Understanding and supporting researchers’ choices in sharing their publications: the launch of the FairShare Network and Shareable PDF

Researchers have for many years had access to new platforms and channels for networking and sharing resources, but the pace of growth in their usage of these networks has substantially increased recently. This has led to full-text sharing on a scale that concerns publishers and libraries, because of the proportion of such sharing that infringes copyright. This article summarizes key findings of a 2017 survey that explored researchers’ awareness of and behaviours in relation to scholarly collaboration networks and other emerging mechanisms for discovering and gaining access to content, along with their views on copyright. The article also describes ‘Shareable PDF’, a new approach to PDF-based sharing that better enables such sharing to be measured and contextualized, and which has recently been successfully launched with authors and readers. Published on 2018-03-28 14:47:55

Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access

Smith, K.L., (2017). Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access. Insights. 30(3), pp.4–10. DOI:http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.388

The word ‘predatory’ has become an obstacle to a serious discussion of publishing practices. Its use has been both overinclusive, encompassing practices that, while undesirable, are not malicious, and underinclusive, missing many exploitative practices outside the open access sphere. The article examines different business models for scholarly publishing and considers the potential for abuse with each model. After looking at the problems of both blacklists and so-called ‘whitelists’, the author suggests that the best path forward would be to create tools to capture the real experience of individual authors as they navigate the publishing process with different publishers. 

Published on 2017-11-08 16:55:06

It’s the workflows, stupid! What is required to make ‘offsetting’ work for the open access transition

Geschuhn, K. & Stone, G., (2017). It’s the workflows, stupid! What is required to make ‘offsetting’ work for the open access transition. Insights. 30(3), pp.103–114. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.391

This paper makes the case for stronger engagement of libraries and consortia when it comes to negotiating and drafting offsetting agreements. Two workshops organized by the Efficiencies and Standards for Article Charges (ESAC) initiative in 2016 and 2017 have shown a clear need for an improvement of the current workflows and processes between academic institutions (and libraries) and the publishers they use in terms of author identification, metadata exchange and invoicing. Publishers need to invest in their editorial systems, while institutions need to get a clearer understanding of the strategic goal of offsetting. To this purpose, strategic and practical elements, which should be included in the agreements, will be introduced. Firstly, the Joint Understanding of Offsetting, launched in 2016, will be discussed. This introduces the ‘pay-as-you-publish’ model as a transitional pathway for the agreements. Secondly, this paper proposes a set of recommendations for article workflows and services between institutions and publishers, based on a draft document which was produced as part of the 2nd ESAC Offsetting Workshop in March 2017. These recommendations should be seen as a minimum set of practical and formal requirements for offsetting agreements and are necessary to make any publication-based open access business model work.

Published on 2017-11-08 17:25:00

Why doesn’t everyone love reading e-books?

Why do many students still prefer paper books to e-books? This article summarizes a number of problems with e-books mentioned in different studies by students of higher education, but it also discusses some of the unexploited possibilities with e-books. Problems that students experience with e-books include eye strain, distractions, a lack of overview, inadequate navigation features and insufficient annotation and highlighting functionality. They also find it unnecessarily complicated to download DRM-protected e-books. Some of these problems can be solved by using a more suitable device. For example, a mobile device that can be held in a book-like position reduces eye strain, while a device with a bigger screen provides a better overview of the text. Other problems can be avoided by choosing a more usable reading application. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, since DRM protection entails a restriction of what devices and applications you can choose. Until there is a solution to these problems, I think libraries will need to purchase both print and electronic books, and should always opt for the DRM-free alternative. We should also offer students training on how to find, download and read e-books as well as how to use different devices. 

Myrberg, C., (2017). Why doesn’t everyone love reading e-books?. Insights. 30(3), pp.115–125. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.386

Published on 2017-11-08 17:09:05

What did the Disruptive Media Learning Lab ever do for us?

