Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In the opinion of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers

It is the opinion of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), that open access mandates with short embargoes will lead to journal cancellations and threaten the survive of scholarly journals. Audrey McCullough, Chief Executive of ALPSPs, admits that a recently released "report" by ALPSP purporting to claim evidence for this, is actually an opinion piece, as recorded in this interview by Richard Poynder. I am happy to have been able to help out a bit with research methods and history in this area; this piece is a fine example of the potential for academic / journalist collaboration. Whether this is fact or opinion is important, with open access policies under discussion. For example, the Research Councils in the UK is currently working on strengthening their OA policies.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Oxygen is not a free lunch (environmentalism for the free market believer)

The right wing think tank The Heartland Institute - one of the main funders of climate change denial - claims that we should look to free market solutions to environmental challenges. While I strongly disagree with their philosophy and this approach, free market belief systems are common in our society so it may be useful to develop arguments that this constituency can understand. Here is one such argument. Those who are so indoctrinated in neoliberalism that they cannot see our world, the air we breathe, as the great gift (the free lunch) that it is, might benefit from considering the oxygen in the air we breathe from a labor perspective. This is not human labor, but rather the natural labor of plants and particularly trees. The deforestation occurring around the world can be seen as a labor dispute - the trees are being locked out, deprived of the means of production, the soil and water that they need. This is one labor dispute that the capitalist cannot win. While it may seem as though those who order the chainsaws or set the policies have all the power against these immobile, defenseless beings, ultimately it is these gentle creatures who have the ultimate power, collectively creating the air without which none of us (no matter how rich) cannot survive fOr more than a few minutes. Negotiation is crucial, and urgent, for both sides. The image of the 99% is powerful, true, and important for social justice, but let's keep in mind that when it comes to te environment, we are the 100%. If we continue to destroy the environment, some of us will suffer more than others, but we will all suffer. If we wage war against the environment, we all lose.

Monday, July 02, 2012

June 30, 2012 Dramatic Growth of Open Access

"As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future." This is what I have been saying for years - but significantly, this is from the co-sponsors of the anti-open-access Research Works Act - just one of the great quotes from Shieber's The inevitability of open access discussed below.

The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE), operated by Bielefeld University Library, is described as "one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources". BASE's total document count is what I use as the best available surrogate for the number of open access resources currently available. This is far from an exact count (not all the resources in the archives harvested by BASE are open access, there is no deduplication, and the types of documents is difficult to discover). However, the sheer volume of BASE is a clear indication of dramatic growth of open access archives - with over 36 million documents in total, the real number would be impressive even if it were only a small portion of the total. This quarter, the just over 2,000 repositories harvested by BASE collectively added close to 2 million documents.

Actual numbers from specific repositories illustrate that the BASE total is no mirage. PubMedCentral alone, as of March 2012, provided access to 3.5 million fulltext documents, or 17% of the literature indexed by PMC (with no limitations by date or funder). Since April 2008, when the NIH introduced a stronger Public Access Policy, over 200,000 NIH-funded journal articles have become freely available through PMC, for a compliance rate of 74%.

arXiv contains over 750,000 documents; RePEC, over 1 million, and the Social Sciences Research Network about 350,000 documents. These 4 repository services taken together add to over 5.5 million documents - and this is just 4 of the over 2,000 open access repositories available around the world.

The Directory of Open Access Journals is getting close to 8 thousand titles, and adding titles at a rate of over 3 per day. The newly launched Directory of Open Access Books already lists more than a thousand titles from 27 contributing publishers. The Electronic Journals Library, which collects free titles of interest to academics whether peer reviewed or not, and including titles that are not fully OA but provide free access to back issues, lists over 35,000 journals, and continues to add titles at an average rate of 15 per day.

The Internet Archive provides access to 670,000 movies, 100,000 concerts, 1.3 million audio recordings, and 3.5 million texts.

No wonder then that many people - and not just the usual suspects - are beginning to see that open access is inevitable! This issue of The Dramatic Growth of Open Access briefly explains the purpose of this series, highlights Shieber's collection of quotes on the inevitability of open access, discusses one of the less immediately visible indications of the growth of open access, the increasing citations of open access journals, and provides selected growth numbers. Full data for this series can be downloaded from SUMMIT.

The purpose of this series

It is important not to overstate the extent of open access today; the vast majority of scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles are still published in toll access journals. However, it is also important to notice and celebrate what has been accomplished to date, and that is the primary purpose of this series, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access.

