Open Scholarship Award (2018) Honorable Mention to Editors of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship

Canadian Social Knowledge Institute logo

I am delighted to share very happy news.

Dr Peter Wilkins and I have received an Open Scholarship Award 2018 Honorable Mention for our Comics Grid work.

The Open Scholarship Awards are sponsored by the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute and its partners.

From the announcement published by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (University of Victoria, Canada):

Open scholarship incorporates open access, open data, open education, and other related movements that have the potential to make scholarly work more efficient, more accessible, and more usable by those within and beyond the academy. By engaging with open practices for academic work, open scholarship shares that work more broadly and more publicly.

Nature of the Awards

Award recipients demonstrate exemplary open scholarship via research, projects, or initiatives. These awards are intended to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary open scholarship, nominated via an open process. In addition to the recognition of accomplishment that comes with such acknowledgement, the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute will also offer one tuition scholarship for each award recipient to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI; dhsi.org).

The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute would like to thank Clare Apavoo (Canadian Research Knowledge Network), Alyssa Arbuckle (ETCL, U Victoria), Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan), Jonathan Bengtson (U Victoria), Rachel Hendry (Western Sydney U), Tanja Niemann (Érudit), Peter Severinson (Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), Ray Siemens (U Victoria), and Dan Sondheim (ETCL, U Victoria) for their involvement in the 2018 awards.

About the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute
The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI) actively engages issues related to networked open social scholarship: creating and disseminating research and research technologies in ways that are accessible and significant to a broad audience that includes specialists and active non-specialists. Representing, coordinating, and supporting the work of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership, C-SKI activities include awareness raising, knowledge mobilization, training, public engagement, scholarly communication, and pertinent research and development on local, national, and international levels. Originated in 2015, C-SKI is located in the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab in the U Victoria Digital Scholarship Commons.

C-SKI’s partners, through INKE, include: Advanced Research Consortium (ARC), Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ), Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing (CISP), Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), Compute Canada, Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC), Canadiana, Digital Humanities Research Group (DHRG; Western Sydney U), Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL), Edith Cowan U, Érudit, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Iter: Gateway to the Renaissance, J.E. Halliwell Associates, Public Knowledge Project (PKP), Simon Fraser U Library, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), Scholarly and Research Communication (SRC), U Victoria Libraries, and Voyant Tools, among others.

 

Priego and Wilkins’ Comics Grid [https://www.comicsgrid.com/] is a pioneering open access, open peer review academic journal dedicated to comics scholarship, promoting the area within academia and the general public via contributions that present specialised knowledge in an accessible language, publishing content licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution license. As a publishing platform The Comics Grid encourages digital research, public engagement and collaboration. By integrating with ORCID, and requesting that supplementary data is deposited in open access repositories, The Comics Grid introduces a new generation of scholars to open, reproducible research. It uses Ubiquity Press and the Open Library of Humanities as their publishers; working closely with their web developer and designer, Andy Byers, the journal employs Open Journal Systems with an overlay skin that offers an accessible (and dyslexia friendly) reading mode and a visual UI at both front- and back-end that improves the basic OJS and turns it into a user-friendlier platform that supports general and specialised readers as much as academic authors, editors and reviewers.

Read the full announcement at http://etcl.uvic.ca/?p=2086

Needless to say, this reconginition means a lot to us.

We would like to thank the colleagues who kindly nominated us, as well as everyone involved in the awards.

We would also like to congratulate all the winners and fellow honorable mentions, who have been for some time now an inspiration for our own work.

We would also like to give a sincere thank you to every single colleague who is or has been involved with The Comics Grid— the effort is collective and collaborative and everyone’s contribution remains crucial for the project. We share this honorable mention with you.

A special shout-out to everyone at Ubiquity Press and the Open Library of Humanities for believing in us. Thank you.

Last but not least an all-encompassing thank you to our partners and families for their love, encouragement, and support.

Onwards!

The Power of Sharing in English, Spanish and French

Symbola Comics Logo

 

I am happy to announce that today we published ‘The Power of Sharing‘, a comic resulting from the collaboration between figshare, Symbola Comics, and LaGrúa Estudio (1).

You can view the comic, download it, cite it, comment and share it from

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5993392

Concept and story by Francisco De La Mora & Ernesto Priego

Art by Cristina Durán La Grúa Estudio

Design by Daniela Rocha

The comic is also available in Spanish (2):

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6061460

and French (3):

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6204755

The whole set, including the whole InDesign package, are available in a figshare collection (4) at:

https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4052732

As you know I strongly believe that sustainable open access to research and open research data can break barriers of all types and empower the researchers of the future.