Picture this. The Lanchester Library, Coventry University, 2014. The Disruptive Media Learning Lab (DMLL) opens on the top floor amongst a flurry of raised eyebrows and unanswered questions. ‘What is it?’, ‘Why is it in the Library?’ and ‘Who designed the wooden hill?’ Our Academic Liaison Librarian team were asked to move in there alongside a DMLL team comprising educational researchers and principal project leads, each specializing in a flavour of teaching practice such as open, flipped and gamification. A learning technologist, project and admin staff and student activators add to the mix. Still not sure what that would mean for a library? Neither were we. This article will take you through the reasons behind this alien landing, past the hill and the grass and onto the plains of what the DMLL ever did for the Library and our students. 

Published on 2017-11-08 16:47:20

Kift, K., (2017). What did the Disruptive Media Learning Lab ever do for us?. Insights. 30(3), pp.11–19. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.373

PIDapalooza – the open festival for persistent identifiers

In 2016 three persistent identifier (PID) organizations – Crossref, DataCite and ORCID – together with California Digital Library organized PIDapalooza, the first open festival for PIDs. The next PIDapalooza will take place on 23–24 January 2018 in Girona, Spain. This review reports back on PIDapalooza 2016 and looks forward to PIDapalooza 2018. 

Published on 2017-11-08 12:27:12

Establishing a shared research data service for UK universities

Research data is central to research; sharing and enabling access to research data are now seen as essential to research integrity. Making research data accessible goes beyond validation as it also supports new research and innovation. However, sharing of research data is not yet ‘business as usual’, though digital technology is making data sharing much easier and Jisc is currently harnessing this in partnership with the UK research community to develop the research data shared service (RDSS). The RDSS will enable research organizations to support researchers to easily deposit data for publication, discovery, safe storage, long-term archiving and preservation. Ultimately it will support researchers in sharing and re-using data and will enable increased reproducibility of research. The initial impetus for the development is to better enable institutions to meet policy requirements around research data, whilst exploiting efficiencies and best practice generated by working collectively. This article examines the development of this service so far, from initial ideas and requirements gathering to entering technical development.

Kaye, J., Bruce, R. & Fripp, D., (2017). Establishing a shared research data service for UK universities. Insights. 30(1), pp.59–70. DOI:http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.346

Published on 2017-03-10 12:42:00

What researchers told us about their experiences and expectations of scholarly communications ecosystems

Publishers, vendors and librarians often discuss the needs of the researcher. However, it is not often that information professionals have the opportunity to sit down with a group of researchers, listen to their perspective and ask them questions. The UKSG One-Day Conference held in London in November 2016 offered such an opportunity with a panel session of researchers chaired by Charlie Rapple of Kudos.

The researchers shared with us their frustrations about scholarly communications ecosystems and their ideas for improvements. A major source of frustration is the need for academics to publish, and publish well, to keep their jobs and progress. In doing so, they face what seem to be often insurmountable obstacles that they feel powerless to address or change. Themes of the session were the lack of incentives to peer review and join editorial boards, the role of social networking sites, open access and collaboration with libraries.

The researchers who so generously gave us their time are Professor Andy Miah (University of Salford), Dr Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh (Dublin Business School) and Dr Sabina Michnowicz (Hazard Centre, University College London). 

Published on 2017-03-10 12:41:00

Access, ethics and piracy

Ownership of intellectual property rights for a large proportion of the scholarly record is held by publishers, so a majority of journal articles are behind paywalls and unavailable to most people. As a result some readers are encouraged to use pirate websites such as Sci-Hub to access them, a practice that is alternately regarded as criminal and unethical or as a justified act of civil disobedience. This article considers both the efficacy and ethics of piracy, placing ‘guerrilla open access’ within a longer history of piracy and access to knowledge. By doing so, it is shown that piracy is an inevitable part of the intellectual landscape that can render the current intellectual property regime irrelevant. If we wish to actively construct a true scholarly commons, open access emerges as a contender for moving beyond proprietary forms of commodifying scholarly knowledge towards the creation of an open scholarly communication system that is fit for purpose. 

