Open peer review: a preliminary review, an open offer, observations and discussion

This post links to a preliminary review of Debat & Babini’s preprint PlanS in Latin America: a precautionary note (citation details below) – in brief, Latin America has long been a leader and role model, and these authors have no peers; an open offer to conduct a full peer review (with conditions), and a link to a post highlighting my current perspective on open peer review and an invitation to participate in experimentation with, and discussion about, open peer review. A link to this post as an offer for a full open peer review will be sent to Debat, Babini, and the editor of PeerJ.

Open offer to conduct a full peer review (with conditions): if desired by the authors and the journal should the journal wish to accept my conditions, I offer to conduct a full peer review of this article under the following conditions:

  • My peer review would be open access but published under, and clearly marked as, All Rights Reserved Copyright, and will include a detailed explanation of this choice at the bottom of the peer review.
  • If the journal, PeerJ, wishes to publish the review, what is required:
    • An exception to the journal’s CC-BY policy
    • A mechanism for a “one-time-only” review, i.e. if I agree to review one article, this does not mean that I wish to join the PeerJ community as an author or receive further review requests
  • The authors and journal must commit to a particular version for the review, grant a reasonable time frame (minimum two weeks) for the review, and commit to reading and responding to the review. Rationale: it is not a good use of a reviewer’s time to review a version while the authors are already working on another version and/or if the work itself might be complete before the reivew.

The peer review itself becomes an item that I wish to retain and include in my CV, hence the official version from my perspective is included in my institutional repository. Following is a sample of a recent open peer review I did on a related topic:  https://ruor.uottawa.ca/hand
le/10393/39053

Observations and discussion

Please see my post Open Peer Review: a Model & an Invitation (2019 update) for current perspective and an invitation to participate in discussion and experimentation to further open peer review.

Debat & Babini article – citation, abstract and links

Humberto Debat, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (IPAVE-CIAP-INTA), Argentina

Dominique Babini, Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), Argentina

Latin America has historically led a firm and rising Open Access movement and represents the worldwide region with larger adoption of Open Access practices. Argentina has recently expressed its commitment to join Plan S, an initiative from a European consortium of research funders oriented to mandate Open Access publishing of scientific outputs. Here we suggest that the potential adhesion of Argentina or other Latin American nations to Plan S, even in its recently revised version, ignores the reality and tradition of Latin American Open Access publishing, and has still to demonstrate that it will encourage at a regional and global level the advancement of non-commercial Open Access initiatives.

Access to full-text in English:

https://peerj.com/preprints/27834/

Access to full-text in Spanish:

https://zenodo.org/record/3332621#.XSekx-hKg2z

Latin America long-time peerless leader in open access

This post is a preliminary review of Debat & Babini’s preprint PlanS in Latin America: a precautionary note (citation details and links below).

Preliminary review:  Latin America has long been a leader in open access, and had achieved substantially the goals of PlanS more than a decade ago. In 2007, I wrote: “Scielo is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through a nationally subsidized open access program. While the Scielo portal encompasses the scholarly work of many latin countries, Brazil alone, in 2005, brought 160 fully open access journals to the world at a very modest cost of only $1 million dollars” (republished here).

This article is written by experts without peers, and does not really require peer review. This perspective is every bit as worthy of consideration by policy-makers everywhere as anything written by the EU-based OA2020 initiative.

This post will be accompanied by an open offer to conduct a full peer review (with conditions), and some observations on open peer review that are meant to stimulate discussion, however this affirmation of the leadership of Debat, Babini, Scielo & Redalyc warrants a unique post.

Humberto Debat, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (IPAVE-CIAP-INTA), Argentina

Dominique Babini, Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), Argentina

Latin America has historically led a firm and rising Open Access movement and represents the worldwide region with larger adoption of Open Access practices. Argentina has recently expressed its commitment to join Plan S, an initiative from a European consortium of research funders oriented to mandate Open Access publishing of scientific outputs. Here we suggest that the potential adhesion of Argentina or other Latin American nations to Plan S, even in its recently revised version, ignores the reality and tradition of Latin American Open Access publishing, and has still to demonstrate that it will encourage at a regional and global level the advancement of non-commercial Open Access initiatives.

