Day one of the 2014 UNT OA Symposium was jam-packed with amazing speakers. Here’s my summary of the talking points for the day. Note: I was listening, taking notes, and thinking about how to implement some of this on our campus all at the same time. So, I may have misunderstood some of what the presenters were trying to articulate. I’ve tried to include slides where possible, to help clarify any of my unclear notes. The Twitter feed offers a great way to follow the conversation that was happening during the conference: #oa14unt
Business Models for Open Access
Peter Binfield, PeerJ, @p_binfield
One effect of the subscription model is the bucketing and bundling of information at the journal level. This business model means that publishers need to create departments to handle copyright, sales, legal issues, etc. It also creates inefficiencies in the editorial model – it’s not unusual to reject 7/10 submitted articles. If you add up all journals, that is millions of hours that are wasted on peer review for articles that get rejected. The subscription model also leads to a natural tendency to maximize profits.
In the OA /APC model, the author becomes the customer (and the producer). Unbundling + unbucketing + APC per publication = mega journal. In a mega journal the editorial criteria is whether or not the article deserves to join the literature; impact isn’t considered. This means it becomes okay to publish negative results. In the PeerJ model, authors pay a one time fee for a membership that allows them to publish with PeerJ.
Peter envisions a future in which journals don’t exist anymore – rather services around publishing exist: peer review, evaluation, marketing/promotion, archiving, and registration. In this future prices will come down and features will increase to meet the demands of the customers.
- Take–away: business models do affect the way you do business
Young Scholars and the OA Career Arc
Nick Shockey, Right to Research Coalition, @r2rc
The Right to Research Coalition started in 2009 and is an international alliance of student organizations that promote OA. Students are very familiar with frustrations that exist with paywalls-there are Facebook pages that help students “share” papers and #icanhazPDF to assist with accessing full text.
Some student success stories: The OA Button is a tool that allows you to indicate when you’ve hit a paywall – it’s a global map of frustration. The creators are currently working on a code that would email the corresponding author when someone hit a paywall and ask them to share a URL where the article could be freely accessed so other people don’t hit paywalls (and also send an email). One student group added price-tags to print journals to indicate which journals were overpriced. The GSE at Stanford successfully got themselves added to the institutional OA policy. Jack Andraka-Google him.
Suggestions for including students: engage with them, partner with them and put them at the core of what you are doing, support graduate students and ECRs with publication in OA journals, and reform research assessment.
- Take-away: the power of the student voice
Erin McKiernan, NIPH, @emckiernan13
Erin works at the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. Researchers at NIPH study Chagas disease, cholera, dengue fever, HIV, influenza and many other disease that are critically important to public health. But, they only have access to 139 journals-with 51 only available in print. Erin gets the majority of her access via tools like #IcanhazPDF. She has made a personal pledge not to edit, review, or work for a closed access journal. She will publish only in open access journals and will pull her name from a paper if her collaborators refuse to be open.
Erin spent some time refuting OA myths. There is a citation advantage for OA articles and data. There are lots of OA journals with high impact factors. The retraction rate is highest among high impact factor subscription journals. Being open doesn’t have to break the bank – there are many low-cost or free options.
How can ECRs be more open? – make a list of OA journals in their field, discuss OA upfront with collaborators, document altmetrics, blog about your science, be active on social media, and discuss OA with their mentor.
- Take-away: don’t lock up your research! And there doesn’t have to be a conflict between being open and being successful.
Salvatore Mele, SCOAP3, CERN
CERN is a scientific facility built around international collaboration. They have hosted 10,000 visiting scientists from 113 countries. A recent article about the discovery of the Higgs Boson had 2899 authors! Many of the scientists at CERN study high energy physics (HEP). There is a long history of sharing articles in the physics community. arXiv.org was established in 1991, and 97% of HEP articles are in arXiv.
In fact, arXiv is so well established in the HEP community that 9/10 scientists use arXiv for access to articles, even when a journal version exists. So why even have journals?Journals offer quality assurance and authenticity through the process of peer review. So, HEP scientists decided to try to switch from paying for content to paying for the peer-review service that their field really values – the journal articles become open access under this plan. The plan to make this switch is called SCOAP3. The SCOAP3 website does a good job of explaining how it works, so I’m just going to point you there: http://scoap3.org/what-is-scoap3
The SCOAP3 project took quite some time to get going (in part because it’s the first plan of its kind) and only started publishing articles with this business plan in January of 2014, but there have been over 1600 articles published so far. You can search those articles in the SCOAP3 Repository. All articles have a CC-BY license and the metadata has is CC0. They are currently working on easy ways of populating other repositories with this content. One great thing that has been discovered about this project is that there does not seem to be a desire to free-load (meaning not contributing financially to the project). Universities and countries seem to want to be involved in the project.
