RE: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

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Glenn Hampson

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Feb 23, 2024, 3:36:39 PMFeb 23
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Hi Mark, John, All,

 

Mark---your original email from a few days ago was looking for feedback on two EU policy trajectories: moving away from “proprietary” products in scholarly communication, and also moving more toward diamond open access.

 

With regard to this first development (and noting that similar disinvestments are happening everywhere), I think we need to tread carefully. If the public space can create great tools, then awesome---let’s use these. But in the absence of such tools, we risk shooting science in the foot as we try to take a stand on principle. We’re putting an awful lot of faith in faith to abandon vetted resources like Scopus and rely solely on catch-all resources like OpenAlex. There’s a need for both, especially given the too-slow movement of “traditional” indexes to capture the world of scholarship. But it isn’t doing science integrity any favors to simply assume that all lists and resources are created equal. My two cents, and in the meantime, more power to all innovation in this space.

 

I have about 200 cents to say about the diamond shift if you have nothing better to do with your time. First, for those who may not have read it yet, Science Europe’s 2021 report on diamond open is brilliant: The OA Diamond Journals Study - Science Europe. Kudos to everyone who worked on this. The five main areas of recommendations in this report center around improving technical support for diamond publishers (e.g., through better indexing and editorial training); improving compliance (e.g., DOI use, preservation standards, and licensing); improving capacity building for this segment (e.g., workshops); improving the effectiveness of diamond publishers (e.g., through partnerships and shared services); and improving the sustainability of this model (long-term funding strategy and investment). There’s a gold-mine (or a diamond-mine?) of information in here. The 2022 diamond OA action plan that summarizes these findings is at Diamond-OA-Action-Plan_March2022.pdf (ouvrirlascience.fr).

 

I truly appreciate the idealism this effort---plus the huge contribution this report has made to our understanding of this heretofore “invisible” market segment. But from a purely business perspective, propping up this segment is going to be a hard sell. It just is, because the numbers aren’t pretty. (The reference page numbers below are from the Science Europe report):

 

  1. Only 8-9% of all journal articles come from diamond (p. 68), and this amount has been shrinking, annually ceding ground to APC-funded work (p. 69)
  2. Financially, just over 40% of journals report breaking even; 25% operate at a loss (p.27)
  3. Most diamond publishers “rely highly” on volunteers to carry out their work (p. 27)
  4. Roughly half of diamond publishers publish only one journal  (p. 73), and the vast majority of these produce only a few articles per year---i.e., we’re talking about a whole lot of mom-and-pop businesses here, and
  5. If you subtract SciELO from this data (which you really need to do because SciELO is already its own network and isn’t going to be subsumed into a global diamond network), the diamond OA model isn’t nearly as prolific or robust. I mention this in the sense that there’s SciELO, and then there’s everything else---most of the OA in Latin America comes from SciELO, and Latin America accounts for 25% of the global total of diamond OA. The rest of the diamond diaspora isn’t nearly as bright and shiny.

 

So, my concern is that while I’d love to see us move away from the APC model, is diamond really the best model to replace it? Thinking like business people---if our interest is truly to support this segment, then why not think in terms of whatever works? Maybe it’s diamond, but many it’s some combination of diamond, gold, green, and even subscription instead if we’re truly looking for “sustainable” solutions (call it a cubic zirconium model)?

 

But let’s say we do decide that pure diamond is the answer. And more to the point, let’s say we decide that the EU’s diamond rescue strategy is the right one. Why reinvent the wheel? Abel Packer’s name isn’t mentioned anywhere in this report, but SciELO has been doing exactly what this report is proposing since the late 1990s. They basically invented the OA diamond support network, and have been hugely successful with it. A few of us even sketched this idea out on a napkin over lunch at SciELO20 (in 2018)---Abel, plus Bhanu Neupane (UNESCO), Carlos Brito Cruz (FAPESP), and Jon Tennant (I think Rick was there too?)---that we might want to create SciELO spinoff networks for other regions of the world (with region-by-region focus and management, since every region requires unique familiarity and expertise---a global focus is too broad). SciELO already has a huge presence in South Africa; we’re talking here about expanding their model to Asia, India, and even Europe (with funding from UNESCO, and from other national research funders).

 

Sorry for volunteering you Abel 😊

 

Finally, there’s the whole ideology issue wrapped into this discussion. It’s one thing to focus on improving durability, quality, and sustainability so diamond publishers can better serve their constituencies. It’s another to leverage this relationship to insist that all of Plan S’s requirements be adhered to as well. At present, only 4.3% of diamond publishers comply with all Plan S criteria. Many of these criteria are good and solid---using PIDs and DOIs, ensuring proper archiving, using common markup language, and so on. But most authors have legitimate concerns about other criteria like CC-BY (which is why most prefer something more like CC-BY-NC-ND. This single issue has bedeviled OA uptake for decades already. I think we’d be better off focusing on what researchers actually want and need, instead of what is demanded by OA ideology. What is this exactly? Here’s one perspective, from tables 3 and 7 of our 2023 global survey of researchers (which was tiny, but the results were consistent with other surveys). We would, by the way, love help redoing this survey and getting it out to a bigger audience. Understanding what researchers really want and need should be a no-brainer prerequisite to any policy effort, but we just haven’t taken this first step anywhere:

 

 

Table 3: Percent of researchers who say this communication priority is either high or a “must do”

Research communication priority

%

Lower the costs to authors of publishing

84%

Narrow the equity gap between researchers in the Global North and Global South

82%

Lower the costs to institutions of publishing

82%

Improve the impact of research on developing better public policy

81%

Develop infrastructure solutions that make data repositories easier to maintain and access, and that possibly help level the playing field on access to computing resources

75%

Improve peer review systems

75%

Improve connections between research and the general public (for example, by making sure that all research publications include abstracts written in plain language)

74%

Improve connections between research (especially within each field)

72%

Reform the culture of communication in academia

71%

Improve the impact of research on advancing knowledge

71%

Improve the reusability of research (is the work properly licensed, is dataset complete and usable, etc.?)

71%

Improve the visibility of non-English work

67%

Improve safeguards (like gatekeeping) to ensure that published work isn’t fake or plagiarized (to ensure that bad work doesn’t pollute the knowledge stream)

63%

Improve the speed of publishing

59%

Develop turnkey systems that make it faster and easier to comply with publishing requirements (regarding data deposits, etc.)

55%

Reduce the influence of the Journal Impact Factor

55%

Improve the visibility of non-journal research work (industry white papers, government studies, etc.)

55%

Create new and better ways to officially record discovery (instead of relying on preprints or journal articles for this)

52%

Improve the indexing of research work

51%

Reduce the importance of publishing in promotion and tenure evaluations

50%

Fix what’s broken

42%

Create one-size-fits-all communication policies for the global research community

37%

Reinvent the wheel, even if this means some things end up being worse than before (or will take years to stabilize)

18%

 

 

TABLE 7: ESTIMATING THE TIERS OF RESEARCHER CONCERNS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO COMMUNICATION)

Concern

Always important

Communi-
cations related?

Tier 1 concerns (66%+ of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)

Stay up-to-date on all the latest research in my field

76%

x

Get funding for my research work

66%

Tier 2 concerns (33-65% of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)

Infrastructure support from my institution (good facilities, etc.)

