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

UKSG 40 : The Temple of Change

The sunny but sometimes chill air of Harrogate this week was a good metaphor for the scholarly communications marketplace . Once the worshippers at the shrine of the Big Deal , the librarians and information managers who form the majority of the 950 or so attendees now march to a different tune . From the form of the article to the nature of collaboration this was a confident organization talking about the future of the sector . And at no point was this a discussion about more of the same . Three sunny days , but for publishers present there was an occasional chill in the wind .

I started the week with a particular purpose in mind , which was all about the current state of collaboration . I was impressed by the Hypothes.is announcement with Highwire (www.highwire.org) . There are now some 3000 journals using open source annotation platforms like the not-for-profit Hypothes.is to encourage discoverable ( and private ) annotation . Not since Copernicus , when scholars toured monasteries to read and record annotations of observations of the galaxies in copies of his texts , have we had the ability to track scholarly commentary on recent work and work in progress so completely . And no sooner had I begun talking about collaboration as annotation than I met people willing to take the ideas further , into the basis of real community-building activity .

It seems to me that as soon as the journal publsher has imported an annotation interface then he is inviting scholars and researchers into a new relationship with his publishing activity . And for anyone who seeks a defence against the perceived threat of ResearchGate or Academia.edu the answer must lie in building patterns of collaborative annotation into the articles themselves , and becoming the intermediary in the creation of the community dialogue at the level of issues in the scholarly workflow . So it seemed natural that my next conversation was with the ever-inventive Kent Anderson of Redlink , who was able to show me Remarq , in its beta version and due to be formally launched on 1 May . Here discoverable annotations lie in the base of layers of service environments which enable any publisher to create community around annotated discussion and turn it into scholarly exchange and collaboration . We have talked for many years about the publishing role moving beyond selecting, editing, issuing and archiving – increasingly , I suspect, the roles of librarians – and moving towards the active support of scholarly communication . And this , as Remaeq makes clear , includes tweets , blogs , posters , theses , books and slide sets as well as articles . Services like Hypothes.is and Remarq are real harbingers of the future of publishing when articles appear on preprint servers and in repositories or from funder Open Access outlets , where the subject classification of the research is less important than who put up the research investment .

And , of course , the other change factor here is the evolution of the article ( often ignored- for some reason we seem to like talking about change but are reluctant to grip the simple truth that when one thing changes – in this case the networked connectivity of researchers – then all the forms around it change as well , and that includes the print heritage research article . Already challenged by digital inclusivity – does it have room for the lab video , the data , the analytics software , the adjustable graphs and replayable modelling ? – it now becomes the public and private annotation scratchpad . Can it be read efficiently by a computer and discussed between computers ? We heard reports of good progress on machine readability using Open Science Jupiter Notebooks , but can we do all we want to fork or copy papers and manipulate them while still preserving the trust and integrity in the system derived from being able to identify what the original was and being always able to revert to it . We have to be able to use machine analysis to protect ourselves from the global flood of fresh research – if the huge agenda was light anywhere then it was on how we absorb what is happening in India , China , Brazil and Russia into the scholarly corpus effectively . But how good it was to hear from John Hammersley of Overleaf , now leading the charge in connecting up the disconnected and providing the vital enabling factor to some 600,000 users via F1000 and thus in future the funder-publisher mills of Wellcome and Gates , as well as seeing Martin Roelandse of Springer Nature demonstrating that publishers can potentially join up dots too with their SciGraph application for relating snippets , video, animations sources and data .

Of course , connectivity has to be based on common referencing , so at every moment we were reminded of the huge importance of CrossRef and Orcid Incontrovertible identity is everything , I was left hoping that Orcid can fully integrate with the new CrossRef Events data service , using triples in classical mode to relate references to relationships to mentions . Here again , in tracking 2.7 million events since service inception last month , they are already demonstrating the efficacy of the New Publishing – the business of joining up the dots .

So I wish UKSG a happy 40th birthday – they are obviously in rude health . And I thank Charlotte Rouchie , closing speaker , for reminding me of Robert Estienne , who I have long revered as the first master of metadata . In 1551 he divide the bible into verses – and to better compare Greek with Latin , he numbered them . Always good to recall revolutionaries of the past !

PS. In my last three blogs I have avoided , I hope , use of the word Platform . Since I no longer know what it means , i have decided to ignore it until usage clarifies it again !

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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