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. http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.546100

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Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance

Authors: Gil Yolanda, Cedric H. David, Ibrahim Demir, Bakinam T. Essawy, Robinson W. Fulweiler, Jonathan L. Goodall, Leif Karlstrom, Huikyo Lee, Heath J. Mills, Ji-Hyun Oh, Suzanne A. Pierce, Allen Pope, Mimi W. Tzeng, Sandra R. Villamizar, Xuan Yu

Abstract: Geoscientists now live in a world rich with digital data and methods, and their computational research cannot be fully captured in traditional publications. The Geoscience Paper of the Future (GPF) presents an approach to fully document, share, and cite all their research products including data, software, and computational provenance. This article proposes best practices for GPF authors to make data, software, and methods openly accessible, citable, and well documented. The publication of digital objects empowers scientists to manage their research products as valuable scientific assets in an open and transparent way that enables broader access by other scientists, students, decision makers, and the public. Improving documentation and dissemination of research will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by improving the ability of others to build upon published work.

Citation: Gil, Y., et all (2016). Toward the Geoscience Paper of the Future: Best practices for documenting and sharing research from data to software to provenance. Earth and Space Science, 3, 388-415. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015EA000136 

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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.

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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: http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2137

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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

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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, www.opencon2017.org/passing_a_campus_open_access_policy.

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Source: OpenCon2017 Blog

 

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.

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