Despite Reservations, Open Access to Case Data Can Dramatically Improve the Accessibility of Medical Knowledge

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-07
URL: http://openscience.com/despite-reservations-open-access-to-case-data-can-dramatically-improve-the-accessibility-of-medical-knowledge/

An Open Access medical journal that has sidestepped conventional peer-review procedures gains traction as an information source among doctors.


Excerpt

In her recent review, Megan Molteni, writing for Wired, has zeroed in on the usefulness of the Cureus Journal of Medical Science for practising physicians, especially if they work in specialized fields where access to medical case knowledge can be critical for operating room decision-making. Launched as recently as in 2012, this Open Access journal already rivals established, paywall-protected scientific journals as a trusted source of medical information. Launched by John Adler, a neurosurgeon from Stanford University, this journal has embraced the Open Access model, due to its mission to serve as a largest repository for medical case study information. To achieve this end, this journal deploys step-by-step article submission templates and streamlined review procedures that reduce the time gap from manuscript submission to publication to weeks. […]

In this case, this journal utilizes to the fullest the disruptive potential of Open Access to capture for scientific purposes medical case report information that would be unavailable otherwise to the medical practice and research community around the world. This is further facilitated by the blurring of the boundaries between academic journals and blogs, since this journal also acts as a platform for article-level quality and significance ratings and evaluations, which add an element of crowd-sourcing to its peer review model. This adds to the growing popularity of this journal that currently publishes close to 25 articles per week.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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German Academic and Research Institutions Increasingly Make Open Access their Default Option

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-01
URL: http://openscience.com/german-academic-and-research-institutions-increasingly-make-open-access-their-default-option/

Over 140 German university and institute consortia members cancel their subscription contracts with Elsevier, while making publishing in Open Access a requirement for German researchers.


Excerpt

In Germany, universities and research institutions spearhead the transition to Open Access in the framework of the Projekt DEAL consortium tasked with negotiating the terms of subscription contracts with large journal publishers. By August 2017, in Germany 50 universities, 50 research organizations, 34 higher education institutions and 3 regional libraries do not have contracts with Elsevier for the coming year, while either interim journal access arrangements or no access to pay-wall protected journals are in place, as a recent article by Leonhard Dobusch states. Though among the large-scale scientific societies, the Max Planck Society and Fraunhofer Society are not directly involved in this initiative that has been gathering momentum in Germany, they provide indirect support to the demands of the Projekt DEAL via the Alliance of Scientific Organizations.

As a consequence of this, a transition to Open Access may take place since, as Christian Gutknecht’s blog post on a Swiss survey conducted by ETH Zürich in March 2017 indicates, up to 72% of scholars are likely to be willing to forgo consulting subscription-based journals, especially if their publishers apply access pricing approaches that may be deemed unacceptable. Around 91%-93% of researchers participating in this study have indicated that they do not object to the prospect of not serving on an editorial board or acting as a reviewer for journals belonging to publishers demanding unjustifiably high subscription fees. In other words, in Switzerland not only 90% of surveyed scholars express stable levels of support for Open Access, as compared to a 2011 survey by the SOAP project that have demonstrated that 89% of sampled scientific community members are in favour of Open Access, but also that high levels of readiness to apply negative sanctions, such as resigning from editorial boards, exist, which under auspicious circumstances can translate into a wide-spread adoption of Open Access in the journal publishing sector.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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The 29th Annual EAEPE Conference 2017

The 29th Annual EAEPE Conference 2017

The role of the State in Economic Development.
State Capacity, State Autonomy and Economic Development

Development studies provide a variety of strategies and models that various states used for their catching-up and convergence. The concepts usually included strongly articulated state policies (intervention) to accelerate growth, establish solid institutional background, support business development, create potent innovation system and good quality education. The actual implementation depended on the world economic environment. Historically, successful cases were less frequent than failures. The good examples of Germany, Japan, South Korea, Finland and Ireland more recently and some other countries served as benchmark for others.

