Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“While allowing users to gain access to paywalled academic content aka delivery services is often seen to be less sexy than discovery it is still an important part of the researcher workflow that is worth looking at. In particular, I will argue that in the past few years we have seen a renewed interest in this part of the workflow and may potentially start to see some big changes in the way we provide access to academic content in the near future.

Note: The OA discovery and delivery front has changed a lot since 2017, with Unpaywall been a big part of the story, but for this blog post I will focus on delivery aspects of paywalled content. 1.0 Access and delivery – an age old problem

 

1.1 RA21, Seamless Access and getFTR

 

1.2 Campus Activated Subscriber Access (CASA)

1.3 Browser extensions/”Access Brokers” 1.4 Content syndication partnership between Springer Nature and ResearchGate (new) 1.5 Is the sun slowing setting on library link resolvers? 1.6 The Sci-hub effect?

1.7 Privacy implications …”

Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“Some readers might be thinking that this might be a odd time for us to start focusing on improving user experiences with delivery given that the coming of open access might make a lot of this moot.

 

There are two answers to this. Firstly open access even in the most optimistic of projections will still have a decade or more to go and is likely to cover only journal articles. Libraries will still need to provide access to other licensed resources (A&I indexes, image archives etc) that will not be covered by Open Access.

 

The other reason is that some content providers even in a open access world would still want users to authenticate, so they can track usage and users.”

Improving access and delivery of academic content – a survey of current & emerging trends | Musings about librarianship

“Some readers might be thinking that this might be a odd time for us to start focusing on improving user experiences with delivery given that the coming of open access might make a lot of this moot.

 

There are two answers to this. Firstly open access even in the most optimistic of projections will still have a decade or more to go and is likely to cover only journal articles. Libraries will still need to provide access to other licensed resources (A&I indexes, image archives etc) that will not be covered by Open Access.

 

The other reason is that some content providers even in a open access world would still want users to authenticate, so they can track usage and users.”

Beyond Sci-Hub: Cyber Challenges for the Scholarly Communications Industry – Against the Grain

“Given recent reporting in the press,1 it seems that the legitimacy and credibility of Sci-Hub is no longer a matter for debate.  However, the challenge of how to address the continuing threat Sci-Hub poses to authors, societies, university presses, and other publishers reliant on the royalties derived from book sales and subscription income remains — and is connected to the much wider challenge of cybercrime….

Collectively, we have a responsibility to safeguard and manage a successful online researcher experience by ensuring institutional and individual access is enabled to high quality, licensed, peer reviewed publications;  that data is protected;  and entitlements from licensed institutions are safeguarded.  For example, publishers and librarians worked together as part of the RA21 initiative, now called seamlessaccess.org, to make access to articles easier for researchers using their institutional logins when they are not on campus.  As this becomes implemented across platforms and publishers, it will also negate the need for researchers to log in each time they move between publishers’ websites. …

One way that our community is looking to address and tackle these issues is through the Scholarly Networks Security Initiative (SNSI). …”

Working together to protect from cyber attacks | Research Information

“Nick Fowler and Steven Inchcoombe introduce SNSI [Scholarly Networks Security Initiative], an initiative to solve the cyber challenges facing the scholarly communications industry

Last year the Washington Post and several other media outlets reported that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) was investigating pirate website Sci-Hub….

Such activities threaten the scholarly communications ecosystem and the integrity of the academic record. Sci-Hub has no incentive to ensure the accuracy of the research articles being accessed, no incentive to ensure research meets ethical standards, and no incentive to retract or correct if issues arise.

As this issue goes beyond that of the illegal accessing of academic research, publishers cannot tackle it alone. We need to work with librarians, university network security officers and others responsible for cybersecurity in academic institutions which is why a new pan-publisher initiative has recently been set up with the purpose of encouraging exactly that. The Scholarly Networks Security Initiative brings together publishers and institutions to solve cyber challenges threatening the integrity of the scientific record, scholarly systems and the safety of personal data. The group will explore, for example, how the dangers related to Sci-Hub use can be included in information literacy and other library outreach programs….

Ultimately a combination of forces are needed to protect institutions from cyber-attacks and to ensure that researchers are presented with the best possible user experience, safe in the knowledge that the work they are accessing is correct, up to date and properly connected to the scientific record. Awareness of the damage Sci-Hub is inflicting on institutions and academia needs to be increased. Law enforcement efforts to address the site’s illegality need to be supported. And publishers need to continue making their platforms more interactive and interconnected so that our communities can access the research we publish how they want to. We need to demonstrate that Sci-Hub is not only harmful to the research community but that it is also redundant.”

