Debunking the myths of Open Access

Myth: Open Access journals are not peer-reviewed.
Reality: Most OA journals conduct peer-review, just like their subscription brethren. An inspection of the website of a journal helps you tell if the journal is doing quality work.

  • How many articles have they published, are those articles found in curated databases such as Scopus or Pubmed (NB: Google Scholar is not a curated database, it’s a scrape of the web).
  • Is the publisher listed at DOAJ?
  • How many readers do their articles have on Mendeley?
  • Are the articles consistent in appearance, readable, well-formatted, free from typographical errors, etc.

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Myth: Publishing in Open Access journals is the only way that peer-reviewed articles can be Open Access.

Reality: There are two routes through which OA can be delivered – gold OA is through journals and green OA via repositories. The belief that all OA articles are gold hasn’t been true since the beginning of the OA movement and, in fact, in almost all fields (bar medicine and biomedical sciences), OA publication in green.

roarOne reason for the misconception is that open access repositories are a relatively novel and less well-known resource. In this digital age however, there is ever increasing access to repositories – many of which listed on the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR). These repositories are a great source for the (legal) sharing of published, peer-reviewed articles.

Myth: Publishing in Open Access journals is expensive.
Reality: Costs for publishing in OA journals are often on par with page charges or color figure fees in subscription journals. Many universities have institutional funds that can be used to pay these fees, many publishers will waive fees for those with substantiated financial hardship, and some society journals don’t charge anything at all. There are low cost options, too, such as PeerJ (Heliyon, which is an Elsevier journal comparable to PLOS ONE and has a comparable publication fee).

However, it’s well known that many peer-reviewed OA journals do not charge publishing fees – the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has been tracking the number of fee-less OA journals for almost a decade, and recently reported that more than 60% of peer-reviewed Open Access journals are free to publish in.

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Myth: Open Access authors pay author-side fees themselves.
Reality: A study carried out by the Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP) revealed that <15% of author-side fees are paid by the authors themselves; the vast majority of these fees are covered by funders and occasionally by universities.

study of open access publishingIn addition to this, authors who follow the green (rather than gold) OA publishing practice, never pay any fees to do so. Through gold OA publishing, roughly one third of peer-reviewed OA journals have author-side fees. This means that only one third of <15% of OA authors have to front up the cash for the publication of their article – despite half of peer-reviewed OA articles being published in fee-based journals!

Myth: Sending my best work to an Open Access journal will harm my career.

Reality: OA publication can be the best way to get your work out there. It’s often faster, disseminated more broadly, and could even be more highly cited.

Myth: Publishing Open Access means giving up the widely-recognized brand names that colleagues respect.

Reality: Many of the largest funders now require OA publication, and no publisher wants to exclude good work. You can still publish in Cell, Science, or Nature – just pick the open access option when your article is accepted.

Myth: Traditional publishing prevents authors from making that same work available through Open Access channels.
Reality: Many traditional publishers actual allow authors to follow through on green OA routes, and others will do so upon request – see the Sherpa RoMEO database to find out more about various publisher policies. This sort of green OA is lawful, despite the rights having been given to the publisher. Even when this is not the case, authors could retain the rights through author addenda or Rights-retention policies of employers or funding bodies (e.g. the Wellcome Trust, NIH, Harvard and many other universities).

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Myth: I have my pre-prints on my website (or in a repository, like arXiv). I don’t need Open Access.
Reality: You are in fact already practicing OA – a form called “green OA” to distinguish it from paid “gold OA” – Congrats!

Myth: Academic freedom is restricted when authors are forced to publish Open Access.

Reality: While this may hold true for gold OA, it certainly doesn’t for green! Green routes are entirely congruous with traditional, non-oOA publication. For this reason, it is important to ensure clarity between gold and green OA, especially in the context of OA mandates that may be imposed upon researchers.

(See the this weeks Guardian articles on Open Access myths and last year’s on Open Access challenges for even more information)

"Mendeley is simplifying my life" – Dr Eloi Pineda tells us about his experience with Mendeley.

Here at Mendeley Headquarters, we love to hear back from our users – especially when they have a good experience using Mendeley.

