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Panelists discuss new developments in Open Access monographs in the humanities and social sciences at OASPA and Knowledge Exchange webinar
- 21 Dec 2017

Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN), Lucy Montgomery (Knowledge Unlatched Research), and Christina Emery (Springer Nature) recently joined OASPA and Knowledge Exchange for a webinar to discuss new developments in Open Access monographs in the humanities and social sciences. Jeroen Sondervan (Knowledge Exchange) chaired the discussion. The Copyright Clearance Center hosted the webinar.

Opening the joint webinar with Knowledge Exchange on December 14, 2017, chair Jeroen Sondervan welcomed speakers and listeners by giving a brief introduction to the recent history of Open Access monographs in the humanities and social sciences. The possibilities and feasibilities of monograph publishing were first explored by various parties - including the European Union - around ten years ago, which was followed by the development of archiving and discovery services by organisations such as OAPEN.org and the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). Today, according to the DOAB, there are over 240 publishers experimenting with Open Access Monographs.

The first speaker, Eelco Ferwerda, discussed a recently published report 'A Landscape Study on Open Access and Monographs (October 2017),' a first-of-a-kind mapping of the landscape for Open Access books in the Knowledge Exchange countries: Finland, Netherlands, UK, France, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Austria. Initiated by Knowledge Exchange and financed by Knowledge Exchange, FWF, CRIStin and Couperin, the report demonstrates that 'although the main OA policies do not include monographs, conversations about Open Access and monographs are surfacing and are expected to be accelerating over the next few years.

The next speaker, Lucy Montgomery, looked at two recent studies on Open Access monograph usage data: Exploring the Uses of OA Books via the JSTOR Platform, and Getting the Best out of Usage Data for Small OA Monograph Presses. The first, commissioned and funded by four university presses - UCL, Michigan, Cornell, and California - came about thanks to these presses noticing that usage of Open Access books made available by JSTOR was far in excess of usage that each publisher had previously recorded through other distribution channels, and wanted to understand more about how their Open Access content was being used. Data collected by JSTOR between August 2015 and August 2017, along with publisher questionnaires and interviews, revealed that usage of Open Access books exceeds usage of gated Open Access books by the same publisher on JSTOR. This became particularly clear, explained Montgomery, when the researchers considered each publisher's downloads according to license type; Open Access book chapters account for those publishers making books available both Open Access and gated via the JSTOR platform.

The second study, Montgomery continued, was a collaboration between UCL Press, Knowledge Unlatched Research, and the Center for Culture and Technology at Curtin University, and explored usage data for small Open Access monograph presses by conducting a case study of UCL Press. Small Open Access monograph publishers, the study found, face a number of challenges in the way of resource constraints and a lack of in-house expertise, but they do already have an abundance of data that can provide them highly useful strategic information, such as how well particular titles are doing and which promotion strategies are most effective. This usage data can be better made use of by these presses; this might include provision of guidance to staff on best practices around social media promotion or how to engage with new and ongoing community initiatives such as OPERAS-D and HIRMEOS.

The final speaker, Christina Emery, explored the findings of Springer Nature's recent white paper, The OA Effect: How does Open Access affect the usage of scholarly books? A mixed qualitative and quantitative study, the study benchmarked Open Access book metrics against those of equivalent non-Open Access books, as well as conducting interviews with authors and funders to understand their experiences of the effect of Open Access on books. Springer Nature found that, on average, there were just under 30,000 chapter downloads per Open Access book within the first year of publication, which was seven times more than the average non-Open Access book. Citations, moreover, were 50% higher for Open Access books than non-Open Access books over a four year period; an Open Access book is cited on average twelve times within the first four years of its life, as compared with eight times for a non-Open Access book. While the research didn't find a correlation between downloads and citations, a trend was identified: books are usually downloaded within the first year of publication, while citations 'build up over time' - older books tend to see higher numbers of citations. Open Access books, Emery continued, are mentioned on average ten times more than non-Open Access books in the first three years after publication.