I personally hope we’ve been able to share an optimisitc message of empowerment and encouragement.

There’s too many reasons to get dispirited and to just get with the programme. We can change the future by the actions we take in the present- sharing and collaboration are inherently optimistic expressions of trust.

I have faith that what we do today, no matter how apparently insignificant, will have an effect on others tomorrow.

References

  1. de la Mora, F., Priego, E., Durán, C., Rocha, D., and Hardeman, M., 2018. The Power of Sharing. Available from: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5993392
  2. de la Mora, F., Priego, E., Durán, C., Rocha, D., and Hardeman, M., 2018. El Poder de Compartir. Available from: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6061460
  3. de la Mora, F., Priego, E., Durán, C., Rocha, D., and Hardeman, M., 2018. Le Pouvoir de Partager. Available from: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.6204755
  4. de la Mora, F., Priego, E., Durán, C., Rocha, D., and Hardeman, M., 2018. The Power of Sharing. Available from: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4052732

Parables of Care: A Comic About Dementia Care, Available for Free

Parables of Care unboxed

I am very pleased that Parables of Care. Creative Responses to Dementia Care, as Told by Carers is now available. It is a 16-page publication presenting true stories of creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers.

  • Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from City Research Online: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/18245/.
  • If you live in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.

The stories were adapted from a group of over 100 case studies available at http://carenshare.city.ac.uk.

Parables of Care is a project of the Centre for Human Comuter Interaction Design, City, University of London, The University of Chester, UK, and Douglas College, Vancouver, Canada.

Parables of Care was edited and adapted by Dr Simon Grennan (University of Chester) Dr Ernesto Priego (City, University of London) and Dr Peter Wilkins (Douglas College).  Parables of Care was drawn by Dr Simon Grennan with Christopher Sperandio.

Research has shown that comics have the potential to have a positive impact on the health and quality of life of people who engage in comics reading and creation, contributing to transform attitudes, awareness and behaviour around illness and contributing to create new opportunities for empowerment and more positive behaviour (Cardiff University 2014). Parables of Care explores the potential of comics to enhance the impact of dementia care research in particular.

Parables of Care seeks to make a contribution to enhancing the public impact of the best practices in dementia care resulting from City HCID research by exploring and embracing the communicative affordances of graphic storytelling in general and graphic medicine in specific.

We hope that Parables of Care contributes to enabling stronger links between academia, dementia care practice and comics scholars and practitioners.

The response so far has been amazing. Read this review by John Freeman at the British Comics site Down the Tubes, published shortly after we announced the comic publicly.

Stay tuned for news regarding distribution points, events and more information about the project!

Parables of Care received funding from the MCSE School Impact Fund, City, University of London 2016-2017.

 

Open Access Outputs as Potential (Potentielle) Educational Resources

A word cloud of the most frequent 500 terms in the Conservative Manifesto 2017. Word cloud created with Voyant Tools.
A word cloud of the most frequent terms in the Conservative Manifesto 2017. Word cloud created with Voyant Tools.

 

Open Access is essentially a transformation in the way academic publications are licensed to individual users. One of my main motivations is the potential that open access to information (datasets, educational materials/resources, cultural heritage collections, research articles, books, all sorts of other academic/educational outputs such as slideshows, podcasts, video and audio) has to enhance and expand the reach and impact of academic work.*

A particularly important aspect of Open Access is that it aims to reach those not necessarily already within established academic networks (i.e those ‘within established networks’ have access to library collections or to colleagues who have access to them via their institutions’ paid subscriptions). Though the practical interconnections between ‘research’ and ‘education’ (in the sense of course ‘delivery’; pedagogical practice) varies from institution to institution and country to country, we cannot deny that both are necessarily interdependent.

Accepting the necessary interdependence between research and teaching in Higher Education, but also at other levels of formal education, means that when it comes to reducing the barriers to access the packaged results of academic/scientific/University work (call it what you will) in the form of ‘publications’, part of the ethos in devising strategies to do so comes from the assumption that education can take place outside the University (pay)walls.

