Hacking the Academy: Why Open Access Matters


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  • I would like to set the context of my talk by first taking a quick trip down memory lane.
  • The University of Toronto Scarborough UTSC opened its door in 1964. This futuristic looking campus was built with a bold experiment in mind. The plan was to use the leading information technology at the time, the technology that ushered in the new era of the global village, as a new tool for teaching and learning, a tool for professors to share their knowledge with student through new means of engagement.
  • That technology was television. So state of the art film camera were purchased, tv studio was build, and closed-circuits television were installed in most classroomsExpensive recording and storage devices were installed.
  • Instructors were introduced to the fine art of demonstrating biology and chemistry experiments.
  • And this mode of delivery was not intended just for the sciences. As humanities and social sci. professors could record their conversations with leading thinkers in the filed and ,
  • And students could watch and then repeat the experiments in the labs.
  • Learning anyplace anytime, as long as you have access to the close- circuit TVs
  • Fast forward 50 years. And how is the age of YouTube compared with the age of the boobtube?How are we dealing with today’s technology that is around us everything.
  • And with seemingly unlimited resources we could access on the internet, including ebooks, databases, and thousands of electronic journals. Technology transforming scholarly communication, but journals remain the key vehicle downloading the latest research article is just a few clicks away. Image:library.uvic.ca/instruction/research/searchsmart.html
  • But much to her surprise and frustration, she found out that she could no longer access those articles and in order to read them, one would cost $37 to download, while another would cost $42. Becky has discovered that she had become part of the 99% of the world who do not have access to the wealth of scholarly literature we routinely enjoy once she is no longer a paying student.
  • But even for us who are lucky enough to work in a well-resourced institutions (and our library is ranked #3 in North America in terms of its holding). I often find myself unable to access research that I need for my work. This is particular true for research from the developing countries.
  • The technology to prevent access
  • Business model is no to sell individual article. It is to push individuals who belong to insittutions to ask their library to subscribe to the journal. But the publishers don’t actually want you to subscribe to one journal or selected titles, they want to sell you the whole entire bundle. because the product is not the journal, it’s the bundle.By selling electronic bundles, and by acquiring other titles for their bundles, publishers have erected a strategic barrier to entry at just the time that the electronic publishing possibility has made it increasingly possible for alternative publishers to overcome the existing structural barriers.” The fact that competition is at the level of bundles, not at the level of journals, is very important.
  • Image: MIT Library
  • The fees publishers charge to access research articles make scholarly publishing one of the most profitable industries around, while denying the public access to taxpayer-funded research.The high profitability is a result of high renewal rates and limited competition as these large companies own increasingly large market share of the academic publishing sector. Business of rent extraction by preventing access and creating artificial scarcity. The business is particularly profitable because some commercial publishers are able to take advantage of the free labour and intellectual outputs of researchers and turn them into high price commodity. The scholarly literature is often referred to as the give-away literature as researchers do not expect any momentary return for their publication, They even volunteer the time with peer reviewing the papers, contribute time to the editorial process, and And there is a tendency to conflact high price with high quality. https://theconversation.edu.au/free-for-all-arc-funded-research-now-open-to-the-public-11497Numbers compiled by Alex Holcombe. Details here: http://bit.ly/Wxo4VA
  • But Price barrier is only one of the more visible barrier – creating the scholarly rich and the scholarly poorThere are other more intractable structural barriers that impede knowledge access
  • Harvard was by no means the first institution to call for open access. But when Harvard talks, the world tends to listen. Indeed many individuals and initiatives from around the world have been practicing and calling for the broadening of OA across the disciplines. And some of the leading voices and initiatives have come from individuals and organizations from the Global South, notably Brazil, Vena and Latin American countries, India, South Africa, too numerous to name.
  • Marginalization of knowledge from the Global South"the sharing of knowledge discovery across borders and the building of a global knowledge commons is increasingly important for solving problems that we all face, such as global climate change, emerging diseases, food security, growing equality and inequity, volience and conflict Measuring real valuePutting this social value of science into measurable terms is much more difficult that the relatively simple calculations of citation rates. It is a big challenge — and one reason why citations continue to play such a dominant role in assessing individual scientists' or their institutions' achievements.standards for assessing journal quality and relevance are generally based on "Northern" values that often ignore development needs and marginalise local scholarship.Until we can find robust ways to measure the success of integrating development goals into the research programmes of developing countries, and of how local scientists contribute to achieving these, the potential of OA is unlikely to be fully recognised.Even if the evidence for a citation advantage is as weak as Davis' research suggests, this does not undermine the case for OA publishing — or even for the less ambitious route to free access represented by creating Open Repositories (so-called 'green OA') controlled by scientists themselves and their institutions.What the evidence does do is reinforce the folly of using citation rates alone as the main measure of the social value of science and the work of scientistswith an alternative measure - beyond citations - that would show the wider social value or public good of different publishing channels. I suspect some of the 'high' impact journals might score much lower on some kind of accessibility factor.What factors render knowledge to the periphery and make them “invisible” ? What are the structural causes to the participatory and democratic deficit in knowledge production ? What role could Open Access play ?
  • Started as an experiment in 1993, the early day of the web. Supported by our colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Information in Campinas Brazil. Bioline is not a publisher, but an Open access platform Naïve assumptions that the Internet was going to be a great equalizer, and provide an level playing field over timeBundling of journals with similar domains of coverage, health, nutrition and agriculture, as well as the environment. The idea is that aggregated content will be easier to discover.
  • Open access as enabling equitable participation of research and voices from “marginal” part of the worldKnowledge Integration of not just ideas and practices and ways of knowing from other parts of the world, but also across disciplinary boundaries. Challenge power structure and gate keeping functionsopen access meshes well with the missions of scholarly societies and the missions of the universityWhich is to promote the creation and sharing of knowledge for the betterment of societySocietal benefits not only to the professional researched, but to the general public and Informed citizenry
  • Structural inequalityDemocratic deficient in knowledge production Biased yardstick as controlled by northern institutions Constraint what we consider to be knowledge and how we value those knowledge
  • Hacker’s philosophyLiberating what is in the public domainCircumventing digital fences Technology should be used to enable public goods and public access to our collective knowledge commons, not to put up fencesBad policies have real material consequences. In the case of Aaron’s death, It was public Allow broadening across cross disciplinary boundaries = opening dialogues downloaded 4 million articles from JSTOR he was accused of theft and threatened with over 35 years in prisonJSTOR is an electronic archive of academic journals and some of the publications date back to the 18th century. So it is an important archive, but it is also an archive that keeps materials that are in the public domainForce us to face our cherished practices of routinely giving up the rights to our own intellectual labourAaron’s act was an act of digital activism and civil disobedienceBad policies kill people inspire us all to redouble our efforts to eliminate the needless restraints on the distribution and use of scholarship as Swartz himself was trying to achieve.in a digital world it was important to fight what Aaron saw as privatisation of knowledge and information. Some of this he puts down in his 'Guerilla Open Access Manifesto' where he implores academics to declare their opposition to what he calls the “private theft of public culture.”Downloaded previously published academic articles, not classfified secrets“There’s definitely a need to focus on these issues, particularly in the context of a developing country like India.”who are passionate and articulate about social justice and access to knowledge, who question and challenge authority (libraries included). Many of the beliefs that Aaron stood for – the liberation of knowledge, open access to information, code as free speech, and the use of code to make the world better – are core values in the hacker community. Numerous activist geeks have attempted to liberate information, combat corruption, and challenge unchecked power in many forms.The hacker ethic may be peculiar to outsiders. But it stems from a deep commitment to justice, fairness, and freedom. Anthropologist Gabriella Coleman describes in her bookCoding Freedom how hacker ethic gets encoded into both technical and political practice. His loss is an enormous loss for all of us who believe that sharing and collaborating need more room in our world.http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/01/beyond-aaron-swartz-we-dont-need-martyrs-but-changes/ ==Tribute to Aaron Swartz: Watch his "How we stopped SOPA" keynote at F2C2012<http://oaopenaccess.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/tribute-to-aaron-swartz-watch-his-how-we-stopped-sopa-keynote-at-f2c2012/>Open access to scholarly literature and research online depends upon an open Internet. It is easy to forget this is not a given. The Internet has become such an integral part of our daily lives as academics. We can hardly imagine now a world without it. We have sensed its potential and have been building an information infrastructure based on our experiences with its free beginnings. It is easy to take that freedom for granted.It was one year ago today that Congressional leaders in the United States shelved two pieces of legislation, ostensibly geared toward curbing online piracy, but which could have had far-reaching and unintended consequences, threatening through censorship this concept of a free and open Internet.It was a close call. The House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Senate version, the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), were widely believed, both within Congress and among their supporters in the media industry (including many commercial academic publishers), to be destined for easy passage. However, a groundswell of organizational and, most significantly, citizen opposition forced the lawmakers to back down.A significant voice in that citizen opposition to SOPA and PIPA was a fellow named Aaron Swartz. Aaron was a prodigious young computer programmer and an activist dedicated to the fight for free and open access to information and knowledge on the Internet. ...
