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Yay! Bloomberg View Seems to Be On the Side of the Lowly Scientist!

 

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Justin Fox at BloombergView had just published an article near and dear to the hearts of all those #openaccess scientists and those of us @Pharma_BI and @MozillaScience who feel strong about #openscience #opendata and the movement to make scientific discourse freely accessible.

His article “Academic Publishing Can’t Remain Such a Great Business” discusses the history of academic publishing and how consolidation of smaller publishers into large scientific publishing houses (Bigger publishers bought smaller ones) has produced a monopoly like environment in which prices for journal subscriptions are rising. He also discusses how the open access movement is challenging this model and may oneday replace the big publishing houses.

A few tidbits from his article:

Publishers of academic journals have a great thing going. They generally don’t pay for the articles they publish, or for the primary editing and peer reviewing essential to preparing them for publication (they do fork over some money for copy editing). Most of this gratis labor is performed by employees of academic institutions. Those institutions, along with government agencies and foundations, also fund all the research that these journal articles are based upon.

Yet the journal publishers are able to get authors to sign over copyright to this content, and sell it in the form of subscriptions to university libraries. Most journals are now delivered in electronic form, which you think would cut the cost, but no, the price has been going up and up:

 

This isn’t just inflation at work: in 1994, journal subscriptions accounted for 51 percent of all library spending on information resources. In 2012 it was 69 percent.

Who exactly is getting that money? The largest academic publisher is Elsevier, which is also the biggest, most profitable division of RELX, the Anglo-Dutch company that was known until February as Reed Elsevier.

 

RELX reports results in British pounds; I converted to dollars in part because the biggest piece of the company’s revenue comes from the U.S. And yes, those are pretty great operating-profit margins: 33 percent in 2014, 39 percent in 2013. The next biggest academic publisher is Springer Nature, which is closely held (by German publisher Holtzbrinck and U.K. private-equity firm BC Partners) but reportedly has annual revenue of about $1.75 billion. Other biggies that are part of publicly traded companies include Wiley-Blackwell, a division of John Wiley & Sons; Wolters Kluwer Health, a division of Wolters Kluwer; and Taylor & Francis, a division of Informa.

And gives a brief history of academic publishing:

The history here is that most early scholarly journals were the work of nonprofit scientific societies. The goal was to disseminate research as widely as possible, not to make money — a key reason why nobody involved got paid. After World War II, the explosion in both the production of and demand for academic research outstripped the capabilities of the scientific societies, and commercial publishers stepped into the breach. At a time when journals had to be printed and shipped all over the world, this made perfect sense.

Once it became possible to effortlessly copy and disseminate digital files, though, the economics changed. For many content producers, digital copying is a threat to their livelihoods. As Peter Suber, the director of Harvard University’s Office for Scholarly Communication, puts it in his wonderful little book, “Open Access”:

And while NIH Tried To Force These Houses To Accept Open Access:

About a decade ago, the universities and funding agencies began fighting back. The National Institutes of Health in the U.S., the world’s biggest funder of medical research, began requiring in 2008 that all recipients of its grants submit electronic versions of their final peer-reviewed manuscripts when they are accepted for publication in journals, to be posted a year later on the NIH’s open-access PubMed depository. Publishers grumbled, but didn’t want to turn down the articles.

Big publishers are making $ by either charging as much as they can or focus on new customers and services

For the big publishers, meanwhile, the choice is between positioning themselves for the open-access future or maximizing current returns. In its most recent annual report, RELX leans toward the latter while nodding toward the former:

Over the past 15 years alternative payment models for the dissemination of research such as “author-pays” or “author’s funder-pays” have emerged. While it is expected that paid subscription will remain the primary distribution model, Elsevier has long invested in alternative business models to address the needs of customers and researchers.

Elsevier’s extra services can add news avenues of revenue

https://www.elsevier.com/social-sciences/business-and-management

https://www.elsevier.com/rd-solutions

but they may be seeing the light on OpenAccess (possibly due to online advocacy, an army of scientific curators and online scientific communities):

Elsevier’s Mendeley and Academia.edu – How We Distribute Scientific Research: A Case in Advocacy for Open Access Journals

SAME SCIENTIFIC IMPACT: Scientific Publishing – Open Journals vs. Subscription-based

e-Recognition via Friction-free Collaboration over the Internet: “Open Access to Curation of Scientific Research”

Indeed we recently put up an interesting authored paper “A Patient’s Perspective: On Open Heart Surgery from Diagnosis and Intervention to Recovery” (free of charge) letting the community of science freely peruse and comment, and generally well accepted by both author and community as a nice way to share academic discourse without the enormous fees, especially on opinion papers in which a rigorous peer review may not be necessary.

But it was very nice to see a major news outlet like Bloomberg View understand the lowly scientist’s aggravations.

Thanks Bloomberg!

 

 

 

 

 

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Mozilla Science Lab Promotes Data Reproduction Through Open Access: Report from 9/10/2015 Online Meeting

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

Mozilla Inc. is developing a platform for scientists to discuss the issues related to developing a framework to share scientific data as well as tackle the problems of scientific reproducibility in an Open Access manner. According to their blog

https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2013/06/14/5992/

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Mozilla Science Lab, a new initiative that will help researchers around the world use the open web to shape science’s future.

Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn’t transformed scientific practice to the same extent we’ve seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the “analog” age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around “papers,” for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.