Motivations for authors publishing Open Access were varied; it enables easy access to, and dissemination of, research globally, and ethical reasons were important to authors interviewed - many authors wanted readers around the world to be able to access their work, no matter where they were living or their financial circumstances. However, there was a general lack of knowledge of authors and funders as to the implications of publishing an Open Access book, or the real effects of Open Access; they often felt 'reluctant to attribute high downloads solely to Open Access.'

Moving into a panel discussion, the speakers answered questions from webinar listeners. Panel chair Jeroen Sondervan began by commenting that quantitative studies on open access usage and metrics benefit hugely from open, verifiable data in order to benchmark and make comparisons, but noted that until recently, these studies have been scarce. In answer to his question of whether panelists had ideas on how to persuade publishers to open their user statistics, Ferwerda cited HIRMEOS as encouraging the sharing of usage data amongst different platforms, using a common functionality to collect and present this data. In the future, this may also include the collection of data from repositories and platforms such as JSTOR. Emery added that there is no standardisation for measuring impact; different publishers track full book downloads or chapter downloads and/or page views, and argued that more collaboration is needed in considering what kinds of starting points publishers can work from in collecting data. Montgomery pointed out that the challenge of benchmarking is not necessarily the same for different presses, and that researchers could consider which kind of (non-standardised) data is already available for analysis, and consider new ways of approaching this data.

Asked if her study included looking at the effect of a book being made available Open Access had on print sales of the same book, since scholars might still buy the print version if an Open Access version is available, Emery answered that more Open Access book downloads can lead to more print sales, but that more research needs to be conducted on this. Ferwerda, answering a question around whether challenges within open access book and monograph publishing present themselves differently in different disciplines, commented that with regards to funding, while most monographs are published within the humanities, most books being funded by the Wellcome Trust are on subjects such as medical history. Noting the importance of considering researchers and authors, Emery added that different motivations correlate with different subject areas within research; the reasons why different authors might publish Open Access books differ widely. Montgomery further commented that, in her study, subject-specific downloads were analysed and the most popular subject classifications within downloaded Open Access books were quite distinct from the most popular subject classifications within downloaded gated books.

Panelists were also asked to consider the transparency of APC costing and their ideas on the current BPC market and its 'non-transparency.' Ferwerda reflected that Open Access book publishers are still finding their way within the scholarly publishing landscape and the services they're providing to authors, and that it's perhaps too early to point fingers at publishers still experiencing a steep learning curve.

Asked where they see the Open Access book and monograph publishing landscape in five years time, Emery responded that while she thinks we'll still see it in an experimental phase, alternative business models will be more established. There's no one route to Open Access, she noted, but continuing a collaborative approach to solutions and challenges within publishing will be beneficial for all. Montgomery answered that given the time and effort it's taken to get Open Access monographs this far, five years seems like a close horizon; like Emery, she hoped we will still see experimentation and innovation among publishers, and that diversity can continue to be maintained. Ferwerda added that the number of books in DOAB has increased by 50% year on year since its launch, arguing that this large Open Access books growth is likely to continue.

Wrapping up the webinar, panelists reflected on innovators within open access books and monographs publishing. Ferwerda cited Open Book Publishers and Open Humanities Press as early innovators with new models, and Language Science Press as an excellent example of a community-driven press. Montgomery pointed to Ferwerda for creating an important infrastructure for Open Access books with DOAB, making it possible for other Open Access monograph publishing initiatives to emerge.

The recording of this webinar, along with the accompanying slides from the discussion, is freely available for the public at https://oaspa.org/information-resources/oaspa-webinars/.

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CABI backs use of open data in agricultural science at APEC symposium in Beijing
- 15 Dec 2017

CABI contributed to an Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Symposium on Agricultural Science Data Sharing and Service which brought together over 30 participants from 15 countries within APEC and other national and international organisations at a meeting in Beijing.

The aim of the symposium was to enhance mutual understanding on the status of agricultural science data sharing in APEC members; exchange experiences and lessons on science and technology resources sharing; and discuss technology frameworks for agricultural data sharing in agriculture.

