After some tea, Paul Ayris, Astrid Wissenburg, Sally Morris and Richard Woodward gave four short presentations.
Technorati Tags: openaccess
They represented respectively a librarian’s, research funder’s, publisher’s and a civil servant’s view point.
Paul Ayris from UCL, [whose slides seem to suggest he was still in Frankfurt-TR] reiterated the evidence that open access leads to more, earlier citations, though for no clear reasons. He agreed that authors tend to submit their best work to open access journals and repositories. We need a consistent longitudinal study of impact factors to test this theory. Funders should take note of the areas suggested for future research. Asked if repository availability influences library cancellation decisions, he replied that at UCL it never has and he could see no demonstrable link.
Astrid Wissenburg, Director of Communications for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), spoke of the lack of data outside the science, technology and medicine (STM) area, and the need to look at other methods of scholarly communication other than the journal article. We need to look at customers for scholarly communication outside higher education. What effect will changes have? Might freer access promote innovation and create new flows of money? There is a lack of evidence on the cost to research community of the unpaid work done by researchers, but the benefits of this should also be quantified. Does it provide value for money? Should we publish as much, and engage in the associated work? What are the costs of peer review and how efficient is it? Does access improve the science? 50% of researchers reported problems finding articles. There is selectivity in subscription decisions; does this influence quality of science? Interdisciplinary researchers are particularly ill-served. The impact of repositories may mean cancellations of journals, as the research by the Publishers Research Consortium shows (pace Paul Ayris). What does that mean for embargos? Are repositories sustainable, if there are fewer peer-reviewed journals? Articles are only one part of repository content
Finally, does the contribution learned societies make to science system. Value for money?
Sally Morris, Chief Executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, gave the publisher’s point of view, once more drawing attention to the things we don’t know: the shape of the industry, its volume and value. This lack of knowledge limits our ability to influence and lobby. Some sharing data will be necessary. The open access business model is now less alarming to publishers, and many are experimenting with it. Other pricing models should still be investigated and she piqued my interest by mentioning the way telephones, games and television are paid for as possible examples. We need to get costs right, which will differ from discipline to discipline.
Is self archiving harmful to subscription journals? It’s like dropping an egg; it may be too late to save journals once the impact is known. What do we mean by increasing productivity of R&D? Citations are not a good measure.
What publishers do is not only economically important, but adds to journals in a number of ways:
• by managing peer review
• by the journal itself, a subset of articles from the corpus for a particular community
• by editing. She citied the example of ArXiv. How important is it to readers to read an edited version? If use moves from publisher’s sites to preprint archives, are non-native English speakers disadvantaged?
• by linking using CrossRef or DOI
• by providing income for learned societies to help them make a wider contribution
She suggested the chief need was to find out more and referred us to the Publishing Research Consortium’s work at www.publishingresearch.org.uk, to the ALPSP website and RIN’s. We should apply the EPS criteria.
Is open access a distraction, she asked? Authors and users can now do completely different things using new informal methods of communication such as blogs and wikis. One of the main research needs is to understand what the customers for scholarly communication do all day.
Michel Woodman, from the Department of Trade and Industry, said the area was becoming more complex and there was conflicting evidence. His aim is to make policy based on evidence, but the gaps in what we know are more dominant than the knowledge base. We need to know more about the impact of alternative models (studies so far have excluded repositories). What are the needs of researcher? We need agreed evidence-based baselines. The government, he claimed has no agenda of its own. [Why not? Do I believe this?-TR] it merely wants sustainable solutions that advance scholarly communication.
There followed a panel discussion on the way forward.
Bob Anonymous said that RCUK wanted to develop policy informed by independent research, but that the MRC have announced a policy in advance of that study. Does that embarrass the Research Councils?
Astrid Wissenburg denied this, they were not embarrassed, but RCUK will be doing a study.
Fred Friend asked how more data on changes in user behaviour might be gathered. Sally Morris said we needed studies on information such as the EJUST study, studies on different disciplines, the work the RIN is doing on the use of discovery tools, but above all to pull together the existing work [in other words a meta-analysis-TR]. Varied methodologies would be needed, surveys, observation and focus groups. Michael Jubb suggested we should exploit log data, although access to logs may be commercially or institutionally sensitive.
