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    There are new frontiers for academic publishing but scholarly associations and faculty must seize the opportunities

There are new frontiers for academic publishing but scholarly associations and faculty must seize the opportunities

Scholarly publishing faces daunting challenges. Rising journal costs have seen many universities have to make strategic cuts to library collections. To Kyle Siler, the digital world has opened new niches and frontiers for academic publishing, offering many innovative and diverse possibilities. But opportunities must be grasped by scientific professional associations that have arguably lost sight of ideals of accessibility […]

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    Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the “open” label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not […]

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    Introducing Canary Haz: discovering article PDFs with one click

Introducing Canary Haz: discovering article PDFs with one click

Access to PDFs of research papers is too often overly complicated and restricted. Canary Haz, a free browser plugin that helps researchers access the PDFs they need with just one click, has been released in response to this frustration. Peter Vincent, one of the co-founders, explains a little more about how Canary Haz works, while also encouraging feedback from the […]

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    What do mathematicians think about their journals? Peer review quality tops list of stated issues

What do mathematicians think about their journals? Peer review quality tops list of stated issues

Cameron Neylon (Curtin University), David Michael Roberts (University of Adelaide) and Mark C Wilson (University of Auckland) have conducted a large-scale survey of what mathematicians think of their scholarly publishing options and what improvements are required. Covering topics like open access, peer review and editorial processes, the survey findings reveal some fascinating insights into the scholarly communication system as […]

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    Elsevier purchase SSRN: Social scientists face questions over whether centralised repository is in their interests.

Elsevier purchase SSRN: Social scientists face questions over whether centralised repository is in their interests.

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), an online repository for uploading preprint articles and working papers, has been recently acquired by publishing giant Elsevier. Thomas Leeper looks at what this purchase, and for-profit academic services more generally, mean for the scholarly community. Many regular users may not be aware that SSRN has been run by a privately held corporation since its founding […]

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    Dutch universities plan Elsevier boycott — will this be a game changer or will publisher profits remain unaffected?

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 […]

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    Elsevier’s new sharing policy is really a reversal of the rights of authors.

Elsevier’s new sharing policy is really a reversal of the rights of authors.

Virgina Barbour takes to task publishing giant Elsevier for their latest round of introduced restrictions on the sharing of academic research. Their new policy states that, if no article processing charge is paid, an author’s accepted version of the article cannot be made publicly available via their institution’s repository until after the embargo period, which can ranges from six months to […]

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    Let Elsevier Go: The potential savings from cancelling journal subscriptions would cover the Open Access transition.

Let Elsevier Go: The potential savings from cancelling journal subscriptions would cover the Open Access transition.

Dutch universities recently took a stand against publisher Elsevier following failed negotiations over subscription costs. As universities and library budgets worldwide look to transition to open access, these costs must be considered. Cameron Neylon looks at the options for funding the transition to open access and finds that whilst short term access would be an issue, the potential savings from […]

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    Wages of Sin: Open Access is growing in theory but not in substance.

Wages of Sin: Open Access is growing in theory but not in substance.

In an age where every other aspect of academia in the UK is being strangled, how is it that publisher profits have continue to rise? Paul Kirby points to the partial embrace of publishing business models that encourage article processing charges mixed with soft policies that reinforce traditional library subscription models. This is not the picture of an industry under […]

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    Freedom of Information requests uncover the lack of transparency in journal subscription costs.

Freedom of Information requests uncover the lack of transparency in journal subscription costs.

Stuart Lawson and Ben Meghreblian have been compiling a useful dataset via Freedom of Information requests on how much academic publishers are charging higher education institutions for journal subscriptions. Their goal is to highlight the scale of the academic publishing market in the UK and for this to inform policy discussions. Some of the barriers they came across in obtaining data […]

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    Secrets of journal subscription prices: For-profit publishers charge libraries two to three times more than non-profits.

Secrets of journal subscription prices: For-profit publishers charge libraries two to three times more than non-profits.

Ted Bergstrom writes of his involvement requesting copies of library contracts with several major publishers in order to compare journal pricing data for bundled journal access. The significant differences that exist across universities for the same content and between publishers raises some major questions on the effectiveness of such pricing models. He finds that the differences in bundle prices depend largely […]

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    Impact Round-Up 26th April: The cost of journal subscriptions, writing for impact, and the Journal Openness Index.

Impact Round-Up 26th April: The cost of journal subscriptions, writing for impact, and the Journal Openness Index.

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.

Open access advocate and Cambridge mathematician Tim Gowers has been pulling together information on Elsevier journal subscription costs in an effort to provide a bigger picture of what the current scholarly communication system is costing university libraries (previously […]

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    Wellcome Trust’s Open Access spend 2012-13: Are fees charged by major publishers creating a new serials crisis?

Wellcome Trust’s Open Access spend 2012-13: Are fees charged by major publishers creating a new serials crisis?

Publishers have reacted to open access mandates by offering hybrid “Open” options through Article Processing Charges. Ernesto Priego digs into the data released by the Wellcome Trust on the highest and lowest article processing charge expenditures in 2012-2013 and finds these figures reveal a mere inversion of the business model. Enabling Open Access costs money. But does it cost as much as […]

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Impact Round-Up 14th December: Student protests, startups and takedowns

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. This week students from around the country have gathered to protest against a growing police presence on university campuses. Following a series of protests last week, the University of London took out a six-month injunction against “occupational protest” by students […]

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HEFCE, the REF, Open Access and Journals in Politics, IR and Political Theory

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is currently consulting on new open access proposals. In this post Lee Jones recommends steps HEFCE should take to ensure publishers comply with open access principles and a ‘soft boycott’ of those that refuse. Following the launch of HEFCE’s consultation on Open Access for any post-2014 REF, and the generally positive reaction to it here, I examined […]

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On Rejecting Journals: A soft boycott of closed-access journals may be a more effective way to re-align resources.

The tensions between access, popularity and prestige all stand to make collective action toward open access complicated. While favouring systematic transformation of the unfair scholarly economy, Paul Kirby notes there are good reasons to doubt the efficacy of a large-scale boycott of closed journals. Rather, a more subtle strategy might be more effective at changing the system without any penalty to […]

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Whatever happened to the Academic Spring? Publishing academic work behind paywalls is more than an inconvenience.

More than a year and a half has passed since the high-profile boycott of Elsevier journals first began. But Oxfam’s Duncan Green finds that despite the Academic Spring, paywalls continue to limit the impact of research that would be of great use to development organisations. Funders, editorial boards, and authors themselves must all continue to build paths to encourage widespread, […]

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Four ways open access enhances academic freedom

Curt Rice examines the tension between academic freedom and open access policies. Coercive requirements to publish in open access journals could restrict academic freedom and this must be monitored. But he finds that overall, open access policies strengthen academic freedom in many more ways, particularly through copyright, interference, citations, and archiving issues. Are politicians stealing our academic freedom? Is their […]

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Academics and universities must continue to develop open access alternatives to break the monopoly of large publishers

Academic publishing and open access alternatives to the subscription-based system were discussed last week in front of the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Parliamentary Select Committee. Ann McKechin MP shares her thoughts on the discussion. At best, large publishers like Elsevier are not being transparent with their customers. At worst, their behaviour could be construed as anti-competitive, with all the serious repercussions that […]

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What’s the right model for shared scholarly communications infrastructure?

With the sale of startup Mendeley to publishing giant Elsevier, Cameron Neylon reflects on the differences in models and cultures of innovation in scholarly communication. For-profit startups, mission-driven non-profits, and independent academic projects all bring value to the sector individually, but there is a need for a deeper understanding of how these different models can be combined and applied to […]

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