The event, which was held from December 7-9, 2017 was organised by the Agricultural Information Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AII-CAAS) and funded by the China-APEC Co-operation Fund of the Chinese Ministry of Finance.

CABI delivered a keynote presentation at the first formal session on sharing knowledge and experiences in data management. Many of the experts attending were from CABI member countries, such as Bangladesh, Chile, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Pakistan and Vietnam.

Dr Qiaoqiao Zhang, Director of Memberships, CABI (also a current guest professor at AII-CAAS since 1997), talked about how open data and data sharing can contribute to the realisation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. She highlighted the positive social impacts produced by global initiatives and programmes like the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), CABI's Plantwise, CABI's Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) and some Open Research Initiatives. Dr Zhang noted that during the first High Level Political Forum of the UN in 2016, governments welcomed the proposal on 'enhancing national capacities for evidence-based and data-driven decision-making', and called for 'further building and strengthening capacities for data collection, disaggregation, dissemination and analysis at all levels.'

Andrew Benton, Manager, Agri-Tech in China Newton Network, CABI&Rothamsted Research, also contributed to the Symposium by making a short presentation on the Agri-Tech in China Newton Network, as an example of a bilateral collaboration programme that fosters and supports data-enabled innovation in the Agri-Tech field. He highlighted how the Network is developing to include many big data and satellite-based GIS agencies in both the UK and China, and how it is helping them develop joint farm-level technologies to solve agricultural production and food sustainability problems that affect both countries.

The Symposium ended with the call for building an APEC Agricultural Data Union by AII-CAAS, which has offered to provide operational and technical support to this Union.

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NISO announces 2018 calendar of educational events
- 12 Dec 2017

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has announced a strong slate of programs for 2018. Members will benefit from an array of webinars, virtual conferences, and training programs, all tailored toward users who seek better ways of creating and using information systems and services. Professionals in libraries and related technology companies are the target audience for the events, and the material on offer is developed and presented by leaders in those fields.

The webinar topics for 2018 will address: Annotation - Practices and Tools in a Digital Environment; The Evolving Natures of Reference Work and Reference Product; Library as Publisher (Two-Part Webinar); Can There Be Neutrality in Cataloging? A Conversation Starter; Trends in Technology: Smart Services in the Academic Library; Innovative Tools and Apps: What's Hot; Discovery: Where Researchers Start; Using Analytics to Extract Value from the Library's Data (Two-Part Webinar); Library Funding, Advocacy, and Strategic Approaches to Funding Scholarly Initiatives (Two-Part Webinar); Building Diversity in the Workforce; and Maker Spaces: Things that Go Bop, Whizz, and Clank!

Next year will also see NISO presenting several of its popular, five-hour virtual conferences, some of which are followed by a relevant Training Thursday event.

For those interested in maximizing their training dollars, subscription options are available. For webinars, NISO members may sign up for the Buy 9, Get 5 Free package, and ensure access to all 14 of the NISO webinars. Alternatively, members may opt for the Buy 5, Get 4 Free package, and choose nine webinars from the 2018 line up. Organisations pay a single fee to enable viewing access for multiple team members in a collaborative group setting. Webinar registrants hold access to the recorded version for a full year, allowing even greater opportunity for staff to benefit from that single registration. Similarly, those wishing to pay for the full set of virtual conferences being offered in 2018 may do by subscribing to the Buy 3, Get 3 Free package.

A full roster of events is available at the NISO website.

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Society for Scholarly Publishing collaborates with Arnoud de Kemp to host APE 2018 Pre-Conference in Berlin
- 04 Dec 2017

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is collaborating with Arnoud de Kemp to organise the APE 2018 Pre-Conference in Berlin, Germany, on January 15, 2018. Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) is an independent, multidisciplinary conference established in 2006 to be an ongoing international debate about the future of scholarly communication and scientific publishing.

The APE Conference aims at a better understanding of scholarly communication and the role of information in science, education and society. Attendees convene to debate about the future of value-added scientific publishing, information dissemination and access to scientific results and offer an independent forum for 'open minds/'. Participants include academic, educational, scientific, technological, medical, legal and professional publishers, university presses, researchers, authors, editors, librarians, teachers, learned and professional societies and associations, funding agencies, politicians and policy makers, subscription agencies and booksellers, recruiting agencies, and technology providers.

The Pre-Conference agenda will begin with an Oxford style-inspired debate: Resolved: Science and scholarship should be curated and hosted by public institutions, not by commercial publishers. Debaters include Jill Taylor-Roe, Head of Liaison, Academic Services and Special Collections at Newcastle University and Eric Merkel Sobotta, Director of Communications at de Gruyter. Next a panel will discuss how public policy and funding are changing the flow of scholarly communication. Panelists include Trish Groves, Director of Academic Outreach and Advocacy, BMJ, and Editor-in-chief, BMJ Open; Robert van der Vooren, Project Manager, VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands); and Geraldine Clement-Stoneham, Knowledge and Information Manager, Medical Research Council, London UK.

Participants will then break into groups, each of which will discuss a specific challenge to publishers in balancing relevance and acceptable engagement on the one hand with commercial return on the other. Groups will generate practical measures publishers can adopt to meet this challenge, both individually and as an industry, and report back to the full assembly.

The Pre-Conference will wrap up with a vision of Scholarly Publishing in the Future by keynote speaker, Dr. Michiel Kolman, President of the International Publishers Association, SVP Information Industry Relations at Elsevier, and Academic Ambassador Emeritus.

Following the SSP Pre-Conference, the APE 2018 Conference offers a broad program with 35 speakers in two day organised around the theme of Publishing 2020 - Ramping up Relevance. Experts will discuss open access, open data, open research, piracy, the needs of early career researchers, technology topics including artificial intelligence and blockchain, the importance of metadata, and where publishers and libraries go from here.

The conference will be held in the Academy of Sciences and Humanities at the famous Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin Mitte and the pre-conference will be held nearby at the NH Collection Berlin Mitte at Checkpoint Charlie. To review the complete program for both events and to register, interested parties may visit http://www.ape2018.eu. Space is limited, so register soon to guarantee your place. SSP members receive a 25% discount on registration. The conference hashtag is #AcadAPE18.

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London Info International 2017 scheduled for December 5-6, 2017
- 28 Nov 2017

London Info International 2017 is scheduled to take place in just one week. With delegates and visitors attending from all over the world here is a summary of just some of the things that can be found at the event, to be held from December 5-6, 2017.

The event will feature the best of scholarly, research and professional publishing, tools, technologies and service providers. Open Conference Stream is open to all visitors, not just paid conference attendees, and will run on both days. This is new for 2017 and includes sessions on Rights, Counter, Copyright, Text and Data Mining, Scientific Research and Education, Content and Technologies.

Showfloor presentations were hugely successful in 2016. Building on that, sessions for this year include Digital transformation, Managing online content costs, Information portals, Video publishing, and Discovery in the research process. Attendees will also get an opportunity to hear from Lean Library - the LII Disruptor zone winner 2017.

Scheduled Networking is new for 2017 and is proving highly popular. There will be a 1hr session on each day where delegates and visitors will be given the opportunity to spend a few minutes with organisations of their choice to exchange business cards and have a brief discussion which can be extended on their stand or another meeting set up.

Clarivate Business Lounge is a dedicated business lounge providing an opportunity to meet with industry colleagues and enjoy a coffee and cake on Clarivate.

Copyright The Card Game will take place on December 5 and is open to all visitors. Learn about copyright through this game. During this workshop participants will play an abridged version of the game, as well as get ideas about how to use the resource in their own teaching and professional development.

Attendees may download the LII event app to plan their visit and for up to date news on-site. They can also use the app to book meetings, sessions programmes, Exhibitors list, floorplan, reminders and more!

The event provides a platform to meet and network with major information industry companies from around the world. The LII conference programme has a diverse set of world leading speakers who will discuss and debate the most important and pertinent topics affecting the information industry.

The conference will draw to a close with a drinks reception hosted and sponsored by Springer Nature on December 6.

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