A Big Year for Open Access Chemistry Publishing – Novara – 2020 – ChemistryOpen – Wiley Online Library

“In the last 10 years the number of chemistry papers published as open access has doubled, and is currently around 25% of the total…

In a growing publishing landscape in which new open access journals are launched every year, ChemistryOpen is proud to have been the first fully open?access society?owned chemistry journal, which published its first issue back at the beginning of 2012, putting us in a strong position going forward. Co?owned and supported by ChemPubSoc Europe (a consortium of 16 European chemical societies), ChemistryOpen remains fully compliant with Plan?S and global mandates and is a great choice for your next open?access publication.

ChemistryOpen has been growing tremendously over the past year. Thanks to the rising interest for open access publishing in chemistry in general, and the increased visibility of ChemistryOpen, we have received our highest yearly number of submissions to date and achieved a record?breaking number of downloads that amounted to a 60?% increase on the previous year. Volume?8 will be the journal?s largest volume so far, with over 170 papers published. A big thanks to all of our authors for sending us fascinating research from all over the world, and enabling the journal to reach a strong position in the ever changing and expanding publishing landscape. We are ready to welcome the new publishing year 2020 with optimism and enthusiasm!…”

What to Expect in the Publishing World in 2020 – Against the Grain

“Earlier this month, a rumor began to circulate that the US government was planning on passing an executive order that would mandate all papers from federally funded research be open access immediately upon publication—abolishing the 12-month paywall allowed under current rules.

In response, more than 135 scientific societies and academic publishers penned an open letter to President Donald Trump’s Administration strongly opposing such a policy, warning that the proposed changes would “jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results.” The letter has been widely criticized by academics and open-access advocates on social media….

Although the [Plan S] coalition has managed to gain some international members, the overall response to Plan S has been lukewarm outside of Europe. India’s government, for example, decided to forgo joining the coalition and develop its own national effort to advance open access, despite earlier indications that it would be joining the group. In Latin America, where Argentina has joined cOAlition S, academics have raised concerns about the initiative’s focus on pay-for-publishing models. One worry is that if funders or universities are required to cover fees for publishing open access in commercial journals, financial resources could be diverted from their current system, under which journals are free to publish in and free to read—and scientific publications are owned by academic institutions….”

What to Expect in the Publishing World in 2020 | The Scientist Magazine®

“Earlier this month, a rumor began to circulate that the US government was planning on passing an executive order that would mandate all papers from federally funded research be open access immediately upon publication—abolishing the 12-month paywall allowed under current rules.

In response, more than 135 scientific societies and academic publishers penned an open letter to President Donald Trump’s Administration strongly opposing such a policy, warning that the proposed changes would “jeopardize the intellectual property of American organizations engaged in the creation of high-quality peer-reviewed journals and research articles and would potentially delay the publication of new research results.” The letter has been widely criticized by academics and open-access advocates on social media….”

Why are Librarians Concerned about GetFTR?  – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Twitter was abuzz this past week with the announcement of Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) at the STM association meeting in London. GetFTR attempts to reduce friction between discovery and access through a new kind of linking data service, and Roger Schonfeld’s same day analysis here in The Scholarly Kitchen provided some information from a publisher perspective. 

Developed by a group of five of the largest publishers, and built on top of RA21’s Seamless Access service, GetFTR was very effectively kept under wraps until the formal announcement — so much so that the staff of NISO, a lead partner in Seamless Access, was completely unaware of the project. 

GetFTR offers clear benefits for publishers and researchers. A direct link to a copy with known access entitlements is very useful. But, it seems some were taken aback by the less than warm welcome the announcement received from the library community.

Today, I wish to articulate why many librarians are concerned about GetFTR. …

GetFTR builds on the foundation of Seamless Access, an initiative that troubles the library community. The predecessor project, RA21, raised many concerns related to control over and privacy of user data and the future of publisher support for proxy and IP based authentication, access pathways that are valued and broadly implemented in academic libraries. The follow-on organization to the RA21 project, Seamless Access, seems to be unable to find a library organization partner to join the leadership team in spite of making a number of overtures, and the group has chosen to move forward with implementation without that engagement. By connecting itself to Seamless Access, GetFTR is “inheriting” a number of the library critiques of Seamless Access….”

 

New service from publishers to streamline access to research

“Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) is a new, free to use solution that enables faster access for researchers to the published journal articles they need.