64%

Find, hire and keep good staff

60%

Design good research studies

60%

Make an impact in my field

60%

Find the right research papers to read

59%

x

Publish in a journal

57%

x

Collaborate with other researchers

56%

Read research papers for free

54%

x

Get proper credit and recognition for my work

52%

x

Effectively communicate my findings to fellow researchers

50%

x

Publish in a prestigious journal

48%

x

Advance in my field

48%

Make an impact on society

48%

Figure out what to read—there’s so much information out there

47%

x

Job security

47%

Publish affordably

47%

x

Freely and rapidly share my research work with other researchers around the world

41%

x

Effectively communicate my findings to the general public

41%

x

Effectively communicate my findings to policymakers

41%

x

Tier 3 concerns (0-32% of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)

IMMEDIATELY (without waiting for embargo periods) read what other researchers have published in a subscription journal

32%

x

Publish in the right journals

32%

x

Publish enough—the pressure to “publish or perish”

28%

x

Make my data available in a format that others can see and use

28%

x

See the data generated by other researchers

25%

x

Protect my research from getting “scooped” before I can publish it

24%

x

“Register” my discovery (publish quickly so the world will recognize I was the first to discover something)

24%

x

Pay

24%

Publish quickly

20%

x

Reuse the data generated by other researchers

18%

x

Protect my research from misuse

16%

x

Regulation

16%

Protect my research from theft

8%

x

Copy and paste large chunks of text from other research papers or otherwise reuse these works (beyond what is already permitted by copyright under Fair Use and Fair Dealing)

6%

x

Competition

4%

Other

4%

 

So, if we really want to help research succeed, there are just a ton of areas where we can engage, rather than assuming the single best way to help is by reinventing the entire world of scholarly publishing from scratch. A lot of the concerns we debate in this space are actually in the bottom tier of what researchers really want and need.

 

In conclusion, after far too many words again, I think it’s possible to accomplish all the lofty goals we’ve set for ourselves in this space, but only if we honestly follow the needs of researchers and also follow the evidence of what works and what doesn’t. When we let our ideology take the lead instead, we’re fighting the same fight but we end up heading down one dead end after another, and in the process, we waste valuable time and money, fracture the solution space, exhaust the goodwill and belief in this space, and cause disruptions with unintended consequences.

 

I’m a carpenter. Our saying is to measure twice and cut once. This is good advice for carpenters---even better for those who are trying to change the world.

 

Best regards all, and have a good weekend,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)
Program Director
Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)

 

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> On Behalf Of Rick Anderson
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2024 7:18 AM
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Very interesting, John, thank you!

 

Rick

 

---

Rick Anderson

University Librarian

Brigham Young University

(801) 422-4301

rick_a...@byu.edu

 

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> on behalf of "Towse, John" <j.t...@LANCASTER.AC.UK>
Reply-To: "Towse, John" <j.t...@LANCASTER.AC.UK>
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024 at 7:56
AM
To: "OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU" <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Hi

 

Thanks for asking. The publisher is Psychopen:

 

https://psychopen.eu/browse-publications/index.html

 

and the journal (which can be found within the above listings) is the Journal of Numerical Cognition.

 

ZPID runs PsychOpen among several other services, and it is maintained through German federal and state funding at the University of Trier. This covers support staff (including a small but superb professional team of copyeditors, technical support etc) and article specific DOI / crossref fees etc. Developed with open source journal hosting (eg OJS) etc.

 

None of this comes for free of course but my feeling is that this is ultimately way more efficient that having that federal and state funding disappear into the black hole of commercial providers with their subscriptions and APCs etc. If nothing else the paymasters will be able to get a much more transparent account of what happens to their money and what they get for it in reputational value etc.

 

John

 

From: Rick Anderson <rick_a...@byu.edu>
Date: Friday, 23 February 2024 at 13:40
To: Towse, John <j.t...@LANCASTER.AC.UK>, OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Subject: [External] Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

This email originated outside the University. Check before clicking links or attachments.

Hi, John –

 

I’m curious (and others on the list may be too): what was the diamond OA journal you founded ten years ago, and who was the publisher? How did the relevant research community fund it, and how is it doing today?

 

Rick

 

---

Rick Anderson

University Librarian

Brigham Young University

(801) 422-4301

rick_a...@byu.edu

 

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> on behalf of "Towse, John" <j.t...@LANCASTER.AC.UK>
Reply-To: "Towse, John" <j.t...@LANCASTER.AC.UK>
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024 at 5:22
AM
To: "OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU" <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Thanks. Mark, for this summary and for the prompt for discussion.

 

As a psychology researcher, who works in Europe, and who founded and edited a European-based but international diamond OA research journal for a relevant research community approx. 10 years ago, not surprisingly I’m personally very much in favour of both these developments.

 

However, I also wanted to note that I am part of the EUA Expert Group on Open Science, which, as it happens, is meeting in Brussels next week. Within that meeting we’ll be discussing both the DIAMAS project led by Johan Rooryck (who is joining that part of the EUA meeting) and the April workshop in Swansea.

 

So I’d very much welcome any comments from the list community about either, on this list or to me directly, and I’ll certainly try and reflect and raise any relevant points next week

 

Best wishes, John Towse

 

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> on behalf of Mark Huskisson <huska...@GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tuesday, 20 February 2024 at 11:49
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Subject: [External] [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts


As we often spend our days communicating in our various self-constructed echo chambers I wondered if people here in the Open Café were aware of these recent news items from Europe and what your perspectives were on them. It would be good to get a broader take on the evolving situation in European policy regarding the publishing system. These moves are celebrated in the circles in which I operate but know that there are many more stakeholders in the operating environment who have views. And we need to communicate beyond our own particular spheres of influence for the benefit of scholarly communications and global knowledge.

At the weekend, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) established a multi-year partnership with OpenAlex as it, "...wishes to contribute to the emergence of solid alternative proposals to proprietary environments to promote transparency and open access to knowledge."

This follows Sorbonne Université's cancelling their Web of Science subscription and CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) moving on from Scopus. All part of French institutions turning to "open and sustainable solutions" (solutions ouvertes et durables) as part of a wider move away from subscriptions.

Last week the European University Association (the EUA has 850 members in 49 countries) revised its strategy part way through its operating term in response to "universities operating in an extremely dynamic and uncertain landscape." A key aspect of this revised strategy surrounds the open science agenda specifically in regard to scholarly publishing.

As part of their conference in April they're holding a "Road Towards Diamond Open Access" workshop to explore "...the potential of institutional publication activities – as a key leverage point for changing the entire academic publishing ecosystem."

While these are individual actions there seems to be a shift in a small space of time. How do you view these events from your own perspective?

Mark

Links for reference:
Sorbonne & WoS: https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sorbonne-universite.fr%2Fen%2Fnews%2Fsorbonne-university-unsubscribes-web-science&data=05%7C02%7Ctowse%40live.lancs.ac.uk%7C7cda272b3b124fa6bb5a08dc320a04ea%7C9c9bcd11977a4e9ca9a0bc734090164a%7C0%7C0%7C638440265908473161%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&sdata=Cxt%2BjF4XKzna3fsEE%2F9mU1OuNkPQ8Q9P%2Fur%2FYa%2BdO94%3D&reserved=0
CNRS & Scopus: https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnrs.fr%2Fen%2Fcnrsinfo%2Fcnrs-has-unsubscribed-scopus-publications-database&data=05%7C02%7Ctowse%40live.lancs.ac.uk%7C7cda272b3b124fa6bb5a08dc320a04ea%7C9c9bcd11977a4e9ca9a0bc734090164a%7C0%7C0%7C638440265908484478%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&sdata=qN%2Bsnbs7jjCU9dZ9YgWUHQp%2FJlXFzdnjOq5c1FyaJRQ%3D&reserved=0
EUA Workshop: https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Feua.eu%2Fevents%2F305-the-road-towards-diamond-open-access.html%3Futm_source%3Dlinkedin%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsocial-linkedin-22-01-2024&data=05%7C02%7Ctowse%40live.lancs.ac.uk%7C7cda272b3b124fa6bb5a08dc320a04ea%7C9c9bcd11977a4e9ca9a0bc734090164a%7C0%7C0%7C638440265908491362%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&sdata=aQ%2Fx%2BDNyIb4vFbsMDTizIHCIhUIcw1yxUJbSDRie5xk%3D&reserved=0

 


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Joyce Lanier Ogburn

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Feb 23, 2024, 4:26:18 PMFeb 23
to Glenn Hampson, OpenCafe-l, osi20...@googlegroups.com
Why is this list also referencing open cafe
Joyce L Ogburn 
Professor of Practice
UNC Chapel Hill
School of Information and Library Science


On Feb 23, 2024, at 3:36 PM, Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org> wrote:



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Glenn Hampson

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Feb 23, 2024, 4:31:31 PMFeb 23
to Joyce Lanier Ogburn, OpenCafe-l, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Hi Joyce,

 

I’m occasionally (hopefully not too often) forwarding threads that I think might be of interest/relevance to OSI (I know there’s overlap between the two groups but I don’t know how much). Sorry for the extra spam.

