3 things we can do to make open access better

Open access is being pulled and pushed in different directions by groups who each have their own intentions and motivations:

  • Research funders want to maximize their investment and – by holding the purse-strings – are the change instigators accelerating the pace of adoption of open access. Some are more proactive than others pushing scholarly communication towards Gold OA in certain subject disciplines, whilst other funders are less active preferring change to be more organic.
  • Publishers, as gate-keepers of the scholarly written record, influence how open access happens through innovation (developing new business models and products), control of intellectual property (open licensing or imposing journal embargoes) and controlling the spiraling costs. Some publishers are profit-driven and seek the highest returns that the market can burden. Others are more motivated by the academic community
  • Libraries are change agents who can help to enable open access in institutions, for example through implementing repository platforms and offering support services and expertise. Their motivations to be involved are many; Library core values are well-aligned with open scholarship, they have a strong interest in and are well-placed to ensure institutional funds are efficiently allocated, and there is a drive to enhance their relevance through redefining roles within research institutions.
  • Academics. It is easily to fall in to the trap that academics are passive actors in all of this. It feels like the silent majority go along with the status quo as research is their prime concern, and scholarly communication is a side-show with which they have little interest in how it works. Because publishing is increasingly being outsourced they lack a sense of agency or ownership. However, some researchers are driven to innovate and change their scholarly communication practices.

The interaction of each of these players in the scholarly communication game has led to the development of a system driven by interlocking policies, platforms and processes, which we have shown over the course of the last few blog posts, is unnecessarily complex, expensive, inefficient and increasingly at risk of being not fit for purpose.

What steps should libraries be doing to improve scholarly communication?

1. Remove complexity

The problem with Green OA is – it’s not immediate (journals embargoes are far too long), it’s not compliant with all funders policies and it’s unnecessary complexity (checking and matching funders policies and journal embargoes) is inefficient and has many hidden costs.

Help your institution to adopt the UK-Scholarly Communications Licence and most of these problems are diminished. [Read more here]

2. Reduce OA publishing costs

Hybrid OA Gold is the most popular and expensive route for paid open access. A side effect of lowering embargoes is that authors can comply with their research funders open access policies via Green OA.

Where possible, stop paying Hybrid OA costs, and use the open access block grants for pure Gold OA only. [Read more here]

3. Innovate and nurture academic-led publishing

Academic and National Libraries should support academic-led publishing and open access initiatives that are inclusive and open to scholars who do not have budgets for publishing.

Help your staff and students set up their own open access journals using software like Open Journal Systems. Support initiatives like the Open Library of Humanities by becoming a supporter member, and if you are from a larger institution then you should offer to support at a higher rate. [Read more here]

Academic-led publishing

Our last #openaccess week blog post finished with the observation that publishers are increasingly becoming in control of scholarly infrastructure, and that it is now more important than ever for academics to retain control over their research and publishing activities. To help with this we made the recommendation that Academic and National Libraries should support ‘low cost and no cost’ Gold OA  – meaning open access initiatives that are inclusive and open to scholars who do not have budgets for publishing. To paraphrase Martin Eve who could articulate this better than I could ever hope to:

“….the economics of the humanities are different. The majority of research in the humanities remains unfunded except through institutional time. For this reason, Article Processing Charges are not a palatable option for these disciplines.“

Compared against STEM subjects and the lifesciences, commercial publishers have not made much headway with Gold OA in the arts and humanities disciplines. Partly in response, I believe in recent years this has led to lots of academic-led publishing initiatives being set up. You can read more in this excellent paper by Adema & Stone:

The surge in New University Presses and Academic-Led Publishing: an overview of a changing publishing ecology in the UK

Open Library of Humanities

One of my favourite initiatives in the humanities is the Open Library of Humanities. It is funded through a model of library partnership subsidies which collectively funds the platform and its array of journals. A large number of libraries and institutions worldwide already support the OLH, which makes for a sustainable, safe platform.

