Blogs selected for Week April 13 to April 19, 2020 -

1. Without stronger academic governance, Covid-19 will concentrate the corporate control of academic publishing

While the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a short term uptick in open research practices, both in response to the virus and the need for remote access to research and teaching materials. Samuel Moore argues that the long term impact of Covid-19 and its related economic impact will likely increase the corporate control of academic publishing. Citing the need for increased scholar led forms publishing operating outside of market interests, he suggests now is the time to rethink how scholars and research organisations can constructively engage with the governance of scholarly communication.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Now is the time: Perspectives on the challenges and value of metadata

In the era of publishing’s emergent global digital marketplace, many organisations are struggling with strategic questions about how to change their approach, planning, and execution around creating and managing their metadata. In the traditional publishing world, a significant portion of the metadata created and stored was on an ‘as-needed’ basis — often bubbling up from a single department and incurring a technology debt due to the lack of planning for the longer term. These older, now substandard practices often led to longer development cycles and releases, as organizations were forced to slog through metadata cleansing challenges and siloed views of their company’s assets. As a 21st century publisher, this is not what you want. Committing to transition to a more planful strategy around Metadata Management can be daunting, as it involves significant changes around management accountability for the initiative and around its ongoing governance. A further — but equally critical — step entails alignment with the organization’s existing technology stack, notes David Schott.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Open source, open science: the coronavirus crisis is when openness comes into its own

The importance of open source in the context of privacy is underlined by developments in the fast-moving world of the coronavirus pandemic. Many governments want to use smartphone apps to help trace people who have been in close proximity to those infected with Covid-19. That’s a laudable intention, but privacy organisations are rightly worried that this new form of surveillance might become a permanent addition to the authorities’ toolkit for controlling citizens. Hence a new emphasis on building privacy safeguards into such tracing apps from the start. One essential prerequisite for that is releasing the code as open source. Closed-source software cannot be trusted, which means that ‘black box’ tracing apps need to be viewed with suspicion and avoided, notes Glyn Moody.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Nigeria’s academic journals have a quality issue. This can be fixed

Academic journals are central to the careers of academic staff of tertiary institutions, especially universities. They are considered an important way to assess academics for promotion, especially in the non-humanities disciplines. In fact, they carry more weight in promotion discussions than, for instance, books, monographs, occasional publications – the proceedings of in-house seminars or workshops, or occasional publications by an institute – and book chapters. Unfortunately, many journals circulating out of Nigerian tertiary institutions are in breach of some or most of these basic standards. Contributors to such journals and their home institutions and countries lose credibility and respect. That diminishes their ranking in the world of scholarship. Low quality journals give a bad reputation to their host institutions and means they can be regarded as promoters of mediocrity, notes Misha Ketchell in this post.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. To bundle or not to bundle? That is the question

In recent years, many universities have concluded that the price they pay for their Big Deal journal license agreements and the resulting value they perceive have become misaligned. As a consequence, academia has stiffened its negotiating posture with leading journal publishers. The outcome of these negotiations can be grouped into two categories: rebundling and unbundling. Most attention in recent years has been given over to the search for open access, by transforming Big Deal subscriptions into rebundled transformative agreements. But last week’s news makes clear that attention is equally needed on unbundling the Big Deal — breaking it back up into la carte elements. Some libraries are seeking transformative agreements, others are unbundling the Big Deal. Roger C. Schonfeld, in this post, takes a look at if major publishers can reestablish value without a major revenue sacrifice?

The full entry can be read: Here.

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