Sunday, December 22, 2013

An open access New Year's wish

Being a professor comes with a few perks - for example, for me, having an office in a prominent spot on a floor of the Desmarais Building at the University of Ottawa that houses the Information Studies and Communication departments.

There is space to post things on the outside of my door. Many professors have posters about conferences that they are involved with, for example. Which gets me to my New Year's wish - an open source poster to promote open access in these disciplines. It should be possible to build on some of the excellent work on promotional materials such as open access logos developed for open access week. How about a link to the DOAJ subject lists for these areas, the Social Sciences Research Network, E-LIS and PubMed (all relevant to faculty members in these areas).

A customizable poster would be optimal. For example, the institutional repository could be an example, for everyone to look up and substitute their own. People in different disciplines could switch to more relevant DOAJ lists and subject repositories.

If the poster were manipulable, then people could add information of local interest, such as journals we or our colleagues are involved in. A list of bullet points on why open access could be provided, with individuals selecting what is most likely to speak to people locally.

This is just a wish! Given the time of year, projects for next year's OA Week may be more feasible.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Elsevier boycott: the cost of knowledge

Please join us in boycotting Elsevier at The Cost of Knowledge website. Thanks to Tyler Nelson for creating and updating the site.

Elsevier has bought two publishers of my works, including the publisher of my book (Chandos / Woodhead). I'm debating adding a clause to future publishing contracts that states no selling my work to Elsevier.

If anyone from Elsevier is reading this, please remove me from your Elsevier "Author Connect" list. I an not an Elsevier author, and I do not wish to connect.

Second update: ownership of a work by a publisher that I am on the record as boycotting is in fundamental conflict with my moral rights as an author. Chandos published a number of books on open access, and other authors may have the same perspective.

Update December 22: my original blogpost on joining the Cost of Knowledge boycott can be found here

One upside of this sale is that it provides an excellent example of how copyright ownership can be completely divorced from, and often counter to, creativity. My book Scholarly Communication for Librarians is the result of a great deal of hard work on my part and inspiration and comments from many others, who are listed in the acknowledgements. The contributions of Glyn Jones and the staff at Chandos were significant. Elsevier contributed absolutely nothing to the creative work involved with this book; this company simply holds the ownership to extract rent from sale of the book. This method of dissemination - no dissemination without paying a toll to this company - impedes the dissemination that is necessary to advance scholarly knowledge. Elsevier's ownership of the IP for this book is an impediment to updating it.

If instead of writing a book in this way I had created a wiki, I would have had a tool that anyone, anywhere could access, one that I could update easily. I would have had a textbook that I could have asked my students to read (I never required this for the published version as the price to me was outrageoues). No worries, dear reader - as you probably realize, a book a scholarly communication dated 2009 is substantially out of date. Next book I write will be much more like a wiki than a traditional book.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Open access mandate from the European Union

Thanks to Peter Suber - major and most welcome OA news from the EU!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Responses to Canada's Tri-Agency Draft Open Access Policy

From the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Noteworthy: 8 university libraries across will welcome articles from researchers at other universities to facilitate adoption of this policy!

ACOA / APLAC Response (submitted December 12)
Noteworthy: ACOA / APLAC's final recommendation is to eliminate the open access publishing option as part of the policy. Researchers should deposit in a Canadian-based open access archive whether they publish with an open access or toll access journal.

My response (submitted October 16):

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The unstoppable growth of high quality open access resources (December 2013 early year-end edition of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access)

As shown in this chart (thanks to César Villamizar), the number of articles indexed in PubMed for which free fulltext is available within 3 years of publication is now over 800,000, or 28% of the articles indexed.  This growth is an important indication of the dramatic growth of high quality open access resources. The U.S. National Institutes of Health, responsible for the PubMed index, does not index junk!

Recently Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society wrote about the unstoppable rise of open access. The 2013 early year-end edition of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access confirms this unstoppable rise, featuring a number of notable areas of growth and important milestones, with a focus on numbers that are indicators of growth of high quality open access resources.

Congratulations are due to the Public Library of Science as recently PLoS celebrated a milestone of its 100,000th article. The number of journals actively participating in PubMedCentral continues to rise. In the past year, the number of journals actively participating in PMC increased by 215 - about one title per working day. There are now more than 1,000 journals in PMC with all articles open access.

The number of research funding agencies and institutions with open access mandates continues to rise. 12 more institutional open access mandates have been added to ROARMAP since September 30th! Mandates by funding agencies and prestigious research institutions and universities ensure that the growth of open access features high quality articles, due to the vetting processes involved in assessing funding grant requests and institutional hiring, tenure and promotion practices. 

Congratulations to the Directory of Open Access Journals for passing another very recent milestone of 10 thousand titles!  Due to continuous improvement DOAJ was deleting as many titles as it was adding earlier this year - for this reason, the growth in DOAJ reflects not only quantity but quality as poorer journals have been weeded. Dramatic as the growth of open access has been to date, it looks like we can count on a ramping up of growth in 2014, when the first discipline-wide transition to open access, in particle physics, is implemented as SCOAP3 is set to begin January 1, 2014. 

Internet Archive continues to amaze, having added 1.8 million texts this past year for a total of more than 5 million texts!

A special thank you to César Villamizar, a student in our School of Information Studies and research assistant, for help with this issue's data and charts - and a well-deserved Happy Holidays and New Year to everyone in the open access movement!

