Solving medicine’s data bottleneck: Nightingale Open Science | Nature Medicine

“Open datasets, curated around unsolved medical problems, are vital to the development of computational research in medicine, but remain in short supply. Nightingale Open Science, a non-profit computing platform, was founded to catalyse research in this nascent field….”

Is Infrastructure Consolidation the Next Step? CCC Acquires Ringgold – The Scholarly Kitchen

“It seems that barely a month goes by these days without another acquisition in the scholarly communications and publishing space. Most of the attention has focused on major acquisitions by Elsevier and Clarivate, particularly Elsevier’s recent acquisition of interfolio, the company behind the reporting tool researchFish, and Clarivate’s purchase of ProQuest at the end of last year. And to be sure, their movement towards scholarly workflow tools and platforms is an extremely important development. The recent news that the Copyright Clearance Center will acquire Ringgold is an important reminder that many other firms, including not-for-profits, are actively pursuing growth strategies that contain elements other than organic growth. It is also another confirmation of the extreme strategic value of infrastructure, including in particular the persistent identifiers, lovingly known as PIDs, that is needed to advance scholarly communication in an increasingly open access environment. And it raises the question of whether infrastructure will be managed openly through community governed organizations or the extent to which the sector can live with its privatization….”

Sustainable eBook Acquisition and Access: The not-for-profit Perspective – Charleston Hub

“…We launched an OA eBook program in 2016 that has grown to include more than 7,700 titles. Libraries can use free MARC records or activate the OA titles in their discovery service, and users can cross-search all OA and licensed eBooks with all other content types on our platform. The ease of discovery on JSTOR has led to strong usage of the OA titles. In 2021 alone, there were more than 11 million uses of the OA eBooks worldwide.

A Learning Journey

While some publishers have eagerly experimented with OA models, others fear being left behind. These publishers share the mission to make scholarship more accessible but worry that the lack of grant support and viable business models are not well understood by the government agencies and funders that are creating OA mandates. The potential for libraries converting to models such as “subscribe to open” could alleviate these concerns, but few of our smaller and medium-sized publishers have the ability to undertake such a change themselves. They lack the resources and bandwidth to design new business models and advocate for funding. We have been working on various Open Access models in support of our publishers and to meet the demand from libraries and researchers for more OA content. First, in our “Convert to Open” model, publishers have identified eBooks already available for sale on JSTOR to convert to OA without incurring any additional costs to do so. The usage data for these titles shows the strong impact of opening up backlist scholarly content and making it discoverable to researchers around the world. We reviewed 336 titles from 30 publishers that were converted from licensed eBooks to OA in 2019 and 2020 and documented the usage for each title one to two years prior to being converted to OA and an equivalent one to two years after. The usage for these titles increased by 3,279% after being converted to OA. We have also developed a “Publish as Open” model in collaboration with libraries and publishers to support the publication of new titles directly as OA. In 2019, the Latin Americanist Research Resources Project (LARRP, a CRL initiative) approached JSTOR to support a low-cost OA pilot for new titles from Argentinian publisher CLACSO, the Latin American Council of Social Sciences. To date, this collaboration has made 340 CLACSO titles freely accessible on JSTOR. The titles have been used more than 940,000 times by users across 195 countries. Sócrates Silva, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian for Columbia and Cornell and President of SALALM, described the project’s importance for bridging a critical gap in the scholarly communications system. “Despite established OA publishing models for scholarly works in Latin America, monograph discovery and preservation infrastructure for this important content in U.S. libraries is virtually nonexistent. This multi-partner, horizontal, and librarian-led pilot is testing out sustainable partnerships that take into account the monograph lifecycle from publisher to library” (JSTOR, 2021). Based on the success of this pilot and ongoing support to fund future OA titles for CLACSO, we are working with LARRP to expand our collaboration and support other selected Latin American publishers. In the coming years, we plan to expand this model to other publishers in partnership with the academic community….”

Serving our community in difficult times: a letter from Kevin Guthrie – ITHAKA

“At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, we promised that fees would not increase for JSTOR participants through 2023. We also introduced a year-long program that provided participating academic institutions with access to all Archive Collections at no additional cost. Since then, we extended that program for another year, and to date nearly 5,000 institutions have taken advantage of it….

Consistent with our mission-driven aspirations, and considering the current public health, economic, and political environment, we have decided to extend the expanded access program to participating higher education institutions for a third year, through June 2023….”

 

‘The arXiv of the future will not look like the arXiv’ | Jeff Pooley

Alberto Pepe, Matteo Cantiello, and Josh Nicholson, in their arXiv paper calling on arXiv to overhaul itself:

Disclaimer: This article has originally been written and posted on Authorea, a collaborative online platform for technical and data-driven documents. Authorea is being developed to respond to some of the concerns with current methodology raised in this very piece, and as such is suggested as a possible future alternative to existing preprint servers.

The paper doesn’t mention that Authorea is owned by Atypon, which itself is a subsidiary of publishing oligopolist Wiley. All three authors are affiliated with the Wiley-owned platform.

Which begs the question: will the arXiv of the future be nonprofit?

 

Glossa Psycholinguistics: Open access by scholars, for scholars

“We are very pleased to publish our first articles for Glossa Psycholinguistics, a Fair Open Access journal for psycholinguistic research. These articles represent the culmination of nearly two years of behind-the-scenes work that rests upon a substantial outpouring of support for our project from the psycholinguistic community at large. We’re proud of the papers that the community has contributed to Glossa Psycholinguistics, and we’re happy to use this inaugural editorial to formally mark the publication of these first articles….

GG is a Fair Open Access journal, which means that all articles are open access. Moreover, authors pay a much lower APC than is typical in the world of scientific publishing (at the time of this writing, 500USD). In fact, at GG the default is that authors pay nothing to publish: Authors ‘opt-in’ to pay the APC when they have available institutional or research funds. The GG model has other key features: Authors retain copyright in their publications and are able to use the CC-BY-4.0 license to designate broad sharing and reuse provisions. Additionally, the management model is democratic, with the Editorial Team and Board forming a decision-making collective that also has full ownership of the journal title….

Fortunately, our expenses are lower than for most journals because we are not a for-profit operation. Moreover, no member of the editorial team receives any sort of financial compensation, and eScholarship provides its services free of charge. But we still have costs, including those associated with typesetting, protection of web domain names, brand name protection, and so on. To cover those costs, like GG, the funding model for Glossa Psycholinguistics relies on a combination of institutional funding and APCs. However, although open access publishing is now viewed by many in the scholarly community as an essential feature of fair and equitable scientific publishing, some have voiced the concern that APCs may introduce a financial incentive to publish lower quality work. To guard against this, both Glossa journals only request a modest APC from those who have earmarked funds to pay such charges….”

OA and fiscal sponsorship: Interview with SPARC’s Heather Joseph

“The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) was founded in 1998 as a program area within The Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Since then it has gone on to become the world’s most influential open access advocacy group.

As SPARC’s activities grew, however, there were concerns that its success could jeopardise ARL’s tax-exempt status. In 2014, therefore, it signed an administrative agreement with New Venture Fund (NVF), a non-profit fiscal sponsorship organisation located in Washington, DC.

Although this change took place eight years ago, I have seen little or no commentary about it until recently (although I may simply have missed it).

At the end of last year, however, a disgruntled OA advocate pointed me to some tweets critical of SPARC and its association with NVF; and earlier this month I was alerted to a post published in 2018 that also seems to be critical of SPARC.”

Library funding for open access at KU Leuven

Abstract:  As main buyers of scholarly literature, research libraries have always provided essential economic support for sustaining the market of academic publishing. With the switch to open access (OA), libraries are now faced with transitioning this support from the demand (subscriptions) to the supply (publications) side. The way in which this is currently done, in general, risks strengthening the preponderance of the for-profit approach to scholarly communication. We therefore believe that it is essential to apply library budgets to foster a greater diversity. That is exactly the purpose of the Fund for Fair Open Access, set up by KU Leuven Libraries in 2018, which is exclusively devoted to stimulating the development of non-profit and community-led initiatives. This is achieved by library memberships to sustain open scholarship infrastructure, by supporting diamond OA programmes and by subsidizing OA books published by Leuven University Press. In this article, we will demonstrate the accomplished successes of the fund and share some insights we have gathered along the way, such as our decision to cease financing article processing charges, even in a Fair OA business model.

 

Scientific knowledge must be protected to ensure a Europe fit for the digital age

“CESAER, COAR and LIBER welcome the strong focus of the European Commission towards a A Europe fit for the digital age as part of its priorities from 2019 to 2024. We are convinced that the importance of research and education needs a strong focus within these initiatives and call upon the EU institutions to (i) acknowledge the unique position of universities and other research performing organisations in the provision of digital services and infrastructure directed towards the common good and (ii) provide for an overarching legal framework excluding university and research related repositories and corresponding infrastructures from market-oriented EU legislation, in order to prevent any unintended collateral damage from current and future EU legislation aimed at commercial players….

While we understand that the aim of these initiatives is to modernise legislation in a digital age for the good of society, we are concerned that certain aspects of them will negatively impact the research and education sectors, as they conflict with key notions of scientific collaboration, open science, and knowledge-based societies….

It is important to ensure that the knowledge sector does not suffer unintended consequences and collateral damage in current and future market-oriented EU legislation. On the contrary, research and education sectors must be empowered to assume responsibilities in creating a Europe fit for the digital age built on scientific knowledge and learning.”

ScholarLed welcomes new member presses: African Minds and mediastudies.press

ScholarLed are delighted to announce that two additional scholar-led presses will be joining our consortium: African Minds and mediastudies.press.

