End of Publication? Open access and a new scholarly communication technology

Authors : Sergey Parinov, Victoria Antonova

At this time, developers of research information systems are experimenting with new tools for research outputs usage that can expand the open access to research. These tools allow researchers to record research as annotations, nanopublications or other micro research outputs and link them by scientific relationships.

If these micro outputs and relationships are shared by their creators publicly, these actions can initiate direct scholarly communication between the creators and the authors of the used research outputs. Such direct communication takes place while researchers are manipulating and organising their research results, e.g. as manuscripts.

Thus, researchers come to communication before the manuscripts become traditional publications. In this paper, we discuss how this pre-publication communication can affect existing research practice.

It can have important consequences for the research community like the end of publication as a communication instrument, the higher level of transparency in research, changes for the Open Access movement, academic publishers, peer-reviewing and research assessment systems.

We analyse a background that exists in the economics discipline for experiments with the pre-publication communication. We propose a set of experiments with already existed and new tools, which can help with exploring the end of publication possible impacts on the research community.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.05505

Pirates in the Library – An Inquiry into the Guerilla Open Access Movement

Author : Balazs Bodo

2016 is the year when piracy finally became an unavoidable topic in the domain of scholarly communications.

The public exposure of Sci-Hub, a copyright infringing site that provides free access to paywalled journal databases, electrified the decade old debates about the role of scholars, (commercial) publishers, libraries, and copyright in creating an environment, where results of scholarly inquiry are equally accessible for all.

This article gives insight into the Guerilla Open Access (GOA) movement, which is responsible for the creation and maintenance of massive, copyright infringing, freely accessible online shadow libraries of scholarly works: journal articles, monographs, textbooks.

It reconstructs the developments in the western and global academia and scholarly publishing which led to the birth of the movement, and identifies some of the factors its ongoing existence depends on.

The article discusses several aspects of the GOA movement: the alliance of scholars in the global centers and at the global peripheries, the alliance of public and clandestine operations, and its relationship with, and its differences from the Open Access (OA) approach, which aims to facilitate the accessibility of scholarly communications through legal means.

The goal of this article is to contribute to the discussions of the future of scholarly communications through the description of a phenomenon which poses the single greatest challenge to the scholarly publishing status quo in recent history.

URL : http://ssrn.com/abstract=2816925

The Circulation of Scientific Articles in the Sphere of Web-Based Media: Citation Practices, Communities of Interests and Local Ties

Authors : Muriel Lefebvre, Julie Renard

On 5th December 2012, a scientific article reviewing a change in the feeding behaviour of the European catfish, one of the largest freshwater fish, was published in the American scientific journal, PLOS ONE, an open access journal, which also allows the mass publication of pictures and videos.

Within a few days following the publication of this article, it was relayed by numerous web sites and generated a media craze. In this paper, we analyse the circulation of this scientific information in the sphere of Web-based media during the two months following its publication, by revealing the citation mechanisms of the original article and the logic of the Internet users participating in its diffusion.

In addition, since the circulation of its informational content travelled beyond linguistic and geographical boundaries, we chose to compare the citation modalities and intertextual relationships of documents in the three countries where the article spread the most widely, namely: France, the United States and Great Britain.

Even though our study shows that the media circulation of scientific papers operates in a traditional way, the intertextual analysis underlines the grand variety of participants (such as journalists, non-scientists, fishermen, technology enthusiasts and Internet users) involved in the diffusion of this information, each of them mobilizing different intertextual strategies, according to their various targets.

They all transformed, reformulated and appropriated the scientific information according to their own, unique interests.

This study also emphasizes the importance of journalistic websites as opinion relays. They were the first diffusers involved in spreading the information but this role was rarely acknowledged by the Internet users – through citations, for example.

In contrast, we observed that amateurs’ communities (communities of practices and communities of interest of fishermen or of buzz fans), which only became involved in a second temporal phase of the spreading, preferred to build up their credibility through citations of the original article.

