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Written by Benjamin Geer

1 September 2009 at 19:54

Posted in News

Recent links on Open Access

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Written by Benjamin Geer

22 August 2009 at 21:01

Learned society members and open access

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Learned society members and open access: ‘Abstract: The individual members of 35 UK learned societies were surveyed on their attitudes to open access (OA); 1,368 responses were received. Most respondents said they knew what OA was, and supported the idea of OA journals. However, although 60% said that they read OA journals and 25% that they published in them, in both cases around one-third of the journals named were not OA. While many were in favour of increased access through OA journals, concerns were expressed about the cost to authors, possible reduction in quality, and negative impact on existing journals, publishers, and societies. By contrast, less than half knew what self-archiving was; 36% thought it was a good idea and 50% were unsure. Just under half said they used repositories of self-archived articles, but 13% of references were not in fact to self-archiving repositories. 29% said they self-archived their own articles, but 10% of references were not to publicly accessible sites of any kind. The access and convenience of self-archiving repositories were seen as positive, but there were concerns about quality control, workload for authors and institutions, chaotic proliferation of versions, and potential damage to existing journals, publishers, and societies.’

Written by Benjamin Geer

5 August 2009 at 22:06

Posted in Quick Research

Recent links on Open Access

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  • The return of FRPAA: if you’re a US citizen, please support this bill, which would require OA to publicly-funded research.
  • Converting to Open Access: guides for publishers on starting a new OA journal and on converting a journal to OA.
  • Rejecta Mathematica: an OA journal publishing only papers that have been rejected from peer-reviewed journals in the mathematical sciences.  They have a wonderful slogan: caveat emptor.
  • Google’s Big Plan for Books (New York Times editorial): ‘it is likely that as a result of the settlement, Google would be the only company with the right to “orphaned” works, books whose rights owners have not been located.’
  • Obama’s Great Course Giveaway: the US government plans to fund the creation of online university courses that anyone can use freely.  For an example of what they have in mind, have a look at Carnegie-Mellon University’s amazing Open Learning Initiative.
  • Open Teaching Multiplies the Benefit but Not the Effort: ‘In 2004 I began asking my students to post their homework on their personal, publicly accessible blogs. . . . The very first semester I began asking students to share their homework this way, a popular e-learning newsletter found and liked one of my students’ essays and pointed its readers to the student’s blog. When the visits and comments from professionals around the world started coming in, students realized that the papers they were writing weren’t just throw-away pieces for class – they were read and discussed by their future peers out in the world. The result was a teacher’s dream — the students’ writing became a little longer, a little more thoughtful, and a little more representative of their actual intellectual abilities.’

Written by Benjamin Geer

5 August 2009 at 19:46

Posted in News

Recent links on Open Access

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  • OA in Africa: ‘Developed world scholarly journals are simply out of reach, in an economic sense, to the vast majority of academics and professionals in Africa.’
  • Open Access and the divide between “mainstream” and “peripheral” science: ‘However, for many scientists in developing nations, they may discover that getting an article accepted in an OA journal located in a “central” country is just as difficult as being accepted in a toll-gated journal, and perhaps even more difficult if they have to plead for funds to pay the publishing charge. Many journals do mention possibilities of removing this barrier or lowering it for scientists from the developing world, but this does not remove the extra (and potentially difficult or even humiliating) step of asking for special financial treatment. This means that many of the problems associated with publishing in foreign “core” journals are again at work in this new situation and may even be occasionally exacerbated in the case of the “author-pays” business plan.’
  • University Press 2.0 by Phil Pochoda: How can you write a 3,000-word article on digital academic books and not mention open access even once?
  • What, exactly, is Open Science? ‘Transparency in experimental methodology, observation, and collection of data; public availability and reusability of scientific data; public accessibility and transparency of scientific communication; using web-based tools to facilitate scientific collaboration.’
  • Open Access Economics: How much does it really cost to run an OA journal?  Joseph Gelfer draws on his experience as editor of the OA Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality to discuss two recent studies that attempt to answer this question.
  • SCOAP3: ‘A consortium that facilitates Open Access publishing in High Energy Physics by re-directing subscription money. This answers the request of the High Energy Physics community.  Today: (funding bodies through) libraries buy journal subscriptions to support the peer-review service and allow their patrons to read articles.  Tomorrow: funding bodies and libraries contribute to the consortium, which pays centrally for the peer-review service. Articles are free to read for everyone.’
  • References Wanted: ‘This is a room to document the harm caused by closed/toll-access publication by collecting hard data to answer the frequent anti-OA attack “everyone has all the access they need already”. Post here citations to journal articles you’d like to read/need for your work, but can’t get without paying a fee.’