The annual cost for supporting libraries is less than one Gold OA article processing charge which is excellent value for money – if you had £1000 would you prefer to provide open access to one article or for a whole suite of journals? If your institution hasn’t already signed up – you can check here (https://www.openlibhums.org/plugins/supporters/) – then I would wholeheartedly recommend that you sign up to be a supporting member. In fact, if you are from a larger institution then you should offer to support at a higher rate (which is STILL cheaper than one Hybrid Gold OA publishing fee):

University of Edinburgh further supports OLH

Edinburgh University Library Open Journals

Edinburgh University Library supports the publication of academic and student-led open access journals by providing a journal hosting service using the Open Journal Systems software. The Open Journal service is available to University of Edinburgh students and academics and is provided free of charge.

http://journals.ed.ac.uk/

The Library helps with the initial set up of all new journals and provides ongoing support. We:

  1. Provide the service free of charge on the condition that journals requirements can be met without additional cost or time to the Library.
  2. Provide advice and support to help editorial teams set up their journal and training on using OJS
  3. Provide limited customisation of the new journal according to the design brief supplied by the journal editorial team. Provide initial training and documentation and ongoing support
  4. Provide training (as required) for new publishing staff
  5. Consult with experts in the Library to offer copyright advice
  6. Set up a Google Analytics account for each journal. Please note, the Library may make appropriate use of the statistical data
  7. Manage (and pay for) Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) which use the Library’s DOI prefix: 10.2218
  8. Apply  for an ISSN on behalf of the journal
  9. On publication, apply to DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals).

Currently there are 16 journals on the platform and we are looking to grow the service over the new two years.

UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL)

In the first blog post in this series we set out the position that – whilst Gold OA is an important component of future scholarly communications – Hybrid Gold OA as it currently stands is too expensive to be adopted sector wide, and we recommend alternative paths to openness, like Green OA. The second post in the series highlighted a successful implementation of Green OA in a large research-intensive institution. However, we pointed out a number of problems with Green OA – it’s not immediate  (journals embargoes are far too long), it’s not compliant with all funders policies and it’s unnecessary complexity (checking and matching funders policies and journal embargoes) is inefficient and has many hidden costs. In this third blog post of the series we are going to introduce a potential solution to these problems – the UK-Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL).

Motivation and policy

The UK-SCL is an attempt to fix the problems of Green OA and provide a one-step deposit action by which researchers can comply with multiple funder policies. It is a model open access policy with a standard set of actions which can easily be adopted by UK HE Institutions. If adopted institutions will:

  • Make accepted manuscripts of scholarly articles of its staff available online
    1. on or shortly after the date of first publication, be it online or in any other medium
    2. with a Creative Commons licence that allows non-commercial reuse as long as the authors are fully credited (CC BY NC 4.0)
  • Allow authors and publishers to request a temporary waiver for applying this right for up to 12 months for AHSS and 6 months for STEM (aligned to REF panels).
  • Where a paper is co-authored with external co-authors, the institution will:
    1. Automatically sub-licence this right to all co-authors credited on the paper and to their host institutions.
    2. Not apply the licence if a co-author (who is not based at an institution with a UK-SCL-based model policy) objects.
    3. Honour waiver requests granted by other institutions which have adopted the UK-SCL model policy.
  • Where an output is available immediately on publication with a CC-BY licence, the accepted manuscript will remain on closed deposit.

Implications

If we adopted the policy today what would happen? Well, immediately it would enable institutions and researchers to comply with sixteen research funders by deposit in institutional repositories without further action. This simplification – of messages we give to authors, and to our processes – will lead to efficiency savings in staff time and cost.

Long journal embargoes would be a thing of the past and research could be legally shared without having to resort to methods where copyright is infringed, for example by using Sci Hub or uploading papers to ResearchGate.

Researchers funded by the RCUK wouldn’t be beholden to pay for Hybrid Gold OA anymore. The authors can make their own choice whether they want to pay the APCs or not. If they think it is good value for money they can pay to have their research published, but if they think the APC is too expensive they can also choose to go green.

