Category Archives: Topical Spotlights

As Journal Subscription Fees Exhaust Library Budgets, Universities Mandate Open Access Preprint Repository Publishing

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-16
URL: http://openscience.com/as-journal-subscription-fees-exhaust-library-budgets-universities-mandate-open-access-preprint-repository-publishing/

Given that at some universities, such as the University of California San Francisco, journal subscriptions consume approximately 85% of collections budgets, switching to Open Access peer-reviewed pre-print repositories becomes an enticing alternative to toll-based scientific journals.


Excerpt

The financial data of the University of California San Francisco for the year 2017 tally up its annual spending on collective and specialist journal subscriptions at 60 million USD, which leaves only 15% of budgets which its branch and online libraries have to share for other content acquisitions. These figures showcase the situation of university and research libraries around the world that are confronted with the global scientific publishing industry in which private companies have the market share of 65% and approximately 85% of content is protected by paywalls. Moreover, in recent years the subscription fees to the highest-ranking scientific journals have grown at steeper yearly rates than the journal publishing market average of 6%.

This condition of the journal publishing market, which is financially unsustainable even for the richest academic and research institutions in the West, also precludes access to most recent scientific findings to those who cannot afford to shoulder ever increasing subscription fees. For this reason, universities increasingly call for a switch to Open Access preprint repositories as default-choice publishing venues for the output of their researchers and faculty. In other words, Western academic leaders, such as Prof. Keith Yamamoto, acting as a vice chancellor for the science policy and strategy of the University of California San Francisco, mandate a blanket adoption of preprint repositories, e.g., New Zealand’s Tuwhera, as valid alternatives to tall-protected journals, given that these repositories are expected to be furnished with editorial boards and peer-review procedures the costs of which are slated to be covered by internal and external, non-profit funding.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Hybrid Open Access Journals Could Facilitate Transitions to Gold Open Access Models in the Publishing Industry

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-12
URL: http://openscience.com/hybrid-open-access-journals-could-facilitate-transitions-to-gold-open-access-models-in-the-publishing-industry/

As recent literature reviews and findings from the United Kingdom higher education institutions suggest, for universities the costs of publishing in hybrid Open Access journals is significantly higher than in Gold Open Access ones, due to optional article processing charges (APCs) for Open Access publishing and subscription fees they involve, even though APC-based Open Access journals have been found to demonstrate higher impact factors and submission performance than Open Access journals without APCs.


Excerpt

In his analysis of the Open Access market published online on February 19, 2017, Bo-Christer Björk suggests that the Open Access market is affected not only by the rivalry among its biggest players, such as Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer Nature and Taylor & Frances, by also by the relatively limited bargaining power of scientific authors, academic editors and manuscript reviewers, the continued selectivity of journal indexing services, and the threat of substitution that institutional repositories, such as arXiv.org, post to journals. Furthermore, as Open Access journal publishers continue to increase competition in this market, university libraries and consortia gradually augment their bargaining power over the terms of journal subscription contracts, especially as switching to Open Access becomes increasingly feasible for researchers and authors, as Open Access mandates proliferate and funding for APCs becomes widely accessible, such as through the Austrian Science Fund and Wellcome Trust. […]

Therefore, for the publishing market, hybrid or Green Open Access journals can represent transitional models, such as in combination with third party-financed cost offsetting arrangements, toward Gold Open Access the models for the implementation of which continue to be in flux.

By Pablo Markin


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

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The Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Open Access Transitions on Library Budgets in Britain and Germany

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-08
URL: http://openscience.com/the-short-term-and-long-term-effects-of-transitions-to-open-access-on-library-budgets-a-comparison-of-germany-and-britain/

As recent media reports indicate, a significant impact of Open Access transitions on university and library costs related to scientific journal subscriptions can primarily be expected in the long term, if no concerted measures by academic institutions are undertaken. By contrast, short-term subscription cost reductions are likely to demand contract renegotiations. In both cases, Open Access is an integral part of changing the model based on which the journal publishing market operates.


Excerpt

In a news brief from December 5, 2017, The Times Higher Education has recently recapitulated the key findings of a recent report on the transition to Open Access in the United Kingdom (UK) appearing on December 5, 2017. Based on spending data from a sample of 10 UK universities for the period between 2013 and 2016, this report indicates that journal subscription costs of these institutions have increased by 20% in this time span. In other words, this publication argues that in this period transitioning to Open Access not only has not lead to a significant reduction in university library subscription budgets, but was also accompanied by growing expenditures for both subscriptions that have reached 16.7 million GBP and article processing charges (APCs) which have amounted to 3.4 million GBP in 2016.

