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AOASG April newsletter: Academic publishing's "Napster" moment; funders scrutinising value for money for OA costs; local and global OA news

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In this month's newsletter


What's new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ
What's new in OA & scholarly publishing globally
Has academic publishing reached its Napster moment?
Are funders of OA getting good value for money?
Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing
Recent writing & resources on OA

What's new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ


It was Open Data Day on March 5 and as part of that the Queensland Government Science Division of the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation highlighted a number of data sets that are available for use and re-use through the Queensland Government Open Data Portal,

In an article for the Conversation, Roxanne Missingham from ANU discussed the cost of textbooks and how an open access model could be the answer.

Linda O'Brien from Griffith University  highlighted the need for access to research to support the Australian government's Innovation and Science Australia agenda.

What's new in OA & scholarly publishing globally


March 7-11 was Open Education Week . A nice visualisation of initiatives is shown here. One specific one worth calling out is Poland's national program of open textbooks.

An analysis written for the Smithsonian Institution on The impact of open access on galleries, libraries, archives, and museums concluded that "A strengthened institutional brand, increased use and dissemination of collections, and increased funding opportunities have been some of the benefits associated with open-access initiatives."

The Open Library of the Humanities expanded with all eleven sites of the University of California Library system joining its Library Partnership Subsidy scheme.

Knowledge Unlatched launched a new German branch and announced it will be scaling up more in 2016.
 

Europe

The European Union Presidency Conference on Open Science kicks off on April 4. The conference preamble notes that "Open Science is a key priority of the Dutch Presidency. The Netherlands [who hold the presidency currently] is committed to open access to scientific publications and the best possible re-use of research data, and it would like to accelerate the transition this requires."

The follow up to the Berlin 12 meeting was launched in March. The initiative, called OA2020 has as its aim "the swift, smooth and scholarly-oriented transformation of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to open access publishing."  The site is worth looking at with its suggestion of the steps needed for such a transition, which include crucially "a better understanding of publishing output and cost distribution." Thus far the expression of interest has 39 signatories, most from Europe.

Meanwhile, it seems that France is heading towards green open access
 
The UK's HEFCE OA policy began on 1st April 2016. The policy requires that to be eligible for submission to the next Research Excellence Framework, (REF), authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository.

At the Research Libraries UK conference OA was a prominent topic including a presentation from  Gerard Meijer of Radboud University, Nijmegen on the OA transformation in the Netherlands.

The Open Data button launched - a follow up to the Open Access Button.
 



USA

The review commissioned by Harvard University's Library Office for Scholarly Communication on Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences - more informally known as "Journal-flipping" opened for public comment.

A draft code of conduct for altmetrics providers & aggregators has been launched and is available for comment on the NISO site.
 

Japan

A new open science site for Japan launched with links to policies, events and updates.


Want more OA news?

 
We can't cover everything here! For daily email updates the best ways to keep up to date is the Open Access Tracking Project. Our Twitter account has posts throughout each day and our curated newsfeed on the website is updated daily.

The newsletter archive provides snapshots of key issues throughout the year.

Has academic publishing reached its Napster moment? 


Last month we reported on debate around Sci-Hub. Since then the debate has reached the mainstream media in a big way with discussions in the New York Times, and Washington Post. Whatever comes next it is clear that the site has stirred up much debate and has re-focussed attention on the problem of lack of access to academic papers.

Meanwhile an interesting parallel debate has been provoked by the two recent global health crises of Ebola and Zika virus. Again, as we discussed last month scientists have committed to sharing data and science publishers have committed to make access to this research free - at least for the duration of the epidemics, not necessarily long term. The Economist reported on how new models of publishing are desperately needed in such settings, but as yet are slow to catch on. Meanwhile, NPR reported on the concern that many who work in countries affected by these epidemics have when western scientists "parachute in" to do all the interesting analyses which may or may not be shared, and rarely includes local scientists in a meaningful way.

Are funders getting good value for money?


The Wellcome Trust published its 2014/5 analysis of where its money goes in OA. It's worth comparing with last year's analysis. All the data are on Figshare.

Points to note include:
  • As in 2014 hybrid publishing is the most expensive model.
  • OA journals published by subscription publishers tended to have higher APCs then their “born digital” counterparts.  
  • Elsevier is the most expensive publisher
  • 392 articles for which the Wellcome paid an APC were not available OA - ie in PMC or Europe PMC. As they say "In financial terms this equates to around £765,000.  Spending this level of money – and not having access to the article in the designated repository – is clearly unacceptable."
  • 50% of Wiley papers were non-compliant with the policy
  • There were  many examples of papers where the licence cited on the PMC article  was different to the licence cited on the publisher web site.
The blog ends by noting that the Wellcome will be developing "a more detailed set of
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