Reasons why this recognition of accomplishments to date are important include:
  • raising awareness of the resources already available for people to use
    • increases usage and hence success of existing open access initiatives
    • usage can raise awareness of the benefits of open access
    • increase understanding that there is no need for any one region to consider a unilateral move to open access - it's happening everywhere
  • countering misperceptions of lack of progress - for example, there is the occasional setback, but when a single journal reverts from open to toll access, let's keep in mind that the net growth for DOAJ that same day was about 3 titles
  • celebrating success to date is good for morale!
The inevitability of open access
In a post on The Occasional Pamphlet called The inevitability of open access, Stuart Shieber says: "I get the sense that we’ve moved into a new phase in discussions of open access. There seems to be a consensus that open access is an inevitability. We’re hearing this not only from the usual suspects in academia but from publishers, policy-makers, and other interested parties". Even the co-sponsors of the anti-open-access Research Works Act, Issa and Maloney, are quoted as saying: "As the costs of publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will continue to see a growth in open access publishers. This new and innovative model appears to be the wave of the future."

The growing citation impact of open access journals

Thanks to Matt Cockerill for A striking example of a society journal improving its impact factor radically following a move to #openaccess 

A striking example of a society journal improving its impact ... on Twitpic

and to David Wardle for research illustrating that ecological papers in PLoS ONE have a greater impact than those published in the main ecological journals.  Details:

ecological papers published in PLoS ONE, which accepts 69% of submissions, publishes work that on average has a greater impact than papers published in Oikos which accepts 15% of submissions,
and has a comparable impact to those in Ecology and Functional Ecology which respectively accept 20% and 15% of submissions. Ecological papers published in,PLoS ONE are on average cited less than those in Ecology Letters (with an 11% acceptance rate) but evenhere there is considerable overlap
Wardle, David A. On plummeting manuscript acceptance rates by the main ecological journals
and the progress of ecology. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution 5: 13–15, 2012
doi:10.4033/iee.2012.5.4.e  "http://library.queensu.ca/ojs/index.php/IEE/article/view/4351/4346

Selected numbers

Directory of Open Access Journals
  • 7,912 journals
  • 305 added this quarter (3 per day)
Directory of Open Access Books
  • 1,098 academic peer-reviewed books
  • 27 publishers
Electronic Journals Library
  •  35,296 journals that can be read free of charge
  • 1,312 added this quarter (15 per day)
Number of repositories
For extensive detailed statistics on repositories see OpenDOAR and ROAR
Number of items in repositories
For extensive statistics on items by repository including deposit rate see the Registry of Open Access Repositories 

Global: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine 
  • 36 million documents
  • 2 million documents added this quarter (22 thousand / day)
PubMedCentral: 2.4 million (from PMC website - this total not updated regularly)

arXiv (physics)
  • 766,772 documents
  • 20,789 added this quarter (230 per day)
RePEC (Research Papers in Economics)
  • 1 million downloadable documents
  • 30 thousand added this quarter (333 per day)
Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN)
  •  350,000 fulltext documents
  • 28,000 added this quarter (311 per day)
E-LIS (Library and Information Science)
  • 13,387 documents
  • 460 added this quarter (5 per day) 
Open Access Mandate Policies (from ROARMAP)
  •  330 policies listed 
  • 237 policies excluding thesis policies
  • 10 institutional policies added this quarter
Internet Archive
  • Moving images (movies) 670,000 - 40,000 added this quarter (444 per day)
  • Live music archive (concerts) 100,000 - 3,455 added this quarter (28 per day)
  • Audio (recordings) 1.3 million - 128,000 added this quarter (1,400 per day)
  • Texts 3.5 million - 150,000 added this quarter (1,600 per day)
  • 1,347 journals actively participating in PMC (decrease of 13 this quarter)
  • 1,092 journals deposit ALL articles in PMC (increase of 51 this quarter)
  • 928 journals with immediate free access (increase of 49 this quarter)
  • 792 journals with all articles open access (increase of 46 this quarter)
PubMed indexed articles with free fulltext available
  • 200,000 articles (74%) by NIH funded external researchers since 2008 Public Access Policy freely available
  • 340,000 articles (58%) by NIH internal or external researchers freely available (no date limit)
    • 150,000 articles (60%) within 3 years of publication
    • 84,000 articles (50%) within 2 years of publication
    • 16,000 articles (20%) within 1 year of publication
This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.