Access to full-text in English:

https://peerj.com/preprints/27834/

Access to full-text in Spanish:

https://zenodo.org/record/3332621#.XSekx-hKg2z

Open Peer Review: a Model & an Invitation (2019 update)

This is a 2019 update of a post originally published in 2005 on The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics; the original is republished here. This version reflects experience with open peer review (mine and that of others), further reflection, and research conducted since 2005.

These are some ideas for open peer review that can be used today in experiments that may be helpful to shape future systemic approaches. The overall goal is to facilitate open research by opening up preprints, increase transparency in the peer review process, and to allow peer reviewers to take credit for their work. Interested authors and/or reviewers can experiment with this approach today. For example, an author can post a preprint in a repository, seek volunteer reviewers through a listserv or other social media service for a relevant scholarly community and/or ask a colleague to serve as an editor to coordinate the review process and/or serve as a contact for blind reviews.

Examples and links:

Gibney (2016) wrote an article for Nature on peer review overlay journals built on arXiv that includes links to the journals.

A copy of my peer review of a recent article can be found in the University of Ottawa Institutional Repository here: https://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/39053 In this way my peer review constitutes a scholarly work with a stable URL that I include in my online CV.

See the Open Access Tracking Project tag oa.open_peer_review for 32 items as of July 15, some posted in the past week.

This model would be compatible with, but does not depend on, peer review overlay journals, featuring an overlay of peer review on articles submitted to and archived in institutional and/or subject repositories, the method recommended in 2009 for the UK for transition to open access in the medium to long term by Houghton et al. (2009) as the most transformative and most cost-effective approach.

The idea of open peer review is not new. While this post will not include a full review of related literature, as one example, Stevan Harnad talks about one approach to open peer review as early as 1996, in Implementing Peer Review on the Net: Scientific Quality Control in Scholarly Electronic Journals.

The goals of this model are:

transparent peer review: unlike blind peer review, readers can see the peer review process in action. Rather than accepting an assessment of certification based on a closed system, readers can judge the peer review process per se, for themselves. This model could accomodate a combination of open and blind peer review – that is, a peer reviewer could publish a signed peer review, or provide comments confidentially, depending on the preferences of authors or the discretion of editors. As an example of the latter, when reviewing opinion pieces in an emotionally heated area, some blind review might be seen as preferable to open peer review.

increased scholarly literacy: it is assumed that a transparent peer review process will facilitate science literacy teaching, as more people will be able to see the peer review process in action

better peer review: exposing the peer review process per se will allow for thoughtful reflection on peer review per se, and facilitate research. This will allow for the development of better and more efficient peer review.

peer-reviewer credit: peer review is an important task, which a great many academics undertake on a voluntary basis. A portfolio of signed peer reviews can be added to the author’s c.v. The best peer-reviewers, those who are thorough, considerate, and respond quickly, can be recognised for their work.

facilitate and recognise author controlled peer review: There are advantages and disadvantages to author-controlled peer review, where the author takes responsibility to seek out peer reviewers. While this is not presently recognised as peer review, it is widely practiced. In the author’s view, an article which has been peer reviewed and edited accordingly prior to submission for publication, is likely to be a better article. Authors who seek out comments from colleagues, and peer reviewers who are sought out by authors, are both demonstrating an openness to collaboration and willingness to listen to critique – both important elements in conducting scholarly research. Author controlled peer review could be used to supplement editor-coordinated peer review (a pre-peer-reviewed article might need only one outside peer reviewer, for example, while an unreviewed work might need two or three).

In some cases, author controlled peer review could be an alternative to editor-coordinated peer review. It would be desirable to develop a set of criteria outlining the optimum for peer review (peer reviewer meets certain criteria, is not a former student, teacher, co-researcher or co-author, at least one peer reviewer from a different cultural background – more important in social than hard sciences – and so forth). Authors should explain whether and how they have met these criteria; this could be accomplished by an automated list, where the relevant criteria are checked off. Some of this could be be automated, as well – for example, a database of the author’s works will reveal former co-authors, and automated comparison of the c.v.’s of author and peer reviewer will reveal common affiliations.

