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.


Open Access as Inclusion: An Interview with Juan Pablo Alperin

From Force 11 and Denisse Albornoz comes a FANTASTIC interview, with one of my favorite Open Access advocates, Juan Pablo Alperin.



Juan Pablo is the recipient of the FORCE16 fellowship for young scholars, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University, and the original wearer of the Open Access cape.

You’ll want to add this interview to your “read now and again later” bookmark list.

More on FSU’s new OA policy

Just a few weeks ago, Florida State University passed an Open Access policy through their Faculty Senate. Now comes the hard part (at least from library outreach perspective)–educating campus as to what this really means for FSU researchers. Yesterday, FSU Libraries posted a very helpful blog post to start things off!

Originally posted with CC-BY license on FSU Libraries WordPress by Sarah Stanley.

Perhaps you are a new professor at Florida State University. And perhaps you have some articles you would like to publish. However, there are a few things getting in your way:

  1. Publishing contracts often confusing and restrictive, leaving faculty with little control over their work once it has been published
  2.  The journals you would like to publish in often keep your work behind a paywall so that only a fraction of the world’s population can access it (which decreases your the impact of your research)
  3.  Journals that do allow you to make your work openly available often have high article processing charges (APCs) which you can’t necessarily afford

Two recent developments may help you with these conundrums. The first is the Faculty Senate Open Access Policy. This policy was passed by unanimous vote on February 17th of this year. It creates a safe harbor for faculty intellectual property rights by granting FSU permission to share scholarly journal articles for non-commercial purposes. Basically, this gives faculty the language to avoid overly-restrictive publication contracts, and allows them to more easily share their work, despite publishers’ efforts to put scholarship behind a paywall.

The launch of DigiNole: FSU’s Research Repository comes on the heels of the OA Policy, and provides faculty with a platform for making their research publicly available online.DigiNole is an open access repository, which allows anyone to view the scholarship contained within it.

It will be exciting to see Florida State University move forward with the new OA policy on campus.

Florida State University Faculty Senate adopts Open Access policy

Big news late last week out of Florida State University: Faculty Senate unanimously adopted an Open Access policy. 

Check out the policy statement here: https://github.com/fsulib/Office-of-Digital-Research-and-Scholarship-Docs/blob/master/oapolicy.md 

Congratulations to Florida State University and the Faculty Senate Library Committee- Task Force on Scholarly Communication.

Developing story: Steal or be robbed

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

-Aaron Swartz, Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

Twitter has been filled with news of SciHub the last few days. In case you missed it, SciHub is a website (created by Kazakhstani researcher, Alexandra Elbakyan) that bypasses journal paywalls and allows users (illegal) immediate access to millions of academic papers. Or as Big Think explains it:

The website works in two stages, firstly by attempting to download a copy from the LibGen database of pirated content, which opened its doors to academic papers in 2012 and now contains over 48 million scientific papers. The ingenious part of the system is that if LibGen does not already have a copy of the paper, Sci-hub bypasses the journal paywall in real time by using access keys donated by academics lucky enough to study at institutions with an adequate range of subscriptions. This allows Sci-Hub to route the user straight to the paper through publishers such as JSTOR, Springer, Sage, and Elsevier. After delivering the paper to the user within seconds, Sci-Hub donates a copy of the paper to LibGen for good measure, where it will be stored forever, accessible by everyone and anyone. —Simon Oxenham

This, of course, is not the first time that independent researchers have gone after the heavily guarded research holds of large commercial publishers. Aaron Swartz attempted it with JSTOR at MIT, researchers via Twitter used #icanhazPDF to skirt around paywalls, and others (intentionally and unintentionally) posted their own work to systems, like Academia.edu, without thinking about agreements with their publishers.


SciHub website (likely blocked in your area)

The intention is pure, if not noble. Research is often done at the expense of federal or state dollars and then sold by publishers like Elsevier at high costs. In turn, the expensive subscriptions are paid for by the same federal or state dollars that supported the research in the first place. (Example: a university hires the researcher, provides the lab, and then buys back that researcher’s research in the form of an academic journal subscription.) The problem, however, is that Elsevier, and other large publishers, have and WILL win the legal battles. Not only does Elsevier have a large legal team with seemingly unlimited resources ($$$), but more importantly it has a signed publishing agreement for every research article. These publishing agreements transfer copyright to the publisher and give authors few rights.*

While sources like SciHub and hashtags like #icanhazpdf may solve the immediate need (researchers getting access), it may not solve the larger systemic issue of publishers, like Elsevier, becoming the copyright holder of so many research articles. What we, especially as librarians, need to do is further educate researchers about the importance of author rights and promote the use of an author addendum. SPARC has a great webpage and an addendum that authors can submit along with their manuscript to assist in retaining copyright.

Perhaps the movement just needs #icanhazaddendum…


*For subscription journals.


Landmark research! Open access!

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have detected gravitational waves. We did it!” 

Yesterday, scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory announced they had detected gravitational waves. This discovery is huge news for astronomy, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, and physicists all over the world. To make this story even cooler–the publishing journal, Physical Review Letters, released the research via open access!


Upon the release of the paper, the journal’s website received 10,000 hits per minute. The traffic to the website was so much the servers couldn’t handle it. As the American Physical Society added new serves, the journal’s Twitter account tweeted out the article’s figures for readers turned away from the 404 error.


What does this much excitement over landmark research mean for an article in the digital scholarly communication environment? The article’s Altmetric badge provides a clear illustration:


Check it out in real time: http://aps.altmetric.com/details/5333883/news 


OpenCon 2015 Student-led Projects

Two weeks ago, students and early career researchers gathered in Berlin for OpenCon 2015. The meeting marked the 2nd annual multi-day workshop focused on open access, open data, and open education.

One of the panels, captured below, featured student advocates from last year’s OpenCon sharing their student-led projects. Check it out below:

Included in this stream:

Open Access Nepal
OA Nepal, originally organized by medical students, creates meet-ups for advocacy, awareness, and project development around open access in Nepal.

Simon Fraser Student Society OER
The student government of Simon Fraser University encourages their university to adopt OER policies.

OOO Canada
The OOO Canada network aims to address these issues by advocating for open and transparent approaches to knowledge sharing. Made up of graduate students, early career researchers, and activists with three primary goals: open data, open access, open education.

…and more!

Support for Glossa



UWM Dept. of Linguistics Faculty Statement

Just weeks after the editorial board of Lingua announced their resignations, faculty members of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Department of Linguistics released a statement of support for Glossa. 

Glossa is a upcoming Open Access journal to be published by Ubiquity Press by the editorial board formerly of Lingua.

As others have noted, this is not the first editorial board to quit, but the case of Lingua appears to be making headlines all over the world. Perhaps more importantly, statements like UWM’s have been released in support of the new OA journal.