Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences

Author: Scott Taylor

The University of Manchester Library has established a key role in facilitating scholarly discourse through its mediated open access (OA) services, but has little track record in intentionally taking OA research outputs to non-academic audiences.

This article outlines recent exploratory steps the Library has taken to convince researchers to fully exploit this part of the scholarly communication chain. Driving developments within this service category is a belief that despite the recent rise in OA, the full public benefit of research outputs is often not being realized as many papers are written in inaccessibly technical language.

Recognizing our unique position to help authors reach broader audiences with simpler expressions of their work, we have evolved our existing managed OA services to systematically share plain-English summaries of OA papers via Twitter.

In parallel, we have taken steps to ensure that our commercial analytics tools work harder to identify and reach the networked communities that form around academic disciplines in the hope that these simpler expressions of research will be more likely to diffuse beyond these networks.

URL : Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences


Preprints and Scholarly Communication: An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers

Authors : Andrea Chiarelli, Rob Johnson, Stephen Pinfield, Emma Richens


Since 2013, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of preprint servers. Little is known about the position of researchers, funders, research performing organisations and other stakeholders with respect to this fast-paced landscape.

In this article, we explore the perceived benefits and challenges of preprint posting, alongside issues including infrastructure and financial sustainability. We also discuss the definition of a ‘preprint’ in different communities, and the impact this has on uptake.


This study is based on 38 semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders, based on a purposive heterogeneous sampling approach and undertaken between October 2018 and January 2019.

Interviewees were primarily drawn from biology, chemistry and psychology, where use of preprints is growing. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis to identify trends. Interview questions were designed based on Innovation Diffusion Theory, which was also used to interpret our results.


Participants were conscious of the rising prominence of preprints and cited early and fast dissemination as their most appealing feature. Preprints were also considered to enable broader access to scientific literature and increased opportunities for informal commenting.

The main concerns related to the lack of quality assurance and the ‘Ingelfinger rule’. We identified trust as an essential factor in preprint posting, and highlight the enabling role of Twitter in showcasing preprints.


The preprints landscape is evolving fast, and disciplinary communities are at different stages in the innovation diffusion process. The landscape is characterised by experimentation, which leads to the conclusion that a one-size-fits-all approach to preprints is not feasible.

Cooperation and active engagement between the stakeholders involved will play an important role going forward. We share questions for the further development of the preprints landscape, with the most important being whether preprint posting will develop as a publisher- or researcher-centric practice.

URL : Preprints and Scholarly Communication: An Exploratory Qualitative Study of Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers


Open or Ajar? Openness within the Neoliberal Academy

Authors : Kevin Sanders, Simon Bowie

The terms ‘open’ and ‘openness’ are widely used across the current higher education environment particularly in the areas of repository services and scholarly communications.

Open-access licensing and open-source licensing are two prevalent manifestations of open culture within higher education research environments. As theoretical ideals, open-licensing models aim at openness and academic freedom.

But operating as they do within the context of global neoliberalism, to what extent are these models constructed by, sustained by, and co-opted by neoliberalism?

In this paper, we interrogate the use of open-licensing within scholarly communications and within the larger societal context of neoliberalism. Through synthesis of various sources, we will examine how open access licensing models have been constrained by neoliberal or otherwise corporate agendas, how open access and open scholarship have been reframed within discourses of compliance, how open-source software models and software are co-opted by politico-economic forces, and how the language of ‘openness’ is widely misused in higher education and repository services circles to drive agendas that run counter to actually increasing openness.

We will finish by suggesting ways to resist this trend and use open-licensing models to resist neoliberal agendas in open scholarship.

URL : Open or Ajar? Openness within the Neoliberal Academy

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A history and development of peer-review process

Author : Jana Siladitya

The paper shows the importance of peer review process in the scholarly communication system and discusses both the closed and the newly emerging open peer review models.