Published on 2017-03-10 12:47:54

How to Cite: Lawson, S., (2017). Access, ethics and piracy. Insights. 30(1), pp.25–30. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.333

The Problem with Disruption

Connecting the classical & colloquial

By Kev Cooke, Managing Editor, D/SRUPTION

It won’t have escaped your notice that ‘disruption’ has been the de rigueur term for many people in business, technology and innovation for a while now. The danger of an increased popularity and visibility of such a term is its dilution and misappropriation. As a person seemingly genetically opposed to business-speak and buzzwords, and as Managing Editor of D/SRUPTION, it is especially important to me that we keep a close eye on it.

Talk of disruption and disruptive technology first appeared in a 1995 article by Clayton M. Christensen called, ‘Disruptive Technologies: Catching the wave’. He developed these ideas further in his now well known book, published in 1997, ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’. Christensen’s theory started the revolution in business thinking that we can call ‘classical’ disruption.

What is disruption?

Disruption is the process that happens when an upstart company with few resources is able to successfully take on an incumbent company, and win. . . It goes a little something like this:

– The incumbent tends to focus its efforts on improving products and services for its most profitable customers. Due to this, it pays less attention to its less profitable customers (or ignores them and other potential new markets entirely).

– As the incumbent business has spent all its effort focusing on its higher value customers, it has ignored the lower value segments, these present an opportunity for the potential upstart disruptor.

– The upstart can become the disruptor of the large company by successfully catering for these ignored or untended groups, providing them with similar products or services to the incumbent, or by answering similar needs and often at a cheaper price.

– The incumbent may not acknowledge or even know about the threat because initially the upstart is just meddling in a small section of its least profitable market. So the upstart may be operating under the radar or written off as piffling, and it often will be – not all upstart businesses go on to succeed let alone be disruptors.

– Notably, the disruptor will often find a way to take people from these less tended segments who aren’t much of a customer for the incumbent (or indeed a customer at all) and turn them into one for themselves.

– Once the upstart has established itself by fulfilling the needs of the people ignored or untended by the incumbent, it will be working hard to grow and expand upwards.

– As a result of this growth, its products and services begin to improve and will start to include more of the qualities and features that the more high value customers of the incumbent company demand or expect.

Ultimately this results in some of those customers shifting from the incumbent to the upstart. Once that number is significant – that is disruption.

Other ‘disruptions’

Disruption in Christensen’s model has the clear and specific definition that I’ve outlined above. Many uses of ‘disruption’ today are not in keeping with this model at all. It is perhaps due to the availability of the word in everyday speech that there is a significant gap between Christensen’s definition, and the more colloquial uses of the word.

Understandably, like anyone with a good theory, Christensen is keen to preserve his own, and to make sure the terminology used stays tight to his definitions to ensure his theory remains as specific as it is. He has himself expressed regret about choosing the term ‘disruption’ to denote this precise meaning because of this potential confusion – between the specific and the colloquial. Many baulk at putting even a toe outside of Christensen’s definition – but I’ve encountered many more that use the term ‘disruption’ seemingly without any awareness of the theory, perhaps other than in name, at all.

Although it may prickle some, language and terminology will always evolve. Despite the inevitable frustrations, the term has come to mean other things to other people – or more accurately, it continues to mean what it had always meant long before Christensen arrived with his dilemma.

Colloquially, we tend to use ‘disruption’ to describe when an event, system, or process, is interrupted and prevented from continuing or operating in its usual way. It is this definition that many have in mind when they say they, or their businesses, are ‘disruptive’, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that provided we keep in mind the clear distinction between this and Christensen’s model.

Classical vs colloquial – Airbnb vs Uber

You can’t go far into a conversation about disruption these days without someone mentioning Airbnb or Uber. What’s interesting is that by Christensen’s ‘classical’ definition – Uber’s taxi business is not actually disruptive at all (although other aspects of Uber’s wider business may prove to be). Christensen has pointed this out. In terms of his theory, we can see that Uber did not create a new market nor did it begin at the low end of an existing market. Airbnb on the other hand does indeed fulfil the ‘classical’ definition of disruption.

However, in terms of colloquial disruption, both Uber and Airbnb are widely, and rightly, regarded as disruptive for a combination of sheer impact, speed of growth, and the use of technology to radically change the way the world works.