Opening access to academic publications is also therefore motivated by the ethical belief that research, as an essential component of all learning and therefore of ‘Education’ with a captial e, contributes to the common good. Advocating for less barriers to education through strategies such as Open Access is also motivated by the belief that education should not only be a privilege of those already privileged enough to belong to the established networks of Higher Education, or who alternatively work for corporations or organisations that need research and can pay for it on an ad hoc basis. However,  when we advocate for Open Access in this sense we are not only thinking of those completely outside any formal educational context. Teachers and students at different levels of education, ‘here’ and abroad, can also potentially benefit.

As we have argued before, Open Data can be key in the development of transversal skills (including digital and data literacies, alongside skills for critical thinking, research, teamwork, and global citizenship) [see also this]. I think the development of ‘global citizenship’ skills is particularly important in this day and age, in which the general  trend is to return to political tropes of nationalism, ‘strength’, and the general isolationist exclusion of difference.

This is why I’d like to argue that Open Data (and publications from all disciplines contain data and constitute data themselves) should be seen as an opportunity for serendipitous discovery and creativity, including perhaps unforseen or unplanned uses. It’s been argued before that Open Access does not make sense because ‘the public’ would not be able to ‘understand’ what is published. I argue it’s not for us to prejudge that. What is certain is that what cannot be accessed cannot be understood.

In this sense I suggest that we must expand our arguments for Open Access publications and Open Data beyond ‘reproducibility’, citations and ‘Impact’. Perhaps a way of doing this is by thinking of outputs not only as research outputs, of interest to researchers alone, as the basis for more research, but as toolboxes for unexpected creativity. This ‘creativity’ can take place in unexpected places as well, but it may also take place in more formal settings like classrooms at all levels of education.

Sharing  ‘Counts and Trends of 459 Terms in ‘Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50’ (29 March 2017)‘ and ‘Top 300 Terms in the Conservative and Labour Manifestos 2017 (Counts and Trends)‘ made me think that we can think of open datasets (such as these ones which are basically lists of words and their counts in the analysed documents) as open educational resources for the development of various skills through guided tasks. These skills could be, but are not limited to, citizenship skills, interpretive skills, political discourse skills, composition and reading skills.

As I suggested in the posts linked above, one can imagine anyone (or, students in a classroom) using the words to write their own compositions. Here’s a set of words used by the Prime Minister in a letter: can you write your own letter using the same words? In my imaginary scenario the teacher/tutor could print each word on a card, including its count, and devises an activity where the student is asked to use the cards within constraints/guidelines in order to create something new. One can also imagine other activities based on those datasets, for example for students of English as a Second Language. I can also imagine a game of scrabble with the letters of each word… or art/design students doing collages, etc. Poetry, peformance art students could see what they could do by remixing the words… students learning programming and coding could write a Twitter bot; maths/stats students could practice quantitative skills, creating charts, etc.

Creative and educational ‘reuse’ of open outputs that allow modification can be considered a type of strategy akin to what the Situationist International called ‘détournement‘, a rerouting or hijacking of previous work (détournement Wikipedia entry here)**. Similarities and inspiration for activities with datasets can also be found in the work of Oulipo (Ouvroir de littérature potentielle; workshop of potential literature) and similar groups. Perec et al defined the term littérature potentielle as “the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy” (Oulipo Wikipedia entry here).

In previous articles we suggested talking of ‘Open Data as Open Educational Resources‘, but I’d like to suggest now Open Access Outputs as Potential Educational Resources. I like ‘potential’ as an adjective here because evidence shows that the openness of an output does not guarantee it will be accessed, read, cited nor ‘reused’. Openness is merely a precondition (as a form of availability). It is what follows what matters and what can turn an available output into potential ‘impact’. This impact cannot and should not always be pre-defined or anticipated.

There is potentiality in every output. Openness can be said to enhance the potentiality of widening reach, maybe reuse, maybe citations. But it can be much more than that. This ‘potentiality’ can be for the unsuspected and undevised, and it can very specifically refer, in some cases, to a resource’s potentiality to encourage users to seek new structures and patterns they might learn from, and enjoy.

REFERENCES

Atenas, J., Havemann, L. & Priego, E. (2015). Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Towards Transversal Skills and Global Citizenship. Open Praxis, 7(4), pp. 377-389. doi: 10.5944/openpraxis.7.4.233 http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/13020/

Priego, E. (2017). Top 300 Terms in the Conservative and Labour Manifestos 2017 (Counts and Trends). figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5016983.v1

Priego, E. (2017). Counts and Trends of 459 Terms in ‘Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50’ (29 March 2017). figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4801591.v1

*Readers requiring a definition of Open Access can refer to the text of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002).