The latecomers who copied the elements of successful models of developmental state were usually less successful yet, in some cases good progress could be achieved with significant amendments or case specific combinations of these elements. The question could be put to what extent existing good practices could be copied? Another important question was the extent of state intervention. Was success achieved due to state guidance of development or was it rather a lucky coincidence of autonomous factors and Hayekian criticism on excessive state influence is due? Were development failures simply the result of mismanaged public policies, or were they due to the misinterpreted role of the state, along with a lack of expertise, capacity and autonomy for managing the process of catching-up?

These questions always received new attention when world economic setting changed. We are witnessing such fundamental changes today. The questions about the results and efficiency of existing development models under the circumstances of globalization emerge in a new light. What happened to Japan or South Korea? Have their “miracles” faded out because they reached their development targets of catching up, or are there inherent tensions in the models that were amplified by the process of globalization? What are the determinants of the new development success stories of China, Indonesia, India or Viet-Nam? What about their applicability in other countries and regions? How about the transition process in Central and Eastern Europe? Did these countries choose appropriate solutions? Was their development mode coherent?

What is the proper response of states to economic globalization, a process that transforms the world economy into an organic system? To what extent can the state still be a formative (f)actor in the era of constantly deepening economic interdependencies? Can the state be the main driving force for economic development by facilitating the integration of the national economy into the global market on the one hand and by moderating the vulnerability of certain sectors and actors of the national economy in a globalized world economy on the other? States are certainly not obsolete, but to what extent are they effective and capable in promoting economic development? And how have changes in technology, capital and communication transformed the state–society relationship in both successful and unsuccessful transformers? The several decades-old question on state capacity and state autonomy, i.e., whether these are prerequisites to a successful development or are they merely a consequence of successful catching up, is back again and is more relevant than ever.

Legacies and current options of avenues of economic development and catching-up offer substantial variety of topics and research methods. Scholars are encouraged to join the discussion of active state policies fostering economic development and opportunities, as well as the limitations of their applicability.

Official website: http://eaepe.org/?page=events&side=annual_conference&sub=call_for_papers_eaepe2017

The Journal Publishing Market Between Supply- and Demand-Side Models: The Case of Open Access in Germany

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-25
URL: http://openscience.com/the-journal-publishing-market-between-supply-and-demand-side-models-the-case-of-open-access-in-germany/

Without significant support for Open Access journals, large-scale transitions to Open Access may be slow to come, as the German case indicates.


Excerpt

In their recent news item for the Science Magazine, Gretchen Vogel and Kai Kupferschmidt have expressed their expectation that a concerted negotiation front that German university libraries and research institutions present to large publishers, such as Elsevier, Wiley, and SpringerNature, may produce a nation-wide, disruptive switch to Open Access with possible momentous consequences globally. Contracts with these publishers may include provisions for both publishing in the journals they manage and accessing the collections they make available, which refers to the supply and demand sides of the academic articles market. This is part of the reason for which the possible transition to Open Access takes place at a slower pace than it can be expected, since different market forces are at play as far as producers and consumers of scientific knowledge in the form of articles are concerned.

While multiple reports on the per-article revenues of large publishers exist, such as that of Schimmer, Geschuhn and Vogler (2015) evocatively entitled “Disrupting the subscription journals’ business model for the necessary large-scale transformation to open access”, it is important to keep in mind that publishers are also likely to bear significant costs to sustain their business models and that dividing industry-wide revenues by article output for subscription-based journals produces estimates before the costs of not only producing new articles, but also ensuring their accessibility and delivering distribution solutions are taken into account. This creates the supply and demand sides to the publishing market in which publishers, their institutional clients, funding bodies and governments are involved. In the subscription model, universities and institutes effectively stimulate the supply of academic articles, while facilitating the transfer of copy rights and intellectual property to publishers that put results of scientific research behind paywalls. Especially German universities with stagnant budgets and rising costs are likely to be interested in capping their constantly growing subscription fees by opting out of subscription agreements and choosing Open Access as a default option.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Subscription-Based Journals May Be Facing the Music Industry Predicament due to File-Sharing Platforms

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-18
URL: http://openscience.com/subscription-based-journals-may-be-facing-the-music-industry-predicament-due-to-file-sharing-platforms/

As large publishers fight via legal means illegal scientific article downloading, such as via Sci-Hub, empirical findings show that over 85% of paywall-protected article catalogues are accessible through no-fee, controversial repositories.


