Opens Roundup (April)

This issue sees policy moves by the EU commission, the UK, Nordic countries and the World Health Organisation. In other news, OASPA investigates different publishers, Wellcome releases data on their APC spend, Tim Gowers issues a freedom of information request to UK institutions about Elsevier, there’s a survey of megajournals, a confusion of licensing at Nature, a new ‘Journal Openesss Index’ (leading to the JOI Factor), encouragement from Stephen Curry and more…

With thanks for links and tips to Rosie Dickin, Matt Hodgkinson, Theo Bloom, Katie Fleeman, and Ginny Barbour


UK flagUK: Using metrics to assess and manage research

May 1: “HEFCE has launched a call for evidence to gather views and evidence relating to the use of metrics in research assessment and management….The review of metrics will explore the current use of metrics for research assessment, consider their robustness across different disciplines, and assess their potential contribution to the development of research excellence and impact.” PLOS will be submitting a report.

UK: HEFCE Public Access policy is a shift in the landscape

April 1: Another chance to read the PLOS OPENs analysis of HEFCE’s policy announcement if you missed it but many others also commented on the significance of the policy, including Alma Swan, Mike TaylorNature, JISC, UKCorr (UK Council of Research Repositories) and the Wellcome Trust.

UK: GMC asked to call doctors to account for withholding trial information

April 2: Part of a new report from a UK House of commons enquiry stipulates that the General Medical council (which regulates doctors) should  make it clear to all registered doctors  that withholding trial results is misconduct and actionable. They also note that journals are no longer the barrier to accessing trial results. Ben Goldacre (doctor and author of Bad Pharma), Ginny Barbour (Editorial Director, Medicine, PLOS) and Fiona Godlee (Editor of the BMJ)  made a joint submission to the enquiry about the need to publish the outcomes of research and randomised controlled trials. This follows on from a UK Govt report last year on access to clinical trial information on access to clinical trial information and is yet another vindication of  the ALLTrials campaign coordinated by the campaign group Sense About Science that Ben Goldacre, the BMJ  and PLOS  have all played a key part in.

UK: Wellcome Trust: The cost of open access publishing: a progress report

March 28: In an unprecedented move, Wellcome released all the data on what they had paid to publishers for Article Processing Charges (APCs) from 2012-2013 in figshare. And in a fantastic demonstration of reuse, the data were posted to a gdoc, where they were cleaned up and enhanced (e.g. adding the licencing information) through crowdsourcing. This was coordinated by Michelle Brook from the Open Knowledge Foundation with help from a host of others including Cameron (Michelle provides a summary on her blog). Read more about the implications of this on PLOS Opens. See also Neil Jacob’s (JISC) post on indicator’s for a competitive market.

WHO image (public domain)WHO commits to open access by joining Europe PubMed Central

May 1: The World Health Organisation joins 25 other research funders at Europe PMC. And look out for their OA policy announcement on July 1st.

EU logoC4C’s initial reaction to the European Commission Impact Assessment on Copyright Review – Part 1 and Part 2

April 28 & 30:  Parts of the EU commission’s impact assessment of its proposed new copyright framework have been leaked.  The issues are complex, but Copyright for Creativity (C4C), a consortium of stakeholders concerned about copyright (including the Association of European Research Libraries and Research Libraries UK), have released their initial reactions to this. Although the report is to be finalised, it seems the commission has still not clarified that TDM does not fall under copyright provisions and that an exception allowing the copying of content for the purpose of text and data mining is necessary. They point to Cameron’s recent post about best practices in the area of TDM as an example for the EU to follow.

The draft impact assessment also goes against the recommendations of an expert group, commissioned by the EU and published on the 4th April, that there should be a TDM exception for scientific purposes. The group went further and stated that this should only be an interim measure and that there should be wholesale reform aimed at establishing ” a durable distinction in European law between copyright’s longstanding and legitimate role in protecting the rights of authors of ‘expressive’ works and copyright’s questionable role in the digital age of presenting a barrier to modern research techniques and so to the pursuit of new knowlede”.

Nordic Image innovationNordic publications made available for free

March 25:  All publications funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers (representing Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland) will be made freely available from 1 June 2014. Although not required, the mandate recommends that a Creative Commons attribution licence is used (including the share-alike licence). The policy also stipulates  deposition in full-text form with the requested descriptive information (metadata) to the NCM repository held at Uppsala University. Another landmark policy.


OASPA reinstates Sage membership (and investigates several others)

April 29: OASPA has been undergoing several investigations lately, which ended not only with SAGE’s reinstatement as a member but also gave MDPI the all clear after concerns had been raised about them. There are as yet, however, unanswered questions by Springer about why and how they accepted 16 nonsense papers. And in a defence of one of their members, OASPA has made public a letter the president Paul Peters (Hindawi) wrote to a bogus website that has hijacked the name and print ISSN number of the reputable journal Bothalia, published by AOSIS. Curiously, the bogus journal is also indexed by Thomson Reuters, who have not yet responded to enquiries by OASPA. (Disclaimer: I am a member of the OASPA board.)

Let’s shine a light on paywalls that deny open access to scientific research

April 29: Tania Browne on paywalls and the OA button in the guardian, with shoutouts for OA publishers like PLOS. “The ethos of these journals is that science is not a privilege but a right. It’s something for all of us.” Note also that the OA button have released version 2.0.

