26 August 2016

BMC Ecology image competition: results

Well, it's that time of year when we get to post lots of nice pictures courtesy of the open access journal BMC Ecology. Each year BMC Ecology runs a photographic image competition to celebrate biodiversity and the beauty of the natural environment, and this year it coincides with St Andrews Photography Festival which is a nice coincidence! The theme of this year's competition was the interaction between nature and human activity and technology.

Overall winner: “The striking landscape of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park during sunrise. This south African park is characterized by vast arid landscapes with red dunes, sparse vegetation and camel thorn trees.” Attribution: Davide Gaglio. CC BY
Winner, Community, Population, and Macroecology: “I was snorkeling in a remote lagoon in the Sudanese Red Sea when I was suddenly surrounded by hundreds of spinner dolphins. The school stayed around for hours, visibly enjoying the interaction with snorkelers in the water. The school was clearly subdivided into dozens of smaller groups of either females with their offspring or adult males.” Attribution: Julia Spät. CC BY
“This photo of a herd of waterbuck in the morning mist was taken by a motion-detecting trail camera in the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. A network of fifty trail cameras were set up by Paola Bouley, a researcher who is studying how the lion population is rebounding in Gorongosa after decades of war devastated wildlife populations. Hundreds of thousands of photos that she and her team have collected are available for citizen scientists to help her identify on the website WildCam Gorongosa. Waterbuck are a common sight in Gorongosa as their population has exploded to over 34,000 individuals up from only a few hundred after the war. Scientists are studying the waterbuck population to learn why they are experiencing such rapid growth.” Attribution: Chuck Schultz (Science Education Department, Howard Hughes Medical Institute). CC BY

This is just a small selection of the images published this year, in total there were 26 images, all licensed under a CC BY attribution licence, so they are free to reuse, copy and distribute.

The Editorial complete with all images can be found here: 10.1186/s12898-016-0090-z

“This image was taken in Adelaide Botanic garden [in 2016]. Rainbow lorikeets are such colorful parrots that it is hard to mistake them for other species. The related Scaly-breasted lorikeet is similar in size and shape, but can be distinguished by its all-green head and body.” Attribution: Abd Al-Bar Al-Farha (University of Adelaide, Australia). CC BY

10 August 2016

Flipping journals to Open Access: an extensive Harvard University literature review

Harvard University last week released an extensive 224 page literature review on subscription journals flipping to Open Access. The review's principal aim is to "disentangle different options", in order to "help publishers deliberate intelligently about their options". In total the authors find 15 options available to journals wanting to flip to OA, and interestingly 5 of these do not involve levying charges (most commonly referred to as Article Processing Charges).

The inclusion of so many non-APC reliant flipping pathways is very illuminating and certainly will be news to some people.
"Truncating or oversimplifying the range of options causes harm. For example, as noted, many stakeholders believe that there’s only one business model for OA journals, namely, charging APCs. This assumption has never been true and has never even been close. Every measurement for more than a decade has shown that roughly three-quarters of OA journals charge no author-side fees at all, and in fact, that roughly three-quarters of subscription journals charge author-side fees on top of their reader-side fees. The false assumption that all OA journals charge APCs stultifies the debate by limiting discussion to the one best-known option. It also stultifies the deliberations of publishers who believe, perhaps correctly, that the best-known option won’t work for them, and therefore conclude, prematurely, that no model will work for them." (Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. p. 4)
In the introduction Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and editor of the review, mentions the value of the review in offering a resource for libraries struggling with rising subscription prices. He suggests that the rising cost of subscriptions could be a catalyst to stimulate talks about flipping to OA, given that another possible outcome is losing subscriptions entirely which benefits neither side.
"Academic Librarians are in a good position to make the case that converting to OA is better than cancellation, for everyone, and that new evidence shows that converting to OA can preserve or enhance readership, submissions, quality, and financial sustainability." (Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. p. 5)
Solomon, David, J. Mikael Laakso, and Bo-Christer Björk (authors). Peter Suber (editor). 2016. Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27803834. CC-BY