On Elsevier and the Open Science Monitor

European Commission Logo

A formal complaint to the European Ombudsman has been submitted about the recent announcement that Elsevier has been subcontracted to monitor the future progress of Open Science in Europe.

The published version of the complaint is available open access on Zenodo: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1305847

The signed complaint was submitted on 5th July 2018, but a second (and third, and possibly fourth?) set of signatures is to be submitted.

More than 1000 colleagues from a variety of countries have signed so far.

Please read the full document and if you agree with the complaint please consider adding your signature to the end of the document here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WQAFUebPx5TNvgUKuIaUFPa80cdBuJhDbhwlh15EHz0/edit?usp=sharing

We need this information to circulate outside the usual scholarly communications circles, and even within them it would be good to have some more engagement or discussion with these issues. Please help us spread the word.

We are all so busy with work that issues relating to scholarly communications infrastructure (which define the whole academic workflow, including the frameworks and standards for employment and promotion) have been generally outsourced to third-parties or a few expert organisations.

In my opinion this alienation of researchers from the means of scholarly production and assessment works to the full advantage to those who profit from unfair market dominance and opaque decision-making.

In my view signing this complaint may not do much to change things directly, but expressing our legitimate concerns publicly, and leaving relevant documentation of our views in the scholarly record, is the least we can do as responsible scholars.

Reference

Jonathan Tennant. (2018, July 5). Complaint to the European Ombudsman about Elsevier and the Open Science Monitor. Zenodo http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1317961

New: Scholarly Publishing, Freedom of Information and Academic Self-Determination

On February 1, 2015, the global information and analytics corporation Elsevier and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) established the agreement UNAM-Elsevier contract DGAJ-DPI-39-081114- 241, which saw the transfer from UNAM to Elsevier for the “production and hosting, advertising and support” of 44 Mexican open access academic journals published by UNAM.

On Saturday 25 November 2017 we published a pre-print that documents said contract and describes a Freedom of Information Request enquiring the total cost of the contract and its corresponding response. It also shares a series of considerations that, based on this case, can be helpful to other institutions that may face similar circumstances in the future. We conclude scholarly publishing and academic self-determination are interdependent and a crucial point of future debate for the future of University presses and Open Access worldwide.

You can download the document from figshare at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5632657.v1.

Cite as:

Priego, Ernesto; McKiernan, Erin; Posada, Alejandro; Hartley, Ricardo; Rodríguez-ortega, Nuria; Fiormonte, Domenico; Gil, Alex; Logan, Corina; Alperin, Juan Pablo; Mounce, Ross; Eglen, Stephen; Trigueros, Ernesto Miranda; Lawson, Stuart; Gatto, Laurent; Ramos, Adela; Pérez, Natalia (2017): Scholarly Publishing, Freedom of Information and Academic Self-Determination: The UNAM-Elsevier Case. figshare.

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5632657.v1

I made a remote presentation on this article at OpenCon Santiago 2017, held at the Universidad Autónoma de Chile, on Saturday 25 2017. With many thanks to co-author Ricardo Hartley for making it possible.
Open Con Santiago 2017 logo

On the Journals UNAM Gave Away to Elsevier, @Red_HD

 

My post at the Red de Humanidades Digitales blog: http://humanidadesdigitales.net/blog/2017/08/07/revistas-academicas-elsevier-sciencedirect/#RedHD

An update from 10 August 2017, including the resolution of UNAM’s Transparency Committee, further discussion and a list of references, here: http://humanidadesdigitales.net/blog/2017/08/09/contrato-unam-elsevier-resolucion-del-comite-de-transparencia-de-la-unam/

Version 2 of the source data:

Priego, Ernesto (2017): List of UNAM Journals Under Contract with Elsevier. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3976752.v2

 

#rfringe17: Top 230 Terms in Tweetage

 

 

fringelogo-2017-justlogo

 

tl; dr

Repository Fringe is a gathering for repository managers and others interested in research data repositories and publication repositories.

I collected an archive of #rfringe17, containing 1118 Tweet IDs. I then analysed the text in the tweets with Voyant Tools to identify most frequent terms and manually refined the results to 230 terms.

I collected an archive of #rfringe17 tweets using TAGS. The key stats from the archive:

Number of Tweets in Archive 1,118
Number of usernames in Archive 215
First Tweet Collected 26/07/2017 14:58:12
Last Tweet Collected 05/08/2017 08:00:06

From http://www.repositoryfringe.org/:

Repository Fringe is a gathering for repository managers and others interested in research data repositories and publication repositories. Participation is a key element – the event is designed to encourage all attendees to share their repository experiences and expertise.

