Blogs selected for Week March 30 to April 5, 2020 -



1. Community engagement amidst a crisis

A good deal of the work of scholarly communication involves facilitating communities. Researchers and those who support them facilitate disciplinary communities, interdisciplinary communities, data communities, professional communities, and standards communities, among others. In this sudden shift to working from home and virtualized operations, some of the ways in which communities come together are suspended. Conferences in particular are largely cancelled for the next several months. Those with major lines of business in events are faced with much uncertainty. Recognizing the importance of community engagement, but also some of the challenges facing traditional forms of engagement and incumbent facilitators, several chefs, in this post, reflect on how one facilitates a community amidst today’s crisis.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. ‘Success is not measured in how inspired we are’ – Reassessing artist-academic collaborations under neoliberalism

Funding bodies and universities prize collaboration with non-academic partners. But do they create the conditions for equitable relationships? Sara de Jong and Alena Pfoser, in this post, argue that however inspiring and innovative artist-academic collaborations can be, it is necessary to critically interrogate the conditions under which such collaborations take place. Highlighting the effects of, different remuneration structures, audit cultures, and working timescales, they question benign readings of artist-academic collaborations that can easily turn collaboration into exploitation. They further propose that these challenges require a collective response, starting with honest appraisal; refusing to write project reports as celebratory success scripts and instead formulating collective demands for conditions in which equitable partnerships can flourish.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. A revolution in science publishing, or business as usual?

Each year, governments around the world pour vast sums of public money into scientific research — as much as $156 billion in the United States alone. Scientists then use that funding to further human understanding of the world, and occasionally to make compelling discoveries about everything from whale brains to dwarf stars to the genetic underpinnings of deadly cancers. But often, this research — despite being subsidised with taxpayer money — ends up being published in exclusive journals that sit behind steep paywalls with three- and four-figure subscription fees, accessible to only a tiny fraction of the public. The ensuing decades have been, in certain respects, a triumph for supporters of open access. Research funders in the United States and Europe adopted policies to make more of the research they fund accessible to the public. Several open-access organisations now operate thriving journals, and pirating tools like Sci-Hub have made it easier than ever to sneak around publishers’ paywalls, notes Michael Schulson in this post.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Why the sector urges publishers to allow greater access to their content

As the COVID-19 outbreak worsens, universities are under exceptionally challenging circumstances while publishers are asked to give greater access to their content. As university campuses close to protect staff, researchers and students from coronavirus, universities are racing to scale up their service delivery to provide access to content and software. While universities appreciate offers of free library trials, they do not have the capacity to set up authentication and discovery to each individual publisher’s separate content offers. Publishers can help remove manual intervention by offering extended free trials and by adding content to ‘subscribed’ content lists without universities or their users needing to individually register, notes Anna Vernon, Head of licensing, Jisc Collections, Jisc, in this post.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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