Open science in Sámi research: Researchers’ dilemmas

Author : Coppélie Cocq

This article discusses the challenges of Indigenous research in relation to open science, more particularly in relation to Sámi research in Sweden. Based on interviews with active scholars in the multidisciplinary field of Sámi studies, and on policy documents by Sámi organizations, this article points at the challenges that can be identified, and the practices and strategies adopted or suggested by researchers.

Topics addressed include ownership, control, sensitivity and accessibility of data, the consequences of experienced limitations, the role of the historical context, and community-groundedness.

This article has the ambition to contribute with a discussion about the tensions between standards of data management/open science and data sovereignty in Indigenous contexts. This is done by bringing in perspectives from Indigenous methodologies (the 4 R) and by contextualizing research practices and forms of data colonialism in relation to our contemporary context of surveillance culture.

Research—in relation to ethics and social sustainability—is an arena where tensions between various agendas becomes obvious. This is illustrated in this article by researchers’ dilemmas when working with open science and the advancement of Indigenous research.

Efforts toward ethically valid and cultural-sensitive modes of data use are taking shape in Indigenous research, calling for an increased awareness about the topic. In the context of Sámi research, the role of academia in such a transformation is also essential.

URL : Open science in Sámi research: Researchers’ dilemmas


Ensuring Quality and Status: Peer Review Practices in Kriterium, A Portal for Quality-Marked Monographs and Edited Volumes in Swedish SSH

Authors : Björn Hammarfelt, Isak Hammar, Helena Francke

Although established forms of peer review are often criticized for being slow, secretive, and even unfair, they are repeatedly mentioned by academics as the most important indicator of quality in scholarly publishing.

In many countries, the peer review of books is a less codified practice than that of journal articles or conference papers, and the processes and actors involved are far from uniform. In Sweden, the review process of books has seldom been formalized.

However, more formal peer review of books has been identified as a response to the increasing importance placed on streamlined peer-reviewed publishing of journal articles in English, which has been described as a direct challenge to more pluralistic publication patterns found particularly in the humanities.

In this study, we focus on a novel approach to book review, Kriterium, where an independent portal maintained by academic institutions oversees the reviewing of academic books. The portal administers peer reviews, providing a mark of quality through a process which involves reviewers, an academic coordinator, and an editorial board.

The paper studies how this process functions in practice by exploring materials concerning 24 scholarly books reviewed within Kriterium. Our analysis specifically targets tensions identified in the process of reviewing books with a focus on three main themes, namely the intended audience, the edited volume, and the novel role of the academic coordinator.

Moreover, we find that the two main aims of the portal–quality enhancement (making research better) and certification (displaying that research is of high quality)–are recurrent in deliberations made in the peer review process.

Consequently, we argue that reviewing procedures and criteria of quality are negotiated within a broader discussion where more traditional forms of publishing are challenged by new standards and evaluation practices.

URL : Ensuring Quality and Status: Peer Review Practices in Kriterium, A Portal for Quality-Marked Monographs and Edited Volumes in Swedish SSH


Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier

Authors: Lisa Olsson, Camilla Lindelöw, Lovisa Österlund, Frida Jakobsson

In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation.

Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn.

First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research.

A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation.

The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia.

Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.

URL : Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier


Cancelling with the world’s largest scholarly publisher: lessons from the Swedish experience of having no access to Elsevier

Authors : Lisa Olsson, Camilla Hertil Lindelöw, Lovisa Österlund, Frida Jakobsson

This article covers the consequences of the decision of the Bibsam consortium to cancel its journal licence agreement with Elsevier, the world’s largest scholarly publisher, in 2018.

First, we report on how the cancellation affected Swedish researchers. Second, we describe other consequences of the cancellation. Finally, we report on lessons for the future. In short, there was no consensus among researchers on how the cancellation affected them or whether the cancellation was positive or negative for them. Just over half (54%) of the 4,221 researchers who responded to a survey indicated that the cancellation had harmed their work, whereas 37% indicated that it had not.

Almost half (48%) of the researchers had a negative view of the cancellation, whereas 38% had a positive view. The cancellation highlighted the ongoing work at research libraries to facilitate the transition to an open access publishing system to more stakeholders in academia than before.

It also showed that Swedish vice-chancellors were prepared to suspend subscriptions with a publisher that could not accommodate the needs and requirements of open science.

Finally, the cancellation resulted in the signing of a transformative agreement which started on 1 January 2020. If it had not been for the cancellation, the reaching of such an agreement would have been unlikely.

URL : Cancelling with the world’s largest scholarly publisher: lessons from the Swedish experience of having no access to Elsevier


Monitoring open access publishing costs at Stockholm University

Author : Lisa Lovén

Stockholm University Library (SUB) has been tracking the University’s open access (OA) publishing costs within the local accounting system since 2016. The objective is to gain an overview of the costs and to use this as a basis for decisions about how to proceed in order to support the transition to OA at Stockholm University.

This article explains the reasons behind using the accounting system as the primary source of information and describes the workflow of tracking costs and how additional data are retrieved.

Basic findings from the 2017 cost compilation are outlined, and the steps taken in 2018, with consequences for both the current workflow and the costs at SUB, are briefly discussed. A breakout session on this topic was presented at the UKSG Annual Conference in Glasgow in 2018.

URL : Monitoring open access publishing costs at Stockholm University


Health science libraries in Sweden: new directions, expanding roles

Authors : Lotta Haglund, Annikki Roos, Petra Wallgren-Björk

Librarians in Sweden are facing huge challenges in meeting the demands of their organisations and users. This article looks at four key areas: coping with open science/open access initiatives; increasing demands from researchers for support doing systematic reviews; understanding user experiences in Swedish health science libraries; and the consequences of expanding roles for recruitment and continuing professional development.

With regard to changing roles, there is an increasing shift from the generalist towards the expert role. The authors raise the issue as to how to prepare those new to the profession to the changing environment of health science libraries.

URL : Health science libraries in Sweden: new directions, expanding roles


National licence negotiations advancing the open access transition – a view from Sweden

Authors : Anna Lundén, Camilla Smith, Britt-Marie Wideberg

The National Library of Sweden (NLS) has been working on advancing open access (OA) to scholarly output since 2006. In 2017 the NLS received an appropriation directive from the Government to act as a national co-ordinating body in the effort towards a transition to immediate OA for all research output by 2026.

As a consequence, the NLS has included this objective in its vision for 2025: to lead the work moving from subscription-based to immediate openly accessible research publications. As part of this objective, the Bibsam Consortium negotiates journal licence agreements including OA components in order to help achieve a rapid and sustainable transition to OA.

URL : National licence negotiations advancing the open access transition – a view from Sweden