 

Best,

 

Glenn

Rick Anderson

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Feb 23, 2024, 5:02:37 PMFeb 23
to Joyce Lanier Ogburn, Glenn Hampson, OpenCafe-l, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Because there’s a fair amount of overlap in membership between the OSI and Open Café lists, and a couple of threads (including this one) are cross-posted.

 

Rick

 

---

Rick Anderson

University Librarian

Brigham Young University

(801) 422-4301

rick_a...@byu.edu

 

 

From: 'Joyce Lanier Ogburn' via The Open Scholarship Initiative <osi20...@googlegroups.com>


Reply-To: Joyce Lanier Ogburn <ogbu...@retired.appstate.edu>
Date: Friday, February 23, 2024 at 2:26 PM
To: Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org>

Cc: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu>, "osi20...@googlegroups.com" <osi20...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Why is this list also referencing open cafe

Joyce L Ogburn 

Professor of Practice

UNC Chapel Hill

School of Information and Library Science

 



On Feb 23, 2024, at 3:36PM, Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org> wrote:

Hi Mark, John, All,

 

Mark---your original email from a few days ago was looking for feedback on two EU policy trajectories: moving away from “proprietary” products in scholarly communication, and also moving more toward diamond open access.

 

With regard to this first development (and noting that similar disinvestments are happening everywhere), I think we need to tread carefully. If the public space can create great tools, then awesome---let’s use these. But in the absence of such tools, we risk shooting science in the foot as we try to take a stand on principle. We’re putting an awful lot of faith in faith to abandon vetted resources like Scopus and rely solely on catch-all resources like OpenAlex. There’s a need for both, especially given the too-slow movement of “traditional” indexes to capture the world of scholarship. But it isn’t doing science integrity any favors to simply assume that all lists and resources are created equal. My two cents, and in the meantime, more power to all innovation in this space.

 

I have about 200 cents to say about the diamond shift if you have nothing better to do with your time. First, for those who may not have read it yet, Science Europe’s 2021 report on diamond open is brilliant: The OA Diamond Journals Study - Science Europe. Kudos to everyone who worked on this. The five main areas of recommendations in this report center around improving technical support for diamond publishers (e.g., through better indexing and editorial training); improving compliance (e.g., DOI use, preservation standards, and licensing); improving capacity building for this segment (e.g., workshops); improving the effectiveness of diamond publishers (e.g., through partnerships and shared services); and improving the sustainability of this model (long-term funding strategy and investment). There’s a gold-mine (or a diamond-mine?) of information in here. The 2022 diamond OA action plan that summarizes these findings is at Diamond-OA-Action-Plan_March2022.pdf (ouvrirlascience.fr).

 

I truly appreciate the idealism this effort---plus the huge contribution this report has made to our understanding of this heretofore “invisible” market segment. But from a purely business perspective, propping up this segment is going to be a hard sell. It just is, because the numbers aren’t pretty. (The reference page numbers below are from the Science Europe report):

 

1.      Only 8-9% of all journal articles come from diamond (p. 68), and this amount has been shrinking, annually ceding ground to APC-funded work (p. 69)

2.      Financially, just over 40% of journals report breaking even; 25% operate at a loss (p.27)

3.      Most diamond publishers “rely highly” on volunteers to carry out their work (p. 27)

4.      Roughly half of diamond publishers publish only one journal  (p. 73), and the vast majority of these produce only a few articles per year---i.e., we’re talking about a whole lot of mom-and-pop businesses here, and

5.      If you subtract SciELO from this data (which you really need to do because SciELO is already its own network and isn’t going to be subsumed into a global diamond network), the diamond OA model isn’t nearly as prolific or robust. I mention this in the sense that there’s SciELO, and then there’s everything else---most of the OA in Latin America comes from SciELO, and Latin America accounts for 25% of the global total of diamond OA. The rest of the diamond diaspora isn’t nearly as bright and shiny.

Joyce Lanier Ogburn

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Feb 23, 2024, 7:20:30 PMFeb 23
to Rick Anderson, Glenn Hampson, OpenCafe-l, osi20...@googlegroups.com
Sorry I sent that before it was complete and I mean to be so abrupt! 

Joyce

Joyce L Ogburn 
Professor of Practice
UNC Chapel Hill
School of Information and Library Science


On Feb 23, 2024, at 5:02 PM, Rick Anderson <rick_a...@byu.edu> wrote:



Glenn Hampson

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Feb 24, 2024, 12:38:38 PMFeb 24
to Jean-Claude Guédon, OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Hi Jean Claude, and thanks for the corrections. Yes, of course---many accolades for the great work being done by AmeliCA, Redalyc, CLACSO, and others in Latin America. I should have mentioned them---thanks for correcting the record. The general sentiment I was trying to express is that if we’re going to characterize the diamond diaspora as a broad scattering of small publishers who will benefit from being part of an organization that offers rules, training, and centralized administration, then it’s a bit disingenuous to include established groups like SciELO (and Redalyc, et al) in our calculations. It’s like saying we’re going to start a media company that will provide resources for all independent artists in the world, but in our impact calculations, we assume that Sony and MGM are going to be part of our group as well.

 

And this kind of relates to the whole business mindset thing. Publishing is a business, not a hobby. This isn’t exactly a controversial statement and yet somehow it is. I get where you’re coming from---in an ideal world, sure: research should flow from the bench to the public without any intermediary (short of improvements like fact checking)---but even systems like this require infrastructure and attention, and this attention needs to be consistent (sustainable). Without a realistic plan for how this consistent attention is financed (i.e., for where the money comes from)---and not just in spurts either, but long-term---businesses can’t operate effectively (think hire, invest, develop new products, do marketing and outreach, etc.).

 

To your point, is research already fundamentally unsustainable because it’s largely supported by hand-outs? No. Researchers have a tried and true (albeit horribly biased and time-consuming) process for getting this money---government grants, foundation grants, private donations, contractor bids, industry partnerships, university investment, and more. A big lab is run like a business and has funding in the pipeline so researchers aren’t laid off in biannual purges. And Big Universities (and Big Research Institutions) are run like Big Businesses, regardless of whether their money comes from selling jeans or researching genes.

 

All this has nothing to do with idealism. We are all idealists in this space. But if we want our ideals to amount to more than words on a listserv, we need to first come up with plans that will work, and second, ensure that these plans survive the reality of the business environment, unless our plan is simply to say that someone is going to pay for everything forever (which is okay too, but there needs to be a realistic plan for how this happens).

 

We’re on the same page---this I’ve always believed---but just looking at this challenge through different glasses. I’ve launched many a project through SCI and they’ve all had amazing potential. But without sustainable finances---if the project just comes down to volunteer labor---the full potential of that project is never realized (often not even remotely close).

 

I’m verging on using too much ink again…

 

Good to hear from you----all the best,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> On Behalf Of Jean-Claude Guédon
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2024 3:27 AM
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Many things to say here, and quite a bit of push back too.

Let me respond in the body of the text as there is a lot of information here.

On 2024-02-23 15:36, Glenn Hampson wrote:

Hi Mark, John, All,

 

Mark---your original email from a few days ago was looking for feedback on two EU policy trajectories: moving away from “proprietary” products in scholarly communication, and also moving more toward diamond open access.

 

With regard to this first development (and noting that similar disinvestments are happening everywhere), I think we need to tread carefully. If the public space can create great tools, then awesome---let’s use these. But in the absence of such tools, we risk shooting science in the foot as we try to take a stand on principle. We’re putting an awful lot of faith in faith to abandon vetted resources like Scopus and rely solely on catch-all resources like OpenAlex. There’s a need for both, especially given the too-slow movement of “traditional” indexes to capture the world of scholarship. But it isn’t doing science integrity any favors to simply assume that all lists and resources are created equal. My two cents, and in the meantime, more power to all innovation in this space.

