Martin Paul Eve, Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014. $50 Cloth. Open Access E-Book.With Open Access and the Humanities, Martin Paul Eve offers a slender, but surprisingly thorough, volume engaging many of the major preoccupations of the open access movement in scholarly communication. In fact, the book’s strongest virtue may be the clarity and economy with which Professor Eve gathers and presents the benefits, risks, and feasible means of adapting Humanities disciplines to open access licensing, distribution, and funding models. Much of this gathering and presenting can feel fairly familiar to anyone already immersed in the slightly more mature conversation associated with STEM publishing (many of the “contexts” and “controversies” to which the book’s subtitle alludes). There really is much to review, however, and as a primer for the open–access curious humanist, Eve’s review should come across as congenial, convenient, and in many cases even demystifying.
The Lethbridge Journal Incubator is a joint project of the University of Lethbridge Library, School of Graduate Studies, and Faculty of Arts and Science. Its goal is to address the issue of the sustainability of gold open access journals by aligning the publication process with the educational and research missions of the public University. In this way, the open access publication, which is more commonly understood as a cost center that draws resources away from a host university’s core missions, is transformed into a sustainable, high-impact resource that improves retention and recruitment. It does this by providing graduate students with early experience with scholarly publishing (a proven contributor to in- and post-program student satisfaction and career success), highly-sought after research and technical skills, and project management experience. This article provides a background to the problem of financing gold open access publication and reports on the experience of the researchers responsible for establishing the incubator as it leaves its experimental phase and becomes a center of the University.
Open access and online publishing present significant changes to the Australian higher education sector in a climate demanding increasing research outputs from academic staff. Today’s researchers struggle to discern credible journals from a new wave of ‘low credibility,’ counterfeit, and predatory journals. A New York Times article on the issue resulted in hundreds of anonymous posts, having a whistleblower effect. An analysis of reader posts, examined in this paper, demonstrated that fear and cynicism were dominant, and that unscrupulous publishing practices were often rewarded. A lack of quality control measures to assist researchers to choose reputable journals and avoid fraudulent ones is becoming evident as universities’ funding and workforce development become increasingly dependent on research outputs. Online publishing is also redefining traditional notions of academic prestige. Adapting to the twenty-first century online publishing landscape requires the higher education sector to meet these challenges with a combination of academic rigour and innovative tools that support researchers, so as to maintain quality and integrity within changing academic publishing practice.
Open access and online publishing have dramatically changed the way that research is disseminated and distributed throughout the higher education sector. Open access provides unrestricted access via the web to publication outputs. Within a decade, online publishing has moved the realm of publication from solely print copies to producing materials which remain almost exclusively in electronic forms, which are either downloadable or printable by an end-user (Steele 2008). Open access and online printing are innately good and have placed access to research within the realm of other researchers and readers, in a fast and accessible manner and with significantly lower costs than were previously encountered in subscriptions to print-copy journals (Inman 2013).Open access and online publishing are also inevitable outcomes of a digital age in which digital scholarship and digital research have become the norm (Salem and Boumil 2013). The use of materials within databases is now an accepted practice and considered the norm within undergraduate, post-graduate, and more broadly, higher education research and study (Goodall and Pattern 2011). This new digital context presents significant challenges to the Australian higher education sector’s maxim of “publish or perish” for two reasons. First, Australia is currently experiencing an increasing demand for research outputs by academic staff (Jackson 2013). This is driven by universities’ search for continued funding. Many universities clearly quantify research output and directly state this as a specific target point when developing their workforce strategies (Nagy 2011). This emphasis on greater research outputs does create, between primarily teaching and primarily research staff, significant issues. An imbalance in the nexus between teaching and research may inadvertently lead to a decline in teaching standards, with students gaining less exposure to research-active academics.Secondly, the mechanisms that Australian universities currently use to assist in evaluating their research lack an effective tool to control quality in this new open access and digital scholarship environment (Geuna and Martin 2003). This environment now includes “low credibility,” counterfeit, and predatory journals. Journals have emerged to attract both new and experienced researchers under pressure to “publish or perish” by workforce strategies structured to guarantee university funding based on the quantity—rather than quality—of their research output (Munro and Savel 2013).In expanding on these two challenges, this paper contributes to the mapping of this new environment. It does so by examining online comments by academics about