Open Access

History Group Slams Open Access

In a stunning demonstration of Poe's law, the American Historical Association has released a policy statement favoring the restriction digital theses ("with access being provided only on that campus") for fears that open access versions could be read. The basis for this argument is FUD about a tenure system that apparently cannot be changed. See Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle for more coverage.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Where? Academic Publishing Scams

Phishing attacks targeting academia aren’t the most high-profile of attacks, though they’re more common than you might think. Student populations in themselves constitute a sizeable pool of potential victims for money mule recruitment and other job scams, in fact anything that promises an easy supplemental income, unfeasibly cheap or free trendy gadgetry, and so on. But I’m talking about attacks against the institutions, rather than their ‘customers’: for example, targeted social engineering attacks as a means of accessing intellectual property. Some academic research has appreciable monetary value in its own right, and much of it is developed in partnership with and funded by businesses with a direct interest in monetizing it: that makes it of interest to people with an interest in getting in first.

Open access: The true cost of science publishing

But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.


LISTen: An Program -- Episode #233

A Librarian's Take on public domain and "public domain"

Jessamyn West:
"As librarians, I feel we have to be prepared to find content that is freely usable for our patrons, not just content that is mostly freely usable or content where people are unlikely to come after you. As much as I’m personally okay being a test case for some sort of “Yeah I didn’t read all 9000 words on the JSTOR terms and conditions, please feel free to take me to jail” case, realistically that will not happen. Realistically the real threat of jail is scary and terrible and expensive. Realistically people bend and decide it’s not so bad because they think it’s the best they can do. I think we can probably do better than that."


Listed Predatory Publishers Fight Back, with Criminal Impersonation

Earlier this month, a new version of Jeffrey Beall's List of Predatory Publishers 2013 was posted at Since then, faked quotes have been posted to multiple blogs, claiming that Jeffrey Beall has been trying to extort money from publishers. This is an apparent smear campaign to discredit the efforts to name predatory publishers. The criteria for listing these publishers is also posted at

McGill Librarians announce support of Open Access movement

Good News!

Librarians at McGill are proud to announce their support of the open access movement. McGill librarians are granting the McGill University Library a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to their scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the works are properly attributed to the authors and not sold for a profit.

Specifically, each librarian grants a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported license for each of his or her scholarly articles. The license will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is affiliated with the Library except for any articles accepted for publication before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the librarian entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.

All such work by McGill librarians will be deposited in the institutional repository, making it freely available online.

The library also supports open access by making available all theses & dissertations through its institutional repository, eScholarship@McGill by digitizing rare and unique titles and making them available to the world through its digital collections, and by supporting the publication of open access journals including CuiZine, and the McGill Journal of Education.

Big Open-access deal for particle physics

The entire field of particle physics is set to switch to open-access publishing, a milestone in the push to make research results freely available to readers.

Particle physics is already a paragon of openness, with most papers posted on the preprint server arXiv. But peer-reviewed versions are still published in subscription journals, and publishers and research consortia at facilities such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have previously had to strike piecemeal deals to free up a few hundred articles.

OpenGrey Repository

Not sure how I've never seen the OpenGrey Repository before...
"The OpenGrey Repository was launched mid-2011. OpenGrey succeeds OpenSIGLE, which was an initiative by INIST-CNRS to transfer the contents of a commercial database into an open access environment - including the results of 25 years of collecting and referencing grey literature by European partners. Since 2008, GreyNet's conference preprints complement the offer on grey literature in OpenGrey by providing full-text access to research output in this field of information science. OpenGrey not only signifies a change in platform but also provides improved features for users redesigned to meet the needs of a Google generation. OpenGrey moreover closes the gap caused by the termination of the SIGLE database by reopening the way for new record entry with links to full text, research data, as well as post-publication data."

How to bury your academic writing

Interesting... Google Scholar reveals, however, one factor that exerts a massive impact on whether a paper is cited or not: whether it appears in a journal or an edited book.

"My own solution would be for editors of such collections to take matters into their own hands, bypass publishers altogether, and produce freely downloadable, web-based copy. But until that happens, my advice to any academic who is tempted to write a chapter for an edited collection is don't. "

[Thanks Mita]


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