Moving away is not equivalent to banning, which is where the shooting in the foot metaphor might apply.

As for the "vetting" of Scopus and Clarivate, it would be useful to note that the result is far from being 100% positive. These tools also act as exclusionary devices that make life difficult for publishing entities in the Global South. It does because they control visibility and prestige.

 

I have about 200 cents to say about the diamond shift if you have nothing better to do with your time. First, for those who may not have read it yet, Science Europe’s 2021 report on diamond open is brilliant: The OA Diamond Journals Study - Science Europe. Kudos to everyone who worked on this. The five main areas of recommendations in this report center around improving technical support for diamond publishers (e.g., through better indexing and editorial training); improving compliance (e.g., DOI use, preservation standards, and licensing); improving capacity building for this segment (e.g., workshops); improving the effectiveness of diamond publishers (e.g., through partnerships and shared services); and improving the sustainability of this model (long-term funding strategy and investment). There’s a gold-mine (or a diamond-mine?) of information in here. The 2022 diamond OA action plan that summarizes these findings is at Diamond-OA-Action-Plan_March2022.pdf (ouvrirlascience.fr).

Thank you for mentioning this report. Many of the authors are good friends of mine and I know their intellectual quality.

 

I truly appreciate the idealism this effort---plus the huge contribution this report has made to our understanding of this heretofore “invisible” market segment. But from a purely business perspective, propping up this segment is going to be a hard sell. It just is, because the numbers aren’t pretty. (The reference page numbers below are from the Science Europe report):

 

  1. Only 8-9% of all journal articles come from diamond (p. 68), and this amount has been shrinking, annually ceding ground to APC-funded work (p. 69)
  2. Financially, just over 40% of journals report breaking even; 25% operate at a loss (p.27)
  3. Most diamond publishers “rely highly” on volunteers to carry out their work (p. 27)
  4. Roughly half of diamond publishers publish only one journal  (p. 73), and the vast majority of these produce only a few articles per year---i.e., we’re talking about a whole lot of mom-and-pop businesses here, and
  5. If you subtract SciELO from this data (which you really need to do because SciELO is already its own network and isn’t going to be subsumed into a global diamond network), the diamond OA model isn’t nearly as prolific or robust. I mention this in the sense that there’s SciELO, and then there’s everything else---most of the OA in Latin America comes from SciELO, and Latin America accounts for 25% of the global total of diamond OA. The rest of the diamond diaspora isn’t nearly as bright and shiny.

Here we go! The idealism... And defining "diamond" as "market segment" is somewhat funny given that "diamond" works on subsidies and not a market structure. In so doing, it disentangles the intellectual quality issue from the commercial imperatives and thus gives scholarly publishing a chance to work in better alignment with objectives of knowledge creation.

The financing issue is real. However, as has already been pointed out by several people on this forum, if funding agencies and libraries (where the money largely resides) looked at the situation lucidly, they would finance diamond journals rather than pay APCs. If researchers complain because they want to publish in high IF journals (prestige and visibility seeking), they should be told that funding agencies and libraries are interested in quality knowledge, not prestige or even visibility. Plan S started rather poorly, but it held a powerful perspective: a coalition of powerful funding agencies can reorganize the publishing part of research (for research cannot exist without publishing, i.e. making public). Under the leadership of Johan Rooryck, it is evolving in the right direction.

I am not sure of why points 3 and 4 should be discussed. These are real but the the total outcome is not insignificant. I suppose that some unmentioned reference to "sustainability" is lurking here...

Point 5 is really problematic. SciELO is indeed a major player in open access, however, the leading network in diamond publishing is not SciELO. SciELO harbours a mixture of recipes, including diamond and APCs, but it does not foreground diamond the way Redalyc. Now, why Redalyc is not mentioned here is a bit of a question, especially after the diamond summit last November in Toluca (Mexico). SciELO's presence there was minimal, and that was regrettable.

Also, a lot of OA in Latin America comes from SciELO, but a lot comes out of other organizations. Why the silence about Redalyc, Amelica, CLACSO, etc.

SciELO has long been and remains a major player in Latin America and beyond (South Africa, Spain and Portugal, etc.). It should be supported as should be Redalyc, Amelica, Latindex and other worthy undertakings in Latin America. Presently, however, there is a rift between SciELO and Redalyc partly on the issue of diamond journals and APCs. Redalyc, rightly, sees APCs as  another way to create "epistemic injustice" as subscriptions did: the Global South is hit once again: if you do not have the money to make yourself visible and prestigious, too bad!

Much could be added about this rift, and how it has been generated, but I can say this: it is not a European plot to divide Latin America, as has been claimed by some.

 

So, my concern is that while I’d love to see us move away from the APC model, is diamond really the best model to replace it? Thinking like business people---if our interest is truly to support this segment, then why not think in terms of whatever works? Maybe it’s diamond, but many it’s some combination of diamond, gold, green, and even subscription instead if we’re truly looking for “sustainable” solutions (call it a cubic zirconium model)?

First problem: why should we think like business people? Is that the box we must stay within? Market construction as the end of history?

And here we go: sustainability. Fundamental (and not so fundamental) research is almost exclusively supported by public money all over the world. As such, in the terms of the sustainability vocabulary, it is unsustainable because it is very heavily subsidized. Publishing is an integral part of the research process. Stop the making-public process of research, and knowledge creation comes to a near standstill. So, if the research is not "sustainable", why should scholarly publishing be "sustainable" (i.e. revenue producing).

Another way of expressing the "cubic zirconium" model is to use Italian: Que sera, sera! (the tune is well known). So, Doris Day is going to be the inspiring model for scientific publishing.

 

But let’s say we do decide that pure diamond is the answer. And more to the point, let’s say we decide that the EU’s diamond rescue strategy is the right one. Why reinvent the wheel? Abel Packer’s name isn’t mentioned anywhere in this report, but SciELO has been doing exactly what this report is proposing since the late 1990s. They basically invented the OA diamond support network, and have been hugely successful with it. A few of us even sketched this idea out on a napkin over lunch at SciELO20 (in 2018)---Abel, plus Bhanu Neupane (UNESCO), Carlos Brito Cruz (FAPESP), and Jon Tennant (I think Rick was there too?)---that we might want to create SciELO spinoff networks for other regions of the world (with region-by-region focus and management, since every region requires unique familiarity and expertise---a global focus is too broad). SciELO already has a huge presence in South Africa; we’re talking here about expanding their model to Asia, India, and even Europe (with funding from UNESCO, and from other national research funders).

First thing: SciELO is certainly not "pure diamond"; it incorporates some diamond. This dais, the idea of expanding the SciELO model has a lot to be said in its favour. Its reliance on an alliance of funders is key here, and it allies network power with regional diversity. This is where cOAlition S can intervene in Europe. They are a network of funding agencies and, thus, could expand, SciELO style, or with SciELO, but with a decisive intent to support the diamond model. What is needed here is a transition working plan to help publishing entities (platforms, journals) to move from APCs to diamond.

UNESCO can and is certainly thinking about all this as Bhanu Neupane explained in Toluca.

