Public libraries in the United Kingdom are set to play a role in expanding public access to academic research via the recently announced “Access to Research” plan. Thousands of research journal articles will be made available for free: but only on computers located physically within a public library, not remotely.
One of the biggest names in scholarly publishing announced it was entering the open access ecosystem on February 14, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced that it would launch Science Advances, an online only, open access journal covering the same broad range of research topics addressed by the AAAS flagship journal, Science.
By putting distribution and storage of papers and datasets in the hands of their authors, Academic Torrents brings even more DIY ethos to the world of academic publishing, and may help to solve a few problems in the field in the bargain. While libraries and colleges disintermediate scholarly publishing by hosting their own institutional repositories and backing up to offsite services like LOCKSS and Portico, Academic Torrents goes a step further, offering researchers the opportunity to distribute the hosting of their papers and datasets to authors and readers, offering easy access to scholarly works and simultaneously backing them up on computers around the world.
The omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Obama on January 17 has plenty of wrinkles and details, but one of them is a change that expands the number of federal agencies operating under a mandate to make research they fund available to the public after one year.
Just before he accepted a Nobel Prize in December for his work exploring how cells regulate and transport proteins, UC Berkeley professor Randy Schekman penned an indictment in the pages of UK newspaper The Guardian criticizing the role of what he calls the “luxury journals” – Nature, Cell, and Science in particular – for damaging science by promoting flashy or controversial papers over careful scientific research. Library Journal spoke with Schekman, who also edits the open-access journal eLife, about what he sees wrong with academic publishing today, and how it can be fixed.
When Amherst College opens its first press early next year, the open access publication will publish its entire catalog in digital editions first. Following a growing trend, the press will also be a new arm of Amherst’s library, and Mark Edington will be at its helm, the college announced on December 6. He will start January 1, 2014. Currently the director of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, Edington comes from a diverse work background, encompassing everything from editorial work at the journal Daedalus to social entrepreneurship. Library Journal caught up with Edington to talk about the new model Amherst is pursuing, the opportunities it opens up in the publishing world, and the challenges of presenting scholarly work for free while staying sustainable.
This year, several announcements and blog posts combined to focus my attention on a slightly different question. What problems can open access solve? The answer seems obvious; open access will solve the problem of highly restricted and limited access to scholarship. A somewhat different problem that OA can help solve is the problem of scholarship locked up in the hands of badly run businesses that have come to believe that their inefficient and ineffective ways of doing business must be preserved at all costs.
When Purdue University Press was brought under the wing of the university’s library in 2009, it was a marriage of necessity, brought on by the flagging financial fortunes of the press. Since being absorbed into the library in 2009, the press has moved from reporting to library administrators to participating in planning with them, said Dean of Libraries James Mullins at a recent conference sponsored by education non-profit Ithaka. Purdue is one of a growing number of universities and colleges across the country where the in-house press and library are working more closely together, offering a glimpse into the possible future of academic publishing.
Agricultural research can take seasons to come to fruition, meaning the data researchers gather is voluminous, tracking things like weather patterns and crop yields over years. A failure to establish data standards and sharing practices means that most of these raw figures never make it out of the hands of the researchers who gather them. With new open access standards coming to federally funded research, though, agricultural researchers will need share their data more effectively, and a team of scientists and librarians at Purdue University may have the first blueprint for the field.
As more and more countries embrace policies that drive government funded research into Open Access publishing, an Open Access standard in the future is looking less like a possibility and more like an inevitability. But in a paper released earlier this week, Dr. Richard Wellen of York University, Toronto, argues that an Open Access future in practice could be very different from what it looks like on paper.