2017 marks the 10th Repo Fringe where we will be celebrating progress we have made over the last 10 years to share content beyond borders and debating future trends and challenges.

It took place in Edinburgh,  3 – 4 August 2017.

If you are not new to this blog you will then guess that I could not resist running the text of the tweets collected through Voyant Tools to obtain the term counts in the corpus with their Terms tool. As usual I applied the English stop words filter which I customised to include Twitter-specific terms (such as https, t.co, etc.) and the list of usernames.

I then manually refined the resulting data to remove smileys and any remaining usernames (some might have survived as it’s hard to disambiguate sometimes normal terms from usernames). I limited the results to 230 top terms.

Do take the counts with a pinch of salt as I did not clean the export from TAGS so Tweet duplicates and perhaps even some spam (who knows) might have remained.

Term Count
research 109
open 106
data 104
wikidata 75
oa 72
openscience 66
repository 63
repofringe 56
repositories 53
libraries 51
openresleeds 49
copyright 46
just 43
science 42
good 41
impact 41
thanks 41
day 39
access 38
poster 36
work 35
openaccess 34
talk 34
edinburgh 30
today 30
great 29
ucl 29
sherpa 28
read 27
want 27
event 26
project 26
really 26
time 26
cool 25
fringe 25
policy 24
metadata 23
publishers 23
publishing 23
says 23
colleague 22
policies 22
wikipedia 22
workflow 22
guide 21
millar 21
useful 21
comprehensive 20
content 20
fascinating 20
interesting 20
liveblogs 20
rdm 20
institutional 19
issue 19
it’s 19
liveblog 19
look 19
new 19
think 19
workshop 19
check 18
citizen 18
events 18
group 18
ip 18
management 18
need 18
outputs 18
presentation 18
rescue 18
session 18
trump 18
casrai 17
cycle 17
excellent 17
journal 17
lots 17
promotion 17
query 17
resource 17
uk 17
best 16
future 16
press 16
stuff 16
gallery 15
i’m 15
key 15
ref 15
showing 15
successful 15
support 15
thank 15
working 15
art 14
come 14
core 14
fun 14
miss 14
nice 14
process 14
provide 14
reminding 14
university 14
using 14
way 14
add 13
beautiful 13
demo 13
deposit 13
eprints 13
forward 13
funders 13
importance 13
keynote 13
looking 13
paper 13
phd 13
researchers 13
vote 13
e.g 12
era 12
especially 12
feedback 12
generation 12
got 12
let 12
needed 12
observation 12
recent 12
report 12
review 12
showcase 12
site2cite 12
star 12
theses 12
try 12
we’re 12
weirdness 12
advises 11
attendees 11
boat 11
broken 11
coar 11
control 11
criteria 11
exposure 11
global 11
institutions 11
like 11
model 11
prof 11
scholarly 11
survey 11
trek 11
use 11
years 11
articles 10
award 10
case 10
excited 10
exposing 10
figshare 10
gifts 10
hear 10
highlighted 10
important 10
initiative 10
integrating 10
introducing 10
live 10
opening 10
platform 10
ref2021 10
spend 10
vision 10
week 10
won 10
workshops 10
altmetric 9
colleagues 9
current 9
discussion 9
evidence 9
field 9
getting 9
i’ll 9
infrastructure 9
inspiring 9
library 9
link 9
list 9
local 9
long 9
make 9
meeting 9
peer 9
post 9
practice 9
preservation 9
problem 9
role 9
service 9
shoutout 9
shows 9
slides 9
sure 9
team 9
thought 9
touch 9
tweets 9
works 9
added 8
based 8
believe 8
better 8
change 8
conference 8
contributing 8
days 8
european 8
example 8
far 8
favourite 8
fully 8
here’s 8
image 8
included 8

Logically sharing this data as an HTML table is not the best way of doing it but hey. I have the source data if anyone is interested; Twitter developer guidelines allow the sharing of tweet IDs. In this case the source data is composed by the dataset of 1118 tweet ID strings (id_str).

Maybe I missed it but in the list above I could not find ‘bepress’ or ‘elsevier‘, by the way…

Mapping THE and Elsevier’s 2015-2016: Arts and Humanities Subject Ranking Top 100

I hadn’t blogged here in a long while, but honouring International Open Access Week I dedicated a couple of hours to this humble offering.

Today academia saw the publication of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings “Subject Ranking 2015-2016: Arts and humanities top 100 in partnership with Elsevier”.  According to their web page,

“The 2015-2016 Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ arts and humanities table judges world class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.”

In terms of number of institutions represented in the “top 100”, the table shows a clear dominance of institutions located in the United States and the United Kingdom, followed at a considerable distance by Germany.