 

Sorry for volunteering you Abel 😊

But, Abel, do try to be more open to your Latin American colleagues and friends, as well as many well-meaning Europeans.😉
 

Finally, there’s the whole ideology issue wrapped into this discussion. It’s one thing to focus on improving durability, quality, and sustainability so diamond publishers can better serve their constituencies. It’s another to leverage this relationship to insist that all of Plan S’s requirements be adhered to as well. At present, only 4.3% of diamond publishers comply with all Plan S criteria. Many of these criteria are good and solid---using PIDs and DOIs, ensuring proper archiving, using common markup language, and so on. But most authors have legitimate concerns about other criteria like CC-BY (which is why most prefer something more like CC-BY-NC-ND. This single issue has bedeviled OA uptake for decades already. I think we’d be better off focusing on what researchers actually want and need, instead of what is demanded by OA ideology. What is this exactly? Here’s one perspective, from tables 3 and 7 of our 2023 global survey of researchers (which was tiny, but the results were consistent with other surveys). We would, by the way, love help redoing this survey and getting it out to a bigger audience. Understanding what researchers really want and need should be a no-brainer prerequisite to any policy effort, but we just haven’t taken this first step anywhere:

 

The issue of "what researchers want" is both crucial and complex. Which researchers are we talking about here? Team leaders with a lot of clout? Beginning researchers trying to achieve tenure? Researchers in marginal or poor institutions? In trying to avoid "ideology", it is important not to reintroduce it through the back door. The unexamined "business" perspective can be quite ideological, just to give a small example. Tying scientific publishing to an ability to produce revenue and demean "labour of love" efforts as "unsustainable" is also open to ideological readings. This said, if the survey proposed above is well designed, why not? It could be useful. However, such a survey must be attentive to issues of power, exclusion, etc.

Lowering the cost of publishing for authors remains the top concern in the survey presented here. Diamond does this in a thorough manner without putting authors in the position of having to negotiate or beg for lower APCs or no APCs.

 

In conclusion, after far too many words again, I think it’s possible to accomplish all the lofty goals we’ve set for ourselves in this space, but only if we honestly follow the needs of researchers and also follow the evidence of what works and what doesn’t. When we let our ideology take the lead instead, we’re fighting the same fight but we end up heading down one dead end after another, and in the process, we waste valuable time and money, fracture the solution space, exhaust the goodwill and belief in this space, and cause disruptions with unintended consequences. here.

I entirely agree if the word of ideology is used correctly.

 

I’m a carpenter. Our saying is to measure twice and cut once. This is good advice for carpenters---even better for those who are trying to change the world.

Quite right so long as the measurement is not constructed in such a way as to avoid some uncomfortable issues (the "externalities" of the some economists).

Glenn Hampson

unread,
Feb 25, 2024, 12:41:54 PMFeb 25
to Jean-Claude Guédon, OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Hi Jean-Claude,

 

Thanks for your reply. I like your thinking. I wish we were closer to the same time zone so this conversation could be more rapid. I’ll reply and then step away on this (but am happy to keep talking directly):

 

  1. More power to you on the diamond club. This is an important effort and it will make a difference. The point I was trying to make---and have apparently failed to make---is that in terms of moving the scholarly publishing world to a new paradigm, diamond may be the wrong instrument to focus on for the reasons I stated previously---market size, sustainability, etc. But certainly, in terms of improving the lot of the “unmanaged diamond world,” this effort is important and will be hugely beneficial. And if your longer-term goal is to create a robust framework that somehow attracts/enables even more journals to join the diamond club, then great. Good luck, really, and thanks for  your work. And,
  2. I’m also filled with spit and vinegar about how things work in scholarly communication. I just channel my energy differently than you. Some of my energy has been directed into solutions you might appreciate insofar as they can completely reinvent the wheel (help me find funding for the All-Scholarship Repository, for example; it even comes with a business plan). Most of my energy, though, has been directed into looking for evidence-based, reality-based, common ground approaches to improving scholarly communication (of which scholarly publishing is just one element; the bigger communication picture is more illuminating to me). I’m grateful that OSI participants over the last nine years (mostly during the first six years) have given generously of their time and knowledge and helped show how we’re truly all fighting the same fight. Can we do things better, cheaper, more efficiently, and more equitably, with more inclusion, less bias, easier access, and more integrity? Absolutely. How? Not only, I suggest to you, by burning everything down and starting over. That’s certainly one approach, but it isn’t the only one (and it probably isn’t a very realistic approach either). I suggest to you that the community of action we can build together to affect change---if it’s built on common ground---has far more power to affect change than any Plan S, Plan T, BOAI, or whatever. Here’s the high-level description of this approach (the executive summary from our common ground paper published a few years ago; you can download this and all of OSI’s policy perspectives from here):

 

Finding common ground in our collective effort to bring about the future of open research matters for three main reasons: understanding the full scope of the challenges in this space; identifying the best possible, most effective, most sustainable solutions; and avoiding unintended consequences. Do we know enough about the challenges of open research, are we confident the solutions we’re pursuing are the right ones and are we accurately gauging the potential risks and benefits of our action and inaction?

 

These are basic questions that every policy process tries to unearth. They are also, however, questions that have never been asked by the scholarly communication community in any global, inclusive, high-level, large-scale sense. Instead of working together to change the global future of open in a way that benefits everyone equally we have been led for the most part as factions, with each faction pursuing its own separate goals based on its own separate sense of reality.

 

Certainly the potential exists to create a world with vast troves of open research so we can accelerate discovery, improve education and public policy and help make the world a better place. This is the goal of all research and it’s the goal of the open movement to help research succeed. But figuring out the right way to do this is key. Many challenges are involved and the consequences of our actions and inactions are real.

 

First and foremost among these challenges may be overcoming our own hubris. The open research debate has for years been driven by claims that we know with certainty that open access as envisioned by some is an absolute good that clearly conveys benefits to research and society. This certainty makes for a compelling sales pitch but at the moment it is founded more in ideology than hard evidence. Working to find common ground doesn’t mean questioning the potential of open or questioning motives or solutions but it does mean being open to the possibility that we don’t have all the answers, and that to get these answers we need to work together. With these answers in hand we can then build a stronger foundation for moving forward and for achieving the full potential of open. Our default position in OSI is that we need to be more willing to embrace the diversity of thought, evidence and practice in this space— there’s a lot of it—and embrace all efforts that help create a more open world (at least to the extent they don’t squash this diversity in the process).

 

There has also been hubris from many stakeholder groups—publishers who have at times seemed somewhat tone-deaf to complaints about their profit margins; funders who think they understand enough about the scholarly communication ecosystem to reform the entire system in a way that everyone must follow; open advocates who can sometimes seem more concerned with punishing publishers than protecting the needs of interests of research; and so on. Our inability and unwillingness in this community to listen, learn and treat each other with respect has been more common than not.

 

Complicating this task, our scholarly communication tools and practices have been evolving for decades now and there are a large number of organizations in the scholarly communication space who are actively working on a wide variety of reforms. Some of these groups are working together, most are not. Overall our progress toward a more open research world has been growing steadily, although much progress remains to be made.

 

Or at least some people see it this way. Some groups are convinced that not nearly enough progress has been made to-date. They may also feel quite strongly that commercial publishers have no place in the future of research and that no reforms are complete unless publishers are excised from the picture.

 

Others feel quite strongly that publishers have a centuries-long track record of serving the research community and that the tools and processes put in place by publishers are essential to retain because they facilitate good research and are valued by the research community. Still others are caught some-where in between—yes publishing is valuable, but exactly what is “publishing” in the digital age, and can’t we do things more efficiently today than in years past?

 

There is also a wide range of disagreement over how fast needed reforms can and should happen. “Right now” is too slow for some and “ten years from now” is too fast for others. On the fast side advocates see the need for immediately freeing research information that could cure diseases and re-verse climate change. On the slow side advocates see the need to move with caution lest we damage research with rash and ill-considered widespread changes; and others—perhaps more realists than worriers—advise that universities in all their diversity are really the ones in control of these reforms and that short of global action by university provosts themselves, no other stakeholder group working alone is going to change the global scholarly communication system any time soon.

 

Aside from issues directly related to open access reform—what kind of open and how fast—there are also many persistent issues in this space that will require global cooperation to solve. The misuse of impact factors is one such issue, for instance. Other broad issues include making peer review demands more sustainable, reforming the publish or perish culture of academia (which affects promotion and tenure practices everywhere in the world), understanding whether embargos can be reduced or eliminated, reforming our misuse of journal impact factors, better understanding the impacts of open re-search so we can better target our reforms and innovations, and much more.

 

So what do we do? What can we do? Solutions to these questions are critically important to the future of research and society.