Excerpt

While legislative initiatives seek to strike a balance between the interests of academic journal publishing industry and those of scientific communities, such as by setting quotas for Open Access to publicly supported research publications, as has recently been proposed in Germany, they can be perceived as falling short of researcher needs that continue to be largely covered by scholarly journal subscriptions that university libraries and research institutions acquire on a regular basis. At the same time, digitization may be poised to unleash in the scientific journal publishing industry changes similar to those that illegal music download platforms have instigated in the music industry. […]

Likewise, journal publishing may be in the throes of a similar transformation, as digitization-related factors make pirated scholarly papers accessible for illegal downloading, such as through Sci-Hub, at no cost. Reachable through a series of websites providing access to direct, albeit illegal, downloading of academic papers from several repositories, Sci-Hub has been founded by Alexandra Elbakyan, Kazakhstan national who could not afford article access fees that large publishers charge, in 2011. In 2015, Elsevier, one of major international scientific journal publishers, has filed a copyright infringement complaint against Sci-Hub and other article downloading platforms, such as Library Genesis, in New York, while demanding 15 million USD in damages. Though a New York court has decided this legal case in favor of Elsevier in June 2017, this publisher has been increasing its Open Access portfolio holdings in recent years, which can indicate a change in its business model.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Shifting Power Relations between Journal Publishers and University Libraries as Open Access Models Take Hold

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-15
URL: http://openscience.com/shifting-power-relations-between-journal-publishers-and-university-libraries-as-open-access-models-take-hold/

Scientific journals switching to Open Access that seek to diminish the impact of traditional publishers on access to knowledge incidentally make libraries and foundations more central to the publication workflow.


Excerpt

As Open Access becomes an increasingly central requirement with which large journal publishers are met with in their dealings with university libraries, academic societies and individual scholars, some of these, such as Springer, express readiness to accommodate it in their business practices, e.g., by making archived journal issues freely accessible after specified grace periods. At the same time, these practices also empower journal editors and research libraries to seek a more central role in the emergent journal publishing ecology based on Open Access, as has been the case with the section editors and editorial board of Lingua, a linguistics journal published by Elsevier, that have decided to launch Glossa, a rival Open Access journal, in 2015 with the support of the LingOA initiative and the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a charitable organization seeking to promote Open Access publishing without charging author-facing article processing charges (APCs).

Though last two decades have seen a number of journals being re-launched in Open Access, for publishers this process hardly represents a paradigm shift in terms of how their extant journals are run, notwithstanding their limited integration of Open Access options, since their existing business models continue to ensure the quality of subscription-based journals. Additionally, in many cases, even after competing Open Access journals are launched, existing journals continue to maintain their positioning in their respective academic fields. However, initiatives, such as the OLH, that explicitly seek to change the manner in which funds circulate between libraries, publishers and researchers based on Open Access can potentially reduce the hold of publishers on copyright, journal management and revenue streams, while making libraries more directly involved in editorial processes, publication workflow and business models that form the basis of academic journals’ sustainability.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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A Review of Institutional Change in the Public Sphere: Views on the Nordic Model Edited by Fredrik Engelstad et al.

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-13
URL: http://openscience.com/a-review-of-institutional-change-in-the-public-sphere-views-on-the-nordic-model-edited-by-fredrik-engelstad-et-al/

This timely volume provides a Nordic and theoretically informed perspective on the transformations that the public sphere has been undergoing in recent decades.