African Minds is a not-for-profit, open access publisher based in Cape Town, South Africa. They publish predominantly in the social sciences and their authors are typically African academics and thinkers, as well as international academics who have a close affinity with the continent. They offer a new publishing channel to authors frustrated by a lack of support from traditional book publishers as well as with publishing’s anachronistic and lengthy approach to making knowledge available.

mediastudies.press is a new, open-access publisher for the media and communication studies fields. Launched in 2019, the press is nonprofit and scholar-led. They publish living works, with iterative updates stitched into their process. And they encourage multi-modal submissions that reflect the mediated environments their authors study. Publishing with mediastudies.press is free on principle. Their aim is to demonstrate, on a small scale, an open-access publishing model supported by libraries rather than author fees. Open access for readers, they believe, should not be traded for new barriers to authorship.

We are also pleased to announce that our board has formally accepted Mattering Press, meson press, Open Book Publishers, and punctum books as members of ScholarLed. These four presses were founding members of ScholarLed before we registered as a not-for-profit foundation in the Netherlands, and have now formally become members of the foundation as per our constitution and membership criteria.

What is the relationship between legal form, governance, and ethics? | Martin Paul Eve | Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing

“In the world of OA publishing, there have been further (not-so)shock waves reverberating this week as Knowledge Unlatched was sold to Wiley. One of the questions this raises is: how was it possible for this sale to go through and what could have been done to prevent it?

One of the first points to raise, and one that I have already made on Twitter, is that Knowledge Unlatched had to take a corporate form that protected its founder’s investment. Now, whether it’s what I would have done is a different matter, but it nonetheless takes a lot of guts to stake a huge amount (or, even, all) of your personal pension on an idea, which is what Frances Pinter did. But if you need the money back, you have to be able to sell the asset. So the fact that KU didn’t attract the not-for-profit investment affected the choice of corporate form.

What does being a charity or community interest company actually mean, though? It means, first, that your organization has an eleemosynary purpose. That is, it must be operated for the public benefit. Education, for instance, is a charitable object. It doesn’t even, in UK law, though, have to be education for everyone (the general public). Private schools can be (and often are) charities, despite only providing education to the subset of the “general public” who pay them. Hence, academic publishing can be a charitable purpose, even if it’s not openly accessible.

Second, it means that your organization is subject to certain types of financial control, but also benefit. In the UK, charities that raise money in fulfillment of their charitable purposes are not subject to corporation tax (though they are subject to VAT, under specific circumstances, and also to other taxes). They can also be converted only to organizations that share commensurate charitable objects. OLH, for instance, can merge with Birkbeck, University of London, because they share the charitable purposes of education for the public benefit.

Third, it also means that you will probably struggle for money. Charities are not allowed just to rake in tonnes and tonnes of surplus without question. They have to operate somewhat prudently. They also don’t have the mega-bucks of the big for-profit players, which means that they can usually be out-competed by these entities, which could, to be frank, starve the not-for-profits out, Uber-style, if they wanted.”

SCOSS Expression of Interest 2022 – SCOSS – The Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services

“Having raised well over 3 million EUR to sustain vital, non-commercial infrastructure and services within the Open Science community; the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS) is once again searching for new potential candidate organisations to fund during the 2022 to 2024 SCOSS funding cycle. We welcome applications from across the world: particularly from South America, Asia and Africa although all regions should apply.

In short, this is how the initiative works: SCOSS provides the framework and funding structure, vetting potential candidates based on a defined set of criteria. The most eligible of those that pass the vigorous evaluation are then presented to the global OA/OS community of stakeholders with an appeal for monetary support in a crowdfunding-style approach.

In 2022, the SCOSS board is seeking potential candidates for preliminary assessment. At minimum, each candidate must meet the following basic qualifications:

The candidate organisation must have been established for at least two years, and can demonstrate their sustainability challenge.
Eligible organisations must have a non-profit status in the country in which they are based and/or be affiliated with or owned by a research or educational institution.
The services or infrastructure provided by the candidate organisation must be of international relevance and must be broadly relevant to more than one discipline.”

For NGOs, article-processing charges sap conservation funds

“The shift from a ‘reader pays’ to an ‘author pays’ model of scientific publishing presents a financial threat to environmental non-governmental organizations (eNGOs). Many of these support, conduct and publish applied research on real-world solutions to the planet’s most pressing challenges. Funded mainly by donations, eNGOs must now choose between taking conservation action and publishing more research papers.

A more equitable publishing system is needed. Platinum and diamond open access (see L. Barnes Open Book Publishers https://doi.org/g3tb; 2018), financed by a third party such as a scientific society, avoid article-processing charges (APCs) for authors and paywalls for readers, and can offer the lowest-cost option for eNGOs. Alternatively, journals could offer APC waivers for authors at eNGOs.

Discussions at this year’s United Nations biodiversity conference (COP15) and climate-change conference (COP26) are informed by eNGO research. Mandatory APCs risk pricing eNGOs out of scientific publishing at a time when their research output is most urgently needed.”