Written by Benjamin Geer

1 August 2009 at 09:26

Posted in News

Recent Links on Open Access

with 2 comments

  • Fissures Evident in Panel on Google Settlement.  ‘“Everybody’s represented at the table, publishers, copyright holders, authors,” [one librarian] said, “but there’s no one there representing the public.” There’s no transparency in the University of Michigan’s amended agreement, she said, so “even if everything’s being done right, no way for us to perceive that.”’
  • The Public Index, ‘a site to study and discuss the proposed Google Book Search settlement’.
  • Horns of a Dilemma: Open Access or Academic Freedom: Philip Davis correctly points out that author-pays OA could put a strain on university libraries’ budgets if the libraries are asked to pay the authors’ publishing fees.  He then uses this observation to construct a straw-man argument against all OA, by implying that OA is incompatible with academic freedom, and that subscription-based closed access is the best model.  I pointed out some of the flaws in this argument in the comments, until Philip cut off the discussion.  In my view, both subscription fees and author fees limit academic freedom by restricting participation to institutions and individuals who can afford to pay, and neither model places any real limits on how much money publishers can extort.  In the subscription model, the result is that only the richest institutions can afford to give their members the freedom to read the best journals; in the author-pays model, the result is that only the richest institutions can afford to give their members the freedom to publish in the best journals.  I think the best alternative is to abandon the idea that academic publishing should be financially self-sustaining, and a fortiori that it should make a profit.  In any case, there is evidence that it need not cost much to publish a journal; many OA journals are published by universities themselves, at little or no cost.  (Richard Sever argued that if universities publish OA journals, this introduces a potential conflict of interest when faculty want to publish in their universities’ journals; he didn’t explain why this isn’t a problem for the closed-access journals that, as he pointed out, many universities publish.)
  • Deepak Singh comments on PLoS’s decision to promote article-level metrics and to ignore journal impact factors: ‘If you want article level metrics, you need to be web native. You need to be able to follow the links. So please, publish journals not as pdf versions of print, but as first class web citizens.’
  • In Search of Anthropology-Friendly Subject Repositories: are there any?
  • Finding a fair price for free knowledge: Writing in New Scientist, Peter Eckersley sets out ‘a challenge to the governments of countries that want to lead the way, whether rich or poor: sit down with Google (or one of its competitors), authors and publishers, and work out a deal that offers a complete, licensed digital library free to your citizens. It would cost taxpayers something, but less than they currently spend on buying scarce books and supporting large paper collections.’
  • ACM responds to the blogosphere: Scott Delman, Group Publisher of the Association for Computing Machinery, points out a problem with self-archiving: ‘The fact that ACM charges both for access to the published information in its Digital Library and also extends the courtesy of “Green OA” to its authors is actually less important to me (while both are important aspects of what we do) than the fact that ACM and many other association publishers serve as well-intentioned caretakers of the scholarly record. I have spent too many hours trying to identify the “most up-to-date version” of an author’s article on his or her Web site or digging through the various related institutional repositories to identify a specific version of an article to believe that any other system at the present time offers the advantages of publishing with learned societies.’  The implication seems to be that only those who can afford to pay should have access to ‘the scholarly record’, and that Delman doesn’t mind if everyone else has to dig through institutional repositories only to find out-of-date versions of articles.  The assertion that Green OA is a ‘courtesy’ that publishers extend to academics is also telling; in reality, it’s authors who giving something to publishers, not the reverse.

Written by Benjamin Geer

27 July 2009 at 13:39

Posted in News, Opinion

Tagged with

Why Gold OA is better than Green OA

with 7 comments

Imagine if there was a kind of free software called Green Free Software.  Perhaps kernel.org would be accessible only to people who paid to subscribe to it.  Authors of patches for the Linux kernel would have to submit them first to Linus Torvalds; if the patch was accepted, the author could then self-archive it in a separate OA source-code repository after an embargo of one year.  There would be many different OA repositories of Linux patches, all containing different patches.  Companies like IBM and Intel, whose employees contribute to Linux, would have OA ‘company repositories’ for their employees’ patches.  Many authors wouldn’t bother doing the extra work to self-archive their patches.  As a result, it would be impossible to get all the latest patches (and hence to get a complete, up-to-date Linux kernel) without paying for a subscription to kernel.org.  In an attempt to solve this problem, some companies would establish ‘mandates’ to require their employees to self-archive in their company’s repsoitory.  Of course these mandates would not affect independent programmers.  Even if the mandates were 100% successful, anyone wishing to assemble a complete kernel would have to download patches from hundreds of different company repositories and combine them together.

Now ask yourself: would that be a better system than the one we have now, where anyone can download the latest complete kernel from kernel.org for free?

Written by Benjamin Geer

26 July 2009 at 10:56

Posted in Opinion

Tagged with , ,