The State of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles

This new preprint article by Heather Piwowar, Jason Priem and others, includes some surprising and encouraging findings about the availability of Open Access versions of articles. The text below is from the abstract — and the oaDOI service they mention powers the Unpaywall service they developed.

We use three samples, each of 100,000 articles, to investigate OA in three populations: 1) all journal articles assigned a Crossref DOI, 2) recent journal articles indexed in Web of Science, and 3) articles viewed by users of Unpaywall, an open-source browser extension that lets users find OA articles using oaDOI.

We estimate that at least 28% of the scholarly literature is OA (19M in total) and that this proportion is growing, driven particularly by growth in Gold and Hybrid. The most recent year analyzed (2015) also has the highest percentage of OA (45%). Because of this growth, and the fact that readers disproportionately access newer articles, we find that Unpaywall users encounter OA quite frequently: 47% of articles they view are OA. Notably, the most common mechanism for OA is not Gold, Green, or Hybrid OA, but rather an under-discussed category we dub Bronze: articles made free-to-read on the publisher website, without an explicit Open license.

We also examine the citation impact of OA articles, corroborating the so-called open-access citation advantage: accounting for age and discipline, OA articles receive 18% more citations than average, an effect driven primarily by Green and Hybrid OA.

Preprint license confusion

nature-biorxiv-15-june-17


A new article in Nature highlights the confusion authors experience in choosing a license for preprints submitted to bioRxiv.

According to statistics from bioRxiv, 29% of authors have decided to append no licence at all to their work. On the site, these are labelled: “All rights reserved. No reuse allowed without permission.” Saskia Hagenaars, a geneticist at Kings College London says that her team chose this option because “we don’t want people freely using the non-peer reviewed versions of our papers”.

….

One reason for researchers’ hesitancy to choose open licences may be that some journals frown on them. Giulio Caravagna, a computational biologist at the University of Edinburgh, UK, decided not to openly licence his bioRxiv preprint because it gave his team “full rights to proceed further with submission to any journal that we want to target”. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), for instance, says it will only publish papers arising from preprints that don’t have CC licenses, because it feels that these are not compatible with its own licensing terms. But Himmelstein has found a dozen CC-BY preprints that led to work published in PNAS — and the publisher says it has never enforced its rule.

The full article also contains some interesting insights about text mining preprints.

New Bill Would Let Trump Pick the Next Register of Copyrights

From Publisher’s Weekly:

On March 23, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, which would give the President the power to appoint the Register of Copyrights for a 10 year, renewable term, subject to Senate confirmation. The President would also have the power to fire the Register at any time.
Currently, the Register of Copyrights is appointed by and serves at the sole discretion of the Librarian of Congress, who oversees the Copyright Office.

New Open Access monograph publishing venture

An interesting new publishing venture for open access scholarly monographs, with a new funding model:

The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of American University Presses (AAUP) are implementing a new initiative to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members by publishing free, open access, digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.

Publishing costs will be met by university-funded grants and other revenue sources. These publication grants will enable open access publishing and will send a strong signal to humanities and social sciences faculties that universities value and wish to promote their scholarship.

Gates and AAAS agree on Open Access


oa_or_front-3~s600x600This announced today by the Gates Foundation, increasing access to science for all the right reasons:

We are proud to announce a new partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which will allow publishing of Gates Foundation-funded research on open access terms in all of the AAAS’ journals, including Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, Science Immunology and Science Robotics. This agreement follows the lead set by AAAS’ Science Advances journal, which publishes all material on full open access terms, and also charts a future course for continued collaboration around models that support open access publishing.

The Gates Foundation is taking these steps because we want to advance the conversation around open access publishing and ultimately find new ways of accelerating impact and saving lives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring high-quality scientific knowledge is widely accessible, and we applaud efforts from Wellcome to former Vice President Joe Biden to the National Institutes of Health who share our commitment to open access and are pursuing additional approaches. In a field where there are no clear answers, experimentation and creative partnerships help advance the sector and accelerate the discovery of new solutions.

Ultimately, we do so because the possibilities are too great not to explore. Open access publishing of peer-reviewed research holds the potential for researchers from diverse backgrounds to come together and accelerate the research process — and in turn, leads to new ways of making people’s lives longer, healthier and more productive.

Copyright reform: wish carefully

copyrightRecent proposals from the House Judiciary Committee and two former Registers of Copyright, advocating reform of the Copyright Office, have received a lot of attention in the Library world. Many of us can see need for reform, but proponents have focused on moving the Copyright Office out of oversight by the Library of Congress. This proposal seems to stem from a perception that librarians are intent on giving content away, to the detriment of content creators.
Brandon Butler and 42 other lawyer/librarians have sent a very articulate letter opposing this view, and a blog post from David Hansen at Duke, reviews the issues and includes this excerpt of a letter sent by the Duke Libraries:

Libraries like ours have perhaps the most well-rounded and balanced relationship with copyright of any group of institutions in the world. Duke Libraries, like many other libraries, spends millions of dollars every year on services for our faculty and students to help them navigate the legal, technological, and economic choices they face as creators. Our libraries partner with those creators . . . on publishing. Duke Libraries also administer the rights to thousands of works for which we own copyright, primarily in our rare book and archival collections. . . .  Duke Libraries also invest millions of dollars each year into the publishing system by purchasing content and supporting new and emerging publishing platforms. . . .[W]e now spend even more money on developing strategies to carefully respect the rights of copyright owners as we seek to preserve and provide access to those materials in forms that are useful to researchers.

We can do better than the Impact Factor

doralogo-smallIn an Open Access Q&A earlier this week, Peter Suber made the case that the Impact Factor is not a good way to assess research quality, particularly in the context of tenure and promotion decision making. He argued for those in the discipline to actually read the articles.
The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment includes a good explanation of the IF flaws and suggests abandonment of it as a measure of scholarship quality.

The Journal Impact Factor is frequently used as the primary parameter with which to compare the scientific output of individuals and institutions. The Journal Impact Factor, as calculated by Thomson Reuters, was originally created as a tool to help librarians identify journals to purchase, not as a measure of the scientific quality of research in an article. With that in mind, it is critical to understand that the Journal Impact Factor has a number of well-documented deficiencies as a tool for research assessment. These limitations include: A) citation distributions within journals are highly skewed [1–3]; B) the properties of the Journal Impact Factor are field-specific: it is a composite of multiple, highly diverse article types, including primary research papers and reviews [1, 4]; C) Journal Impact Factors can be manipulated (or “gamed”) by editorial policy [5]; and D) data used to calculate the Journal Impact Factors are neither transparent nor openly available to the public [4, 6, 7].

….

A number of themes run through these recommendations:

  • The need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors, in funding, appointment, and promotion considerations;

  • The need to assess research on its own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which the research is published; and

  • The need to capitalize on the opportunities provided by online publication (such as relaxing unnecessary limits on the number of words, figures, and references in articles, and exploring new indicators of significance and impact).

 

RI Launches Open Textbook Initiative

riOn September 27th 2016, Governor Gina Raimondo announced a statewide Open Textbook Initiative during a press conference at Rhode Island College (RIC).
The initiative challenged Rhode Island’s higher education institutions to reduce college costs by saving students $5 million over five years using open licensed textbooks. Seven higher education institutions have pledged to support the Governor’s challenge by working with faculty to identify open licensed textbooks that would fit their classes.