It looks like a national consortium of French academic institutions, Couperin.org, has decided to cancel their subscriptions to Springer Journals. They had been in negotiations with Springer for over a year, but were unable to come to an agreement on price. Couperin.org was advocating for a subscription price reduction due to the volume of APCs being paid by French authors. Springer had put forward a price increase. Access was supposed to be cut off on April 1st, but Springer has decided to keep access on while they continue to move discussions forward. You may remember that a similar event happened with German universities and Elsevier.
Please join us on Wednesday, Feb. 21st at noon in PCL Learning Lab 4 to hear UT Austin iSchool graduate student, Stephen McLaughlin, speak about Sci-Hub and LibGen. There will be plenty of time for discussion, so bring your questions.
Sci-Hub and LibGen in Perspective
Over the past decade, websites offering free, unauthorized copies of books and academic articles have grown rapidly. How are they maintained and used, and what might they mean for the future of scholarly publishing?
We are offering digital scholarship office hours again this semester. Gilbert Borrego, Allyssa Guzman, Jessica Trelogan and Colleen Lyon will be available to answer any questions you may have about digital scholarship, Texas Data Repository, Texas ScholarWorks, research data services, or scholarly publishing.
Here are the dates –all sessions are in PCL 1.124 (one floor below the entrance level of PCL)
- Wednesday, Jan. 24th, 10:00-12:00
- Wednesday, Feb. 28th, 10:00-12:00
- Wednesday, Mar. 28th, 10:00-12:00
- Wednesday, Apr. 25th, 10:00-12:00
The office hours are open to anyone at UT Austin – we’re thinking of it as an alternative to booking a consultation. No appointment is needed, you can just stop in during the two hour time frame and chat with us. As a bonus, we’ll have sweet treats or snacks for anyone who stops by.
We are of course still available for consultation at any time via email, phone, or in-person. You can continue to ask questions that way if you prefer.
With the proliferation of new journals enabled by online publishing, it can be difficult for researchers to know if a particular journal is worth publishing in. Here are two resources that could help librarians and researchers when looking into an unfamiliar journal.
The first is the Quality Open Access Market (QOAM). The QOAM enlists the help of academics to evaluate a journal’s online presence and the experience of publishing with a particular journal. The journal’s website is evaluated for editorial information, peer review, governance, and workflow. This evaluation results in a Base Score Card. Authors can share their experience publishing with that particular journal, which results in a Valuation Score Card. The journal score cards are combined to give users an indication of whether this is a strong journal, weaker journal, opportunity to the publisher to improve, or a threat to the author. The QOAM measures the quality of service of the journal, not the quality of the research being published.
The other journal evaluation tool is the Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) framework. This project was started to help journals from the global south improve their international reputation. The criteria used to assess the journal include: publication of original research, functional editorial board, verified involvement from editorial & advisory boards, accuracy of the description of the peer review and quality control processes, availability of author and reviewer guidelines, and display of editorial and publishing policies. Assessed journal are assigned to one of six levels: inactive titles, new title, no stars, one star, two stars, three stars.
These tools are not white lists or black lists. They are designed to provide some information about the transparency and quality of the publication services of a given journal. They should be used in conjunction with disciplinary knowledge, consultation with colleagues, and the author’s own professional judgment.
Come visit us over in the CLA building today from 1-3pm. We’ll set up on the main floor hallway and will be talking about ORCID identifiers. If you want to learn more about ORCID or just want to chat with some friendly librarians, that’s where you can find us.
As a subscriber to Portland Press journals, UT Austin affiliated authors get a discount on the article processing charge (APC) for hybrid open access and full open access journals. The discounts range from 15% to 30% off the APC depending on the journal. Please see the Portland Press website for more details.
Hybrid journals are those that are subscription based, but that will publish individual open access articles for a fee. UT Austin authors should remember that they can usually archive a copy of their article in our online archive, Texas ScholarWorks for free.
Some folks may recall the open letter in late 2015/early 2016 calling on publishers to require corresponding authors to use ORCID. That letter now has 27 publisher signatories representing 1500 journals. All the publishers who are requiring ORCID are passing that information along to Crossref, which then asks the author’s permission to automatically update the author’s ORCID record. Integrations like this, that reduce data entry obligations, will continue to make ORCID a more appealing option to researchers.
If you’d like more information about ORCID, I recommend these two resources:
Open Letter Year One Report: https://figshare.com/articles/ORCID_Open_Letter_-_One_Year_On_Report/4828312
ORCID Annual Report: https://figshare.com/articles/ORCID_Annual_Report_2016_pdf/4810213
- Fun fact – over 1 million people registered for an ORCID last year
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.
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!
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.
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:
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:
Many thanks to our iSchool co-hosts, Ashley Morrison and Kelsey Belcher, and to SASI for co-sponsoring the event!