Against capital

Author : Stuart Lawson

The ways in which scholars exchange and share their work have evolved through pragmatic responses to the political and economic contexts in which they are embedded.

So rather than being designed to fulfil their function in an optimal way, our methods of scholarly communication have been distorted by the interests of capital and by neoliberal logic.

If these two interlinked political forces – that suffuse all aspects of our lives – are the reason for the mess we are currently in, then surely any alternative scholarly communication system we create should be working against them, not with them. The influence of capital in scholarly publishing, and the overwhelming force of neoliberalism in our working practices, is the problem.

So when the new ‘innovative disrupters’ are fully aligned with the political forces that need to be dismantled, it is questionable that the new way of doing things is a significant improvement.



Searching Data: A Review of Observational Data Retrieval Practices

Authors : Kathleen Gregory, Paul Groth, Helena Cousijn, Andrea Scharnhorst, Sally Wyatt

A cross-disciplinary examination of the user behaviours involved in seeking and evaluating data is surprisingly absent from the research data discussion. This review explores the data retrieval literature to identify commonalities in how users search for and evaluate observational research data.

Two analytical frameworks rooted in information retrieval and science technology studies are used to identify key similarities in practices as a first step toward developing a model describing data retrieval.



Open Access and Promotion and Tenure Evaluation Plans at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

Authors : Stephanie H. Wical, Gregory J. Kocken

Department and program evaluation plans at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire were examined to see if these documents provide evidence that could be used to justify supporting the publication of peer-reviewed open access articles toward tenure and promotion.

In an earlier study, the authors reveal that faculty members at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire are more unaware of open access publishing than their counterparts at larger universities.

These findings dovetail with other studies that show that faculty members are reluctant to publish in open access journals because of concerns about the quality of those journals. The existing body of scholarship suggests that tenure-line faculty fear publishing in open access journals because it could adversely impact their chances of promotion and tenure.

The authors of this current study sought to determine if department and program evaluation plans could influence negative perceptions faculty have of open access journals. The implications of this study for librarians, scholarly communication professionals, tenure-line faculty, departments, and programs are addressed.

URL : Open Access and Promotion and Tenure Evaluation Plans at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire




Framing a Situated and Inclusive Open Science: Emerging Lessons from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network

Authors : Rebecca Hillyer, Alejandro Posada, Denisse Albornoz, Leslie Chan, Angela Okune

What is open science and under what conditions could it contribute towards addressing persistent development challenges? How could we re-imagine and enrich open science so that it is inclusive of local realities and a diversity of knowledge traditions?

These are some of the questions that the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) is attempting to answer.

In this paper, we provide the rationale and principles underlying OCSDnet, the conceptual and methodological frameworks guiding the research, and preliminary findings from the network’s twelve globally diverse research projects.

Instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to open science, our findings suggest that it is important to take into account the local dynamics and power structures that affect the ways in which individuals tend to collaborate (or not) within particular contexts.

Despite the on-going resistance of powerful actors towards new forms of creating and sharing diverse knowledge, concluding evidence from the twelve research teams suggests that open science does indeed have an important role to play in facilitating inclusive collaboration and transformatory possibilities for development.

URL : Framing a Situated and Inclusive Open Science: Emerging Lessons from the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network

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Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication

Authors : Stefania Manca, Maria Ranieri

Research on scholars’ use of social media suggests that these sites are increasingly being used to enhance scholarly communication by strengthening relationships, facilitating collaboration among peers, publishing and sharing research products, and discussing research topics in open and public formats.

However, very few studies have investigated perceptions and attitudes towards social media use for scholarly communication of large cohorts of scholars at national level.

This study investigates the reasons for using social media sites for scholarly communication among a large sample of Italian university scholars (N=6139) with the aim of analysing what factors mainly affect these attitudes.

The motivations for using social media were analysed in connection with frequency of use and factors like gender, age, years of teaching, academic title, and disciplinary field. The results point out that for the most used tools the influence of the variables examined was higher in shaping scholars’ motivations.

In fact, frequency of use, age, years of teaching, and disciplinary field were found to be relevant factors especially for LinkedIn and, while gender and academic title seemed to have a limited impact on scholars’ motivations for all social media sites considered in the study.

Considerations for future research are provided along with limitations of the study.

URL : Networked Scholarship and Motivations for Social Media use in Scholarly Communication


Ready for the future? A survey on open access with scientists from the French National Research Center (CNRS)

Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Coline Ferrant, Francis André, Renaud Fabre


The paper presents empirical evidence on the opinion and behaviour of French scientists (senior management level) regarding open access to scientific and technical information.


The results are part of a nationwide survey on scientific information and documentation with 432 directors of French public research laboratories conducted by the French Research Center CNRS in 2014.


1. The CNRS senior research managers (laboratory directors) globally share the positive opinion towards open access revealed by other studies with researchers from the UK, Germany, the United States and other countries. However, they are more supportive of open repositories (green road) than of OA journal publishing (gold).

2. The response patterns reveal a gap between generally positive opinions about open access and less supportive behaviours, principally publishing articles with APCs.

3. A small group of senior research managers does not seem to be interested in green or gold open access and reluctant to self-archiving and OA publishing.

4. Similar to other studies, the French survey confirms disciplinary differences, i.e. a stronger support for self-archiving of records and documents in HAL by scientists from
Mathematics, Physics and Informatics than from Biology, Earth Sciences and Chemistry; and more experience and positive feelings with open access publishing and payment of APCs in Biology than in Mathematics or in Social Sciences and Humanities. Disciplinary differences and specific French factors are discussed, in particular in the context of the new European policy in favour of Open Science.


For the first time, a nationwide survey was conducted with the senior research management level from all scientific disciplines.

The response rate was high (>30%), and the results provide good insight into the real awareness, support and uptake of open access by senior research managers who provide both models (examples for good practice) and opinion leadership.


A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter

Authors : Qing Ke, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Cassidy R. Sugimoto

Metrics derived from Twitter and other social media—often referred to as altmetrics—are increasingly used to estimate the broader social impacts of scholarship. Such efforts, however, may produce highly misleading results, as the entities that participate in conversations about science on these platforms are largely unknown.

For instance, if altmetric activities are generated mainly by scientists, does it really capture broader social impacts of science? Here we present a systematic approach to identifying and analyzing scientists on Twitter.

Our method can identify scientists across many disciplines, without relying on external bibliographic data, and be easily adapted to identify other stakeholder groups in science.

We investigate the demographics, sharing behaviors, and interconnectivity of the identified scientists.

We find that Twitter has been employed by scholars across the disciplinary spectrum, with an over-representation of social and computer and information scientists; under-representation of mathematical, physical, and life scientists; and a better representation of women compared to scholarly publishing.

Analysis of the sharing of URLs reveals a distinct imprint of scholarly sites, yet only a small fraction of shared URLs are science-related. We find an assortative mixing with respect to disciplines in the networks between scientists, suggesting the maintenance of disciplinary walls in social media.

Our work contributes to the literature both methodologically and conceptually—we provide new methods for disambiguating and identifying particular actors on social media and describing the behaviors of scientists, thus providing foundational information for the construction and use of indicators on the basis of social media metrics.

 URL : A systematic identification and analysis of scientists on Twitter