Okay, y’all so today we’re doing something very different, and that is Because of a couple of things, First of All last week, YouTube announced that they released this new functionality. Called “ YouTube Premieres” for everyone, where, basically, what you can do is you Can record a article in advance and then you can schedule it to be released And Then, at the moment that it’s released, people can all come together and read it.
At the same time, with a chat window, so they Can talk to other people as it comes out, The chat window ideally should be over… There yeah So notice the in chat window There are people there. Another reason is That last Monday, — so a week before this article is running right now live for the first time. — was the start of Open Access Week Now Open Access Week. If you have Not heard of Apen Access is basically a week where we celebrate and we promote All of these things that are Open Access And the idea behind Open Access.
It’s a thing that I very much love is this idea that people should have access to information, because that’s what helps Them make informed choices, that’s what helps them advance in their lives and in their careers and just generally make the world a better place for everyone. So about a month ago a documentary came out called “ Paywall, the Business of Scholarship”…. I think we’re going to find Out And it was released for free for everyone, and it talks about the world of Scholarly publishing The cool thing about the documentary, though, is that the guy who made it he released it under what is known as a Creative Commons, 4.
0 license or CC-BY, which basically means anyone can take it and do whatever the heck they want with it. As long as they just credit him and point them-point viewers towards the source, So here we are So. I attended a screening of this After reading it on my own with a bunch of librarians and the general consensus was like “, this is cool, but it’s kind of preaching to the choir,”, and so I wanted to see if I could do something to help.
Make it more accessible to everyone, So what I have done is I have taken the movie and I have added a few things to it: I’ve added little captions to describe break out acronyms for folks who’ve, never experienced anything in the world of Open or in scholarly Communications I added the speakers’ Twitter handles in the top… Left… Corner –, sorry, I had to think of which side was left –, so that if you want to tweet people with questions about specific things, they have said.
You know exactly where to do that, And I have put it here on YouTube with this lovely chat window And the cool thing about the shat window is before this article got published. I reached out to a number of folks and organizations to see if they might be able to send someone to sit in on the chat and answer questions as they come up for the layperson. Now we might not have a very large group of people here.
*Right now *, but that’s fine, because this is going to be on YouTube forever Or at least as long as YouTube exists, and they, let me keep it. I figured that this would Be a really good way, a really novel way of taking advantage of this new YouTube. Premiers feature to put the experts in contact with everyone else and so by all means, take advantage of the people Now for those of you reading this article in the future.
After it’s been released, I Know you can’t be a part of the chat, but what you CAN do is you can actually make A comment below and you can put a timestamp in it so that others who read it in the future and myself. We know exactly what you’re talking about so to Do that what you do, is you write your comment and in the comment put the time code? So if this is showing at like 4 minutes and 15 seconds, what you would Type is 4:15 just like that, and then the rest of your comment.
And then anyone who wants to see what you’re talking about can click that, because it will become a link and see exactly what’s being talked about. So go ahead and Comment away throughout the course of this Go ahead and give it a try now, if you want to, But don’t feel obliged Now people over in the chat, if you would Do me a favor and go ahead and start introducing yourselves give. Maybe your name your title, and maybe your social media handle Twitter.
If that’s your choice, so that if people want to continue this discussion with you offline — or online, but off this article — they can All right go ahead and take a minute to do that. I’m just going to say now that this is brand new and I don’t know how this is going to work. But I’m hoping it’s going to work out well As for me, if you want to tweet at me in the future, Or now you can always do so at @, the_musser or @ StacksEtFacts, where I will answer your questions, So that’s about it.
.., But before we get started, I want to say thank you to a few people who have made this possible First to the folks at Ubc Libraries, Some of you, are in the chat. Thank you so much for making this happen. Second, to Jason, for making this documentary, I’m really really grateful. That you published it under the Creative Commons license so that I could do this. I also want to thank everyone who participated in making this and all the folks who sat down to be interviewed for the documentary.
Your guys’s views are very important and they help shine a light on a thing that the most most people just don’t know about, And also I want to give a shout out to Creative Commons — without having made the CC-BY licenses and the whole suite of creative Common licenses designed to help people share information in meaningful ways. What I have done here would not be possible, so thank you very much And, of course, thanks YouTube for doing this thing.
Okay, so hopefully that was enough time for introductions. Take note – and let’s just do this All right, Oh and also I’m in the chat, so you’ll see me as Stacks & Facts. So that’s me, Okay, ready! Let’s do this On the count of three one. Two three — This is The State of Things, I’m Frank, Stasio. A lot of academic research was Paid for with public funding, but public access is often Restricted by expensive paywalls, Meanwhile, some academic Publishing companies have higher profit margins than companies, Like Walmart, Google and Apple, But there is a movement on the way That could turn the tide.
Paywall The Business of Scholarship Universities are about educating humans, And there is literally no reason to keep information from people. There is nothing gained. Other Than money and power and things that as people We should want to push up against Lot of money, A lot of money, A lot of money. It’s huge huge business. Billions of dollars of business Academic publishing is a 25.2 billion Dollar, a year industry, This journal by Elsevier Biomaterials costs, An average 10 dollars for yearly digital subscriptions Is that money well spent It’s hard to say.
In 5, Forbes magazine predicted that scholarly Research would be the Internet, ’ s. First, victim Academics are progressive and surely journals Would lose power in revenue with digital distribution? 23 years later? This couldn’t be further from the truth. I think one thing we learn: When we look at history is that humans are really Bad at predicting the future – And this is something that The media, they love to do, and people who consume media Love to read it, It’s fun, it.
… We are sorry You don, ’ t have the credentials. To access this documentary, Please see payment options below The scholarly publishing industry makes About a 35 to 40 percent profit margin And different years, When I’ve looked at this, you know Walmart Is making around 3 % and Walmart is like this evil? You know giant for a lot of people, But it ’ s 3 percent compared to 35 percent. I mean I could have flipped my own Attitudes now like Walmart’s, not that bad compared to some of these Other players in other industries – You know wealth management, industry, Is around 21 % Toyota’s around 12 %? How is it okay for this whole industry? To be making so much a profit margin when there really aren, ’ t any inputs, That they have to pay for it.
