Paywalls block scientific progress. Research should be open to everyone

Open Access | Scholarly Communication |Academic Journals | Research

To democratise scholarly publishing, individual academics need to take action
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‘It’s a case of either giving broad society access to scientific advances or allowing these breakthroughs to stay locked away for financial gain.’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Paywalls, which restrict access to content without a paid subscription, represent a common practice used by academic publishers to block access to scientific research for those who have not paid. This keeps £19.6bn flowing from higher education and science into for-profit publisher bank accounts. My recent documentary, Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, uncovered that the largest academic publisher, Elsevier, regularly has a profit margin between 35-40%, which is greater than Google’s. With financial capacity comes power, lobbyists, and the ability to manipulate markets for strategic advantages – things that underfunded universities and libraries in poorer countries do not have.

Furthermore, university librarians are regularly required to sign non-disclosure agreements on their contract-pricing specifics with the largest for-profit publishers. Each contract is tailored specifically to that university based upon a variety of factors: history, endowment, current enrollment. This thwarts any collective discussion around price structures, and gives publishers all the power. Read more…

 

 

 

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Paywall:L The Business of Scholarship (CC BY 4.0)

Open Access | Paywall | Academic Libraries | Scholarly Communication Jason Schmitt Published on Sep 5, 2018 Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, produced by Jason Schmitt, provides focus on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the […]

Ask The Chefs: The Future Form Of Scholarly Communication

Scholarly Communication | Academic Publishing | Digital Scholarship

  • Jan 24, 2019

It’s always a good time to think about the future, but somehow the beginning of the year seems an especially appropriate time. With the changes afoot in scholarly communication practices, sentiment, and business models, this couldn’t be a better time to consider what the target might look like. What are we all aiming for?

For the moment, let’s put business models aside and think about the form and flow of research and discovery. Is the article (pre- or post-publication), book, journal, etc — our current containers — and the byproducts that surround them the best we can do?

This month we asked the Chefs: What form might scholarly communications take in the future?

"Changes ahead"traffic sign

Joe Esposito: As Bill Clinton said, It all depends on what the meaning of “is” is. What do we mean by “the article”? If the article is a report on a specific research topic, then the article will be with us for a long time, as (barring witchcraft) we will always have research and a need to communicate results. The article will differ from what we mostly see today in that it will be integrated into a broad suite of services, from discovery to analytics, as the act of publication will be the equivalent of plugging into a network; the principal audience will be machines. From such small contributions great things will come. The standards for plugging in will be proprietary, as the not-for-profit sector cannot compete with the narrowly focused aims of someone bent on making money. There will be at most 2-3 such networks of information in every broad discipline, and perhaps only 2-3 overall. The key policy question of this future will not be access but antitrust. Silicon Valley witticism: A standard is a good thing; everybody should have one.  Read more…

 

Learn to use Legacy RefWorks in Twenty Minutes [tutorial]

Research | Citation tools | Productivity

Published on Oct 18, 2011

 Whether you are new to RefWorks are just need to brush up on the basics, these tutorials will help you learn some basic features to get started using RefWorks

Personal archiving : preserving our digital heritage Ed. Donald T. Hawkins | review

Personal archives | Digital preservation | Electronic records managment

Reviewer: Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS


Personal archiving : preserving our digital heritagePersonal archiving : preserving our digital heritage by Donald T. Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewer bio:

I am an academic librarian whose primary responsibility is to oversee the electronic reserves component of Springshare LibGuides. Recently I was appointed to serve on the task group to explore, report and advice the establishment of an institutional repository at my university. Having already read much literature concerning IR, I have begun widening my reading to include material that examines IR and its various components from a variety of viewpoints, academic, technical and personal.

Review:

This book is an anthology created by specialists in libraries, archives and technology. It is a rich, yet succinct, volume compiled as a primer for lay individuals who are involved in archiving personal material. Much of the focus is on preserving, organizing and sharing memorabilia. However, true to expectation, an equal emphasis is given to the preservation of digital files from various formats. Some attention is devoted to records management, although that is from a more introductory, philosophical perspective. What I believe to be the strength of this work is its practical advice to both lay and professionals alike. It is specific and technical enough to satisfy academic librarians who are not trained as archivists. Often we are tasked with aiding and guiding library users (students and faculty) in the preservation of their personal data. Those who are interested in understanding specific aspects of establishing and maintaining an institutional repository, including the compilation and promotion of best practices will certainly need to research further. However, this handbook does indeed list and annotate various resources (e.g. Library of Congress, Internet Archives) which is extremely helpful. There are two chapters dedicated to the preservation of email from faculty, scholars and researchers. Much is made of the chronic conundrum of “store and ignore”, benign negligence, concerning the backing up of files and precious data. The mandate to keep up with current technology, upgrading equipment and the appropriate hardware and software is underscored. (A pitch for able institutions to take on this responsibility is made, especially regarding work by scholars and communities.) Budgeting is given sufficient space to gain an appreciation of the magnitude of the demands on resources, both monetary and human. The final chapters look into the future, including intelligent discussions and projections relating to issues of ownership, copyright and social media. Although various software firms and websites are mentioned by name and have already disappeared by the time of this writing, their absence does not diminish the usefulness of their mention. The principles and philosophy of the services remain valid into the present.

Recommended audience:

Public libraries, academic libraries, special libraries, archives, museums

Recommended added subject heading:

Institutional repositories.
Digital libraries.

View all my reviews

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey [review]

Libraries | Advocacy | Digitization | Data preservation | Book review

Reviewed by Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS

BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of GoogleBiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google by John Palfrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewer bio:
I am an academic librarian whose main responsibility has been to establish and maintain a large database for electronic reserves. I have a solid background in public service, and have mentored library school students and recent graduates for over 10 years. I am conversant in issues relating to access and technology relating to digitization of materials as well as those born-digitally. Since I follow library news on a daily basis, I read this book more as a review of the known, while noting sources for future use. Most of those concerned digitization of material and aspects relating to institutional repositories. A second focus was based on a new work responsibility, that of personal librarian to undergraduate honors students.

Review:
This volume was written by a “feral” librarian with a law degree. It included the major areas where and how libraries are ever-relevant today: users, spaces, platforms, hacking, networks, preservation, education and copyright. Noteworthy highlights for me were the discussions of how some librarians and advocates are reinventing libraries while acknowledging their tradition roles in democratic society. Public, academic, school and special libraries were included. The ‘hybrid-ness’ of libraries is emphasized, along with the innovative factor of digitization of a variety of materials. Risks are involved when print is not saved to backup data. “Data rot” happens when technology fails, but also when newer forms outpace older, obsolete ones. Budgets are stretched to accommodate both digital and analog materials. The author calls for the ‘collaboration’ among librarians, the establishment of library networks, consortia, and private as well as public funding. The conundrum of copyright, data rights and collection policies was briefly examined.

Additional Subject headings might include:

Digital libraries
Web archiving
Digital preservation
Archival materials – Digitization
Library materials — Digitization
View all my reviews

Emerging Trends in Libraries for 2016 Stephen Abram, MLS