 

Fortunately there’s a way forward. Rebuilding our quest for open research on solid, common ground instead of on narrow and fractured ideological ground is both possible and promising. Ample common already ground exists in this community and the need for a common ground approach to address this complex system’s many challenges is compelling. Also, a future built on common ground will be far richer and stronger than the future we are currently pursuing.

 

OSI has spent the past five years cultivating high level, global, multi-stakeholder perspectives on this challenge. While we don’t speak as a group with regard to the opinions and recommendations presented in this paper the general opinion of many OSI participants has been and remains that the future of open research is a critical challenge the world needs to address, and that the only way to address this challenge effectively to work together.

 

Best regards,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)

 

 

From: Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.clau...@umontreal.ca>
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2024 1:21 AM
To: Glenn Hampson <gham...@nationalscience.org>; 'OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU' <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Cc: 'osi20...@googlegroups.com' <osi20...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Allow me to push back once again.

On 2024-02-24 12:38, Glenn Hampson wrote:

Hi Jean Claude, and thanks for the corrections. Yes, of course---many accolades for the great work being done by AmeliCA, Redalyc, CLACSO, and others in Latin America. I should have mentioned them---thanks for correcting the record. The general sentiment I was trying to express is that if we’re going to characterize the diamond diaspora as a broad scattering of small publishers who will benefit from being part of an organization that offers rules, training, and centralized administration, then it’s a bit disingenuous to include established groups like SciELO (and Redalyc, et al) in our calculations. It’s like saying we’re going to start a media company that will provide resources for all independent artists in the world, but in our impact calculations, we assume that Sony and MGM are going to be part of our group as well.

I am surprised by the phrase: "If we are to characterize... etc.". This is not the point of people close to, for example, the OPERAS European project (fair warning: I co-chair their advisory board). Rather, they deal with a situation where diamond id practiced by a wide variety of entities, ranging from "Mon and Pop" undertakings to SciELO, Redalyc, etc. The point is not to "characterize" these entities, but rather find ways to help them even though they are very diverse. The whole internal debate now going on about the governance of this galaxy of various "publishers" is not about centralized administration, but rather coordinated action. And accusing whomever is being accused here of being a bit disingenuous is a little strange, to say the least.

 

And this kind of relates to the whole business mindset thing. Publishing is a business, not a hobby. This isn’t exactly a controversial statement and yet somehow it is. I get where you’re coming from---in an ideal world, sure: research should flow from the bench to the public without any intermediary (short of improvements like fact checking)---but even systems like this require infrastructure and attention, and this attention needs to be consistent (sustainable). Without a realistic plan for how this consistent attention is financed (i.e., for where the money comes from)---and not just in spurts either, but long-term---businesses can’t operate effectively (think hire, invest, develop new products, do marketing and outreach, etc.).

Publishing is not necessarily a business. First and foremost, it is a trade or, we would say in French, a "métier". This métier or trade can be a business but it is not always a business, and nothing proves that the fate of all the forms this trade can take will necessarily evolve into a business. If you have read the report of the expert group that I chaired at the EC between 2017 and 2019, you will see that publishing itself is deconstructed into functions and that these functions can be assigned to various actors that, together, do not form a business at all. It also shows that the "publisher" as a monolithic entity is a construct of the print world. We are moving out of that print world. 

You do not really get where I come from either. Of course complex tasks need infrastructure and attention. Road systems, for example, obey these constraints; yet, they are not business in the usual sense of the word. In fact, economists tend to treat them as infrastructures, and then a new debate opens up: which activities deserve to be treated as infrastructures, and which not? Utilities are clearly borderline cases, sometimes with terrible results (the Texan grid caught in a Canadian-style cold spell as happened a couple of years ago). The same is true of publishing. Borderlines have to be established. From my perspective, I do not worry if producing novels, cookbooks, pop psy stuff, etc., are treated as commercial objects and submitted to a business logic. But, when it comes to knowledge, I believe it is important to protect the integrity of the process of its production and the accompanying debates. When journals complete for market shares with the use of the impact factor as a tool to structure competition, you mix up things between the knowledge side of things and the commercial side of things. I once argued that point with people from Science, the AAAS journal, and their answer was to invoke the existence of a "firewall" between the commercial and the knowledge activities. Admitting the existence of a firewall was quite revealing in itself. More revealing even was the fact that the nature of this firewall was not clarified or made transparent. And this is the case for the vast majority of journals that position themselves in a business and commercial perspective.

As for the source of money, I have already dealt with this. In terms of revenue generating capacity, a great deal of research would be in Hampson's terms, "unsustainable". Yet it goes on because governments know they have to support it, if only for strategic reasons: fundamental physics could not be neglected when the perspective of atomic bombs emerged. The same was true of hydraulics in the time of Newton: designing efficient hulls for sail boats became an important element of naval power. The source of money is the same for publishing as it is for research itself: governments can take those costs on as does presently the EC with the ORE platform (which, finally, is going to be reshaped intelligently with open source software and no commercial entanglements). But already, governments support myriads of publishing enterprises in science and scholarship. And we all know that the cost of publishing compared to the cost of research is quite small.

 

To your point, is research already fundamentally unsustainable because it’s largely supported by hand-outs? No. Researchers have a tried and true (albeit horribly biased and time-consuming) process for getting this money---government grants, foundation grants, private donations, contractor bids, industry partnerships, university investment, and more. A big lab is run like a business and has funding in the pipeline so researchers aren’t laid off in biannual purges. And Big Universities (and Big Research Institutions) are run like Big Businesses, regardless of whether their money comes from selling jeans or researching genes.

Here you are confusing the general flow of money with the processes associated with the distribution of that money. No one denies that the process could be improved and literature exists on that topic. Furthermore, your comparison of a lab with a business reveals your bias which is that most everything can be treated as if it were a business. I would tend to call this an ideological stance.

 

All this has nothing to do with idealism. We are all idealists in this space. But if we want our ideals to amount to more than words on a listserv, we need to first come up with plans that will work, and second, ensure that these plans survive the reality of the business environment, unless our plan is simply to say that someone is going to pay for everything forever (which is okay too, but there needs to be a realistic plan for how this happens).

Two points here:

    1. Regarding the "business environment", I fully agree with you. I have seen at close range how large corporations behave to influence, manipulate, bend, etc. governmental decisions and advocates of open science must be fully aware of the political forces at work in this context. Heather Joseph could tell you a thousand stories about that situation. So, let us not be naive about this.

    2. How is someone going to pay forever? The answer is clear, if not always simple: treat scientific and scholarly publishing as an infrastructure and finance it with research-related monies since publishing is an unavoidable phase of the research cycle. This means that whenever and wherever governments are already involved, let them be a little bit more involved for the 1-to-2% cost of publishing (compared to the cost of research).

 

We’re on the same page---this I’ve always believed---but just looking at this challenge through different glasses. I’ve launched many a project through SCI and they’ve all had amazing potential. But without sustainable finances---if the project just comes down to volunteer labor---the full potential of that project is never realized (often not even remotely close).

I would love to agree with you, but, alas, I do think we diverge significantly, if only because you tend to paper over differences rather than resolve them, while I favour a more analytical approach.

Thanks for the closing words. All the best.

Jean-Claude

Glenn Hampson

unread,
Mar 1, 2024, 11:27:17 AMMar 1
to Sara Rouhi, OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Hi Sara,

 

These are wonderful points. An iterative approach is very realistic and business friendly. And as you said, it can get us a long way toward change, albeit imperfect (at least along the way).

 

“Siding” with Jean-Claude here, though---not just for the sake of argument but because I think these approaches are worth discussing---I think it might help our efforts if we have a clearer end goal in mind. The problem with this approach, of course, is agreeing on the right goal (and also agreeing on who gets to decide that goal, and why, and for which groups, etc.).

 

The alternative is to think of more objective, research-centric goals. As I noted in my speech at SciELO20, open can’t be the reason we’re all here. Open is a tool for helping research; it isn’t the end goal.