What are the corporations Which you compare with that sort of a profit margin? That 32-35, I have honestly never heard Of corporations that have profit margins, that are, that big In most other lines of Lines of normal enterprise and business that kind of profit margin, Is the sign of some kind of monopoly logic at work, Even though people not in academia, May not be reading. A lot of these articles may not find them useful.
They are still paying for them. Your tax dollars go towards governments, Who then subsidize universities who then provide funds to libraries? Who pay publishers through subscription fees, The journals and the publishers? Are getting your money, Whether is it’s you or your neighbor Everyone is paying into the system And the people benefiting the most Are publishers? Everybody deserves a profit margin, But how can journals journals? Have a profit margin larger than some of the biggest tech companies.
Well, publishing is so Profitable because the workers don ’ t get paid, I mean in what other industry I can think of none in which the primary workers In this case, the authors reviewers get paid nothing Profit margins in many respects. In the publishing are second to none and a few years back, I compared them to Facebook. And I realized they’re about the equivalent of the most successful software.
Companies today in terms of margins And of course, Facebook has Virtually infinite scale and there’s arguably no more successful. Company in the last five or ten years So publishing is obscenely profitable and Because of it, the publisher! ’ s! In no rush to see the world change. There is a real question. As to why the margins are so high, like 35 percent higher Than Google, ’ s margins, what ’ s going on there Well, and that is simply Because the pricing power – you know You if you are Elsevier, let ’ s say: You have proprietary access, you are selling a stream Of content to a university And it ’ s not like you know, Going to the supermarket, and if there you know one beer is Too expensive you choose another one.
It is not like a university librarian can Say “ Well: the Elsevier papers are too expensive. We ’ ll, just go with Wiley this year..”, You kind of need all of them, And so you have an ability to charge. Really as much as you want and the universities will rarely Actually balk, They might pretend to balk, but The reality is that faculty have to have access and that, ’ s a very powerful position.
For the businesses, Here’s a problem in the market, The market exhibits what Someone has called a moral hazard which doesn ’ t have anything to With morality, [, it’s ], an economic term. Moral hazard comes about When the purchasers of the good are not the consumers of the good, So what is the good here? In the traditional publishing market, It’s access, you know, Readership access The consumers are people like me.
Who want to read the articles? The purchasers, though, are not me. I don ’ t tend to subscribe to journals. The Harvard Library spends huge amounts of Money subscribing to a huge range of journals, So I am price insensitive to these journals. ‘Cause, I don ’ t have to pay the bill. The money is real Right. Academic publishing, For journals is a 10 billion dollar a year revenue producing industry.
This is not chump change. This is a significant amount of money When you think about a profit margin. Of 30 to 40 percent taken out of that, that could be put back. Into the research enterprise, whether it’s supporting more science Whether it’s supporting universities, you know hiring more researchers, Paying more faculty making college more affordable, That financial aspect is a symptom of just how out of alignment This commercial model is in trying to stay relevant In the research process, Usually we don ’ t.
Think About the relationship between the profit Of such companies, on the one hand, and the ever-increasing Tuition fees at universities, but it’s also a part of the story. We are not talking about. A marginal problem We are not talking about The internal issues of the scholars We are talking about, Very basic social problems: What will be the future of our societies? Journal prices have been Increasing way above the level of inflation and well above The rate of the growth of library budgets, Not just for years But for decades – And it’s been a catastrophe Just ten hours ago – Anthem College shut down – Saint Joseph College, will be Closing its doors Deep in debt, Dowling College Is shutting its doors? The abrupt closure leaves faculty Without jobs and thousands of students Scrambling to find another school, The academy writ large Has not really examined the full cost? Of scholarly communication It ’ s been really the libraries’ budgets.
That have born the brunt of that and we have often had to go. Hat in hand to the administration to get increases for serials Specifically, science technology, medicine journals That have just had a rapid increase in price For whatever reasons, the publishers may claim for that And for profit to go up, Scarcity has to prevail. Welcome to the world of paywalls Blocking research Have you hit paywalls? Absolutely.
I have definitely hit a paywall. I hit a paywall frequently. Have you ever hit a paywall? Oh pff? Yes, I hit a paywall. Quite often I ’ ll find a paywall. Yes, When I was a student I definitely hit a paywall. I hit paywalls a lot. How do you feel I feel really pissed Students graduate Get their Master’s flow into those Spin-Off companies and suddenly they discovered That they could not get access to the research results.
That they needed because they were not longer affiliated with the university They came, knocking on my door And I had to tell them that as a librarian, I was in this awkward position. That I had to block non-affiliated users for access to publicly funded research, And that is completely contrary to the mission. Of a library and a librarian, So that was an eye opener. Do you want to tell us a Little bit about yourself, I’m Dwight Parker In the middle of my working on a PhD in Ed Psychology, I decided that I needed to take a break from that.
And I ’ m selling cars. While I was in the program I had access to lots of things, but once you’re outside that program, If you those same resources, just aren, ’ t available to you, At least they weren’t to me anyway, In you know, Education, psychology was mine and most of the research done, Is government funded, so that’s taxpayer money Going to fund research that they’re then charging for Which is absurd, I mean it.
’ s absurd, Absolutely Not to mention it is a public good. I mean certain academic research. I need to be able to access That research, regardless I mean I don ’ t – have 79.99 or… To do that Not selling cars, Even the coolest car in existence. If I worked for Elsevier I could afford it Yeah or any one of those I mean it’s such a… Anyway. You know You guys are doing it. You know it’s so….
The money just corrupts Everything you know, You’ve got the money. You’ve got the Government and everybody’s all… And it is like the science gets lost. Honestly It gets lost. My wife had a Pulmonary embolism And they’re not sure why And nobody is still sure Why she had a pulmonary embolism? It could be a number of different things. And so I started doing the thing I do, which is get on the Internet: And start doing research And you hit all these medical research paywalls Where people are doing these studies about PE And I can ’ t afford to spend the money to read a research paper.
Only to discover that it ’ s not relevant to her Relevant to our situation, It might be, It might not be, But there’s not enough information. In front of it for me to tell, But it could save her life, The reason that we have Research is we’re trying to solve problems in the world, We’re trying to cure diseases, we’re trying to figure out clean water. We’re trying to figure out how to take poverty to zero, We’re trying to completely wipe out Particular disease states once and for all, And if you want to do that, we’ve got To make sure that everybody has access, Not just rich countries, Not just people who have Ph.
D.S, but everybody gets To read scientific research think about it and then Contribute their ideas And when large portions of the population Don, ’ t have access to research, the odds of us solving big problems. Are significantly lower, The publishers have been Part of curating the scholarly dialogue for centuries, And in that respect they are vital. At the same time, we have a global Population that the vast majority does not have access to research.
About current developments in science, medicine, culture, Technology, environmental science And are faced with the prospect of trying To make sense of the world without access to the best knowledge about it And in some sense, that is tragic. Western universities have Really great funds for their libraries, so they are in the… They have the capacity to purchase the journals, give access to their students, But in context of developing countries, Libraries are really poor, So you eventually end up doing everything.
On your own, without any support from the university or college, And even if you’re, trying to approach Your faculties or professors you get the same answers That “, we did it the same way and you ’ ll have to do it. The same way as well.”, So it just keeps going and we don ’ t get A concrete result out of it, So my research was more In very fundamental physics, Special relativity there And many of these Papers again was “, you’ll have to pay for it.
”. I would say I ’ d. Never Pay it for any paper, especially in the economy of Venezuela. Right now, it’s even worse, unfortunately, But even when I was a student there, You just kind of take your credit card. And buy something from the Internet So from the lack of access. A movement has sprung out And that movement is called Open Access In its simplest form. Open Access is, you know, free and Unencumbered access to information Very simply, it’s a way to Democratize information: It ’ s to reduce disparity; And to promote equality There, ’ s: lots of academics out there, Who can build on top of the research that ’ s gone before if they have Access to all of the research, You might have some of the greatest minds: Of our generation living out in Central African Republic, who Don ’ t have access to any of the content, So what they can build.
On top of this How can they help move things further faster, And I think that is what Open Access is all about It’s allowing people who want Access to the knowledge to have access to the knowledge And take it further, I think, being passionate About Open Access is great, Where I get concerned is When somebody ’ s, passion for Open Access, Leads them to be unwilling to think about the costs of it.
As well as the benefits of it, I get concerned when Open Access, Becomes a religion or when it becomes a halo, That requires you to love whatever it’s placed over. If we lose our ability or worse Our willingness to think critically to think as critically and analytically About an Open Access model, as we do about a toll access model, Then we are no longer operating in the realm of reason and science.
We’re now operating in the realm of religion And I’m a religious person myself I’ve got nothing against religion, but it’s important not to confuse It with science, I can see how Especially, if you ’ re on the other side, it would appear religious. There is a lot of belief for sure right. It is a belief-based Movement for a lot of people, But a lot of the most powerful pieces of the Movement come from the biomedical literature From parents who can ’ t access it right From family members? Who can ’ t access it And those take on the element of witness And testimony that is religious, at least in overtone, right And there’s real power in witness and testimony That is part of evangelical movements And we can have a nerdy conversation.
About innovation – or I can give you an emotional story – Which one goes more, viral Movements need to take all kinds right: Movements are bigger than organizations, They’re bigger than people when they work right, That’s kind of why they work they take On this rolling avalanche aspect For me, why I am Doing this is because of the benefits to research efficiency. I want to see increased Research efficiency overall, That is my overall goal.
If you said closed, science was the way to Do that I would be supporting closed science, But that research efficiency, Comes with increases in quality increases in inclusivity, increases in diversity; Increases in innovation Just having more people that Can do something is a benefit We have big problems to solve. I was very much Involved deeply involved in the early days. Of Open Access in life sciences – And our hope was that Open Access would not Only bring the very significant change in access It seemed completely crazy that most of research is not available.
To most of the people who need it, I had a visit to the University of Belgrade. A few years ago – and I was meeting with grad students – Before my lecture and we were going Around the room, talking about what Each researcher did were working on For their thesis And almost everyone in the room, Was working on implicit cognition And it was amazing that there were So many students working on this particular area of research, And so I said “, Why are all of you doing this? How has that Become this be the area? That’s so popular?” And the immediate response was well “ We can access the literature in this area,.
” “. What do you mean?”? I said “. Well, there is a norm of all the Leading researchers in your field, all of you put your papers online, So we can find them And we can know what ’ s going. On right now, in this literature that we can ’ t get access to In other subdisciplines.”, I was blown away by that right That they made some decisions about what To study based on what they could access When I was Directing the Library and we had made Major cuts in our subscriptions because of budgetary constraints: Same sort of thing that libraries do and we did a series of focus groups to try.
To see how people were coping with that, And one of the people who really stood out To me was a young M.D Ph.D. Student when he talked to his advisor And the advisor said. “, These are interesting areas Read widely in these areas,.” And he said “. So I have to read widely But I realize my ability to read widely is constrained by what you have access to, And so my dissertation topic is going to be Constrained by what you are able to afford, because I can’t get at and read this other Material that you no longer have access to.
” Some of the world. ’ s! Greatest challenges are not going To be solved by one individual Group of researchers – And we know that interdisciplinary Research and collaboration is the way to get to those Solutions faster And because so many of those Challenges are so prevalent, clean water, food security, Global warming, public health there’s so many challenges: That need to be solved that there’s no reason why we wouldn ’ t Want to do everything we can to drive that collaboration.
And to enable it to happen, Medical knowledge and incredible expertise. Can be found in every far corner of the world, we just haven, ’ t tapped into it too often. So a friend of mine is a pediatric heart. Surgeon at Stanford He would observe when He was visiting India and went to an institution That has now treated 10 times as many patients as him. And they’re able to get almost as good results.
As he gets in Stanford – and they can do this between 5 and 10 percent the cost And to me that ’ s genius! That is genius, And you would think that we in the Western World would want to understand, what’s going on in India as much as They would want to see what we’re able to do with all Our marvels of technology, It is an easy conclusion to draw That scholarship must be open in order for scholarship to happen, And so it ’ s, sort of a curiosity.
That it isn’t already open, But that’s really because of the History of how we got here Every since the scholarly journal was Founded or created in the mid-17th century authors have written for them without pay. And they’ve written for impact not for money To better understand the research process. We traveled to where research journals originated. The Royal Society of London – I am Stuart Taylor, I am The publishing director here at the Royal Society, The Royal Society – is Britain.
’ s! National academy of science, It was founded in 0 As a society of the early scientists, such as Robert Hook and Christopher Wren, A few years after that, in 5, Henry Oldenburg here who’s the first secretary of the society Launched the world ’ s: first, science journal called Philosophical Transactions, And that was the first time that the Scientific achievements and discoveries of early scientists Was formally recorded And that journal Has essentially set the model for what we now Know today of science journals Embodying the four principles of archival Registration, dissemination and verification, So that means having your discovery.
Associated with your name and a particular date, Having it verified by review by your peers having it disseminated to other scientists, And also having it archived for the future. As soon as there were digital networks, Scholars begin sharing scholarship on them. Ever since, let ’ s say the early nineties, Academics have been seriously promoting Οpen Αccess, Not just using the network to distribute Scholarship and research, but promoting it and trying To foster it for others, It may sound like I’m making this up, but I really felt at the time – and I was not alone That, if you have some wonderful idea, Or you make some breakthrough, you like to think it! ’ s because You had some inspiration or you worked harder than anyone else.
But you don ’ t like to think it was because you had privileged access to information, And so you know part of my intent in 1. Was just to level the playing field that is, give everybody access to The same information at the same time and not have these, you know Disparities in access, Forty percent of all the papers published In the New England Journal of Medicine and then the New England Journal, Of Medicine is arguably the most impactful journal in the world.
But 40 percent of the authors came from a -mile radius of Boston. Which is where the New England Journal of Medicine is headquartered. Publishing is really an insiders. ’ game. Those of us who are insiders have much greater Access to publishing, and also even reading as we come from the richer of the institutions, A lot of people are Suffering as a result of the current System in academia, We have a lot of doctors who would benefit From having the latest information about what the best care To give to their patients, There is so much research, That has been done already, It’s ridiculous.
Sometimes when we try To access a paper that was written in 5 And it’s still behind a paywall It doesn, ’ t make any sense. Research journals have come a long way. Since 5, We now have the ability to reach Many around the globe simultaneously for next to nothing and That is a huge benefit for scholars. Many authors think that if they Publish in a conventional journal, especially an important conventional Journal a high-prestige, a high-impact, high-quality conventional journal, They’re reaching everybody who cares about their work? That’s false They’re, reaching everybody who is Lucky enough to work in an institution, that’s wealthy enough! To subscribe to that journal, And even if those journals are relative, Best-Sellers or if they’re must-have journals that all libraries try to subscribe to there Are still libraries that cannot subscribe to them And many libraries have long since Canceled their must-have journals just because they don ’ t have the money.
So authors get the benefit. Of a wider audience and by getting a wider audience, They get the benefit of greater impact because you cannot impact in your work. Your work cannot be built upon or cited or taken up or used. Unless people know what it is And most scholars write for impact Part of what academics Do is study questions, try to figure out some insight about What they’ve learned about a phenomenon and then share that with others? So then those others can then say “.
Ah what about this? What about that? Are you sure,?” or “, Oh yeah, let me use this In some new way,.” So really scholarship is a conversation. And the only way to have a conversation is to know what each other is saying. And what the basis is for what they’re saying And so openness is fundamental to Scholarship doing what it ’ s supposed to do. There’s one of those Original myths about Open Access, There’s no peer review; There’s low quality and so forth, And we know that When you put your stuff out in the open people notice, you know If you BS your way out there, you ’ ll, be caught very quickly.
If you miss something important In terms of a piece of evidence, someone will point you to it. If you are not careful in your argument, Or you miss a piece of important literature, someone will tell you that, And so you, as a researcher Would benefit from these observations and criticisms and other things So your research will be better, not lower quality as a result of it. If you don, ’ t work, In this space you don, ’ t have any contacts you don.
’ t have any concept. Of the sort of dramatic impact that these tensions Are going to have on everyone? You know when you see the EPA [ Environmental Protection Agency ] take down its climate change section Of its website, there’s real concrete impact to not having Information be available, There’s plenty of free information out there. And we all know how problematic it can be Just because it’s free doesn’t make it good.
Just because it’s paid for doesn’t make it bad. And I think that’s the tension that this community ’ s always going to have to deal With, Of course, in the very early days, Of the Open Access movement and Open Access journals, this notion that Open Access, publishing is not of high quality, was very predominant. But that has changed now Open Access to us. Does not at all denigrate the level of peer review? You know, If anything, you know It’s going to be even better The reward system in Many countries in many developing countries still mirrors our own In the UK and the U.
S. We did a survey recently asking About our researchers’ perceptions of Open Access and lots of them, You know were saying: “ Great Open Access is exactly What we need, we need to tell the whole world about our research. Everyone needs access. This is great.”. However, when we asked the researchers What their priorities were for journals where they wanted to publish their journals? The top things were impact factor indexing and at the bottom of the list, Was Open Access So whilst they were saying great things, About Open Access, unfortunately, because of the Reward structures – it’s nearer the bottom because they still need To progress their career, Open Access has been With us for some time, The impact has not been As quick as I expected, and I’m kind of worried that in the next 5 years, how fast are we going to move? Is there a reason? That research journals are so lethargic to change.
Well, you might call them Resilient [ laughter ], I think there is a certain degree. Of lethargy, As you know, Academics are probably the most conservative people on the planet. You know. Yes, they may be Innovating with their research but academic structures, Are very slow to change The academic community Is very, very conservative: It ’ s very hard to change. Make significant system changes in the academic community Our process for tenure now Is the same as it was years ago, Authors are very aware: That their chances of progress to continue their jobs Getting funding whole aspects of their careers Depend on where they publish And this need created, A sort of prison in which authors cannot have An alternative way to publish except to publish in those journals, That are most likely to help them in their careers.
One of the big obstacles – For Open Access is actually the current resource assessment. And tenure, and all these things, Because there still is a tendency To say: okay, if you publish four papers, In the higher-rank journals you are producing better research, It might be so that those papers Will never be cited or never read, But they take the journal impact factor. As a proxy for quality – And we know all of us that it is Subject to gaming and fraud, The impact factor is Actually, the average number of citations that that journal gets over It ’ s a 2-year window.
The impact factor is a perverse metric. Which has somehow become entrenched in the evaluation system and the way Researchers are assessed across the world. You can charge for a Gucci handbag. A hell of a lot more that you can for one that you just Pick off the high street Impact factors have Perverted the whole system of scholarly Communications massively Even their founder, Eugene Garfield Said they should not be used in this way, Then you must begin to wonder that You know there ’ s, something wrong And the faux-scientific nature of them.
You know the fact that they are accurate, To three decimal places, when they ’ re, clearly not they’re. Given this pseudoscientific feel to them The Royal Society a few years ago, Signed something called the San Francisco Declaration on Research; Assessment or DORA for short, which essentially calls on institutions And funders to assess scientists in ways that don ’ t use the impact factor So going much more back to peer review.
And actually, looking at the work itself, rather than simply relying on a metric Which many people believe to be a very flawed metric, But the way of Addressing the problem is to to start divorcing The assessment of an academic from the journals in which they’re publishing And if you are able to evaluate An academic based on the research that they produce on their own rather than Where that research has been published, I think you can then start to allow Researchers to publish in you know, journals that provide better service.
Better access lower cost all these things Journals that are highly selective, reject, Work, that is perfectly publishable and perfectly Good but they reject it because It’s not a significant advance, or it’s not going to make the headlines in The same way as a paper on disease or stem cells might So it gets rejected and then Goes to another journal goes through another round of peer review. And you can go through this through several cycles And in fact, the rationale of launching Plos One was exactly to try and stop that rounds and rounds of wasted both Scientists’ time reviewers’ time editors’ time, And ultimately, you know at the expense of science and society The time it takes to go through The top-tier journals and to maybe not make it And then have to go to another journal locks up that particular bit of research.
In a time warp, It is in the interest of research funders Who are paying? You know millions or billions of dollars? To fund research every year for that research to then Be openly available, There have been a lot of Different ways to come at this and a lot of people Have said, let ’ s be incremental? First, we ’ ll, create What’s called green Open Access where you’ll just provide access to the content? But no usage rights that are associated with that The Gates Foundation said “, That’s only half a loaf, we’re not in the half a loaf business.
If you’re going to do this, go all the way.” And I really applaud them for Not wanting to take the middle step, They have enough foresight, And frankly, leverage to demand getting it right. The first time around From the Foundation’s Prospective we were able to through our funding Work with our grantees to say, “, Yes, we are going to Give you this money and yes, we want you to do. Certain scientific and technical research and yield a particular outcome.
But we want you to do it in a particular way,.” And one of the ways that we want. People to work is to ensure that the results of what they do – Is broadly open and accessible, And along with that, we want to ensure That not only the money that we spend directly on our investments. And new science and technology yield a tangible benefit to those people. But we ’ d, also like to see it to have a multiplier effect, so that the information And the results of what we funded gets out for broader use by the scientific community.
The academic community to build on and sort of, accelerate And expand the results that we are achieving, What comes to mind when You hear of Elsevier, Oh my goodness, He-he Yes, Elsevier is a pain in the neck. For us in Africa, because their prices Are too high for us? They don ’ t want to come down. You know, I think, We can say that Elsevier is actually a good contributor. To the publishing community Elsevier What comes to mind Well, a level of profit that I think is unfortunately unpalatable And unsupportable, because From a University’s point of view, of course, it ’ s all public funds, Their licensing practices which have Certainly evolved over time, You know if we look at Elsevier’s, reuse or Commercial practices over the past 10 years – I think they ’ ve, made a lot of changes.
That have made them more author or researcher-friendly, So there is definitely an evolution there. These publishers, whenever We publish something there. This is financed by our departments. This is kind of public money, So we are paying the money But they are closing in. I would never characterize Them as a bad actor, I think they do a lot of good For supporting innovation and kind of cross-industry initiatives, There is a lot Of reasons why people focus On Elsevier, as kind of the bad guy Have a look at their annual report.
It’s all online, their profits are up, their dividends are Up they ’ re, doing very well. They made a couple of billion pounds in profit last year. By and large, does our industry Treat researchers well, Do we act effectively as a responsible Midwife for these important scholarly concepts or ideas, And make them accessible to the world and distribute them and reinvest. In the community I would say: yes, I personally think That Elsevier comes in for A lot of bad press, some of it, is deserved.
And earned, I think I also think they have made a lot of Smart innovations in publishing that we have all learned from I remember when I moved to UC Press I have moved from 20 years in commercial publishing, Into the non-profit university press world and It turned out that one of the main concerns of some of the staff head was that I was going to turn UC Press into Elsevier, Which of course has not happened, But I.
