New services to support open research – BioMed Central blog

“This service builds on our Research Data Support helpdesk, launched in July 2016, and will further help authors comply with funder policies, prepare their data for deposition in a repository and enhance their peer-reviewed publications. The service provides secure and private submission of data files, data curation and publisher-managed release of datasets. Authors will make their data openly available, under either a Creative Commons attribution license (CC BY) or the CC0 public domain waiver. The service is run by professional Research Data Editors and provided by Springer Nature in partnership with figshare….”

hybrid oa monographs was RE: OA funds

“University of Michigan Press recently did a study of our imprint — started a decade ago as an OA-to-read-online, purchase print or downloadable ebook “freemium” model like MIT Press’s approach. We found that while some books lost money and others made money the overall picture was one where the “direct” costs of production could be covered by the sales of print and downloadable ebooks. 

These “direct” costs are around half of the actual costs of publishing books (they don’t take account acquisitions editorial activity, for example) so the picture was not ultimately of a sustainable approach for high investment university press books, but workable for titles with a more lightweight workflow. Of course electronic reading behavior keeps changing so assuming that readers of an OA book on screen might still buy print is a risky proposition.

This is perhaps a rather convoluted reply, but I think it illustrates that the question about sustainability of “freemium” models conducted without subventions doesn’t have an easy answer. There are case studies where it may seem to work, but there are others which tell a more nuanced story….”

Letter: Expand public access to Congressional Research Service reports

[Apparently this letter was taken offline soon after it was posted. This is the version in the Google cache.] 

“Dear Chairman Harper, Chairman Shelby, Chairman Yoder, Chairman Lankford, Ranking Member Brady, Ranking Member Klobuchar, Ranking Member Ryan, and Ranking Member Murphy:

We write in support of expanded public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports. Longstanding congressional policy allows Members and committees to use their websites to disseminate CRS products to the public, although CRS itself may not engage in direct public dissemination. This results in a disheartening inequity: insiders with Capitol Hill connections can easily obtain CRS reports from any of the 20,000 congressional staffers and well-resourced groups can pay for access from subscription services. However, members of the public can access only a small subset of CRS reports that are intermittently posted on an assortment of not-for-profit websites. Now is the time for a systematic solution that provides timely, comprehensive free public access to and preservation of non-confidential reports while protecting confidential communications between CRS and Members and committees of Congress.

CRS reports—not to be confused with confidential CRS memoranda and other products—play a critical role in our legislative process by informing lawmakers and staff about the important issues of the day. The public should have the same access to information. …

Taxpayers provide more than $100 million annually in support of CRS, and yet members of the public often must look to private companies for consistent access to CRS reports. Some citizens are priced out of these services, resulting in inequitable access to information about government activity that is produced at public expense….”

[Signed by 42 organizations and 47 individuals.]

The Price of On-Screen Reading Interfaces Versus Print Interfaces: Open Access Publishing | History and Future of the Book

“In conclusion, screen reading interfaces may contain an array of pros and cons, but the assumption that online information and publishing are always free is false. Internet access, electricity use and production, manufacturing of electronic devices, and the labor of writing and editing all come at a cost. Open access publishing is a solution created to solve this problem, which aimed to remove a portion of these costs from consumers and instead have the authors pay to become published. However, this model also contains many pros and cons, being very controversial in the publishing domain. Open access publishing may widen the audiences of articles, yet it can also lead to lower quality in articles and to legal issues. The future of open access publishing relies on authors themselves, because they make their own decision to publish their articles in open access, or to publish their article in an academic journal.”

A new game puts the public into public radio archives – Poynter

“[A] new game has launched that not only develops public awareness of public broadcasting archives, but actually deepens the public’s relationship with material in the archive.

The game, called Fix It, was launched by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation. It asks the public for help in identifying and correcting errors in public media transcripts — which improves both the searchability and accessibility of archival material from the collection….”

Going Green: a year of supporting the HEFCE OA Policy | Library Research Plus

“In total there’s a 55% Green OA/45% Gold OA split, and given that Green OA represents more inconvenience than most of our academic colleagues unfamiliar with arXiv have ever been willing to tolerate, it is very unlikely indeed that the University would have achieved such high compliance had the Library not provided a mediated Green OA deposit service. The data confirms our approach helped make Green Open Access an organisational habit practically overnight. 

The approach has come at a cost however; over the past year, supporting the HEFCE OA policy has taken up the majority of the team’s bandwidth with most of our 9am-5pm conversations being in some way related to a paper’s compliance with one or more funder OA policy.

