Open@VT

Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

Tag Archives: Costs

Worth Reading: Elsevier Costs, Funding OA, Peer Review Platforms, A Publishing Story

Last week Tim Gowers wrote an extensive post on the cost of Elsevier journals that begins to create some transparency in this market. Much of the data so far is from UK universities, but cost data from U.S. universities (including other publishers) should be available soon from Ted Bergstrom’s Big Deal Contract Project.

Providing adequate funding for open access platforms and innovations is becoming an increasingly hot topic, and two excellent posts with different perspectives have recently appeared. Stuart Shieber’s Public Underwriting of Research and Open Access offers a convincing case for open access to research that reminded me of John Willinsky’s keynote address during Virginia Tech’s Open Access Week. Counting up the ways that research is subsidized results in a truly stunning number, and Shieber makes a solid argument for public funding. Cameron Neylon, on the other hand, notes that much of the innovation in scholarly communication comes from the for-profit sector, yet non-profit status is needed to to retain control and prevent diverging interests. So how should we go about funding innovation in scholarly communication? Perhaps OA projects could benefit from socially responsible investing?

One innovation in need of funding is open peer review platforms like LIBRE, which just announced that it is in beta testing. While I like the diversity of opinion that open review makes possible, I think there still may be a role for anonymity, and I’m also skeptical of the invite-your-own-reviewers model. Although it has been around for a while, I only recently discovered a community-edited Google document of standalone peer review platforms, and was surprised by how many there are. I think it would be great if one day I could upload a paper to VTechWorks, have it openly reviewed, and then submit it in my tenure and promotion dossier as a peer-reviewed paper. Then evaluation would have to focus on article quality rather than journal prestige or impact factor.

So few accounts of the publishing process appear that one in my own field of library and information science is definitely worth mention. Catherine Pellegrino’s Walking the walk may be trickier than it first appears: An open access publishing story relates her assessment of publishing venues while feeling the stress of needing to publish. This OA-conscious assessment, and her negotiation to retain copyright, serves as a worthy model for librarians (and non-librarians).

Worth Reading

Project Information Literacy has an interview with Peter Suber. It’s particularly interesting to hear how he got involved in open access.

Nature has a special open issue on scientific publishing. All the articles are worth reading, but I especially recommend John Wilbanks’ License Restrictions: A Fool’s Errand advocating CC-BY licenses ( annotations are on his blog) and a very informative article, The True Costs of Science Publishing.

Curt Rice posts about why OA enhances academic freedom, rather than detracts from it as some have claimed.

MIT’s faculty open access policy is now 4 years old, and their library shares personal thanks for article access (during last year’s Open Access Week, MIT had a great article about the policy’s worldwide impact). Documenting this is hugely important. First, it shifts the discussion to the good things that are happening rather than hypothesizing about the bad things that might happen .01 percent of the time under OA. Second, and more importantly, it establishes a narrative that goes beyond the rationale for OA. As research in psychology tells us, people remember stories, not facts. (Positive narratives are also badly needed for ETDs). See how MIT solicited these stories through a feedback mechanism in their institutional repository:

MIT repository feedback mechanism

MIT’s repository feedback mechanism