Directory of Open Access Books

doabThere are currently 3276 academic peer-reviewed books from 110 publishers in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). DOAB is a service of OAPEN Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Open Access publishing of academic books based at the National Library in The Hague.

“The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, helping scholars and students to discover the books. The directory is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access”

In order to have their books indexed in DOAB publishers must meet the requirements for both Open Access and peer review. DOAB’s monographs cover a broad range of subjects and disciplinary areas. To browse subjects covered click here.

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

In June 2015 the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) produced a second version of the document Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. As the numbers of “predatory” and spurious journals proliferate, this document may be helpful in assessing journal quality and in identifying journals that engage in unethical practices. The principles or evaluative criteria number sixteen: 1. Peer review process; 2. Governing Body; 3. Editorial team/contact information; 4. Author fees; 5. Copyright; 6. Process for identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct; 7. Ownership and management; 8. Web site; 9. Name of journal; 10. Conflicts of interest; 11. Access; 12. Revenue sources; 13. Advertising; 14. Publishing schedule; 15. Archiving; 16. Direct marketing.

Also particularly useful is BC Libraries’ guide Open Access Quality Indicators. These quality indicators are intended to provide guidance in evaluating publication venues or in responding to invitations to serve as an editor or reviewer.

The Newton Project

newtonBased at the University of Sussex and the University of Cambridge, the Newton Project is an important digital scholarship initiative whose goal is to produce a comprehensive online edition of all of Sir Isaac Newton’s (1642–1727) writings whether printed or not. So far over 6.4 million words have been transcribed and include Newton’s works in religion, alchemy and politics in addition to science and mathematics. His notesbooks and correspondence are also digitized. The project includes additional contextual materials illustrating how Newton’s doctrines were received, taught and popularized in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A particularly useful aspect of each of the digitized writings is the presentation of a diplomatic rendition featuring all the amendments Newton made to the text as well a more readable normalized version.

The editors make a very interesting, if somewhat droll, observation about the Newton Project:

The digital medium is particularly appropriate for hosting the writings of a man who evinced what can only be described as a visceral hatred for print culture. Although his interest and expertise in both church history and prophecy was known to many people, no print edition of any of his non-scientific writings, authorized or otherwise by Newton, appeared in his lifetime (though he did show selected works to acolytes). His research remained constantly work-in-progress and there was no terminus to his various projects in the form of truly ‘final’ treatise (this of course applies equally to his great printed works). An evolving and expanding digital site is eminently suitable for publishing these private researches, for showing them to their full extent, and for representing the detailed and dynamic process of his thought.

CLIR Report: The Once and Future Publishing Library

clirThe Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has just published the open access report The Once and Future Publishing Library. The authors are Ann Okerson and Alex Holzman.

The report explores the revitalization of library publishing and its possible future, and examines elements that influence the success and sustainability of library publishing initiatives.

The authors trace the history of library publishing and factors that have transformed the publishing landscape, and describe several significant library-press collaborations forged over the past two decades. Authors include results of a survey they conducted to better understand how current library publishing initiatives are supported financially. They conclude with a series of observations about the range of publishing initiatives in American academic libraries.

New Digital.Bodleian Website

bodleianEarlier this month Oxford’s Bodleian Library launched its new Digital.Bodleian website. This site includes over 100,000 images and covers a wonderfully diverse group of topics, e.g. medieval maps; botanical watercolors; 18th and 19th century children’s board games; Victorian playbills, handbills, postcards and posters; Greek and Hebrew manuscripts; Conservative Party election posters; paintings from 19th-century Calcutta; and much more.

There are few restrictions on the use of the digital images, once the use is non-commercial. From the press release:

Digital.Bodleian . . . allows users to download images for non-commercial use, make private notes and annotations, leave public comments on images and share images on social media. The resource is particularly suited to educational use as all images are available under an open license allowing for use in presentations, on virtual learning environments and on other non-commercial platforms.

National Library of Ireland Marks 200th Anniversary of Battle of Waterloo

waterlooThis years marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo where the Anglo-allied army under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French army under Napoleon Bonaparte. This was one of the most critical battles in European history.