Yet, while report authors, such as Michael Jubb, express their concern about the rise in overall journal access- and publication-related costs, disentangling the short- and long-term perspectives on these data could be instructive. More specifically, it is difficult to expect Open Access have a significant effect on journal subscription costs in the studied period, since large publishers, such as Elsevier, have continued to be successful in renewing their journal access contracts with British universities, the growing popularity of Open Access notwithstanding. All things being equal, in the short-term without systemic changes the adoption of Open Access is likely to add to university costs, such as through APCs, especially if these academic institutions do not renegotiate their extant subscription agreements.

By Pablo Markin


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

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The Directory of Open Access Books’ Growth Accelerates Despite Download Format and License Heterogeneity

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-12-04
URL: http://openscience.com/the-directory-of-open-access-books-accelerates-its-growth-despite-download-format-and-access-license-heterogeneity/

As the Directory of Open Access Books has reached 10,000 titles in its catalogue in late 2017, it reflects an accelerated pace at which publishers join this Open Access initiative and make available their books and chapters to international audiences. Yet, only a minor share of these electronic publications is scientific, they entail a wide variety of licensing conditions, and are accessible in a variety of digital formats.


Excerpt

In its press release published on November 24, 2017, the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) has celebrated the increasing speed at which it has added new titles the total of which rose from circa 4,000 in 2015 to 6,000 in 2016 and from over 6,000 to more than 10,000 in 2017. In recent years, this accelerating expansion of the DOAB’s catalogue has been matched by the increasingly growing ranks of its supporting publishers that climbed from approximately 130 in 2015 to over 160 in 2016 and from the latter level to almost 250 in 2017, which represents one of its most significant membership growth spurts since 2011. More specifically, in no small part this development is owed to OpenEdition’s addition of approximately 40 Open Access book publishers from its partner network to the DOAB, which has contributed over 2,000 new titles to its directory.

This impressive yearly growth of the DOAB of over 65% and 40% in titles listed and participating publishers for the 2016-2017 period respectively is, thus, a result of the growing adoption of Open Access by scholarly book publishers, such as De Gruyter. As one of DOAB’s sponsors, De Gruyter, whose activity in the Open Access sector dates to 2005, has made available over 1,000 books that either it or its partners publish in Open Access by December 2017. In a whitepaper on the effect of Open Access on the usage of scholarly books authored by Christina Emery, Mithu Lucraft, Agata Morka and Ros Pyne that Springer Nature, another partner of the DOAB, published in November 2017, it is argued that books published in Gold Open Access demonstrate significantly higher performance than non-Open Access publications in terms of chapter downloads, book citations and online mentions.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Case Study Findings Show Transitioning Scientific Journals to Gold Open Access is Feasible and Sustainable

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-20
URL: http://openscience.com/case-study-findings-show-transitioning-large-scale-scientific-journals-to-gold-open-access-is-feasible-and-sustainable/

The successful conversion of RSC Advances published by the Royal Society of Chemistry into Gold Open Access since October 2016 indicates the maturity of the Open Access model, its acceptance by the scientific community and the continued growth of the journal after the transition to Open Access.


Excerpt

In their recent research report published on March 2017, Emma Wilson and Jamie Humphrey describe the effects that the transition of RSC Advances, a major journal in the field of chemistry, to Gold Open Access has had on the journal performance in terms of article submissions, topics covered and author countries. Launched in 2011, RSC Advances has been conceived of as a subscription-based mega-journal targeting a broad scientific audience, such as early-career and emerging-market researchers, which represents the decision of the Royal Society of Chemistry to expand its existing portfolio of journals.

