5 Dec 2018

Notes from #CISPC18, 3rd December 2018

Collaborating at CISPC 2018 – now we need action…
Guest Post by Lou Peck, Founder at The International Bunch - #CISPC18

Sunday afternoon saw me heading over the border to the bright lights of London town ready for my first Challenges in the Scholarly Publishing Cycle (CISPC) 2018 conference the next day. Around 50 people attended with a mixture of information professionals, researchers, publishers, intermediaries and consultants. Overall the conference was great, I heard valuable feedback and insight from different stakeholders and most importantly met some new people and old faces.

People traveled from all over the country, some flying in from Israel, the US, Belgium and Ireland for example though no representation, sadly, from further afield like Asia Pacific, India etc. However, we did have a number of people with a great deal of experience in these areas to enrich the insight.

As expected, the majority of attendees were publishers/intermediaries keen to find out what the other stakeholders had to say. So it would be great for future events if more can be done to encourage further researchers and information professionals in addition to lower delegate rates. Maybe publishers/intermediaries can sponsor researcher/information professional delegate places.

It would also be great to see representation from the funders themselves. I am sure they would find this event really invaluable and we of course want to hear what they have to say. Also, consultants are usually one man bands and having to pay the same as a large publisher. This be challenging when there are several events to attend during the year and the registration fee is roughly five times more than UKSG annual membership and double that of a CILIP annual membership for example.

Interestingly, as consultants work with a number of stakeholder groups on various projects, we can bring even more perspective to the different discussions, fresh insight. Essentially, we can be very open with our feedback without feeling possible repercussions.

You’ll notice that I talk about Information Professionals. Primarily in attendance were academic librarians and those who weren’t, e.g. from a corporate background, found the discussions to be too academic focussed and didn’t feel well represented in their feedback from the morning breakout discussions when presented to the room – a real shame and a missed opportunity for all as they weren’t around for the afternoon sessions.

The London Art House was quite a quirky venue and in some ways a refreshing change from the usual hotel/conference venue; surprisingly, the internet connection was pretty good too! Sitting having open discussions in the highly decorative ‘Egyptian’ themed room was certainly something I’ve never experienced before – here’s Erin’s tweet to give you a visual!

The day’s agenda was set around collaboration and discussion for the three ‘identified’ stakeholder groups - Librarians, Academics and Publishers. This classification posed challenges – as a consultant I somewhat floated between and had feedback from all parties through research/interviews we undertake on a regular basis. It would be great to include funders in the discussions, we’d love to hear that feedback, and them to hear everyone else’s.

Tim Gillett, Editor of Research Information chaired the agenda throughout the day. I’ve summarised my thoughts below on each session – I realised I took far too many notes and so have condensed them down. You’ll be pleased to read on to more digestible chunks though there is probably still way too much!

Survey Findings Presented
Warren Clark, Publisher of Research Information and David Stuart, Research Consultant, presented their recent survey findings for ‘The Scholarly Publishing Research Cycle 2018’ survey.

Interestingly, from all my years in publishing, my perception of the Research Information readership was more of a publisher trade publication and so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the readership is 60% librarians, 20% publishers and 20% others. There was the recognition that there needs to be more researcher involvement in these types of events and surveys.

Warren raised some interesting points – more metrics available however abundance doesn’t mean improvement, rebalancing of power (Germany/Sweden and S Plan), collected action with librarians which should continue. Most notable issues from the survey were around Open Access and Licensing, Discoverability, Accessibility, Trust and Validation, and Policymakers’ Scholarly Publishing Policies.

The room commented that it would be interesting to understand the regional differences, as well as the stakeholder differences, including Funders, and interviewing those that didn’t respond, including more regional responses e.g. APAC. Stakeholder categorization seems a bit old hat now. All great feedback for next year’s report.

Morning Breakout Sessions
The room was split into the predetermined stakeholder groups - Researchers, Librarians and Publishers to engage in stakeholder specific discussion. I ended up on the Researchers table, Publishers had three tables and it became very apparent about the ratio of Librarians, Researcher and Publishers in the room. Some key points from each below:

Researchers – Alastair Horne, Doctoral Researcher, Bath Spa University and the British Library

  • Group of many hats, the divided self - what the researcher wants as a producer and a consumer
  • What is the biggest impact for them, less concern with Open Access (OA) to publish in - more for accessing content, focus on compliance can lead to tick box approach, do we need publishers? GitHub as a collaboration tool etc, differing problems balancing requirements and prestige
  • Researchers publishing more on blogs as finding it hard to publish in journals
  • Turning the publisher business model upside down – libraries publishing with little cost
  • Elsevier is the devil in the room
  • No one understands how Article Processing Charges (APCs) are decided (zero transparency)
Librarians – Helen Blanchett, Scholarly Communications, Subject Specialist, JISC

