Tag Archives: Science

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.


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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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Open Source Software Adds to Collaboration, Transparency and Reproducibility in Archaeology

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-30
URL: http://openscience.com/open-source-software-contributes-to-project-collaboration-research-transparency-and-reproducibility-in-archeology/

A recent empirical study by Néhémie Strupler and Toby C. Wilkinson demonstrates that openly accessible digital tools, such as open-source Git and R platforms, can increase the transparency of archaeological fieldwork, while adding methodological rigor to its procedures.


Excerpt

While archaeology as a science is associated with limitations to the open dissemination, controlled reproduction and independent validation of its findings, the principles of Open Science, as Strupler and Wilkinson argue in their research article published in October 2017 in the Open Access journal Open Archaeology, can contribute to the mitigation of these methodology shortcomings this discipline has. Given that archaeological studies frequently reuse previous findings, engage in comparative research and rely on cross-validation by other scholars operating in this field of inquiry, closed access to extant literature creates barriers to the advancement of archaeology.

Nevertheless, archeologists have been reluctant to adopt Open Access and Open Data, due to their concerns over intellectual property rights, low incentives for primary data sharing and limited author attribution possibilities. Moreover, in this discipline Open Access has been making limited inroads, because it increases the degree of peer and public scrutiny that publications attract, may demand additional due diligence concerning research ethics, e.g., in relation to heritage protection, and can trigger undesired publicity, if findings relate to politically sensitive topics. However, under the impact of governmental policies and funder mandates, archaeological researchers increasingly opt for Open Access and Open Data, while making efforts to establish good practice standards, develop analytical reproducibility procedures for their respective findings and keep track of multiple-format data that fieldwork generates for subsequent storage, reuse and sharing.

By Pablo Markin


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

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A Growing Number of International Open Access Initiatives Are Launched by Scientific Associations

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-11-26
URL: http://openscience.com/a-growing-number-of-international-open-access-initiatives-are-launched-by-scientific-associations-and-organizations/

As the august American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) founded in 1848 and publishing Science and other scientific journals, has announced on November 21, 2017, its Science Partner Journals initiative for Open Access publications, it has joined the larger trend of academic institutions making transitions to Open Access publishing.


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Seeking to enter into collaborative relations with international scientific societies, institutions and foundations, the AAAS seeks to position its Science Partner Journals digital program in the high-quality sector of Open Access publishing, while banking on its reputation, visibility and expertise, in order to increase the accessibility of scientific findings to research organizations around the world. To pull off this initiative that intends to publish its articles under a generic Creative Commons license (CC BY), the AAAS has partnered with Hindawi as a publishing services provider, which indicates that this association did not have sufficient internal resources to go this project alone.

Since organizations joining this program will be editorially responsible for the content they publish, such as in respect to peer review and author relations services, it follows that the Science Partner Journal will be able to accommodate both the launch of new journals and the conversion of existing publication into Open Access. In this respect, a study by Reinhold Haux et al., published in 2016, indicates that Open Access is increasingly perceived by the international scientific community as an adequate format for disseminating research results, which has led to multiple cases flipping established journals, e.g., Methods of Information in Medicine, into one of existing Open Access models. These Open Access transformations are spurred by both government-supported mandates and available funding for transitioning subscription-based journals into Open Access, despite the concerns that may raise.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Open Access is the New Black: Case Study Data on Journal Transitions from Subscription Models to Open Access

Author: Beata Socha
Published Online: 2017-10-22
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-is-the-new-black-case-study-data-on-journal-transitions-from-subscription-models-to-open-access/

Serial crisis, growing resistance to subscription models as well as increasingly widespread and binding Open Access (OA) mandates have incentivized numerous publishers to consider converting paywall-based journals to OA.


Excerpt

Flipping a journal into Open Access (OA) naturally involves numerous challenges but it is a path increasingly travelled by publishers. In 2014 De Gruyter converted a portfolio of 14 journals from the subscription model to OA. In 2017, three years on, rather compelling observations can be made as to how to make the transition smooth and successful. This post is based on the webinar that De Gruyter has organized for the Open Access Week, for which it is possible to register at this link to find out more. The ever-increasing prices of subscriptions have led to the so-called serials crisis, which resulted in many libraries being forced to cancel some of their journal subscriptions, as they could no longer afford them. […]

The discontent among librarians, researchers and journal editors has led to the birth of Open Access as an alternative model to subscriptions. According to various estimates, Open Access is growing at an annual rate of approximately 12-17%. Most subscription journals already offer a hybrid option, with article processing charges (APCs) usually set at $2,000-$3,000 USD. Between 2014 and 2015, the share of purely OA journals in the publishing sector of science, technology and medicine (STM) journals increased from 10% to almost 13%. In the same period, the share of hybrid journals increased from 67% to 68.5%, while the percentage of subscription only journals fell, from 23% to 18.5%.

