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Gates Foundation joins shift towards open access platforms

By Jack Grove on March 23, 2017.

One of the world’s biggest funders of scientific research is to establish an open access platform that will allow its grant winners to publish their findings, in a move that could be swiftly followed by the European Commission.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which invests about $1.2 billion (£960 million) a year in global health initiatives, said on 23 March that the Gates Open Research initiative would allow researchers funded by the US charity to publish their work on a free-to-access site, beginning this autumn. Read more…


Are universities finally waking up to the value of copyright?

Posted by Elizabeth Gadd  on March 6th, 2017

Whereas a large majority of universities have been proactive about claiming ownership of intellectual property such as patents or teaching materials, only a small percentage have been similarly assertive about copyright. However, amidst continued debate over the affordability of and access to scholarly communication, what practical attempts have been made to retain copyright within the academy rather than assign it to publishers? Elizabeth Gadd has examined copyright policies at 81 UK universities and found that, while a majority still relinquish copyright in scholarly works, an encouraging 20% of university policies sought to share rights with academic staff through licensing. Moreover, the development of a UK equivalent to ‘Harvard-style’ open access policies should help further coordinate efforts to retain copyright within the academy. Read more..

Libraries and Open Journal Systems: Hosting and facilitating the creation of Open Access scholarship

There is a growing availability of free tools and software for academic publishing. How might libraries leverage existing platforms? Anna R. Craft describes one experience of an academic library hosting locally-produced open access journals through Open Journals Systems (OJS). But even “free” software is not without costs in relation to time and expertise. Care should be taken in facilitating a supportive environment to meet an institution’s journal-hosting needs.  Read more…

Reviewer Fatigue? Why Scholars Decline to Review their Peers’ Work

This is the original article published in the journal  – PS: Political Science & Politics, October 2015, and of which the below post came about.

ABSTRACT: As new academic journals have emerged in political science and existing journals experience increasing submission rates, editors are concerned that scholars experience “reviewer fatigue.” Editors often assume that an overload of requests to review makes scholars less willing to perform the anonymous yet time-consuming tasks associated with reviewing manuscripts. To date, there has not been a systematic investigation of the reasons why scholars decline to review. We empirically investigated the rate at which scholars accept or decline to review, as well as the reasons they gave for declining. We found that reviewer fatigue is only one of several reasons why scholars decline to review. The evidence suggests that scholars are willing to review but that they also lead busy professional and personal lives.

Read more…

Is Reviewer Fatigue a Real Thing?

Posted by Angela Cochran on 4 November 2015. Indeed extracurricular activity for which no real credit is given.

Peer review: are you actually volunteering your time?

Blogged by Dan Morgan, Publisher, Collabra on 28 Sept 2015.

To me, volunteering your time means forgoing payment for your time. But how is this affected when someone else is cashing in on your time instead? My experience of volunteering my time over the years has tended to be for some event or other, often a fundraising activity, for charity, or maybe educational outreach. Importantly for this post, though, is that I am fairly sure I have never volunteered my time but then had a 3rd party charge a commercial, profit-generating price for it.

In the industry that is scholarly communication, notions of journal or content brands, as much as they are claimed and protected by publishers, are only ever created and maintained in partnership with the editors and reviewers who handle the editorial functions at the journal — who enable the creation of a product which, in the subscription model, can be sold. But the point of this post is that this is a different kind of volunteering — when someone else is commercially charging for your services, and improving their brand via your services.

Read more…


Cape Town Declaration (2015)

Cape Town, South Africa—14 August 2015

Ministers and country representatives from Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Lesotho, Guinea, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan and Swaziland met to discuss the status of libraries and implementation of access to information agenda at a meeting on 14 August 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa—just ahead of IFLA WLIC 2015.

IFLA President Sinikka Sipilä, African Library Associations & Institutions (AfLIA) President and national librarians were also present.

The group deliberated on the status of libraries on the African continent and the progress required to meet the global sustainable development goals. Read more …

The resulting document is the Cape Town Declaration. PDF read

Wrong Number: A closer look at Impact Factors

This was posted By sjroyle7 on May 5, 2015.

A JIF for 2013 is worked out by counting the total number of 2013 cites to articles in that journal that were published in 2011 and 2012. This number is divided by the number of “citable items” in that journal in 2011 and 2012.

There are numerous problems with this calculation that I don’t have time to go into here. If we just set these aside for the moment, the JIF is still used widely today and not for the purpose it was originally intended. Eugene Garfield, created the metric to provide librarians with a simple way to prioritise subscriptions to Journals that carried the most-cited scientific papers. The JIF is used (wrongly) in some institutions in the criteria for hiring, promotion and firing. This is because of the common misconception that the JIF is a proxy for the quality of a paper in that journal. Use of metrics in this manner is opposed by the SF-DORA and I would encourage anyone that hasn’t already done so, to pledge their support for this excellent initiative. Read more…

Open access fees hike universities’ journal bills

Today in THE – Times Higer Education – they published a graph indicating the cost of journal subscriptions. The graphic also shows the cost of open access article processing charges (APCs) that the universities paid to “hybrid” journals, which offer both open access and subscription-only content, plus administrative costs. The figures shed light on the scale of “double dipping”, where universities must pay both subscription fees and APCs to a publisher. Read more…

White House Ditches University Rankings, Launches New Website To Offer Open Data To Help Students Choose Their College

In a bid to increase the number of citizens who are college degree holders and can help boost the U.S. economy, the White House is introducing a new tool to help students and families search for the ideal college.  With this new tool, an individual can assess higher education institutions based on a variety of factors, including the size and location of schools and also the types of programs or degrees offered. Moreover, the site presents comprehensive and reliable data related to the college’s student outcomes, which include the student debts of graduates, earnings of students, and repayment rates of borrowers.

By launching the website, reports say, Washington seems to be abandoning efforts to create a system that will give ratings to the country’s colleges and universities. The primary objective of the original plan was to shame schools with low ratings.

This rating system of the government was opposed by various institutions, saying it could allow some institutions to prioritize money-making degrees, such as accounting, over courses related to history, philosophy, and others.  Read more…

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