Inequality in Knowledge Production: The Integration of Academic Infrastructure by Big Publishers

Authors: Alejandro Posada, George Chen

Abstract: This paper attempts to illustrate the implications of a simultaneous redirection of the big publishers’ business strategy towards open access business models and the acquisition of scholarly infrastructure utilizing the conceptual framework of rent-seeking theory. To document such a transformation, we utilized financial databases to analyze the mergers and acquisitions of the top publicly traded academic publishers. We then performed a service analysis to situate the acquisitions of publishers within the knowledge and education life-cycles, illustrating what we term to be their vertical integration within their respective expansion target life-cycles. Implications of higher education institutions’ increased dependency towards the companies and increased influence by the companies on the institution and individual researcher were noted from the vertical integration of products. Said vertical integration is analyzed via a rent theory framework and described to be a form of rent-seeking complementary to the redirection of business strategies to open access. Finally, the vertical integration is noted to generate exclusionary effects upon researchers/institutions in the global south.

Citation:Alejandro Posada, George Chen. Inequality in Knowledge Production: The Integration of Academic Infrastructure by Big Publishers. Leslie Chan; Pierre Mounier. ELPUB 2018, Jun 2018, Toronto, Canada. <10.4000/proceedings.elpub.2018.30>.


Source: Archive Ouverte HAL

Measuring Open Access Policy Compliance: Results of a Survey

Authors: Shannon Kipphut-Smith, Michael Boock, Kimberly Chapman, Michaela Willi Hooper

Abstract: In the last decade, a significant number of institutions have adopted open access (OA) policies. Many of those working with OA policies are tasked with measuring policy compliance. This article reports on a survey of Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) members designed to better understand the methods currently used for measuring and communicating OA policy success.

This electronic survey was distributed to the COAPI member listserv, inviting both institutions who have passed an implemented policies and those who are still developing policies to participate. The results to a number of questions related to topics such as policy workflows, quantitative and qualitative measurement activities and related tools, and challenges showed a wide range of responses, which are shared here. It is clear that a number of COAPI members struggle with identifying what should be measured and what tools and methods are appropriate. The survey illustrates how each institution measures compliance differently, making it difficult to benchmark against peer institutions. As a result of this survey, we recommend that institutions working with OA policies be as transparent as possible about their data sources and methods when calculating deposit rates and other quantitative measures. It is hoped that this transparency will result in the development of a set of qualitative and quantitative best practices for assessing OA policies that standardizes assessment terminology and articulates why institutions may want to measure policies.

Citation: Kipphut-Smith, S. et al., (2018). Measuring Open Access Policy Compliance: Results of a Survey. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 6(1), p.None. DOI:


Source: Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Are we still working on this? A meta-retrospective of a digital repository migration in the form of a classic Greek Tragedy (in extreme violation of Aristotelian Unity of Time)

Authors: Steve Van Tuyl, Josh Gum, Margaret Mellinger, Gregorio Luis Ramirez, Brandon Straley, Ryan Wick, Hui Zhang

Abstract: In this paper we present a retrospective of a 2.5 year project to migrate a major digital repository system from one open source software platform to another. After more than a decade on DSpace, Oregon State University’s institutional repository was in dire need of a variety of new functionalities. For reasons described in the paper, we deemed it appropriate to migrate our repository to a Samvera platform. The project faced many of the challenges one would expect (slipping deadlines, messy metadata) and many that one might hope never to experience (exceptional amounts of turnover and uncertainty in personnel, software, and community). We talk through our experiences working through the three major phases of this project, using the structure of the Greek Tragedy as a way to reflect (with Stasimon) on these three phases (Episode). We then conclude the paper with the Exodus, wherein we speak at a high level of the lessons learned in the project including Patience, Process, and Perseverance, and why these are key to technical projects broadly. We hope our migration story will be helpful to developers and repository managers as a map of development hurdles and an aspiration of success.

Citation: Van Tuyl, S.; Gum, J.; Mellinger, M.; Ramirez, G.; Straley, B.; Wick, R.; Zhang, H. (2018). Are we still working on this? A meta-retrospective of a digital repository migration in the form of a classic Greek Tragedy (in extreme violation of Aristotelian Unity of Time). Code4Lib Journal. 41 (2018-08-09).


Source: Code4Lib Journal

Using ORCID, DOI, and Other Open Identifiers in Research Evaluation

Authors: Laurel L. Haak, Alice Meadows, Josh Brown

Abstract: An evaluator’s task is to connect the dots between program goals and its outcomes. This can be accomplished through surveys, research, and interviews, and is frequently performed post hoc. Research evaluation is hampered by a lack of data that clearly connect a research program with its outcomes and, in particular, by ambiguity about who has participated in the program and what contributions they have made. Manually making these connections is very labor-intensive, and algorithmic matching introduces errors and assumptions that can distort results. In this paper, we discuss the use of identifiers in research evaluation—for individuals, their contributions, and the organizations that sponsor them and fund their work. Global identifier systems are uniquely positioned to capture global mobility and collaboration. By leveraging connections between local infrastructures and global information resources, evaluators can map data sources that were previously either unavailable or prohibitively labor-intensive. We describe how identifiers, such as ORCID iDs and DOIs, are being embedded in research workflows across science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics; how this is affecting data availability for evaluation purposes: and provide examples of evaluations that are leveraging identifiers. We also discuss the importance of provenance and preservation in establishing confidence in the reliability and trustworthiness of data and relationships, and in the long-term availability of metadata describing objects and their inter-relationships. We conclude with a discussion on opportunities and risks for the use of identifiers in evaluation processes.

Citation: Haak LL, Meadows A and Brown J (2018) Using ORCID, DOI, and Other Open Identifiers in Research Evaluation. Front. Res. Metr. Anal. 3:28. doi: 10.3389/frma.2018.00028


Source: Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics

How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents?

Authors: Juan Pablo Alperin, Gustavo E. Fischman, Erin C. McKiernan, Carol Muñoz Nieves, Meredith T. Niles, Lesley Schimanski

Abstract: Much of the work of universities, even private institutions, has significant public dimensions. Faculty work in particular is often funded by public funds, is aimed at serving the public good, and is subject to public evaluation. To understand how the public dimensions of faculty work are valued, we analyzed review, tenure and promotion documents from a representative sample of 129 Canadian and American universities. We found terms and concepts related to public and community are mentioned in a large portion of documents, but mostly in ways that relate to service—an undervalued aspect of academic careers. Moreover, we find significant mentions of traditional research outputs and citation-based metrics. Such outputs and metrics reward faculty work targeted to academics, and mostly disregard the public dimensions. We conclude that institutions that want to live up to their public mission need to work towards systemic change in how faculty work is assessed and incentivized.

Citation: Alperin, J.P., Muñoz Nieves, C., Schimanski, L., Fischman, G.E., Niles, M.T. & McKiernan, E.C. (2018). How significant are the public dimensions of faculty work in review, promotion, and tenure documents? Humanities Commons [preprint]. doi:


Source: Humanities Commons

Gender and international diversity improves equity in peer review

Authors: Dakota Murray, Kyle Siler, Vincent Lariviére, Wei Mun Chan, Andrew M. Collings, Jennifer Raymond, Cassidy R Sugimoto

Abstract: The robustness of scholarly peer review has been challenged by evidence of disparities in publication outcomes based on author’s gender and nationality. To address this, we examine the peer review outcomes of 23,873 initial submissions and 7,192 full submissions that were submitted to the biosciences journal eLife between 2012 and 2017. Women and authors from nations outside of North America and Europe were underrepresented both as gatekeepers (editors and peer reviewers) and last authors. We found a homophilic interaction between the demographics of the gatekeepers and authors in determining the outcome of peer review; that is, gatekeepers favor manuscripts from authors of the same gender and from the same country. The acceptance rate for manuscripts with male last authors was significantly higher than for female last authors, and this gender inequity was greatest when the team of reviewers was all male; mixed-gender gatekeeper teams lead to more equitable peer review outcomes. Similarly, manuscripts were more likely to be accepted when reviewed by at least one gatekeeper with the same national affiliation as the corresponding author. Our results indicated that homogeneity between author and gatekeeper gender and nationality is associated with the outcomes of scientific peer review. We conclude with a discussion of mechanisms that could contribute to this effect, directions for future research, and policy implications. Code and anonymized data have been made available at

Citation: Dakota Murray, Kyle Siler, Vincent Lariviére, Wei Mun Chan, Andrew M. Collings, Jennifer Raymond, Cassidy R. Sugimoto (2018). Gender and international diversity improves equity in peer review.


Source: bioRxiv

Is It Such a Big Deal? On the Cost of Journal Use in the Digital Era

Authors: Fei Shu, Philippe Mongeon, Stefanie Haustein, Kyle Siler, Juan Pablo Alperin, Vincent Larivière

Abstract: Commercial scholarly publishers promote and sell bundles of journals—known as big deals—that provide access to entire collections rather than individual journals. Following this new model, size of serial collections in academic libraries increased almost fivefold from 1986 to 2011. Using data on library subscriptions and references made for a sample of North American universities, this study provides evidence that, while big deal bundles do decrease the mean price per subscribed journal, academic libraries receive less value for their investment. We find that university researchers cite only a fraction of journals purchased by their libraries, that this fraction is decreasing, and that the cost per cited journal has increased. These findings reveal how academic publishers use product differentiation and price strategies to increase sales and profits in the digital era, often at the expense of university and scientific stakeholders.

Citation: Shu, F., Mongeon, P., Haustein, S., Siler, K., Alperin, J., & Larivière, V. (2018). Is It Such a Big Deal? On the Cost of Journal Use in the Digital Era. College & Research Libraries, 79(6), 785. doi:


Source: College & Research Libraries 

Mining the First 100 Days: Human and Data Ethics in Twitter research

Author: Jonathan Wheeler

Abstract: This case study describes data collection from Twitter, Inc. conducted with the intent of capturing conversations following from President Trump’s and others’ use of the #MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) hashtag in Twitter posts during the first 100 days of his presidential administration. Data was collected between November 2016 and May 2017, using Twitter’s public search, user timeline, and streaming APIs. The article discusses the ethical implications of collecting data from Twitter and describes the impact of Twitter’s terms of service and API policies on data collection and research.

Librarians engaged with data literacy and research conduct programs can support researchers in developing awareness of the context sensitivities of social media research. Data librarians and others involved with data management planning can where applicable provide guidance and resources to support ethical social media data collection and management. Twitter and other social media datasets which may be published within library supported institutional or data repositories must meet policy requirements.

Citation:Wheeler, J., (2018). Mining the First 100 Days: Human and Data Ethics in Twitter research. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 6(2), p.eP2235. DOI:


Source: Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Securing community-controlled infrastructure: SPARC’s plan of action

Authors: Heather Joseph

Abstract: Late last year, the news of Elsevier’s acquisition of bepress, the provider of the popular Digital Commons repository platform, sent a shockwave throughout the library community. Hundreds of institutions that use Digital Commons to support their open access repositories quite literally woke up to the news that their repository services are now owned and managed by a company that is well known for its obstruction of open access in the repository space.

Citation: Joseph, H. (2018). Securing community-controlled infrastructure: SPARC’s plan of action. College & Research Libraries News, 79(8), 426. doi:


Source: College & Research Libraries News

Technology Problems and Student Achievement Gaps A Validation and Extension of the Technology Maintenance Construct

Authors:  Jessica McCrory Calarco, Teresa K. Lynch

Abstract: How do physical digital inequalities persist as technology becomes commonplace? We consider this question using surveys and focus groups with U.S. college students, a group that has better than average connectivity. Findings from a 748-person nonrepresentative survey revealed that ownership and use of cellphones and laptops were nearly universal. However, roughly 20% of respondents had difficulty maintaining access to technology (e.g., broken hardware, data limits, connectivity problems, etc.). Students of lower socioeconomic status and students of color disproportionately experienced hardships, and reliance on poorly functioning laptops was associated with lower grade point averages. Focus group and open-ended data elaborate these findings. Findings quantitatively validate the technology maintenance construct, which proposes that as access to information and communication technology peaks, the digital divide is increasingly characterized by the (in)ability to maintain access. Data highlight overlooked nuances in digital access that may inform social disparities and the policies that may mitigate them.

Citation: Amy L. Gonzales, Jessica McCrory Calarco, and Teresa K. Lynch. Author’s accepted manuscript. “Technology Problems and Student Achievement Gaps: A Validation and Extension of the Technology Maintenance Construct.” Published in Communication Research. August 2018.


Source: Author’s accepted manuscript.