A significant marker for both ‘classical’ and colloquial disruption is that these businesses often appear to come out of nowhere – although this is an illusion – no business or innovation whether disruptive or not comes from nowhere – but often the shock impact and exponential growth will indicate something major has happened, and quickly – and that is usually disruptive in one sense or the other.

Symptom & Cause

If we understand the model as intended, we can also be free to explore other concepts; even if unfortunately they are forced to share the same name. Christensen points out that broadening the definition of disruption in relation to his theory undermines it, and in this he is correct. But, so long as we understand that we are holding two different things in mind that share a name – but not a definition, we are capable of gaining a lot from each.

While acknowledging the theory and definition put forward by Christensen, there are some wider uses of disruption that are also worthy of consideration. Outside of what I’ve named, ‘classical’ disruption, the term has come to signify a range of approaches to business and innovation and often indicates a radical change to traditional ways of working, thinking and doing.

Disruption in a ‘classical’ sense is a symptom of a serious problem that incumbent businesses have experienced due to an upstart, it is retrospective and an indicator that a major shift has occurred from them to the upstart. Disruption in the colloquial sense, that of ‘disruptive thinking’ and ‘disruptive approaches’ is a cause.

Colloquial disruption is an approach, both a fire starter and a rallying cry to create new futures and explore the possibilities, opportunities and hazards. By considering these possibilities we are able to inform strategies and mitigate risks. The exact nature of the future is unknown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t know anything about it.

If we use foresight in an informed and intelligent way, we can identify possible threats and opportunities and use these to our advantage in our businesses. An awareness of the potential threat of disruption in Christensen’s sense, and a disruptive approach to innovation in the colloquial sense can both be essential parts of business planning. While they are certainly not strategies in their own right, the potential threat posed by Christensen’s disruption, and the opportunities opened by colloquailly disruptive approaches can tangibly and helpfully influence how we plan for our future when faced, (as we always are), by a complex world of constant change.

Satisfaction is stagnation

Applying decent futures thinking to a business is a smart move. A business doing well would doubtless like to stabilise and maintain its position but digging ourselves in and holding hard isn’t an option when faced with unavoidable change. It may work for a time but it is not sustainable in the longer term.

Recognising the constant state of flux, exercising foresight, and understanding and incorporating what disruption means in all senses are all prerequisites to putting businesses in the best position to be adaptable in the face of change, and to give the best chance of survival and success.

Merely stating, ‘we are disruptive’ is just not good enough. This thinking must influence planning, strategy, culture and brand as part of an ongoing process if it is to mean anything useful at all; and those that understand disruption both colloquially – (as an approach to be used), and classically – (as an indicator of a threat to be avoided), by far stand to gain the most.

The post The Problem with Disruption appeared first on Disruption.

High Tech Wearables Watching How You Work

Anonymised data – better for business

There are numerous ways that your boss can monitor you in the workplace. Employers can track phone calls, emails and online usage to keep an eye on the people that work for them, and this is nothing new. However, outright spying on employees isn’t going to help business owners improve relations and the way that their company runs. Thanks to Humanyze, tracking employees just got far less intrusive and far more useful. The Boston startup has created an opt in ‘Sociometric Badge’ which collects data about the whole workforce and analyses it to recognise important trends. This represents a key development in wearable culture, and signals yet another change in working environments. Could these badges enable ethical workplace monitoring, and how will this impact the workplace?

The ‘Fitbit for your career’

The issue with using tracking devices, at work or otherwise, is that it can impinge on personal privacy. For many people, the idea of wearing a device that constantly analyses your actions and then stores data about your life is an unwelcome one. However, consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to wearables, especially when they are promised that their data will remain private. Ben Waber, CEO of Humanyze, describes the Sociometric Badge as a health tracker for work. It allows the worker to check their own productivity, but doesn’t send an individual’s data to employers. What is does do is collate data into graphs which show general activity. For example, how often do teams communicate? This protects individuals from scrutiny whilst gathering important information about general productivity.

The use of tracking devices is one of many changes happening in the working environment. Digitalisation has both enabled and necessitated a more collaborative approach that relies on communication between teams. The 3D printed ‘office of the future’ in Dubai, for instance, was designed specifically to encourage collaboration and teamwork. From advanced robotics to Artificial Intelligence, technology is now an integral part of many business processes. Whilst many people still turn up at a physical office or site, a growing number of employees now work remotely. This means it’s all the more important for business owners to keep an eye on in-house workers and see how they are coping with new business strategies.