Response

We have immediately seen a push back from the Publishers Association who seem to have three main concerns:

  1. Cancellations to journal subscriptions because embargoes are removed/lowered
  2. Loss of income from Hybrid Gold OA charges.
  3. Loss of control in the scholarly communication process

In my experience the first point is a complete red herring. The fear from publishers is that because something is available for free then their product won’t be bought. What is not being mentioned is that a lot of this content is already available for free – via SciHub, or #icanhazPDF, or other illegal sharing methods – and subscriptions have not dropped. Additionally, a number of significant academic publishers (including the Royal Society, Cambridge University Press, Emerald and SAGE) already have zero month embargoes for selected titles and they are not affected by cancellations.

The loss of income from Hybrid Gold OA charges is a legitimate concern and to be honest publishers should be worried about this. The thing is, over the last 5 years Hybrid Gold OA has been a bonus to many publishers. It is an additional income stream on top of subscription charges. The total cost of publication has risen something like 25% in the last five years directly due to Hybrid Gold OA. The behaviour we have seen from many commercial academic publishers is that it is their unalienable right to extract as much profit from the open access block grants given to UK universities.  As an administrator of one of these funds I am well aware that the block grants are given to us from charitable organisations, and taxpayers money, via the government. We have to make sure that these funds are used responsibly and that we receive maximum value for money. I would like to see the open access block grants used only for pure Gold OA charges and to stop paying unnecessary Hybrid Gold OA charges.

The final point about loss of control in the scholarly communications process comes at a time where many large academic publishers are aggressively diversifying from their traditional publishing activities. Their aim is to be an integral part of the entire research process – from the inception of research via lab notebooks, pre-print servers and academic social networks, through to its conclusion via research data management, repository platforms, and research information management. I am not against paying for useful services, however when researchers are prevented from sharing their work because profit is more important, then something has clearly gone wrong with the system. It is now more important than ever for academics to retain control over their own research and publishing and this topic will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog post – academic-led publishing.

Green open access and REF compliance

Yesterday’s blog post suggested that our reliance on Hybrid Gold Open Access to meet research funder’s open access requirements was too expensive and libraries should be supporting alternative pathways. In terms of pure numbers the main way the University of Edinburgh is making access to it’s research open is via Green Open Access (OA) – where the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version of the research output is deposited in a repository and made available as soon as publishers copyright policies allow.

Since we started compiling monthly reports in 1st April 2016 we have made 6266 journal articles and conference proceedings open access which equates to around 92% of the University’s total output.

The University of Edinburgh has always had a preference for Green OA because there are no upfront costs for authors so everyone can participate without requiring access to large research budgets. But since the REF2021 open access requirements were published, Green OA has become even more important. The HEFCE policy states that, to be eligible for submission to the next REF, authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts must be deposited in a repository. The University of Edinburgh has adopted this policy and provided the infrastructure and support for all it’s researchers to make their research Green OA. The programme which was adopted to facilitate open access in the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is described in more detail in the following paper:

Large scale implementation of open access: A case study at the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

The results of the open access implementation plan have been extremely successful and we can report a 92% adoption rate for Green OA. The Scholarly Communications Team prepares monthly reports using data from our repository to identify the current level of compliance with the REF open access policy. These monthly reports indicate the numbers of in-scope research outputs (journal articles and conference proceedings with ISSNs) and whether they meet the requirements for the next REF, as per our repository’s compliance-checker functionality.

The figure and table below show the growth in the percentage of research outputs made open access since April 2016 and also a more detailed breakdown by subject area. The reporting period is a rolling window three months behind the current date.

1 April 2016 – 31 May 2017 Number of papers Indicative compliance
Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Business School 123 out of 126 97.62%
Divinity, School of 22 out of 22 100%
Economics, School of 21 out of 21 100%
Edinburgh College of Art 111 out of 118 94.07%
Health in Social Science, School of 118 out of 125 94.40%
History, Classics and Archaeology, School of 86 out of 88 97.73%
Law, School 102 out of 104 98.08%
Literatures, Languages and Cultures, School of 59 out of 61 96.72%
Moray House School of Education 155 out of 160 96.88%
Philosophy, Psychology and Language Science, School of 402 out of 405 99.26%
Social and Political Science, School of 181 out of 191 94.76%
Medicine & Veterinary Medicine
Clinical Sciences, Deanery of 1183 out of 1387 85.29%
Biomedical Sciences, Deanery of 214 out of 239 89.54%
Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, Deanery of 794 out of 910 87.25%
Veterinary Studies, Royal (Dick) School of 550 out of 573 95.99%
Edinburgh Medical School 672 out of 732 91.80%
Centre for Medical Education 7 out of 8 87.50%
Science & Engineering
Biological Sciences, School of 407 out of 455 89.45%
Chemistry, School of 203 out of 231 87.88%
Engineering, School of 373 out of 385 96.88%
GeoSciences, School of 354 out of 373 94.91%
Informatics, School of 366 out of 376 97.34%
Mathematics, School of 135 out of 135 100%
Physics and Astronomy, School of 340 out of 380 89.47%
Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre 6 out of 7 85.71%

