Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers?

Authors : Martin Paul Eve, Ernesto Priego

“Predatory publishing” refers to conditions under which gold open-access academic publishers claim to conduct peer review and charge for their publishing services but do not, in fact, actually perform such reviews.

Most prominently exposed in recent years by Jeffrey Beall, the phenomenon garners much media attention. In this article, we acknowledge that such practices are deceptive but then examine, across a variety of stakeholder groups, what the harm is from such actions to each group of actors.

We find that established publishers have a strong motivation to hype claims of predation as damaging to the scholarly and scientific endeavour while noting that, in fact, systems of peer review are themselves already acknowledged as deeply flawed.

URL : Who is Actually Harmed by Predatory Publishers?

Alternative location : http://www.triple-c.at/index.php/tripleC/article/view/867


The legal and policy framework for scientific data sharing, mining and reuse

Author : Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay

Text and Data Mining, the automatic processing of large amounts of scientific articles and datasets, is an essential practice for contemporary researchers. Some publishers are challenging it as a lawful activity and the topic is being discussed during European copyright law reform process.

In order to better understand the underlying debate and contribute to the policy discussion, this article first examines the legal status of data access and reuse and licensing policies. It then presents available options supporting the exercise of Text and Data Mining: publication under open licenses, open access legislations and a recognition of the legitimacy of the activity.

For that purpose, the paper analyses the scientific rational for sharing and its legal and technical challenges and opportunities. In particular, it surveys existing open access and open data legislations and discusses implementation in European and Latin America jurisdictions.

Framing Text and Data mining as an exception to copyright could be problematic as it de facto denies that this activity is part of a positive right to read and should not require additional permission nor licensing.

It is crucial in licenses and legislations to provide a correct definition of what is Open Access, and to address the question of pre-existing copyright agreements. Also, providing implementation means and technical support is key. Otherwise, legislations could remain declarations of good principles if repositories are acting as empty shells.

URL ; https://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/9082

The State of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles

Authors : Heather Piwowar, Jason Priem, Vincent Larivière, Juan Pablo Alperin, Lisa Matthias, Bree Norlander, Ashley Farley, Jevin West, Stefanie Haustein

Despite growing interest in Open Access (OA) to scholarly literature, there is an unmet need for large-scale, up-to-date, and reproducible studies assessing the prevalence and characteristics of OA. We address this need using oaDOI, an open online service that determines OA status for 67 million articles.

We use three samples, each of 100,000 articles, to investigate OA in three populations: 1) all journal articles assigned a Crossref DOI, 2) recent journal articles indexed in Web of Science, and 3) articles viewed by users of Unpaywall, an open-source browser extension that lets users find OA articles using oaDOI.

We estimate that at least 28% of the scholarly literature is OA (19M in total) and that this proportion is growing, driven particularly by growth in Gold and Hybrid. The most recent year analyzed (2015) also has the highest percentage of OA (45%). Because of this growth, and the fact that readers disproportionately access newer articles, we find that Unpaywall users encounter OA quite frequently: 47% of articles they view are OA. Notably, the most common mechanism for OA is not Gold, Green, or Hybrid OA, but rather an under-discussed category we dub Bronze: articles made free-to-read on the publisher website, without an explicit Open license.

We also examine the citation impact of OA articles, corroborating the so-called open-access citation advantage: accounting for age and discipline, OA articles receive 18% more citations than average, an effect driven primarily by Green and Hybrid OA. We encourage further research using the free oaDOI service, as a way to inform OA policy and practice.

URL : The State of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.3119v1


Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

Author : Teresa Schultz

The open access movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study open access (OA) continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open.

This project set out to study just how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and how library and information science authors compare to other disciplines researching this field.

Because of the growth of tools available to help researchers find open versions of articles, this study also sought to compare how these new tools compare to Google Scholar in their ability to disseminating OA research.

From a sample collected from Web of Science of articles published since 2010, the study found that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not.

A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In looking at the copyright of these articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors were more likely to retain copyright ownership if they printed in an open journal compared to authors in hybrid journals.

Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

URL : Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/YBDR8


Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature

Authors : Daniel S. Himmelstein, Ariel R. Romero, Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Casey S. Greene

The website Sci-Hub provides access to scholarly literature via full text PDF downloads. The site enables users to access articles that would otherwise be paywalled. Since its creation in 2011, Sci-Hub has grown rapidly in popularity.

However, until now, the extent of Sci-Hub’s coverage was unclear. As of March 2017, we find that Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of all 81.6 million scholarly articles, which rises to 85.2% for those published in closed access journals.

Furthermore, Sci-Hub contains 77.0% of the 5.2 million articles published by inactive journals. Coverage varies by discipline, with 92.8% coverage of articles in chemistry journals compared to 76.3% for computer science.

Coverage also varies by publisher, with the coverage of the largest publisher, Elsevier, at 97.3%. Our interactive browser at greenelab.github.io/scihub allows users to explore these findings in more detail.

Finally, we estimate that over a six month period in 2015–2016, Sci-Hub provided access for 99.3% of valid incoming requests. Hence, the scope of this resource suggests the subscription publishing model is becoming unsustainable. For the first time, the overwhelming majority of scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone.

URL : https://greenelab.github.io/scihub-manuscript/


Measurement of Open Access as an Infrastructural Challenge

Author : Pekka Olsbo

Finland has set numeric goals for the development of open access. However, at the moment, no system is available by which this development could be monitored. Poor quality in the metadata records in universities’ research information databases prevents metadata-based analysis of open access publishing progress.

This paper shows how the quality problems of Finnish publication data can be resolved through centralizing the services and processes of metadata creation and by improving the interoperability of systems involved in the processes.

As a result, this study describes an environment where reliable measurement of open access is possible and presents suggested actions for improving the Finnish publication data collection.

URL : Measurement of Open Access as an Infrastructural Challenge

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3233/978-1-61499-769-6-217

Brexit – and its potential impact for open access in the UK

Author : Paul Ayris

This article looks at the possible implications of Brexit for approaches to open access (OA) in the UK. It begins by sketching current issues in Brexit debates at the end of 2016 as the context into which discussions about open access are then placed.

Issues in four thematic areas are analysed: OA policies and mandates, EU copyright reform, new OA publishing models and open science. The level of dependence in the UK on European developments is assessed in each case and its contribution to Brexit issues identified.

The paper concludes that Brexit presents not only challenges, but also opportunities which the UK could seize. In open access, the UK is already playing a leadership role. In areas of open science, particularly in relation to the European Open Science Cloud, it is the European Commission which is asserting leadership. The UK needs to consolidate its current activity and ensure that, whatever the nature of Brexit arrangements, its freedom does not lead to isolation.

URL : Brexit – and its potential impact for open access in the UK

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.336