Blogs selected for Week January 27 to February 2, 2020 -

1. Scholarly Societies: The Importance of Community

For most societies, publishing revenues are used to provide services directly to all in their community – not just those who are paid-up members. In the same way that academic institutions thrive through generating revenues and then spending the proceeds on development of the community, so do scholarly societies. The ecosystem of academic life is thus entwined with the value that societies and university presses bring to their communities. Robert Harington, in this post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, describes how scholarly societies are an indelible part of the research and support system for academics across many disciplines.

The Blog post says (quote): We still have not addressed the question of why should an academic society be able to charge institutions for access to content if taxpayer monies are involved. The answer to that is that societies perform an important role in the academic ecosystem, just as universities do — and obtain significant government subsidies in reflection of that fact. Most scholarly societies, and here I should say that there are exceptions to this, are not rapacious, making just enough to cover costs and allow for investment in their communities – arguably a very different model from a commercial publisher whose primary objective is shareholder value.. ........... (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Future impact – How can we rationally evaluate impact statements?

Making claims about the future impact of research as part of research grant applications has since it’s inception been controversial. As, if impact statements are accurate they suggest that the outcomes of research are already known. As UKRI (the UK’s main research funding body) considers scrapping impact statements, Paul Benneworth and Julia Olmos Peñuela in this post in the LSE Impact Blog, argue how impact statements can produce meaningful statements of the potential future impact of research and set out a framework for assessing these claims.

The Blog post says (quote): Our framework suggests that a fundamental rethink is required in ex ante impact evaluation, ensuring the most impactful researchers are given opportunities to shape how we define what constitutes research. The benefits of such approaches would allow research resources to flow to proposals that make the most compelling cases that they will create impact, not those proposals that make the most eye-catching claims of potential impact. What is necessary to achieve this change are two steps. Firstly funders and reviewers should accept the need for a more logical approach to reviewing impact. Secondly, researchers and funders can help identify and clarify the ways in which proposals serve to bind research practices to particular outcomes. ........... (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Academic publishing must better serve science and society

The flow of information is stifled by the very means we use to disseminate it: publishing. Scientific publishers wield enormous influence over society through the control they have over the direction of science. Reversing the relationship between authors and publishers would ease perverse incentives that impede progress, notes Hilal Lashuel and Benjamin Stecher in this post in the timeshighereducation Blog.

The Blog post says (quote): They propose a new vision for scientific publishing that starts with reversing the relationship between authors and publishers. Under this system, authors would be able to make their research freely accessible to everyone immediately. Journal editors would compete to publish it, but publication would not be the end of the story: researchers could continue to update their papers for years afterwards. Nor would publication be the aim of the game: the incentives, recognition and reward systems would not depend on where a paper is published, but rather on its contents and the extent to which it advances knowledge. ........... (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Do Transformative Agreements Violate Procurement Requirements?

Universities must abide by procurement policies, including for their library license agreements with scholarly publishers. Because each publisher’s content is exclusive to it, subscription license agreements typically fall under a sole source procurement model, and therefore are exempt from any kind of competitive bidding process. But open access publishing services are different — enabling a scholar to publish is not nearly as exclusively provided as a subscription. As a result, it may be desirable for universities to procure open access publishing services through a bidding process, and in some cases it might be mandatory to do so. Roger C. Schonfeld, in his post in the Scholarly Kitchen Blog, looks at how the procurement implications for open access publishing services affect the transformative agreements that are all the rage today.

The Blog post says (quote): Transformative agreements have had the desired effect of converting components of the scholarly publishing system from subscriptions to open access, especially in Europe. If they develop to become universal, as proponents would like, we should expect them to convert eventually to pure open access publishing services agreements. In such a scenario, they expect to see a shift to bidding as discussed above. If open access publishing services are not exclusively provided by any single publisher, it seems clear they either must or should be procured through a bidding process. ........... (Unquote)

The full entry can be read: Here.

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