Problems

Despite a hugely successful Green OA implementation programme at the University of Edinburgh there are a number of significant outstanding problems. To my mind the main issues are that Green OA is:

Not immediate. Most publishers (but not all) require an embargo period of between 12-36 months before the AAM can be made open access. Not only are long embargo periods are hugely detrimental for scholarly communication, but I believe they are unnecessary. Many academic publishers insist on long embargo periods to protect journal subscription revenue from cancellations. However, a number of academic publishers (including the Royal Society, Cambridge University Press, Emerald and SAGE) have zero month embargoes for selected titles are they are not unduly affected by cancellations.

Not compliant with all research funders policies. Unfortunately, these long embargo periods are not compliant with all research funders policies (e.g. RCUK) which means that many researchers are forced to pay Hybrid OA fees for their publications. As we discussed yesterday Hybrid OA accounts for 70% of our open access expenditure. In the UK researchers are faced by a myriad of different funders policies (e.g. HEFCE, RCUK, Horizon 2020) which currently require different routes to open access.

Not cost-free. If you factor in hidden costs – such a repository platform fees and staff costs for mediated deposits/copyright checking – Green OA is more expensive than you would initially imagine. Whilst gathering data for a recent HEFCE open access questionnaire we estimated that we have around eleven full time equivalent staff distributed across the entire University working on open access implementation. If you aggregate all these costs then the cost per paper to deliver Green OA is somewhere in the region of £45 which I think is too expensive (but put in context this is still pretty good value for money as our average Gold OA costs are £1,676 per paper).

In summary, Green OA is a step in the right direction but still does not answer all of the problems that we currently face. What we can do to alleviate the issues of long embargo periods, harmonising research funders policies and simplifying processes and thereby lowering costs is the topic of tomorrows blog post – the UK Scholarly Communications Licence.

Open Access week: 23-29th October

For Open Access week we have a series of blog posts lined up to be published every day. We’ll start by describing the current state of play of open access here at Edinburgh, before moving on to highlight some of the innovative projects and initiatives we are involved in to develop and promote scholarly communication. We will round off the week by sharing our long-term strategy to support our academics to make their research open. Our blog-posting schedule will look something like this:

Monday : University of Edinburgh 2016/17 Gold open access spend analysis.
Tuesday : University of Edinburgh Green open access and REF compliance.
Wednesday : Implementing the UK-Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL)
Thursday : Academic-led publishing supported by the Library and other actors.
Friday : The University of Edinburgh’s longer-term strategy for open access.

Managing publisher’s open access memberships with Trello

Screenshot - 14_06_2016 , 16_18_06

As more and more publishers have started to offer open access institutional memberships we have started to struggle with the effective management of the various schemes. We are currently signed up to 12 active deals and are scoping half a dozen more. All of the memberships are at different stages of maturity leading to a fairly complex situation if you are trying to stay on top of things.

Currently this work is all carried out by one member of the Scholarly Communications Team; however, we are trying to move towards a more transparent decision making and management process which is available to the whole team and other associated staff members.

After reading an interesting post about the use of Trello within Libraries we decided to try out this project management tool for managing our open access membership schemes. I won’t go into detail about about Trello, as this is covered by the blog post linked above, but I will talk about how we are using the tool for this specific purpose.