open access, and by analyzing a small sample of journals to help identify the range and impact of “low credibility,” counterfeit, and predatory journals on Australian researchers. Online publishing is redefining traditional notions of academic prestige. This exploratory paper suggests that current university models require new quality control mechanisms that will factor in the rapid growth of “low credibility,” counterfeit, and predatory journals. Academics will be required to meet research output targets to sustain their career trajectory (O’Brien and Hapgood 2012). Unfortunately, a conundrum exists for researchers, in particular those beginning to get their research published; it can be hard to find a publication vehicle, and it can take a significant lead-time from submitting an article through to publication. Many journals carry a significant backlog of articles queued for review and potential publication (Steele 2008).The combination of open access online publishing with the demand for increased publication rates from academics has created the opportunity for predatory and counterfeit publishing to exist within the sector (Willinsky 2010). The economics of how academic journals charge fees for publishing research has changed as they must now make up for a shortfall in subscriptions as more papers become available through open access. This, in turn, has created both a financial incentive and a ready-made market of desperate researchers under pressure to “publish or perish.” Private individuals and groups have created bogus journals which appear to replicate credible peer-reviewed journals and made these available through open access (Beall 2010). Such journals did exist in the days of exclusively print-publishing; however, the nature of the online environment and the speed with which things happen there has led to a proliferation of low-quality outlets. The “low credibility,” counterfeit, and predatory journals are also an excellent potential source of publication for unscrupulous authors. It is possible that under pressure to publish, an academic or higher education student may opt to publish in a journal knowing that it is predatory or counterfeit, because it is unlikely to be detected. It is noted that evidence for such a hypothesis would be virtually impossible to find, save for anonymous online posts or a whistleblower. A New York Times (NYT) article, “Scientific articles accepted” was published online on April 7, 2013, and discussed changes within academic publishing. The article was innately interesting, but reader comments that followed the article, in quick succession after online publication, were very revealing. The posted reader comments have been analyzed. Notably, anonymity provided an opportunity for the disclosure of professional views with regard to counterfeit and predatory journals (Posey et al. 2010). The readers’ feedback has been categorized into ten classifications but overwhelmingly demonstrated both fear and cynicism. In an era of digital scholarship, readers’ comments on online materials provide a valuable source of information for the higher education sector (Mishne and Glance 2006). This NYT article provided the opportunity to explore the implications of counterfeit, predatory, and “low credibility” journal publications within academia and the reasons for their rise. Reader comments were most frequently classified as “cynicism.” The frequency of category usage for posts is set out in Figure 1. Before expanding on these findings, the nature and context of the new open access and digital scholarship environment should be discussed. The current nexus between teaching and research in Australian universities also requires a re-evaluation; the interplay between open access, digital publishing, and increasing pressures to publish is creating conditions that require stronger quality control.
Online open access journals allow readers to view scholarly articles without a subscription or other payment barrier. However, publishing costs must still be covered. Therefore, many of these publications rely on support from a variety of sources. One source of funds not commonly discussed is donations from readers. This study investigated the prevalence of this practice and sought to learn about the motivation of journal editors to solicit donations, and also to gather input on the effectiveness of this strategy. Results show that very few open access journals solicit donations from readers, and for those that do, donations represent only a very small portion of all support received.
An open access article is freely available to all interested readers and is preserved for posterity (Suber 2003). At this time, open access to scholarly research in the biosciences remains partially realized. According to research published by Mark Ware in 2012, approximately 30% of STM content is open access in some form, whether immediately or after a delay (Ware 2012).
Metadata is the lifeblood of publishing in the digital age and the key to discovery. Metadata is a continuum of standards and a process of information flow; creating and disseminating metadata involves both art and science. This article examines publishing-industry best practices for metadata construction and management, process improvement steps, practical applications for publishers and authors such as keywords, metadata challenges concerning e-books, and the frontiers of the expanding metadata universe. Metadata permeates and enables all aspects of publishing, from information creation and production to marketing and dissemination. It is essential for publishers, authors, and all others involved in the publishing industry to understand the metadata ecosystem in order to maximize the resources that contribute to a title’s presence, popularity, and sale-ability. Metadata and the associated processes to use it are evolving, becoming more interconnected and social, enabling linkages between a broad network of objects and resources.
