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Unweaving the Rainbow: about (a couple of) today’s scholarly communications hot topics Ann Okerson Managing Digital Assets February 4-5, 2005 Charleston,

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Presentation on theme: "Unweaving the Rainbow: about (a couple of) today’s scholarly communications hot topics Ann Okerson Managing Digital Assets February 4-5, 2005 Charleston,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Unweaving the Rainbow: about (a couple of) today’s scholarly communications hot topics Ann Okerson Managing Digital Assets February 4-5, 2005 Charleston, South Carolina

2 Richard Dawkins and rainbows Widely read book, Unweaving the Rainbow (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1998) captures both the magic and demystification of science at the same time. What was once mysterious loses its charm when rigorous analysis takes apart the constituent elements of the rainbow. But understanding offers its own magic. Aim for this talk: to analyze two topics about forging brand new, inexpensive, highly functional scholarly journals systems Open Access and Self-Archiving: both could use some demystification

3 So long and thanks for all the fish Destabilizing time for the information business –Ease of information distribution –New entrants (all sorts of free stuff on the Web, Amazon Inside the Book, Google Search, Scholar, Print, Video, etc) –New business models Scholarly communications –Can mean anything from peer reviewed literature to all forms of communications between researchers Scholarly journals may be the most vulnerable form Well-documented problems with price, access, distribution issues

4 Fixing journals: 2 “new” views 1. Repair the biggest problems with today’s journals by making them freely available (“Open Access”): –Journals should be published under business models in which articles are paid up front - kind of “endowment” for each article; all access is free access –Author pays, institution pays, delayed, partly delayed OA 2. Provide an alternative path: scholars make their publications available (“Self-Archiving”): –Works should be deposited electronically by authors on fully searchable subject and/or institutionally based repositories (IRs). These repositories will make them free to every potential reader, from moment of publication; all access is free access

5 Will libraries save money with OA? Not clear; we need time and more experiments; there are not many data Example - Nucleic Acids Research (OUP) –Current Yale subscription price = $2855 paper plus online –Under the new 2005 OA experiment = library subscription price + $500 per submitted article (estimated 22 in 2004?) = $11,000 –(Without subscription, authors pay $1500/article) –Total estimated price = $ ,000 = $13,855 –A significant institutional increase in this case NOTE: Most publishers calculate STM per article costs at anywhere from $1500 to $5,000, median around $2500

6 University $$$ and open access Example – Yale approximations: –Authors publish as many as 4,000 articles/yr in STM titles; expend just under $4M for STM journals Example – Cornell study results similar: –Any charge per article over $1100 raises university costs –Savings to research libraries are unlikely until/unless large cost savings can be realized by many categories of publishers Cost shifting to other parts of the university raises issues (author payment, compliance, budget realignment?) Good News: savings to smaller institutions who drop their subscriptions can be significant

7 Do librarians favor OA? Probably, because libraries: –Support wide dissemination of information –Have a long tradition of providing on-site access –Circulate their materials widely –Deliver books and articles through ILL and new forms of e-technology –Protest strongly against costly journal prices –Embrace and transform library services thru the Internet (“unsung heroes”) –Support alternative publishing ventures –Yet, it seems clear that significant costs could shift to larger research institutions instead of being spread around

8 Do publishers favor OA? Maybe, because publishers have: –Long tradition of distribution of free or cheap print subscriptions to institutions that cannot pay –New tradition of free or very cheap electronic journal content for countries that cannot pay –Moved journals onto electronic platforms, at considerable expense –Been willing to participate in and experiment with new business models (e, p, bundled, consortial, open access, site licenses, etc.) –Considerably eased up greatly re. copyright “exclusivity” –Yet, changing to “up front payment” business models is uncertain

9 Do granting agencies favor OA? Maybe: –“Hands off” policy thought to express a proper neutrality about conducting the research itself –Now, various sectors have called for agency and government involvement –UK – Select Committee; US - NIH –These agencies (and others) have responded through studies, recommendations, possible policy changes –So: scholarly journal publications are receiving lots of attention –Do funders have a long or short attention span?