**Any students who took the Libraries and Publishing module in the last two years who may be reading this may remember the lectures where I talked about détournement as a creative and interpretive reuse strategy.

People, Government: Top 300 Terms in the Conservative and Labour Manifestos 2017 (Counts and Trends)

A word cloud of the most frequent 500 terms in the Conservative Manifesto 2017. Word cloud created with Voyant Tools.
A word cloud of the most frequent 500 terms in the Conservative Manifesto 2017. Word cloud created with Voyant Tools.

The Labour and Conservative Manifestos 2017 are arguably two of the most important public documents in the UK these days. I have just deposited the following data on figshare:

Priego, Ernesto (2017): Top 300 Terms in the Conservative and Labour Manifestos 2017 (Counts and Trends). figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5016983.v1

I thought some may be interested in practicing some distant reading, or have some fun composing your own Manifesto…

New Publication: Data Paper. Data from Graphic Medicine… Insigths from Comics Producers

Open Health Data logo

Excited to have a new co-authored peer-reviewed publication, a data paper on the Journal of Open Health Data:

Farthing, A. & Priego, E., (2016). Data from ‘Graphic Medicine’ as a Mental Health Information Resource: Insights from Comics Producers. Open Health Data. 4(1), p.e3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ohd.25

In the paper we describe a dataset containing the full text transcripts from 15 semi-structured interviews (approximately 44,100 words) conducted during November and December 2014 with participants involved in various aspects of the process of health-related comics production. These participants are authors and publishers and their work is publicly recognised in the comics community.

An initial domain analysis of the interviews was published on 8 February 2016 as Farthing, A., & Priego, E. (2016). ‘Graphic Medicine’ as a Mental Health Information Resource: Insights from Comics Producers. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 6(1), 3. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/cg.74

Little by little we might see more qualitative research datasets openly available. It’s not just quantitative datasets that have reuse potential. Many thanks to for the helpful feedback and for encouraging multidisciplinary open research data description, archiving and preservation!

 

Using Open Data in Higher Education – A Mini Survey

Image CC-BY  Jer Thorp
Image CC-BY Jer Thorp

Last term I taught the Digital Information Technologies and Architectures (DITA) postgraduate module at #citylis.

Sessions are divided in an hour and half of lecture and an hour and a half of computer lab work. As part of the module students created datasets obtained using data from the Twitter and Altmetric APIs.

We also looked at the data obtainable from the Old Bailey Online and tried text analysis and basic visualisations using Voyant. In my lectures I have also used some of the datasets I have created and shared on figshare to teach. The Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Data Handbook is part of the reading list.

The awareness amongst researchers that open data is citeable is increasing rapidly, and the benefits of open data for research are being widely acknowledged by learned societies, publishers and funders from various disciplines.

My colleagues Javiera Atenas (University College London), Leo Havemann (Birkbeck College) and I have been interested in Open Educational Resources and the interconnections between research, publishing and educational practices for some time now (for example see our recent article on Open Educational Resources Repositories here).

We are interested in finding more about how other colleagues in higher education are using open data in teaching.

We are conducting a mini survey to understand which portals, tools or repositories fellow academics are using to retrieve open datasets and how this data is being used in teaching and learning in Higher Education.

If you have used open data in your teaching practice we would like to hear from you.

It’s only three questions. The mini-survey is here.

If you know someone who teaches with open data in higher education, we will be very grateful if you can refer them to the survey.

Thanks a lot in advance.

References

Atenas, J., Havemann, L. & Priego, E. (2014). Opening teaching landscapes: The importance of quality assurance in the delivery of open educational resources. Open Praxis, 6(1), pp. 29-43. doi: 10.5944/openpraxis.6.1.81

 

A Summer of #digitalhumanities – A Twitter Archive

 Priego, Ernesto (2014): A Summer of #digitalhumanities - A Twitter Archive. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1176099 Retrieved 22:37, Sep 20, 2014 (GMT)

I have uploaded a new dataset to figshare. This is a dataset titled A Summer of #digitalhumanities – A Twitter Archive.

Priego, Ernesto (2014): A Summer of #digitalhumanities. A Twitter Archive. Figshare.
http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1176099

The file contains a collection of 6549 Tweets tagged with #digitalhumanities (case not sensitive) posted publicly during the period between 1 June 2014 and 15 September 2014.

