Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/25/2016

SPARC – Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition


sparc_colorI have published numerous posts on my blogs Re academic or scholarly publishing due to my belief that this field has grown into a flawed and unfair operation or was inherently skewed from inception. Mainly (and briefly) at how academic journal publishers enjoy humongous profit margins through outrageous subscription fees to universities and other players while paying the research workers/authors nada for creating the content that makes their journals possible in the first frigging place.

I am a firm believer in open access to research work. From Wikipedia: Open access (OA) refers to online research outputs that are free of all restrictions on access (e.g., access tolls) and free of many restrictions on use (e.g. certain copyright and license restrictions).[1] Open access can be applied to all forms of published research output, including peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed academic journal articles, conference papers, theses,[2] book chapters,[1] and monographs.[3]   

Tonight, however, we are going to talk about two groups that are hoping to provide better access to Federally funded research projects. Specifically, how federal agencies will make the digital data associated with the research available for access and reuse.

One is a government group, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the other is an academic (I think) group, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) – Why do they HAVE to come up with these cute long names whose acronym represents a misspelled action word like ‘spark’?

Anyway, this is a release from the Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) publishing community news service, Knowledge Speak:

US SPARC and Johns Hopkins University Libraries collaborate to launch a resource analyzing US federal data sharing policies – 19 Apr 2016

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Libraries, has released a new resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding U.S. Federal funded research data sharing policies. This free tool, launched at datasharing.sparcopen.org, provides a detailed analysis of 16 federal agency responses to the directive issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research. Specifically, the new resource focuses on how these agencies intend to make the digital data associated with the projects they fund available for access and reuse.

SPARC will host a webcast on May 11th, at 3pm EDT / 12pm PDT with the authors behind the resource who will provide their perspective on the data sharing policies, including important points of similarity and difference between agencies. The webcast is open to all SPARC members, and registration is free but required.

The SPARC/JHU Libraries resource can be used by researchers, librarians, policy makers, and other stakeholders to explore and compare agency plans. The detailed review, performed by JHU data experts, includes an analysis of the principles, scope, and limitations of agency responses to the OSTP directive, as well as a discussion of any goals and plans the agencies have articulated for future iterations of their policies. The resource contains practical information that can be used by active or prospective grant awardees to easily understand where research data can be shared, how quickly, and what other procedures must be followed to ensure grant compliance. It will be updated as additional federal agency plans are released and analyzed, and as current plans are revised.

The SPARC/JHU Libraries resource is available freely at datasharing.sparcopen.org. Additionally, the entire dataset of policy analyses can be downloaded without restriction from the site.

This blog is available on your Kindle here 🙂

05/09/2015

The Int’l Assoc. Of STM Publishers – Do They Have a Conflict of Interest Viewpoint?


The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers’ (STM) three-day Annual U.S. Conference 2015  was held in Washington, DC last week; AND many of the keynote speakers took offense at the copious growing calls for changes/fairness in this lucrative publishing sector.

Are they fighting inevitable change? I think so.

One thing I’ve always championed in academic research is the fair treatment of the research authors. They are not fairly compensated and actually have to pay to get their articles published in ‘recognized’ academic journals that are highly compensated from almost hijacked scholarly institutions, libraries, etc. I also firmly believe in Open Access academic publishing to level the playing/political field between academia, academic publishers and the actual research authors.

Excerpt from Gavin Simpson as posted in ‘Bottom of the Heap‘ under Science:

“The cost of subscribing to academic journals: Much has been written about the Research Works Act [you could do a lot worse than read Saurodpod Mike on the subject], academic publishing and the relationship between the scientists who do most of the work and the publishers who then assert somewhat draconian rights over those works. A boycott of the biggest publisher of them all, Elsevier, started to gain a fair degree of traction with almost 8000 scientists having pledged to limit some or all of their interactions with Elsevier and its journals.

One of the allegations levelled at Elsevier is that they charge such exorbitant prices for subscriptions to their journals that they essentially force university libraries to subscribe to so-called “bundles” or “deals” that allow access to huge swathes of titles. Accessing all those titles individually would be prohibitively costly for any institution, but by offering bundles, STEM publishers are accused of exploiting the high prices of their most popular titles to foist titles onto users and librarians that have no need for them.”

Read the following research/resource article for tonight, make up your own mind Re the keynote speaker’s stance and please offer your comments.

 

STM’s Hot Button Issues: Open Access, Data and Social Media

By Paula Gantz:

According to discussions at the Int’l Assoc. of STM Publishers conference, OA and data-driven articles need more scrutiny, even as scholars open up online.

Trends and new approaches that are reinvigorating science, technical and medical publishing were explored last week at the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers’ (STM) three-day Annual U.S. Conference 2015 in Washington, DC.

Blasting Open Access

Setting an inspiring tone for the conference, Jeff Beale, scholarly communications librarian at University of Colorado,

JEFFREY BEALL

Denver, lambasted Open Access in his keynote address on the first day.

“Most of the information about Open Access comes from Open Access advocates and furthers their aims and goals, and it is misleading, he said. The Open Access movement has spawned a host of predatory publishers who are causing a breakdown in the research culture globally. “It is giving rise to counterfeit, junk science promoting non-approved products,” he maintained.

Beale likened Gold Open Access, where the author pays, to graffiti. He chastised “unfair government legislation” that essentially “eliminates freedom of the press by favoring one business model over another.”

He urged academic publishers to persevere in their resistance to Open Access mandates, suggesting that they stick with Green Open Access or maybe a single Open Access journal to silence advocates.

Beale also reprimanded librarians for being Open Access supporters, and turning a blind eye to predatory publishers because it is not politically correct.