  • Costs – double dipping and tied into multi-year deals
  • Value for library users
  • Researchers’ slaves to REF, moving goal posts - everything changing all the time in the policy landscape, keeping systems is difficult, changes in publishing industry
  • Predatory publishers
  • More transparency around APCs
  • Time to publish
  • OA monographs
  • Lack of understanding about publisher processes
  • Some institutions struggle to fund APCs and a business case has to be done to support it
  • Internal structures in libraries – e.g. collections and OA were separate but now teams talking more to each other and need to talk more
Publishers – Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Director of Publishing, Microbiology Society
  • We don't have a ‘landscape’ but a ‘seascape’ which is changing all the time
  • Idea of balance of power, ship of many souls - no individual has the same idea as everyone else about where we are heading
  • A lot of individuals are negative to publishers, are we facilitators or blockers? There is no knight in shining armour - we need to work together with the other stakeholder groups
  • Publishers ‘tolerate’ the impact factor
  • Value add, transparency, collaboration and education
Open Room Discussion
We then took some time to discuss some of the feedback raised as well as other thoughts in the room – to be honest I felt this should have been longer to give more people the opportunity to speak and really hash out some of the issues that some people really felt strongly about. I felt that some people were overly quiet. Some of these topics are included below:
  • Gatekeepers – are these publishers now also information professionals – is the publisher a curator (e.g. because of DOIs etc.) as well as an information professional? If we have no fences, do we even need gates?
  • Feeling the need for more transparency and support for what an author should do after publication from Publishers – Emerald’s post publication email was mentioned as a great example and I know from personal experience and contribution that Wiley do a great job here too as another example
  • JISC looking to support UK level of archiving and accessibility
  • UCL is a great example of a university press
  • Publishers should be transparent with APCs - what money is going where 
  • John Tenants report on Elsevier
Jeremy Frey, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Southampton
  • What is open? Be transparent as possible – record the story behind the research (notebooks), coding in GitHub, sharing standards etc
  • Life as an academic can be impossible - ideas, funding, people to collaborate with, admin, results, teaching, publishing and demonstrating/improving impact
  • Research is a cost to universities unless have funders
  • Impact is important - what goes in the REF, what assessed for and how he keeps his job
  • Some research is immediately impactful, some will be relevant in 100 years
  • Vision - look at the impact of digitization on the whole process
  • Publishers to support new technologies - e.g. QR code and augmented virtual reality in article
  • Publishes at the beginning of the academic year as library has the money
  • Importance of students understanding publishing process
  • Open data - how can we get the data from an article, what is the providence and how reuse?
  • More supplementary data to be on publishers’ site
  • How do we go from here? 2019 is a dramatic year for chemistry and science - anniversary of periodical table, IUPAC 100 years, and redefining SI – loss of the kg
  • Transition from print to e and pre-print support
  • Scientists not believed anymore - how do we change this?
  • Not all chemists wear lab coats
Helen Dobson, Scholarly Communications Manager, University of Manchester Library 
  • Sense of feeling like making it up as you go along
  • Policy - complex framework that is so complicated – in six years already seen two rounds
  • Importance of library voice being heard by University
  • REF - that is where the money is and the pressure is
  • Plan S – helping to standardize policies but publishers taking parts of it and not clear which parts yet – funders should standardize
  • All these conversations going on separately, we need to talk to each other, are we talking the same language just sometimes using different terminology. We need to all start talking the same language
  • Invited by publishers to review products as part of RLUK – when works, works well
  • Developed a system with a deposit form to make it easier for researchers to deposit their work in institution repository
  • Developing simple systems to reduce OA admin
  • Library has to do lots of checking – systems like PURE and JISC Monitor Local aren’t fulfilling their needs and needing to do more manual work for reporting
  • Need to keep talking about systems - working smarter together on quick wins whilst waiting on the bigger developments
Bill Kasdorf, Kasdorf and Associates
  • The Oxford word of the year – TOXIC, The word of Scholarly Publishing is Open
  • Open = Toxic?
  • ‘Open’ feels precarious to many publishers
  • Researchers feel OA is not as open as you think it is
  • The world we are in is all about open science - funder info, research, etc
  • Open doesn't equal free
  • Open standards and open technologies are key to open access
  • Open examples - Editoria, eLife and Accessibility
    • Editoria - open source platform
    • eLife - actively collaborating - Coko and Hindawi partnership to develop xPub MS submission and peer review. Have an initiative called ScienceBean - open tools - looking to unlock 40million records
    • Accessibility - make it something we take for granted - the publication should be born accessible
  • EPUB3 is based on Open Web Platform - schema.org
  • Room comment - No one is talking about the China policies - what about policies from other countries? China data policy issues - China publishing landscape changing - more open access journals being created that are good quality. In 10 years there will be a more Chinese centric approach. We'll start submitting to English language Chinese journals. People will be going over there for research jobs.
Afternoon Breakout Session – Summary of Sessions
Helen Blanchett, Scholarly Communications, Subject Specialist, JISC 
Librarian focused - issues with outcomes - policy/funders, REF, manual process, standards, PIDs, metadata, communications with publishers and libraries - what published and when - publications JISC - manuscripts end up in repository, publication checklist for researchers about what to do next, primary focus has been on UK mandates, funding - how are APC funds managed, libraries and publishers trying to do the same training - can they work together? Maybe researchers more attracted to publisher session than library session, collection action - university presses, UCL.

Alastair Horne, Doctoral Researcher, Bath Spa University and the British Library
Researchers - measurement of research - imperfections of impact factor, abandoning journals entirely. Researchers need to know more about what publishers do and what they contribute to the process.

Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Director of Publishing, Microbiology Society 
Publishers - we all generalize too much, Publishers need to be more transparent and Publishers need to do more – e.g. send the papers to preprint repository services.

Wrap Up
It seems the day was a success for most and some interesting points were made – however we can discuss things as much as we like – it depends if there is going to be any action – I’d like to see some people taking ownership helping to drive some actions forward – there are often key players in the room who have the ‘authority’ to do this.

One point I commented towards the end is that as a consultancy we have a number of commissioned research projects we’re involved with and I know many other industry colleagues do these too. There must be some really great commissioned research out there held on servers that can be made open access through figshare for example so it gets a DOI for all the industry to benefit from – we can only improve and get better together.

Of course, some is competitively sensitive so could have an embargo, and some of course is commercially sensitive so it won’t see the outside of the boardroom but it would be great if publishers and intermediaries collaborated more and shared their insights, beyond the meet ups and discussions usually held at a more senior level – which on some occasions isn’t filtered down the team structure.

If we want scientists to collaborate with open data/open science, why don’t we lead the way?


Post a Comment