Placing Authors at the Center of the Scientific Endeavor | The Official PLOS Blog

PLOS is developing a new submission system to enhance the publishing experience for our community of editors, authors and reviewers. Why are we doing this? The linear, step-by-step process of creating, submitting and reviewing a manuscript simply does not satisfy the needs of scientists today. Large-scale solutions to the current challenges of scientific publishing are not simple, but PLOS believes they are challenges that must be addressed. PLOS is rooted in responsible disruption, beginning with a community-driven Open Letter, to proving Open Access as a sustainable publishing model and creating PLOS ONE, the world’s first and now largest multidisciplinary journal to accept all rigorous science, independent of perceived impact. The PLOS commitment to transforming research communication is not limited to Open Access to the literature; it includes commitment to Open Data, Open Science and Open Recognition. PLOS was the first organization to develop a suite of Article-Level Metrics for its articles and to enforce the requirement that all published articles be accompanied by accessible relevant data. It was also a key driver behind the global collaboration to award researchers for open publication practices with the Accelerating Science Award Program. With this history of pushing boundaries, coalition building and community respect as a foundation, PLOS is well placed for ongoing innovations that benefit science and the public … ‘To honor and connect our roots in the Open Access movement to the exciting Open Science era ahead, we chose the name Aperta™ for our new submission system. Aperta means Open in Italian and brings with it the association of forthcoming and fairness, qualities that PLOS strives to bring to the process of publishing scientific research’ …”

I am thinking of starting an…arxiv-based overlay journal in logic

“I am thinking of starting an effort to mount an arxiv-based overlay journal in logic, in the style of Discrete Analysis ( 

My idea would be a completely open-access journal focussing on topics in mathematical and philosophical logic, on the overlay journal concept.

Please let me know below if there is interest in supporting such a venture. Would you submit your research articles to such a journal? Would you serve as referee? As editor? To what extent would the community support such a venture? 

Please vote-up or share this post if this is a venture that you would support.  If there is strong support for such an effort, I will take it more seriously to make it happen….”

Flipping Journals, Changing Ways of Publishing

“As a reference librarian, I’m keenly following developments in the Open Access (OA) movement, because I (along with all of you folks also working with researchers) am aware of how journal and serial costs have gotten so large and burdensome to libraries that titles must be cut, and thus access to important research is becoming ever more difficult for students, faculty, and other scholars around the world. So I was intrigued when I saw last June that Harvard Library’s Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) had awarded a contract to three individuals —David Solomon, Bo-Christer Björk, and Mikael Laakso—to “write a comprehensive literature review on methods for converting subscription-based scholarly journals to open access.” The OSC calls this the “journal flipping project.” When I heard that the preliminary version of their report, Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences, was available for public comment, I took a look at what it says. It’s exciting, in part because it’s realistic. The best thing about it to me is that it points the way forward for excellent research to be shared much more broadly with other researchers who can benefit from it. The benefits to libraries are pretty obvious: taking the strain off library budgets while enabling librarians to assist researchers in getting access to the best possible research in their fields. I also got in touch with Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Library Office of Scholarly Communication, to get some of the context for the “journal flipping” report (for background about Peter and OA in the library context please see my Interview with Peter Suber on Open Access, from September 30, 2015). Here’s what Peter told me about the report: …”

Biodiversity Heritage Library: New IMLS-Funded Project: Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has selected the Expanding Access to Biodiversity Literature project as one of nine National Digital Platform Projects funded in 2015 as part of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. The project will work to position the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) as an on-ramp for biodiversity content providers that would like to contribute to the national digital library infrastructure through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)….”

Harvard’s receives grant to expand its tools for saving sources on the Web – Harvard Law Today

“The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded a major grant to the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab to further develop its tool to combat link rot.

The IMLS grant awards over $700,000 to the Harvard Law School Library Innovation Lab, in cooperation with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and more than 130 partner libraries, to sustainably scale to combat link rot in all scholarly fields.”

Evolutionarily Stable Strategies

[This comment was written before I read Richard Poynder’s Interview of Tim Gowers. Having posted this, I will now go on to read the interview and make my comments in the next posting.]