Today’s guest blog post comes from Dr Eloi Pineda (Professor Agregat, Departament de Física i Enginyeria Nuclear, Escola Superior d’Agricultura de Barcelona (ESAB), Spain). Dr Pineda tells us how he uses Mendeley to make his work easier, and how he shares this resource with his students.

eloiI’m thankful to Mendeley, it helps me in my daily routines both as a professor and as a researcher.

I strongly encourage my students, undergraduates as well as graduates, to use Mendeley for organising their bibliographic references and writing perfect bibliographies on their assignments. This is something we usually do with the Library support: a librarian comes to our classroom at the beginning of the term and shows students the basics of Mendeley: creating an account, downloading desktop version, installing the web importer at their browser, etc… I suggest them to download the recommended reading list for my subject Biomaterials in the Biosystems and Agri-Food Engineering degrees. I ask students to work in groups so they have to create new groups on Mendeley and share references with their classmates. Each group works accordingly with different aspects of the Biomaterials course: Classes and properties of materials, characterization techniques, synthesis methods and applications. The recommended reading list is uploaded on the online campus application and linked straight to the library catalogue, from where they can export the references to Mendeley. Feedback about the exercise is so positive and they really like the drag & drop documents from their computers.

After that, I invite students to look for some academic papers such as journal articles or conference proceedings from Google Scholar and ask them to download some full text files if there are no copyright infringements on doing it. They begin the work in group exercise: they must read an article and they must work with it, this means underlining it, making notes, sharing the information with their team-mates and, of course, deliver a bibliography with the references they collected from Google Scholar.

It’s a simple exercise, but accomplishes a very first step that we, the library and the professors want: be aware that all the information you use has to be cited in order to acknowledge the deserved credit to authors. It shows students what it’s going to be the learning process at the university: look for some information, in this case Google Scholar, select relevant documents, save them in Mendeley and cite them in a bibliography, and it also anticipates the first step towards how to write a scholarly record.

In the case of graduate students, who are more used to bibliographic software as we researchers are, they appreciate not only the friendly interface that to me distinguishes Mendeley from other applications, but also the social network interaction. Adding friends, and posting on the dashboard is something they really like and use it to advice on the documents related to their areas of interest. They also like to follow colleagues from other departments working in the same topics. I think this social dimension of science is really interesting. Graduate students work with multiple databases and it is so easy to collect references from different sources and put them together in Mendeley.

From my perspective as a researcher what I have seen is how broadly Mendeley has been adopted within the scholars’ community. I can create groups and share references with my peers around the world. I treasure the openness spirit that runs Mendeley meaning that it is able to accommodate new services for researchers, i.e. integrations with service providers and also with ORCID, the Open Reseacher and Contributor ID.

I’m thrilled to see how Mendeley is simplifying my life.

If you’d like to write a guest blog post about your experiences with Mendely, please contact the Mendeley Community Team.

Announcing a Special Contest for Mendeley Users at University of Toronto and York University.

canada uni may 2015

Celebrate Your Research Team!

At Mendeley we understand that life in a research team is very busy: focusing on your research as well as collaborating with your colleagues and trying to keep up with the latest research in your field. We’re here to help you with your research productivity while trying to make sure you having some fun too!

That’s why we’re introducing a new contest for you called “Celebrate Your Research Team” that will run from June 1st 2015 through to August 1st 2015.

You can win the following:

  • 1st Prize: Mendeley funded Pizza Lunch ($80 gift card) and Mendeley Researcher Edition for your team
  • 2nd & 3rd Prizes (each month): Mendeley Researcher Edition for your team.

Sounds great right?

What is the Mendeley Researcher Edition (MRE)?

Mendeley Researcher Edition (MRE) is a premium version of Mendeley, a reference management tool built on top of one of the world’s largest academic collaboration networks that allows you to do the following:

  1. Create and keep your ‘online profile’ on Mendeley, helping you be more discoverable, connecting you with others, and making it easy for others to follow you.
  2. It’s great for research teams as you can connect with other researchers and share full-text documents (manuscript, readings, etc.) via an unlimited number of private groups. You can form public-Invite only groups to bring together small research groups to further promote and expose what you are working on.  You can set up topical public groups with other researchers to generate interest about your discipline.
  3. It also helps research teams that want to keep on top of the changes in their field as you can utilize the various search and proactive recommendation features such as Mendeley Suggest to alert you on the latest articles, people, and groups you’ll want to know about.
  4. Mendeley Researcher Edition (MRE) is easy to use and comes with 5 GB of cloud storage to manage your documents and references. Mendeley also makes it convenient to create proper citations.

