• Dinosaur hunter
• Freelance science writer
• Children’s book author and
• Tweets occasionally
• Representing myself, as these
comments are likely to be quite
My journey into the ‘Open World’
• I blame everything on Ross
• It took a lot of paywall hitting for
it to finally hit me..
• The more I learned..
• OpenCon as a turning point
• Frustration led to anger, anger
led to hate, then I kinda calmed
Things Open is about to researchers
Things Open is about to publishers
We have a huge language problem
We are often having VERY different conversations about
exactly the same thing
Take that website as an example..
We end up talking past each other, instead of working
together to find solutions
Open is really ridiculously complicated
• Librarians: serials crisis
• Researchers: more visibility/citations
• Economists: helps small businesses
• Activists: morality, freedom, equality
• Publishers: money money money (profit)
• Funders: money money money (cost)
• Editors: want quality content published
• Policymakers: have to resolve all of this
What is Open?
•A cultural movement
•A social restructuring
•A way of thinking
What is Open not?
Why should we care about Open?
• Reduce costs for libraries
• Funds can then be redistributed
• Reduce competition for funding
• Students and researchers can access what they need
• Also everyone else on the planet too
• Cease journal business models defining where we can publish
• Provide freedom of publishing venue without constraint
• Publishing should be easy to afford even for the non-financially privileged
• Align research with what the Web was designed for
• Efficient and free knowledge transfer
Disclaimer: some people get pretty angry
when you talk about ‘open’ publishing..
If you suffer from high blood pressure,
it’s probably best to sit this part out.
Credit: Sallaria (DeviantArt)@protohedgehog
Total (as of 2016-02-05): 80,629,821
You can get up-to-date data at: http://api.crossref.org/works?facet=t&rows=0
Credit: @blahah404Wow! Such data! We must be learning loads, right?!
Same data by license type
Just 1,435,841 (as of 2016-02-05) are legally reusable.
That's less than 1.8% of the published research literature.
Which is odd. Because you paid for it.
Because of these publishers Credit: @blahah404
So what we have is a system that is..
• Largely funded by the public
• Governed by private interests
• Restricted in terms of what we
can do with it
• Access is a financial or status
• The actual communication is
secondary to the business
When publishers fail to innovate
Price transparency for libraries for journal
and database packages – non-disclosure
agreements shut down the market
BIS Select Committee enquiry into Open Access, 2013
• Subscription expenditure
of UK higher education
institutions with ten
Model of Financial Flows in
Scholarly Publishing for the UK,
“The current lack of publicly available information concerning financial flows around scholarly
communication systems is an obstacle to evidence-based policy-making – leaving researchers, decision-
makers and institutions in the dark about the implications of current models and the resources available
for experimenting with new ones.”
What on Earth is going on up here?
It’s like some publishers aren’t even trying
Financial transparency for authors
• What is the APC being spent on?
• How much does each part of the
process really cost?
Open peer review
How is something secretive, exclusive, and closed supposed to be
An adventure with “Publisher X”
• That awkward moment when a
publisher breaches your copyright
• No formal confidentiality agreement
• No informal agreement
• Zero information provided
• Intervention via Publons
• No notification of takedown
• Conducted without my permission
• In breach of my rights as a reviewer
• Restricting the free flow of information
• What the hell were they thinking?
• Publisher X committed an act of copyright
infringement against one of their unpaid
• Publisher X attempted to over-rule my own
personal copyright with zero legal authority
• Completely unenforceable
• Publisher X either acted against my permission
• Or believe they had copyright, which they did
It works both ways, you know..
• It’s kinda understandable from
the Editor’s perspective
• They have confidentiality interests
• This needs to be much more
explicit a priori
• All are responsible for making
sure the process is more
Since the incident..
It’s just as ‘enforceable’ as any of the previous, so why not?
• Be very explicit beforehand
1. About journal policies
2. About the conditions of reviewing
3. What everyone’s rights are
• Be open with your communications
• Transparency alleviates all problems
• Don’t bully researchers
• Don’t try and enforce things illegally
• Talk with Publons
• Consider open options
It should not be this complicated!
Aspects of open peer review
1. Publish the review reports
2. Referees are named
3. Anyone is allowed to contribute
4. What is the decision process
5. How many reviews are declined
before a sufficient number of
referees are obtained?
6. What was the time taken for each
part of the process?
Open up the entire process!
• How long does it take for:
• Reviewing (each round, don’t hide them)
• Copy editing and proofing
• Editorial decisions
• Use this to create a time line of the expected process
• Many publishers already experimenting/doing this:
• Nature Communications
And, I might be wrong about this, but no-one has died yet..
Let’s talk about the impact factor..
Credit: Hilda Bastian
Because it’s a BS statistic
Skew is imposed by a very small number of highly cited papers
What can we all do?
• We have to break the chain
• Stop advertising
• Stop using it to evaluate
• Communicate openly
• And informedly
• Publish better statistics
• Citation distributions
• Accept responsibility for its
• ALL of us are accountable
Other things that don’t fit into the narrative
• What is the true value add of publishing?
• Well, let’s see..
• No format diversity and stupidly strict rules
• Very little usage statistics (outsourced mostly)
• References rarely hyperlinked (and not deeply)
• Networking features rare and terrible
• Overlay systems practically non-existent
• Again often outsourced too
• Supplemental files considered an afterthought
• Size constraints
The current state of scholarly communication?
Slowly but surely
adapting to the Web of
• Open communication is a necessity in a digital scholarly publishing
• People expect different standards growing up in a Web-dominated
• Open communication affects all parts of the scholarly publishing
process, not just Open Access
• Ask ourselves constantly, are we doing the best we can? How is this
helping research communication?
• Open communication is just a gateway to transparency,
accountability, and equality