Comments on this blogpost or via e-mail are welcome.

Last updated July 15, 2019.

References

Gibney, E. (2016). Open journals that piggyback on arXiv gather momentum. Nature 530: 7558. Retrieved July 15, 2019 from https://www.nature.com/news/open-journals-that-piggyback-on-arxiv-gather-momentum-1.19102

J. Houghton, B. Rasmussen, P. Sheehan, C. Oppenheim, A. Morris, C. Creaser, H. Greenwood, M. Summers, and A. Gourlay, 2009. “Economics implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefit” (27 January). Retrieved July 11, 2019 from:

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/45dd/cb9ebb9c8505a4ac86718734dda3311f91d8.pdf

See also
Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) Editorial 1978 on Open Peer Commentary Thanks to Stevan Harnad.

National open access journal subsidy

This post, originally published on December 7, 2007, on the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, (IJPE) is just as relevant today. I am re-publishing today because of technical difficulties for some with access to IJPE and as support for an open peer review post in progress.

National open access journal subsidy

Jean-Claude Guédon, in Open Access and the divide between “mainstream” and “peripheral” science, talks about how some of the really important questions have been overlooked in open access debates, questions like the potential impact of open access on power structures in science.

Open access has the potential to overcome the divide between the mainstream and the periphery, which is particularly important in the developing world.

One model for economic support for open access which has not received as much attention in open access debates is a national open access journal subsidy program. Outside of a very few countries, scholarly publishing has never been profitable, and subsidies have always been the norm. There are a few exceptions, such as the U.s. and the U.K.; even here, when the work given away by authors, peer reviewers, research funders, and the indirect subsidies through library subscriptions are factored in, it is likely that scholarly publishing is basically indirectly
subsidized.

Where journals are directly subsidized, switching to open access just makes sense, as the cost is lower without toll barries (no licensing, authentication, or subscription tracking, for example), and the impact is much greater.

Subsidized journals is a model that works very well for authors of developing countries, who may not have funding to pay article processing fees. A national program can ensure that local journals have the infrastructure and technology they need to succeed and be visible internationally.

Local control of academic publishing has other benefits as well. One example is that a local journal would appear to be much more likely to consider an article on a topic of high priority locally as relevant, than would an international journal. In a scholarly publishing industry heavily dominated by a few international players, medical researchers in developing countries may be more likely to focus on illnesses that impact peoples in northern countries, rather than illnesses such as malaria which have a greater impact at a lower level. A well-supported local scholarly publishing system can address this imbalance.

Librarians are very familiar with the difficulty of locating information of local importance. In Canada, our library patrons are often wanting information of relevance to Canada; when our tools are almost entirely international in nature, it is very difficult to find the local. This is true not only in Canada, but everywhere else as well.

While many aspects of scholarly knowledge are universal in nature, there is much of the local that is important, too.

For example, in humanities, I sometimes wonder whether the need to publish in international journals leads our literary scholars to study the works of authors considered important on an international level, when without this pressure they might be more inclined to study the works of local authors. Could a shift in focus from the international to the local increase the breadth and depth of our understanding of literature – and, at the same time, support local cultures everywhere? Could this result in a happy flourishing of literature and culture around the world?

Scielo is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through a nationally subsidized open access program. While the Scielo portal encompasses the scholarly work of many latin countries, Brazil alone, in 2005, brought 160 fully open access journals to the world at a very modest cost of only $1 million dollars.

Canada is experimenting with subsidized open access journals, through the Aid to Open Access Journals program.

In my opinion, it is not only governments that should be thinking about fully subsidizing open access journals. This makes sense for libraries, too. After all, we are already subsidizing scholarly publishing, through subscriptions. After a little careful reworking of economics, we could transform the system to directly support the journals.

Many libraries are already providing support to facilitate a transition to open access for journals their faculty publish, for example by hosting and supporting journal publishing software.