 

So here’s what I mean by all this. I think both Jean-Claude and I are proposing a Theory of Change approach to reform. Jean-Claude’s goal is achieve an ideal state for scholarly publishing. OSI’s goal (as described in our Policy Perspective 4), is to help research succeed: For example, agree to help researchers find a cure for pediatric cancer, and to this end, work together across the spectrum of publishers and policies to create new and better ways of sharing information that get us closer to a cure. Along the way, the “missing middle” will fill in with all kinds of new tools, policies, alignments, and incentives, and these new systems can be picked by other researchers who are pursuing other goals. Over time, this ecosystem of goal-driven best practices can get us closer and closer to an Open Renaissance (slide 12).

 

So, rather than zig-zagging toward some unclear goal (the iterative approach) or boldly going toward a goal with unclear impacts (the goal of rebuilding all publishing in an “ideal” image), working together on big research goals helps both research and open on many levels, allowing us to discover in real time what works and what doesn’t, what else is needed, and so on. It also unites in all open solutions (data, code, etc.). And oh yeah---it also makes huge contributions to research and society along the way.

 

There’s room for both the iterative and the goal-driven approaches, of course, but at minimum, I think the former will be more effective working together with the latter. Submitted for your consideration.

 

With best regards,

 

Glenn

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)

 

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> On Behalf Of Sara Rouhi
Sent: Friday, March 1, 2024 7:10 AM
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Meant to send this to the whole group and instead just sent to Jean-Claude:

 

Hi Jean-Claude,

 

Thanks for sharing this framing. I find it very interesting. I think the challenge with your statement: "The alternative - much better IMHO - is to imagine the best possible state for scientific publishing, and then try to chart a path from the what is  o that best possible state" is that it's very hard to establish what that best possible state is as we simply don't have all the inputs to do it (maybe there's an AI that will tell us!) and we would never all agree on what that paradigm would be. (I also think a "waterfall" approach of "knowing the end and then building it" always lets us down because very change we make unfurls unintended consequences.)

 

Iterative approaches from big players can go a long way towards change – albeit imperfect change. Some examples:

 

What if Science/Nature/Cell – all the prestige folks – simply stopped sharing their impact factors? 

 

Better yet, what if society publishers agreed they were no longer submitting their journals to WOS for a JCR calculation?

 

What if top researchers in high-profile fields announced en masse that they would no longer publish/edit/review for prestige journals? They'd stick only with society journals? Or open journals?

 

What if consortia of influential institutions - the Ivies, the Big Ten, etc - all announced in concert that they were rolling out new tenure/promotion guidelines for various fields – start with biomedical – that shifted away from prestige metrics to more DORA-aligned evaluation methods?

 

What if NIH partnered on a small pilot with a major biomedical institution – JHU for example – to test drive a shared DORA-based assessment paradigm for funding biomedical research, where tenure/promotion and grant funding were tied together?

 

What if a major funding body like NIH paid for shared infrastructure andonly  publishers who met certain non-profit/open criteria could participate? These would be the only outlets where funded authors could disseminate their work? For profit publishers could not participate.

 

All of these ideas have aspects that wouldn't work, unintended consequences, and winners and losers, but they all get us closer to a publish paradigm LESS captured by commercial interests and more grounded in building the communities of knowledge we all purport to be committed to. 

 

Iteration gives us the possibility to adjust course as we go to get to a shared ecosystem everyone can live with. Again, I point to Latin America as a region that has done this successfully (but unfortunately is being co-opted by global north practices and struggling to resist the undertow of commercial interests).

 

My two cents. Really enjoying this forum for conversation!

 

 

 

Stay healthy and well,

Sara

 

Sara Rouhi

Regional Director, Publishing Development, The Americas

Directora Regional, Desarrollo de Revistas, Las Américas

+1 202 505 0814 

 

ORCiD: 0000-0003-1803-6186

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sararouhi/

X: @RouhiRoo

 

Remote based in Washington, D.C.

Remota, basada en Washington, D.C. 

 

Working days: Monday-Friday EST

Horario laboral: lunes-viernes EST

 

PLOS

Empowering researchers to transform science

 


From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> on behalf of Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.clau...@UMONTREAL.CA>
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2024 2:54 PM
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU>
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

[CAUTION: External email. Proceed with Caution. ]

Like you, I will end with just a couple remarks:

1. Re: "I’m also filled with spit and vinegar about how things work in scholarly communication. I just channel my energy differently than you.".

I am not filled with spit and vinegar. I am simply and deeply worried about the state of knowledge production. Identifying processes and some "culprits" is not being full of spit and vinegar; it is the result of long and hard thinking about scientific publishing and communication. The commercialization of scientific publishing after WWII deeply changed the scientific landscape, and saying so is simply the role of a historical perspective intent on correctly interpreting the processes leading from the recent past to the present.

2. "Can we do things better, cheaper, more efficiently, and more equitably, with more inclusion, less bias, easier access, and more integrity? Absolutely. How? Not only, I suggest to you, by burning everything down and starting over."

Hampson often calls for cooperation, working together, etc, and this is fine. But then, he should not mischaracterize various actors as he does just above. Diamond OA advocates are not incendiary types.

To change situations, one can either try to nudge the what is and see, but that is often paramount to charting a course without a compass. The cubic zirconium image, however amusing it was, perfectly reflects that problem and that is why I suggested translating this statement into "Que sera, sera". The alternative - much better IMHO - is to imagine the best possible state for scientific publishing, and then try to chart a path from the what is to that best possible state.

Jean-Claude

 


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Glenn Hampson

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Mar 4, 2024, 11:12:30 AMMar 4
to Toby Green (He - Him), OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, Jean-Claude Guédon, osi20...@googlegroups.com

Of course, there’s history and convention to deal with as well. So Jean-Claude---I would hesitate to characterize academic journals as being irrelevant in the construction of modern knowledge. They are, in fact, extremely important, as our small global survey of researchers confirmed. And Toby, it may take time to convince researchers to rely more on these “non-journal” reports for their research work. See table 13 below for the numbers.

 

TABLE 13: HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE INFORMATION SOURCES FOR YOUR RESEARCH WORK?

 

Response

% saying

OFTEN or

ALWAYS

important

Specialty journals (international and selective, conduct peer review, high quality, widely read)

85%

Other researchers in my field (not at my institution)

71%

Prestige journals (highly selective and multi-disciplinary, like Nature and Science)

63%

Conferences

59%

Academic indexes like Scopus and Web of Science

59%

Google Scholar

59%

Other researchers at my institution

46%

Government reports

44%

Preprints (most often research posted quickly in order to generate feedback prior to publishing—e.g., bioRxiv)

39%

Other internet resources

39%

Books from my institution’s library

32%

Other resources from my institution’s library

32%

Regional journals (generally small and affordable, focusing on issues of regional importance and published in local languages)

29%

Private industry reports

15%

Predatory journals (will publish anything quickly and for a fee)

7%

Family and friends

5%

Other

0%

Response

% saying

Combine these figures with 88% percent of researchers who believe that “Publishing is a critical part of the research process,” and fully 100% who believe that “There are no one-size fits-all solutions in scholarly communication” (both from survey table 16), and it’s clear that researchers aren’t asking anyone to dismantle the scholarly publishing system with a wrecking ball. The system needs help for sure, but the right kind of help. In fact, 92% of researchers agree with the following statement: “Researchers are a key stakeholder in this conversation. Reforms need to be made in collaboration with researchers so we don’t end up damaging research in the process and/or making access issues worse.”

 

Best,

 

Glenn

 

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)

 

From: OpenCafe-l <OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU> On Behalf Of Toby Green (He - Him)
Sent: Monday, March 4, 2024 4:49 AM
To: OPENC...@LISTSERV.BYU.EDU
Subject: Re: [OPENCAFE-L] European Policy Shifts

 

Jean-Claude,

 

I don’t think anecdotes can ever be established law ;-).But there are ~30,000 ‘anecdotes’ in Policy Commons, demonstrating that research and knowledge can be shared - at scale - without journals. 

 

The longer I observe and learn about this large number of knowledge-creating organisations, the more I realise they share some of the characteristics of journals. Like journals, they gather together knowledge from a set of researchers and research projects. Like journals, some are large and well-known, others are mid-sized, and there’s a long tail of very small ones. Like journals, some have been around for years, others have morphed/changed/merged, and some have closed - with all the usual challenges of long-term preservation, orphaned content and keeping track of where content has gone.

 

Rather than see either model as ‘law’, established or not, I think what we have is two sides of a coin: journals on one side, non-journal institutional publications on the other. And the thing about coins is this: neither side can exist without the other.

 

Toby

 

Toby GREEN
Publisher, Policy Commons
https://policycommons.net

Director and Co-Founder
COHERENT DIGITAL LLC
https://coherentdigital.net

toby....@coherentdigital.net
+33 6 07 76 80 86
Twitter: @tobyabgreen
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tobyabgreen/ 



On 4 Mar 2024, at 12:45, Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.clau...@umontreal.ca> wrote:

 

Now that we have all read To by's anecdote - one institutional example - are we going to treat it as an established law?

I agree with Toby is his first point. Or rather I would rephrase it as follows: if journals are going to be meaningful in a fully digital environment (outside of its present role as a commercial object seeking market shares in a market structured by impact factors), they have to play a real role for the construction of knowledge. They used to in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when they acted as the megaphone of small research communities organized in societies. What journals should be in a time of ultra-big science and in a fully digitized context is something to think about, but starting from communities of research and linguistic boundaries is a start.

Jean-Claude

On 2024-03-03 08:53, Toby Green (He - Him) wrote:

As many of you know, I used to work for a large, economic and public policy research organisation. It produces ~600 new reports and working papers every year. None is now published in a journal. Indeed, the few journals they had when I joined in 1998, were closed by 2010 in favour of simply sharing research findings as papers and reports, online.

 

I was hired to ’sort out’ their publishing operation in 1998. And, boy, did it need sorting. When I arrived, fewer and fewer people were reading their research, fewer and fewer libraries were adding it to their collections. Worse, the funding available to cover the cost of publishing was being cut and there was no money to invest in switching to digital publishing (remember, this was 1998).

 

My brief was to ‘maximise the dissemination’ of its outputs. Rather than put any new money on the table, the organisation’s funders decided that all costs had to be recouped and we were on our own when it came to investments. 

 

To do the former, we had to make the content free to read online. To do the latter, we had to charge someone, somewhere a meaningful sum of money because the bill was running at ~€10m per annum. We succeeded because we adopted a ‘commercial’ approach to the way we ran the ‘business’. We kept a firm grip on costs, ensured we had money for capital investment, and had a team dedicated to generating revenues (most from sales to libraries). Slowly, with a lot of hard work, we constructed a successful, non-journal, model that boosted readership and paid the bills.

 

Why am I sharing this story? Because when I read threads like this one, I usually have the same two reactions.

 

1. Why is it always about journals? Other forms of publishing are available. 

 

2. Publishing isn’t cheap and it's hard to build a sustainable, long-term, model. So taking a ‘commercial/business-like’ approach is a necessity not a choice. I’ve seen quite a few initiatives that skimped on fundraising/sales efforts, with sadly inevitable results.

 

I’d also like to share another reflection. 

 

In Table 3, I was pleased to see that ‘Improving the visibility of non-journal research work (industry white papers, government studies etc) is ‘high or must-do’ for 55% of researchers because that is exactly what I am trying to do with my new project, Policy Commons. (For those not familiar with it, Policy Commons is a discovery and preservation service for ’non-journal research work’ aka grey literature.) 

 

However, what readers of this listserv may not realise is the scale of 'non-journal research work’. 

 

When I started Policy Commons, I imagined we might find several thousand research institutions like think tanks, NGOs, IGOs and similar living outside the journal world. This was a serious under-estimate. We’ve added over 30,000 such organisations to the Directory in Policy Commons and we’re still finding and adding new ones every week. The non-journal research world is large, very large. 

 

Wrangling all this non-journal research work into Policy Commons shows that these organisations could learn a lot from the journal world about the way content could be captured and wrapped in metadata. But I often think the reverse is also true: universities and other journal-centric organisations could learn that research work can be published quite successfully without the need for a journal.

 

Toby

 

 

 

Toby GREEN
Publisher, Policy Commons
https://policycommons.net

Director and Co-Founder
COHERENT DIGITAL LLC
https://coherentdigital.net

toby....@coherentdigital.net
+33 6 07 76 80 86
Twitter: @tobyabgreen
https://www.linkedin.com/in/tobyabgreen/ 



On 2 Mar 2024, at 22:44, Jean-Claude Guédon <jean.clau...@umontreal.ca> wrote:

 

Not an ideal state for scholarly publishing; rather an fundamental framing of scientific publishing, i.e. putting human knowledge (and all of its necessary imperfections) at the centre. 

Jean-Claude

On 2024-03-01 11:27, Glenn Hampson wrote:

Hi Sara,

 

These are wonderful points. An iterative approach is very realistic and business friendly. And as you said, it can get us a long way toward change, albeit imperfect (at least along the way).

 

“Siding” with Jean-Claude here, though---not just for the sake of argument but because I think these approaches are worth discussing---I think it might help our efforts if we have a clearer end goal in mind. The problem with this approach, of course, is agreeing on the right goal (and also agreeing on who gets to decide that goal, and why, and for which groups, etc.).

 

The alternative is to think of more objective, research-centric goals. As I noted in my speech at SciELO20, open can’t be the reason we’re all here. Open is a tool for helping research; it isn’t the end goal. 

 

So here’s what I mean by all this. I think both Jean-Claude and I are proposing a Theory of Change approach to reform. Jean-Claude’s goal is achieve an ideal state for scholarly publishing. OSI’s goal (as described in our Policy Perspective 4), is to help research succeed: For example, agree to help researchers find a cure for pediatric cancer, and to this end, work together across the spectrum of publishers and policies to create new and better ways of sharing information that get us closer to a cure. Along the way, the “missing middle” will fill in with all kinds o f new tools, policies, alignments, and incentives, and these new systems can be picked by other researchers who are pursuing other goals. Over time, this ecosystem of goal-driven best practices can get us closer and closer to an Open Renaissance (slide 12).

 

So, rather than zig-zagging toward some unclear goal (the iterative approach) or boldly going toward a goal with unclear impacts (the goal of rebuilding all publishing in an “ideal” image), working together on big research goals helps both research and open on many levels, allowing us to discover in real time what works and what doesn’t, what else is needed, and so on. It also unites in all open solutions (data, code, etc.). And oh yeah---it also makes huge contributions to research and society along the way.

 

There’s room for both the iterative and the goal-driven approaches, of course, but at minimum, I think the former will be more effective working together with the latter. Submitted for your consideration.

 

With best regards,

 

Glenn

 

Glenn Hampson
Executive Director
Science Communication Institute (SCI)

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Rick Anderson

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Mar 4, 2024, 11:21:25 AMMar 4
to Glenn Hampson, Toby Green (He - Him), OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, Jean-Claude Guédon, osi20...@googlegroups.com

But Glenn, you’re overlooking that fact that researchers are all wrong. 😊

 

---

Rick Anderson

University Librarian

Brigham Young University

(801) 422-4301

rick_a...@byu.edu

 

 

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Glenn Hampson

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Mar 4, 2024, 11:40:27 AMMar 4
to Rick Anderson, Toby Green (He - Him), OPENC...@listserv.byu.edu, Jean-Claude Guédon, osi20...@googlegroups.com

LOL. Of course, in the world’s defense, researchers are a hard group to pin down. Junior life sciences researchers are going to have a completely different take on reform than senior history researchers; academics in Brazil have different opinions about reform than academics in France; CERN researchers laugh about posting data online because their datasets are so large they can only be physically moved and stored. And if you do manage to get 50 researchers together in a room to discuss a topic as esoteric as publishing reform, you’re going to have a selection bias (they’ll be in the room because they want to see change). So, I don’t blame all our global reform efforts for being light on researcher involvement, but honestly, we need to figure out a way to better understand our audience. That is truly job 1.

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