APS: Open Access Could Mean Authors Pay to Publish

Michael Lubell and Mark Elsesser, both employees of the American Physical Society (APS), recently published a provocative article in APS News, “Open Access Could Mean Authors Pay to Publish”. Declaring that APS has long been a supporter of OA, as evidenced by a number of important initiatives undertaken by the Society, they also point out that OA is not free. There is a real monetary cost to peer review, composition, archiving and other essential publishing activities. They go on to assert that as mandates proliferate the “time to free access” will inevitably shrink both domestically and internationally and that APS, as well as other scientific publishers, will be obliged to consider other strategies to pay for its OA initiatives. One of these strategies will very likely be the “author pays” model, a model that the authors point out is associated with a number of serious challenges. They argue cogently:

Unless they have access to other sources of revenue, authors will have to use their research grant money, institutional funds or cash from their own pockets to cover the cost of publication (which may be in excess of two thousand dollars per article). Moreover, a change to an author-pays model would especially harm researchers with small grants or no grants at all. And if federal science budgets remain fixed, the amount of money available for conducting research would decline.

Nevertheless, Lubell and Elsesser  acknowledge that the APS might be forced to adopt “author-pays.” They quote APS CEO Kate Kirby: “As an international publisher, in the short term APS will have to provide mechanisms that satisfy the patchwork of open access mandates across the globe. As a membership organization that advocates for physics and physicists, in the long term APS will have to remain attentive to the impact of ‘author pays’ on scientific research budgets.”

Monitoring the Transition to Open Access

Monitoring the Transition to Open Access is a recently published report commissioned by Universities UK Open Access Co-ordination Group to highlight distinct trends about and provide dependable indicators to the transition to open access in the UK.

The main trends and indicators include: OA options available to authors; accessibility; usage; financial sustainability for universities; financial sustainability for learned societies.

The report is quite long (103 pages). However, there’s a 4 page overview of the report’s background, key findings, and proposed next steps provided as one of Universities UK Open Access factsheet series:

Particularly interesting are the following general findings of the report:

• There has been strong growth in both the
availability of OA options for authors, and in
their take-up.
• UK authors are ahead of world averages,
particularly in their take-up of the OA option in
hybrid journals, and in their posting of articles
on websites, repositories and other online
• Take-up of OA publishing models means that
universities’ expenditure on article processing
charges (APCs) has increased too, and it now
represents a significant proportion of their total
expenditure on journals.
• It is too early to assess the extent of any
impact of OA on the finances of learned

Pew Report: “Libraries at the Crossroads”

The Pew Research Center very recently published Libraries at the Crossroads. This publication reports the findings “from a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,004 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted from March 17-April 12, 2015.” The results reveal complex developments in the library world. Complementing traditional forms of library usage are new services, resources and programs. At the same time, there are signs that the number of Americans visiting libraries have edged downwards over the past three years. Some findings from the report:

Many Americans say they want public libraries to:

–support local education;
–serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
–help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
–embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.

Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.

AP and British Movietone Release One Million Minutes of Historic Videos

Recently the Associated Press and British Movietone, two of the world’s largest newsreel archives, uploaded over one million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. This incorporates about 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive said: “The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history.” Among this massive treasure trove of newsreels one may view footage of the Titanic leaving Belfast Lough in 1912; the bombing of Pearl Harbor; V E Day in London, 1945; futuristic and outlandish fashions for brides from 1966; broadcast of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, 1990; as well as thousands of other news stories, both serious and light. One may search for footage through Youtube itself or through the Associated Press and British Movietone own YouTube channels.

The Great War Revisited — A TCD Online Exhibition

greatwarIn 1916 a group of Irish Volunteers, among whom were James Connolly, James, Plunkett and Patrick Pearse, insurrected against British rule in Ireland. Part of the rationale for the timing of this Easter Rising was to strike at Britain while she was busy in the First World War. However, it is not always known that very many Irish participated on the side of Britain in the Great War. Records show that over 200,000 Irishmen served in the British Army at this time (a great uncle of mine, Thomas Rapple, a Dubliner, died in October 1918 while serving as a private in the 13th Hussars).

Earlier this summer, the Library of Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute launched The Great War Revisited exhibition. This fascinating digital exhibition highlights some of the riches of First World War material held by TCD’s Library. These include recruiting posters, letters, diaries, photographs, videos, pamphlets and artworks.

