CFP: Interrogating Access Conference

The “Call for Papers” (CFP) for this interesting conference just came through on one of my listservs yesterday. It sounds like a unique event intended to bring together “a range of stakeholders in scholarship” to discuss the changing landscape of scholarly communication in Canada.

Text from the email:


Interrogating Access:  Current and Future Directions for Scholarly Research and Communications in Canada

Friday, February 14–Sunday, February 16, 2014
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, ON

The scholarly enterprise is experiencing the impact of the digital revolution simultaneous with shifting paradigms of institutional, governmental and other supports to research brought on by a worldwide financial crisis and the current rise of neoliberalism. How are these forces affecting the scholarly ecosystem in Canada? What should those engaged in scholarship — researchers, librarians, post-secondary administrators, academic publishers, and funding agencies — anticipate for the future of scholarship in Canada? When access to resources, funding, employment, and dissemination are all in a state of flux, how should our scholarly support systems be restructured or re-visioned for the future?

Interrogating Access: Current and Future Directions for Scholarly Research and Communications in Canada is a conference designed to bring together a range of stakeholders in scholarship, particularly those working in the social sciences and humanities. Academic researchers and librarians, university and college administrators, scholarly editors and publishers, and representatives from funding agencies and scholarly associations are all invited to attend and participate to advance our mutual knowledge and understanding about current and future directions of the pursuit, support, and communication of Canadian scholarship.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication of the Modern Language Association and author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (2011), will give the keynote address, providing context for the Canadian debate. Roundtables will focus on the issues of intellectual property, open access and the rise of digital initiatives in the humanities and social sciences.

We seek paper proposals from Canadian stakeholders in the scholarly enterprise on topics such as:

• the research enterprise and financial supports for the scholar (e.g. research and dissemination)
• the strengths and weaknesses of the Canadian research infrastructure (e.g. vetting and acquisition practices associated with libraries and archives; library collaborations and consortia; data collection, integrity and access provided by government, public and private entities; long- term preservation; independent versus partnered research)
• scholarly communications and academic capital (e.g. forms of measuring success and their strengths/limitations [metrics and altmetrics]; differentiated credit for outputs across fields; career advancement and scholarly outputs)
• scholarly publishing and dissemination (e.g. analysis of business models; external funding; paid and volunteer labour; acquisition, marketing, production, distribution, and discovery; contexts of publication [scholarly societies, scholar-led supported by libraries, or formal publishers]; consortia opportunities)
• peer review (e.g. established and alternative models [management and timing of the review process in the research lifecycle, blinded or open]; reliance on a gift economy of labour; credit for peer-reviewed vs. non-peer-reviewed publications)
• intellectual property (e.g. copyright and the researcher/creator, the publisher, the instructor, the librarian, the student; Access Copyright, commercial databases and alternative business models for providing access; data mining; open access)
• electronic publishing (e.g. relationship between print and electronic publishing models and reading practices; costs/challenges of conversion & archiving; licensing versus ownership; the ‘death’ of the monograph; publishing and academic status of electronic forms of scholarship such as blogs, websites, apps, etc.; the culture of free and open access and its effects on the dissemination of scholarship)
•new directions and initiatives

Please send proposals of 250-350 words, accompanied by a brief bio, by August 1, 2013 to:

Lisa Quinn, Wilfrid Laurier University Press (

This conference is co-sponsored by Wilfrid Laurier University (with support of the Office of Research Services) and York University.

Organizers: Lisa Quinn, Acquisitions Editor, Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Janet Friskney, Research Officer, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University
Andrea Kosavic, Digital Initiatives Librarian, York University

OA & the Unanticipated Reader

Often researchers underestimate the potential reach of their publications.
They might assume that only a select few close colleagues and students in the same particular subdiscipline of research will be interested in the paper. They will also likely assume that those individuals will have access to their articles through their library subscriptions.
When they make these kinds of assumptions they can potentially cripple the impact of their research.
A great many researchers in poorer countries or institutions can’t afford the expensive journal subscriptions that their wealthier colleagues take for granted. And the general public, anywhere, is usually cut out of the conversation entirely.
Watch this new video below to see the potential impact your research could have if you made it openly accessible to the unanticipated reader…

Kevin Smith of Duke University relates a similar story of an “unexpected reader”:

Faculty & OA at the UofS

This past November (2012) I invited all faculty members at the UofS to complete a short online survey on their publishing activities and opinions – specifically with reference to the growing importance of the open access movement.
One of the main objectives of this research study was to determine the current and emerging scholarly communications needs of researchers at the UofS; and how the University Library might support them in this area.
Preliminary analysis of the results indicates that there is already high awareness of, and support for, open access. The greatest need however, is in education and support for author rights issues such as negotiating copyright transfer agreements with publishers.
I will be presenting these results in a poster this week at the 2013 Canadian Library Association conference in Winnipeg (poster abstracts).
Interested in knowing more? You can download a pdf copy of my poster HERE.
D.Dawson CLA 2013 Poster.jpg

New Formats for Journals

With rapidly advancing Internet technologies we are no longer bound by the traditional formats of print scholarly journals – and all of their associated inefficiencies that extend the time to publication. Indeed, with the fast pace of research in many cutting-edge areas of science we can no longer afford the lag times of several months to publication.
Two innovative new models of journal publishing have recently launched that take advantage of the current technology environment and challenge traditional journal formats and peer-review workflows:
F1000 Research – is a new open access life sciences journal that offers immediate publication of all scientifically sound papers. The main time savings occurs in the peer-review process: peer-review occurs post-publication and is entirely transparent. The naming of referees in transparent peer-review processes can also encourage fair and honest reviews. A recent press release from F1000 reports that in the first months since its launch in January 2013 the average time to publication has been one week.
PeerJ – is another new open access journal in the areas of biological and medical sciences that launched early in 2013. It also does not restrict publishing to research with perceived “impact” or “novelty” but instead on “an objective determination of scientific and methodological soundness”. The main innovation of PeerJ is on the economics side. Authors may purchase one-time memberships that will allow them to publish repeatedly in PeerJ without having to pay each time. There are various levels of membership, but the basic level has a one-time cost of $99 and permits one publication a year. PeerJ also asks every member to provide one peer-review each year.
In the electronic age we are no longer bound by page restrictions, there is no need to accept only the most “influential” articles (a practice that is highly subjective anyway), and we do not need to delay publication until the next designated date on the calendar that an issue is supposed to come out. Science will progress much more rapidly when we remove historical and artificial barriers to publishing – and make the results of publicly-funded research more accessible and reusable.

Call for Papers – Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

The first official call for papers of the new Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (JLSC) has just gone out!
The inaugural issue of JLSC will focus on the theme of “Defining Scholarly Communication” and is due out in Spring 2012.
From the About JLSC page:

“The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication is a quarterly, peer-reviewed open-access publication for original articles, reviews and case studies that analyze or describe the strategies, partnerships and impact of library-led digital projects, online publishing and scholarly communication initiatives.
JLSC provides a focused forum for library practitioners to share ideas, strategies, research and pragmatic explorations of library-led initiatives related to such areas as institutional repository and digital collection management, library publishing/hosting services and authors’ rights advocacy efforts. As technology, scholarly communication, the economics of publishing, and the roles of libraries all continue to evolve, the work shared in JLSC informs practices that strengthen librarianship.
The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication is a shared intellectual space for scholarly communication librarians, institutional repository managers, digital archivists, digital data managers and related professionals.”

PLoS ONE Inspires Copies

Earlier this month I blogged about the announcement that PLoS ONE, an open access journal, has now become the largest peer-reviewed journal in the world (by number of published articles per year).
PLoS ONE has reached this milestone by adopting a revolutionary (as academic publishing goes) strategy of publishing any article that meets peer-reviewed standards for methodological soundness and rigor, but not for significance and impact. As Richard Smith, over at the BMJ Group blogs, points out… editors and reviewers at traditional journals “do badly” at predicting the originality and importance of articles anyway. It is best to let the readers decide the importance.
Relative importance of individual papers can be determined by “article-level metrics”, another innovation by PLoS. No longer do we need to rely on journal impact factors exclusively. The Internet allows numerous possibilities for determining impact of individual papers quite apart from the actual journal they are published in. Exclusivity of particular journals can no longer be sustained – indeed the main reason they have lasted this long is that the traditional system of tenure and promotion in the academy changes even slower than the system of scholarly publishing! Tenure committees generally continue to look mainly at impact factors still.
However, many of the traditional publishers seem to be seeing the writing on the wall and are now initiating new journal titles that are essentially copies of the PLoS ONE model. Peter Suber lists several of these new titles including Scientific Reports from the Nature Publishing Group (!).
Richard Smith ends his blog entry with this intriguing vision of the future:
“Long ago Ian Roberts and I imagined a world in which studies would not be published in journals but rather in databases. The job of journals would not be to spend resources peer reviewing and circulating studies to people who don’t read them but rather to pick out the few studies that matter and present critical appraisals of them to the right audience. Perhaps the proliferation of copies of PLoS ONE will bring that vision closer.”