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A Middle-of-the-Road Proposal amid the Sci-Hub Controversy: Share “Unofficial” Copies of Articles without Embargo, Legally

This article summarizes the two sides of the Sci-Hub debate, and raises awareness of the rights of journal article authors to post a certain version online that one is legally allowed to share, with no embargo.  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…

Are there alternatives to traditional academic publishing models ? #OA

As shown by the myriad of events highlighted during International Open Access Week, the amount of talk and initiatives regarding open science and the transition toward an open access model for scholarly communications is growing at a remarkable pace. Advocates around the world are doing an amazing job at spreading the OA gospel!

Endeavours for the advancement of open access, however, are often met with concerns from paid scientific journals regarding the economic consequences of such a model. This past month, a couple of studies addressing these issues were released. Read more…

How to switch quickly to diamond open access: The best journals are free for authors and readers

Posted on by Martin Haspelmath

The conventional wisdom among experts is that open access (OA) publication is better in all respects: Publications are not hidden behind paywalls, authors get more citations for their work, and results of publicly funded research are available to the public. This has been widely known for over 12 years, but not much has been happening. Some actors are frustrated, such as Ralf Schimmer, vice-director of the Max Planck Society’s MPDL: He notes that despite all the pro-OA activities at universities and science organizations, the open access movement is stagnating. While one sixth of all publications is open access by open access, the clear majority for subscription seems to be stable.

What explains this strange stability, which defies the politicians’ hopes and the experts’ recommendations? The OA experts do not seem to be interested in finding out.

But the explanation is easy: The main actors are not suffering, so they have no particular incentive to change it. Publishers make good profits with their subscription model, and scientists depend on the publishers for their careers, because the publishers own the prestigious labels. The scientists know that open access is better in principle, but their careers (and funding prospects) are more important, and they manage to access the most relevant research via para-publication channels (personal connections, Academia.edu, etc.). Read more…

The Metric Tide – Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management

Metrics evoke a mixed reaction from the research community. A commitment to using data and evidence to inform decisions makes many of us sympathetic, even enthusiastic, about the prospect of granular, real-time analysis of our own activities. If we as a sector can’t take full advantage of the possibilities of big data, then who can?
Yet we only have to look around us, at the blunt use of metrics such as journal impact factors, h-indices and grant income targets to be reminded of the pitfalls. Some of the most precious qualities of academic culture resist simple quantification, and individual indicators can struggle to do justice to the richness and plurality of our research. Too often, poorly designed evaluation criteria are “dominating minds, distorting behaviour and determining careers.”

At their worst, metrics can contribute to what Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, calls a “new barbarity” in our universities.  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.

Language of Protest

All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier’s policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online. As soon as January, when the departing editors’ noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa.

The editors and editorial board members quit, they say, after telling Elsevier of the frustrations of libraries reporting that they could not afford to subscribe to the journal and in some cases couldn’t even figure out what it would cost to subscribe. Prices quoted on the Elsevier website suggest that an academic library in the United States with a total student and faculty full-time equivalent number of around 10,000 would pay $2,211 for shared online access, and $1,966 for a print copy. Read more…

Commissioner Moedas and Secretary of State Dekker call on scientific publishers to adapt their business models to new realities

Sharing the same vision, Commissioner Moedas and Secretary of State Dekker recognized that scientific publishers need to make their business model of open access publishing fairer and fully transparent. Only a fair business model supports European research.

The Commissioner and the Secretary of State supported therefore stakeholder organisations such the League of European Research Universities (LERU) in their plea for fully transparent business models. They jointly called on the publishing industry to follow the example of new publishers that have adopted innovative business models for open access, and of those established publishers who have shown commitment to open access and developed new business models.   Read more…

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…


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