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Posts Tagged ‘scholarly publication’

Open Access Week: Federal Research Act

Posted by gazjjohnson on 22 October, 2009

Those following the developments in open access and scholarly research publication often look to the US and Australia, and to a lesser degree the Scandinavian countries, whom are generally a year or so ahead of the situation in the UK.  Interestingly in the States at the moment there is a bill, the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, which is looking to legislate the following:

“…require researchers with grants from certain federal agencies — those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually — to make their final peer-reviewed manuscripts openly available in digital repositories within six months.”

Okay, it does look like this is a successor to a similer defeated bill back in 2006; but since then both the political landscape and the open access movement has seen considerable developments.  Funders mandates are now very much a central theme now, where as in 2006 we were only seeing the first ones emerge.  Would we see a piece of legislation like this in the UK?  Probably not anytime soon given the run up to the general election in 2010; I find it unlikely that with the state of the economy anyone’s going to be able to bring scholarly research access up the political agenda.  I certainly don’t think the vast bulk of public are aware, or even overly concerned, that so much of their taxes goes to pay for access to research we’ve given away. 

Maybe this is something that OA advocates should be doing – reaching out to the general public and getting the OA debate out of the ivory towers and into the press and media?  Perhaps it’s a role for UKCoRR or the reformulated RSP?

Either way, the reception and progress of this bill is certainly one to watch with interest.


Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Author identification

Posted by knockels on 6 April, 2009

If I had written a lot of papers, people wouldn’t have too much trouble disambiguating me.   There are not too many K. Nockels about.  Granted, I could appear in databases as Nockels K; Nockels KH; Nockels, Keith; Nockels, Keith H. but the problem is far greater if you want work by one specific Smith J, who might also appear as Smith JA. 

A recent piece in Science discusses this.   How can authors be disambiguated?   How can you tell that this Smith J is the same as that Smith JA?   Thomson Scientific’s ResearcherID is one solution, where you register and receive a number.     You then add references to your papers to your ResearcherID profile, by searching for them in Web of Science, or importing them as a file from EndNote or RefWorks (this was very good for me, as most of my publications are not in journals that are indexed in Web of Science).   You can register for ResearcherID if you have access to Web of Science or if someone invites you.    I am not clear that your ResearcherID information is fed into any other database, and if that is right, the only way to tell if a paper is by the person you are interested in is to search the ResearcherID database itself and hope that they have listed that paper as one of theirs.

Then there are disambiguation algorithms, as used by Web of Science.   Other schemes include a national ID scheme, as you find in the Netherlands, where there is a national network of repositories, the scheme being developed by people like the NIH, and the Scholar Universe Author Resolver (this links to RefWorks – thanks to my colleague Evelyn Cornell for mentioning this to me).

A possible problem is that one person will end up with multiple identifiers, or that something of theirs will not be linked to them because it depends on them to make the link.   

The problems of disambiguation are well known to any librarian and the Science piece discusses some of them.   Whether any of this will be a solution remains to be seen – I wonder if a partial solution is all we can hope for, and if so, how much of an advance this is on the present ambiguous situation.

Posted in Research Support | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models – a report

Posted by gazjjohnson on 27 January, 2009

One of the first questions I was ever asked by an academic in a previous incarnation was “All this open access thing is all very well, but who is going to pay for it all?” I didn’t have an answer then, and couldn’t swear to having one know – but at least I know where I might go looking for one.

There’s a big project report out on this subject that’s probably worth being aware of; though at 288 pages I don’t think I’m likely to be reading much more than skimming through it (I’m a kinethetic learner not a theorotician!).  It looks extremely data rich in terms of a lot of open access and scholarly publication information, and certainly I’d point people towards the opening few pages and last few for an overview of the issues in OA and scholalry publications today.

One figure that jumped out at me is on page 17 of the pdf, where it works out that for an academic article on 30% of the cost is the publisher.  This seems pretty rich, no pun intended,of the the j-publishers.  On the other hand p22 shows the savings to all from adopting a more OA approach to publishing.  Could this be the fabled win-win option for the future of scholarly comms?  Not much money for the UK library sector saved (only £11m, which split 180 odd ways doesn’t amount to much – but is this pre-economic collapse of recent months?) 

Hmn, reading on to p27 and looks like an OAP model will actually cost HEIs more. And a little further we have the follow quote which talks about the library world in a little more detail

It is difficult to say exactly how open access publications will be treated by research libraries
and what role libraries would play in dissemination and preservation in these alternative
publishing models. Nevertheless, we suggest that research libraries may continue to play a key
role in providing access to open access journals and have costed library handling activities
accordingly. With little evidence to date that open access self-archiving leads to subscription
cancellations, acquisition cost savings have not been included. However, should they arise in the
future, there would be potential for significant additional savings.

Towards the end of the report there’s a very heartening conclusion (p231) point made about OAP

The costs, benefits and impacts of alternative scholarly publishing models revealed by this
analysis demonstrate that research and research communication are major activities and the
costs involved are substantial. Preliminary analysis of the potential benefits of more open access
to research findings suggests that returns to research can also be substantial, and that different
models for scholarly publishing can make a material difference to the returns realised, as well as
the costs faced.

Anyway – if you are involved in research, or supporting research, this worthy report is well worth at least a cursory glance.

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