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The most recently selected scholarly communication research added to The Idealis will appear below.

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Structuring supplemental materials in support of reproducibility

Author: Dov Greenbaum

Abstract: Supplements are increasingly important to the scientific record, particularly in genomics. However, they are often underutilized. Optimally, supplements should make results findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (i.e., “FAIR”). Moreover, properly off-loading to them the data and detail in a paper could make the main text more readable. We propose a hierarchical organization for supplements, with some parts paralleling and “shadowing” the main text and other elements branching off from it, and we suggest a specific formatting to make this structure explicit. Furthermore, sections of the supplement could be presented in multiple scientific “dialects”, including machine-readable and lay-friendly formats.

Citation: Greenbaum, Dov, et al., 2017.Structuring supplemental materials in support of reproducibility. Genome Biology 18:64, 10.1186/s13059-017-1205-3.


Moving from Colonialism and Paternalism to Equity and Cooperation in Scholarly Communication

Authors: Josh Bolick, Ada Emmett, Marc Greenberg, Town Peterson, Brian Rosenblum

Abstract: An idealist might believe that communications among scholars represent open, clear, reasoned debate, and that all involved will share certain base values. While we realize that significant barriers, such as to women and people of color, have long existed, one might wish that equality would be on the list of such shared values… that is, one would like to believe that all scholars have the same range of opportunities open to them, regardless of their race, country of origin, economic status, or whatever, so that all of the relevant data and the best minds might be brought to bear on solving problems of interest to science and scholarship. One might wish that–whatever the details might be–all scholars would share the idea of equality as an underlying and overarching assumption. Here we examine this idea of equality in scholarly communication via the example of a recent exchange about open access in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Citation: Bolick, Josh, Ada Emmett, Marc Greenberg, Town Peterson, and Brian Rosenblum. Moving from Colonialism and Paternalism to Equity and Cooperation in Scholarly Communication.” OAnarchy [blog] (April 20, 2017).


OpenAIRE survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers

Authors: Tony Ross-Hellauer; Arvid Deppe; Birgit Schmidt

Abstract: Open peer review (OPR) is a cornerstone of the emergent Open Science agenda. Yet to date no large-scale survey of attitudes towards OPR amongst academic editors, authors, reviewers and publishers has been undertaken. This paper presents the findings of an online survey, conducted for the OpenAIRE2020 project during September and October 2016 that sought to bridge this information gap in order to aid the development of appropriate OPR approaches by providing evidence about attitudes towards and levels of experience with OPR. The results of this cross-disciplinary survey, which received 3,062 full responses, show the majority of respondents to be in favour of OPR becoming mainstream scholarly practice, as they also are for other areas of Open Science, like Open Access and Open Data. We also observe surprisingly high levels of experience with OPR, with three out of four (76.2%) respondents reporting having taken part in an OPR process as author, reviewer or editor. There were also high levels of support for most of the traits of OPR, particularly open interaction, open reports and final-version commenting. Respondents were against opening reviewer identities to authors, however, with more than half believing it would make peer review worse. Overall satisfaction with the peer review system used by scholarly journals seems to strongly vary across disciplines. Taken together, these findings are very encouraging for OPR’s prospects for moving mainstream but indicate that due care must be taken to avoid a “one-size fits all” solution and to tailor such systems to differing (especially disciplinary) contexts. More research is also needed. OPR is an evolving phenomenon and hence future studies are to be encouraged, especially to further explore differences between disciplines and monitor the evolution of attitudes.

Citation: Ross-Hellauer, Tony, Deppe, Arvid, & Schmidt, Birgit. (2017, May 2). OpenAIRE survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers. Zenodo.


Engaging Faculty and Reducing Costs by Leveraging Collections: A Pilot Project to Reduce Course Pack Use

Authors: Nelly Cancilla, Bobby Glushko, Stephanie Orfano, Graeme Slaght

Abstract: Academic libraries have the privilege of serving many roles in the lives of their institutions. One role that is largely untapped is their ability to actively leverage their collections to support faculty teaching and to reduce student out-of-pocket costs by eliminating systemic double payment for course materials.  This paper details a project by the Scholarly Communications and Copyright Office (SCCO) at the University of Toronto that aimed to reduce this systemic double payment by leveraging collections and electronic reserves to provide a new service, the Zero-to-Low Cost Courses. Building on existing relationships with faculty, SCCO staff reached out to potential candidates, identified library licensed materials in their printed course packs, and created digital course packs which students could use at no cost.

Citation: Cancilla, N. et al., (2017). Engaging Faculty and Reducing Costs by Leveraging Collections: A Pilot Project to Reduce Course Pack Use. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 4, p.eP2137. DOI:


Source: Engaging Faculty and Reducing Costs by Leveraging Collections: A Pilot Project to Reduce Course Pack Use

Finding Cultural Holes: How Structure and Culture Diverge in Networks of Scholarly Communication | Sociological Science

Authors: Daril A. Vilhena, Jacob G. Foster,
Martin Rosvall, Jevin D. West, James Evans, Carl T. Bergstrom

Abstract: Divergent interests, expertise, and language form cultural barriers to communication. No formalism has been available to characterize these “cultural holes.” Here we use information theory to measure cultural holes and demonstrate our formalism in the context of scientific communication using papers from JSTOR. We extract scientific fields from the structure of citation flows and infer field-specific cultures by cataloging phrase frequencies in full text and measuring the relative efficiency of between-field communication. We then combine citation and cultural information in a novel topographic map of science, mapping citations to geographic distance and cultural holes to topography. By analyzing the full citation network, we find that communicative efficiency decays with citation distance in a field-specific way. These decay rates reveal hidden patterns of cohesion and fragmentation. For example, the ecological sciences are balkanized by jargon, whereas the social sciences are relatively integrated. Our results highlight the importance of enriching structural analyses with cultural data.

Citation: Vilhena, D., Foster, J., Rosvall, M., West, J., Evans, J., & Bergstrom, C. (2014). Finding Cultural Holes: How Structure and Culture Diverge in Networks of Scholarly Communication. Sociological Science, 1, 221-238. doi:10.15195/v1.a15


Source: Finding Cultural Holes: How Structure and Culture Diverge in Networks of Scholarly Communication | Sociological Science

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) .


Managing an Open Access Fund: Tips from the Trenches and Questions for the Future

Authors: Heidi Zuniga, Lilian Hoffecker

Abstract: The authors describe the process and results of an ongoing Open Access Fund program at the Health Sciences Library of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.  The fund has helped students and other early career researchers pay for the article processing charge or APC to publish their articles in an OA journal since 2013.  In the three years since, the fund has paid the APC for 39 applicants with a total expenditure of $37,576.  Most applicants were students as intended, however the fund supported a surprisingly large number of medical residents and junior faculty.  Individuals associated with the School of Medicine overwhelmingly represented the awardees compared to other units, and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals were the most common journal they published in.  While acknowledging the undeniable benefit of the fund to the awardees, the authors also pose challenging questions about the future role of libraries in subsidizing open access journals.

Citation: Zuniga, Heidi, & Lilian Hoffecker. “Managing an Open Access Fund: Tips from the Trenches and Questions for the Future.” Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship 1.1 (2016). DOI: 10.17161/jcel.v1i1.5920.