How will employee monitoring disrupt workplaces?

Wearing an ID badge could go one of two ways. In an ideal world, it could improve productivity by putting light pressure on teams and might encourage employees to work harder so they don’t let their colleagues down. On the other hand, it could validate employees who perhaps don’t work as hard as they should by distributing the blame. It’s easy to imagine office workers donning the tags, but they could be used in essentially all industries to explore efficiency and effectiveness. Bosses and management teams could even use the trackers to test out different strategies or ideas in the hope of discovering the best behavioural results. Workers don’t necessarily need to be human, either. The Sociometric Badges could also be fitted to intelligent machines and cobots.

Unfortunately, these trackers may present a cybersecurity risk. Water Holing attacks target companies via their employees, which will be even easier to do if each worker is kitted out with a company integrated device. Despite the potential issues, these badges offer employers a huge opportunity to delve deeper into worker analytics and use this data to inform management decisions. Understanding your own business is obviously vital to its success. This is probably why Humanyze is already working with various corporations, including Bank of America.

Additionally, the software could encourage the rise of wearables by making consumers feel more confident about data privacy. Humanyze has proved that employers can gather data about their employees without impinging on personal privacy or alienating their workforce. By pursuing an opt in service, the startup has insured itself and clients against challenges over data usage. Realistically, it’s still likely that workers will be reluctant to wear trackers. Even if personal data is protected, it can still be off putting to feel monitored. Even so, wearables are becoming part of everyday life like never before. In future, it might be just as normal to turn up to work and put on a tracker as it is to wear a suit or uniform.

Could you improve your business’ processes and productivity with tracking devices? Will workplace wearables ever become commonplace? How might employees react to opt in services? Share your thoughts and opinions.

The post High Tech Wearables Watching How You Work appeared first on Disruption.

Artificial Intelligence & Business Communication

New heights for Google, Facebook & Microsoft’s language translation

Artificial Intelligence has long been applied to enhancing human communication. Interacting with other people is an integral part of life, but one that can be complicated when messages are quite literally lost in translation. Various services have been developed to address global language barriers. Last year, Google announced that they would replace their old service with one that demonstrated a much higher success rate. Since then, the company has already released the new system for Chinese to English translations. As always, other tech giants are hot on their heels. It’s claimed that Facebook’s new system is nine times faster than any other translation service, and Microsoft is directly targeting entrepreneurs with a new PowerPoint translator. How might this change the way that we communicate, and how will these new systems impact different industries?

Human level translation. . . almost
Just how accurate is Google’s new service? In a report published in September 2016, bilingual people were asked to compare Google translations to human translations. In English to Spanish translations, Google scored 5.43 out of a possible six, whilst humans scored 5.55. Yes, the humans were more accurate, but the software was really not far behind. This is a huge improvement on the previous service, which hardly came close to the human translations. In fact, the new system scored 64 to 87 per cent higher than its predecessor. Competitors like Facebook have made real improvements too. As only half of users actually speak English, Facebook’s ‘multilingual composer’ aims to eventually enable conversation between anyone in the world. As of 2016, Skype’s translator now works for calls to landlines and mobiles. Last week, Microsoft demonstrated PowerPoint Presentation Translator, a machine learning tool for business presentations that auto-translates slides into languages including Hungarian, Czech, French, Chinese, German and Spanish. It also translates the presenter’s words on screen in real time. Unlike previous methods, these systems use machine learning to improve translations with context. Somewhat worryingly, though, it’s not entirely certain as to how the software makes its decisions. Google researcher Quoc Le has admitted that black box systems can be unsettling, but added that “it just works.”