Keywords: metadata management, publishers, ONIX, content, information, Linked Data, process improvement, social metadata
When it comes to digital content, access and preservation are two sides of the same coin. Without ongoing efforts to ensure preservation, access services falter and become uncertain; without clear evidence of access and supporting services, the mandate to preserve materials loses its force. At the HathiTrust Digital Library this understanding of digital preservation has influenced development of the repository and services as well as HathiTrust’s mission “to contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge.” Preservation and collection of digital materials is tied to access to and use of the content. One key facet of the access services that HathiTrust provides is to users who have disabilities (such as blindness, dyslexia, physical or cognitive impairments, etc.) that prevent them from being able to easily read printed material (disabilities commonly referred to as “print disabilities”). Outlined below are the strategies that HathiTrust has implemented to ensure that users with print disabilities can use the website and access digital materials in the library corpus, activities driven by the mission of HathiTrust as well as its short, albeit eventful, history.
This article analyzes the discourse of library publishing, examining how the needs of library users have (or haven’t) been framed as core concerns in key collaborative documents from the 2007 Ithaka Report to the 2014 Library Publishing Directory. Access issues, including not only open access but format options, usability, accessibility, and general user experience, have most often been absent or sidelined in this discourse. Even open access has been less central than one might expect. Moreover, even in later documents where it is more commonly trumpeted as a value of libraries, open access is often not presented as a service to readers but to authors. For these reasons, I argue the promotion of library publishing has missed a key opportunity to promote such services as offering a holistic approach that incorporates the needs of both authors and readers by drawing on the history of user studies in libraries. The absence of the user as information seeker, and especially reader, in this discourse should concern libraries lest library publishing services replicate existing access problems with commercial publishers beyond the question of openness. The opportunity exists for organizations such as the Library Publishing Coalition to foster discussion of reader needs for digital formats and, where feasible, promote a set of best practices.
The 2014 Library Publishing Forum featured a few moments of tension between librarians and representatives of university presses, perhaps none so pronounced as the session on “Selection and Eligibility in Library Publishing,” where Paul Royster quoted sections of the then-recently released Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Press and Library Collaboration Survey final report. In particular, he highlighted passages where press representatives made comments about library weaknesses related to publishing, including the statement that “most libraries have done very little research on how exactly scholars and students are using materials.” Librarians might understand his consternation with the quote, since it misses a long tradition of user studies in library research and assessment practices. Nonetheless, the conversation around library publishing has not made use of that history as much as one might expect. The 2014 Library Publishing Forum, for example, featured sessions on alignment with editors, other publishers, and faculty and students in their classroom production roles—but not with readers. While users-as-readers are sometimes discussed and always (presumably) implied in the reasons for a commitment to open access, the issue of accessibility of published materials is more peripheral in core library publishing documents to date. Moreover, a broader discussion that ties traditional library commitments and research to user as reader experience, preferences, and practices is minimal in the major statements on scope of and opportunities for library publishing. This article explores this absence in more detail by looking at major iterations of collaborative statements and exploring the role of libraries in publishing. I suggest that the historically user-centered focus of libraries has been effectively overlooked or sidelined in the most prominent discourse of library publishing.The documents I examine include the 2007 Ithaka report University Publishing in a Digital Age; the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Bimonthly Report that digested the Ithaka report for a research library audience, with additional featured library publishing cases; the ARL study on Research Library Publishing Services that appeared the following year; the 2012 IMLS-funded Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report that explicitly framed itself as a follow-up to the ARL study; and the 2014 Library Publishing Directory published by the recently-formed Library Publishing Coalition (LPC). These publications are all collaboratively and organizationally-produced products that attempt to position libraries (sometimes specifically research libraries) within the space of publishing. In other words, besides in some cases being research or exploratory documents, they are political documents that seek to shape the space of publishing, especially in the context of higher education.In analyzing these documents, I draw my method from the tradition of discourse analysis, an approach shared by the humanities and social sciences to “examine how language constructs phenomena, not how it reflects and reveals it.” In practice this means a focus on the entire documents, as well as their organizational and historical circumstances, as the necessary context for understanding how they frame (or