New guide: Understanding Predatory Publishers

As with all industries, academic publishing isn’t all smiles and rainbows, it has its share of spam and scams. I’d only been at my job at Iowa State for about 3 months before I got an email inviting me to submit an article to a journal only referred to by a three-letter acronym. My warning bells went off – and rightly so – the email was from a predatory publisher.

A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.

It’s not always easy but usually five minutes of investigation is enough to know if the publisher is a legitimate business that values academic research or one that’s just looking to make a profit. To help others with this process I recently published a Library guide called Understanding Predatory Publishers. The guide works in tandem with the guide on Journal Evaluation Tools which provides resources on how to look up rankings like Journal Impact Factors, SCImago stats, publishing frequency, and more.

As a disclaimer: each author needs to decide for themselves what they expect from their publisher. As a librarian, my bar may be a little higher than most, so take the advice offered as a starting point, not an end point.



A preprints server for chemistry

Not to be outdone by other preprint archives that have been announced in the past few months, the American Chemical Society (ACS) has announced plans to establish a preprint server for chemistry: chemRxiv. ChemRxiv will follow in the footsteps of arXiv and other preprint servers in hosting publicly available, pre-peer review copies of papers and data.

While details, including a potential launch date, are scarce at this point, ACS is currently “in the process of inviting interested stakeholders to participate in helping to shape the service ahead of its anticipated launch.”

Some scholarly communication updates from the world of engineering:

This past weekend saw the launch of engrXiv, “a free, open access, open source archive for engineering research and design” which accepts and provides access to preprints in all disciplines of engineering.

Working with the Center for Open Science, engrXiv will “provide access to not just engineering papers but also important engineering assets such as data, code, and design and computational models. It will also provide an environment for public peer review of these engineering assets.”

engrXiv follows in the same vein as the well-known, and the more recently announced bioRxiv and SocArXiv.  engrXiv’s steering committee notes the site is intended to be pronounced “Engineering Archive,” and that going to will redirect you to engrXiv.

Learn more at


The Electrochemical Society (ECS), a small, nonprofit society which focuses on energy storage, clean energy, and clean water, has embarked upon a mission to make all their content open access without charging author or reader fees.

Called Free the Science, this initiative plans to convert the entire ECS Digital Library to open access by 2024, and ECS will fund the access entirely themselves.

Learn more at,, or

OA as norm for EU in 2020

European Union is off to a busy summer. ARS Technica reports that EU research ministers have published a commitment to make “open access to scientific publications as the option by default by 2020.”


Read more here:

Elsevier buys SSRN, and some good news!

Elsevier acquired SSRN for an undisclosed figure.

Nature makes a good point: In an environment where more and more is available free online, “Elsevier is starting to attract more academics to its sites by providing services such as online scholarly social networks and preprint servers.”

That being said, this is a great resource for visualizing scholarly communication workflows, from start to finish.

If you click on the “Datacards” tab you can select different workflow collections. For example, Elsevier. This will show you Elsevier products that can be used in each step of the process. The great thing, Open Science is also an collection. Also, under the “Datacards” tab you will find all 101 tools listed. Clicking on the tool will bring you to a page with more information (example: Paperity)

Elsevier can’t buy everything—and even more than that, open source developers have a plethora of open scientists/scholars with a plethora of needs.

Gathering IR seed data with OpenRefine and SHERPA/RoMEO

Angela Galvan is a Digital Resources and Systems Librarian from SUNY Geneseo. This is her blog post about a wicked cool project! Thank you, Angela for supporting Open—and sharing your work with the community! 

Among the issues I’ve worked through while developing a strategy for the IR at Milne, is a need to understand the scholarly production of campus. How and where are they publishing? How can we…

Source: Gathering IR seed data with OpenRefine and SHERPA/RoMEO

Partnerships for Openness Built on a Shared Foundation

Post from In the Open by Will Cross.

Trained as a lawyer and librarian, Will provides legal and policy guidance from the NCSU Libraries and lectures nationally on digital citizenship and open culture.

This week I had the opportunity to speak at the University System of Georgia’s Teaching and Learning Conference.  We had a great discussion about the role of libraries supporting open educational r…

Source: Partnerships for Openness Built on a Shared Foundation

OpenCon 2016 Announced!

OpenCon is a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system of research and education. OpenCon 2016 will be held in Washington DC on November 12-14, with satellite events around the world. OpenCon will convene students and early career academic professionals from around the world and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation to advance OpenCon’s three focus areas.

Three days to connect

Through a program of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops, and hackathons, participants will build skills in key areas—from raising institutional awareness to coordinating national-level campaigns effectively.

Attend OpenCon 2016!

Applications open on June 6th. OpenCon seeks to convene energetic, effective students and academic professionals interested in openness in research & education—regardless of ability to cover travel costs. Because of this, most participants receive travel scholarships, and attendance at OpenCon is by application only.

Develop a global network

The main OpenCon meetings in DC and Brussels have drawn participants from more than 40 countries across five continents. OpenCon satellite events have been hosted across 25 countries with approximately 2,000 participants.

More information here:

SPARC & Johns Hopkins Launch Resource Analyzing US Data Sharing Policies

Update from SPARC yesterday:

SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Libraries, is pleased to release a new resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding U.S. federal funder research data sharing policies.  This free tool, launched today, provides a detailed analysis of 16 federal agency responses to the directive issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research.  Specifically, the new resource focuses on how these agencies intend to make the digital data associated with the projects they fund available for access and reuse.

Read more here:

Fair Use and Google Books

Big news today!

via SPARC: 

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Author’s Guild Challenge on Google Books decision. Fair Use takes the day.

via Nancy Sims (Copyright Librarian @ University of Minnesota)

Supreme Court Denies Cert in Authors Guild v. Google

via The Washington Post