The Impact Platform

Author: Jefferson Pooley

Abstract: The Conversation—”academic rigour, journalistic flair”—is the leading example of a new, web-enabled mode of academic popularization: the impact platform. The nonprofit site’s unpaid scholar-writers, together with professional staff editors, produce dozens of short, image-filled dispatches every week day. In a crucial twist, each piece is released into the web with a Creative Commons license and the hope for widescale republication. There’s no grumbling about the Huffington Post and other aggregators stealing page views: The whole point is to spread the academic news to any and all takers, as long as the author and publication are credited. The “impact” in impact platform is a nod to the motivating source for The Conversation and its imitators: the policy-driven demand for “public impact” in the Anglophone university systems. It’s no accident that The Conversation started in Australia and has its second-biggest “edition,” by far, in the UK. Both countries have adopted controversial higher-ed ranking regimes that require academics and their departments to demonstrate—and quantify—public reach. The Conversation‘s reader tallies are a convenient way to show taxpayer “return on investment.” This explains the site’s array of funders, which tend to be universities, grant-making foundations, and national research councils. The “metric tide” dynamic that underwrites the enterprise may be questionable, but the upshot is a new stage for “translated” or born-public scholarship—for all of us, not just those laboring under the Research Excellence Framework regime. Cleanly written, synoptic research capsules are ricocheting around the web and getting read. It’s spillover from the neoliberal university, and drinkable all the same.

Citation: Pooley J. 2017. The Impact Platform. Humanities Commons.


Women Working In the Open

Author: April Hathcock

Abstract: In this blog post, April Hathcock discusses diversity, inclusion, and representation in scholarly communication. The post discusses the work left to be done in terms of dismantling sexist and racist under-representation within the profession, but also proffers a collaborative list of women working “in the open.”

Citation: Hathcock, A. (2017, June 20). Women working in the open. In the Open. Retrieved from

A model open access journal publication agreement

Author: Stuart Shieber
Abstract: This blog post from 2014 provides language that can serve as a model for publication agreements between an open access journal and authors submitting their work to it. Rather than the traditional approach requiring the author to grant all rights in the work to the journal, this language has the author granting only what the journal needs to publish, and keeping all other rights for the creator of the work. The post explains what each paragraph in the agreement aims to do, and how it will protect the interests of both the author and the publisher while making the work open access. The comment section below the post also has useful discussion that further explains the reasoning behind some of the clauses.
Citation: Shieber, Stuart. “A model OA journal publication agreement.” Blog post. The Occasional Pamphlet. Harvard Blogs, 19 February 2014.


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).


Not the Beall and end-all* – Assessing quality publications from multiple perspectives

Authors: Dr. Andy Pleffer & Susan Shrubb

Abstract: Assessing reputable places to publish is a shared responsibility; one that should (ideally) be dispersed among academic authors and their institution(s). Those who have a stake in such assessment may include – but by no means be limited to – researchers and trusted colleagues, students and supervisors, research administrators and research librarians.

Citation: Pfeffer, A., & Shrubb, S. (2017, March 27). Not the Beall and end-all*. Australasian Open Access Strategy Group blog.


Source: Not the Beall and end-all* – Assessing quality publications from multiple perspectives

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.


The research librarian of the future: data scientist and co-investigator

Authors: Jeannette Ekstrøm, Mikael Elbaek, Chris Erdmann and Ivo Grigorov

Abstract: There remains something of a disconnect between how research librarians themselves see their role and its responsibilities and how these are viewed by their faculty colleagues. Jeannette Ekstrøm, Mikael Elbaek, Chris Erdmann and Ivo Grigorov imagine how the research librarian of the future might work, utilising new data science and digital skills to drive more collaborative and open scholarship. Arguably this future is already upon us but institutions must implement a structured approach to developing librarians’ skills and services to fully realise the benefits.

Citation: Jeannette Ekstrøm, Mikael Elbaek, Chris Erdmann and Ivo Grigorov. (2016). The research librarian of the future: data scientist and co-investigator. London School of Economics Impact of Social Sciences Blog.


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.


Increasing transparency in the [librarian] P&T process

Author: Coates, Heather L

Abstract: As a self-proclaimed advocate for open research, I decided to apply that ethos to promotion and tenure. As I started preparing my dossier in earnest last fall, I began to understand why so many faculty get overwhelmed and confused when they make decisions about where to publish, which journals to review for, and how to talk about their work. Despite excellent institutional programming and support, faculty often receive conflicting and vague advice. Combine this with the lack of transparency about how to actually demonstrate impact and it’s no wonder faculty are hesitant to make publishing and dissemination choices that challenge the perceived status quo. Librarians on the tenure-track suffer from this too.  I decided I could help in a small way by openly sharing the strategy, tools, and examples from my own dossier. In the end, I redacted a few things from my appendices that relate to other faculty grant proposals. Otherwise, it’s all out in the open. I also developed some tools to help me manage the process, which I’ll share in a later post. Putting together a dossier requires some serious project management strategery!

Dossier files in Figshare  (link corrected) & IUPUI ScholarWorks (pending)

FORCE16 slides (Figshare: 10.6084/m9.figshare.3180370.v3 & IUPUI ScholarWorks pending) & recording

Citation: Coates, HL. (2016). Increasing transparency in the P&T process. Heather L. Coates: my e-portfolio. 6 June 2016.



Three Things Scholarly Publishers Should Know About Researchers

Author: Rapple, Charlie

Abstract: “A couple of recent posts on this blog have been aimed at increasing researchers’ understanding of publishing and publishers. As it happens, around the time they were posted, I was in the middle of a series of interviews with researchers, and they in turn were flagging challenges that they wished publishers understood better. I thought therefore it might be useful to summarize and paraphrase some of the main points raised, along with thoughts about how such issues might be addressed.  This is a snapshot, a starting point for further discussion, not a comprehensive list. Further contributions from researchers are welcome in the comments.”

Citation: Rapple, C. (2016.) Three Things Scholarly Publishers Should Know About Researchers | The Scholarly Kitchen [blog]. The Scholarly Kitchen.

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