Now that our current processes have bedded in, and in anticipation of the launch of the new UK Scholarly Communications License (UK-SCL) – for more on this read Chris Banks’s article or watch her UKSG presentation – and further developments from Jisc, we hope that over the next 12 months we can tilt the balance away from this reductionist approach to our scholarly output and focus on other elements of the scholarly communication ecosystem. For example, we are already in discussions with Altmetric about incorporating their tools into our OA workflows to help our academics build connections with audiences and are keen to roll this out soon – from early conversations with academics we think this is something they’re really going to like.”

Gardner, Peters Introduce Bill to Keep Government Research Data Publically Available

“U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Gary Peters (D-MI) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help federal agencies maintain open access to machine-readable databases and datasets created by taxpayer-funded research. The Preserving Data in Government Act would require federal agencies to preserve public access to existing open datasets, and prevent the removal of existing datasets without sufficient public notice. Small businesses rely on a range of publically available machine-readable datasets to launch or grow their companies, and researchers and scientists use data to conduct studies for a variety of fields and industries….”

Decline and Fall of the Editor – The Scholarly Kitchen

“While advocates of traditional publishing often criticize open access (OA) publishing as lacking in editorial standards, this is not necessarily so. Green OA has the same editorial standards as the traditional publications that provide the articles for a Green deposit into a repository. [Fee-based] Gold OA is a different matter, however, as the ‘author-pays’ aspect of it limits the payment to what the traffic — meaning the author or his or her benefactor — will bear. Kitchen readers have heard me make the point about the average revenue per article before: If the journals industry has combined revenues of $10 billion, and the number of articles published each year is around 2 million, then the average revenue per article is about $5,000. In an all-[fee-based]Gold world, publishers with revenue greater than $5,000 per article (which includes every one of the most prestigious journals) are highly exposed, especially when some Gold publishers charge as little as $1,500 per article. Thus in a dystopian future where [fee-based] Gold OA dominates, there will be insufficient revenue to cover the high editorial costs of the most distinguished editorial operations. The accelerating decline and fall of the editor can thus be laid at the feet of BioMed Central, which pioneered the [fee-based] Gold model. Of course, not everyone will be unhappy if editors find their next career as a Starbucks barista.

Which brings us to the agencies that support [fee-based] Gold OA by tying OA to research grants. Why would such organizations take steps that would lead to the undermining of outstanding editorial programs? There are three possibilities, the first of which is Hanlon’s Razor. Hanlon’s Razor states that one should never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Then there is the cynical view: how galling it must be to back a researcher with a large sum of money only to see the high-impact journals reject the papers that grow out of that research. Distinguished publishers, in other words, hold grants officers accountable — and who wants to be held accountable? The cynics among us suspect that funding agencies are leading the war on editors, with the aim of reducing scientific publishing to content marketing: articles become content that promotes the brands of their tax-advantaged funders. Finally, we have the Law of Unintended Consequences, whose realm is boundless. In this view (which overlaps with Hanlon’s Razor) the funding agencies are attempting to do a good thing, but don’t appreciate that their actions may serve to weaken the strongest and most distinguished editorial franchises.”

OpenUP – Front Page

“OPENing UP new methods, indicators and tools for peer review, dissemination of research results, and impact measurement….Open Access and Open Scholarship have revolutionized the way scholarly artefacts are evaluated and published, while the introduction of new technologies and media in scientific workflows has changed the “how and to whom” science is communicated, and how stakeholders interact with the scientific community. OpenUP addresses key aspects and challenges of the currently transforming science landscape and aspires to come up with a cohesive framework for the review-disseminate-assess phases of the research life cycle that is fit to support and promote Open Science….Through analysis, consultation, hands-on engagement with researchers, publishers, institutions and funders, industry and citizens, OpenUP will a) define a framework that defines roles and processes, benefits and opportunities, b) validate the proposed mechanisms through a series of pilots involving researchers from four scientific communities (Life Sciences, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, Energy), and c) come up with practical policy recommendations and guidelines to be used by EU, national and institutional policymakers at different settings. OpenUP will engage with all stakeholders via a series of outreach and training events, and the creation of an Open Information Hub, a collaborative web based Knowledge Base that will host a catalogue of open tools/services, methodologies, best practices from various disciplines or settings, success stories, reports. This increased level of engagement and knowledge will feed into the development of research and innovation policies that aim to support and complement Open Science….”