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Lorrine and Steve, UKSG Annual Conference 2019


With the clocks going back, this seems like a good moment to give you a roundup of the articles we have published since the spring. Back in May we published an article by Roy Kaufman on Open Educational Resources (OERs). Although Roy was sharing lessons learned in schools in the USA, the copyright issues discussed apply to all OERs at all levels of education. The article highlights the pitfalls but also provides some solid recommendations to ensure that open resources comply with copyright and are all sustainable.

Many of us were very inspired by the UKSG Conference plenary session on inclusion earlier this year, so we’re delighted to continue the theme with two thought-provoking articles. Anna-Maria Sichani, James Baker,  Maria José Afanador Llach and Brandon Walsh ask new questions about what it means to be open in the context of access, diversity and inclusion. Their article explains the work undertaken by the Editorial Board of The Programming Historian to situate diversity at the heart of their open access (OA) project.  Elisabeth Charles gives us a brief history and context for why ‘decolonizing the curriculum’ is fundamental for academic institutions and what role libraries and the scholarly communication sector can play in this movement. She explains the issues faced by students who are other (BAME, LGBTQ, etc.) as they become aware of a lack of visibility of plural voices, or of people like them as having contributed to the scholarly record. However, Elizabeth outlines what we can do, or should be doing to address these issues. Watch out also for an article we’ll publish later this year by Saskia Bewley, who will explain the work that Hachette are doing to as publisher and employer to foster diversity and inclusion. 

Recent reports of a reproducibility crisis in science led to increased demands for open data and transparency in research practices.  Rosie Highman, Daniel Bangert and Sarah Jones explain that open data, FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) and research data management (RDM) are three overlapping but distinct concepts, each emphasizing different aspects of handling and sharing research data. Their article explores the boundaries of each concept and where they intersect and overlap. Ester Plomp, Nicolas Dintzner, Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning present an inspiring case study on how Delft University of Technology is addressing the cultural barriers to data sharing by appointing Data Stewards at every faculty. Cultural change also requires appropriate rewards and incentives and they discuss several examples of the systemic changes to the academic rewards system which is needed to affect this. Perhaps one of those incentives is data about the usage of research data. Paul Needham and Jo Lambert explain how development of usage metrics for research data can provide evidence – this can not only be used to advocate for and promote use of Institutional Repositories, but also demonstrates how an institution is meeting funder requirements.

The requirements of the cOAlition S funders are very much to the fore, and so we were delighted to publish an article by Francisco Jesús Martínez-Galindo, Francisco Rubio, Javier Hernández-San-Miguel and Sergio Fernández Burguete about the challenges and opportunities brought by Plan S in Spain. Although the gold route has scarcely been used in Spain, the green route has been intensively implemented. Our authors explain that Spain’s possible adherence to Plan S could imply technical challenges in journals and repositories, additional costs that are difficult to estimate, or refusal to accept the Plan on the part of researchers; on the other hand it could also lead to greater transparency in APC spending, a reduction in publishing in predatory journals, greater visibility and greater impact for journals that are only published OA.

Alicia Wise (along with one of your editors) also write on the theme of Plan S and how it provides an opportunity for a closer relationship between libraries and society publishers. They go on to outline how library consortia and their members can repurpose existing expenditure to help society publishers to successfully make a transition to OA. On this theme will also be publishing an article later this year by Tasha Mellins-Cohen, with her case study on transformative deals.

Although we see transition to OA through a variety of models, the subscription model is still supporting access to the majority of library resources. This means that evaluating the usage of these resources and measuring their impact is as important as ever. Julie Cleverley and Samantha Heeson provide a detailed case study based on their work at Leeds Beckett University Library. Their project confirms the feasibility of using OpenAthens and student record data to enable in-depth analysis of learning resources usage and costs, student engagement and library impact.

Technology is a great driver for change and 67 Bricks, together with BMJ, were shortlisted in this years’ ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  Sam Herbert and Inigo Surguy tell the story of 67 Bricks as a start-up organization, using data-driven approaches and artificial intelligence to evolve publishers’ content from being a traditional static asset, e.g. a book or article, to something more agile and dynamic.  Mark Bell, Alex Green, John Sheridan, John Collomosse, Daniel Cooper, Tu Bui, Olivier Thereaux and Jez Higgins tell us about how the ARCHANGEL project is breaking new ground by using blockchain to ensure the preservation of digital materials. Coming soon from Manfredi La Manna and Camillo Lamanna is an article about how blockchain may enable a reliable usage metric which can provide the missing incentive for OA publication.

Megan Taylor and Kathrine S H Jensen believe that by sharing knowledge, skills and best practice, the higher education sector can work towards forming a supportive and collaborative publishing community. Their article presents a model for developing a university press based around three guiding principles and six key stages of the publishing process. Emily Ford argues that all types of scholarly publishers are falling short in providing peer-review transparency. Using examples from an interview-based qualitative study, she advocates that scholarly publications should move from peer-review process transparency to a praxis of transparency in peer review.

There is still more to come! Between now and the end of the year we plan to bring you many more informative and stimulating articles. As well as those already mentioned, we be covering how breaking down barriers can lead to proactive and co-operative researcher support; and providing a case study on practice and projects as a basis for academic publishing.

As always, we want to remind you that our aim is the exchange of ideas on scholarly communication. Please share your ideas, opinions, research projects and case studies with us, and the readers of Insights!

We’ll be back in the New Year with another roundup.


Steve and Lorraine

(Previous editorials can be found here)