A useful next step would be to examine the monies spent on journals, and consider whether libraries or library consortia are already paying enough, or more than enough, to fund a fully open access journal. Given that many journals are currently sold in bundles, often international in scope, this will be complex at first; we will need to ask questions that publishers / vendors will not have immediate answers for.

However, we will have to begin asking such questions at any rate. With many journals providing open choice options, libraries will have to begin examining how much is paid for through open choice, and ensure that subscription fees are reduced accordingly, simply to avoid double-dipping; it is, one might argue, a needed element just for due diligence.

If we must focus on such issues in the transition to open access, why not be proactive and determine whether and how libraries can contribute to a fully subsidized, fully open access scholarly publishing system?

full reference:
Jean-Claude Guédon, in Open Access and the divide between “mainstream” and “peripheral” science, in Ferreira, Sueli Mara S.P. and Targino, Maria das Graças, Eds. Como gerir e qualificar revistas científicas (forthcoming in 2007, in Portuguese). The eloquent and profound Guédon is one of the world’s earliest open access leaders, and still among the most active around the world; one of the reasons why we have such strong Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement.

This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access Series.

Open Peer Review: A Model & An Invitation

In preparation for some current work in open peer review, this is a re-publication of my August 15, 2005 post on The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics (IJPE), drawing from and building on Harnad’s 1996 work in this area. IJPE is live but some readers (including myself while at my office) are reporting that they are not able to connect. Other links have not been tested.

Open Peer Review: A Model & An Invitation

This is one model for an open peer review system. The idea is to automate a great deal of the coordination of peer review, make much of it transparent, and allow peer-reviewers to take credit for their work. This model could fit well with either an institutional repository / peer review overlay approach, or a traditional journal approach for either OA or non-OA journals, or any combination thereof. Readers are welcome to comment, peer-review, and/or experiment with software approaches based on this model [reference to a copyright approach no longer used deleted].

The idea of open peer review is not new. While this post will not include a full review of related literature, as one example, Stevan Harnad talks about one approach to open peer review as early as 1996, in Implementing Peer Review on the Net: Scientific Quality Control in Scholarly Electronic Journals.

The goals of this model are:

transparent peer review: unlike blind peer review, readers can see the peer review process in action. Rather than accepting an assessment of certification based on a closed system, readers can judge the peer review process per se, for themselves. This model could accomodate a combination of open and blind peer review – that is, a peer reviewer could publish a signed peer review, or provide comments confidentially, depending on the preferences of authors or the discretion of editors. As an example of the latter, when reviewing opinion pieces in an emotionally heated area, some blind review might be seen as preferable to open peer review.
increased science literacy: it is assumed that a transparent peer review process will facilitate science literacy teaching, as more people will be able to see the peer review process in action
better peer review: exposing the peer review process per se will allow for thoughtful reflection on peer review per se, and facilitate research. This will allow for the development of better and more efficient peer review.
peer-reviewer credit: peer review is an important task, which a great many academics undertake on a voluntary basis. A portfolio of signed peer reviews can be added to the author’s c.v. The best peer-reviewers, those who are thorough, considerate, and respond quickly, can be recognised for their work.
automate coordination of peer review: it should be possible to establish databases of peer reviewers, most likely distributed databases with central harvesting of key metadata (similar to institutional repositories & OAI), interoperable with other relevant software programs such as publishing software and calendaring systems, to automate much of the coordination of peer review.
peer review improvements through automation: the efficiencies of automation may make it possible to enhance peer review in ways that are not feasible with a system relying largely on one-on-one contact between editor and peer review. For example, there are many good reasons why it might be desirable to seek out an international peer review panel. An automated system would make it possible to easily identify experts in far-away countries, that the editor is unlikely to know personally. It is also possible to think about peer reviewers checking bits of an article, rather than the whole thing. That is, one paragraph of an article may refer to a completely separate area of expertise from the speciality of the author and main peer reviewers; there could be opportunities to ask a specialist to check just the one paragraph, rather than the whole article.
facilitate and recognise author controlled peer review: There are advantages and disadvantages to author-controlled peer review, where the author takes responsibility to seek out peer reviewers. While this is not presently recognised as peer review, it is widely practiced. In the author’s view, an article which has been peer reviewed and edited accordingly prior to submission for publication, is likely to be a better article. Authors who seek out comments from colleagues, and peer reviewers who are sought out by authors, are both demonstrating an openness to collaboration and willingness to listen to critique – both important elements in conducting scholarly research. Author controlled peer review could be used to supplement editor-coordinated peer review (a pre-peer-reviewed article might need only one outside peer reviewer, for example, while an unreviewed work might need two or three).

