Kate Murphy ~ Should All Research Papers Be Free?


payDRAWING comparisons to Edward Snowden, a graduate student from Kazakhstan named Alexandra Elbakyan is believed to be hiding out in Russia after illegally leaking millions of documents. While she didn’t reveal state secrets, she took a stand for the public’s right to know by providing free online access to just about every scientific paper ever published, on topics ranging from acoustics to zymology.

Her protest against scholarly journals’ paywalls has earned her rock-star status among advocates for open access, and has shined a light on how scientific findings that could inform personal and public policy decisions on matters as consequential as health care, economics and the environment are often prohibitively expensive to read and impossible to aggregate and datamine.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/research-papers

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John Parsons ~ Who Pays For Open Access?


MoneyThe theory of Open Access (OA) predates the Internet, but the web has made it a full-fledged phenomenon for scientific and medical journals. Driven in large part by mandates from government and institutional funding entities, OA theoretically lowers the subscription cost barrier for peer-reviewed content. Academic libraries and their constituents—especially researchers—are the prime beneficiaries, but so also are general public libraries and “citizen scientists” who simply have Internet access.

Like a politician’s promise, however, the benefits of OA have to be paid for—typically through an Article Processing Charge (APC) charged to the author or, more commonly, the author’s employer. These can average between $2,000 and $3,000 per article, according to Anneliese Taylor, Assistant Director, Scholarly Communications and Collections, at the University of California, San Francisco Library. “These are increasingly a line item in research grant funding proposals,” she said, pointing out that funding entities are themselves often proponents of Open Access.

Read more: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2016/03/oa/who-pays-for-open-access/

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This feature article is part of our Open Access in Action series, sponsored by Dove Press, which tracks the evolution of important open access (OA) issues through a library lens by presenting regular original articles, video interviews, news, and perspectives. To learn more about how librarians like you are driving practice across the lifestyle of open access, be sure to visit our Open Access in Action hub page.

 

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Stop The Global Crackdown On Academic Freedom! Act now!


Picture: http://www.publichistoryproductions.com

Picture: http://www.publichistoryproductions.com

A call for the global community of teachers and students to protest against this most dangerous trend by signing, translating and circulating this statement, and organising protest meetings in all universities.

The call below was launched on 24 February by a number of academics based in the UK. It has been signed by over 200 university teachers from all over the world.

The undersigned are university teachers concerned over recent events that point to a serious reversal of gains in democracy and academic freedom achieved over the last decades in many countries.

Three cases have been most prominent in that regard since the beginning of 2016: the crackdown by Turkish authorities on the more than 1200 signatories in Turkey of the petition by “Academics for Peace” criticizing the anti-Kurdish war drive launched by the Turkish government; the crackdown by Indian authorities on students involved in a non-violent campus protest against the death penalty at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad University, and an attempt to shoot and kill a professor by groups affiliated to the ruling party; and the savage torture and assassination in Cairo of Italian research student Giulio Regeni.

We call on the global community of teachers and students to join us in protesting against this most dangerous trend by signing, translating and circulating this statement, and organizing protest meetings in all universities.

Read more: https://www.opendemocracy.net/stop-global-crackdown-on-academic-freedom-act-now

 

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Kaveh Waddell ~ The Research Pirates Of The Dark Web


Photo: librarysciencelist.com

Photo: librarysciencelist.com

The Atlantic. After getting shut down late last year, a website that allows free access to paywalled academic papers has sprung back up in a shadowy corner of the Internet.

There’s a battle raging over whether academic research should be free, and it’s overflowing into the dark web.
Most modern scholarly work remains locked behind paywalls, and unless your computer is on the network of a university with an expensive subscription, you have to pay a fee, often around 30 dollars, to access each paper.
Many scholars say this system makes publishers rich—Elsevier, a company that controls access to more than 2,000 journals, has a market capitalization about equal to that of Delta Airlines—but does not benefit the academics that conducted the research, or the public at large. Others worry that free academic journals would have a hard time upholding the rigorous standards and peer reviews that the most prestigious paid journals are famous for.

Some years ago, a university student in Kazakhstan took it upon herself to set free the vast trove of paywalled academic research. That student, Alexandra Elbakyan, developed Sci-Hub, an online tool that allows users to easily download paywalled papers for free.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/the-dark-web/

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LERU ~ The Academic World Urges Publishers To Enter A Brave New World


librarianToday, 27 January 2016, Prof Alain Beretz and Prof Kurt Deketelaere, Chair and Secretary-General of LERU (League of European Research Universities), presented the signatures to the LERU Statement on Open Access to Commissioner Carlos Moedas and Dutch Secretary of State Sander Dekker. At the end of the meeting of the informal Competitiveness Council in Amsterdam, almost 10,000 signatures* (from individuals and institutions) were handed over, calling upon the policy makers for clear initiatives to guide the development of the Green and Gold routes to Open Access (OA).

Nowadays, European universities pay publishers significant parts of their university budget. Hundreds of millions of euros. Money which is not directly spent on research and education, even though it is largely taxpayers´ money. As Harvard University already denounced in 2012, many large journal publishers have rendered the situation “fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive”, with some journals costing as much as $40,000 per year (and publishers drawing profits of 35% or more). If one of the wealthiest universities in the world can no longer afford it, who can? It is easy to picture the struggle of European universities with tighter budgets. In addition to subscription costs, academic research funding is also severely affected by “Article Processing Charges” (APC), which come at an additional cost of €2000/article, on average, when making individual articles Gold Open Access. As a result, some publishers even get paid twice for the same content (“double dipping”).

In the era of Open Science, Open Access to publications is one of the cornerstones of the new research paradigm and business models must support this transition. It should be one of the principal objectives of policy makers to ensure that this transition happens. Further developing the EU´s leadership in research and innovation largely depends on it. Therefore, LERU launched on 12 October 2015 a campaign on Open Access, under the title: “Christmas is over”. With the statement “Moving Forwards on Open Access“, LERU called upon all universities, research institutes, research funders and researchers to sign this statement and give a clear signal towards the European Commission and the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Carlos Moedas and Sander Dekker immediately reacted in a positive way to this campaign and statement.

Read more: http://www.leru.org/a-brave-new-world/

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Jeffrey J. Williams ~ Empire Of Letters


typeTom Lutz and the ‘Los Angeles Review of Books’ set out to create a new model of literary review.

When does buzz solidify into a sound?

I first heard it from my graduate students. They keep me current, and it seemed that every other day they’d forward me a piece from the Los Angeles Review of Books, or LARB, which popped up on Tumblr in 2011 and on its own site in April 2012. Several of my students work on contemporary fiction, and LARB covers it fairly extensively, reviewing genres like Young Adult (YA) and noir as well as more literary fiction, and sometimes carrying multiple reviews of notable books, for instance of Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom.

I started seeing the names of scholars I knew in the journal — Steven Brint on higher education, Wai Chee Dimock on film, Mark McGurl on creative writing. There were intriguing interviews with critics, artists, and writers, including Jonathan Lethem, and forums on timely issues, like “MOOCs and the Future of the Humanities” and the boycott of Israeli universities.

People have been complaining about the lack of reviewing since the late 1990s, when shrinking newspapers started disbanding book-review sections, but the web tends toward glut more than scarcity, so at first I wondered if LARB was just another blog that would fade into the ether.

Read more: http://chronicle.com/article/Empire-of-Letters

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