Here’s how you enter:

  •  Make a post in your university’s group with the following information:
    • Your Name & Institution
    • Description of your team’s research focus (50 words max)
    • Tell us how your team uses/would use Mendeley (50 words)
    • Explain why your team should win (80 words)
  • Submit that same information via this form (using your institutional e-mail address, this is so we can verify your information)

The criteria used to determine the winner of this contest is:

25PERCENT

…so be sure to invite your friends and colleagues to the group!

The winner is selected on the last day of every month and an announcement is made via the Mendeley Blog. Those who have won a prize are not eligible to participate in the contest again.

For more information please contact Yath on y.ithayakumar@elsevier.com

Meet our February Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Jacques Raubenheimer

Jacques RaubenheimerJacques is a statistician at the University of Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, but he got his research start in psychology with a PhD in Research Psychology and doing Masters studies in Theology.

Before his current position, he did some other consultation work, and started working at the department of Biostatistics of the UFS in 2008—”a strange jump from research psychology, but statistics is statistics,” he said.

Jacques is also a published author…and what is the subject of one of his books? Mendeley!

We are honored Jacques has chosen to write about us, so we wanted to honor him with Advisor of the Month! Look to the Mendeley Blog for more on Jacques’ book sometime this month.

A bit about his research History

In many ways, I am just a run-of-the-mill academic. My whole academic career has been pursued at chiefly one University, and I hold degrees from only two universities, both South African. So I would not be what you might call an academic rock star (whatever that might be).

The nature of my job means that I don’t get to specialise, so my research role is supportive (statistics) in a wide variety of medical and allied disciplines.

How long have you been on Mendeley?

Just more than a year.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

ProCite. I also toyed with EndNote.

How does Mendeley influence your research?

I can’t imagine anyone seriously considering doing research and not using software for their referencing. But what I love about Mendeley is that I now have an integrated electronic work environment where I can store my annotations (I still did my PhD in the previous millennium off of entirely paper-based reading), organise my sources, and also a means of finding literature relevant to my needs.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

I needed a new RMS package (see above) and so I started looking at alternatives, and pretty much settled on Mendeley. At the same time, because I am something of a resident IT specialist, people around here asked me if I would do training for them in Mendeley, and I saw that the Advisor programme would give me the support I needed to do that—and it has!

How have you been spreading the word about Mendeley?

My book!  =)

I also am using opportunities to present Mendeley training here on my local campus, because if people can see what the program can do, they will be more likely to start using it and will also start telling other people about it.

I also enjoy helping other advisors on the Advisors forum, so I have that bookmarked as a start page on my browser.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Apart from always having to look up things in statistical reference works, I just finished Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business (you’ll be amazed at how many books there are with “The Power of Habit” in their titles). It was fascinating, and I am trying to focus on eliminating bad habits that are messing with my productivity.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

Researchers have non-academic lives too! I enjoy rock climbing, although at a mediocre level—I don’t get as much time to go out climbing now as when I was a student, and I have just (barely) survived my first marathon.

What is the best part about being a researcher?

I love the discovery and the variation. Each study is something new, something stimulating. Every job has its mundane tasks, but research gives me the chance to escape the drudgery.

And the worst?

I must mention two things. First, not getting enough time for my research! Second, when a submitted article is rejected. But both of those are part and parcel of the job, so one has to learn how to deal with them, instead of trying to wish them away. At least the time Mendeley saves helps with point number one!

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

It’s more than just a piece of Reference Management Software! I went to great pains in my book to show that even though Mendeley is currently not (in my opinion, sorry to have to say this), the best RMS program out there (although it is very good), there are more compelling reasons to use Mendeley that more than compensate for its small deficiencies in that area. Mendeley is really living up to its motto of changing the way we do research, by using researchers’ libraries to crowd-source research data. Mendeley provides a new (and I think better) way to discover and evaluate sources. And Mendeley really gets the socially-connected, multi-device milieu of the 21st Century researcher.