From the press release:

Highlights of the exhibition include:

1. Trinity’s celebrated collection of Irish WWI recruiting posters (one of the largest collection in existence)

2. Previously unpublished photographs of the Allied campaign in Iraq and Turkey

3. Letters and diaries from Irish soldiers serving in France, Iraq and Palestine (previously unpublished)

4. A multitude of political pamphlets, songs and ballads and artworks

Victory for Fair Use

copyrightCopyright holders must consider fair use before sending a takedown notice.

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

A federal appeals court sided with EFF yesterday on several of the major questions at issue in the long-running Lenz v. Universal copyright case. Lenz—sometimes referred to as the “Dancing Baby” case because it centers on a 29-second home video of a toddler dancing with a song by the musician Prince in the background—has long been recognized as a test of the rights enjoyed by users, and the obligations facing people who want to take down online speech.

The big takeaway of yesterday’s opinion is, yes, that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending a takedown notice. But just as important is the basis of that conclusion: again today we have a federal court making it clear that fair use is not just a carve-out of the copyright system but a right on the same level of those described in the rest of the statute.

For example, the court states explicitly that “Fair use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law.” However well attested that principle is in the statute and in case law, it is still sometimes considered controversial. Hopefully this decision puts that debate to rest: whether the copyright holder grants permission or not, a fair use is an authorized use.

Growing momentum for OER

This a128px-Neon_Open_Sign (1)nnouncement was posted yesterday by Nicole Allen of SPARC:

Today the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the hiring of the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 schools. This announcement marks a critical step for ED and the Obama Administration toward leveraging OER as a solution at a time when improving educational access, opportunity and affordability is at the forefront of the nation’s mind.

This exciting announcement is part of the growing momentum within the Obama Administration to support OER and public access to publicly funded resources. Last month SPARC and 100 other organizations signed a letter calling on the White House to ensure that educational materials created with federal funds are released to the public as OER.

Read more

Predatory Journals: Proposed Solutions

predatoryIn the last week two thoughtful pieces were published on the topics of greedy publishers and predatory publishing. In “Opinion: Pay-to-Play Publishing” in the current issue of The Scientist Kailash Gupta argues that a growing number of online scientific journals are more interested in making money than in publishing quality research articles. His proposed solution, though not original, is very sensible.

To improve the situation and increase the trust in scientific community, the pressure to publish must be reduced. The value that both funders and tenure committees put on publication record drives scientists to publish marginal advances, which predatory publishers are all too happy to post online. Funding and promotion decisions should not be based on the number of publications, but on the quality of those publications and a researcher’s long-term productivity and mentorship.

PoynderIn a blog posting (8 September, 2015) “Predatory Publishing: A Modest Proposal” Richard Poynder makes a very interesting suggestion about combating predatory journals. He acknowledges the utility of Jeffrey Beall’s well-known list of questionable publications but argues that the publishers of such journals, though often predatory, are not always the only ones to be blamed. He contends “that if a journal is predatory then all those researchers sitting on its editorial and advisory boards are to some extent also predatory, or at least they are conspiring in the publisher’s predatory behaviour.” Poynder’s proposal:

Why does the OA movement not create a database containing all the names of researchers who sit on the editorial and/or advisory boards of the publishers on Beall’s list, along with the names of the journals with which they are associated?

Poynder goes on to discuss a number of purposes such a database could serve.

Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities

On 1 September, 2015 in a preview issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly Alix Keener published “The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities”. The article, based on the results of semi-structured interviews with 11 personnel — faculty, researchers and librarians — within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, explores the collaborative relationship between faculty and academic librarians in the conduct of digital humanities research. The findings are discussed in five sections: I), the best model for engaging DH scholars, II), what domain expertise is needed, III), the areas in which faculty and librarians agree, IV), the areas in which they disagree (tensions), and finally, V), where the two groups have a perceptual disconnect. Below is the article’s abstract:

As discussion and debates on the digital humanities continue among scholars, so too does discussion about how academic libraries can and should support this scholarship. Through interviews with digital humanities scholars and academic librarians within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, this study aims to explore some points of common perspective and underlying tensions in research relationships. Qualitative interviews revealed that, while both groups are enthusiastic about the future of faculty-librarian collaboration on digital scholarship, there remain certain tensions about the role of the library and the librarian. Scholars appreciate the specialized expertise of librarians, especially in metadata and special collections, but they can take a more active stance in utilizing current library resources or vocalizing their needs for other resources. This expertise and these services can be leveraged to make the library an active and equal partner in research. Additionally, libraries should address internal issues, such as training and re-skilling librarians as necessary; better-coordinated outreach to academic departments is also needed.

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.