Entries in Open Access (6)


Flaws with Peer Review

A good discussion w/ John Bohannon, the author of that recent fake paper, and Michael Eisen of PLOS One fame. Eisen comes in about halfway and explains the flaws of peer-review, academic publishing, and highlights the one unfortunate thing about the fake paper (i.e., the focus on open-access).


(via Stephen's Lighthouse)


Publication Bias, Journal Costs, Open Access

A couple of interesting pieces passed through the office today:

1. An example of publication bias in SSRI & autism research (note: small sample, etc apply):

Overall, the 365 participants in the six studies showed a small response to the SSRIs, but that association disappeared when the researchers accounted for the studies that were completed but never published.

2. Harvard encourages (source) faculty to consider open access options:

1. Make sure that all of your own papers are accessible by submitting them to DASH in accordance with the faculty-initiated open-access policies (F).

2. Consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access (F).

3. If on the editorial board of a journal involved, determine if it can be published as open access material, or independently from publishers that practice pricing described above. If not, consider resigning (F).

4. ....

Read letter.  See also: Elsevier boycott.


Keep your Copyright!

Interesting initiative:


Princeton University will prevent researchers from giving the copyright of scholarly articles to journal publishers, except in certain cases where a waiver may be granted.

The new rule is part of an Open Access policy aimed at broadening the reach of their scholarly work and encouraging publishers to adjust standard contracts that commonly require exclusive copyright as a condition of publication.


Even if it's 'toothless' and they start handing out waivers indiscriminately, it at least raises awareness for author (copy)rights and open access.  And, if it encourages some authors to retain some of their rights, and encourages institutions to continue to push publishers to make this work more accessible, then scholarship will be in a better place.


Citation Counts and Open Access

According to this study, open access articles are downloaded far more frequently than those hidden behind subscriptions, but experience a similar path to citation. 

Open access publishing may reach more readers than subscription access publishing, although additional readership may not translate into more citations. The real benefit of free access to the scientific literature is to those outside the core research community. Very little is known about how scientific papers are transmitted through informal networks. Understanding the degree and extent of article diffusion through these informal networks would greatly extend our understanding of the transmission of scientific knowledge.

The methods in this study are interesting.  It seems the authors were able to convince publishers to publish a random set of their otherwise subscription access research papers as open access.  The authors then compared the downloads and views of the random sample with the control (OA vs subscription).*  Not sure what would lead a publisher to participate in such a study.

*This isn't explicitly described in the above paper, but is in this earlier paper


Open Access in 2010

In this month's OA Newsletter, Peter Suber provides an overview of 2010 OA happenings.  It's a long read, but worth a skim at least.  Some excerpts that caught my eye:

Re: OA Growth


At the end of 2010, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 5,936 peer-reviewed journals, compared to 4,535 at the end of 2009.  It added 1,401 titles over the year, nearly twice the number (723) added in 2009.  In 2009, it added almost two titles per day, but in 2010 it added four titles per day.  In 2009, the tally grew by 19%, but in 2010 it grew by 31%.

The number of OA repositories grew by 111 or 10% at Scientific Commons, by 259 or 17% at OpenDOAR, and by 533 or 34% at ROAR.  Using the ROAR figures, more than 10 new repositories were launched every week in 2010.  Scientific Commons now lists 1,269 repositories worldwide, OpenDOAR 1,817, and ROAR 2,090.

Re: Conversions to OA


Apart from those new launches, I counted 30 journals that converted from TA to OA, including one that has the top impact factor in its field, eight that have been published for more than 20 years, six for more than 50 years, and five for more than 80 years.  I counted 23 that converted from TA to hybrid OA, seven that converted from TA to delayed OA (one of which did so as one step toward a gradual transition to full OA), one that converted from hybrid OA to full OA, and one that converted from gratis OA to libre OA.  On the other side I counted only one that converted from immediate OA to delayed OA, and none that converted from OA to TA.  (All these numbers are based on what I noticed in my daily crawl and are very likely undercounts.)

On FRPAA (Suber devotes a few paragraphs to it)


In the US, the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) went further in 2010 than the first time around in 2006, but ended the 111th Congress without coming to a vote.  FRPAA would generalize the OA mandate at the NIH, extend it to the 11 largest funding agencies in the federal government, and shorten the permissible embargo to six months.  It was re-introduced in the Senate June 2009, and introduced it in the House in April 2010, making it a live option in both chambers for the first time.  At the end of 2010, it had two bipartisan co-sponsors in the Senate and 17 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House. 

Re: MLA's price freeze list


The Medical Library Association's Ad Hoc Committee for Advocating Scholarly Communications started compiling a list of journal publishers who agreed to freeze their 2011 prices at 2010 levels "in recognition of continued economic constraints".  It made a similar list last year and is calling for public help to compile the new one.  As I go to press, the list has 32 publishers --mostly non-profits, university presses, and societies, with not one of the commercial giants (though it hasn't been updated since August).

On journal price inflation

In June, the University of California libraries told UC faculty that the Nature Publishing Group wanted to raise the price of its site license by 400%.  If NPG didn't relent, the libraries planned to cancel their NPG titles and organize an author/editor/referee boycott of NPG.  (I wrote about the UC/NPG conflict in depth for the July 2010 issue of SOAN.)  Southern Illinois University announced that it shared UC's frustration with NPG and might have to take similar steps.  Purdue University revealed that the entire Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) shared UC's grievance, might have to take similar steps next year, and might not limit its actions to NPG.  In August the UC and NPG had a constructive meeting in which they agreed to continue talking to work out their differences.  So far the result of the talks has not been made public.