Archive for category open access

[2b2k] Open bench science

Carl Zimmer at The Loom points to Rosie Redfield’s blogging of her lab work investigating a claim of arsenic-based life forms. It’s a good example of networked science : science that is based on the network model, rather than on a publishing model.

I find open notebook science overall to be fascinating and promising.

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New flavor of open

Randy Scheckman, the new editor of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — online and free — explains how the a new journal will work: scientists will edit for scientists, there will be rapid turnaround, and the journal’s acceptance rate for submissions will go way up. He positions it as more scientist-friendly than Public Library of Science.

The fact that this interview was (admirably) published in Science magazine has some significance as well.

(By the way, the authors of a report on obstacles to open access have left a hefty and useful comment on my post.)


In my continued pursuit of never getting anything entirely right, here’s a comment from Michael Jensen: “Not quite right — the new editor of what I think is a still-unnamed OA biomedical journal was announced, but Randy Schekman currently edits the PNAS, as I read it.” I have edited the above to get it righter. Thanks, Michael!

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What’s stopping open access?

A report on a survey of 350 chemists and 350 economists in UK universities leads to the following conclusion about open access publishing:

…our work with researchers on the ground indicates to us that whatever the enthusiasm and optimism within the OA community, it has not spilled into academia to a large extent and has had only a small effect on the publishing habits and perceptions of ordinary researchers, whatever their seniority and whether in Chemistry or Economics.


The report finds that faculty members want to publish in high “impact factor” journals unless they have some specific reason why they should go the Open Access route, e.g., they need to get something out quickly. The subscriptions their libraries buy mask from them the extent to which their work becomes inaccessible to those who are not a university.

The report ends with some recommendations for trying to move academics towards OA publishing.

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[lodlam] The rise of Linked Open Data

At the Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives and Museums conf [LODLAM], Jonathan Rees casually offered what I thought was useful a distinction. (Also note that I am certainly getting this a little wrong, and could possibly be getting it entirely wrong.)


Background: RDF is the basic format of data in the Semantic Web and LOD; it consists of statements of the form “A is in some relation to B.”


My paraphrase: Before LOD, we were trying to build knowledge representations of the various realms of the world. Therefore, it was important that the RDF triples expressed were true statements about the world. In LOD, triples are taken as a way of expressing data; take your internal data, make it accessible as RDF, and let it go into the wild…or, more exactly, into the commons. You’re not trying to represent the world; you’re just trying to represent your data so that it can be reused. It’s a subtle but big difference.


I also like John Wilbanks‘ provocative tweet-length explanation of LOD: “Linked open data is duct tape that some people mistake for infrastructure. Duct tape is awesome.”


Finally, it’s pretty awesome to be at a techie conference where about half the participants are women.

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How-to guide for moving a journal to Open Access

The Association for Learning Technology has published a detailed and highly practical guide, based on its own experience, for journals moving toward an Open Access model. Indeed, the guide is of even broader utility than that, since it considers the practicalities of moving from an existing contract with publishers for any reason.

ALT’s journal has been renamed Research in Learning Technology, and it will be fully Open Access as of January 2012. (Thanks to Seb Schmoller for the tip.)

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Imperial College in showdown with closed-access journals

Felix Online, the online news of Imperial College in the UK, reports (in an article by Kadhim Shubber) that Deborah Shorley, Director of the Imperial College London Library, is threatening to end the library’s subscriptions to journals published by Elsevier and Wiley Blackwell, two of the major publishers in the UK. Rather than giving into the bundling of journals with 6% annual subscription prices (well above inflation, and in the face of a growth in profits at Elsevier from £1B to £1.6B from 2005 to 2009), she is demanding a 15% reduction in fees, as well as other concessions.

Says the article: “…if an agreement or an alternative delivery plan is not in place by January 2nd next year, researchers at Imperial and elsewhere will lose access to thousands of journals. But Deborah Shorley is determined to take it to the edge if necessary: ‘I will not blink.’”

As the article mentions, in 2010, after a 400% fee increase, the University of California threatened to boycott the Nature Publishing Group, including not engaging in peer review for NPG’s journals. (NPG claims that the rise in fees was due to the reduction of a discount from 88% to 50%. UC disputes this.) In August of 2010, NPG and UC made nice and announced “an agreement to work together to address the current licensing challenges as well as the larger issues of sustainability in the scholarly communication process.” [more and more]

Wow, we’re in a painful transition period. Open access will win.

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