I have shared the file openly under a Creative Commons – Attribution License to encourage open, timely research and study of academic uses of social media.

The first sheet contains a text with this information and the second sheet contains the complete archive. Sheets 4, 5, 6 (fourth, fifth and sixth tabs) contain each the Tweets corresponding to June, July, August and 1-15 September 2014.

The Tweets contained in the file were collected using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS 5.1. I subsequently refined the data manually into various sheets, which have been included in the file.

The usual I always note when I share a dataset: please note that both research and experience show that the Twitter search API isn’t 100% reliable. Large tweet volumes affect the search collection process. The API might “over-represent the more central users”, not offering “an accurate picture of peripheral activity” (González-Bailón, Sandra, et al. 2012). Therefore, it cannot be guaranteed the file contains each and every tweet tagged with #digitalhumanities during the indicated period.

The archive does not represent nor claims to represent the totality of the #digitalhumanities activity on Twitter or elsewhere.

The data shared here was originally shared willingly by their authors through public accounts via Twitter postings publicly available through the Twitter API. Please note the data in the file is likely to require further refining. The data is shared as is.

I am hoping to find some time this term to work on offering here some findings from this dataset. In the meanwhile, if you use or refer to this data in any way please cite and link back using the citation information above.

 

An #okfest14 Twitter Archive

#okfest14 logo

The Open Knowledge Festival 2014 (#okfest14) took place in Berlin, Germany, 15th to 17th July 2014.

You can catch up with what happened during the event in this post on the Open Knowledge Foundation blog.

I have shared a dataset with the Tweets I collected tagged with #okfest14 (case not sensitive).

If you use or refer to this data in any way please cite and link back using the following citation information:

Priego, Ernesto (2014): An #okfest14 Twitter Archive.   figshare.
http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1148962

The complete archive contains Tweets published publicly and tagged with #okfest14 between  Sat Jul 12 10:41:57 +0000 2014 and Thu Jul 17 20:16:24 +0000 2014

The Tweets contained in this file were collected using Martin Hawksey’s TAGS 5.1.  The file contains 7 sheets.

Only users with at least 2 followers were included in the archive. Retweets have been included. An initial automatic deduplication was performed but data might require further deduplication.

The data in this file has been manually organised and quantified into sets organised by day. It is possible that sets are not complete; particularly Wednesday 16 July and Thursday 17 July might be incomplete due to high volumes.

Please note that both research and experience show that the Twitter search API isn’t 100% reliable. Large tweet volumes affect the search collection process. The API might “over-represent the more central users”, not offering “an accurate picture of peripheral activity” (González-Bailón, Sandra, et al. 2012). It is not guaranteed this file contains each and every Tweet tagged with #okfest14 during the indicated period, and is shared for comparative and indicative educational and research purposes only.

As usual, please note the data in this file is likely to require further refining and even deduplication. The data is shared as is.  This dataset is shared to encourage open research into scholarly activity on Twitter. If you use or refer to this data in any way please cite and link back using the citation information above.

Ebola: Publisher, Access and License Types of the 100 Most Mentioned Papers

I made a quick alluvial diagram showing the publisher, access and license types of the top 100 papers in our dataset.

Alluvial Diagram Showing the Publishers of the Top 100 Ebola Papers According to Altmetric as of Wed Aug 06 2014 16:44:28 GMT+0000 (UTC)  By License and Access Type

Source:
Priego, Ernesto; Lewandowski, Tomasz; Atenas, Javiera; Andrés Delgado; Isabel Galina; Levin, John; Murtagh, John; Brun, Laurent; Whitton, Merinne; Pablo de Castro; Sarah Molloy; Petersen, Sigmund; Gutierrez, Silvia (2014): Articles with Ebola mentioned online anytime as tracked by Altmetric, with crowdsourced type of access and license. figshare.
http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1137162

Retrieved 10:22, Aug 15, 2014 (GMT)

Ebola: Access and Licenses of 497 Papers Crowdsourced in 7 Days

From  (2014): Articles with Ebola mentioned online anytime as tracked by Altmetric, with crowdsourced type of access and license. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1137162

Yesterday I shared a spreadsheet containing references to 497 papers on Ebola including the access and license type of each paper. The access and license types of each paper were crowdsourced. Fourteen volunteers participated in completing the dataset.

On Wednesday 6 August 2014 I shared a dataset on a Google spreadsheet of references to 497 papers on Ebola exported from an Altmetric Explorer report (see my previous post here).

