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.

Berlin Universities Accelerate the Transition to Open Access by Cancelling Toll-Access Contracts with Elsevier

Author:
Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-20
URL: http://openscience.com/berlin-universities-accelerate-the-transition-to-open-access-by-cancelling-toll-access-contracts-with-elsevier/


In Germany, an increasing number of universities have announced in June-July, 2017, that they do not plan to renew their journal subscription contracts with Elsevier, one of large international publishers. While negotiations between Elsevier and German univerisities acting via the Project DEAL that represents an alliance of German research and educational institutions are still ongoing, this publisher faces a mounting push-back from German universities that have been announcing their contract cancellations. The Humboldt University, Free University and Technical University of Berlin, as well as other German institutions, have recently announced that they will no longer renew their contracts with Elsevier starting 2018, as they indicate that, since the production of scientific publications is publicly financed, Open Access models are more sustainable than yearly subscriptions that have been constantly rising by at least 5% year-on-year in recent decades. […]

In this respect, the coordinated response of German academic institutions to the oligopolistic pricing practices of large journal publishers is likely to lead either to contract price reductions or the entrenchment of Open Access as an institutionally preferred option.

By Pablo Markin


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

Academic Libraries as Emergent Players in the Scholarly Journal Publishing Industry

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-19
URL: http://openscience.com/academic-libraries-as-emergent-players-in-the-scholarly-journal-publishing-industry/


In recent years, academic libraries have become important advocates of Open Access (OA), as OA journals are being launched, institutional repositories are being introduced and open educational resources are being hosted. These developments amount to library publishing as an emergent trend in OA publishing, as digital technologies increasingly allow academic institutions to expand their role from academic information dissemination and purchasing to the management of scholarly communication formats.

As scientific foundations and granting agencies around the world have been planning a gradual transition to either Green OA or Gold OA as default options for scientific publications, libraries seek to join the fray of OA academic publishing, since they can complement their publication repository platform with peer-review procedures, which can make them into competitors to OA and subscription-based journal publishers, as Faye Chardwell and Shan Sutton suggest. Likewise, at some North American and European universities OA policies are being passed that encourage the establishment of OA repositories on an opt-in basis for pre-publication journal manuscripts.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Media Question the Practices of Large Journal Publishers and their Effect on Science

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-10
URL: http://openscience.com/media-question-the-practices-of-large-journal-publishers-and-their-effect-on-science/


On June 27, 2017, The Guardian has published a long-read piece by Stephen Buranyi on the reported nefarious effects of the traditional publishing models on science by scrutinizing the business practices of Elsevier as a large journal exemplary of both the profitability of academic publishing and its attendant antinomies, such as the unpaid work of editors and reviewers that supports its fee-based model. Furthermore, Buranyi traces the historical development of the modern-day academic journal publishing business that has not only registered a steady rate of growth over the course of the twentieth century, but also monopolized the communication of scientific research results. […]

 

In this respect, despite the emergence of Open Access as a rival publishing model and its support by scientific and non-profit foundations, such as the Austrian Science Fund, Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation, scientific articles published in Open Access represent approximately 25% of all scholarly articles published. The implications of this are that large publishers are likely to be unwilling to change their highly profitable business practices, especially given their not infrequent further incorporation into financial holdings that are likely to favor the retention of existing business models as against the incorporation of Open Access models associated with lower profitability levels but higher long-term sustainability for the scientific community, e.g., the 37% profit margin of Elsevier in 2016.

By Pablo Markin


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

What Tentative Research Results on Open Peer Review Feasibility Indicate

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-07-04
URL: http://openscience.com/tentative-research-results-on-open-peer-review-feasibility/


As a recent case study by Julien Bordier shows, the introduction of OPR procedures can increase audience interest in an online journal, such as via an open commentary or peer evaluation interface, which has been found to stimulate spontaneous exchanges with the scientific community, increase the degree to which serious responses are provided, and their acceptance by article authors. Especially online journals deploying either Gold or Green OA models, such as VertigO, can be expected to significantly increase their visibility in their respective scientific communities once they announce experimental peer review procedures. OPR formats can also allow direct communication between authors and reviewers, which is not the case when either double- or single-blind review procedures are in place. Thus, OPR can enable flexible corrections of article drafts that can be successively revised as feedback from peers arrives, while allowing a high degree of transparency concerning the justifications for these proposed and implemented changes and their precise locations in the text.

By Pablo Markin


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

The Globalization and Discontents of Open Access Support

Author:
Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-06-30

Despite the associations of Open Access with a public good, in mass media the democratization of the access to knowledge that it brings is vaunted in disconnection from the underlying business models that can made it possible in the first place. The abandonment of the subscription-based model that has long defined the strategies of large publishers will, however, increase the dependence of the scientific community on the government largess. For universities, the transition to Open Access will translate not only into the re-allocation of their funds from journal subscriptions to article processing charges (APCs), with an uncertain effect on their budgeting, bur also into the potential instability of the eventual business model, especially for scientific fields heavily dependent on the research output publication subventions that government-funded bodies provide.

By Pablo Markin


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