I took the data offered by THE and sorted the countries according to the number of institutions they had on the list (not by ranking):

Country
United States of America

32

United Kingdom

20

Germany

11

Netherlands

4

Australia

3

Canada

3

Italy

3

Spain

3

Switzerland

3

Belgium

2

Denmark

2

France

2

Austria

1

China

1

Finland

1

Hong Kong

1

Israel

1

Japan

1

Mexico

1

Republic of Ireland

1

Russian Federation

1

Singapore

1

South Africa

1

Sweden

1

Please note there are whole regions of the world represented by only one single institution from one single country; for example UNAM, Mexico from the American continent below the US border, Cape Town, South Africa from the whole African continent, or just one institution from the massive Russian Federation (6.602 million mi²).

The dominance of not even a handful but a couple of countries in this Arts and Humanities subject ranking may seem obvious to everyone, but just in case I created a couple of simple Google maps locating where the institutions in this “top 100” are. Hopefully by seeing where they are, we cannot avoid seeing where they are not.

 

[Update 24 October 2015]

Brett Bobley was kind enough to offer feedback:

I have looked at the World Bank Data‘s Education and Population Indicators, and have complemented my data table with new columns (commas in figures for human readability):

Country Population, total    Population ages 15-64 (% of total) GDP (USD) Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP) Number of Institutions in Arts and Humanities Top 100
United States of America

318,857,056

67

17,419,000,000,000

5.2

32

United Kingdom

64,510,376

65

2,941,885,537,461

5.8

20

Germany

80,889,505

66

3,852,556,169,656

4.8

11

Netherlands

16,854,183

66

869,508,125,480

5.5

4

Australia

23,490,736

67

1,453,770,210,672

4.9

3

Canada

35,540,419

68

1,786,655,064,510

5.3

3

Italy

61,336,387

67

2,144,338,185,065

4.1

3

Spain

46,404,602

67

1,404,306,536,058

4.4

3

Switzerland

8,190,229

67

685,434,208,917

5.0

3

Belgium

11,225,207

65

533,382,785,676

6.4

2

Denmark

5,639,565

64

341,951,607,730

8.5

2

France

66,206,930

63

2,829,192,039,172

5.5

2

Austria

8,534,492

67

436,343,622,435

5.6

1

China

1,364,270,000

74

10,360,105,247,908

1

Finland

5,463,596

64

270,673,584,162

7.2

1

Hong Kong

7,241,700

74

290,896,409,544

3.8

1

Israel

8,215,300

61

304,226,336,270

5.6

1

Japan

127,131,800

61

4,601,461,206,885

3.8

1

Mexico

125,385,833

66

1,282,719,954,862

5.1

1

Republic of Ireland

4,612,719

66

245,920,712,756

5.9

1

Russian Federation

143,819,569

70

1,860,597,922,763

1

Singapore

5,469,700

73

326,933,043,801 2.9

1

South Africa

54,001,953

65

349,817,096,206

6.0

1

Sweden

9,689,555

63

570,591,266,160

6.5

1

I also made a quick alluvial diagram to visualise the same data in a different way:

Visualising THE/Elsevier’s Arts and Humanities 2015-2016 Top 100 by Country, Population, GDP and Expenditure in Education (Latest World Bank Data)
Visualising THE/Elsevier’s Arts and Humanities 2015-2016 Top 100
by Country, Population, GDP and Expenditure in Education (Latest World Bank Data)

[Update]. On 28 October 2015 the THE/Elsevier’s Top 100 Life Sciences rankings were announced.

I thought it would be interesting to compare which countries were represented in both Life Sciences and Arts and Humanities and with how many institutitons and which countries had institutions in both lists and which didn’t, so I made the following table:

Countries in Top 100 Arts and Humanities and Top 100 Life Sciences Number of institutions in Life Sciences Top 100 Number of Institutions in Arts and Humanities Top 100
Australia

7

3

Austria

0

1

Belgium

2

2

Canada

4

3

China

1

1

Denmark

2

2

Finland

1

1

France

1

2

Germany

8

11

Hong Kong

0

1

Israel

0

1

Italy

0

3

Japan

3

1

Mexico

0

1

Netherlands

6

4

Republic of Ireland

1

1

Russian Federation

1

1

Singapore

1

1

South Africa

0

1

South Korea

2

0

Spain

0

3

Sweden

3

1

Switzerland

6

3

United Kingdom

18

20

United States of America

36

32

Visualising this table as an alluvial diagram, with the ‘size’ of the countries visualised sorted according to the number of instutions they have in the Life Sciences ranking, the data looks like this:

An alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in the Life Sciences Top 100 and the Arts and Humanities Top 100
An alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in the Life Sciences Top 100 and the Arts and Humanities Top 100. Data by THE/Elsevier Subject Rankings 2015-2016.

