The Institutionalized Racism of Scholarly Publishing

In 2002 the African scholarly publisher, Academic Journals, began publishing  peer reviewed journals. By 2011 they had grown to be a considerably sized publisher, publishing 107 journals with more than 220 employees, and having become an important publishing platform for African researchers.

Then disaster struck. They were added to Jeffery Beall’s list of “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”.

(Beall’s list was taken down in early 2017. You can find an archived version of it via the Internet Archive’s Web Archive)

The impact was immediate. From the About Us section of their website:

Several editors resigned from the various editorial board. The number of manuscript submission declined, including several withdrawals.  This decline was steep and fast, and impacted on our ability to support our team. At the end of the year, under this very difficult condition, Academic journals was forced to downsize the number of employees. Almost half of all members of the team was affected by the downsizing. Over a hundred and twenty employees lost their jobs.

Academic Journals submitted a formal appeal to Beall. He admitted it may have been a bit harsh to add them to his list, but refused to remove them. Academic Journals had no choice but to struggle on. Quoting their website again:

Academic Journals doubts the sincerity of the Jeffrey Beall’s list. We perceive that the list is deliberately biased towards open access journals. In addition, we consider Jeffrey Beall’s methods questionable and lacking in rigor in a matter as important as the evaluation of academic publishing. We welcome a fair, transparent and rigorous evaluation of all our activities.

How crazy is it that you can build a substantial publishing infrastructure on your home continent and then see it decimated by a single man across the ocean who decides to add you to his blacklist? Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Preliminary Thoughts on Canada’s Copyright Review

I did something cool a few weeks ago and spoke at one of the open microphone sessions for the Statutory Review of the Copyright Act. The transcript of what I said is below, but I just want to lay some context first.

I had originally planned to give some hard and fast areas where I thought the Copyright Act of Canada should be changed. However, I quickly realized there were a lot of people saying similar things a lot better than I could. Plus I only had a few minutes to talk. I figured it was more useful was maybe to engage in some big picture thinking instead of the user rights vs creator rights debate (Which is dominating the Copyright Review discussions because of Educational Institutions movement away from Access Copyright).  Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Library Collection Development in the Age of Open Access and Research Sharing

Building off a similarly titled blog post, I gave this presentation this week at the North Dakota-Manitoba ACRL Chapter 2018 Symposium.

If you want to use/cite this presentation, it is also in the LIS Scholarship Archive with a DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/XGMYP

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Future of Open Access with the Galaxy Brain Meme.

I don’t usually meme on here, but I’m proud of this one:

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Future of Library Access: Open Access Linking and “Hybrid” Interlibrary Loan

Florida State announced today they are cancelling their Big Deal subscription with Elsevier. The list of libraries cancelling keeps growing.

I’ve been talking to a few librarians of late who have, or who are actively trying, to cancel big deals and it’s become more and more clear to me how immensely hard a thing this is. Cancelling a Big Deal involves a lot of work and staff-power on behalf of the library. There’s the outreach to researchers about what is happening and managing individual ejournal packages can actually be a lot more work from a cataloging and electronic resource management perspective.

As one librarian quoted another librarian as saying, “You can’t cancel your way out of a budget crisis”. It’s not as easy as just cancelling and saving all that money. A large amount of that money will have to go toward building the infrastructure and filling the resource gap Big Deals cancellations create. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Coverage and Overlap of 1findr, Dimensions, Scopus, and Web of Science

Quick post here. 1science just released a new journal article and open access search tool, 1findr, today and I thought it be interesting to compare it to another similar search tool that launched a couple months ago, Dimensions.

Richard Poynder shared the below graph on twitter, but I wanted to get a look at the real numbers:

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Are we emphasizing the benefits of citations all wrong? The case for networked discovery over impact measurement.

Mita Williams published a blog post this week entitled Bret Victor, Bruno Latour, the citations that bring them together, and the networks that keep them apart. It’s an interesting piece that critiques the use of citations as a performance measure and gives some alternative ways to look at citations. It’s well worth the read.

I’ve been working a lot with citation analysis lately and I’ve been having some conceptual problems with it that Mita’s piece helped me think more carefully about. Mita talks about Bruno Latour’s theory of citations which, as i understand it, argues that citations are used to support claims an author is making and there are many ways for an author to use a document to do this. References to other documents do not necessarily give positive assessments of a cited document or indicate that it’s special or unique. There are multiple reasons why an author might cite a work. For example, to argue against it, to point to it as diving into an interesting area of study, or just to say “somebody else once looked at this and this is what they found”. Why something is cited is situational and depends on the context of how and when it appears in the author’s paper. A citation of a document is rarely a claim that this document is important.

Now this idea doesn’t sound particularly novel, or even that interesting, in my rephrasing. What really kinda threw me off is – despite having already read the DORA declaration, the Leiden Manifesto, and the Metric Tide where similar points about the limits of citation metrics are made – whenever I had compiled citation metrics on an article, journal, or researcher, I never really understood what I was compiling. I had a number, but what did this number mean? What did it show?
Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment