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Evolution and innovation in publishing, scholarly and otherwise
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DRM-free, and proud: Why Osprey is thriving in publishing's digital present

DRM-free, and proud: Why Osprey is thriving in publishing's digital present | Publishing | Scoop.it

Rebecca Smart (@RebecSmart), CEO of Osprey (@OspreyBooks) writes:

 

'I am CEO of Osprey Group, a UK-based international publishing company focused on producing the best content for enthusiasts across a broad range of specialist areas including military history, heritage and nostalgia, transport history, crafts, antiques, science fiction and fantasy. Osprey Group publishes under four brands: Osprey Publishing, Shire, Old House and Angry Robot. A fifth brand, Strange Chemistry (YA genre fiction), will launch in September 2012 and a crime fiction brand, Exhibit A, will follow in Spring 2013. What defines us is not what we create but for whom we create. Osprey Group publishes books and content based on subject enthusiasms and passions, whether authoritative technical data on the military technology of World War II, a history of the Great Western Railway or an edgy genre novel set in near-future South Africa.

 

We have recently announced the launch of an Osprey DRM-free series of ebooks, but in fact all of Osprey’s military history books are sold DRM-free on our website already, in both PDF and ePub format. In our science fiction brand, Angry Robot, we sell ebooks DRM-free on our websites, and always have.

 

Why? The basics

 

We agree with two of the fundamental, well-worn arguments against DRM:

 

1) DRM does not work

 

DRM is pointless. It doesn’t stop those who are determined to avoid paying for content, and acts as a barrier for those who will happily pay, preventing them using their content on all devices. It protects large corporations from innocent consumers and actively encourages those who would steal to do so in order to spite those same large corporations.

 

2) Obscurity vs piracy

 

We are a small, independent publisher and we know that obscurity is a far greater enemy than piracy for us and our authors. Osprey’s military history books have been pirated as scans of print copies for many years and we have evidence that the transmission of pirate copies has led to purchases. This has not changed since the advent of ebooks. Having read the now infamous Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered, I noted the following comment: I might not have spent my money on a freaky krautrock album that had the potential to thrill or repel me when safer buying choices were available ... if I were to cease all illegal downloading, this would necessarily restrict my listening habits.

 

Why? Niches and brands

 

But the bigger reason for our no-DRM philosophy is that our core business model is based upon repeat sales to loyal customers. When you publish for an enthusiast, niche market, the relationship between author, publisher and reader becomes symbiotic. The publisher creates and evolves the brand as a platform, providing an attractive home for the author, who in turn promotes the brand and his or her fellow authors as part of the ‘gang’. The reader knows what to expect from the brand and from the authors, and also wants to be part of the gang. Not surprisingly, in a relationship like this, copyright becomes self-policing – we have evidence of readers scolding those who point others to a source of pirated content. Additionally, the lack of DRM shows customers that we trust them, and this in itself increases their loyalty to the brand and reduces the likelihood of piracy.

 

The world does not owe the publishing industry a living

 

I worry that the publishing industry is protesting too much. All the resistance to any kind of copyright reform, and insistence on DRM, makes publishers appear like whining children. The world does not owe the publishing industry a living and we need to prove that we add value. But the world does need to support creation, and that means somebody has to fund it. The only sensible way to do this is for those who consume creations to value them and pay for them. The Osprey Group approach is to ensure that readers do just that, because what we do matters to them. I refer you again to the Letter to Emily White post (it really is good), where another comment states: I remember the first time I walked into a record store and bought a CD without my parents paying for it ... I played the shit out of that CD. There was something magical about music ownership ... I want the magic back. We, as publishers, have an opportunity, even a duty, to bring back the magic.'

 

[AS: I've been a great admirer of Rebecca's vision and persistence since i first met her at a London Book Fair in 2009, shortly after I left publishing.

 

Osprey have introduced numerous digital innovations in the interim. None of these developments may have been deemed earth-shattering when considered in isolation, but when viewed as a body of work, this is quite simply what innovation in digital publishing looks like.]

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Crisis in academic publishing

Crisis in academic publishing | Publishing | Scoop.it

"In almost every country in the world, research is supported by public funds. When researchers publish their results in academic journals, they do so for free. The results are also reviewed by peers for free. And journals often require researchers to give up their rights to these articles.

 

Then, major publishers or learned societies sell their journals at exorbitant prices to libraries... which are also financed by public funds! It's a vicious circle in which taxpayers pay for the production and access to researchers while publishers and societies make profits of 30-45% before taxes. It's outrageous!" exclaimed Jean-Claude Guédon.