In some cases, author controlled peer review could be an alternative to editor-coordinated peer review. It would be desirable to develop a set of criteria outlining the optimum for peer review (peer reviewer meets certain criteria, is not a former student, teacher, co-researcher or co-author, at least one peer reviewer from a different cultural background – more important in social than hard sciences – and so forth). Authors should explain whether and how they have met these criteria; this could be accomplished by an automated list, where the relevant criteria are checked off. Some of this could be be automated, as well – for example, a database of the author’s works will reveal former co-authors, and automated comparison of the c.v.’s of author and peer reviewer will reveal common affiliations.

The model

Peer Reviewer Profiles
An academic who is willing to participate in peer review process creates a profile, which could be stored in the institutional repository. Elements of the profile could include:

  • author name
  • affiliation
  • title / position
  • areas of expertise (ideal might be using a standard list)
  • qualifying notes to each area of expertise – e.g., research specialist, practitioner expert
  • links to author’s own works
  • links to samples of work – open, signed peer reviews
  • comments from authors and/or editors
  • comments from recognised experts on the peer-reviewer’s expertise / ability to peer review in a particular area
  • author’s availability – time and number of peer-review requests the author is willing to accept at any given time.
    The time element could potentially be integrated with calendaring systems, e.g. no or fewer requests at particular times
  • author preferences for peer review – e.g. open access and/or fully green journals preferred, professional researchers only, researchers from developing countries welcome, students welcome (in limited numbers, perhaps?)
  • mutuality – in areas of controversy, authors might elect to publish critical reviews from peers with different perspectives, on the condition that their peer mutually publishes the author’s own peer review. This could provide readers with a good service, in alerting them to the existence of alternate viewpoints.

At the Institutional Repository

  • hosting or linking to author profiles and peer review
  • flexibility to accomodate clusters of versions. For example, lead readers first to the final peer-reviewed version, when available, but also make it easy for readers to find the original draft and peer reviewers’ comments.

Publishing software

  • links to author profiles
  • links to peer reviews
  • means of matching available peer reviewers with authors, editors, journals, or other certifying bodies

Comments or peer reviews can be posted as comments or sent to my contact e-mail found here. Any comments or reviews may be incorporated in future versions of this model. Please indicate if you are willing to allow your comments or review to be posted on this blog.

Comments

Peter Suber, August 18, 2005:

Note: Peter wants me to make clear that he does *not* believe that OA depends on peer-review reform, that OA has to wait for peer-review reform, or that OA is valuable primarily for its contribution to peer-review reform. OA is compatible with every kind of peer review and we should pursue it regardless of our position on peer review. (I completely agree, by the way!)

“Just for the record, I believe that peer-review definitely needs improvement and that many promising reforms have exciting synergies with OA. One of my pet ideas (which I wrote about more in the early days than recently) is retroactive peer review. Put the preprint in an OA repository as soon as it’s ready, then apply for review from a journal or free-floating editorial board. If approved, with or without revision, the approved version is also put in the repository with a citation and metadata showing its approved status. So far, this is just an overlay journal. What’s most exciting is the prospect of multiple editorial boards reviewing the same work, say, from different methodological or disciplinary perspectives, with the possibility of each giving (or withholding) its approval, creating something like a market in endorsements and tools that can search and sort by endorsement.”