When researchers are using online tools to search for research, GetFTR will provide seamless pathways to the published journal articles they want. Researchers will be able to link directly to the most up to date and best version of an article. To create a seamless experience, researchers will be taken directly to the article, and just the article, from a wide variety of discovery tools that they are already using. Even if a researcher does not have the relevant institutional access to an article, publishers can provide an alternative version of the content. Importantly, GetFTR enables users to access content in this way both off-campus and on-campus.

Publishers and providers of online research services are encouraged and invited to take part in GetFTR’s development to help maximize its benefits for the research community….

When using today’s discovery tools and platforms, researchers will be able to easily tell which content their institution has made available to them via the GetFTR indicator. They will then be able to follow the enhanced links provided by GetFTR to seamlessly access research on publisher websites.

For users who do not have access based upon their institutional affiliation, participating publishers can provide access to an alternative version of the research, which will be more extensive than the abstract, enabling the user to better understand the nature of the article e.g. a preprint….”

Publishers Announce a Major New Service to Plug Leakage – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today, a group of the largest scholarly publishers is announcing a new effort to improve discovery and access, fight piracy, compete with ResearchGate, and position their platforms for an open access ecosystem. Their new “Get Full Text Research” (GetFTR) service will meaningfully improve access for the vast majority of users who discover articles from starting points other than the publisher website. This important development in user experience more importantly provides further evidence that publishers are finally beginning to address digital strategy in an environment of growing leakage that has steadily eroded their ability to monetize the value they create. At the same time, it probably does not yet go far enough to reset the competitive environment….

Publishers have been working on improved discovery and access for several years now. The effort to create RA21 (now SeamlessAccess.org) is helping to overcome one major access stumbling block by making the authorization process smoother. GetFTR, a service that signals to the user whether they will have access to the full-text and then routes them directly to it, is a natural next step. 

Backed by the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley, GetFTR has two components. First, it enables the discovery service to indicate whether the article full text is available to the user before clicking on a link to the publisher page and if so to link directly to it. It requires that a user has disclosed their institutional affiliation through the SeamlessAccess.Org “Where Are You From” service, which in turn stores the affiliation information locally on their browser. The user’s institutional affiliation is sent along with the article DOI to a service which then queries the appropriate publisher to determine whether the individual should be entitled to access the article. This should take place seamlessly in the background as a list of search results is loading. The user will see, in a list of search results, clear information such as a green or red button, on whether they will be able to access the full text of each article prior to clicking on the link to it. A user who then clicks on the link will be taken to their institutional login or directly to the article without any intermediate pages if they are already logged in during the current session. This is a natural next step to improve access by leveraging federated authentication that is being rolled out more broadly in the wake of RA21. If enough subscribing institutions adopt federated authentication and the GetFTR technical implementation is successful it will measurably improve user experience in many cases. 

In a way, however, the second aspect of GetFTR is more significant, because it recognizes that, in the workflow described above, many users are not entitled to access the licensed version. Naturally, a user with entitlements through a subscription will be routed to the version of record. But the service will also provide an alternative for others who do not have licensed access, an alternative that each publisher will be able to determine for itself. Some publishers might choose to provide access to a preprint or a read-only version, perhaps in some cases on some kind of metered basis. I expect publishers will typically enable some alternative version for their content, in which case the vast majority of scholarly content will be freely available through publishers even if it is not open access in terms of licensing. This alternative pathway is a modest technical development but will have far-reaching strategic implications. 

GetFTR is intended to be entirely invisible to the user other than an array of colored buttons indicating that the link will take them to the version of record, an alternative pathway, or (presumably in rare cases) no access at all. Thus, like RA21, the brand name is not intended to face towards users. Digital Science and Elsevier expect to pilot GetFTR in the first quarter of 2020 through their platforms Dimensions, Mendeley, and ReadCube Papers. GetFTR characterizes these kinds of discovery and scholarly collaboration platforms as “integration partners.” Technical details about the service and associated APIs for publishers and integration partners are available online. …

For publishers, this situation is increasingly untenable. Pirate sites include nearly 100% of licensed publisher content. In addition, various kinds of repositories make green versions available and scholarly collaboration networks provide access to tremendous amounts of content as well. But it is not just availability elsewhere that is a concern. The use of SciHub, ResearchGate, and other alternative sources of access has exploded. With usage growing rapidly through these alternatives, the share of usage taking place on the publisher site is declining….”