By Beata Socha


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

Featured Image Credits: Aquatic Conditions, May 5, 2008 | © Courtesy of  Thomas Hawk.

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Open Access May Remedy Traditional Journal Publishing’s Dysfunctional Aspects via Transparency

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-10-02
URL: http://openscience.com/open-access-can-contribute-to-remedying-the-dysfunctional-aspects-of-journal-publishing-if-it-adds-to-transparency/

As both criticisms of academic journal publication practices and recent empirical results suggest, transparency that Open Access (OA) tends to promote is likely to be associated with journal quality, since latest journal citation reports have shown that a significant share of highest-ranking scientific journals in medicine are published in OA.


Excerpt

In his extensive critique of the journal publication industry made available online in 2013, Mathias Binswager argues against the homogenization of higher education and scientific research that has been taking place in recent decades around the world, such as in Germany and Europe more generally, as quantitative measures of university excellence have become widely regarded as primary indicators on which institutional and governmental decision making has become based. This particularly applies to the journal publication procedures, since scholars and researchers receive appointments, funds and promotions primarily based on their publishing in high-ranking scientific journals, while a regular output of academic output has become widely expected in the academia.

However, given that the majority of top-ranking journals are subscription-based and most journals apply either single- or double-blind peer-review procedures to submitted manuscripts, arguably in order to increase the quality of the articles that they publish, this status quo has led to a large degree of non-transparency about the manner in which scientific journals operate. In Binswager’s view, this situation leads to deleterious effects on science, while impairing the validity of quantitative indicators of academic excellence, such as journal impact factors and article citation counts, since, provided the de facto gate-keeping functions of non-transparent peer-review procedures, scientific authors resort to tactics that are specifically targeted at increasing their chances of being published in selective journals the rejection rate of which can reach 95%. These tactics can include the strategic citation of possible reviewers, flatteringly positive assessments of approaches linked to scholars likely to act as reviewers, limited readiness to deviate from accepted theories and the reduction in the novelty of article manuscripts.

By Pablo Markin


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

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Open Science Continues to Evolve as Preprint Repositories for Specialized Fields of Scientific Inquiry Multiply

Author: Pablo Markin
Published Online: 2017-09-25
URL: http://openscience.com/open-science-continues-to-evolve-as-preprint-repositories-for-specialized-fields-of-scientific-inquiry-multiply/

As Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr) is inaugurated, open peer feedback to, rapid research output sharing of and digital object identifiers (DOIs) for pre-prints indicate a growing acceptance for Open Access in science.


Excerpt

On September 24, 2017, American Geophysical Union and Atypon have announced the launch of their ESSOAr initiative for the Open Access dissemination of earth and space science findings on a community-maintained preprint and conference presentation server. Similar to scholarly journals, this initiative will sport scientific community involvement, an international advisory board, and associations with scientific societies in the fields of earth and space sciences. Furthermore, this initiative receives its initial support from Wiley, one the world’s largest journal publishers. As a partner to this project, Atypon that provides hosted software-as-a-service publishing solutions to academic presses, societies and journals, such as Oxford University Press, will be developing this Open Access initiative on the basis of Literatum, its e-publishing platform for the monetization of online content usually geared to enterprise solutions and commercialization needs. Among the notable clients of Atypon are ElsevierSAGE Publications and Taylor & Francis Group.

Additionally, as an Open Access publishing initiative slated to start its full operation in 2018, ESSOAr expands the definition of a scientific manuscript by allowing for the archiving of elaborate conference presentations, posters and multimedia materials. This development corroborates the point that Sönke Bartling and Sascha Friesike make in their introduction to OpeningScience book published by SpringerOpen in 2014. In their book chapter entitled “Towards Another Scientific Revolution,” Bartling and Friesike, possibly bombastically, claim that the adoption of the principles of Open Access by the scientific community is likely to amount to a revolution in the manner in which contemporary science operates. Namely, these authors credit publication in Open Access, which they term as Open Science, as a likely trigger for a far-reaching change in the manner in which scientific knowledge is disseminated. Among the harbingers of this transformation that Bartling and Friesike mention is ResearchGate, an online community for scholars, scientists and researchers, where publications, ideas and data can be discussed and researched.

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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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.