E-LIS already has many of the components needed
by: Heather Morrison

E-LIS, the open archive for Library and Information Science, already has many of the components that would be needed for an open peer review system. One can already add comments to articles already in the archive – a reviewer could indicate if a comment is intended as a peer review, and link to a Peer Reviewer Profile. All that is needed is some editorial oversight, and communication with the author, and we’re almost there!

An illustration
An illustration of open peer review in action can be found in my Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Revised Update. This illustrates how an update to a peer-reviewed article can be improved, based on helpful constructive criticism on invitation from a friend.

Head and Neck Medicine
Head and Neck Medicine, a new Open Access Journal from BioMedCentral, is planning to follow an open peer review approach. Thanks to Open Access News, Aug. 30.

See also
Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) Editorial 1978 on Open Peer Commentary Thanks to Stevan Harnad.

Last updated September 26, 2005. Minor modifications July 5, 2019.

Sabbatical projects 2019 – 2020

Following is what I am working on during my academic leave (sabbatical) from July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020.

Overall project:   Transitioning economics of scholarly publishing for open access: Sustaining the Knowledge Commons

Summary: this project is a phase in my Sustaining the Knowledge Commons (SKC) research program currently funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant (2016 – 2021). The overall goal of this research program is to advance our knowledge on how to transition economic support for scholarly publishing from demand side (e.g. purchase of books and journal subscriptions) to supply side economics (e.g. sponsorship such as the SSHRC Aid to Scholarly Journals program, support for scholar-led publishing such as library publishing services, article processing charges) to facilitate economically sustainable open access to scholarly publishing.

This phase will focus on 3 major sub-projects: a major literature review, a holistic theoretical analysis from a global political economics perspective, and a major release of a large dataset and documentation. Anticipated outcomes are all non-traditional formats, for reasons explained later in this letter, in case this might be of interest to reviewers of this request.

Major literature review: a neutral academic literature review is needed because there is a great deal of substantial research published recently or in progress in this area. The majority of this research focuses on just one of the approaches, potential and currently in use. Most of the major research is this area is business research conducted by organizations with a primary or exclusive focus on their own needs, regions, and/or preferred approach. For example, the Research Councils U.K. several years ago made a business decision to support article processing charges (APC) for U.K. scholars; they publish substantial and very useful research that is focused on the needs of U.K. scholars and universities and the APC model. The Public Knowledge Project (PKP) and érudit, both originating in Canada, have developed and support popular software to support journal publishing. Both conduct research with a focus on collaborative approaches to economic support for journal publishing, such as developing new consortia of journals and/or libraries, or working with existing consortia. The International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) regularly conducts research focused on market opportunities for their members. Anticipated outcome: major literature review in the form of a report made available for open peer review (approximately 30 – 40 pages).

Holistic theoretical analysis from a global political economics perspective: there is currently substantial agreement on a global scale regarding one common goal of open access, that is scholarship that is free for anyone to read. However, there is limited understanding of the necessity to move forward towards this goal in the context of multiple and often conflicting socio-political contexts. For example, the U.K. is unilingual, its university system is highly centralised, and the U.K. enjoys a favorable balance of trade in the existing scholarly communication landscape as the corporate home of some of the largest commercial scholarly publishers (Relyx, parent company of Elsevier, and informa.plc, parent company of Taylor & Francis). These are motivating factors behind the current U.K. approach, designed to transition to open access while protecting the profits of traditional scholarly publishers. In Canada, universities are under provincial jurisdiction, the country is bilingual, and the U.K.’s positive balance of trade is a negative balance of trade for Canada, and so there is motivation to question the wisdom of sustaining the existing system in the process of moving to open access. In the developing world, there is an additional motivation to increase the participation and impact of scholars in global scholarly communication in the transition process. There is scholarship on the latter topic, but this has never been brought together in a holistic way along with conditions particular to the developed world. Anticipated outcome: major theoretical analytic paper made available for open peer review (approximately 30 – 40 pages).