do not frame) users and access issues in relation to library publishing. This approach also means I treat “library publishing” itself as a historically specific and contested discursive (oral and written) construct: these documents, including the directory, are not only research or exploratory documents or handy ready reference for those in the field, but also documents jockeying to redefine institutional authority in the swiftly changing space of (especially scholarly) publishing. Their definitions of library publishing, and what the library brings to publishing, are worth scrutiny as to how they prioritize and thus encourage certain activities while ignoring or downplaying others. The high profile rhetoric around the mission of library publishing services, and the understanding of strengths libraries project in that rhetoric, is likely to have some (of course not exclusive) impact on how robustly libraries address particular issues in publishing in a systematic way.This genealogy of major collaborative statements on library publishing services reveals an overwhelming, and understandable, focus on the economic challenges of these programs and their mission alignment within their home libraries. It also reveals that when these statements explore mission alignment, especially around arguments for “what the library brings to scholarly publishing,” the library’s expertise around its traditional users, information seekers, and readers of resources gets lost or downplayed. There are good, timely reasons for the focus on economics and mission: as libraries enter a new field, a great deal of energy does in fact need to go into establishing how publishing services fit into their libraries’ missions and how they can be funded sustainably. As an issue with access implications over the long term, preservation also demands attention as an issue where libraries have traditional commitments but also increasing challenges. My discussion here assumes these are also important discussions. Indeed, inclusion of an explicit focus on user studies that recognizes readers, as well as authors and editors, might enhance some of these conversations by introducing a broad, library-centered principle as a cornerstone of the library publishing discussion.The lack of attention to user behavior expertise should concern libraries who already struggle with the ways vendor-supplied systems cause problems for users of electronic resources. One of the prime benefits of libraries-as-publishers ought to be a determination to counter these struggles in our own systems. Giving user studies a more central place at the table could thus productively reshape practice by putting the entire range of access issues at the center of publishing as a profession of librarians, and it could help frame the broad fit between libraries and publishing services at the level of institutional mission. From accessibility to user-centered design for various access needs, libraries could glean much from LIS research that has already been done outside of the publishing-specific context, such as collections use studies and human-computer interaction. By overlooking this history, libraries have so far missed a key opportunity to frame their approach to scholarly publishing as offering a superior holistic service that considers the access (beyond open) needs of readers when developing publications with authors and editors. The users of library publishing services are also the users of library collections, and finding a place for publishing in the library should mean taking advantage of old strengths as we adopt, and adapt, new strengths from the field of publishing.I am not arguing that library publishers have completely ignored these issues in practice, and I will point to examples when those enter the periphery of the documents I am analyzing. It is possible that many or most libraries are in fact actively engaged with some or all of these issues, but this activity has not yet made it into the most publicized discourse of library publishing. Some occasional library publishing themes, especially including preservation and metadata, imply a concern with access and users over the long term. Moreover, informal channels such as Twitter and blogs often feature librarians involved in publishing (and plenty who are not) offering complaints about particular formats and opinions about what would better serve readers of particular publications or publishers. The broader conversation around electronic publishing outside of the library has also included research into these issues. In a recent discussion of education needs in training publishing professionals, John W. Maxwell argues for a need to attend to “ [t]he intersection of traditional Publication Design with Interaction and User Experience Design, which can be seen as the merging of a formalist tradition with a radically contextualist one.” If publishers generally do make this shift to explore new directions, libraries as publishers should be able to lay special claim to leading change in this area by drawing on local expertise with users (and not just consumers) of published content. Nonetheless, it is often unclear that library publishers are positioned to take advantage of this leadership opportunity in the documents I analyze.Previous discussions in the literature on library publishing have also most often focused on issues of economics and mission. In a study advocating for the possibility of institutionally-focused rather than disciplinarily-focused publishing strengths, Jingfeng Xia notes the prevalence of “applicability, sustainability, and scalability” and more generally “business models” as library publishing concerns in the literature (372). Ji-Hong Park and Jiyoung Shim analyze the fit of library publishing services with traditional scholarly communications functions of registration, archiving, certification, and awareness. The last category, awareness, includes in principle “accessibility,” but their analysis of