The Science Lab will foster dialog between the open web community and researchers to tackle this challenge. Together they’ll share ideas, tools, and best practices for using next-generation web solutions to solve real problems in science, and explore ways to make research more agile and collaborative.

On their blog they highlight various projects related to promoting Open Access for scientific data

On September 10, 2015 Mozilla Science Lab had their scheduled meeting on scientific data reproduce ability.  The meeting was free and covered by ethernet and on social media. The Twitter hashtag for updates and meeting discussion is #mozscience (https://twitter.com/search?q=%23mozscience )

Open Access Meeting Announcement on Twitter

https://twitter.com/MozillaScience/status/641642491532283904

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

mozilla science lab

Mozilla Science Lab @MozillaScience

Join @khinsen @abbycabs + @EvoMRI tmrw (11AM ET) to hear about replication, publishing + #openscience. Details: https://etherpad.mozilla.org/sciencelab-calls-sep10-2015 …

AGENDA:

  • Mozilla Science Lab Updates
  • Staff welcomes and thank yous:
  • Welcoming Zannah Marsh, our first Instructional Designer
  • Workshopping the “Working Open” guide:
    • Discussion of Future foundation and GitHub projects
    • Discussion of submission for open science project funding
  • Contributorship Badges Pilot – an update! – Abby Cabunoc Mayes – @abbycabs
  • Will be live on GigaScience September 17th!
  • Where you can jump in: https://github.com/mozillascience/paperbadger/issues/17
  • Questions regarding coding projects – Abby will coordinate efforts on coding into their codebase
  • The journal will publish and authors and reviewers get a badge and their efforts and comments will appear on GigaScience: Giga Science will give credit for your reviews – supports an Open Science Discussion

Roadmap for

  • Fellows review is in full swing!
  • MozFest update:
  • Miss the submission deadline? You can still apply to join our Open Research Accelerator and join us for the event (PLUS get a DOI for your submission and 1:1 help)

A discussion by Konrad Hinsen (@khinsen) on ReScience, a journal focused on scientific replication will be presented:

  • ReScience – a new journal for replications – Konrad Hinsen @khinsen
  • ReScience is dedicated to publishing replications of previously published computational studies, along with all the code required to replicate the results.
  • ReScience lives entirely on GitHub. Submissions take the form of a Git repository, and review takes place in the open through GitHub issues. This also means that ReScience is free for everyone (authors, readers, reviewers, editors… well, I said everyone, right?), as long as GitHub is willing to host it.
  • ReScience was launched just a few days ago and is evolving quickly. To stay up to date, follow @ReScienceEds on Twitter. If you want to volunteer as a reviewer, please contact the editorial board.

The ReScience Journal Reproducible Science is Good. Replicated Science is better.

ReScience is a peer-reviewed journal that targets computational research and encourages the explicit reproduction of already published research promoting new and open-source implementations in order to ensure the original research is reproducible. To achieve such a goal, the whole editing chain is radically different from any other traditional scientific journal. ReScience lives on github where each new implementation is made available together with the comments, explanations and tests. Each submission takes the form of a pull request that is publicly reviewed and tested in order to guarantee any researcher can re-use it. If you ever reproduced computational result from the literature, ReScience is the perfect place to publish this new implementation. The Editorial Board

Notes from his talk:

– must be able to replicate paper’s results as written according to experimental methods

– All authors on ReScience need to be on GitHub

– not accepting MatLab replication; replication can involve computational replication;

  • Research Ideas and Outcomes Journal – Daniel Mietchen @EvoMRI
    • Postdoc at Natural Museum of London doing data mining; huge waste that 90% research proposals don’t get used so this journal allows for publishing proposals
    • Learned how to write proposals by finding a proposal online open access
    • Reviewing system based on online reviews like GoogleDocs where people view, comment
    • Growing editorial and advisory board; venturing into new subject areas like humanities, economics, biological research so they are trying to link diverse areas under SOCIAL IMPACT labeling
    • BIG question how to get scientists to publish their proposals especially to improve efficiency of collaboration and reduce too many duplicated efforts as well as reagent sharing
    • Crowdfunding platform used as post publication funding mechanism; still in works
    • They need a lot of help on the editorial board so if have a PhD PLEASE JOIN
  • Website:
  • Background:
  • Science article:
  • Some key features:
  • for publishing all steps of the research cycle, from proposals (funded and not yet funded) onwards
  • maps submissions to societal challenges
  • focus on post-publication peer review; pre-submission endorsement; all reviews public
  • lets authors choose which publishing services they want, e.g. whether they’d like journal-mediated peer review
  • collaborative WYSIWYG authoring and publishing platform based on JATS XML

A brief discussion of upcoming events on @MozillaScience

Meetings are held 2nd Thursdays of each month

Additional plugins, coding, and new publishing formats are available at https://www.mozillascience.org/

Other related articles on OPEN ACCESS Publishing were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, include the following:

Archives of Medicine (AOM) to Publish from “Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI)” Open Access On-Line Scientific Journal http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

Annual Growth in NIH Clicks: 32% Open Access Online Scientific Journal http://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

Collaborations and Open Access Innovations – CHI, BioIT World, 4/29 – 5/1/2014, Seaport World Trade Center, Boston

Elsevier’s Mendeley and Academia.edu – How We Distribute Scientific Research: A Case in Advocacy for Open Access Journals

Reconstructed Science Communication for Open Access Online Scientific Curation

The Fatal Self Distraction of the Academic Publishing Industry: The Solution of the Open Access Online Scientific Journals

 

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