.. More seriously. I think That those of us in a sort of non-profit publishing world can actually learn. A lot from big competitors, I worked for Elsevier for a year. So I have to say a disclaimer. I also worked for 15 years. For non-profit scholarly societies – And I was a journal publisher in Both of those environments, They’re different environments And for me My view of commercial publishers was shaped by my experience coming out.
Of the scholarly society I worked for the American Astronomical Society where our core mission was to get the science Into the hands of the scientists when they wanted it, The way they wanted it, I went to a commercial publisher. I was recruited by them. I thought I was going to do more of the same, But that was really not the job. The job was managing a set of journals. To a specific profit margin And that just wasn ’ t my cup of tea It didn ’ t mesh with the values that I have So I went back into Not-For-Profit publishing, I do think it’s not that they are Bad entities, but their goal is to return profits to their shareholders, They’re, not mission-driven organizations, And that is fine.
They’re, commercial companies. My question is right now: in the 21st century, When we have these other mechanisms that can enable the flow of science Are they helping or hurting, And I would like to see them Adjust their models to be a little bit more helpful. Rather than harmful, There are absolutely just criticisms: That can be leveled at Elsevier. There are just criticisms: That can be leveled at PLOS.
There are just criticisms that can Be leveled at anyone and anything I try not to judge the legitimacy. Of a criticism based on its target, I try to judge the legitimacy Of a criticism based on its content – Oh yeah good – I just wanted To make sure someone said this, I need to talk about what kind Of company Elsevier is The hostility that they sometimes get. It’s not just about the money, it’s about the kind of company They are right, It’s the actions they take often They’re anti-collegiate So when they send take-down notices, To academia.
Edu, where academics had put up Some pdfs of their research and then they were forced to Take them down, Obviously, the lawsuit against Sci-Hub As well in 5, And yes, both of those things were illegal. But the academic community doesn’t care, it doesn’t really see them in that way. When I got the Take-Down notice, I didn, ’ t get the take-down Notice directly from Elsevier, they sent it to An official at Princeton In the notice itself, it only mentions a handful Of papers by two academics at Princeton Now, if you look at Princeton, ’ s websites! There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of PDFs of published Elsevier papers, So why did they only target those small amount? Of papers and just those two researchers – I don ’ t know this for sure, but I suspect It’s because they were testing the waters, Nothing is preventing Elsevier From doing a web crawl, finding all the published PDFs issuing Massive take-down notices to everybody who is violating their copyright Agreement, but they don ’ t do that.
They do that because I think they’re Trying to tread softly, They don’t want to create A wave of anger that will completely remove the source of free, labor That they depend on So critically as it happened. I was grateful to Princeton for pushing back against them and Eventually, they rescinded the take-down notice, And so I think that they have a sort of Taste of what it would mean to really go up against the body.
Of scientists as a whole, The way that Elsevier thinks as An organization is just antithetical to how I think a lot of academics. Think about what it is that they do. We sent Freedom of Information requests. To every University in the UK, So in 6 Elsevier received 42 million pounds from UK Universities, The next biggest publisher, was Wiley now it’s at 19 million Elsevier Wiley Springer Taylor and Francis and Sage between them they take about Half of the money and the rest is spread out.
Elsevier in particular, are a big lobbyist In the European Union and in Washington as Well, They employ a lot of staff that are Basically, full-time lobbyists, They have regular meetings. With governments around the world in order to get across their point of view, There is some notion: That publishers have that publishing has to be very expensive. And that publishing requires publicists and copy editors, PR agents, Managing editors and so on So many academic institutions, To cope with the burdensome costs have elected to buy research journals In a big-deal format, as opposed to specific journal titles, Each institution For the most part negotiates you know, With each publisher for access to generally That publisher’s entire corpus of research or a large portion of it in what’s called A big deal So the subscription packages Which most libraries are involved in Because we can save more money, Are definitely like cable subscriptions.
You get a lot of content. You may not like Always like all the programming, But if you wan na pay just For individuals, titles, the price goes up exponentially. And you can ’ t afford it. So we’re stuck in contracts with content. That we may or may not need to try to keep the price down. However, they can remove content. From the package, without notice, So if a publisher decides that They don ’ t want a vendor to have a certain piece of content in their package.
Anymore, it can be removed immediately. That does not mean that You can cancel the contract that just means that you no longer have Access – and we have no control over that, Although most institutional access to current Research operates like cable subscriptions. We found one library that has stood Its tangible ground, What we had to find was a reason for us. To be valuable to the research community, How could we add value to this proposition? Even though we cannot support the rising cost of Electronic publications And we realized that We could that by remaining a Print-Based library, You can ’ t, have a plug pulled.
On by tangible journals, No, we can ’ t, We can ’ t And if the power fails, you know We still have access to content by flashlight, You don’t need a login or an Institutional affiliation to use our library, We are open to the public, even though we Are privately funded, we are publicly available You don, ’ t need a login. Anybody can access It In the modern world, all the sudden, Print-Based seems pretty forward leaning, Maybe half of our problem was getting roped.
Into digital negotiations in the first place, So imagine a market for cable television. Where you don’t know, and you can’t find out what your next door neighbor is paying For the same package that you have “, How much are you paying for HBO?” “? I can’t tell you I signed a non-disclosure with Comcast.” Libraries. Universities. Do that all the time Commercial publishers can capture All of what’s called the consumer surplus, They don’t need to pick up a price point.
That maximizes their revenue or profit across the entire market, They can negotiate that price point. With every single institution And that’s important right, because it’s Like if you were buying healthcare, And the doctor could look at your financials and be like “ Ah well, if you want this treatment,,” And you know they know you’re a millionaire “. Then it costs. You know dollars.”, Whereas if you are somebody who Does not have as much money they can charge less.
But still make a good return, I feel like in many ways that’s sort of How the publishing market functions right? The publishers can look at the endowment How wealthy an institution is how much they’ve paid over You know previous decades and then charge right up to The level that they think is possible, There is lot of Choice in here for libraries, Libraries, don’t have To sign those contracts And public universities, like the University of Michigan have made a point of being much more transparent.