One of the intentions of sharing the dataset, apart from sharing a file containing links to 497 scientific articles on Ebola mentioned online, was to crowdsource the access and license type of each paper. I promoted the file and the task amongst my followers on Twitter.

The task was to manually click on each link and personally verify which papers were open access, which were paywalled, which were ‘free to read’, etc., and to verify under which licenses they were published. We also added another column for ‘Publisher’. Contributors were asked to add their names and Twitter usernames on a column next to the Access, License and Publisher rows they had completed.

By Wednesday 13 August 2014, the whole dataset was complete (only a few Publisher rows remained to be completed, which I did). I closed the shared Google spreadsheet for editing and did a little bit of manual data refining; and verified some of the access and licenses types. I then downloaded it and did a bit more refining on Excel; and edited the spreadsheet so it contained a documentation ReadMe sheet and two extra sheets; one sheet with only the Open Access (in this case we included SA, ND and NC Creative Commons Licenses; though as we know fully-fledged Open Access requires CC-BY licenses) and another one with only the CC-BY entries for easier location of the open papers. I shared it last night on figshare, including everyone who helped crowdsource as co-authors of the spreadsheet:

Priego, Ernesto; Lewandowski, Tomasz; Atenas, Javiera; Andrés Delgado; Isabel Galina; Levin, John; Murtagh, John; Brun, Laurent; Whitton, Merinne; Pablo de Castro; Sarah Molloy; Petersen, Sigmund; Gutierrez, Silvia (2014): Articles with Ebola mentioned online anytime as tracked by Altmetric, with crowdsourced type of access and license. figshare.
http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1137162
Retrieved 07:39, Aug 14, 2014 (GMT)

Last night I did a quick chart about the number of papers per type of access. It was late so it may contain errors. One of the reasons why the spreadsheet has been shared openly is so that others can do their own analyses and contrast any information about it.

Number of Ebola Papers in Dataset Per Access Type chart CC-BY Ernesto Priego
Number of Ebola Papers in Dataset Per Access Type. Click to enlarge.

 

Access type Number of papers in dataset per access type
All Open Access (includes NC; 95 CC-BY) 133
Paywalled 138
Free to Read but not OA (All Rights Reserved research papers) 211
“Advance Access” (Free to read but not OA) 1
News Items (Free to Read but not OA) 6
DOIs not found or unresolved 4

[Please note total is not 497 in the charts above as some license/access types were either not present or unclear; for example there’s cases of papers labeled as “Open Access” but the license for that article was absent of hard to find. In any case this chart needs to be revised and editorial decisions need to be taken about what will count as what. The charts are shared in the knowledge errors can still remain].

Depending on your interests, there is a series of different analyses that could be done from the data. I’ll be working on that; but since we have shared the dataset openly, why not see what you can do with it? (Don’t forget to cite the dataset!)

Wellcome Trust APCs: Towards a New [Open Access] Serials Crisis?

In an attempt to make the debate around the costs of open access publishing more evidence based”, the Readme file (14th March 2013) signed by Robert Kiley says, the Wellcome Trust released into the public domain a dataset including details of its open access spend in 2012-2013, “as reported by UK institutions and the Trust’s Major Overseas Programmes in receipt of an OA block grant“.

As I wrote yesterday,

Cameron Neylon subsequently shared a dataset on figshare (and github) with some of the inconsistencies refined:

Neylon, Cameron (2014): Wellcome Trust Article Processing Charges by Article 2012/13. figshare.
http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.964812

The Wellcome Trust datatset only includes information when an APC was levied. It includes a column for the name of the publisher, as reported by the institution. As the Wellcome Trust does not impose any name authority control on this field, the same publisher was listed in different ways, including typos, acronyms, joint publisher names, etc.  For example, there would be OUP, Oxford University Press, and O.U.P appearing and counting as different publishers. These publisher name inconsistencies were still present in Cameron Neylon’s version of the data as cited above.

I wanted to focus on a few major publishers, and in order to filter them I had to refine the Publisher names inconsistencies a bit. I worked with Cameron Neylon’s version of the dataset and manually refined inconsistencies in the Publisher field (same publishers appeared under different names and spellings and other text formatting issues). I did not refine the journal titles.