the awareness function in library publishing services focuses solely on dissemination and marketing rather than ability to access or modes of access; indeed, it is interesting that not even open access is discussed as contributing to the awareness function in their analysis. Isaac Gilman’s 2013 book on legal and ethical issues in scholarly communications, including a section on publishing, expands this discussion beyond economic issues; however, except for brief moments, the issues it addresses remain confined to questions of services for authors and editors, not readers. He argues that his book introduces new concepts based on traditional librarian expertise in “intellectual property, licenses and contracts, and privacy,” but not issues of audience awareness and engagement with users. In a section covering access and preservation in library publishing, Gilman focuses his discussion on open access and aggregator access, with a brief paragraph noting accessibility to patrons with disabilities as a legal and ethical issue. Two documents fall outside the scope of my primary source analysis but deserve special attention because they gather relevant data from librarians and presses regarding library-press collaborations, which represent some (but not all) library publishing activity and library involvement in University Press advisory structures. These include the AAUP report and an unpublished report produced by Charlotte Roh for the University of Arizona as an ARL Career Enhancement Program Fellow. Roh’s report immediately preceded the AAUP report, but their timing and content overlap. Both reports gather feedback from university press directors and library directors about the extent of collaboration at their institutions. When Roh turns to library contributions to these collaborations, she highlights staff, technology, administrative overhead, and space (4). In her focus case, University of Arizona librarians “did have a broader view of what could be considered publishing and felt that open access was important,” (7) tying to two themes of experimentation and open access highlighted in the documents I analyze. Nonetheless, based on the full range of interviews, Roh cautions against seeing open access as a simple press versus library issue (6). Roh also cites metadata and discoverability as important library strengths that the press could draw from (8).The AAUP report included a survey and interviews, and beyond the specific questions about different types of collaboration, interviewees were explicitly asked about how publishing did (or didn’t) fit into the library’s mission and what gaps library publishing might fill relative to the press. In their responses, press directors highlighted library preferences for a user-centric rather than consumer-centric view of services (22), more knowledge about open access infrastructure (24) and responsibility for open access journal publications (28, 30), and a focus on the curation aspects of creation (28). Librarians highlighted a willingness to publish materials a press would not consider and providing open access journals (32). Notably, although framed as a conflict between library and press approaches, it was a press director in this study that noticed the library’s approach to “users” rather than “consumers” of press products.Individual case reports of particular library-publisher collaborations or specific publications have been more likely to mention accessibility specifically or knowledge of users more generally as a concern. Some, such as those elaborated by Anali Perry, et al., focus more on issues such as discoverability, author rights, and open access as key knowledge or commitments the library brings to publishing. However, Rebecca Kennison, Neni Panourgiá, and Helen Tartar reported accessibility and anticipated user issues as a key to collaboration between library, press, and author at Columbia. Nancy L. Eaton, Bonnie MacEwan, and Peter J. Potter described “digitization, knowledge of access mechanisms (including indexing and metadata), and knowledge of user behavior and demands” as key library contributions to the library-press partnership at Pennsylvania State University prior to the more recent cross-institutional statements I look at here. The most elaborated argument I have seen for bringing knowledge of users and accompanying data as a library strength comes from Patrick Alexander and Leila Salisbury, who argue that “sharing of user and market data”—especially library user data and expertise on user behaviors and desires—is a “crucial area of missed opportunity in the library/university press relationship” beyond any specific university context.My argument expands on this statement to suggest this opportunity has continued to go unrecognized, at least when it comes to public arguments on behalf of what libraries bring to the publishing mission. Building on Gilman’s arguments for ethical dimensions of library publishing, I am concerned with the broad range of reader access issues imperative to scholarly communication in a digital age but that nonetheless have been peripheral to the evolving public definition of library publishing services. Access is always mediated by specific formats, which may be a print-on-demand book, a web page, a pdf, or other downloadable text format—only to take some of the formats libraries feel most comfortable managing. Moreover, readers need access that will allow types of text interaction that are both traditional and newly enabled by digital formats. Annotation capabilities, easy flipping between different sections of content in a single document, full text search, and text mining all fulfill different pressing scholarly needs—often for the same scholar. An ethics of access for library publishing that will serve the full range of research and scholarly communication practices demands attention to readers as key stakeholders for library services, even as consultations with authors and editors begins to absorb our attention.