 

This professor of comparative literature at the Université de Montréal is far from being the only one to protest. In recent months, more than 11,000 researchers worldwide have expressed their dissatisfaction through a petition calling for a boycott of Elsevier. This academic publishing giant earned profits of more than US $1.1 billion in 2011.

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Open access is the future of academic publishing, says Finch report

Open access is the future of academic publishing, says Finch report | Publishing | Scoop.it

Professor Dame Janet Finch, a sociologist at the University of Manchester, was asked by the government to consult with academics and publishers on how the UK could make the scientific research funded by taxpayers available free of charge while maintaining high standards of peer review and without undermining the UK's successful publishing industry.

 

"In the longer term, the future lies with open access publishing," said Finch at the launch of her report on Monday. "The UK should recognise this change, should embrace it and should find ways of managing it in a measured way."

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The downward status slide of top scholarly journals

The downward status slide of top scholarly journals | Publishing | Scoop.it

New research has revealed a drop in the dominance of top scholarly journals.

 

According to a research team led by Canadian scholar George Lozano, the relationship between the citation of individual papers and the journal which publishes them has weakened over the last 20 years

 

Since 1990, the top 10 per cent of most cited journals have lost a 4 per cent of most cited papers, declining to 52 per cent.

 

The finding is significant for the open access movement, which seeks to end the monopoly of the legacy commercial publishers that restrict access to publicly funded research to paying customers.

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Enhanced ebooks distract children from the story and stop them remembering narrative details

Enhanced ebooks distract children from the story and stop them remembering narrative details | Publishing | Scoop.it

Researchers at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center in New York worked with 32 pairs of parents and their three to six-year-old children for the small study, Print Books vs Ebooks, which gave each family a print book and either a basic ebook or an enhanced ebook version of the same title.

 

Enhanced ebooks were found to distract children from the story, and their bells and whistles prevented children from remembering as many narrative details.

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Elsevier General Counsel concedes OA mandates do not violate US copyright law

Peter Suber introduces a video of a panel discussion held on April 9 at Harvard Law School wherein he discussed the copyright aspects of federal open-access policy with Mark Seeley, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Elsevier. The event was sponsored by the American Bar Association Committee on University Intellectual Property Law. The 68 minute video is now online.

 

 

Peter writes:

 

'Watch at roughly minute 8 for Mark to concede that the OA mandate at the NIH, and similar OA policies, are lawful. Watch again at minutes 16 and 18 when we pick up that question again for clarification and more explicit discussion.'

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How, exactly, will Waterstones 'make the Kindle experience better?'

Try as I might, I see neither the logic in nor any compelling reason to believe that Waterstones will 'make the Kindle experience better' (00:38) for me.

 

I have a Kindle.

 

I buy books via the Kindle store. At home. Waiting for a train. In bed. Wherever.

 

Never, however, in Waterstones.

 

Bizarre.

 

Also, I drawing a veil over how we got from Amazon being a 'a ruthless, money-making devil' in Waterstone's opinion to their becoming a partner of choice. Clearly, there's no logic here -- merely financial expediency.

 

That said, there appears to be little logic to the endgame of highstreet bookselling in general. Desperate times, desperate measures -- same conclusion.

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EU commits its £64B research funding program to open access

EU commits its £64B research funding program to open access | Publishing | Scoop.it

An official at the European Commission, which is drafting proposals for the Horizon 2020 program, said that for researchers receiving funding from its program between 2014 and 2020, open-access publishing "will be the norm." A pilot under way in seven areas of its current funding program will be extended to become a mandate across all peer-reviewed research in the new scheme, which will cover fields ranging from particle physics to social science.

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Moving the prestige to open access publishing

Moving the prestige to open access publishing | Publishing | Scoop.it

Jessica P. Hekman writes:

 

"The prestige problem has plagued open access from the start[...] So how to put power back in their hands?

 

By actually moving the prestige to open access. A big name endorsement of a journal article doesn’t have to come from publication in a big name journal. It can come from faculty at a big name university.

 

I propose that Harvard faculty members organize to volunteer their editorial services in identifying and recommending the best new open access articles in their field, after those articles have been published. Get the publications out there, decide if they’re important later. Yes, this is post publication peer review, which has been suggested before, but it involves the same peers as our current system of pre publication peer review."