Screenshot - 14_06_2016 , 16_35_12

Each project you wish to manage with Trello gets assigned it’s own board which you can keep private to an individual or share with a team. In the screenshot above you can see that I have 3 private boards and am sharing 2 boards with the Scholarly Communications Team. Looking in more detail at the OA Prepay membership board (screenshot below) you can see that we have created 4 vertical columns, known as lists, each populated with a number of cards. You can assign tasks to cards, but in this case we have chosen to allocate them to publishers membership deals. If you want to you can even assign cards to be monitored by specific people within the team, but we have not yet opted to do this.

Screenshot - 15_06_2016 , 10_50_29

The lists are a way to keep the cards organised – for example each list could represent a workflow step. If you like the ‘Getting Things Done‘ methodology you could have To Do, Doing and Done lists.

When looking at publishers’ open access membership deals there are a number of tasks that need to be carried out which can be arranged into 4 general groups:

  1. Evaluating the initial offering
  2. Sign-up procedures
  3. Day-to-day administration and usage monitoring
  4.  Renewal/ deactivation decision making

We decided to use 4 lists to represent the workflow of moving from evaluating new publisher deals, through completing the sign up procedures and monitoring usage, finishing with renewal/deactivation processes:

Scoping -> Current Memberships <-> Action required ->Dropped memberships

Each new potential open access membership deal would be given a new card (see below for an example). The card is firstly populated with a brief description of the membership. We then add a Label (to enable filtering by publisher), a Checklist of to-do items, and a Due Date when a decision is needed. It is possible to add attachments to the card, for example the offer documents or contracts, but we have decided not to do this. Instead we show the file path where the documents are saved on shared network drives accessible only to the team. We don’t trust giving a third party our business documents in case of a data breach.

Screenshot - 15_06_2016 , 10_59_19

Once the checklist items have been worked through, if successful and the membership was activated, the card would move over right to the Current Membership list. If unsuccessful we would place at the bottom of the Scoping list with a sticker indicating this (a big red thumbs down).

Screenshot - 15_06_2016 , 11_43_21

Once on the Current memberships list (2) the cards are ordered by dates, with the membership deals that are ending first placed at the top. Any member of the Scholarly Communications Team can then see which deals are active, when the membership runs out, find out details of the deal including costs, sales rep contact details and links to other documentation. This is preferable to having all the membership knowledge retained by one member of the team.

Screenshot - 15_06_2016 , 13_05_36

Towards the end of the membership period the cards are moved over to the Action Required list (3) to indicate that a renewal or deactivation decision is needed to be made. If renewed the card is placed back into the Current Memberships list with details updated and the Due Date reset (4). If the renewal is rejected then the card is passed right to the Dropped Membership list (5), with the decision details recorded so they can be revisited at a later date if the renewal is questioned.

In summary, the workflow we present here might not work for every institution however we have found Trello to be a very useful tool to manage the process of managing open access membership schemes within a team setting. It’s main benefits are that it is highly visual and thus easy to use with minimal training, very adaptable to fit different circumstances and the basic version is free.

 

Edinburgh Research Archive access stats: Q1 2016

Screenshot - 04_05_2016 , 14_55_13

Image: Bass valve trumpet. Nominal pitch: 8-ft C  (CC-BY from the MIMEd collection)

Not one to blow our own trumpets too often, I’m pleased to report that during the first three months of this year we have achieved 334,913 page views and an incredible 207,945 downloads from the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA).

ERA contains documents written by, or affiliated with, academic authors, or units, based at Edinburgh that have sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by the Library, but which are not controlled by commercial publishers. Holdings include full-text digital doctoral theses, masters dissertations, project reports, briefing papers and out-of-print materials.

Top 10 downloads from the Edinburgh Research Archive during Q1 2016

The most widely accessed items in ERA are an eclectic bunch of materials; mostly PhD theses, but also including an out-of-print civil defence manual from 1949, and a Psychological Screening Test produced by researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

Screenshot - 04_05_2016 , 14_11_20

It is pleasing to see that ERA is providing a platform for wide dissemination of materials that would otherwise not easily be available for consultation. We can’t second guess what people will find useful so by putting all our doctoral research online – in a structured format that is indexed by all major search engines – we can maximise the reach of these carefully written words in the hope that it will fall into the hands of someone who would be grateful to read them.

 

Some thoughts on the impact of Sci-Hub

Sci-Hub has been getting a lot of attention recently – for those of you not up to date there are some really good pieces written here:

What should we think about Sci-Hub?

