the many bottlenecks that the commercial monopoly on research information has imposed are stimulating new strategies for developing the future’s knowledge infrastructures. One of the most promising is the shift toward infrastructures created and supported by academic institutions, the original creators of the information being shared, and nonprofit consortia like the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and the Center for Open Science….