 

[AS: Great post, great idea, and another excellent reason to move from filter>publish to publish>filter scholarly publishing]

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Academics say the cost of knowledge is too great

Academics say the cost of knowledge is too great | Publishing | Scoop.it

"As you can imagine, when library budgets are flat and journal prices are going up by 9-10% per year,cancellations (of journal subscriptions) are the inevitable result," said Rick Anderson, acting dean of the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

 

Anderson estimates that BYU, the U. and USU, Utah's three big research schools, collectively spend about $20 million each year on academic journals. The cost is millions more when the rest of the state's schools are costs are added.

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UK to make academic research available free on the net

UK to make academic research available free on the net | Publishing | Scoop.it

The UK plans to give the public access to academic research via the internet free of charge.

The government said that Wikipedia's co-founder Jimmy Wales had agreed to advise it on how to ensure the move would promote "collaboration and engagement".

The decision will have major implications for the publishing industry.

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Martin Fenner is technical lead for the PLoS Article Level Metrics (ALM) project

Martin Fenner is technical lead for the PLoS Article Level Metrics (ALM) project | Publishing | Scoop.it

Martin Fenner (@mfenner) writes:

 

'Starting May 16 I will be working full-time as technical lead for the PLoS Article Level Metrics (ALM) project. I will help with development of the PLoS ALM application, and will do community developer outreach for this project.'

 

[AS: On a personal note, I couldn't be more delighted that Martin will be steering this vital project. Martin is well known for the intelligent, informed contributions he has made to discussions around OA and the evolution of scholarly publishing, and his support for #hcsmeu since its inception in 2009 has also been appreciated by its membership.]

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Time for change in academic publishing

Time for change in academic publishing | Publishing | Scoop.it

The aim of academic journals is to make the best research widely available. Many have ended up doing the opposite. It is time that changed.

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Publishers 'can't imagine what else they'll do for a living once the publishing companies collapse'

Publishers 'can't imagine what else they'll do for a living once the publishing companies collapse' | Publishing | Scoop.it
Book publishing as we know it is dying. Publishers don't want to recognize this reality, because they can't imagine what else they'll do for a living once their companies collapse. But collapse they will, and here's why.
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PeerJ aims to tip the scales in the debate over scientific publishing

PeerJ aims to tip the scales in the debate over scientific publishing | Publishing | Scoop.it

Will PeerJ (@PeerJ) be a commercial success and will it accelerate the shift to open access?

 

"I think it's significant," said Mark Ware, an analyst at research and advisory firm Outsell Inc. "But authors are a pretty conservative bunch, and whether or not they will want to play by these new rules remains to be seen."

 

Ware noted that the pricing strategy for PeerJ has a compelling "viral" element. Papers are invariably authored by teams of scientists -- and they would all need to be paying members of PeerJ to be published there.

 

The founders of the new journal are credible, Ware says. "You've got a combination of three people who are all serious players... Are these investible people? I would say yes."

 

[AS: So would I... :) ]

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Pay (less) to publish: ambitious journal aims to disrupt scholarly publishing

Pay (less) to publish: ambitious journal aims to disrupt scholarly publishing | Publishing | Scoop.it

The push to open access to scientific publications has seen some remarkable successes this year. After publishers appeared to overreach by pushing to revoke the US government's existing open access policy, researchers started boycotting one of the bill's backers. A competing bill was introduced that would compel more government agencies to make their work available via open access, and a similar White House petition has received over 25,000 signatures. Even the editor-in-chief of Nature now considers open access an inevitability.

 

Publishers that offer open access options need to recoup their costs without subscription fees, however, and had researchers pay for their publications with charges that are generally over $1,000. Now, a new open access journal is being launched that aims to turn the finances on their head. Researchers will only have to pay a one-time fee of $259 to gain lifetime publishing privileges in the journal, which will focus on biology research. Ars talked to the publisher, Peter Binfeld, to find out how the new peer-reviewed, biology-focused PeerJ will work.

 

Binfeld believes that open access to research has reached an inflection point. "It feels like we've turned a hockey-stick corner of a disruption curve, and open access is now picking up, and I think everyone can see that," he said. Unfortunately, open access publishing, though free for readers, costs researchers a lot of money. PeerJ is a "great opportunity to experiment with a different business model, a different payment model."