Excerpt

Published in April 2017 by De Gruyter Open, Institutional Change in the Public Sphere: Views on the Nordic Model, a collection of contributions from North European and international scholars edited by Fredrik Engelstad, Håkon Larsen, Jon Rogstad, and Kari Steen-Johnsen, casts a retrospective glance at the effect that information technology, social changes and institutional transformation had on the public sphere in developed countries more generally and in Northern Europe in particular.

In their introductory chapter on the changes in the public sphere, relevant institutional perspectives and neo-corporatist social transformations, Fredrik Engelstad, Håkon Larsen, Jon Rogstad, and Kari Steen-Johnsen take Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit: Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, a seminal work by Jürgen Habermas orginally published in 1962 and translated into English as The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society by Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence in 1989, as a theoretical background for their discussion of the public sphere where communicative processes of civil society and among individual and collective agents, such as the state, take place. Consequently, changes in the mass and electronic media, communication technologies and related social spheres, such as literature, arts, science and education, can be expected to have a significant effect on social, political and economic processes. The attendant institutional transformations are linked by these authors to the rise of neo-corporatist frameworks, as concerns state-level regulation, the public sphere, media-related, civic and cultural institutions, social differentiation and resultant power struggles.

By Pablo Markin


The full-length original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Open Access Affects Business Models of Large Publishers as Elsevier Acquires a Digital Commons Platform

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-10
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-affects-business-models-of-large-publishers-as-elsevier-acquires-a-digital-commons-platform/

As resistance to subscription deals grows, Elsevier takes over Bepress providing Open Access storage to faculty- and student-generated materials.


Excerpt

The recent acquisition by Elsevier of Bepress announced in early August 2017 can signify a growing accommodation by large publishers, such as Springer/Nature, Wiley, SAGE and Taylor & Francis, of Open Access as a publication model. At the same time, while this move can signify a growing corporate presence in Open Access as a university- and library-oriented solution, it is worth noting that Bepress has facilitated the outsourcing of content digitization by academic institutions, such as research result, data set, electronic journal, open textbook and archival material storage. In this respect, Bepress combines the features of institutional repositories with those of book and journal publishers, as it has an extensive list of both peer-reviewed and non-reviewed, student and narrowly focused journals in Open Access and behind pay-walls.

Thus, as a hybrid-model platform, Bepress has already developed fee-based services and offerings that capitalize on Open Access content that it hosts, which indicates that prior to its acquisition it already sported a sustainable business model. For Elsevier that continues to face multiplying demands that it accommodate Open Access as part of large-scale subscription deals it closes with universities and libraries, such as in Germany, broadening the scope of its operations to include this institutional repository makes business sense. Moreover, this take-over also indicates a wider-ranging change in Elsevier’s strategy after it has acquired SSRN, Social Science Research Network representing one of the world’s largest repositories for conference papers, pre-prints and unpublished research in both Open Access and fee-based formats especially in the fields of economics and law, in May 2016. Consequently, through these take-overs Elsevier has become one of the major global players in the field of Open Access journal publishing and institutional repositories.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Journals Transitioning to Open Access May Have Limited Sustainability Absent Revenue Streams

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-06
URL: http://openscience.com/journals-transitioning-to-open-access-may-have-limited-sustainability-absent-revenue-streams/

Reliance on foundation or contingency funding does not substitute for viable revenue models that journals switching to Open Access may need to maintain quality.


Excerpt

As the editors of the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics have announced the termination of their contracts to Springer, the publisher behind the journal, in June 2017, it has been a move coordinated with the journal’s editorial board, to establish a rival Open Access journal Algebraic Combinatorics. The declared impetus for this transition to Open Access has been the importance of fairly priced Open Access options for the scientific community, in accordance with which the prospective journal plans to refrain from high Article Processing Charges (APCs) and profit-driven practices of the fee-based journal publisher, especially given that academic journals rely significantly on the volunteer labor of the scientific community.