It also examines the peer review system at the scholarly academies or societies in their nomination systems for prizes, rewards, etc. It also discusses the various facets of the newly developed open peer review models now prevalent in various journals.

The paper may help to understand and appreciate the role played by peer review in the scholarly communication system and the efforts being made to make it more transparent.


Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?

Author : Marcel Knöchelmann

Open science refers to both the practices and norms of more open and transparent communication and research in scientific disciplines and the discourse on these practices and norms.

There is no such discourse dedicated to the humanities. Though the humanities appear to be less coherent as a cluster of scholarship than the sciences are, they do share unique characteristics which lead to distinct scholarly communication and research practices.

A discourse on making these practices more open and transparent needs to take account of these characteristics. The prevalent scientific perspective in the discourse on more open practices does not do so, which confirms that the discourse’s name, open science, indeed excludes the humanities so that talking about open science in the humanities is incoherent.

In this paper, I argue that there needs to be a dedicated discourse for more open research and communication practices in the humanities, one that integrates several elements currently fragmented into smaller, unconnected discourses (such as on open access, preprints, or peer review).

I discuss three essential elements of open science—preprints, open peer review practices, and liberal open licences—in the realm of the humanities to demonstrate why a dedicated open humanities discourse is required.

URL : Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?


The fundamental problem blocking open access and how to overcome it: the BitViews project

Authors : Camillo Lamanna, Manfredi La Manna

In our view the fundamental obstacle to open access (OA) is the lack of any incentive-based mechanism that unbundles authors’ accepted manuscripts (AMs) from articles (VoRs).

The former can be seen as the public good that ought to be openly accessible, whereas the latter is owned by publishers and rightly paywall-restricted. We propose one such mechanism to overcome this obstacle: BitViews.

BitViews is a blockchain-based application that aims to revolutionize the OA publishing ecosystem. Currently, the main academic currency of value is the citation. There have been attempts in the past to create a second currency whose measure is the online usage of research materials (e.g. PIRUS).

However, these have failed due to two problems. Firstly, it has been impossible to find a single agency willing to co-ordinate and fund the validation and collation of global online usage data. Secondly, online usage metrics have lacked transparency in how they filter non-human online activity.

BitViews is a novel solution which uses blockchain technology to bypass both problems: online AMS usage will be recorded on a public, distributed ledger, obviating the need for a central responsible agency, and the rules governing activity-filtering will be part of the open-source BitViews blockchain application, creating complete transparency.

Once online AMS usage has measurable value, researchers will be incentivized to promote and disseminate AMs. This will fundamentally re-orient the academic publishing ecosystem.

A key feature of BitViews is that its success (or failure) is wholly and exclusively in the hands of the worldwide community of university and research libraries, as we suggest that it ought to be financed by conditional crowdfunding, whereby the actual financial commitment of each contributing library depends on the total amount raised.

If the financing target is not reached, then all contributions are returned in full and if the target is over-fulfilled, then the surplus is returned pro rata.

URL : The fundamental problem blocking open access and how to overcome it: the BitViews project



Echoes des publications scientifiques en SHS sur les réseaux sociaux. Le cas des contenus d’Open Édition sur Twitter.

Auteurs/Authors : Lucie Loubère, Fidelia Ibekwe-Sanjuan

Les réseaux sociaux en se diffusant sur l’intégralité de la société sont également entrés dans le monde de la recherche. Ces outils accélèrent la circulation de l’information, et pourraient atteindre une audience différente du circuit universitaire.

Parallèlement les plateformes de savoir ouvert se développent et rendent accessible à tout le monde le savoir scientifique. Notre étude se focalise sur l’étude des tweets émis entre 2013 et 2017 pointant vers un contenu d’OpenEdition. Nous avons analysé les réseaux de retweets ainsi que les contenus textuels des tweets par étude lexicométrique.

Les résultats tendent à montrer une conservation des pratiques institutionnelles avec un cloisonnement linguistique et disciplinaire tant dans les pratiques de retweets que dans les contenus textuels.