On the strength of its article submission numbers that rapidly grew to circa 13,000 from over 90 countries, such as China (48%), India (14%), USA and Canada (4%), South Korea (4%) and Iran (4%), in 2016, RSC Advances has decided to switch to Open Access. This decision has been triggered by the rapid expansion of the Gold Open Access market that in terms of articles published has been estimated to grow by approximately 30% between 2003 and 2011. Currently, Gold Open Access accounts for between 10.2% and 16.6% articles published in the scientific, technical and medical (STM) segment. This sector is dominated by a handful of mega-journals, such as PLoS ONE launched in 2006, of which over 15 exist in the STM market.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Hybrid Open Access Mega-Journals Gain in Traction as Scholarly Societies and Journal Publishers Partner

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-16
URL: http://openscience.com/hybrid-open-access-mega-journals-gain-in-international-traction-as-scientific-societies-and-open-access-publishers-partner/

While developed world universities and libraries weigh the pros and cons of Open Access plus subscription models, developing countries embrace Open Access mega journal-style repositories with open post-publication peer review procedures in partnership with established publishing platforms.


Excerpt

As the international Open Access community mulls the possibility of turning data sets into revenue streams by dint of the latter’s ability to be analyzed, circulated and packaged in abstract form, scholars hailing from the American academia grapple with the economics of scientific journal publishing by seeking to explore how the supply and demand can be re-equilibrated in this industry. Currently, the demand for the scientific journal subscriptions appears to continue to outstrip they supply, which ensures the high subscription fees, such as those of Springer, for journal bundles that their publishers vend, given their effective oligopoly hold on this market and the exclusive access to highly-reputed journals they provide.

However, this situation resists a facile conclusion that Open Access journals can significantly change the equilibrium prices in this market, as quality journals incur significant publication costs and do not differ significantly in their reviewing, editing and submission practices from subscription-based journals, as far as unpaid labor input is concerned. In other words, Open Access journals will have to have article processing charges (APCs) compensate for the lost revenue streams that toll-based journals derive from subscription fees. In turn, this leads to a relatively minor impact that the advent of Open Access has had on the market-wide equilibrium prices that end up being charged for article publication and access either directly or indirectly.

By Pablo Markin


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

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LaTeX, Open Source Software, Facilitates the Adoption of Open Access by Authors, Repositories and Journals

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-01
URL: http://openscience.com/latex-open-source-software-facilitates-the-adoption-of-open-access-by-authors-repositories-and-journals/

LaTeX, a software environment for type-setting scientific texts, supplies digital infrastructure not only for researchers, such as in the fields of mathematics or astronomy, but also for Open Access repositories and journals, while minimizing their costs.


Excerpt

Open Astronomy is an Open Access journal recently launched by De Gruyter Open on the basis of the journal Baltic Astronomy initially founded in 1992. As Philip Judge, a senior astronomy scientist from the High Altitude Observatory of the University Corporation and National Center for Atmospheric Research, a non-profit consortium of North American universities and colleges sponsored by the National Science Foundation of the United States, has agreed to serve as an Editor-in-Chief for Open Astronomy in early 2017, his primary motivation has been to promote the openness of scientific research. At the same time, since the journal does not demand article processing charges, it needs to minimize its publication costs, which is achieved, among other means, by the extensive deployment of LaTeX.

As an open source document preparation system, LaTeX can be downloaded free of charge, even though copyright restrictions can apply to the modifications of this software, which has, however, ensured the backwards compatibility of documents composed in LaTeX. Since this is a markup language for the compilation of complex scientific texts, such as those including notation symbols, mathematical formulas and foreign language characters, LaTeX effectively outsources typesetting to scholarly authors. This has also made LaTeX into a de facto standard format for scientific documents in multiple fields of sciences and humanities, such as mathematics, physics and linguistics, as it allows the production of high-quality PDF-format documents regardless of their complexity.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize-Related Economics Award Winner, has also Advocated in Favor of Open Data Access

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-15
URL: http://openscience.com/richard-thaler-nobel-prize-related-economics-award-winner-has-also-advocated-in-favor-of-open-data-access/

While upon his 2017 prize nomination, Richard H. Thaler has received recognition for his contributions to behavioral economics, he has also argued that open data initiatives can bring public and private benefits alike.


Excerpt

On October 9, 2017, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has announced that Richard H. Thaler, its Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, has received the vaunted 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. This award has celebrated Thaler’s work in behavioral economics that takes account of the non-rationality of economic agents, due to human biases. While his economic behavior scenarios have served as the foundation for his book-scale publications, such as Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness (2008; co-authored with Cass R. Sunstein) and Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics (2015), in his smaller-scale publications Thaler has also advocated that Open Access to governmental, organizational and user data can be of significant utility for individual and collective decision-makers, precisely because more often than not economic agents act counterintuitively.

