Category Archives: Open access blogging

Open Access: The Whipping Boy for Problems in Scholarly Publishing?

Communications of the Association for Information Systems (CAIS) publishes research and other articles on a wide range of topics of interest to information systems professionals and academics. They also invite debates. Our debate is about open access. With our paper Danny Kingsley and I hope to foster debate about the place of open access (OA) in scholarly publishing. The Editor of the section Professor Karlheinz Kautz invited  a varied set of debaters to respond to our opening: publishers, librarians, research administrators, editors, researchers, and largely received a polite refusal or no response. Too controversial a topic or lack of time or interest? However one scholar, three journal editors and a research administrator did respond. CAIS is not open open access, but we have permission to publish our papers on our own web sites or in our repositories, so below are links to our opening debate and our rebuttal to the responses. Hopefully the authors of the responses will also make their papers open access. As Karl says in his editorial, the debate about open access and scholarly publishing is far from over, and to improve scholarly publishing we need more stakeholders to engage in the debate.

Open Access- The Whipping Boy for Problems in Scholarly Publishing

Rebuttal.Open Access- The Whipping Boy for Problems in Scholarly Communications

Kingsley, Danny A. and Kennan, Mary Anne (2015) “Open Access: The Whipping Boy for Problems in Scholarly Publishing,” Communications of the Association for Information Systems: Vol. 37, Article 14. Available at:

Kingsley, Danny A. and Kennan, Mary Anne (2015) “Open Access: The Whipping Boy for Problems in Scholarly Communication—A Response to the Rebuttals,” Communications of the Association for Information Systems: Vol. 37, Article 20. Available at:

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Research support services in academic libraries – two papers forthcoming

We are planning a special issue of Australian Academic & Research Libraries for December 2014 on evolving research support services. Two of the authors of papers accepted for this issue have already placed their authors accepted versions in their institutional repository.

The first is a big picture paper by Colin Steele an Emeritus Fellow at the Australian National University titled Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Publishing and University Libraries. Plus ca Change?. It is a position paper which is grounded in the literature including a number of reports and policy documents, but also comes from deep personal knowledge and experience. The paper will provide AARL readers with an excellent overview of the historical context and those issues which remain unresolved. Available at:

The second paper is by Dr Danny Kingsley who is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and Executive Officer, Australian Open Access Support Group. Danny’s paper is a timely one titled Paying for publication: issues and challenges for research support services.  It addresses article processing charges (APCs) a topic which is extremely relevant to academic librarians, for whom scholarly communication and publishing is a central concern and an area where activities and services have developed significantly in the past few years. There is relatively little formal literature on the subject, and this paper identifies and analyses published commentary (mainly from informal publications) and statements from publishers and other stakeholders. The discussion is international in its coverage.

Available at:





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Open access as information environmentalism: Michael W. Carroll

OAWkTshirt Another great open access week event at the University of Pittsburgh. Today Michael Carroll, Professor of Law and Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University, Washington College of Law, gave a talk titled Open access policies: Coming attractions.

He began by framing open access as information environmentalism. To illustrate this he told the story of how 30 years ago it was hard to recycle. People had to be committed environmentalists and make an effort to separate their trash and take it to often remote re-cycling stations. Today recycling waste is part of regular garbage collection process and practice. Just as, at the moment it is a little hard for researchers to make their work open access. Authors may have to amend copyright agreements with publishers, or add addenda to these agreements to retain their rights, or seek out open access journals, and/or deposit their work in repositories. But, he contends, we are in the middle of a historical shift. Soon, just like recycling in our home lives, open access in our research lives will become a matter of fact.

Professor Carroll, then went on to give a brief history of copyright. One message inherent in this history is that copyright law has evolved and changed according to time and technology. He then went on to state that scholars who give away their copyright are “slamming the door” in the face of many potential readers, for example:

  • serendipitous academic readers who Google off campus, hit a pay-wall and give up
  • under-resourced readers
  • interdisciplinary readers (university libraries collect according to their specialties – not all disciplines and sub-disciplines)
  • international readers
  • machine readers (text mining tools which can help us understand what we already know)

The way around this is to make sure (by negotiation, publishing venue, publishing addenda and any other possible means) that scholarly work has a CC BY licence.

There was much other good stuff in this talk: discussion on the emerging US OSTP policy which is framed around the idea that the public should be able to “read, download and analyse” publicly funded research, how authors can negotiate with publishers to retain some of their rights, new forms of journals, publishing and peer review, just for starters. A lively discussion followed , with questions and discussion on the related roles, places and infrastructures for data, as well as for the peer reviewed research, the possible economic possibilities and problems in this period of transition.

