What does Academia_edu’s success mean for Open Access? The data-driven world of search engines and social networking
With over 36 million visitors each month, the massive popularity of Academia.edu is uncontested. But posting on Academia.edu is far from being ethically and politically equivalent to using an institutional open access repository, argues Gary Hall. Academia.edu’s financial rationale rests on exploiting the data flows generated by the academics who use the platform. The open access movement is in danger of being outflanked, if not rendered irrelevant by centralised entities like Academia.edu who can capture, analyse and exploit extremely large amounts of data.
Dutch universities plan Elsevier boycott — will this be a game changer or will publisher profits remain unaffected?
Led by vice chancellors, Dutch universities have recently announced plans for a country-wide boycott of the academic publisher Elsevier. Such a boycott has the potential to be a significant game changer in the relationship between the research community and the world’s largest academic publisher. But how will it affect open access momentum in the UK and around the world? Here we have brought together two expert views on the subject. Danny Kingsley, the Head of Scholarly Communication at University of Cambridge and Steven Harnad, longtime advocate for open access, share their views on what the Dutch boycott can hope to achieve.
Beyond Beall’s List: We need a better understanding of predatory publishing without overstating its size and danger.
Although predatory publishers predate open access, their recent explosion was expedited by the emergence of fee-charging OA journals. Monica Berger and Jill Cirasella argue that librarians can play an important role in helping researchers to avoid becoming prey. But there remains ambiguity over what makes a publisher predatory. Librarians can help to counteract the misconceptions and alarmism that stymie the acceptance of OA.
Researchers are not ‘hoodwinked’ victims. All choose to play the publishing game and some can choose to change it.
Researchers are often cast as hapless victims in the scholarly communication system. Cameron Neylon argues their largely rational actions to demonstrate productivity are a choice and are also all part of the game they helped to create. Everyone is playing the game, publishers, researchers and funders, but that doesn’t mean that all the players have the same freedom to change it. It is only the research community itself that can change the rules. If institutional leaders chose to change the game, the world would shift tomorrow.
When you edit Wikipedia to include a claim, you are required to substantiate that edit by referencing a reliable source. According to a recent study, the single biggest predictor of a journal’s appearance in Wikipedia is its impact factor. One of the exciting findings, writes Eamon Duede, is that it appears Wikipedia editors are putting a premium on open access content. When given a choice between journals of similar impact factors, editors are significantly more likely to select the “open access” option.
With funders requiring open access and researchers increasingly aware of it, now is the time for universities to make significant headway in providing a coherent plan for encouraging wider open access adoption. Neil Jacobs from Jisc provides an overview of what actions have been taken around the sector and outlines ten specific areas that institutions should consider further in order to help the entire UK higher education sector adapt to the changing policy landscape.
Self-archived articles receive higher citation counts than non-OA articles from same political science journals.
The low level of research funding for the social sciences in the US is likely to have a direct and negative effect on researchers’ ability to pay the article processing charges associated with the most common Gold OA business model. But there are other options. Amy Atchison and Jonathan Bull look at the benefits of Green Open Access. Their research indicates self-archived/ Green OA articles, regardless of format, receive significantly higher citation counts than do non-OA articles from the same editions of the same major political science journals.
Stop shielding early-career researchers from open access – limiting wider involvement won’t change a broken system.
The competitive nature of scholarship and the precariousness of academic employment is what currently hinders early-career researchers, not open access publishing. Rather than warning researchers of the dangers of confronting outdated and proprietary forms of scholarship, all should be engaged in questioning the practices that perpetuate the broken system, argues Samuel Moore.
Gold open access in practice: How will universities respond to the rising total cost of publication?
Are universities able to shoulder the costs of the open access transition? Stephen Pinfield presents findings on the current state of institutional costs. The total cost of publication is defined as existing subscription costs, article processing charges (APCs) and the costs of administering them. So is the total cost of publication rising for universities overall? In the short term at least, the answer is certainly ‘yes’. It is becoming increasingly clear that negotiations need to take into account the total cost of publication to enable the academic community to get best value from its research outputs.
To what are we opening science? Reform of the publishing system is only a step in a much broader re-evaluation.
Openness is being invoked as a silver bullet to increase the productivity and cost-effectiveness of academic research. Sabina Leonelli and Barbara Prainsack argue that openness is more than just a blanket strategy to reduce costs. The failure to recognise neoliberal commodificaton and the false premise that open science will necessarily save money are two major misconceptions. Openness in science is not an end in itself, but it should always be in the service of something good.