- Take-away: SCOAP3 has proven that a complex international partnership to change scholarly communication and improve access to scientific research is possible.
Publishing & Preserving OA Content (Kate Wittenberg, Sarah Lippincott, and Kevin Hawkins)
Sarah Lippincott, Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), @LibPubCoalition
The LPC is a two-year project with 60 library partners to build a community of practice for library publishing. Library publishing offers an alternative to traditional publishing. They can publish materials that don’t “fit” elsewhere (grey literature), and they can complement existing publishing platforms. The challenges are to position the services, mature and scale the services, raise visibility of the library as publisher, and figure out a way to sustain those services.
Kate Wittenberg, Portico
Portico is a two sided business with financial support from both publishers and libraries – 244 publisher partners and 917 library partners. They offer a dark archive for preserving content and only make that content publicly available if a trigger event happens (a publisher goes out of business or a prolonged technical problem prevents traditional access to content). So far there have been 10 triggered journal titles. Portico is looking into giving publishers the option of publishing open access.
The goals of digital preservation are usability, authenticity, discoverability, and accessibility. Portico has been certified as a trustworthy repository by the Center for Research Libraries. Challenges for digital preservation include new forms of content and the exponential growth of data.
Kevin Hawkins, UNT Libraries and recently Michigan Publishing, @KevinSHawkins
Since Kevin just recently started at UNT, his talk referred to his experience at Michigan Publishing.
There is a lot of back and forth between innovation and sustainability. Michigan Publishing had a policy that whatever you publish with them becomes part of their collection. Preservation of these items at scale is easy if the content is homogenous, but becomes difficult when you are dealing with multiple content types.
Michigan Publishing is in the process of trying to articulate requirements (these are a work in progress and may have changed since Kevin left). Fundamentally the work needs to be a text that can be read from start to finish. Any embedded media needs to be open, non-proprietary and in a format that doesn’t require a browser plug-in. But, if you can’t meet those requirements then you may submit a self-contained, standards-compliant website that can be hosted, and if file formats are not accessible they will need a transcript. For open access content, they are planning on the freemium model-meaning basic content is free, but if you want add-ons or special formats there is a cost.
The three speakers generated quite a lively discussion about what libraries should be doing regarding preservation. Some of the comments included: if we don’t preserve this who will, what are the priorities for preservation, libraries can’t dictate the terms of innovation, if people are being creative we need to figure out how to work with them, and what’s considered publication can be a squishy concept. Everyone seemed to agree that this was a hard conversation and one we need to have.
- Take-away: we should be something; something is better than nothing, or put another way, the perfect is the enemy of the good.
Advances in Scholarly Communication
Rebecca Kennison and Lisa Norberg, K | N Consultants, @KNConsultants
Rebecca and Lisa presented their white paper and addressed some of the issues that had been brought up about the plan. Their proposal is to develop a scholarly communication infrastructure for humanities and social sciences that would convert subscription journals and books to open access. They propose creating partnerships among scholarly societies, research libraries, and other institutional partners to encourage institutionally supported publishing and preservation, and to develop a sustainable funding model to support infrastructure.
The funding model includes annual or multi-year fees paid by all institutions (not libraries). The fee would be based on the number of students and full-time faculty. Even though some of the numbers seem quite high for large research universities, it’s still probably less than is currently being spent on the literature. That money goes toward a central fund. Institutions and societies then apply for funds through a grant process. Since one of the goals of the plan is sustainability, those grants are open-ended but do require ongoing oversight. The plan is intentionally incremental; right now they are looking for commitments of 10% of the total fee for a university.
- Take-away: Sharing the products of scholarship is the responsibility of all institutions of higher learning. This is an audacious plan, but that’s what is needed.
Mark Hahnel, figshare, @figshare
Mark gave a very engaging talk over dinner. Since it was dinner, I wasn’t taking notes, but I’ll try to summarize a couple high points. Publishers are making a lot of money off open access, mostly through APCs, but still not close to what they are making through traditional subscriptions. They (publishers) have obviously figured out a way of OA publishing that authors can use. If we don’t like what publishers are doing, then we need to do it better. And, the future is not going to be PDFs of articles made freely available. The future is going to be all the products of scholarship being shared, cue figshare.