  • Traditional scholarly publishing system has outlived its usefulness and it is not making full use of what the web has to offer.Traditional journal was effective in serving multiple functions, Take control of the technology, and not controlled by the technology.
  • Actions for researchers – take back control over your intellectual labour, put your publications in the IR, in OA journals, start one, talk to your scholarly associations or societies and ask them why your soceity journals are not OAActions for students – demand that the reading and learning materials be OA and Actions for librarians – copyright policies for publishers, big-buyer club for journals, enabler of OAActions for administrators - community-engaged scholarship and broader ways of evaluating scholarly impact beyond counting citations and journal ranking and impact factor. Actions for funders – better return on investmentActions for Citizens – demand that publicly funded research be publicly avaialble, Don’t let the elite institutions and professionals tell you that you are not smart enough to read the scientific or the esoteric literature. Citizen scientists and scholars. Librarians should shift their mind set from how much access they are providing their patron to closed access, to how much open access they are enabling. Acting as copyright police on behalf of the publishers, breaking down unnecessary and artificial barriers Only publish in fully open access journals.  See DOAJ -- Directory of Open Access Journals.Do not do ANY work for non open access journals. That includes reviewing, suggesting reviewers, etc. Cancel all subscriptions to closed access journals. The subscription model is part of the problem. Work for open access journals. Embrace openness in other aspects of your academic work. See for example Open science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Open Humanities AllianceLearn the difference between "open" and "freely available." See Peter Suber, Open Access Overview (definition, introduction) and Open Access | PLOSReward people in job hiring, merits and promotions for their level of openness.  Do not reward them for closed activities.Lobby for more open access requirements at the Federal, State, and Institutional level.  Make sure they are not mealy mouthed or mediocre. See What the UC “open access” policy should say for example.Embrace other changes in scientific publishing such as post-publication review that enable more rapid sharing of publications (see The Glacial Pace of Change in Scientific Publishing). Read up on what else you can do (e.g., Peter Suber, What you can do to promote open access) and come up with your own ideas.  Oh and share them.  Openly.http://phylogenomics.blogspot.ca/
  • The rights to access public goods is the most basic forms of rights and Development is about the provision of pubic goods and denial of access is a basic social justice issue.
  • Capacity to share, to give, to co-create, to collaborate Foundation of a civil society – the goal of liberal education The more open our institution, the better our education, and the better our society as a whole.Challenging the status quo. Join the Occupy Movement, Support the Idle no More , and make Open Access one of your educational priority Start hacking!
  • Hacking the Academy: Why Open Access Matters

    1. 1. Hacking the Academy Why Open Access MattersLeslie chanUniversity of Toronto Scarborough
    2. 2. Learning virtually and Online
    3. 3. Articles
    4. 4. The 99% Scholarly Poor
    5. 5. You do not have access
    6. 6. Library budgets journal prices MIT Libraries Materials Purchases vs. CPI % Increase 1986-2006 400% Journal expenditure 350% 300% 250%Percentage Change 200% 150% Inflation 100% 50% 0% 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 -50% Year Consumer Price Index % + Serial Expenditures % + # Serials Purchased % + # Books Purchased % + Book Expenditures % +
    7. 7. Operating Profit Company Industry 12% BMW Automobiles 23% Rio Tinto Mining 35% Apple Premium Computing 34% Springer Scholarly Publishing 36% Elsevier Scholarly Publishing 40% Wily Scholarly Publishing Numbers compiled by Alex Holcombe. Details here: http://bit.ly/Wxo4VA
    8. 8. Even Harvard cannot afford to pay for all the subscriptions they need
    9. 9. The World of Journal Publishing According to Thomson Reuter’s ISI Science Citation Index Unequal Contribution and Participation in Science http://tinyurl.com/aou8t7v
    10. 10. https://vimeo.com/channels/openaccess/10169351
    11. 11. “Weeds” or Vegetables?
    12. 12. http://www.bioline.org.br
    13. 13. One Way Flow of Knowledge:From the North to the South Multidirectional Flow of Knowledge: South-South Collaboration
    14. 14. Open Access as Enabler of Participation and Knowledge Inclusion
    15. 15. Knowledge is PowerWho controls and governs the production of knowledge?
    16. 16. Aaron Swartz
    17. 17. What you can do
    18. 18. http://openaccessmap.org
    19. 19. Knowledge meanslearning to askquestions andopening doors學問