[Update]. On 4 November 2015 Times Higher Education announced the “World University Rankings 2015-2016 by subject: social sciences” results. The “Subject Ranking 2015-2016: Social sciences top 100 in partnership with Elsevier” are available here.

I have now updated the comparison table above, to include the social sciences results:

All countries in the three lists Number of Institutions in Arts and Humanities Top 100 Number of institutions in Life Sciences Top 100 Number of Institutions in Social Sciences Top 100
Australia

3

7

7

Austria

1

0

0

Belgium

2

2

1

Canada

3

4

3

China

1

1

2

Denmark

2

2

2

Finland

1

1

1

France

2

1

2

Germany

11

8

7

Hong Kong

1

0

2

Israel

1

0

0

Italy

3

0

0

Japan

1

3

1

Mexico

1

0

0

Netherlands

4

6

6

Norway

0

0

1

Republic of Ireland

1

1

0

Russian Federation

1

1

0

Singapore

1

1

2

South Africa

1

0

0

South Korea

0

2

0

Spain

3

0

1

Sweden

1

3

1

Switzerland

3

6

1

United Kingdom

20

18

17

United States of America

32

36

43

As before, I visualised it as an alluvial diagram, using the number of institutions per country in the Life Sciences list to determine the size of each country:

An alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in the Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences and Social Sciences Top 100. Data by THE/Elsevier Subject Rankings 2015-2016.
An alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in the Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences and Social Sciences Top 100. Data by THE/Elsevier Subject Rankings 2015-2016.

In the end, it should be clear that if you have dominance on Scopus as a country you have it (mostly) regardless of subject area. We can see that the distance imposed between the USA and the UK and the rest of the countries in Scopus is considerable in relation to number of institutions. Regardless of population or GDP what is clear is that the two countries with most institutions in the three rankings are both English-speaking. I am aware this does not tell us anything we don’t already know, but maybe underscoring it can help us think about it a bit more.

Needless to say there is much nuance that needs to be added to the data. The World Bank Data on government expediture on education, for example, refers to primary and secondary education, and it is not clear to me at the moment if it includes Higher Education as well. Private and international funding allocated to arts and humanities projects should be another column we would need to have, but locating this data in a systematic, clean and transparent manner is difficult at this time. Isabel Galina also emphasised the procedence of the rankings’ data:

Therefore this data tables should also be complemented by insights into which arts and humanities journals are included in the proprietary database Scopus, where this journals are published in, in which languages, how are disciplines labeled, included and excluded, etc.

Unfortunately anecdotal evidence has shown that critical reflections on the geopolitics of knowledge production and institutional reputation are often dismissed as an expression of resentment from those excluded or unsuccessful. As a proud and grateful alumni of two of the institutions listed in this top 100, I can assure you it is not resentment nor negativity what motivates this commentary but a sincere desire to draw our attention to the absences and inequalities I perceive reflected in these lists.

Regardless of a researcher’s affiliation, it should not be unreasonable to interrogate critically the geopolitical and ideological component of university rankings, as well as any possible conflicts of interest. One can personally only hope there will be, eventually,  more critical, rigorous insights into the methodologies and ideological and commercial interests behind these rankings, what they mean for the global Higher Education sector and society in general, and whether they should still be the measurement by which we decide who is in, and who is out.

References

Times Higher Education World University Rankings. (2015). “Subject Ranking 2015-2016: Arts and humanities top 100 in partnership with Elsevier”. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/2016/subject-ranking/arts-and-humanities#!/page/0/length/-1 Published 21 October 2015. Accessed 21 October 2015.

Priego, Ernesto (2015): THE/Elsevier’s Arts and Humanities 2015-2016 Top 100 by Country, Population, GDP and Expenditure in Education (Latest World Bank Data). figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1584624

Priego, Ernesto (2015): Visualising THE/Elsevier’s Arts and Humanities 2015-2016 Top 100 by Country, Population, GDP and Expenditure in Education. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1584626

Priego, Ernesto (2015): Alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in THE/Elsevier’s Life Sciences Top 100 and the Arts and Humanities Top 100 2015-2016. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1588800

Priego, Ernesto (2015): Alluvial diagram comparing the number of institutions per country included in THE/Elsevier’s Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences and Social Sciences Top 100 2015-2016. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1593207

World Bank Data: http://data.worldbank.org

At Altmetric: Insights from “The Individual and Scholarly Networks”

Insights from “The Individual and Scholarly Networks”On Tuesday 22 January I attended an online seminar titled “The Individual and Scholarly Networks: A two-part seminar on Building Networks and Evaluating Network Relationships.”

I have shared my notes, here.