Elsevier Journals – some facts

April 24: Really insightful 10,000 word post by Tim Gowers on the results of his Freedom of Information request to the 24 Russell Group UK Universities about what they pay Elsevier for their ‘big-deal’ subscription package.  In addition to the recent PLOS Opens post about this, see also comments from Peter Murray Rust, Michelle Brook and Research Libraries UK (Phil Sykes and David Prosser). Required reading.

What is open access?

April 23: Eva Amsen from F1000Research gives a concise primer on Open Access, debunking the three most common myths  (Open Access just means free to read, Gold means ‘author pays’ and Open Access implies bad quality). Worth a read

A survey of authors publishing in four megajournals

April 22: David Solomon surveyed more than 2000 authors who recently published in the ‘megajournals’ BMJ Open, PeerJ, PLOS ONE and SAGE Open. It’s an interesting analysis that tries to determine who is publishing in these journals and why. The article is published in PeerJ and the anonymised data underlying the paper are available on figshare.

Creating an efficient workflow for publishing scholarly papers on Wikipedia

April 17: Martin Poulter on the LSE blog explains how Wikipedia can be populated with high quality content about research. He describes an initiative from PLOS Computational Biology and Daniel Mietchen, whereby PLOS Computational Biology commissions articles on specific topics that wikipedia don’t have covered well and in a format that is appropriate for Wikipedia. These peer-reviewed ‘Topic Pages’ can be copied straight over to Wikipedia (e.g. “the Topic Page on Circular permutation in proteinspublished in PLOS Computational Biology and visible in the relevant citation databases, can also be read on Wikipedia.”). Poulter discusses the changes the journal had to make to enable this (e.g. figures in Scalable Vector Graphics format) and how this initiative might be extended to other subject areas.

British Academy fears for humanities in open access world

April 17: A brief news item in Times Higher about a report published by the British Academy. We will come back to this in more detail as the PLOS Advocacy team feels there are real issues with the data, the arguments and approach. And if you want evidence about open access already working for the humanities, look no further than the OpenBook Publishers or the Open Library of the Humanities and the fantastic project from knowledge Unlatched that promotes collaboration between a network of libraries and publishers to make existing monographs Open Access. Ernest Priego also gave an inspiring talk about Open Access and ‘impact’ at the UKSG conference recently (see also an article based on his presentation).

Open Access – yes you can

April 20: A lovely call to arms from Stephen Curry about why it’s not so hard for researchers to get involved with Open Access advocacy if you know how and when to push, and those who do can have a huge and positive influence. He goes through a series of examples to demonstrate how easy it is to take part and manages to provide a lucid and authoritative take on recent issues that are relevant to many events in this round-up and the one last month, including posting of the Wellcome APC data, NPG licence concerns at Duke and tackling Elsevier (over access to his own papers). More required reading I think.

Journal Openness Index proposed by librarians

10 April: An article by librarians Micah Vandegrift and Chealsye Bowley in the wonderfully named journal In the Library with the Lead Pipe that proposes a new index of openness with which to rank journals. This is based on an analysis of 111 journals in library and information science (the data are available on figshare as well) and uses a simplified version of the open access spectrum (developed by SPARC, OASPA and PLOS) to create the “JOI factor “. This uses scoring based on three of the 6 categories in the spectrum (copyright, reuse rights and author posting rights) but does not factor in reader rights, automatic posting and machine readability (and the latter is also crucial for reuse). Although just a proof of concept at this stage, it’s an interesting initiative. Most revealing is the extent to which the ‘open access’ journals they evaluated had restrictions on reuse or very poorly defined reuse policies and how few of the journals traditionally ranked as top in their field were open at all. As they conclude “are these the journals we want on a top tier list, and what measure of openness will we define as acceptable for our prestigious journals?”

New Nature Journals to Launch

April 2: Tracy Vence in the Scientist briefly mentions Nature’s latest open access venture. They intend to launch a portfolio of OA journals later this year– under the name of Nature Partner journals – in partnership with institutions, foundations and academic societies. They will be charging $4000 for an APC Disappointingly, they are also offering authors the choice of more restrictive creative commons licences that prohibit commercial reuse or any derivative re-use. These more restrictive licences do not comply with the Budapest definition of open access. Such licences are also increasingly at odds with the requirements of funders such as RCUK, the EU and the Wellcome Trust.

Around the Web: April Fools’ Follies!

April 2: Over at Confessions of a Science Librarian, John Dupuis lists all the internet silliness that occurred in the publishing world on April Fools day….

Attacking academic values

27 March: Kevin Smith created a stir when he started digging into the license agreements that Nature Publishing Group ask authors to sign. It was prompted by Nature asking Duke University authors to obtain a waiver of their faculty’s open access policy when they publish in Nature. After digging deeper he realised that NPG were asking authors to also waive their moral rights when signing up to the NPG licence, which in principle could mean waiving the right to be credited for their work (attribution). NPG responded arguing that the Duke policy is too broad and that the moral rights waiver was required to enable retractions. With litigation, or at least its threat, depressingly becoming more common  in the scholarly communication space expect to see more issues arise where legal measures to protect the interests of authors, publishers and institutions run counter to the traditions of the scholarly community.

Managing Article Processing Charges

March 27: Useful essay on the complexities of managing APCS from Danny Kingsley at AOASG. This is part of their ongoing Payment for Publication Series.

DataCite,, and Databib Announce Collaboration

March 25: Why is this good news? “”The aim of this merger is to reduce duplication of effort and to better serve the research community with a single, sustainable registry of research data repositories”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>