Finally, this research helps to rethink the mechanisms of the circulation of scientific information in the Web-based media, highlighting both the variety and the inventiveness of the interactions between the academic and public spheres.

URL : The Circulation of Scientific Articles in the Sphere of Web-Based Media: Citation Practices, Communities of Interests and Local Ties

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158393

Scholarly Communication and the Dilemma of Collective Action : Why Academic Journals Cost Too Much

Author : John Wenzler

Why has the rise of the Internet – which drastically reduces the cost of distributing information – coincided with drastic increases in the prices that academic libraries pay for access to scholarly journals?

This study argues that libraries are trapped in a collective action dilemma as defined by economist Mancur Olson in The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups.

To truly reduce their costs, librarians would have to build a shared online collection of scholarly resources jointly managed by the academic community as a whole, but individual academic institutions lack the private incentives necessary to invest in a shared collection.

Thus, the management of online scholarly journals has been largely outsourced to publishers who have developed monopoly powers that allow them to increase subscription prices faster than the rate of inflation.

Many librarians consider the Open Access Movement the best response to increased subscription costs, but the current strategies employed to achieve Open Access also are undermined by collective action dilemmas. In conclusion, some alternative strategies are proposed.

URL : http://crl.acrl.org/content/early/2016/06/02/crl16-897.full.pdf

 

Tackling complexity in an interdisciplinary scholarly network: Requirements for semantic publishing

Scholarly communication is complex. The clarification of concepts like “academic publication”, “document”, “semantics” and “ontology” facilitates tracking the limitations and benefits of the media of the current publishing system, as well as of a possible alternative medium.

In this paper, requirements for such a new medium of scholarly communication, labeled Scholarly Network, have been collected and a basic model has been developed. An interdisciplinary network of concepts and assertions, created with the help of Semantic Web technologies by scholars and reviewed by peers and information professionals, can provide a quick overview of the state of research.

The model picks up the concept of Nanopublications, but maps information in a more granular way. For a better understanding of which problems have to be solved by developing such a publication medium, e.g., inconsistency, theories of Radical Constructivism are of great help.

URL : http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6102/5510

Innovations in scholarly communication – global survey on research tool usage

Many new websites and online tools have come into existence to support scholarly communication in all phases of the research workflow. To what extent researchers are using these and more traditional tools has been largely unknown.

This 2015-2016 survey aimed to fill that gap. Its results may help decision making by stakeholders supporting researchers and may also help researchers wishing to reflect on their own online workflows. In addition, information on tools usage can inform studies of changing research workflows.

The online survey employed an open, non-probability sample. A largely self-selected group of 20663 researchers, librarians, editors, publishers and other groups involved in research took the survey, which was available in seven languages.

The survey was open from May 10, 2015 to February 10, 2016. It captured information on tool usage for 17 research activities, stance towards open access and open science, and expectations of the most important development in scholarly communication.

Respondents’ demographics included research roles, country of affiliation, research discipline and year of first publication.

URL : Innovations in scholarly communication – global survey on research tool usage

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.8414.1

On the Marginal Cost of Scholarly Communication

We assessed the marginal cost of scholarly communication from the perspective of an agent looking to start an independent, peer-reviewed scholarly journal. We found that various vendors can accommodate all of the services required for scholarly communication for a price ranging between $69 and $318 per article.

In contrast, if an agent had access to software solutions replacing the services provided by vendors, the marginal cost of scholarly communication would be reduced to the cloud infrastructure cost alone and drop to between $1.36 and $1.61 per article.

Incidentally, DOI registration alone accounts for between 82% and 98% of this cost. While vendor cost typically decreases with higher volume, new offerings in cloud computing exhibit the opposite trend, challenging the notion that large volume publishers benefit from economies of scales as compared to smaller publishers.

Given the current lack of software solutions fulfilling the functions of scholarly communication, we conclude that the development of high quality “plug-and-play” open source software solutions would have a significant impact in reducing the marginal cost of scholarly communication, making it more open to experimentation and innovation.

URL : https://research.science.ai/article/on-the-marginal-cost-of-scholarly-communication