Desmond Reaney of IoP Publishing claimed that the figure quoted that 50% researchers had trouble accessing information might be the fault of libraries who had incorrectly registered institutional IP addresses, a theory that drew derisive snorts form the librarians in the audience. Astrid Wissenburg thought that there were other factors such as lack of awareness, training. Researchers can be selective in the sources they use because of access problems.
Anthony W of CIBER: all publishers use transaction logs, and can do what they like provided individual addresses not revealed. Is it the aim of institutional repositories to overthrow the current system? Do we mind? Does it matter? Is our aim to deconstruct model and start again? Paul Ayris replied that university libraries are promoting and hosting repositories to add value by storing research outputs, and to guarantee long-term access. Publishers have never seen preservation as part of their business. Some subscription models will no longer be viable but it is not our aim to put publishers out of business. AW thought that the current model is threatened by a lot more than open access, but by all aspects of the technological revolution.
Ian Russell of ALPSP said it was lamentable that the research councils have deserted evidence-based policy. RCUK will review its policy in 2008. We now need to prioritise which studies need to be done, so decisions can be made in 2008. Michael Jubb replies that there is change going on in a wider sense and that RIN wants to develop evidence-based policies to ensure that scholarly communication as a whole develops to support the science base, and the connectivity between research and innovation. They have no interest in preserving anyone's position, but hope for a dialogue between stakeholders
Mayur Amin of Elsevier: there is a CIBER paper [presumably one of these: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/slais/research/ciber/downloads/: which looks beyond the research article, which may only reflect 1% of research activity. There are more, greater inefficiencies. Sally Morris agreed that one study is not enough
Paul Ayris thought that scholars in the arts and humanities would say they were not very affected by these issues, and much more concerned with the contracting monograph market, and the withdrawal of publisher support for monographs, as well as issues such as extortionate copyright fees, restrictive practices by museums vis-à-vis reproduction rights. Sally said there was a PRC study on obstacles to research productivity
Jan V of Springer said that usage and citation were both low Does access matter?
Ian Stevenson of UCL and representing the Palaeontological Association felt it important to stress the important role of the amateur in some disciplines. Who is the scientific community? Existing licences often exclude them [but not open access surely-TR] Jeff Aronson agreed and felt that junior doctors were also often excluded.
Charles Oppenheim said we need a literature review. Eric Davies said that journals emerged because scientific communities needed them. We could not return to the invisible college. The barriers to entry are now lower. However research is a means to and end; papers are not all.
Richard Charkin said that publishing has changed in the past 5-10 years, and is now 98% electronic, with a new business model, the site license, an exemplar of how technology can change an industry, and all done from the industry’s own cash flows and profitability. The article remains the unit, yes, but aggregation and statistics are important. We are now turning journals back into magazines, for example, Nature.
Graham Taylor noted that the attendance list showed 30 publishers, 15-20 librarians, some consultants, funders, apparatchiks, but few academics Where was the voice of researchers themselves? Jeff Aronson replied that he was a researcher, and so was anyone who represents a learned society
Paul Ayris quoted the example of a group of cosmologists wanted to set up new journal and the result, the wittily-named RIOJA, funded by JISC is a peer-reviewed journal sitting on top of repository running Cornell’s D-PubS software.
AW: researchers are writing the articles and peer reviewing. Access to information and publishing are means to an end. They won’t come to meetings.
Michael Jubb said, yes, it is difficult to get researchers interested in broad information issues but RIN has consultative groups of researchers. The crucial priority is to know more about researchers behaviour. There are too many producer driven services.
David Hall of Nature Publishing Group said that, in his words “crap journals” need to be destroyed. Is access such a big deal? [Access to Nature certainly was in my time at BSMS-TR] Are any researchers saying access is a key inhibitor? Jeff Aronson replied that he thought it was not so simple
Ron ? of the Biochemical Society: asked is there a level playing field? ¨ Mandating did not make for one, he felt. The CIBER studies on academics showed a resistance to paying fees, but they are now becoming interested because they are mandated. Mandates militate against competition. However Charles Oppenheim pointed out that mandating does not require publishing in an open access journal, merely in some oa form
Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust said that if publishers won't pay, then authors should look elsewhere. Some US leaned societies have told the Wellcome that they will not submit papers to their journal. The final version is preferred and they will pay for it.
The day ended with Richard Charkin saying that the action points would be circulated to attendees, to generate further debate.