Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Sarah Hewitt

This week, we look at the importance of institutional repositories and hear about two important collections that have recently become freely available online. We also learn whether higher article processing charges are associated with higher citations and hear about some potential problems with transformative agreements. Finally, we look at the volume and invoicing of hybrid open access articles at Elsevier.

A new era for the institutional repository via Research information | 6-minute read

During the COVID-19 pandemic, online access to resources and knowledge has become essential. As travel to universities, research centres and libraries has been restricted across much of the world, many institutions have quickly learned the value of digitization. This also coincides with an increased global drive towards open access to learning materials and research. Here, Harriet Clark from data management and digital preservation specialists Arkivum discusses how institutional repositories are becoming primary access points to knowledge rather than simply a means of preserving data.

Books rescued from New Zealand library cull donated to Internet Archive via Stuff | 3-minute read

More than 600 000 international books from New Zealand’s National Library will be donated to the Internet Archive, a freely available digital library of millions of books, movies, pieces of software and historical web pages. The move comes after calls to stop the culling of the international works from New Zealand’s National Library, which was intended to free up space for New Zealand and Pasifika texts. The books have an average publication date of between 1965 and 1969, and it is hoped that digitization will increase their use.

Public can now navigate old maps via British Library Blogs | 4-minute read

Approximately 32 000 new images have been added to the Topographical Collection of King George III on Flickr Commons, which includes maps, views and atlases created between 1550 and 1820. The collection has been made available by British Library Labs, which aims to make the British Library’s digital collections accessible to everyone.

APCs: are they value for money? via Open Research Community | 3-minute read

A recent study has investigated whether article processing charge (APC) value is correlated with article-level impact in gold open access journals. The authors found that while APC value does correlate with citation metrics, the journal’s impact, its business model and the number of countries affiliated with the article were more strongly associated with individual article citation levels than APC value. APCs can also vary widely depending on the field of study of the journal and the supply and demand of submitted articles.

Are transformative agreements pulling funds away from small publishers? via Research information | 10-minute read

Transformative agreements, in which the cost of both reading and publishing articles with a particular publisher are bundled into a single contract, have been hailed as a positive step towards a fully open access publishing ecosystem. However, some believe that these large contracts are a distraction from the aims of Plan S and that many publishers may fail to use the contract periods to transition towards a fully open access model. What’s more, funds for transformative agreements are often directed towards large publishers, leaving smaller publishers without deals and authors with fewer incentives to publish with them. More agreements could be made with existing Plan S-compliant open access publishers to balance the open access landscape.

Uptake of open access in hybrid publishing models remains low via The Publication Plan | 2-minute read

In a hybrid open access model, journal articles can be made open access through payment of an article processing charge. This piece discusses a recent article-level study of hybrid open access articles and invoicing at Elsevier. While the number of open access articles published in Elsevier hybrid journals has doubled between 2015 and 2019, the proportion of total article output remains low at just 3.7%. Publishing agreements covered one-third of hybrid open access article payments, but the majority of article processing charge revenue was obtained directly from authors.

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Mind UK

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US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention