Academics’ behaviors and attitudes towards open access publishing in scholarly journals

Authors: Rowley J;  Johnson F; Sbaffi L; Frass W; Devine E

Abstract: While there is significant progress with policy and a lively debate regarding the potential impact of open access publishing, few studies have examined academics’ behavior and attitudes to open access publishing (OAP) in scholarly journals. This article seeks to address this gap through an international and interdisciplinary survey of academics. Issues covered include: use of and intentions regarding OAP, and perceptions regarding advantages and disadvantages of OAP, journal article publication services, peer review, and reuse. Despite reporting engagement in OAP, academics were unsure about their future intentions regarding OAP. Broadly, academics identified the potential for wider circulation as the key advantage of OAP, and were more positive about its benefits than they were negative about its disadvantages. As regards services, rigorous peer review, followed by rapid publication were most valued. Academics reported strong views on reuse of their work; they were relatively happy with noncommercial reuse, but not in favor of commercial reuse, adaptations, and inclusion in anthologies. Comparing science, technology, and medicine with arts, humanities, and social sciences showed a significant difference in attitude on a number of questions, but, in general, the effect size was small, suggesting that attitudes are relatively consistent across the academic community.

Citation: Rowley, J., Johnson, F., Sbaffi, L., Frass, W. and Devine, E. (2017), Academics’ behaviors and attitudes towards open access publishing in scholarly journals. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68: 1201–1211. doi:10.1002/asi.23710


Source: Academics’ behaviors and attitudes towards open access publishing in scholarly journals – Rowley – 2017 – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

From the Field: Elsevier as an Open Access Publisher

Author: Heather Morrison

Abstract: Highlights of this broad-brush case study of Elsevier’s Open Access (OA) journals as of 2016: Elsevier offers 511 fully OA journals and 2,149 hybrids. Most fully OA journals do not charge article processing charges (APCs). APCs of fully OA journals average $660 US ($1,731 excluding no-fee journals); hybrid OA averages $2,500. A practice termed author nominal copyright is observed, where copyright is in the name of the author although the author contract is essentially a copyright transfer. The prospects for a full Elsevier flip to OA via APC payments for articles going forward are considered and found to be problematic.

Citation: Morrison, H. “From the Field: Elsevier as an Open Access Publisher”. The Charleston Advisor, Volume 18, Number 3, 1 January 2017, pp. 53-59(7). DOI:10.5260/chara.18.3.53


Source: From the Field: Elsevier as an Open Access Publisher: Ingenta Connect

Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

Authors: Alex Humphreys, Christina Spencer, Laura Brown, Matthew Loy, Ronald Snyder

Abstract: Scholarly books are increasingly available in digital form, but the online interfaces for using these books often allow only for the browsing of PDF files. JSTOR Labs, an experimental product-development group within the not-for-profit digital library JSTOR, undertook an ideation and design process to develop new and different ways of showing scholarly books online, with the goal that this new viewing interface should be relatively simple and inexpensive to implement for any scholarly book that is already available in PDF form. This paper documents that design process, including the recommendations of a working group of scholars, publishers, and librarians convened by JSTOR Labs and the Columbia University Libraries in October 2016. The prototype monograph viewer developed through this process — called “Topicgraph” — is described herein and is freely available online at

Citation: Alex Humphreys, Christina Spencer, Laura Brown, Matthew Loy, Ronald Snyder (2017) Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers. JSTOR Labs White Paper. Available online:



Source: Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

Re-envisioning a future in scholarly communication

Author: Chris H.J. Hartgerink

Abstract: Scholarly communication is in need of disruption. Commodifying knowledge as is currently done with journals, is not sustainable any longer. An alternative is the commodification of how information is consumed. By focusing on the commodification of consumption instead of commodification of the resource, the problem of access to knowledge can be resolved in a sustainable manner. Additionally, commodification of consumption removes several perverse incentives from the scholarly system that now produces unreliable knowledge. The main tenet underlying the themes of Open Access, Open Data, Open Science, and replication initiatives in scholarly communication is sustainability through transparency of the scholarly process in all facets. The sustainability of any networked system is threatened by single points of failure (i.e., the entire system can be manipulated from one node in the network). The scholarly process is ridden with such single points of failures at all stages. Distributing the scholarly communications system would remove the problems of single points of failure. Distributing and decentralizing the scholarly communications system is achievable with newly developed peer-to-peer (p2p) Internet protocols. Alongside decentralization and distribution of the content, integrity of the scholarly record can also be reformed to transform sections of a paper into different, reusable nodes of knowledge. These nodes can be logged on a blockchain based ledger of which everyone can have a copy. In order to deposit nodes onto the ledger, the depositor needs to agree that the contents are licensed CC 0, in order to maximize legal certainty regarding reuse of the contents. This is key to create a sustainable eco-system where scholars and companies can cooperate instead of compete, as we currently do.

Citation: Chris H.J. Hartgerink. (2017). Re-envisioning a future in scholarly communication. For the 2017 IFLA conference.

Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research

Author(s): Fyfe, Aileen ; Coate, Kelly; Curry, Stephen; Lawson, Stuart; Moxham, Noah; Røstvik, Camilla Mørk

Abstract: Since the Second World War, academic publishing practices have had to cope with enormous changes in the scale of the research enterprise, in the culture and management of higher education, and in the ecosystem of scholarly publishers. The pace of change has been particularly rapid in the last twenty-five years, thanks to digital technologies. This has also been a time of growing divergence between the different roles of academic publishing: as a means of disseminating validated knowledge, as a form of symbolic capital for academic career progression, and as a profitable business enterprise.
This briefing paper aims to provide a historical perspective that can inform the debates about what the future of academic publishing should look like. We argue that current policy regarding open access publishing, and many of the other proposals for the reform of academic publishing, have been too focused on the opportunities and financial challenges of the most recent changes in digital communications technologies and have given undue weight to commercial concerns.
We show that the business practices and the cultural significance of academic publishing have been significantly transformed since the late nineteenth century as increasing government funding drove the expansion and professionalization of the research community, a process that accelerated rapidly after the Second World War. We examine how academic publishing practices have responded to the increasing number of researchers and publications worldwide, the changing expectations of academic workloads and outputs in the higher education sector, and the new business models in the publishing industry.
A key phenomenon has been the growing importance of published works as career-defining tokens of prestige for academics. Although the new technologies that emerged in the late twentieth century offer great potential for improving the speed and efficiency of scholarly communication, the publishing model has been relatively slow to change.
The key themes of this briefing paper are:

  • the business of academic publishing
  • the role of publishing in academic careers
  • and the tangled and changing relationship between them

Citation:Fyfe, Aileen, Coate, Kelly, Curry, Stephen, Lawson, Stuart, Moxham, Noah, & Røstvik, Camilla Mørk. (2017, May 25). Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research. Zenodo.


Pressing Forward in Scholarly Communities: Synthesizing Communication Technologies with the Researchers Who Utilize Them

Author: Eric Olson

Abstract: Digital communication technologies have dramatically changed the ways in which scholarship is accessed, discussed, and shared. Joining the traditional journals and manuscripts are new ways to distribute and consume research, including blogs, podcasts, white papers, and more. There is more information available and more ways to access it than ever before, which presents new sets of challenges and opportunities. PressForward is free, open-source software that responds to these needs by combining the features of content aggregation, discussion, and publication into a single, user-friendly dashboard. Acknowledging that collaboration and networking is increasingly important in research development and funding, PressForward has built-in, flexible user roles and workflows that allow communities of any scale to contribute in multiple ways. This article will review the history and features of PressForward, as well as describe the community partnerships that both utilize the software and influence the progress of the project.

Citation: Olson, Eric (2017) “Pressing Forward in Scholarly Communities: Synthesizing Communication Technologies with the Researchers Who Utilize Them,” Collaborative Librarianship: Vol. 9 : Iss. 1 , Article 6. Available at:


Open Educational Resources and Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity)

Author: Nora Almeida

Abstract: As a phenomenon and a quandary, openness has provoked conversations about inequities within higher education systems, particularly in regards to information access, social inclusion, and pedagogical practice. But whether or not open education can address these inequities, and to what effect, depends on what we mean by “open” and specifically, whether openness reflexively acknowledges the fraught political, economic, and ethical dimensions of higher education and of knowledge production processes. This essay explores the ideological and rhetorical underpinnings of the open educational resource (OER) movement in the context of the neoliberal university. This essay also addresses the conflation of value and values in higher education—particularly how OER production processes and scholarship labor are valued. Lastly, this essay explores whether OER initiatives provide an opportunity to reimagine pedagogical practices, to reconsider authority paradigms, and potentially, to dismantle and redress exclusionary educational practices in and outside of the classroom. Through a critique of neoliberalism as critically limiting, an exploration of autonomy, and a refutation of the precept that OER can magically solve social inequalities in higher education, the author ultimately advocates for a reconsideration of OER in context and argues that educators should prioritize conversations about what openness means within their local educational communities.

Citation: Almeida, Nora. “Open Educational Resources and the Rhetorical Paradox in the Neoliberal Univers(ity).” Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies 1.1 (2017).


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.


Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind

Author: Jean-Claude Guédon

Abstract: On February 14, 2002, a small text of fewer than a thousand words quietly appeared on the Web: titled the “Budapest Open Access Initiative” (BOAI), it gave a public face to discussions between sixteen participants that had taken place on December 1 and 2, 2001 in Budapest, at the invitation of the Open Society Foundations (then known as the Open Society Institute). [What follows is a detailed history of the Budapest Open Access Initiative.]

Citation: Jean-Claude Guédon. (2017). Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind.


Rights, ethics, accuracy, and open licenses in online collections: What’s “ours” isn’t really ours

Authors: Nancy Sims

Abstract:  Digitizing existing collections and making them available online facilitates public and scholarly access to the niftiness we have squirreled away in our archives and special collections. But providing only online access to collections is of limited value when visitors don’t know how they can make use of these materials. That is why there are many efforts underway in libraries and related cultural institutions to become more active in establishing and communicating this information to our visitors.

Citation: Sims, N. (2017). Rights, ethics, accuracy, and open licenses in online collections: What’s “ours” isn’t really ours. College & Research Libraries News, 78(2), 79-82.