I don’t know about Richard, but I have not despaired of green, ot green mandates; I’ve just grown tired of waiting.

I don’t see pre-emptive gold (i.e., pre-green “fool’s gold”) as an alternative but as just another delay factor, the principal delay factor being human sluggishness. 

And I think the notion of a “flip” to fool’s gold is incoherent — an “evolutionary unstable strategy,” bound to undo itself: not only because it requires self-sacrificial double-payment locally as well as unrealistic collaboration among nations, institutions, funders, fields and publishers globally, but because the day after it was miraculously (and hypothetically) attained globally it would immediately invite defection (from nations, institutions, funders, and fields) to save money (invasion by the “cheater strategy”). Subscriptions and gold OA “memberships” are simply incommensurable. 

The only evolutionarily stable strategy is offloading all but one of the things that publishers traditionally do onto green OA repositories, leaving only the service of peer review to be paid for as fair-gold OA. 

But that requires universal green OA first, not flipped pre-emptive fool’s gold. 

It will all eventually sort itself out that way after a huge series of false-starts. My loss of patience is not just with the needless loss of time but with the boringly repetitious nature of the recurrent false starts. I’d say my last five years, at the very least, have been spent just repeating myself in the face of the very same naive bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and non-viable non-starters. Locally in space and time, some people sometimes listened to my objections and my alternative strategy, but globally the very same non-starters kept popping up, independently.

So (with an occasional exception like this) I’ve stopped preaching. Time will either show that I was wrong or, like evolution, it will undo the maladaptive strategies and stumble blindly, but inevitably toward the stable strategy (which also happens to be the optimal one): universal green first, then a rapid downsizing and transition to scalable, affordable, sustainable fair-gold. Amen.

Open access meta-analysis for psychotherapy research

Use the link to access pay-per-view options for the article published in PsycNET. [Abstract] Meta-analysis has played a key role in psychotherapy research for nearly 40 years. There is now an opportunity for technology to assist with transparent and open meta-analyses. The authors describe an open-access database of effect sizes and a corresponding web application for performing meta-analyses, viewing the database, and downloading effect sizes. The initial databases provide effect sizes for family therapy for delinquency studies and for alliance-outcome correlations in individual psychotherapy. Disciplinary norms about data sharing and openness are shifting. Furthermore, meta-analyses of behavioral interventions have been criticized for lacking transparency and openness. The database and web application are aimed at facilitating data sharing and improving the transparency of meta-analyses. The authors conclude with a discussion of future directions for the database. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

ContentMine at Force2016; notes for my session

I have a 30 mins session at Force2016 on Semantic Publishing. I’ll concentrate on ContentMine. I shall not powerpoint people, but do some experiments.

Here are some useful links:


NOTE: You can do all this yourself. You don’t need to be in a University or get publisher permission. I shall explore this with my taxi-driver.


Tribute to Timbl (Tim Berners-Lee)

From Stevan Harnad’s tribute to Tim Berners-Lee: “Nor can we remind ourselves enough, that although, because of today’s absurd intellectual property and patent laws, Tim’s uniqueness might have been that he became the world’s richest man, he has instead opened his contribution to every one of us, and to all future generations, opening access to the web, world-wide, opening the door to open science, open data, open knowledge, on a scale for which the only analogy in human history is the advent of language itself.”

The media-academia complex — Adam Smith Institute

“The last decade or so has seen academia become increasingly open to scrutiny and criticism, and that’s a good thing. Open access journals and the use of ‘working papers’ to get round publishing restrictions in gated journals allow people from outside academia to use and challenge existing research. The more freely-available work like this is, the better.

But much of the media hasn’t caught up. It’s common to cover research papers from think tanks, consultancy firms and academics that haven’t been made publicly available…At least a dozen times in the past twelve months alone the ASI has been asked to comment on some new study that hasn’t been made available yet – as if we can criticise something without seeing it first.

The practice of reporting on research that is not open to scrutiny by others has to stop. At best it holds back the progress the world is making towards more open access to academic research. At worst it leads to bad research being reported without being challenged properly, and people who trust the news they read being misled.”