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Edanz Journal Selector can help authors overcome publication barriers

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Three easy rules for staying in business when you're an academic publisher

Three easy rules for staying in business when you're an academic publisher | Publishing | Scoop.it

Bjorn Brembs (@Brembs) writes:

 

1) Don't insult or threaten your customers. If, for instance, they complain about your mistakes, apologize and promise to not make that mistake again.


2) Don't charge your customers so much that you make profits which would make Steve Jobs rotate in his grave in envy. Like people looking into Apple's business practices in China, people will start checking where these profits come from, if they're seen as too excessive. That's the case for any business, but especially so if the money you're charging comes from tax-payers who weren't asked if they want to line your shareholders' pockets with their hard-earned cash.

 

3) Finally and perhaps most importantly: Make sure you have a good case for charging the money you charge. If you try to prevent publication of the part of the work you didn't add your value to (i.e., the preprints of the scientists who submitted their work to you), you send the unmistakable message that you find your contribution to scholarly communication to be so worthless, that nobody would pay anything for it and that you expect people to rather would read the work without your added value, then pay for your added value. In other words, believe in the product you're selling, or don't try to sell it.

 

Heeding these three simple rules won't guarantee you stay in business, but violating them will almost certainly guarantee you'll be out of business soon - with about the same certainty with which one could predict that anybody would turn and run from a charging lion.

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PLoS Computational Biology meets Wikipedia

PLoS Computational Biology meets Wikipedia | Publishing | Scoop.it

From a PLoS Computational Biology editorial:

 

This month, we have published our first Topic Page on “Circular Permutations in Proteins” by Spencer Bliven and Andreas Prlić [6] as part of our Education section. Topic Pages are the version of record of a page to be posted to (the English version of) Wikipedia. In other words, PLoS Computational Biology publishes a version that is static, includes author attributions, and is indexed in PubMed. In addition, we intend to make the reviews and reviewer identities of Topic Pages available to our readership.

 

Our hope is that the Wikipedia pages subsequently become living documents that will be updated and enhanced by the Wikipedia community, assuming they are in keeping with Wikipedia's guidelines and policies, either by individuals, or, perhaps as is already happening in medicine and molecular and cell biology, by something more organized, or with a more formal review structure. We also hope this will lead to improved scholarship in a changing medium of learning, in this case made possible by the Creative Commons Attribution License that we use.

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Obama administration petitioned re open access to research funded by taxpayers

Obama administration petitioned re open access to research funded by taxpayers | Publishing | Scoop.it

The wording of the petition in full:

 

"WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:


Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.

 

We believe in the power of the Internet to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed the research process and increase the return on our investment in scientific research.

 

The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research."

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On the UK Working Group on Expanding Access

While David Willetts, the U.K. Minister of State for Universities and Science, indicated that the government still does not have all aspects of an implementation plan in place, he outlined two activities already under development:

 

1) An independent working group, The Working Group on Expanding Access, chaired by Dame Judy Finch, was commissioned in 2011 and is “examining key issues of principle and practice that would be involved in increasing access to published outputs via the routes of, respectively, (i) greater take-up of open-access publishing, (ii) open-access repositories and (iii) development of national licensing.” The Working Group is expected to report its findings this spring, and it will serve as the foundation for further next steps.

 

2) Funding is already in place for the development of a U.K. “Gateway to Research” (GTR) web-based portal that will “enable greater public access to Research-Council funded research information and simplify networking between researchers and SMEs.” It is scheduled for launch in 2013.

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If we can set a goal to sequence the human genome for $100, then why can't we do the same for academic publishing?

If we can set a goal to sequence the human genome for $100, then why can't we do the same for academic publishing? | Publishing | Scoop.it

Academic publishing for the Web age. Open access and Peer-reviewed. Starting at $99 for life.

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The great publishing swindle: the high price of academic knowledge

The great publishing swindle: the high price of academic knowledge | Publishing | Scoop.it

One of the great outrages of academia in the modern age is the privatisation of the profits accruing to publicly-financed knowledge.

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Life after Elsevier: making open access to scientific knowledge a reality

Life after Elsevier: making open access to scientific knowledge a reality | Publishing | Scoop.it

As more than 10,000 scientists pledge to boycott Elsevier on the Cost of Knowledge website, its creator Tyler Neylon looks to the future.

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Google Scholar allows authors to receive citation reports automatically

Google Scholar allows authors to receive citation reports automatically | Publishing | Scoop.it

Bertalan Meskó, MD (@berci) writes:

 

Did you know that authors of scholarly articles can now create Google Scholar profiles and receive citation reports automatically?

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