In other words, the ability of public policies to arrive at optimal decisions and realize cost efficiencies is likely to critically depend on the availability in Open Access of behavioral data based on which incentives can be devised and fine-tuned. Thus, in his article that has appeared in The New York Times on March 12, 2011, Thaler has called on governments to allow for Open Access to the data that their various agencies collect so that private companies and individual consumers would be able to tap into that information to deliver optimized services, such as real-time traffic tracking solutions, and make smarter decisions, e.g., based on service provider price registries, respectively. These uses of open data can also contribute to higher levels of consumer market competition and product safety transparency with public and private benefits in the form of improved resource allocation efficiency and reduced damage and mortality rates due to accidents.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Despite Growth, Scientific Networking Sites Are Likely to Complement, Not Replace Open Access Repositories

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-12
URL: http://openscience.com/despite-their-initial-proliferation-scientific-networking-sites-are-likely-to-complement-not-replace-open-access-repositories/

Even though social media performance becomes increasingly important for scientists, questions about the implications that the business models of scholarly networking sites have persist, while leaving institutional repositories and Open Access publishers with a significant role to play in knowledge sharing.


Excerpt

As scholars become increasingly concerned with the visibility and view counts that their scientific articles generate, social networking platforms have been slated to become the primary venues for the dissemination and sharing of scientific knowledge. However, as Jessica Leigh Brown implies, as these scholarly social networking sites, such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu, have sought to achieve both economic sustainability and reputation within different scientific communities, Open Access institutional repositories run by universities and institutes are likely to continue to be important for ensuring content availability in the long term.

In other words, either as open source projects, e.g., Zotero, or startup initiatives, such as ResearchGate, Academia.edu and Mendeley, these scholarly networks depend on either non-profit, donation-based or private funding, which can either limit their scope or involve the privatization of digital commons with possible non-positive responses in the scientific communities. For instance, ResearchGate has had to demonstrate swift reaction to copyright infringement allegations from large journal publishers, Academia.edu has not met with an enthusiastic response from scholars to its attempts to introduce paid-for services and Mendeley, upon its purchase by Elsevier in 2013, has raised concerns that its content sharing practices might deviate from the principles of Open Access.

By Pablo Markin


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

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How to nudge people and get Noble Prize for that?

Richard H. Thaler from University of Chicago received Nobel Prize in Economics this week. It’s not only a prestigues award. As it is broadly commented in mass media, winners become celebrities not only in academia. And did I mentioned that Thaler played a scene with Selena Gomez in Big Short?

We asked editors from Open Economics for comments on that choice. Is it important for academia? Will it change our everyday life?

source: Nobelprize.org

Thaler represents behavioral economics. He created a model of price reactions to information, but is also known for his and Cass Sunstein’s nudge theory (see Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press, 2008). Nudging can help people make better choices, by creating whole choice architecture, where such details as a number of choices or the way they are described matters. These theories can be controversial, though. As critics often point, that it can lead to limitations of individual autonomy by manipulating and limiting choices.

Luisa Blanco-Raynal (Pepperdine University) is enthusiastic about this year’s winner:

His work is extremely interdisciplinary in nature and has important policy applications. This award says something about the significant role economists play improving the wellbeing of individuals. 

Jeffrey DeSimone (University of Alabama at Birmingham) agrees that Thaler’s work not only can improve our lives in future but did it already, even if we are not aware of that:

I think Thaler is a great choice for the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Ideas from the field he helped build, behavioral economics, not only are appreciated by lots of people who might otherwise have little additional knowledge of economics, but moreover have likely improved the lives of many who, without realizing, have benefitted from policies that rely on these ideas (such as behavioral nudges). 

University of Chicago has 29 affiliated prize winners (check the list here), which makes it most awarded university in the world. It’s also an ideal example of how heterogeneous university can be. Zijun Wang (University of Texas at San Antonio) makes a good point on that:

In 1995, University of Chicago professor Robert Lucas won the Nobel Prize in economics for his contributions to rational expectations theory. At the same year, the university also made a rational decision to hire Richard Thaler who now also won the prize for his contributions to behavior economics. So, the two schools of thoughts can prosper under the same roof only if economics research is open.