Next moves in the Sci-Hub game

Signal not solution

The last article raised some interesting points that prompted a reply from the Sci-Hub founder, who I think mistook critical thinking for criticism. If you would indulge me I’d like to spend 5 minutes thinking about the impact of Sci-Hub and what the longer term implications for scholarly communications are. I’m not particularly saying anything new, just crystallising a few thoughts that have been floating around.

What is the short term impact of Sci-Hub?

The impact is massive for anyone stuck outside of a subscription paywall. Immediate free access to articles that you would have had to pay ~$30 each. For these people it is a game changer. I don’t need to eulogise how important this is for enabling access.

For publishers, at a first glance it looks terrible. Their pirated content is being distributed for free. Shock! Horror! Quick unleash the legal dogs of war!

But take a closer look and the disruption enabled by Sci-Hub is not quite like the disruption that has occurred in other digital media (think Napster etc). This is because the customers who pay for content are mainly institutions and not individual customers, and they have very different behaviours. I would estimate that the long term financial impact of pirated material for academic journal publishers would be negligible at best, and at worst just a small dent in their 30%-40% profit margins.

Longer term effects.

If you step away from the warm rosy glow of immediate access, you’ll find that the change in scholarly communication is not as drastic as you first thought. On the whole, institutions will not drop all of their journal subscriptions because a website is offering free downloads of articles. Organisations, who in this case have the purse strings, do not think and behave like individuals.

Any reputable institution would not be able to tell their researchers that they have cancelled subs to the journals they read and that they have to find and use pirated content instead. Like them or not, we can trust publishers to make their content available 24/7 (well, most of the time) because we have service level agreements and other legally binding contracts. What is the longevity of Sci-Hub? I don’t know, but the Sci-Hub founder freely admits that the site runs on donations and it costs several thousand dollars per month to keep running. Unlike other scholarly communication nodes – for example arXiv* – there is no funding mechanism that organisations can use to pay Sci-Hub to keep running because it’s activities are illegal and that status is not going to change any time soon. As such, institutions cannot rely on Sci-Hub to provide access to it’s services 24/7 and will always stick with the publishers.

Sci-hub is a sticking plaster

It is worth repeating that the bottom line is that organisations will most definitely not stop paying subscriptions to journal publishers because of Sci-Hub. More knowledgeable people than me have pointed out that Sci-Hub is a symptom of the problem, or that it is palliative care which alleviates the immediate problem. Unfortunately, I don’t think Sci-Hub will be the main catalyst for wider change in scholarly communication that people want, or need, it to be. Subscriptions will still be paid, researchers will still publish in those pay-walled journals, we will still have restrictive licences, text-mining will still be difficult. Plus ça change. The problem is that authors and readers need better than this.  

 

 

[*Other scholarly communication nodes have sustainable business models – for example arXiv raises ~$350,000 per year through membership fees generated by approximately 186 institutions.]

 

 

 

 

Copyright waffle and the illusion of choice.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/3934968493/

ice cream cone trio by stu_spivack : http://edin.ac/1Rm0wEi

An academic colleague of mine recently had an article accepted for publication in a journal. As usual they were emailed by the publisher who asked them to sign an Author Publishing Agreement which would transfer copyright to them. However, the author noticed that the publisher also allowed authors to retain their own copyright by instead signing a Licence to Publish.

Keep your copyright!

The researcher wasn’t sure whether to assign copyright to the publisher, or if it would be preferable for them to retain copyright. On the face of it, it seems like a no-brainer – keep your copyright rather than signing it away. This is the mantra that open access advocates have been saying for years.

BUT more importantly.

Always read the small print – or get someone else to do it for you – and understand what you are getting yourself into.

The illusion of choice

In this particular case, if you read both the standard Publishing Agreement (to transfer copyright) and the Licence Agreement (to keep copyright) with a fine-tooth comb you will find that they pretty much contain the same language verbatim. There is no practical difference between them both in the end results. Both the author and the publisher will end up with exactly the same rights for exactly the same duration. There is the illusion of choice but it literally doesn’t matter which piece of paper is signed. This is an example of Copyright Waffle and it sidetracks from the important things.