10 Do scholars favor OA? Maybe: –May not know about open access –Want their work to be read and cited widely –May not fully understand the costs of quality publishing and so tend to underestimate costs –Seem to prefer (surveys suggest) not to pay full (or any?) publication fees out of their research funds –They review and serve on editorial boards of major journals and thus have a vested interest –The journals are important to their prestige –They are members of learned societies and do not wish to make those journals vulnerable

11 Do universities favor OA? Maybe not: –Many diverse interests on campus –Not clear how OA will change or rearrange costs and budgets –Should universities encourage their faculties to publish in some outlets over others? –Should universities lobby granting agencies in one direction or another? –Should universities or libraries invest $$$ in possibly speculative new business models? –Can larger research institutions realistically support free access for the whole world? –I don’t know

12 Self-archiving: what is it? The “self-archiving” flavor of OA happens through deposit of digital documents in free, fully searchable subject and/or institutionally based repositories Through such deposit, full text of peer-reviewed output becomes “visible, accessible, searchable, useable” by any user Maximizes benefits to researchers & institutions The documents need to be tagged with standard, searchable metadata (e.g., OAI compliant) The preferred article versions for deposit are the refereed versions - identical to those published in the scholarly journals of choice (not always easy)

13 Open access and IR relationship Informal survey in 9/04 of biggest research libraries in US; 16 submitted replies Frequent comments: –Costly to create –Not an “easy sell” on campus –Long-term sustainability is a daunting issue, as is a workable and compatible (with others) infrastructure. –“Personally I am intimidated by the burden of preservation of archived materials, especially considering the wide variety of formats that are likely to be deposited” –The different levels of rights and access issues loom complicated and large.

14 Yale’s IR (my personal view) Fulfill our stewardship and support responsibilities –Library is the campus organization responsible for all University archives in all formats –Library is responsible for all material created by the library, i.e., our collections assets, in all formats –Library and ITS would like to accept responsibility for material that faculty and students create, which need support and preservation –Primary targets will not be journal articles –Focus will be institutional media rich creations, databases, datasets, enriched teaching materials, research projects –(It is not easy to imagine how scattered local versions of articles on IRs can compete effectively with the value that publishers add, let alone replace it)

15 PS: The NIH and open access July 2004: committee recommendation for authors to post to PMC all “postprint” versions of articles resulting from NIH funded research (after maximum delay of 6 months after publication) NIH is well within its rights to ask this Publishers argue there may be better ways Lots of wrangling and lobbying all around As of Thursday, Feb. 3 rd, NIH announced a “compromise” position: a “recommendation” that authors deposit their articles with PubMedCentral in 12 months or less of publication. Winners and losers in this outcome? Too soon..

16 What to do, to expect? Expect few windfalls or miracles Be prepared for an increasingly complicated information world with much more information than ever before Decide on the right institutional strategy for managing information for *your* users Be prepared to (maybe) spend less money on outside content if OA models prevail Be prepared (probably) to invest more and more resource in making the content useful, usable Be civil, turn down the rhetorical temperature on topics such as open access – everyone’s trying to figure things out and this is HARD

17 Hunting for the snark? These are *very* tame proposals and depend upon the journal as we know it today! Several authors recently have suggested that open access may be misplaced as the center of our attention: –Van de Sompel, Payette, Erickson, Lagoze, Warner, in D- Lib, September 2004, “Rethinking Scholarly Communication.” Open availability is but one dimension; look to changing nature of and pace of research, new measures and new media, re-think models; develop goals that promote and hasten discovery, enrich information –Warlock, D., “Open access: free for all – or more expensive for everyone?” Charleston Adviser, October Our dialog should be about broken economic models, the transformation of scientific research, the journal, of access, of the power of the Web


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