This transition to Open Access has been inspired by the successful flipping of several linguistics journals from subscription-based to Open Access models, as part of the LingOA project. A similar initiative has been launched in the field of mathematics, e.g., Mathematics in Open Access (MathOA), that seeks to facilitate the transition of mathematics-related journals to Open Access. This is illustrated by the recent developments at the Journal of Algebraic Combinatorics the editorial staff of which has opted for Open Access as Springer has proved not as forthcoming as concerns the integration of Open Access into its business models as the editorial staff of the journal had expected, such as according to the principles of the Fair Open Access Alliance.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Open Access Leads to the Reorganization of Traditional Publishing Rather than its Decline

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-08-04
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-leads-to-the-reorganization-of-traditional-publishing-rather-than-its-decline/


Excerpt

[…] as recent developments in the field of Open Access textbooks demonstrate, such as the Canadian BC Open Textbook Project, open access solutions have demonstrated the ability to maintain a quality control of their offerings, while turning them into viable contenders in the publishing market. In Canada, provincial governments have made significant investments into the development of high-quality peer-reviewed online content in the Open Access format for the education sector. The British Columbia’s Open Access initiative has been emulated by the Open Textbook Library for Ontario project aimed at the creation of professionally composed textbooks in numerous academic areas, while attracting multi-million provincial-level investments. In other words, rather than decreasing the inflow of financial resources into the educational publishing market, these Open Access initiatives have acted as catalysts for further support for their business models, as developing these initiatives obviate the necessity of end-users and academic institutions to pay copyright-related fees for their educational materials in perpetuity.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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ENTRENOVA Conference (ENTerprise REsearch InNOVAtion Conference)

ENTRENOVA Conference (ENTerprise REsearch InNOVAtion Conference) is a multi-disciplinary conference dedicated to examining, comprehending and discuss the economic, management, organizational, marketing and other issues related to innovation, information technology, and R&D, driven by enterprises.  This theme includes a number of challenges related to the invention of new knowledge (R&D), the diffusion of new knowledge (e.g. through knowledge management), and the exploitation of new knowledge (e.g. innovation in the field of products, processes and/or services).

ENTRENOVA bridges the gap between academia and industry, promote EU programs and international cooperation.

ENTRENOVA is organized by IRENET, Society for Advancing Innovation and Research in Economy, in cooperation with the Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Kotor, Montenegro and the University North, Varazdin, Croatia. The conference, having an international focus, takes place on 7-9th September. It was previously organized in Kotor, Montenegro (2015) and Rovinj, Croatia (2016).

Official website: http://www.entrenova.org/

Applied Modeling in Economics, Finance and Social Sciences

The International Conference “Applied Modeling in Economics, Finance and Social Sciences (AMEFSS 2017)” to be held on the 27-31 August 2017 in Hisar, Bulgaria. The main organizers are Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski” (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration), Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski” ( Faculty of Economy and Social Science), Shumen University “Bishop Konstantin Preslavsky” (College Dobrich).

The conference will cover a wide range of topics on the most recent developments and modeling in Economics, Management and Social Sciences. Researchers are encouraged to exchange their experience in resolving practical challenges they have encountered and discuss contemporary economic policies and issues.

The event also offers the opportunity to visit Hisarya, a unique location in the Plovdiv Province, Bulgaria.

Official website: http://dataconferences.org/ 

Hong Kong’s Open Access Weeks Chart the Growing Awareness of Knowledge Sharing Benefits

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-31
URL: http://openscience.com/hong-kongs-open-access-weeks-chart-the-growing-awareness-of-knowledge-sharing-benefits/


From 2015, Hong Kong universities, such as the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, have been regularly arranging Open Access (OA) Weeks as events including presentations, workshops and exhibitions aimed at covering specific OA-related topics, e.g., research impact, publication sharing, and author rights. This active interest in OA has surfaced in the wake of the wide adoption of OA formats, such as Gold OA, by both scholarly community and large publishers.

