Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we demystify the Rights Retention Strategy and learn about the potential financial impact of open access publishing on publishers. We also look at two new publishing agreements from the US Big Ten Academic Alliance, journal-independent peer review and an announcement from the Directory of Open Access Books. Finally, we get the latest on the legal actions against shadow library Sci-Hub.

Demystifying the Rights Retention Strategy via The Scholarly Kitchen | 11-minute read

In this article, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction in the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) breaks down one of the most complicated of cOAlition S’ policies – the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS). The RRS is applied when authors use the ‘repository route’ for compliance with Plan S. Under this approach, authors must make their paper available in an open repository immediately upon publication. In theory, the RRS allows authors to do this by applying a CC BY license to the author-accepted manuscript at the time of submission. However, it is not yet known how publishers will react to manuscripts with CC BY licenses, and whether they will review them unfavourably or come up with new tactics for delaying their deposition in open repositories.

Publishers fear financial hit from open access via The Bookseller | 2-minute read

According to an analysis by the Publishers Association, UK publishers could lose £2 billion in income between 2022 and 2027, owing to the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) open access policy. The new policy from UKRI, the UK’s national funding agency that brings together several research and innovation funds, is broadly in line with Plan S and proposes that articles resulting from research funded by UKRI should be made open access immediately upon publication. However, the report has been criticized for failing to communicate the benefits of the policy to society and the overall long-term cost savings that will be brought by open access publishing. You can read the full report from the Publishers Association here.

Big Ten Academic Alliance secures further publishing agreements via Big Ten Academic Alliance | 5-minute read

The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), a coalition of US academic institutions, has secured two new publishing deals for its 14 member universities. A new read-and-publish deal with Cambridge University Press (CUP) provides members with access to – and the ability to publish open access in –  all CUP journals, at no cost to individual authors. In a second agreement with the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), BTAA will provide support to the DOAJ for three years to help advance the directory’s mission to increase the visibility, accessibility, reputation, usage and impact of open access research. These announcements come hot on the heels of another recent agreement between BTAA and PLOS.

Rapid, journal-independent peer review from Review Commons via YouTube | 2-minute watch

Launched in 2019 by the European Molecular Biology Organization and Accelerating Science and Publication in Biology (ASAPbio), Review Commons is a platform that provides journal-independent peer review on biological and biomedical manuscripts, as explained in this video. After incorporating reviewers’ comments, authors can submit their manuscript with reviewers’ reports to bioRxiv and to one of Review Commons’ 17 affiliate journals, which include PLOS ONE and The EMBO Journal. This approach means that papers don’t need to undergo additional peer review when they reach their target journal, and Review Commons hope this will accelerate the process of scholarly publishing. They also hope their approach will improve quality by allowing reviewers to focus on scientific merit rather than on journal fit.

Directory of Open Access Books finds new home via Directory of Open Access Books | 2-minute read

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) has migrated to a new online home that has been built using DSpace, an open-source software designed for making open access repositories. The DOAB is a community-driven service that provides open access to scholarly books. It hosts over 34 000 peer-reviewed books covering topics from dentistry to dance and from neuroscience to the Napoleonic Wars.

Court order blocks Sci-Hub in the UK via Torrent Freak | 4-minute read

A UK internet provider has been ordered to block access to the shadow library Sci-Hub after a court application by publishing giants Elsevier and Springer Nature. Sci-Hub provides free access to millions of pirated research papers that would otherwise be behind paywalls. Journal publishers have been engaged in long legal battles with the controversial website and its founder Alexandra Elbakyan, and this site-blocking strategy represents their most recent attempt to protect their copyright claims. Sci-Hub also faces site blocking in India, despite the website having widespread support from academics in the country.

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