Open Access Mandates and the Seductively False Promise of Free

Authors: Bhamati Viswanathan & Adam Mossoff

Abstract: CPIP has published a new policy brief entitled Open-Access Mandates and the Seductively False Promise of “Free.” The brief, written by CPIP Legal Fellow Bhamati Viswanathan and CPIP Director of Academic Programs & Senior Scholar Adam Mossoff, exposes the lack of evidence or justification for the proliferating legal mandates by federal agencies that coerce authors and publishers to make their scholarly articles available for free to the world.

Citation: Viswanathan, Bhamati & Mossoff, Adam. Open Access Mandates and the Seductively False Promise of Free. Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property. April 2017.


Passing a Campus Open Access Policy

Author: Chealsye Bowley

Abstract: On March 31, Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) Faculty Senate passed an Open Access policy! The Open Access Archiving Policy ensures that future scholarly articles authored by FGCU faculty will be made freely available to the public by requiring faculty to deposit copies of their accepted manuscripts in the university’s repository, DigitalFGCU.

As Scholarly Communication Librarian, I worked with my supervisor, library administration, the university’s Provost, and Faculty Senate to write and pass the policy. Typically in the United States, Open Access policies are passed through the Faculty Senate as a faculty level policy rather than a “university policy” that requires a different approval process. Policies are usually proposed to a Faculty Senate team or committee, such as Faculty Affairs, and then proceeds to Faculty Senate for voting.

Although each institution will be different, in this blog post I’ll share some of the key decisions and learnings that allowed our team at FGCU to pass an Open Access Policy quickly.

Citation: Bowley, C. “Passing a Campus Open Access Policy.” OpenCon2017 Blog, May 05, 2017,


Source: OpenCon2017 Blog


Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage

Author: Bastian Greshake

Abstract: Despite the growth of Open Access, potentially illegally circumventing paywalls to access scholarly publications is becoming a more mainstream phenomenon. The web service Sci-Hub is amongst the biggest facilitators of this, offering free access to around 62 million publications. So far it is not well studied how and why its users are accessing publications through Sci-Hub. By utilizing the recently released corpus of Sci-Hub and comparing it to the data of  ~28 million downloads done through the service, this study tries to address some of these questions. The comparative analysis shows that both the usage and complete corpus is largely made up of recently published articles, with users disproportionately favoring newer articles and 35% of downloaded articles being published after 2013. These results hint that embargo periods before publications become Open Access are frequently circumnavigated using Guerilla Open Access approaches like Sci-Hub. On a journal level, the downloads show a bias towards some scholarly disciplines, especially Chemistry, suggesting increased barriers to access for these. Comparing the use and corpus on a publisher level, it becomes clear that only 11% of publishers are highly requested in comparison to the baseline frequency, while 45% of all publishers are significantly less accessed than expected. Despite this, the oligopoly of publishers is even more remarkable on the level of content consumption, with 80% of all downloads being published through only 9 publishers. All of this suggests that Sci-Hub is used by different populations and for a number of different reasons, and that there is still a lack of access to the published scientific record. A further analysis of these openly available data resources will undoubtedly be valuable for the investigation of academic publishing.

Citation:  Greshake B.Looking into Pandora’s Box: The Content of Sci-Hub and its Usage.” F1000Research 2017, 6:541. (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11366.1) .


Critical thinking in a post-Beall vacuum

Author: Andy Nobles

Abstract: For many years, Jeffrey Beall single-handedly fought his own (often controversial) battle against ‘predatory’ publishers, mostly via his ‘Scholarly Open Access’ blog (AKA Beall’s List) – a battle he ultimately seemed to have lost when the blog was taken offline in mysterious circumstances in January.

Since then, the chit-chat in the scholarly community has been about what to do now that Beall’s List has gone.

Citation: Nobles, Andy. Critical thinking in a post-Beall vacuum. Research Information. April/May 2017. Published online 29 March 2017.


Organization and Delivery of Scholarly Communications Services by Academic and Research Libraries in the United Kingdom: Observations from Across the Pond

Author: Christine Fruin

Abstract: The U.K. library community has implemented collaborative strategies in key scholarly communication areas such as open access mandate compliance, and U.S. librarians could benefit from learning in greater detail about the practices and experiences of U.K. libraries with respect to how they have organized scholarly communication services. METHODS In order to better understand the scholarly communication activities in U.K. academic and research libraries, and how U.S. libraries could apply that experience in the context of their own priorities, an environmental scan via a survey of U.K. research libraries and in-person interviews were conducted. RESULTS U.K. libraries concentrate their scholarly communication services on supporting compliance with open access mandates and in the development of new services that reflect libraries’ shifting role from information consumer to information producer. DISCUSSION Due to the difference in the requirements of open access mandates in the U.K. as compared to the U.S., scholarly communication services in the U.K. are more focused on supporting compliance efforts. U.S. libraries engage more actively in providing copyright education and consultation than U.K. libraries. Both U.K. and U.S. libraries have developed new services in the areas of research data management and library publishing. CONCLUSION There are three primary takeaways from the experience of U.K. scholarly communication practitioners for U.S. librarians: increase collaboration with offices of research, reconsider current organization and delegation of scholarly communication services, and increase involvement in legislative and policy-making activity in the U.S. with respect to access to research.


Guide to Creative Commons for Humanities and Social Science Monograph Authors

Authors: Ellen Collins, Caren Milloy, and Graham Stone

Abstract: This guide explores concerns expressed in public evidence given by researchers, learned societies and publishers to inquiries in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and also concerns expressed by researchers working with the OAPEN-UK project. We have also identified a number of common questions and have drafted answers, which have been checked by experts including Creative Commons. The guide has been edited by active researchers, to make sure that it is relevant and useful to academics faced with making decisions about publishing. It is available under a CC BY license.

Citation: Ellen Collins, Caren Milloy, and Graham Stone. “Guide to Creative Commons for Humanities and Social Science Monograph Authors.” JISC Collections.


Source: Guide to Creative Commons for Humanities and Social Science Monograph Authors

“Facebook for Academics”: The Convergence of Self-Branding and Social Media Logic on

Authors: Brooke Erin Duffy, Jefferson D. Pooley

Abstract: Given widespread labor market precarity, contemporary workers—especially those in the media and creative industries—are increasingly called upon to brand themselves. Academics, we contend, are experiencing a parallel pressure to engage in self-promotional practices, particularly as universities become progressively more market-driven., a paper-sharing social network that has been informally dubbed “Facebook for academics,” has grown rapidly by adopting many of the conventions of popular social media sites. This article argues that the astonishing uptake of both reflects and amplifies the self-branding imperatives that many academics experience. Drawing on’s corporate history, design decisions, and marketing communications, we analyze two overlapping facets of (1) the site’s business model and (2) its social affordances. We contend that the company, like mainstream social networks, harnesses the content and immaterial labor of users under the guise of “sharing.” In addition, the site’s fixation on analytics reinforces a culture of incessant self-monitoring—one already encouraged by university policies to measure quantifiable impact. We conclude by identifying the stakes for academic life, when entrepreneurial and self-promotional demands brush up against the university’s knowledge-making ideals.

Citation: Brooke Erin Duffy and Jefferson D. Pooley. (January 2017). “Facebook for Academics”: The Convergence of Self-Branding and Social Media Logic on Commons Open Repository Exchange.


The Value of Copyright: A Publisher’s Perspective

Author: Harington, Robert

Abstract: Rick Anderson asked me recently to present a talk, as part of a panel, on the “Publisher’s View of Copyright”, at the upcoming Research to Reader Conference in London later this month. If you are going to stand up in front of an audience, it’s always best to know what you are talking about. While I have a general sense of what I think about the subject, and opinions to match, I thought it would be helpful to dig a little deeper, to make sure what I know is actually correct, and to try and find evidence and arguments that support what I am trying to say. First, a caveat: there is no one view of copyright that fits all publishers. The publisher of a poetry magazine will likely feel differently about aspects of copyright when compared to say the publisher of your local phone book — yes they do still exist. Indeed, even within scholarly publishing there is a range of attitudes towards copyright.

Citation: Harington, Robert. (2017). The Value of Copyright: A Publisher’s Perspective. Scholarly Kitchen.