How will accurate translation affect the way we communicate?
The availability of high quality translation will be incredibly positive in terms of human communication, as it will contribute to breaking down the language barriers which can complicate verbal interactions. This will, in theory, make it easier to be understood. In an important, international business negotiation, making sure all parties understand each other is absolutely vital. There is an obvious consumer level here, too. It will become easier for people to travel, making sure they can be understood by native speakers. . . until they lose their phone, at least. In many ways, accessible and accurate translation will be helpful to corporations and individuals alike. However, taking away the need for translation takes away the need for a translator, which will have a detrimental impact on employment. Why bother with language teachers in schools, for example? International companies and global organisations won’t have to use professional translators, and on a national level, tour companies won’t need to hire a French speaking guide to deliver French tours. Tourism, particularly in economically struggling countries, provides employment opportunities which could be stripped away by the removal of language barriers. It could even be argued that on demand translation will make humans worse at communicating, much like smartphones which enable interaction but are often regarded as antisocial.

On demand translation at a human level will bring peace of mind to holiday makers, security to businesses and clarity to any other multi language exchange. But not all implications will be positive, and developing software to the point that it can match human ability is going to have obvious consequences for employment. Even so, Google Translate (and similar services) won’t remove the importance of learning other languages. Especially in business negotiations, using just a few words of someone else’s native tongue can be endearing. In some cases, it may even be offensive to whip out your smartphone instead of attempting to speak a language yourself. As accurate as new services may be, the ability to speak other languages will always be a coveted human skill.

Could you improve your business through accurate, real time translation? Will human level translation make it less necessary to learn other languages? Which other professions could be disrupted by translation software? Comment below with your thoughts and experiences.

The post Artificial Intelligence & Business Communication appeared first on Disruption.

At a Glance – Open Innovation

An open approach leading to opportunity

Open innovation is an approach to business strategy in which companies look for new technology and ideas outside of the firm itself. The term was coined by Henry Chesbrough, the author of a book published in 2003 entitled, ‘Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology’. In the book, Chesbrough explains that open innovation has replaced closed innovation, which relies entirely on internal research and ideas. Open innovation, on the other hand, encourages co-operation with suppliers, competitors and other parties to improve customer value.

Collaboration has emerged as a key trend in business strategy. Companies are willing to share their intellectual property (IP) if it leads to an improved service or product. In the automotive industry, for example, automakers have partnered up with software companies to enhance their autonomous technology. Businesses across all industries have also teamed up with academic institutions to use their expertise. Open-source software is another demonstration of the changing attitude to innovation, allowing external developers to work on and presumably improve systems.

Open innovation has been enabled by the growing accessibility of information, and the availability of venture capital funding. Knowledge is no longer confined to labs, and companies can gain investment for their projects without needing the extensive resources of a major business. Instead of jealously guarding IP, it is traded as an important tool. Businesses can benefit from open innovation in a number of ways. Firstly, it saves time, effort and money. It also widens the scope for potential development. Companies don’t necessarily have to come up with the initial idea to benefit from it, and can profit from the work of other parties. This approach is especially useful when negotiating the rise of disruptive technology, as multiple parties need to follow the same standards and regulations to allow for responsible adoption.

The post At a Glance – Open Innovation appeared first on Disruption.

What researchers told us about their experiences and expectations of scholarly communications ecosystems

Estelle, L., (2017). What researchers told us about their experiences and expectations of scholarly communications ecosystems. Insights. 30(1), pp.71–75. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.349

Publishers, vendors and librarians often discuss the needs of the researcher. However, it is not often that information professionals have the opportunity to sit down with a group of researchers, listen to their perspective and ask them questions. The UKSG One-Day Conference held in London in November 2016 offered such an opportunity with a panel session of researchers chaired by Charlie Rapple of Kudos.

The researchers shared with us their frustrations about scholarly communications ecosystems and their ideas for improvements. A major source of frustration is the need for academics to publish, and publish well, to keep their jobs and progress. In doing so, they face what seem to be often insurmountable obstacles that they feel powerless to address or change. Themes of the session were the lack of incentives to peer review and join editorial boards, the role of social networking sites, open access and collaboration with libraries.

The researchers who so generously gave us their time are Professor Andy Miah (University of Salford), Dr Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh (Dublin Business School) and Dr Sabina Michnowicz (Hazard Centre, University College London).


Published on 2017-03-10 12:41:00

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