About what we pay for things And the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Of which we’re a part, does a lot of transparent work. With each other, So I set off to test the Big Ten’s transparency. Unfortunately, I was met with more of the Same I always sympathize with the librarians Who rail against Elsevier, but my response always to them, is “ Cancel.”, You don, ’ t cancel “, We can’t cancel.”, You can cancel But you have to make that choice and nobody does So they keep going strong Yeah and I think That, just you know, that’s all the Process of negotiation, it is a traditional factor.
Of collections work in libraries, And there is a lot of issues with that. But It ’ s, part of a negotiation type of thing, And I don ’ t see that changing at all, because… Could a university like Rutgers, tell somebody What they paid for it? No, we wouldn’t! No, Because you ’ re, contractually bound, not To Yeah I mean this is the way it works, So Again, this is not up to me to comment on that particular aspect.
But it is the way it works and it’s the way it works with all publishers, Not the ones that you hear about. But it’s you know I don. ’ t know what I could compare it to, but it’s how it works. So I don ’ t think there is going to be A change in that any time soon, You know, I understand why a library Wants to get a competitive advantage wants to demonstrate that they are Getting an economic benefit, getting a larger group of content And institutional libraries are Very different from each other and some have to really demonstrate Different sorts of value, but it is a choice.
Libraries don’t have To sign confidentiality clauses, It’s often done in return for what Looks like a competitive advantage in the short term, but in the long term, It’s not a competitive advantage, It reduces price transparency and Increases the risk of paying more as well as potentially paying less It’s fractally secret right Everything. ’ s! A trade secret at every level How much this cost, who paid? What What the terms were And that’s on purpose, It prevents collective bargaining right And all these things essentially maintain A really radically unfair market.
There are some people who believe That there’s enough money right now in scholarly publishing That it just has to be moved around. We don, ’ t need to find more money. We just Need to change the way it’s in the system. There has been a growing collective of Journals that find it advantageous to flip away from the for-profit paradigm. So in the case Of Lingua/Glossa, what happened is that That community of researchers decided That it was enough and then the editorial board all resigned And then started.
Another journal. On a non-for-profit platform, Open Access, et cetera, There’s not many cases of moves like that. But what this example shows is that it can indeed work So the entire Community or the leaders of that community -because, that’s what basically an editorial Board is- leaders of that community Decided to resign collectively, everyone on the board resigned And then started a new journal with exactly the same focus and in a way The exact same quality, because what gives the quality of a journal? It’s, not the imprint of the publishers, It’s actually the editorial chief And the editorial board, who make all of the scientific decisions? My name is Johan Rooryck, I am a professor Of French Linguistics at Leiden University – And I am also An editor of a journal First, I was for 16 years.
The editor Of Lingua at Elsevier In 5, we decided to leave Elsevier and To found an Open Access journal called Glossa, basically, just the Greek translation. Of the Latin name to show the continuity, So the organization of Lingua was like We had five editors total, so a small editorial team, Four associate editors, Me as the executive editor And then we had an editorial board. Of about 30 people, I had prepared all of this Two years ahead of time, so I mean Elsevier knew Nothing until we flipped So for two years.
Between 3-5 I had Already talked to a number of people on the editorial board, but of course Everything under the radar And I had already talked to all the members Of my editorial team to say, “ Look: I am busy preparing this. If we do this, are you with me? Or are you not with me because I have to know And because or we all do this together – Or we don’t.”, And so I all looked them in the eye. And they all said yes, if you manage to do this, We do it Elsevier’s editorial body at Lingua, shifting To the Open Access equivalent Glossa set a precedent of how a successful and Respected journal could change its business model and yet maintain Field-Specific credibility, quality, peer-review, And overall impact, We live in a culture that really prioritizes Start-Ups, innovation and entrepreneurship, And the reality is that right now there Is literally one company that can innovate? On the scholarly literature and that’s Google And that’s Google’s great, I use Google for everything like most people, but I would kind of like it if there were A hundred companies competing for that I would kind of like it if non-profits Could compete with them and try to create alternatives that said, “, You know what Maybe this shouldn’t be a commercial product, it should be a utility.
” And that kind of competition Isn’t possible without Open Access? That kind of competition is Baked into Open Access – And you see this from the large Commercial publishers, you see them understanding that This is actually an important argument. They put like little drink straws in And dribble out little bits of content that you can do text mining on. We can make cars that can drive You’re telling me that We cannot process the literature better If a car can drive itself because of The computational powers we have available and there are more companies competing To make self-driving cars, then there are to process The biomedical literature and help us decide What drug to take That is a direct consequence.
Of a lock-up of the literature That is a fundamental fucking problem, We started advocating in Congress for taxpayer Access to taxpayer-funded research, outputs, The most common response – We got in our initial Office, visits was “, You mean the public, doesn’t Already have access to this?” Like there was a disbelief among Policymakers That this was to them The words’no-brainer’ comes to mind. Researchers want Their work to be read, They want to advance Discovery and innovation, And while I spend A lot of time fighting over why work should Be open versus closed at the end, the real case is: do we want Innovation, or do we not want innovation, And I think there is an obvious case.
For openness to unlock innovation, We’re seeing a lot of very inventive resistance. To this from some of the incumbent publishers, But I think there’s also A generational factor here, I think the younger generation of scientists Of students of academics, just the old model, Doesn’t make sense anymore, The public should be ashamed. For allowing a model like that to exist, We have today a set of tools to Share knowledge, including academic research, in a way that We couldn’t 20 years ago, You know I’m seeing in our engagement With the academic sector and by that, I’m referring Specifically to our grantees, so we make grants to academic institutions.
And it’s then, the academics that work there that do the work, There’s a much stronger appreciation for the Role of Open Access to the results of their research, You know they see it as being Something that is a benefit to them to be able to have access. To information data and so forth, that’s being generated by others. And so there’s much more comfort with this notion of information and Data being open and accessible, I’m never sure Of the right solution, Actually, when I talk to publishers, I think “.
