Nature makes articles free to read

Nature Publishing Group has announced that it will make Nature and 48 other journals freely available in a read-only format. Subscribers will be able to share an article through a read-only link. Users of that link will be able to view the articles in a web browser but will not be able to copy/paste, download, or print. The software used to manage this read-only format is called ReadCube.

More information about this announcement is available on nature.com.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OA policy

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced a new open access policy that will apply to all articles based on research funded in part or entirely by the Foundation. The policy will require all articles to be freely available online with a CC-BY (or equivalent) license. A 12-month embargo period will be allowed until January 2017, at which point all articles will need to be available online at the time of publication. The policy also applies to data underlying the research results.

For more information: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/how-we-work/general-information/open-access-policy

 

Brown bag lunch with UT Press

Our November event was a discussion session with John McLeod, Assistant Director, and Robert Devens, Editor-in-Chief, of the University of Texas Press. UT Press publishes about 100 books a year and about 12 journals. They are part of the second largest group of university presses – some of their peers are Duke University Press, University of California Press, University of Illinois Press, and University of North Carolina Press.

The bulk of their funding comes from the sales of books and journals, but they also receive funding from the University and from fundraising efforts. This is fairly typical of a university press – there are only a few presses in the country that do not receive some sort of subsidy from their parent institution.

UT Press publishes books on Latin America, music, food, nature and the environment, film and media, architecture, photography, and regional books about Texas. The bulk of what they publish are scholarly books, but about 20% of their catalog each year are books for general readers. They do publish revised dissertations and those account for less than 20% of books published in any year. Robert has never said no to a dissertation simply because it was available online. His goal is to work with the author to create a project that is very different from the dissertation.

Some of the challenges they face include: the eroding support in general for academia, the constantly changing landscape of publishing/purchasing books journals, and the consolidation of publishers and distributors (ex: Amazon’s market share). Also, there are only 130 Association of American University Presses (AAUP) presses and they are publishing the scholarly content for all universities.

The other side of the coin are the opportunities for university presses. The changing role of publication in the tenure and promotion process means there are potentially new ways of publishing that scholars will embrace. This gives the press room for growth. Print-on-demand and enhanced search and discovery could create new markets for content. There is also the potential for increased collaboration between the Press and the UT Libraries.

Technology is also changing what is being published. For instance the University of Minnesota Press recently announced a program to publish very short books – they are longer than an article, but not typical book length. They promise a fast publication process and are priced about $5 for digital and $7-8 for print.

The typical publishing time frame for a book that UT Press publishes is about 1 year from the point of receiving the final manuscript. It generally takes about 2 years to get from the first “hello” to a final manuscript, although that time frame can vary greatly.  UT Press publishes print and electronic at the same time and they are usually identical publications. There is of course the potential for including lots of multimedia in the electronic version, but that is very expensive to produce.

A typical print run for a scholarly book is 400-1000 for a first printing. UT Press uses printers in the Ann Arbor, MI area for black and white printing, and they do all color printing overseas. Some of their bestsellers include Breaking out of Beginner Spanish and The Making of Gone With the Wind. A low seller would be one that had only sold about 200 copies over its lifetime. The Press will occasionally publish a book they know will not be a great seller, but that they believe is an important book for its field.

The Press has also done distribution for some unique publications related to MOOCs. Two of the MOOCs offered at UT were transformed into enhanced ebooks and UT Press distributed them – the peer review process and editing happened within the College of Liberal Arts. They also helped Dr. Webber distribute his app created from the Energy 101 MOOC. This app is meant to replace textbooks for an energy course and has already been used by classes at Stanford and Duke.

UT Press is particularly well-known for their photography books. The Press Director, David Hamrick, is the photography editor and plays a major part in the quality of the finished project. Aesthetics are a huge part of a photography book, and you need an editor who can create a good flow through the book and who asks questions about whether “the black is black enough”. Photography books are expensive to produce, so it’s very important to produce a quality product that people will want to buy.

We would like to sincerely thank John and Robert for taking the time to speak with us. It was great to have an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the fantastic university press on our campus.



Interesting new journal selection tool

The Cofactor Journal Selector Tool has been developed to allow researchers to find an appropriate journal for their paper. It allows researchers to select options for subject, peer review process, open access availability, speed of publication, and a few additional miscellaneous categories. After answering the questions (a process that takes just a minute or two) the system spits out a few recommendations of journals that meet your criteria.

Here’s a short article that gives an overview of the product: http://cofactorscience.com/blog/introducing-the-cofactor-journal-selector-tool

And here’s a link to the tool: http://cofactorscience.com/journal-selector

New OA publication for modern languages

Liverpool University Press has announced a new OA publishing platform for scholars in the modern languages.  The platform is called Modern Languages Open and currently has sections for Chinese/Asian languages, French and Francophone, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian, Portuguese and Lusophone, and Russian and Eastern European Languages.

Access Modern Languages Open: http://www.modernlanguagesopen.org/index.php/mlo/issue/current

 

A big OA Week thank you

Thanks to everyone who showed up for OA Week 2014 events! We had great discussions about OA issues and hope we sparked some long term interest in OA. We want to thank the UT Libraries administration for providing financial support for this week. And a big thanks to everyone who helped make our second annual OA Week a success.  In addition to everyone in the planning group, the following people were instrumental in making our OA events possible:

  • Greg Aker
  • Emilie Algenio
  • Geoff Bahre
  • Roxanne Bogucka
  • Dale Correa
  • Subhamoy Das
  • Joe Dobbs
  • Phil Doty
  • Janelle Hedstrom
  • David Hillis
  • Mason Jones
  • Frank Meaker
  • Erin McKiernan
  • Bonnie Brown Real
  • Jason Sick
  • Kathryn Strickland
  • Travis Willmann
  • All the cleaning crews at PCL and UTA

OA Week 2014 Planning Group

Here is the list of the wonderful people who volunteered to plan this year’s Open Access Week events.

  • Roxanne Bogucka
  • Carolyn Cunningham
  • Jee Davis
  • Allyssa Guzman
  • Georgia Harper
  • Colleen Lyon
  • Aizul Ortega
  • Kristi Park
  • Robyn Rosenberg
  • Kathryn Strickland

If you have questions about any of the OA Week events, please feel free to ask one of the group members!

 

Pay-it-forward

The University of California Press will be launching a new open access journal that has a very interesting publication funding model. The journal will have a reasonable article processing charge (APC) of about $875. Of that, $250 will go into a pool that will pay editors and reviewers who work for the journal. Editors and reviewers collect points for making decisions on articles that are submitted to the journal. Payments are based on the total number of points for a given month. For example: if the activity on the journal generated 100 points for the month and you as a reviewer were responsible for 10 of those points, you would get 10% of the APC pool. You would then have an option to keep that money, or pay it forward to an OA fund at your institution or to a fund that future authors in that journal could use to pay their APCs. This will definitely be something to follow!

Here’s an interview with Neil Christensen, Director of Digital Development at UC Press, in which he explains the model in detail.