The full data and chart are available to download from uO recherche. This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Call for participation: resource requirements for small scholar-led not-for-profit open access scholarly publishing


Are you are a scholar involved in small not-for-profit open access publishing (from one to three journals, occasional conference proceedings, or small-scale monograph publishing)? Or, would your small not-for-profit publishing operation  like to switch to open access if the economic logistics can be worked out? If so, you are invited to participate in an interview (half hour to an hour) designed to further flesh out the resource requirements needed to sustain this kind of open access publishing.

Results of these interviews will form the basis for further research, including case studies and focus groups, in preparation for a larger project on the economics of global transition to open access. It is anticipated that results of this study will be useful in the development of business practices for open access publishing, and inform open access policy. Participants can choose whether their contributions will be anonymous and confidential or open and acknowledged.

To volunteer or for further information, please contact Heather Morrison re: study title: resource requirements for small scholar-led not-for-profit open access


Dr. Heather Morrison
Assistant Professor
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa
Heather dot Morrison at uottawa dot ca

Appel de participation : Ressources nécessaires pour le libre accès pour les revues savantes à but non lucratif


Vous œuvrez dans une université et êtes impliqué dans la publication (sans but lucratif) d’une à trois revue(s) savantes, d’actes de conférence occasionnels, ou la publication de monographies à plus petite échelle en libre accès? Ou est-ce que votre petite maison d’édition aimerait se convertir en libre accès si un plan d’affaires peut être élaboré? Si la réponse est oui, je vous invite à participer à un entretien (entre une demi-heure et une heure) conçu pour déterminer les ressources nécessaires pour soutenir ce type de publication libre accès.

Le résultat des entrevues servira de base d'une recherche plus poussée, y compris des études de cas et groupes de discussion, dans la préparation d’un vaste projet sur l’économie d’une transition globale vers le libre accès. Il est probable que les résultats de cette recherche soient utiles dans le développement de pratiques d’affaires pour la publication en libre accès et qu’ils éclairent la politique de libre accès. Les participants peuvent choisir de soumettre leurs commentaires anonymement et confidentiellement ou qu’ils leur soient attribués publiquement.

Pour se porter volontaire ou pour toute autre question, veuillez communiquer avec Heather Morrison, Objet : Ressources nécessaires pour le libre accès pour les revues savantes à but non lucratif


Dr. Heather Morrison
Professeure Adjointe
École des sciences de l'information / School of Information Studies
University of Ottawa
Heather dot Morrison at uottawa dot ca

Monday, December 09, 2013

Open access publishing by APC: dominated by the commercial sector

To put this post in context: Beall just published an article in Triple C claiming, among other things, that "the open access movement is an anti-corporatist movement". This just doesn't make sense. Beall's focus is on the subset of the OA movement that uses open access article processing fees. This segment of open access journal publishing is actually heavily dominated by the commercial sector. For example, based on our research-in-progress, the 14 largest publishers in DOAJ "with article processing charge" (publishers with 20 or more journals) appear to be all commercial companies. (If this is not correct please let me know).

Update December 10th: I'd like to note that the number of journals published is not necessarily the same as the size or importance of an open access publisher using this particular business model. For example, while Public Library of Science publishes a relatively small number of journals, PLoS ONE is the world's largest scholarly journal in terms of number of articles published, and that by a wide margin. Also if the full impact of a publisher including qualitative measures is taken into account, PLoS' essential role in advocacy would arguably make it the most notable publisher in this category, at least in my opinion. ~ Heather 

Data thanks to César Villamizar

Publisher Using OA APCs
# journals
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
BioMed Central
Scientific Research Publishing
Bentham open
Dove Medical Press
Libertas Academica
Internet Scientific Publications, LLC
Canadian Center of Science and Education
Frontiers Media
Hans Publishers
Asian Network for Scientific Information
Co-Action Publishing

In total, these publishers account for 1,326 of the 2,637journals listed in DOAJ "with article processing charge". The total percentage of journals using APCs that are commercial in nature has not been calculated, but will be more than 50% as many of the smaller publishers are also commercial in nature. Note that these 2,637 journals "with article processing charge" represent only 26% of the close to 10 thousand journals listed in DOAJ - and open access journal publishing is only one of the means of providing open access, along with open access archiving.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Scholarly journal article publishing: profits at below 30% of current revenues

Thanks to Mark Ware, Michael Mabe and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) for releasing the 2012 STM report as open access.

Based on data from the Executive Summary, we can calculate that the current average revenue per scholarly journal article published globally is approximately $5,000 US. BMC is making a profit charging an average APC that is 37% of this amount, and PLoS is bringing in a 23% surplus at less than 30% of this amount.

This is based on Ware and Mabe's report of:

9.4 billion in revenue for english-language STM journal publishing
1.8 - 1.9 million articles published per year in 28,100 actively scholarly journals
=  approximately $5,000 in average revenue

BioMedCentral average of $1,874 is based on data downloaded from the BMC website as part of the open access article processing fee research project

The average article processing fee for an article in the profitable BioMedCentral journals is $1,874 US - that's profit-making at an average of 37% of the current average revenue. PLoS is now enjoying a 23% profit rate, charging $1,350 per article for PLoS ONE - that's a high profit rate at 27% of the revenue of the current average.

It should be noted that PLoS was not originally designed to be a model of publishing efficiency, but rather a combined advocacy and publishing organization meant to compete primarily at the high end of the scholarly publishing market. PLoS' costs reflect this original mission: well-paid professional staff and headquarters in one of the world's costliest real estate markets, San Francisco. 

This is yet an another indication, as I have argued elsewhere, that high quality scholarly publishing can be accomplished for a small fraction of existing spend - something that every faculty member and university administrator in today's tough economic times ought to know.