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.

Open Access eBooks Coming to JSTOR

JSTOR logoThis week JSTOR announced that it will be adding open access monograph titles to its popular platform. In the initial round, 63 new open access titles from several academic publishers will be added to JSTOR and the announcement also noted that they “expect to add several hundred more Open Access titles over the next year.” These ebooks will be presented along with other content in search results, but will also have a green notice stating that they are open access. In all cases these items are offered under a Creative Commons license and DRM-free. Perhaps best of all, the announcement also notes that users will not have to register or log in to access these materials. In addition to the announcement, JSTOR also released additional information for librarians and a list of the 63 titles that will be available initially.

FTC takes on predatory journals

Inside Higher Ed reports that the FTC has filed a complaint against the OMICS Group, publisher of over 700 open access journals.

Ioana Rusu, a staff attorney with the FTC, said in an interview that the commission is responding to a growing number of calls from people in academe for some sort of action to be taken against publishers that take advantage of scholars wishing to publish in open-access journals.

OMICS, the commission alleges, does not adequately disclose that authors have to pay a publication fee, falsely claims that its journals are frequently cited and lists academic experts with no connection to the journals as editors.

Rusu stressed that the FTC is not passing judgment on open-access publishing in general. “We take no sides between the traditional subscription model and the open-access model,” she said. “We believe both of them can be done in a fair, open, clear and lawful way. What we have a problem with here is people who are trying to benefit from the open-access model to scam people.”

New SocArXiv



Richard Poynder has a very informative post about the recent takeover of SSRN by Elsevier and the timely, concurrent launch of a new preprint server for the social sciences, SocArXiv. The new service is built on the Open Science Framework platform.

So what is SocArXiv? As the name suggests, it is modelled on the physics preprint server arXiv, and describes itself as a free, open access, open source archive for social science research. Authors are able to upload their preprints to the service and make them freely available to all. The papers will be provided with permanent identifiers to allow them to be linked to the latest version, or to versions published elsewhere. They can also be made available under Creative Commons licences, and analytics data will be provided to show how often papers have been accessed.

Learn more on SocOpen, the SocArXiv blog.

What does Brexit mean for OA?

eu Among the many questions about the impact of Brexit: What will this mean for OA in the UK and what will the UK’s exit mean for OA in the EU?

Both the EU and the UK have been leaders in the Open Access shift for some time. In April the EU, currently led by the Netherlands, published a very ambitious plan (the Amsterdam Call to Action for Open Science) to shift all scientific publications to OA by 2020 and to make all publicly funded research data openly available.

Two blog posts look at the possible effects on OA progress of the budget pressures and the structural changes the Brexit will cause:
Open Access and Brexit
Brexit: Risks to the Knowledge Economy and the Money Scrum

Knowledge Unlatched Usage

In its successful pilot phase, Knowledge Unlatched worked to secure pledges from at least 200 libraries in order to unlatch (that is, make freely and openly available) a collection of 28 front-list titles from recognized scholarly publishers. 297 libraries from 24 countries pledged, including the Boston College University Libraries.
Usage stats are now available for this collection and the breadth of use and numbers  of downloads (80,000!) make the Boston College investment seem very worthwhile. We have also contributed to unlatch the next round of publications. This is an interesting alternative publishing model to watch.

VP Biden calls for Open Access

oa_or_front-3~s600x600Heather Joseph reports that, in a speech to the American Association for Cancer Research, Vice President Joe Biden calls for more Open Access to research results in order to speed up the development of new cancer treatments and cures:

Noting that “we should measure progress by improving patient outcomes, not just publications,” the Vice President addressed the need for not only making open access the norm in cancer research, but also rewarding researchers for making their papers openly available.

He continued: “What you propose and how it affects patients, it seems to me, should be the basis of whether you continue to get the grant. And scores of your colleagues — scores — said make publications more readily available.”

“Right now, you work for years to come up with a significant breakthrough, and if you do, you get to publish a paper in one of the top journals,” the Vice President said. “For anyone to get access to that publication, they have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to subscribe to a single journal. And here’s the kicker—the journal owns the data for a year. Your outfit does this.“

“And by the way, the taxpayers fund $5 billion a year in cancer research every year, but once it’s published, nearly all of that taxpayer-funded research sits behind walls. Tell me how this is moving the process along more rapidly.”

Voting with Our Collection Dollars

Our colleague, Ellen Finnie, of the MIT Libraries, has written an inspiring blog post about values-based collection spending. She admits that MIT is in a fortunate position to be able to explore this. The whole post is worth reading, but here’s a taste:

In making a more holistic and values-based assessment, we will be using a new lens: assessing potential purchases in relation to whether they transform the scholarly communication system towards openness, or make a positive impact on the scholarly communication environment in some way, whether via licensing, access, pricing, or another dimension. Of course, like shoppers in the supermarket, we’ll need to view our purchase options with more than just one lens. We have finite resources, and we must meet our community’s current and rapidly evolving needs while supporting other community values, such as diversity and inclusion (which I will write about in a future post). So the lens of transforming the scholarly communications system is only one of many we will look through when we decide what to buy, and from what sources. How we will integrate the views from multiple lenses to make our collections decisions is something we will be exploring in the coming months – and years.