In all, an interesting and stimulating presentation and discussion. For quite some time I have hoped that open access is the way of the future. After this talk, I feel that OA is gaining impetus and strength, increasingly mobilising and translating the academic community into supporters and users.

24 October, 2013

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Open Access Week, 2013: Australia and Pittsburgh USA

.OAWkIt’s Open Access week everywhere from the 21st to the 27th October 2013 . Organised by SPARC,  Open Access Week is designed to promote open access. Dr Danny Kingsley of the Australian Open Access Support Group has compiled a list of activities in Australia during OAWk. I was sorry to miss them, but delighted to find there were activities here in Pittsburgh too. Plus they had open access cookies 🙂

So, today, along with a room full of other people I attended a great presentation by Peter B Hirtle, Senior Policy Advisor, Cornell University Library, and Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet Security and Society, Harvard University. The presentation covered issues regarding copyright and publishing research. While copyright laws many have differences between countries, many of the issues are the same for scholars everywhere.

So the talk covered many issues, including why open access is important (making publicly funded research available to the public, research visibility, sharing with those who don’t have the resources to subscribe, the possibility of increased citations etc.). It also provided a backgrounder on copyright (which I am not going to cover here – there are many other good examples out there on the web relevant to different situations), some of the barriers to OA, including restrictive copyright and licensing agreements between publishers and authors. The presenter then proposed four different options for authors seeking to make their work OA.

Option 1:

Publish in an Open Access journal. There are good ones in most fields. Some charge article processing fees, others don’t. Do your research, consult your colleagues or or the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and find the one most suited to your research and or your needs. Also be aware that while most are fine,  not all OA journals are reputable, so perhaps also consult Beall’s list of possibly predatory journals and publishers.

Option 2:

Publish in a conventional, toll access journal and deposit the author’s peer reviewed final copy in an institutional or disciplinary repository. Tools such as Sherpa/Romeo provide easy to use information on publisher copyright and self-archiving into repositories or web sites. For immediate deposit into a repository, we are basically looking for journals and or publishers with a green tick!

Option 3:

If the publisher is does not allow green open access in their  copyright or licence to publish agreements, you can request changes to the agreement. As an aside, I have been successful in amending a restrictive agreement in two cases and not successful in one – in only the three times I have tried.

Option 4:

The final suggestion today was to add an author’s addenda to the agreement seeking the rights you require. There is more information on this at the SPARC site.

In summary the message from today was:

1. Understand the options

2. Read your contracts and know what they mean

3. Ask for the rights you want

In introducing the presentation, the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh  Office of Scholarly Communication also mentioned the many services they have which support faculty wanting to investigate more open access. These services include OA repository services, altmetrics, an author fee fund for eligible open access journals, and open access journal publishing services.

Most academic libraries offer a range of such services. Why not use OA week to see what your librarian can do to help you go OA?

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“Recent developments in scholarly communication: A review” by Colin Steele

In the most recent issue of the Australian Library Journal, Colin Steele, previous University Librarian and current Emeritus Fellow at the Australian National University, has written a themed review of  three recent books on scholarly communication:

In the process of the review, many of the current developments in scholarly communication are discussed. Well worth a read. If you or your institution don’t subscribe to the journal, an open access author’s final version is available in the ANU institutional repository.

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New article on Medical research charities and open access in Learned Publishing

An article on the attitudes and activities of UK medical research charities in relation to open access by Stephen Pinfield in the current issue of Learned Publishing. The article is open access.

The paper discusses the various positions on key issues including green and gold OA, funding article-processing charges (APCs), and publication licences.

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Nature news article by Beall on predatory open access publishing

Danny Kingsley of the Australian Open Access Support Group (AOASG), in forwarding this link to the AOASG elist points out that “The issue of predatory publishers is an acute and serious one for open access advocates. Scholars seem to blame open access for this phenomenon when it is actually opportunism. Open access then gets lumped into the ‘dodgy’ basket. The real solution is, of course, for scholars to have a full understanding of the publishing process and therefore know what to look for.”

I would argue that discussing and disseminating information on the scholarly communications process is an important part of any research higher degree education. Some of this discussion occurred at the Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education Research Higher Degree forum earlier this week – where topics in scholarly communication were discussed openly and in a variety of ways. It was great!

Scholarly communications, including the issues around open access are also a field every student aspiring to be an academic librarian should develop a deep understanding of, even though in this constantly changing environment, this requires an investment of time on an ongoing basis.  How much of this is covered in our librarianship programs?  The link to Beall’s article is below.

Published 12 Sept 2013

Predatory publishers are corrupting open access

Journals that exploit the author-pays model damage scholarly publishing and promote unethical behaviour by scientists, argues Jeffrey Beall.


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