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.

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.

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