The Prize can also be a clear sign for new scientists, that it’s not only mainstream that matters. Jeffrey DeSimone points, that as documented by Michael Lewis in The Undoing Project, his humble beginnings in the profession, and rise to prominence only after following his interests and intuition despite resistance within the discipline, is somewhat of an inspiration.

Will this year’s Nobel Prize herald a shift in mainstream economics towards less rational, more emotional models? And will economics be more and more interdisciplinary? The future of economics looks exciting!

Read more:

About the Prize in Economic Sciences 2017 (Official Website of the Nobel Prize)

Richard Thaler’s website

Though Arguments for Open Science are Aplenty, Institutional Barriers to Its Implementation Remain

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-29
URL: http://openscience.com/though-arguments-for-open-science-are-aplenty-institutional-barriers-to-its-implementation-remain/

As a latest Montreal-based initiative in neuroscience and the European “Horizon 2020” program show, despite efforts promoting it, Open Science continues to be exposed to budgeting and resources shortfalls.


Excerpt

As Giusppe Valiate reports, from 2016, based at Canada’s McGill University, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNIH) has been applying Open Science principles to its artificial intelligence research. As part of implementing Open Access in various fields of scientific inquiry, Open Science does not suffer from a lack of definitions, schools of thoughts or academic articles proffering arguments in its favor as Benedikt Fecher and Sascha Friesike discuss in detail in their book chapter published in 2014. Perhaps due to the heteroclite nature of this phenomenon, as Open Science can refer to its technological infrastructure, knowledge creation accessibility, alternative impact metrics, knowledge access democratization, and collaborative research practices, its application in the research and scientific community continues to be divergent. Moreover, as far as academic journals are concerned, this term largely refers to Open Access.

Thus, what the MNIH initiative primarily boils down to is making its empirical, clinical and research data, such as brain imaging, biological sample and cellular data, available in Open Access. This contribution to Open Science is aimed at promoting drug discovery and development, e.g., via the facilitation of medicine tests, as part of the drive to openly share research data. At the same time, given that this field of research demands large-scale data sets, technical infrastructure for their storage and corresponding financial resources, this Open Science project also seeks to encourage a transition to Open Access, as an effort to cut costs. Similarly, Canadian researchers and scholars express increasing resistance to subscription-based journals of large publishers, such as by refusing to review their manuscripts and creating rival Open Access journals, e.g., the Journal of Machine Learning Research.

By Pablo Markin


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

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The Economics of Flipping Back-List Book Titles into Open Access: Digitization at Cornell University and De Gruyter

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-10
URL: http://openscience.com/the-economics-of-flipping-back-list-book-titles-into-open-access-digitization-at-cornell-university-and-de-gruyter/

The digitization of out-of-print book titles incurs costs that Open Access projects tend to depend on external funding to cover, while hybrid models promise higher efficiency and larger scope.


Excerpt

As a press release by George Lowery has announced, the Cornell University Press (CUP), established in 1869, but actively operating since 1930, has received a second grant amounting to 100,000 USD from the United States’ National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting its Open Access (OA) book digitization initiative, Cornell Open, on April 4, 2017. According to this announcement, this grant is intended to be dispensed for the project of digitizing 57 back-list book titles in humanities and social sciences, such as literary criticism and political science, to make them openly accessible to the general public locally and internationally. This project is intended to bring the list of its Open Access digitized out-of-print titles to 77. […]

By contrast, on September 5, 2017, Eric Merkel-Sobota has released the news that De Gruyter’s digital book archive will be expanded from its current list of 10,000 digitized out-of-print books to 40,000 titles by 2020. More specifically, De Gruyter’s digital book archive is planned to encompass all of its out-of-print titles from 1749, when the foundational book-printing institution has set up its shop, to the present day. As in the case of the CUP’s digitization initiative, De Gruyter Book Archive will include titles of seminal significance for human and social sciences, e.g., Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures published by Mouton, currently De Gruyter Mouton, in 1957. By the end of 2017, De Gruyter’s digitization drive will add 3,000 to its online book archive. The primary difference of De Gruyter’s digitization initiative from that of the CUP is that it will serve hybrid, on-demand and subscription models of access to these back-list titles, whereas the CUP has chosen OA as its preferred format, which has made it imperative to rely on governmental and private funding to launch its initiative.

By Pablo Markin


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

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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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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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