2019 open access article processing charges (APC) dataset: since 2014, the SKC project has been annually collecting and collating data on fully open access journals relating to APC. Although the primary focus is on APCs (whether or not journals charge, and if so how much), the dataset includes rich metadata that can support a wide variety of correlational studies. The dataset (currently over 17,000 journals and over one hundred metadata points per journal) is released as open data periodically with full documentation. Anticipated outcome: release of an open dataset with approximately 18,000 journals and close to two hundred metadata points per journal with detailed documentation (about 10 – 15 pages) for open peer review.

Anticipated outcomes: why a non-traditional approach: there are several reasons for following a non-traditional approach to publication. 1) The most useful formats for outcomes do not fit traditional scholarly publication formats. A major literature review or theoretical analysis in this area will be far too long for a peer-reviewed journal article. For example: recently, in order to fit the page length for the peer-reviewed ELPUB proceedings, I was forced to eliminate entire sections of research even though these logically fit with this work. A major literature review or theoretical analysis in this area will be far too long for most peer-reviewed journals or for a journal chapter, but too short for a monograph. 2) Open peer review is becoming a standard in open scholarship, and this works well in my area. I consider my scholarly and research blogs to be my most important works. When I publish a blogpost about a particular scholarly publisher, I frequently receive review comments from that particular publisher and/or questions as well as comments from funders and other scholars. 3) Timeliness. For example, recently, I posted about high price increases by one particular publisher. Almost immediately, I received a request from [an APC payer], in the process of making annual budget decisions about support for the APC approach, regarding the practices of other publishers. The SKC team had already gathered the data and so I was able to quickly analyse and publish this research. One publisher that was not included spontaneously conducted research on their own data using my methodology, published it via a listserv, and agreed to re-publication on the SKC blog. This rapid sharing of research made it possible to identify early on an essential conflict between the market-based approach of some new publishers (i.e. charge as much as you think you can get) and the accountability-based approach of most payers (i.e. universities, libraries and research funders have fixed and cost-based budgets). This gives the publisher an opportunity to consider business models moving forward that are a better fit with the budgets of payers.

The dialectic of open

Presentation to the Canadian Communication Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, June 6, 2019.

Abstract

In contemporary Western society the word open is used as if the concept were essentially good. This is a logical fallacy; the only concept that is in essence good is the concept good itself. In this paper I will argue that this is a dangerous fallacy that opens the door to misdirection and co-optation of genuine advocates of the public good accidentally through misconception and deliberately by actors whose motives are far from open, that a critical dialectic approach is useful to unravel and counter such fallacies, and present a simple pedagogical technique that I have found to be effective to teach critical thinking to university students in this area. The province of Ontario under the Ford government describes itself as open for business. In this context, open means open for exploitation, and closure is protection for the environment and vulnerable people. This is one example of openwashing, taking advantage of the use of the term by large numbers of “open” advocates whose work is based on very different motives.

Open access, according to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, is a potential unprecedented public good, a collective global sharing of the scholarly knowledge of humankind. A sizable portion of the open access movement is adamant that open access requires nothing less than all of the world’s scholars making their work not only free of charge, but free for downstream manipulation and re-use for commercial purposes. This frees up knowledge for creative new approaches to more rapidly advance our knowledge; it is also a new area for capitalist expansion and can be seen as selling out scholarship. Is this necessary, sufficient, or even desirable to achieve the vision of global sharing of open access? Open education can be seen as the next phase in the democratization of education, a new field for capitalist expansion, a tool for authoritarian control and/or a tool for further control of the next generation proletariat or precariat. Open government can facilitate an expansion of democracy, to further engage citizens in decision-making, a means of enhancing and improving government services, and/or another means of transitioning public services to the private sector that is typical of the (perhaps post) neoliberal era. Proactive open government can mean more transparent, accountable government; it can also mean open access to the documents and data that those in power choose to share. This paper will analyze the rhetoric of key documents from the open movements, evidence presented to support these beliefs, and explore whether these belief systems reflect myth based on misconception and/or misdirection by actors with ulterior motives using a theoretical lens drawn from the political economics, particularly Hegelian dialectics in the tradition of the Frankfurt School and contemporary Marxist analysis.

Link to full presentation:

https://ruor.uottawa.ca/handle/10393/39300