Beale maintains a blog which lists predatory publishers, hijacked journals and misleading metrics companies. There are over 700 publishers on his list. He particularly called attention to hijacked journals which target real journals with impact factors. “They even copy the addresses and telephone numbers of the journals. Most of their authors think that they have published in an impact factor journal.”

Pushing Back Against Data

The keynote speaker on the second day, Christine L. Borgman, presidential chair in information studies at UCLA and

CHRISTINE BORGMAN

author of “Big Data, Little Data, No Data,” defined data as representations of observations, objects or other entities used as evidence of phenomena for the purposes of research or scholarship.

“Publications are arguments made by authors, and data are evidence used to support the arguments. You can use data to support different arguments. This is where the publication-data relationship breaks down, by assuming that one set of data produces one paper,” she pointed out.

According to Borgman, data is not easily definable because they are compound objects and ownership is rarely clear. Authorship is also a problem; attribution might make more sense. “The concept of authorship needs definition,” she said.

She also observed that most open data is not very useful and not very marked-up.

“I have been pushing back at the metaphor of publishing data. Are we going to curate, preserve and steward data? Data are not peer-reviewed usually,” she remarked. “There is the assumption that communities will put data in repositories, but this assumes that researchers are going to share data. That is the most problematic assumption of all. The labor to document data is not economically rewardable. It is not in scientists’ interests to release to an unknown other, and there is a lack of incentives to reuse data.”

Borgman urged the publishing industry to focus on the important skills of data curation and stewardship. She also warned that data repositories are funded on three to five year grants and are frequently at risk of going dark for lack of investment.

 

 

 

Social Media Matters in STM, Too

Cassidy R. Sugimoto, assistant professor at Indiana University, focused the third day’s keynote onaltmetrics, social

Cassidy R. Sugimoto

media and researcher behavior in light of these trends. She suggested that people no longer want to remain anonymous and are building their reputations through social media. But she voiced a fear that time spent on creating digital reputations might detract from time spent on academic research.

Sugimoto suggested that there is a need to capture the heterogeneity of researcher behavior that expands beyond pure publication. This will lead to better metrics that can improve scholarship. She pointed to mentoring as one of the uncaptured metrics.

“The altmetrics movement has failed to do what it promised to do,” she stated. “Altmetrics needs a far greater protocol and greater validity. Altmetrics have been around for five years, but still only looks at the impact of publications. Nothing has been made visible that wasn’t before.”

She suggested eliminating the term “alt” and focusing on the validity of metrics; refining how they are captured and evaluated, which might require human intervention.

“Maybe tweets are not important. May they just have to do with humor value and not scientific exchange. We have to think about what’s being tweeted and also who is tweeting. Sometimes it’s organizations. Sometimes it’s bots,” she observed.

Sugimoto commented that open peer review has largely failed, but it is not true that researchers are not active online. “Researchers need to be incentivized. We need to think about micro-reviewing too, so that the process does not demand as much.”

03/29/2011

Market Intelligence for the Publishing and Media Industries


 

Simba Information is a research, analysis and consulting firm for the publishing and media industries. I have posted on Simba before on my Writers Welcome Blog and you are cordially invited to read that post for more info and background.

Today I am focusing on Simba again to introduce their complete new white paper: Simba Information’s 2011 Forecast Snapshot. In this white paper they have “compiled an overview of forecasts and predictions for 2011’s markets, from the professional, yellow pages, trade and education book markets–each of which is briefly introduced to ensure at least passing familiarity with the subject at hand.”

Simba Information provides key decision-makers at more than 15,000 client companies across the globe with timely news, analysis, exclusive statistics, and proprietary industry forecasts. Simba’s extensive information network delivers valuable independent perspective on the people, events, and alliances shaping the media and information industry. Our tightly focused editorial and marketing teams meet these needs through the publication of newsletters and market research reports, while our seasoned industry experts bring Simba’s powerful information to life through consulting services.

If you REALLY want the inside intel on the STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) publishing and other media world functionings you will want to familiarize yourself with Simba…And that’s the real mojo!

Here then is the link to Simba Information’s 2011 Forecast Snapshot . Enjoy the read and learning!

Remember, Kindle lovers, you can get this fine blog on your Kindle here  🙂

11/21/2010

An Insight into the Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM) Publishing Arena


With increasing budget constraints hitting academic institutions, libraries and corporate advertisers…constraints brought on by the current recession…the scientific, technical and medical (STM) publishers are experiencing shrinking profits.

Though not by too much in this writers opinion! Hell, The global STM publishing market saw total sales of $20.3 billion in 2009! But, then again, I am not an expert nor am I rich…and $20 billion seems a wondrous number to this peasant. This represents a decrease of 1.6% for the STM folks in 2009. Is this all that bad?….Naaah. Many are doing MUCH worse!

This report from “Insights from the Editor” at Simba Information:

After shrinking 1.6% in 2009, the market for scientific, technical and medical publishing is poised to regain modest growth in 2010. However, according to Global STM Publishing 2009-2010, a new report from media industry and forecast analysis firm Simba Information, leading report publishers will require new strategies to maintain growth in what is expected to be a painfully slow recovery.

The global STM publishing market saw total sales fall to $20.3 billion in 2009 due to a broad impact on revenue streams from the worldwide recession. As detailed in the report, academic institutions faced budget pressure, which made subscription renewals difficult. Corporate customers and advertisers also cut back their spending in light of the recession. With the economy expected to slowly recover, the report projects sales in the combined STM markets to finish the year slightly ahead of 2009 results.

These market pressures are not expected to dissipate immediately. The question is how long will they last? If library budget constraints and shrinking advertising expenditures produce a couple of soft years, the market leaders will be able to ride it out with cost containment; however, if the current situation lingers and libraries start cancelling big contracts, publishers will be under the gun to find alternative strategies.

Read and learn more

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