Category Archives: Publishing

Brown Bag Discussion: Misinformation & Fake News

UT Libraries and the Student Association of the School of Information (SASI) co-hosted a brown bag discussion on February 17 to talk about the challenges posed by misinformation, fake news, and the abundance of information (both popular and scholarly). We had a lively discussion with more than twenty attendees from the library, the iSchool, and faculty and staff from across the university!

Participants all read the same article from The Scholarly Kitchen, the blog of The Society for Scholarly Publishing, in advance of the discussion.

Anderson, Kent. (2016, Nov. 17). How’s That “Abundance” Thing Working Out For You?. The Scholarly Kitchen.

More information on the discussion prompts and additional suggested reading can be found in the announcement post.

Our discussion yielded more questions than answers on this complex topic. A common theme that surfaced in small group conversations was the blurring of lines between entertainment and news as the media industry monetizes their business in new ways. Developing information literacy skills, such as source evaluation, is perhaps more critical now than ever– but whose responsibility is it to teach these skills? Most people won’t have the opportunity to attend a higher education institution where research skills like these are taught and practiced.

With so many librarians in the room, we also discussed the responsibility that is choosing what libraries collect and whose voices to privilege as authorities or “experts.” We also noted that there seems to be a backlash against the idea of expertise as elitism. What constitutes expertise, and who gets to decide on the benchmark for credibility?

We hope to discuss these questions more in future brown bag sessions. Watch this blog for announcements about the next one. We hope to see you there!

Gates Foundation and AAAS OA agreement

You’ve probably already seen the news, but the Gates Foundation and AAAS have come to an agreement that will allow all Gates Foundation funded research to be published with a CC-BY license in Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. This now puts Science journals in line with the Gates Foundation open access policy and gives Gates funded researchers an option to publish in those journals.

It’s great to see funders using their leverage to promote greater access to scientific articles. It will be interesting to see if other publishers end up coming to similar agreements with Gates, and if other funders try a similar route in providing access to their funded-research.

The agreement includes a $100,000 payment to Science to help offset any lost revenues with the CC-BY license. The Gates Foundation anticipates publishing between 10-15 studies in AAAS journals in 2017, so that works out to $6,666 to $10,000 per article/study. Pretty pricey when you compare it to APC costs.

Here’s the announcements about the agreement. It’s interesting to note the differences between them.

AAAS announcement:

Gates Foundation announcement:

Nature News:

Next brown bag discussion is about misinformation and fake news

Please join us for our next brown bag discussion on Friday, Feb. 17th, at 12:00pm in PCL Learning Lab 2. We’ll be discussing misinformation, fake news, and the abundance of information available online. We’ll supply some donuts to help fuel the discussion.

Please read this article in advance of our discussion:

Anderson, Kent. (2016, Nov. 17). How’s That “Abundance” Thing Working Out For You?. The Scholarly Kitchen

And consider these discussion prompts:

  • Do you feel technology platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that host information created and shared by users have a responsibility to verify information being shared on those platforms?
  • What inferences might you make about the author’s agenda or bias? What about the publisher (The Scholarly Kitchen)?
  • The author asserts that “[t]he Fourth Estate is a shadow of what it once was thanks to abundance.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement, and why?

If you are interested in this topic and would like to read more, here are a few other suggested readings:

Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017, Jan.). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Working Paper.

Kolowich, Steve. (2017, Jan. 16). The Fine Art of Sniffing Out Crappy Science. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Stanford History Education Group. (2016, Nov. 22). Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning. Executive Summary. 

Many thanks to our iSchool co-hosts, Ashley Morrison and Kelsey Belcher, and to SASI for co-sponsoring the event!



UT Austin sets up PeerJ account

UT Austin has joined as institutional plan members of PeerJ. PeerJ publishes open access articles in the biological, medical, and computer sciences. They also host a preprint repository where authors can share a draft of an article for free.

PeerJ and PeerJ Computer Science offer fast publishing turnaround (median of 27 days to first decision for peer-reviewed articles), and they allow authors to maintain their copyright through a CC-BY license.

Our institutional plan is a deposit account that pays the entire article processing charge for UT Austin-affiliated authors; $995 for PeerJ and $795 for PeerJ Computer Science. We’ve deposited $9540, and once that money runs out we’ll reevaluate and may choose to add more money to the account.

The library is committed to making information widely available to those who need it, and participating in PeerJ is one way for us to make it easier for UT Austin authors to do the same.

If you have questions about the UT Austin institutional plan for PeerJ, please contact Colleen Lyon at c dot lyon at austin dot utexas dot edu.


Luminos and UT Austin

The University of Texas at Austin is a Futura Level member of Luminos. Luminos is a University of California open access monograph publishing program. It has the same selection, peer review, and production process as their traditional publishing model, but with a different mechanism for distributing the titles they publish. Instead of individuals or libraries purchasing a book, the digital edition of monographs published by Luminos will be available for free for anyone to download and read.

We are excited to be a part of Luminos, not only because it is a great way to support open access book publishing, but also because our membership in Luminos gives UT Austin faculty a 30% discount on the Title Publication Fee.

If you have questions about Luminos, please see their FAQs. If you have any questions about our membership, please contact Colleen Lyon (c dot lyon at austin dot utexas dot edu) or your subject liaison.

Evaluating publishers

I was asked to give a talk to the Mechanical Engineering department about ethical vs unethical publishing practices. One of the topics of that conversation was how to evaluate a journal you are unfamiliar with. There is a really great checklist that was developed by Nina Collins at Indiana Tech that I updated and shared with the attendees. If you are interested in evaluating a journal, here’s the link to the checklist:

Publishers requiring ORCIDs

Several publishers have announced that they will require author to use an ORCID identifier during the publication process. Those publishers are: The American Geophysical Union, eLife, EMBO, Hindawi, IEEE, Science journals, ScienceOpen, and PLOS. These publishers join the UK’s Royal Society and several funding agencies in requiring ORCIDs.

This is fantastic news for all those working towards a more consistent and reliable way of citing an author’s body of work.

Editors of Lingua step down

Inside Higher Ed reports that “All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier’s policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online.”

This is very exciting news for open access advocates as the editors have plans to start their own open access journal called Glossa. The editors expressed frustration with a publishing model that relies heavily on donated time and effort from academics and results in research that some universities cannot afford.

The entire article on Inside Higher Ed available here:

Discrete Analysis – a diamond open access journal

I just came across a blog post about a “diamond” open access journal called, Discrete Analysis. It’s being described as diamond open access because neither the readers nor the authors pay. The journal sits on top of the arXiv infrastructure but maintains the traditional peer review process. The journal will consist of short descriptions of articles and links to the content in arXiv, and will serve a filter and certification function for this subject matter within arXiv. There will be a numbering system for the articles, the journal will have an ISSN, and articles will get a DOI. To limit infrastructure and costs, the journal will not offer typesetting or copy-editing and will rely on authors to do that work themselves. Discrete Analysis will be using Scholastica software to manage the review process and to provide a homepage for the journal. Scholastica charges $10 per submission and that cost is being covered for the first couple years by a small grant from Cambridge University. Since the costs are so low, the editors anticipate being able to find funding after the Cambridge grant is exhausted. The official launch of journal will occur in early 2016.

Blog post about the journal:

Temporary website of Discrete Analsis: