Blogs selected for Week October 12 to October 18, 2020 -

1. New PLOS pricing test could signal end of scientists paying to publish free papers

Author: Jeffrey Brainard

PLOS, the nonprofit publisher that in 2003 pioneered the open-access business model of charging authors to publish scientific articles so they are immediately free to all, recently rolled out an alternative model that could herald the end of the author-pays era. One of the new options shifts the cost of publishing open-access (OA) articles in its two most selective journals to institutions, charging them a fixed annual fee; any researcher at that institution could then publish in the PLOS journals at no additional charge. The new PLOS plan includes other features novel in scientific publishing, and it joins other emerging OA financing models that also do away with fees paid by authors.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. Ruzicka ’21: Our future is Open Access

Author: Emilia Ruzicka

The only way for researchers to have guaranteed rights to use their own work without Open Access efforts is to subscribe to the journals and publishers that own the material. Many universities take on this cost for their researchers; institutional subscriptions to some of the largest publishers, like Elsevier, Springer and Wiley, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Most publishers offer some Open Access option for an additional fee. There are various kinds of Open Access, the most common of which are Green Open Access and Gold Open Access. Open Access content provides the basis for a more sustainable archival model, particularly when paired with programs like interlibrary loan, where libraries across different institutions can share their materials with each other.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Managing scientific literature access and copyright compliance in a remote workforce

Author: Heather Desmarais

Managing literature can be tricky for companies at the best of times, and especially so during a worldwide pandemic. Having a central access point for all literature needs where users can search, retrieve, review, annotate, and collaborate takes the guesswork out of the equation. The system automatically checks for copies available through subscriptions or covered under the company’s copyright licenses. Copyright permissions are checked with each transaction, so risk of infringement is also lowered. Most importantly, a proper literature management tool can make access to literature easier for researchers. Faster research makes for faster discoveries and decision-making.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Elsevier has deployed an end-user tracking tool for security. Should users be concerned about their privacy?

Author: Todd A Carpenter

Earlier in 2020, Elsevier quietly began using a tracking system to detect potentially fraudulent behavior on their sites. Elsevier and other publishers have been concerned about malicious behavior on their sites for a very long time. Elsevier is not the only publisher to use this class of online fraudulent behavior security service. There are other publishers using the same service that Elsevier is using. The question is, what is this service doing and is it problematic. As with all things in technology and, in particular online security, the answer is not so simple. At a level below the basics, it is unlikely that the average end-user would know what is going on. Hardly any end-users would be looking through the information being deposited on their computer by every site they visit or trolling through the server calls that are made when a web page loads. The tracking being done in the name of security seems entirely legitimate and poses no threat to users’ privacy within Elsevier.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. What we know about the academic journal landscape reflects global inequalities

Author: Kirsten Bell and David Mills

Over the past sixty years, there has been an exponential growth in the global scholarly publishing landscape. Mapping or capturing it, however, is a difficult task as dominant databases only cover a small proportion of published journals. Kirsten Bell and David Mills offer their own cartographic visualisation of the global scholarly publishing landscape. They argue that the little that is known about scholarly production outside the English-speaking world is revealing about the inequalities of dominant knowledge practices. Moreover, what is known to be the characterisations of non-Western publishers as ‘predatory’ is a conceit that reaffirms colonial hierarchies. They urge readers to explore whole ‘unknown’ publishing continents: non-indexed publications, non-English journals, and non-mainstream journals.

The full entry can be read: Here.

6. Breaking down barriers: enhancing human connections through technology

Author: Jon Hofgartner

Using digital technology to amplify the human factor in teaching might seem counter-intuitive, but using technology in the right way can break down barriers and help educators facilitate learning. Jisc has tried to make virtual classroom as straightforward as possible, so nobody needs a technical degree to work it. There are safeguards in place to ensure that only those that should be in the session can gain access, and teachers have full control of content flow and who can see what, via the virtual classroom software. Teachers can also pre-load content before each session so it is ready to go, which avoids things like accidental screen-sharing and time wasted searching for resources, which can be an issue with video conferencing.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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