Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

Author : Stuart Andrew Lawson

This thesis makes a contribution to the knowledge of open access through a historically  and theoretically informed account of contemporary open access policy in the UK (2010–15).

It critiques existing policy by revealing the influence of neoliberal ideology on its creation, and proposes a commons-based approach as an alternative. The historical context in Chapters 2 and 3 shows that access to knowledge has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and the current push to increase access to research, and political  controversies around this idea, are part of a long tradition.

The exploration of the origins and meanings of ‘openness’ in Chapter 4 enriches the understanding of open access as a concept and makes possible a more nuanced critique of specific instantiations of open access in later chapters.

The theoretical heart of the thesis is Chapter 5, in which neoliberalism is analysed with a particular focus on neoliberal conceptions of liberty and openness. The subsequent examination of neoliberal higher education in Chapter 6 is therefore informed by a thorough grounding in the ideology that underlies policymaking in the neoliberal era.

This understanding then acts as invaluable context for the analysis of the UK’s open access policy in Chapter 7. By highlighting the neoliberal aspects of open access policy, the political tensions within open access advocacy are shown to have real effects on the way that open access is unfolding.

Finally, Chapter 8 proposes the commons as a useful theoretical model for conceptualising a future scholarly publishing ecosystem that is free from neoliberal ideology. An argument is made that a commons-based open access policy is possible, though must be carefully constructed with close attention paid to the power relations that exist between different scholarly communities.

URL : Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

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Liberation through Cooperation: How Library Publishing Can Save Scholarly Journals from Neoliberalism

Author : Dave S. Ghamandi

This commentary examines political and economic aspects of open access (OA) and scholarly journal publishing. Through a discourse of critique, neoliberalism is analyzed as an ideology causing many problems in the scholarly journal publishing industry, including the serials crisis.

Two major efforts in the open access movement that promote an increase in OA funded by article-processing charges (APC)—the Open Access 2020 (OA2020) and Pay It Forward (PIF) initiatives—are critiqued as neoliberal frameworks that would perpetuate existing systems of domination and exploitation.

In a discourse of possibility, ways of building a post-neoliberal system of journal publishing using new tactics and strategies, merging theory and praxis, and grounding in solidarity and cooperation are presented.

This includes organizing journal publishing democratically using cooperatives, which could decommodify knowledge and provide greater open access.

The article concludes with a vision for a New Fair Deal, which would revolutionize the system of scholarly journal publishing by transitioning journals to library publishing cooperatives.

URL : Liberation through Cooperation: How Library Publishing Can Save Scholarly Journals from Neoliberalism


Evaluating the replicability of social science experiments in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015

Authors : Colin F. Camerer, Anna Dreber, Felix Holzmeister, Teck-Hua Ho, Jürgen Huber, Magnus Johannesson, Michael Kirchler, Gideon Nave, Brian Nosek, Thomas Pfeiffer, Adam Altmejd, Nick Buttrick, Taizan Chan, Yiling Chen, Eskil Forsell, Anup Gampa, Emma Heikensten, Lily Hummer, Taisuke Imai, Siri Isaksson, Dylan Manfredi, Julia Rose, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Hang Wu

Being able to replicate scientific findings is crucial for scientific progress. We replicate 21 systematically selected experimental studies in the social sciences published in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015.

The replications follow analysis plans reviewed by the original authors and pre-registered prior to the replications. The replications are high powered, with sample sizes on average about five times higher than in the original studies.

We find a significant effect in the same direction as the original study for 13 (62%) studies, and the effect size of the replications is on average about 50% of the original effect size. Replicability varies between 12 (57%) and 14 (67%) studies for complementary replicability indicators.

Consistent with these results, the estimated true positive rate is 67% in a Bayesian analysis. The relative effect size of true positives is estimated to be 71%, suggesting that both false positives and inflated effect sizes of true positives contribute to imperfect reproducibility.

Furthermore, we find that peer beliefs of replicability are strongly related to replicability, suggesting that the research community could predict which results would replicate and that failures to replicate were not the result of chance alone.

URL : Evaluating the replicability of social science experiments in Nature and Science between 2010 and 2015


Reproducible data citations for computational research

Author : Christian Schulz

The general purpose of a scientific publication is the exchange and spread of knowledge. A publication usually reports a scientific result and tries to convince the reader that it is valid.

With an ever-growing number of papers relying on computational methods that make use of large quantities of data and sophisticated statistical modeling techniques, a textual description of the result is often not enough for a publication to be transparent and reproducible.

While there are efforts to encourage sharing of code and data, we currently lack conventions for linking data sources to a computational result that is stated in the main publication text or used to generate a figure or table.

Thus, here I propose a data citation format that allows for an automatic reproduction of all computations. A data citation consists of a descriptor that refers to the functional program code and the input that generated the result.

The input itself may be a set of other data citations, such that all data transformations, from the original data sources to the final result, are transparently expressed by a directed graph.

Functions can be implemented in a variety of programming languages since data sources are expected to be stored in open and standardized text-based file formats.

A publication is then an online file repository consisting of a Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) document and additional data and code source files, together with a summarization of all data sources, similar to a list of references in a bibliography.


The rent’s too high: Self-archive for fair online publication costs

Authors : Robert T. Thibault, Amanda MacPherson, Stevan Harnad, Amir Raz

The main contributors of scientific knowledge, researchers, generally aim to disseminate their findings far and wide. And yet, publishing companies have largely kept these findings behind a paywall.

With digital publication technology markedly reducing cost, this enduring wall seems disproportionate and unjustified; moreover, it has sparked a topical exchange concerning how to modernize academic publishing.

This discussion, however, seems to focus on how to compensate major publishers for providing open access through a « pay to publish » model, in turn transferring financial burdens from libraries to authors and their funders.

Large publishing companies, including Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, PLoS, and Frontiers, continue to earn exorbitant revenues each year, hundreds of millions of dollars of which now come from processing charges for open-access articles.

A less expensive and equally accessible alternative exists: widespread self-archiving of peer-reviewed articles. All we need is awareness of this alternative and the will to employ it.


Towards a culture of open science and data sharing in health and medical research

Author : Anisa Rowhani-Farid

This thesis investigated the factors that contribute to the cultural shift towards open science and data sharing in health and medical research, with a focus on the role health and medical journals play.

The findings of this research demonstrate that journal data sharing policies are not effective and that journals do not currently provide incentives for sharing.

This study contributed to the movement towards more reproducible research by providing empirical evidence for the strengthening of journal data sharing policies and the adoption of an incentive for open research.


How open is open access research in Library and Information Science?

Authors : Wanyenda Leonard Chilimo, Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

The study investigates Library and Information Science (LIS) journals that published research articles between 2003 and 2013, which were about open access (OA) and were indexed in LIS databases.

The purpose was to investigate the journals’ OA policies, ascertain the degree to which these policies facilitate OA to publications, and investigate whether such texts are also available as OA. The results show that literature growth in the domain has been significant, with a total of 1,402 articles produced during the eleven years under study.

The OA policies of the fifty-six journals that published the highest number of articles were analysed. The results show that most articles (404; 41%) were published in hybrid journals, whereas 272 (29.7%) appeared in OA journals.

Some 143 (53%) of the articles published in hybrid journals were available as green OA copies. In total, 602 (66%) of all the articles published were available as OA.

The results show that the adoption of OA for research articles on that very subject is somewhat higher than in other fields. The study calls on LIS professionals to be conversant with the OA policies of the various journals that may publish their research.

URL : How open is open access research in Library and Information Science?

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