Anticipated effects of an open access policy at a private foundation

Author : Eesha Khare, Carly Strasser

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) was interested in understanding the potential effects of a policy requiring open access to peer-reviewed publications resulting from the research the foundation funds.

To explore this question, we collected data on more than 2000 publications in over 500 journals that were generated by GBMF grantees since 2001. We then examined the journal policies to establish how two possible open access policies might have affected grantee publishing habits.

We found that 99.3% of the articles published by grantees would have complied with a policy that requires open access within 12 months of publication. We also estimated the annual costs to GBMF for covering fees associated with « gold open access » to be between $250,000 and $2,500,000 annually.


Open Science: What, Why, and How

Authors : Barbara A. Spellman, Elizabeth A. Gilbert, Katherine S. Corker

Open Science is a collection of actions designed to make scientific processes more transparent and results more accessible. Its goal is to build a more replicable and robust science; it does so using new technologies, altering incentives, and changing attitudes.

The current movement towards open science was spurred, in part, by a recent “series of unfortunate events” within psychology and other sciences.

These events include the large number of studies that have failed to replicate and the prevalence of common research and publication procedures that could explain why.

Many journals and funding agencies now encourage, require, or reward some open science practices, including pre-registration, providing full materials, posting data, distinguishing between exploratory and confirmatory analyses, and running replication studies.

Individuals can practice and encourage open science in their many roles as researchers, authors, reviewers, editors, teachers, and members of hiring, tenure, promotion, and awards committees.

A plethora of resources are available to help scientists, and science, achieve these goals.


Metrics for openness

Authors : David M. Nichols, Michael B. Twidale

The characterization of scholarly communication is dominated by citation-based measures. In this paper we propose several metrics to describe different facets of open access and open research.

We discuss measures to represent the public availability of articles along with their archival location, licenses, access costs, and supporting information. Calculations illustrating these new metrics are presented using the authors’ publications.

We argue that explicit measurement of openness is necessary for a holistic description of research outputs.


Open Access and Global Inclusion: A Look at Cuba

Authors : Authors : Elizabeth Jardine, Maureen Garvey, J. Silvia Cho

Is the Open Access movement meeting its goal of equalizing access to research worldwide? What we learned in libraries and archives during a delegation to Cuba inspired us to pursue this question.

Latin America has long used OA to share its research, but it still has not achieved parity in access and contribution with the developed world. We consider what the OA movement can do to relieve some of these global inequities.


Looking Into Pandora’s Box: The Content Of Sci-Hub And Its Usage

Author : Bastian Greshake

Despite the growth of Open Access, illegally circumventing paywalls to access scholarly publications is becoming a more mainstream phenomenon. The web service Sci-Hub is amongst the biggest facilitators of this, offering free access to around 62 million publications.

So far it is not well studied how and why its users are accessing publications through Sci-Hub. By utilizing the recently released corpus of Sci-Hub and comparing it to the data of ~28 million downloads done through the service, this study tries to address some of these questions.

The comparative analysis shows that both the usage and complete corpus is largely made up of recently published articles, with users disproportionately favoring newer articles and 35% of downloaded articles being published after 2013.

These results hint that embargo periods before publications become Open Access are frequently circumnavigated using Guerilla Open Access approaches like Sci-Hub. On a journal level, the downloads show a bias towards some scholarly disciplines, especially Chemistry, suggesting increased barriers to access for these.

Comparing the use and corpus on a publisher level, it becomes clear that only 11% of publishers are highly requested in comparison to the baseline frequency, while 45% of all publishers are significantly less accessed than expected.

Despite this, the oligopoly of publishers is even more remarkable on the level of content consumption, with 80% of all downloads being published through only 9 publishers. All of this suggests that Sci-Hub is used by different populations and for a number of different reasons and that there is still a lack of access to the published scientific record.

A further analysis of these openly available data resources will undoubtedly be valuable for the investigation of academic publishing.

URL : Looking Into Pandora’s Box: The Content Of Sci-Hub And Its Usage


Open Access Policies and Academic Freedom: Understanding and Addressing Conflicts

Author : David James Johnston

The adoption of open access (OA) policies that require participation rather than request it is often accompanied by concerns about whether such mandates violate researchers’ academic freedoms.

This issue has not been well explored, particularly in the Canadian context. However the recent adoption of an OA policy from Canada’s major funding agencies and the development of the Fair access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) in the United States has made addressing the issue of academic freedom and OA policies an important issue in academic institutions.

This paper will investigate the relationship between OA mandates and academic freedom with the context of the recent OA policy at the University of Windsor as a point of reference.

While this investigation concludes that adopting OA policies that require faculty participation at the institutional level should not be an issue of academic freedom, it is important to understand the varied factors that contribute to this tension.

This includes misunderstandings about journal based (gold) and repository based (green) OA, growing discontent about increased managerialism in universities and commercialization of research, as well as potential vagueness within collective agreements’ language regarding academic freedom and publication.

Despite these potential roadblocks, a case can be made that OA policies are not in conflict with academic freedom given they do not produce the harms that academic freedom is intended to protect.

URL : Open Access Policies and Academic Freedom: Understanding and Addressing Conflicts

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Openness as social praxis

Authors : Matthew Longshore Smith, Ruhiya Seward

Since the early 2000s, there has been an explosion in the usage of the term open, arguably stemming from the advent of networked technologies — including the Internet and mobile technologies.

‘Openness’ seems to be everywhere, and takes many forms: from open knowledge, open education, open data and open science, to open Internet, open medical records systems and open innovation. These applications of openness are having a profound, and sometimes transformative, effect on social, political and economic life.

This explosion of the use of the term has led to multiple interpretations, ambiguities, and even misunderstandings, not to mention countless debates and disagreements over precise definitions.

The paper “Fifty shades of open” by Pomerantz and Peek (2016) highlighted the increasing ambiguity and even confusion surrounding this term. This article builds on Pomerantz and Peek’s attempt to disambiguate the term by offering an alternative understanding to openness — that of social praxis.

More specifically, our framing can be broken down into three social processes: open production, open distribution, and open consumption. Each process shares two traits that make them open: you don’t have to pay (free price), and anyone can participate (non-discrimination) in these processes.

We argue that conceptualizing openness as social praxis offers several benefits. First, it provides a way out of a variety of problems that result from ambiguities and misunderstandings that emerge from the current multitude of uses of openness.

Second, it provides a contextually sensitive understanding of openness that allows space for the many different ways openness is experienced — often very different from the way that more formal definitions conceptualize it.

Third, it points us towards an approach to developing practice-specific theory that we believe helps us build generalizable knowledge on what works (or not), for whom, and in what contexts.