PSP Pre-Conference: The Culture of Free: Publishing in an Era of Changing Expectations (part 2)

These are a continuation of my notes. This portion has been transcribed from my scribble - I was sitting on stage for the second half of the day so live blogging didn't really seem appropriate 🙁 If there is something wrong, not malicious, just bad handwriting.


Diane Harley, Senior Researcher and Director, Higher Education in the Digital Age Project

She's an anthropologist who has long studied the issues around new technology for scholarship and teaching. She's not an advocate for any particular type of approach for integrating new technology. She looks at value systems and faculty behavior. They started this study because there was a perceived lack of willingness of faculty to change to new models. They had a planning stage and now the study. Both were qualitative, 50 interviews in 5 disciplines for planning and 166 in 7 areas of scholarship for the second. They asked questions about dissemination of research at various stages, sharing of information (in old or new media venues), public engagement, resources needs/uses... There are 12 disciplinary case studies. They studied researchers at elite institutions (all over the place, not just CA), of lots of different ranks. They also tracked online exchanges in blogs and twitter.

Nothing is free. Who pays for faculty and what is faculty delivering for the money? The salary pays for their time, grant writing, all of the things that go with research, writing (lots), dissemination, peer reviewing (internal for org, for gov't, for publishing). New media creates new costs. Access to scholarship is required, but is paid for elsewhere (by library institutional licenses). They want their stuff accessible to the right audience in the right timeframe. They want the highest prestige outlet possible (can each name the top 3-5 in their specialty) and they require peer review as a filter. They need credit and protection from being ripped off. Expect high production value, persistence, and back-end data support.

The  researchers didn't bring up peer review, but the participants did. It's super important. Many worry that untested systems have inadequate peer review. On the other hand, if peer review is deeply embedded, they're willing to try new systems. They believe that new systems (with review) should go towards promotion and tenure. She was surprised that the younger scholars were conservative - not willing to experiment until they got tenure (oh, but see Covi (2000)). Reputation relies on publication but also on more informal dissemination channels like conferences and op-ed pieces.

Sharing depended a lot on the personality and traditions of the discipline. None share half-baked work with the public immediately - only with a trusted circle. The "working papers" are still read by others before being posted to Repec or Arxiv. In bio, there is no working paper culture at all (as with some other high competition and fast moving)

audience q1: conservative students? a: yep

q2: they want free? a: no, they expect it to be provided to them by libraries

q3: outreach? a: after tenure


My presentation:

Pikas Psp Presentation February 2010

View more presentations from cpikas.


Philip M. Davis, PhD Student, Cornell

He made a very complex argument using economics and the theories of intellectual property to really say that the whole metaphor of information as property doesn't work because it's not excludable, it's not scarce, it's non-rivalous (oh that's no the right word)... all that stuff. OA advocates frame their discussion in happy terms like open access whereas publishers use closed. There are 4 theories of intellectual property (I think he cited: Biagioli, M., & Galison, P. (2003). Scientific authorship: Credit and intellectual property in science. New York, NY: Routledge - but I'm not sure which chapter): utility, per(illegible - this is about creative expression), social planning, and labor.  I'm going to dice this trying to summarize, but basically the information needs to be disseminated and everyone wants that, but the authors trade their effort and in return publishers provide registration - so this is really a labor argument (they should be paid for the value they add). OA proponents use utility and social planning arguments. These are really quite irreconcilable. Davis doesn't like FRPAA because it gives neither side what it's asking for. The public does not get immediate access and the publishers aren't fairly paid for their labor (if I got him right).


Kent Anderson, Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery

(boy do these folks move around)

He did a good job of summing up our talks.

One bit of discussion at the end was about publishing data and even if data that is incorporated into articles (like at OSA) needs to be peer reviewed separately and how that might be done. How publishers deal with large datasets - not as supplemental, but as embedded. Harley mentioned more about sharing data and I mentioned some things I'd heard.


Covi, L. M. (2000). Debunking the myth of the Nintendo generation: How doctoral students introduce new electronic communication practices into university research. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 51(14), 1284-1294. doi:10.1002/1097-4571(2000)9999:9999<::AID-ASI1045>3.0.CO;2-Z (wtf was wiley thinking with this crazy doi?)

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