To mark the anniversary the National Library of Ireland has made available over 300 digitized portraits of the Dublin-born Duke of Wellington and almost 100 digitized portraits of Napoleon. It also provides access to a selection of over 100 digitized prints relating to Waterloo.

Wikipedia as “bootlegger”

Wikipedia-logo-v2-enIn a new article, Amplifying the Impact of Open Access: Wikipedia and the Diffusion of Science, the authors analyze Wikipedia citations for presence of high impact journal articles and open access articles. Their conclusion:

We found that across languages, a journal’s academic status (impact factor) routinely predicts its appearance on Wikipedia. We also demonstrated, for the first time, that a journal’s accessibility (open access policy) generally increases probability of referencing on Wikipedia as well, albeit less consistently than its impact factor. The odds that an open access journal is referenced on the English Wikipedia are about 47% higher compared to closed access, paywall journals. More over, of closed access journals, those with high impact factors are also significantly more likely to appear in the English Wikipedia. Therefore, editors of the English Wikipedia act as “bootleggers” of high quality science by distilling and distributing otherwise closed access knowledge to a broad public audience, free of charge. Moreover, the English Wikipedia, as a platform, acts as an “amplifier” for the (already freely available) open access literature by preferentially broadcasting its findings to millions. There is a trade-off between academic status and accessibility evident on Wikipedias around the world.


Cambridge University Press Prevents Double-Dipping in New Open Access Subscription Policy

Cambridge University Press yesterday announced a new policy intended to prevent “double-dipping”, that is charging both authors and subscribers for Open Access journal content. The practice of double-dipping is disliked by many proponents and practitioners of OA who contend that publishers should not be paid twice, i.e. by the subscriptions paid by the university/college libraries as well as by authors who pay for their articles to be OA.

From CUP’s press release of 6 July, 2015:

Matthew Day, Head of Open and Data Publishing at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We believe that double-dipping is wrong and we want to be clear about how we are preventing it.’

The new policy discounts 2016 subscription prices for journals that have received Open Access (OA) Article Processing Charges (APCs) from authors in the last full journal volume (that is, in 2014). If the fraction of OA articles in a journal was at least 5 per cent and the income from APCs was at least £5,000, then the Press is discounting renewed subscriptions by the lower of the percentage OA or the percentage APC income. All Open Access articles are included, except those in supplements published in addition to a volume’s subscription content. Subscribers already receiving a substantial discount on a journal’s subscription price, via a consortium package for example, will not receive an additional discount on their collection access fee as a result of these changes.

Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic, at Cambridge University Press, said; ‘We’ve previously had an anti-double-dipping policy in place, but this new policy is stronger and more transparent. It is an important part of how we serve the needs of the academic community.’

Critique of New Elsevier Policies

Elsevier announced new article self-archiving policies, in many ways more restrictive, under the promising banner: “Unleashing the power of academic sharing.

Many have since read the fine print and there has been angry backlash. Library Journal has a good analysis of the back and forth, in case you missed it as it unfolded.

Heather Joseph cuts to the heart of the matter:

“For us, the embargo period and the licensing issues are elements of the policy that are visible problems. But the revision of the policy itself was a troublesome move to our community…. The investment that we’ve made in repositories over the last decade is an important way for us to ensure that the academic community is asserting control over its own [intellectual property]. We’re producing these articles, we’re surfacing these ideas, and we’d like to have a say in how and when we share them with people.”

“Oligarchy” of Publishers

From CBC News — an interesting report on a new study just published in PLoS One about the academic publishing industry.

While traditional book and magazine publishers struggle to stay afloat, research publishing houses have typical profit margins of nearly 40 per cent, says Vincent Larivière, a researcher at the University of Montreal’s School of Library and Information Science.


What he and his collaborators found was that the five largest, for-profit academic publishers now publish 53 per cent of scientific papers in the natural and medical sciences – up from 20 per cent in 1973. In the social sciences, the top five publishers publish 70 per cent of papers.

Essentially, they’ve become an oligarchy, Larivière and co-authors Stefanie Haustein and Philippe Mongeon say in a paper published last week in the open access, non-profit journal PLOS ONE.