On Elsevier and the Open Science Monitor

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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:


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.


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

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.


Interviewed by ScienceOpen

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The tireless Jon Tennant continues his ScienceOpen series “highlighting diverse perspectives in the vast field of ‘open science’.”

He states on the introduction to his latest post:

“the last post in this series with Iara Vidal highlighted the opportunities of using altmetrics, as well as insight into scholarly publishing in Brazil. This week, Ernesto Priego talks with us about problems with the scholarly publishing system that led him to start his own journal, The Comics Grid.”

You can read the interview (where I talk at length…) here.

Needless to say my personal opinions are my own as an individual and do not represent those of my employer, colleagues or professional networks. Thank you for reading!

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

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.

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.
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!)