Musings for the future-The infrastructure underpinning the access of scholarly publications will be defined less by database packages & more by decentralized repositories hosting OA versions. Tools like UnPaywall and OAbutton will form the bridges on which the system depends.

Musings for the future-
The infrastructure underpinning the access of scholarly publications will be defined less by database packages & more by decentralized repositories hosting OA versions. Tools like UnPaywall and OAbutton will form the bridges on which the system depends.

How a Browser Extension Could Shake Up Academic Publishing

Open-access advocates have had several successes in the past few weeks. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation started its own open-access publishing platform, which the European Commission may replicate. And librarians attending the Association of College and Research Libraries conference in March were glad to hear that the Open Access Button, a tool that helps researchers gain free access to copies of articles, will be integrated into existing interlibrary-loan arrangements.

Another initiative, called Unpaywall, is a simple browser extension, but its creators, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar, say it could help alter the status quo of scholarly publishing….

Martin P. Eve, a professor of literature, technology, and publishing at Birkbeck College, University of London, said in an email that while Unpaywall is “impressive,” its power to change publishers’ business practices might be limited. “Unpaywall is dependent upon the uptake of green OA,” he said. “That is, it is only ever effective if an academic has deposited a copy of a paper in a repository. At present, there is no evidence that green OA leads to subscription cancellations.”

 

Read full story by Lindsay McKenzie in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Decoupling the scholarly journal

Jason Priem* and Bradley M. Hemminger
School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Although many observers have advocated the reform of the scholarly publishing system, improvements to functions like peer review have been adopted sluggishly. We argue that this is due to the tight coupling of the journal system: the system’s essential functions of archiving, registration, dissemination, and certification are bundled together and siloed into tens of thousands of individual journals. This tight coupling makes it difficult to change any one aspect of the system, choking out innovation. We suggest that the solution is the “decoupled journal (DcJ).” In this system, the functions are unbundled and performed as services, able to compete for patronage and evolve in response to the market. For instance, a scholar might deposit an article in her institutional repository, have it copyedited and typeset by one company, indexed for search by several others, self-marketed over her own social networks, and peer reviewed by one or more stamping agencies that connect her paper to external reviewers. The DcJ brings publishing out of its current seventeenth-century paradigm, and creates a Web-like environment of loosely joined pieces—a marketplace of tools that, like the Web, evolves quickly in response to new technologies and users’ needs. Importantly, this system is able to evolve from the current one, requiring only the continued development of bolt-on services external to the journal, particularly for peer review.

The decoupled journal. Although some vertical integration remains in the base layer, most of the functions are performed independently by a diverse ecosystem of service providers:

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