I have been looking at that spreadsheet, which reflects the manual refining of the Publisher field I did. As I also tried to explain in my previous post, this ‘refining’ is the result of a human interpretive process, and some of the publisher names that are distinct in that dataset might still be potentially subsumable to other publisher names in the set. Logically, the number of publishers and costs and outputs associated to each publisher will depend on how the Publisher field has been refined; other quantifications and visualisations of the original dataset or other versions that have been refined differently are therefore likely to differ.

After refining the number of publisher names to 101, I  focused on 11 publishers from the dataset and obtained totals as well as their maximum and minimum APCs.

I shared this version of the spreadsheet as

Priego, Ernesto; Neylon, Cameron (2014): Wellcome Trust APC spend (2012-13) Spreadsheet with Publisher Names Refined. figshare. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.966427

I am interested in focusing our attention on the highest and lowest APCs that these 11 publishers levied. I believe they offer a glimpse of the average cost of “Open Access” as currently charged by major academic/scientific publishers. I use scare quotes because most of these publishers (if not all?) do not generally publish born-Open Access journals but so-called “hybrid” journals– that is, traditional subscription-based journals that permit authors –ideally via their funders– to pay a fee to make their article available “Open Access”. [Disclaimer: someone still needs to go journal by journal in the dataset to determine as fact which ones are hybrid journals; I haven’t done this yet].

Different publishers call this option differently (for example Springer’s Open Choice or Taylor & Francis’s Open Select). Whether all these “Open” options clearly offer open licensing allowing not only access in terms of viewing but in terms of reuse still needs to be investigated thoroughly.

As shared in my previous post, the following bar chart visualises the lowest and highest APCs levied by these 11 major publishers (click to enlarge).

Lowest and Highest Article Processing Charges from 11 Selected Publishers as Paid by the Wellcome Trust According to 2012_13 Dataset . Chart by Ernesto Priego
Lowest and Highest Article Processing Charges from 11 Selected Publishers as Paid by the Wellcome Trust According to 2012_13 Dataset . Chart by Ernesto Priego

Let’s look at the data table, including the corresponding number of published outputs:

Lowest and Highest APC paid by Wellcome Trust 2012/13 from 11 Publishers, including number of outputs
Lowest and Highest APC paid by Wellcome Trust 2012/13 from 11 Publishers, including number of outputs

[Please note that as explained above these figures are indicative and it is possible that actual numbers vary under a different refining of the Publisher name field.]

Why do I think it’s important to focus on these figures?

For at least two main reasons:

  1. To create awareness through evidence of the price scale of the “Open Access” options offered by hybrid journals from major publishers as paid by the Wellcome Trust (a forward-thinking institution pioneering in their support of Open Access; for their OA policy, go here).
  2. To create awareness of the prevalence of at least three of the publishers, indicating that many scientists still favour them with their work.

It is a truism that “Open Access” was developed in part as a response to “the serials crisis” (on the term, see for example Panitch and Michalak 2005). Major or “legacy” publishers that traditionally have based their business model on institutional subscriptions (toll or paywall) have reacted to Open Access government and institutional mandates by offering “Open” options through Article Processing Charges.

However, these figures reveal what to me at least appears as a mere inversion of the business model, reliant on academic outputs for which considerable funding and/or financial means seems to be taken for granted. The high prices charged to libraries in the paywalled model seem to have been shifted now to the researchers through, ideally, their funding agencies.

It is very important these observations are not misinterpreted as a knee-jerk reaction against all APCs. I edit a journal that charges an APC (and offers its complete waiving as well). Publishing costs money. Enabling Open Access costs money. But does it cost as much as reflected by the APCs in the Wellcome Trust dataset? That is the question.

On the one hand I hope having some awareness of the current hybrid journal APCs charged by major traditional publishers helps provide a point of reference where to judge the current APCs charged by born-Open Access, researcher-led journals like the ones published by Ubiquity Press and other innovative publishers. On the other hand, I believe it is time for those of us involved in enabling Open Access to refine our critical engagement with the term and the current publishing landscape.

The average of all APCs (excluding the £13,000 one for a Palgrave book) in the Wellcome Trust dataset is £1820.01. There is an APC payment for what appears as a single article of £6000. If only all research funders were like the Wellcome Trust. With these rates, who is being excluded from Open Access publishing as currently implemented by the major publishers in scientific/academic publishing? Arts and Humanities research cannot possibly compete. Aren’t we clearly rushing towards a new “OA serials crisis”, where publishing is still dominated by the same major publishers who partly led to the serials crisis in the first place?

Many more questions remain to be asked. Let’s start with those above.