UK Serials group: 2013-11-14. I shall be controversial

I’ve been invited to talk to the UK Serials group. (“Serials” == journals for most people). “Open Access Realities:
global experiences of implementing OA”.
Here’s the programme:

10.10  Welcome and introduction by the Chair Charlie Rapple, Associate Director, TBI Communications

10.15  How are institutions and publishers placed to “really do” OA? Damian Pattinson, Editorial Director, PLOS ONE

10.45  Make Open Access work!: the moment of truth for academic libraries  Lars Bjørnshauge, Director, SPARC Europe and Managing Director, DOAJ

11.45  Finch one year on – a review of progress Michael Jubb, Director, Research Information Network

12.00  How are universities putting policy into practice, from both library and research perspectives? Adam Tickell, Provost and Vice-Principal and Jill Russell, Digital Assets Programme Manager, University of Birmingham

12.30  How can existing Open Access models work for humanities and social science research? Caroline Edwards, Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London (Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Open Library of Humanities)

14.00  How are subscription publishers making the transition to OA? Vicky Gardner, Open Access Publisher, Taylor & Francis

14.30  What impact will open educational resources (OER) have on teaching and learning? Steven Stapleton, Project Manager, University of Nottingham

15.30  Scientific data costs billions but almost all is thrown away – what should be done? Peter Murray-Rust,

I shall listen carefully to what is said and shan’t decide exactly what to say till I start speaking. But unlike (I think) several of the speakers I am not happy with the state of or progress of OA. I talked at Spoton2013 to scientists from the European Periphery – Greece, Spain, Ireland (and others). They are now effectively excluded from scholarly publication. They cannot buy serials (at all) and they cannot publish in “Gold” APC-based journals because of the extortionate publisher-driven fees. Their only option, and I support it, is to re-invent scholarly publishing. I’ll publish more when I get some of their details.

But that’s not what I shall talk about. I shall talk about the almost complete failure of the scholarly publishing system to communicate science. It has fallen into a dysfunctional status where the means of scientific publication is driven by corporates (including rich “scholarly societies”) who wish to perpetuate their status at the expense of innovation and progress. I shall contend that this leads to tens of billions of dollars of funded work being effectively unpublished and therefore wasted. Scholarly publishing still thinks in terms of C19 pages and C20 information abstracters and this destroys change.

But I am not primarily whinging. I intend to change this and I shall describe C21 ways that I shall be using including the use of modern web technology and community. I shall show tools which should change the face of data in serials

I shall hope to change delegates’ minds. I shall ask for commitment and help from those I have changed. Even a modest number will be priceless.

And to get you interested here are two questions I shall ask now and answer on Thursday:

  • Who are the 5 most important Open Access Publishers in Science (I include BioMedCentral and PLoS so I want 3 more)?
  • Which are the 3 most important Open Access repositories?
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8 Responses to UK Serials group: 2013-11-14. I shall be controversial

  1. Falk Reckling says:

    you might not only ask for the best OA publishers but for the best OA journals.

    • pm286 says:

      Substituting “journals” for “publishers” doesn’t work. You’ll see why. Apart from anything else I don’t believe very much in journals. Think imaginatively about the question 🙂

  2. Hi Peter, I am looking forward to your thoughts on Thursday (although as chair I hope you’ll remember that our theme / remit is practical realities of where we are today, rather than blazing the trail of where we want to be tomorrow!) While I agree with you that some publishers are taking a defensive stance when it comes to open access, in order to protect their interests or simply because they don’t know how to innovate / embrace change, I wonder if there are also ‘traditional’ publishers whose experimentation you would acknowledge? Is there a third question you might ask – e.g. which 3 ‘traditional’ publishers are making genuine efforts to adapt / advance? – or do you think they are all blocking progress?
    To your existing questions, I fear my answers would be boringly predictable. There are those that might be ‘most important’ because of the scale of what they are doing (Hindawi, perhaps?) but also one might class as ‘important’ those that are experimenting in new ways (PeerJ? QScience? ELife?). I am less knowledgeable about repositories so would probably point to several obvious, proven ones – arXiv, RePEc. For both publishers and repositories, I hope your questions can draw out some less obvious answers that will help to demonstrate the extent and the viability of Open Access.
    I’ll post a link to your blog on the UKSG Twitter feed and Facebook pages in the hope that a few more answers might emerge before Thursday. See you then!

    • pm286 says:

      Thanks Charlie,
      I’d like to reply publicly to your points and will. But there are also organizational issues – should I change my whole talk? or even withdraw? and I’ll follow those in email.

      • Hi Peter – certainly don’t withdraw! I think as the last speaker of the day you can have a bit of licence with the theme so that we are left with some thoughts about the future as well as practical tips for the present. If you can focus on the practical rather than ideological aspects of your topic then that will fit the bill perfectly – and demonstrating the “tools of change” that you refer to certainly seems a practical approach. Either way I’m sure it will be well received!
        Lots of retweets of my tweet on the UKSG account but no responses as far as I can see. You might have to throw it open to the audience on Thurs!
        See you there,

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