After more than two decades of engagement with open access in our community, perhaps it goes without saying that free access to content is an undeniably good thing, provided it can be sustained on a long-term basis. The question “Is Access Enough?” therefore, is not a question about whether open access is valuable; rather, it inquires as to whether open access is sufficient to accomplish the ultimate objective of enhancing knowledge and increasing the productive dissemination of information worldwide. Presumably our higher-level aim is not to enable or provide free access for its own sake, but rather to broaden the productive use of scholarly materials for the benefit of students, researchers, and learners all over the world.
Although open access has only recently become established as a business model, publishers have been providing some degree of public access to content for much longer—primarily through philanthropic programs. These programs are intended to provide readers who can’t afford to pay for a subscription (such as researchers in developing countries, patients, and their caregivers) with access to the content they need. In many cases, this access is completely free of charge; in others, it is very deeply discounted. This paper will describe and, where possible, evaluate some of the major public/low-cost access initiatives, as well as consider some possible ways forward.
As a librarian of long standing and a recent information school educator (one of whose classes focuses on “access to information”) I take occasions to remind myself that access is a topic of enduring interest to that profession, one that predates the Internet. In its almost oldest sense – The Oxford English Dictionary tells us dating back to the 14th century (one cannot help but be amused that in its very oldest sense access is an
onset of a disease) access is about “approaching, entering, exiting, communicating with, or making use of” (Free Dictionary) and “the ability, right, or permission to approach, enter, speak with, or use; admittance” (Merriam Webster), a sense that takes us back to questions like whether stacks should be open to all who hold a library card and whether libraries should be open on Sundays. At the same time, I am acutely aware of the acceleration of discussion about access. A Google Ngram tracking use of the term from 1800 onwards shows an almost vertical cliff rising from 1960 to the present. Starting in the 1980’s we see “open” often prepending “access,” and those new to the conversation might justifiably belief that “open access” and “access” are one and the same.
“Ryerson University Library and Archives is currently seeking a Copyright and Open Access Assistant to aid with the creation of two subject specific LibGuides and well as the updating of Scholarly Communication and Copyright webpages. As well the successful candidate would expected to assist with updating transactional permissions in the University copyright database. The primary objective of this project is to create two new detailed, rich and informative LibGuides, one that focuses on Copyright and one that focuses on Scholarly Communication issues. Both will act as a core resource for information about copyright and scholarly communication at Ryerson University, and be useful for both faculty and students. These are new resources. The Copyright LibGuide will deal with issues of: instructor copyright compliance at the University including E-Reserves, student copyright information, copyright basics, fair dealing and other copyright exceptions, copyright exceptions, and copyright-free and Creative Commons resources that can be used in teaching and by students (open educational resources). The Scholarly Communication LibGuide will include an overview of Open Access, information of the Ryerson Digital Repository, the Open Access Author Fund, self-archiving strategies, predatory open access journals, basics of bibliometrics, author publishing agreements, the Tri-Council Open Access policy, open access journals (green versus gold), and an Open Access Resource reading list….”
It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a bat! All three may be soaring through the sky, but their shapes vary greatly, which affects their aerodynamics during flight. Birds typically have streamlined head profiles that strongly contrast with the appendages featured on … Continue reading
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“Two of Jisc’s OA pathfinder projects (those led by UCL and Manchester) have agreed that, to reflect specific challenges currently facing universities in implementing OA, they will over the next year take on additional work in the following areas …”