Furthermore, Hong Kong universities are apparently responding to the exponentially growing journal subscription costs, even though digitization makes the costless sharing of research results easier than ever before. As a global trend, OA, thus, represents a disruptive development in the journal publishing industry, the ripple effect of which is increasingly discernible in Hong Kong as well. According to SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, OA and Open Data can make a significant contribution to economic growth, reduce the costs of learning materials academic institutions use, such as via the deployment of OA textbook, and promote cutting-edge scientific research in multiple areas.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

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Alternative Measures of Scholarly Impact are Increasingly Adopted by Funders and Publishers

Author:
Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-29
URL: http://openscience.com/alternative-measures-of-scholarly-impact-are-increasingly-adopted-by-funders-and-publishers/


While journal impact factor metrics have been and continue to be used to assess the quality of publications that scholars publish, it appears that the primarily digital format in which most scholarly articles are published and the attendant article-level data that can be retrieved via the Internet can make it possible to devise article-level impact measures. A relatively recent example of this is the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) that is calculated by Public Library of Science (PLoS) for the National Institute of Health, the United States, in the domain of medical research. The supporters of this article-level metric argue that they can increase the visibility of high-quality publications regardless of the impact factor ranking that the journals in which they appear have, as the chart below illustrates. Consequently, this can also assist emerging scientific journals, such as in developing countries, to improve their reputation, even when they operate with limited financial support.

Journal impact factor vs citation counts, June 22, 2017 | © Courtesy of Erwin Irawan.

Journal impact factor vs citation counts, June 22, 2017 | © Courtesy of Erwin Irawan.

Readily available computing power allows the application of the RCR based on the ratio between the target article citation rate and that of subsequent articles that cite it, which arguably permits controlling for the citation rates specific to particular scientific fields, while enabling cross-field comparability of this metric. A recent Open Access (OA) article that had inquired into the performance of the RCR as an alternative metric vis-à-vis expert opinions has not found significant differences between these, which indicates that journal-level metrics can serve as fine-grained and relatively adequate measures of the academic quality that published articles have as compared to journal-level metrics that may fail to capture the possibly variable quality of the articles that scholarly journals publish. Though the algorithms behind the RCR are considered to be more complex than more traditional impact metrics, both these procedures and underlying data are made freely accessible to the general public. While the developers and investigators of the RCR are careful to qualify the discriminating power of this metric for the assessment of article-level impact, it is an important step in the direction of deploying multiple alternative influence measures in the field of science.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

Do Repositories Supported by Non-Profit Initiatives Represent the Future of Scientific Publishing?

Author:
Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-25
URL: http://openscience.com/do-repositories-supported-by-non-profit-initiatives-represent-the-future-of-scientific-publishing/


[T]he number of publications published in the pre-print format has been growing exponentially in recent years, as scientific disciplines, such as biology, and their subfields are increasingly recognizing the necessity of OA for furthering the sharing of recent research results, while minimizing the time gap between empirical research and manuscript availability. Thus, in 2017 the monthly number of pre-prints has reached over 1,400 articles from as little as between 400 and 200 in 2014. This pre-print growth has been fueled by the relaxation of peer review procedures, similar to arXiv. In fact, a parallel initiative in biology is dubbed bioRxiv that not only replicates arXiv’s approach to OA, but also has attracted extensive institutional backing in the form of both preprint publication pledges and financial support from non-profit organizations, such as the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Though pre-print repositories’ review practices diverse from the strict peer review standards of scientific journals, their rapid and decentralized nature may be well fitting the pace of development in established and emergent research fields that are likely to benefit from OA to their findings.

By Pablo Markin


The original  blog article and additional resources can be found at OpenScience blog.

A Companion Blog for Open Economics, a Peer-Reviewed Open Access Journal.