Can I do this Or can’t I do this?”? You know there are so many Questions about copyright. There are so many questions. About intellectual property, there are so many questions about What individual authors can and can ’ t do if they decide to go and Publish with a particular journal, It just feels like there’s so many questions. With each interaction, One outlet that has streamlined scholarship Is that of Sci-Hub, which continues to connect individuals? Directly with the scholarship they need when they need it for free.
You know those of us Who work in scholarly communications writ large right? Really have to look at Sci-Hub as a sort of a poke In the side that says, “ Do better.”. We need to look to Sci-Hub and say “, What is it that we can be doing differently about the infrastructure? That we’ve developed to distribute journal articles To distribute scholarship?” Because Sci-Hub cracked, the code right And they did it fairly easily, And I think that we need to look At what’s happening with Sci-Hub how it evolved who’s using it.
Who’s accessing it and let it be a lesson to us for What we should be doing differently People use websites like Sci-Hub Considered the pirate of academic publishing It’s like the Napster of academic publishing. I know that they’ve been in legal battles. With Elsevier, who shut them down, They just open up in a different website. It’s Still up and running and more popular than ever So if I had to give advice to graduate students, Or people not affiliated with institutions that provide access to a lot of these Journals Sci-Hub is a great resource.
It provides it for free, A lot of people. Don, ’ t Feel guilty about using these resources just like when Napster came out because The industry at present is making too much off of the people who are giving Of themselves and doing great research and they’re being taken advantage of So to take advantage of publishers, And get articles for free that are actually being used to educate or to develop things.
That are used for the public good. It’s a trade off that a lot of people Are willing to make – And I am not completely against it – You know I like those acts of what I would consider civil disobedience, I think, they’re important, I think they’re a moment when we can Should have open discussion around them and I fear that the openness of the discussion Is there’s no nuance at all? It is either as we’ve heard, Sci-Hub equals Evil Like it just has to Sci-hub, basically is illegal.
It is a totally criminal activity. And why anybody thinks it? ’ s appropriate to Take somebody else: ’ s, intellectual property and just steal it. Basically That bothers me: It’s not only about people. Who don ’ t have access It’s even being used by people in Institutions that have full access because it works in a very simple And efficient way, What Sci-Hub shows is the level of Frustration amongst many academics about the number of times, They encounter a paywall.
I just feel like we’re in the middle We’re in this interstitial period and everyone wants it to be done. As opposed to just saying “, You know what None of us really Has a clue of what’s going to happen, ιn the next 15-20 years.”. All we know is that we’re At the edge of falling off the cliff that music fell off of with Napster That’s what Sci-Hub shows me Τhere would not be a demand for Sci-Hub If we had been successful or if the publishing industry Had been successful right, Arguably, what we did was to create The conditions right on both sides us and the publishing industry That led to this moment – And so you know now that you See the potential of a system that lets you find any paper.
I’ve been Using Sci-hub to collect my dad’s papers right, My dad died earlier this year he was a Nobel Laureate for his work on climate change, I’ve tried to build an archive of all his Papers so I could give it to my son right Can’t do it Price would be in the Tens of thousands of dollars Right, I’m not the only person who needs papers, I’m not the only person who’s doing it. This Way, I’m not trying to redistribute These things right, I am literally printing them out into a book, Then I ’ m going to just staple it for my son right, So he knows his grand-dad.
What his Grand-Dad did because he won ’ t. Remember it That’s a market failure That ’ s, a tremendous market failure Priorities are going to change And I believe that Elsevier is a business Full of smart people who want discovery to happen, but don ’ t have a better idea on How to make money in the middle And unfortunately, for them the internet, Is the story of breaking down gatekeepers They’re the gatekeeper standing between In some cases, research and discovery, If someone’s research is behind a paywall And it stops me from doing research in that field in my lifetime.
How many More lifetimes, do we have to wait for somebody else to be able to Take that evolutionary step. Sometimes innovation is the right person. In the right place at the right time and all a paywall does is ensure that it’s A lot less likely that the right person is going to be in the right place at The right time to get something done: [, exit, music, ], All right, everyone. So that’s it! Thank you so much for reading now, I’m just going to talk for a little bit if you want to keep having your discussion go ahead, But I wanted to say a few things.
First, Of all, I did send a message to Elsevier to see if they wanted to send a rep, so rep, if you’re here. Thank you for being here. Good luck! I do want to acknowledge, though, that, like When you read the documentary –, when I read the documentary, it definitely felt like it had a slant to it, and I am inclined more than not to believe the slant. I do think that the way that elsevier does business is a little sketchy and their profit margin is huge, and I don’t know if they provide enough value for what they give bac.
So hopefully, someone here is a little bit more Pro-Elsevier or at least more informed on the topic to tell us, you know what’s wrong and what’s right and what’s missing Now, if you would like any more information, I highly encourage you to reach out to your local University Libraries – they are filled with these amazing experts on this stuff. These experts, –, you may have heard of them. — – are called librarians.
Who can tell you all about the pains and pleasures of working in scholarly communications Reach out to them? Ask them questions they’re, going to be happy to answer them And if you have any ideas on how to make publishing a little bit more friendly and accessible to everyone, let me know in the comments below Yeah cool. Okay. So that’s about all I’ve got if you like this (, and I hope you did ) go ahead and share it with people that you think might be interested in it.
For example, profs other students, fellow folks, in the field who could go with seeing what the dialogue and the discourse looks like around something like this…. If you like what I’ve done generally – and you want to see more of it, you can click little “ subscribe” button down there — it’s red unless you’re subscribed, then it’s gray, — and right next to that is a tiny little bell and if you click that Bell, you will get a notification every time I upload a new article, Usually about Library and Information science, usually about twice a month.
I think it’s fun and I you know I’m a big proponent of this open thing too. So if I can make knowledge accessible to everyone, I’m going to do it. So thank you so much for reading… And until next time, don’t forget to ask questions.