Waffles by Brenda Wiley: http://edin.ac/1Rm13Gq

Waffles by Brenda Wiley: http://edin.ac/1Rm13Gq

Important things:

  1. By hook, or by crook, make your work open access.
  2. If you don’t know how, then ask someone who does; generally speaking Librarians will always be able to help you.
  3. If you have the option, publish your work with a Creative Commons licence; CC-BY is our favourite flavour.

 

 

OAI9

Last week I attended the CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI9) in Geneva, a workshop looking at developments in scholarly communication, it was a diverse programme and attracted people from all sectors of scholarly communication,  here are some of my highlights from each day;

Day One – Beginning the first day were a choice of tutorials,  I elected  the institution as publisher: getting started presented by UCL who are the first fully Open Access University Press in the UK. This offers a real alternative to commercial publishers, at the moment the majority of UCL Press authors are internal, external authors are liable to pay an APC.

The Keynote by Michael Nielsen, Beyond Open Access, looked at how open access policies should be crafted so they don’t inhibit innovation by constraining experimentation, new media forms and different types of publication. Following this was the session Looking at Barriers and Impact, Erin McKiernan, who is an early career researcher talked about her own experience and barriers she has faced in accessing research, she has made a pledge to be open, her opinion was early career researchers are in a position to be game changers in terms of making their research open. Finally Joseph McArthur, talked about the Open Access button  helping readers find open access versions of research outputs, this is a tool created by young people who frequently faced barriers to accessing research.

Day Two – The second day of the workshop was held at the Campus Biotech

01337LOW_HQ_MERCK_SERONO

The first session looked at Open Science Workflows, CHORUS and SHARE, Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer from Utrecht gave a really interesting presentation on the changing workflow of research – they had three goals for science and scholarship – Open, Efficient, Good. We should be supporting open science instead of just open access leading to diminishing traditional journals. This was highlighted using a diagram they created – 101 innovations in scholarly communication, highlighting the patterns and processes of innovation in this field.  This is an ongoing survey of scholarly communication tool usage – part of an ongoing effort to chart the changing landscape of scholarly communication.

Following this session was Quality Assurance, focusing on researchers and reforming the peer review process. Janne-Tuomas Seppanen from Peerage of Science  stated that some peer reviews are excellent – some are not, Peerage of Science tries to address this by the scoring of peer reviews, the idea being that peer reviewers are themselves peer reviewed increasing and quantifying the quality of peer review. This service is free for academics and publishers pay. Andrew Preston from Publons is looking at speeding up science by making peer review faster, more efficient, and more effective. The incentive for reviewers? Making peer review a measurable research output.

I also attended the break out session on Copyright in Data and Text Mining which gave an overview of the legal framework and an introduction to The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age launched in May this year which ‘aims to foster agreement about how to best enable access to facts, data and ideas for knowledge discovery in the Digital Age. By removing barriers to accessing and analysing the wealth of data produced by society, we can find answers to great challenges such as climate change, depleting natural resources and globalisation.’

The second day of the workshop ended in style at the Ariana,  the Swiss museum of glass and ceramics which opened its doors especially for attendees of OAI9.

20150618_193931 (00000002)

Day Three – The focus of the first session was the Institution as Publisher, a new theme for OAI. Catriona Maccallum from PLOS focused on the need for transparency, publishing is a cycle, not just about content provision. The services an institution can offer include; Open Access, Open Access Presses, transparency, assessment, rewards and incentives, she went on to say the institution should be driving changes. Rupert Gatti, Open Book Publisher talked about bringing publishing to a research centre level, open access allows direct dissemination to a different audience and would allow authors to disseminate not just books and articles but other types of scholarly output.The Final speaker in this session, Victoria Tsoukala from National Documentation Centre, National Hellenic Research Foundation talked specifically about open access publishing in the Humanities and gave an overview of University led publishing within her institution looking at the various challenges (funding, outputs being perceived as poorer quality) and the opportunities (ability to regain control, innovation, transparency and fairness and assuming new roles for libraries).

If you’re interested in finding out more, all the presentations are available online by clicking through the programme.