Meet our January Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Sjúrður Hammer!

Sjúrður is a PhD Student at the University of Glasgow. Originally from the Faroe Islands, he did his undergraduate degree in Aberdeen and studies the great skua  (Stercorarius skua), a “bad-ass predatory seabird,” he said.

An early adopter all around, he started using Mendeley in 2008, and became Advisor in 2009.

Sjúrður is an active participant in our Mendeley Advisor Group. He starts interesting discussions, raises needed issues, and contributes to the “community spirit of Mendeley,” a phrase he coined during a recent discussion.

(Photo: Sjúrðor and a bad-ass sea bird,)

How and why he went into research

I have always wanted to get into Biology for as long as I remember. From growing up, I remember I was fascinated with the links that some animals had with other animals and organisms – namely the stomach. So I guess I’ve been a closet ecologist long before I knew that it would involve working with either poo or vomit for the rest of my life!

My project involves fieldwork, based around a colony on a small island (which is appropriately named Skúvoy – “skua island”) in the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands, for those of you that don’t know it, is a tiny archipelago island group in between Scotland, Iceland and Norway, and also where I was born and raised.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time visiting various natural history museums, to measure eggshells. Many of the documents and eggs that I search through are several centuries old, so I sometimes feel quite like Indiana Jones in these massive archives. They don’t allow me to bring a whip though.

How Mendeley influences his research

I would probably say that my greatest use of Mendeley is in networking, and collaborating with others within open and closed groups. We have several closed groups within our department, and they allow people to share and retrieve articles of interest, also while they’re in the field.

I quite like to try and fill a curating role on some groups, for example on “Biology Classics” and in collecting all zoological references regarding the Faroes. In the case of the latter I would hope that it would both raise the academic profile of our area, but also make research more accessible for people that maybe don’t have the same access as most full-time academics in Britain.

Why Sjúrðor decided to be an Advisor

When Mendeley advertised for advisors I thought I should try and see if I would accepted. There are obvious perks, but I’ve also wanted to be on the right side of history as the technology is changing how scientific research is done and its impact measured.

What book he is currently reading

I pretty much only read non-fiction these days. On top of the pile there is “A New Environmental Ethics: The Next Millennium for Life on Earth” by Holmes Rolston III.

One thing I’ve always missed from the natural sciences pursuit has been a deeper understanding of the value questions such as – “why is a species extinction bad, why is it wrong to capture and engage large whales or why is it worth to conserve some wetland areas.” The best argument we scientists seem to be able to provide is “it will help humans in the long run” or “think of the information and potential cures for cancer we are destroying.” I think from myself at least, that this is just a very shallow and unrealistic approach to the world, and in recognising that natural science probably doesn’t have the vocabulary to deal with “the why questions,” I have developed an increased interest in that topic. It is still pretty much just a hobby interest.

How Sjúrðor helps spread the word

Everybody in the office laughed about my declaration that I was advisor of the month, because they’ve come to know me as a total Mendeley evangelist! I prefer generally to tell people about Mendeley individually, and then help them get started on it.

A fun fact you may be surprised to know about Sjúrðor

In 2002, I set the Faroese record for most pizza deliveries in a day. I think it was 74, and as far as I know, I’m still holding the record. I think this (after becoming Advisor of the Month) might be the greatest achievement of my life.

The best part about being a researcher

You are constantly learning new things, and it’s a good friendly environment where everyone is generously centred around the appreciation of knowledge in its broadest sense.

And the worst

There are periodic feelings of isolation, as you are most likely the only person in the world that is working on the question you are working on. For most people, it is also quite hard work to secure funding for the research, and that this has to be done continuously.

The one thing Sjúrðor wants people to know about Mendeley

You get at least as much out of it as you put into it, and there is a lot of time saved if you use it while you’re literature searching. The friendly community of researchers is also an obvious bonus!

(answers have been edited for length and clarity)

 

Meet our December Advisor of the Month!

Congratulations and thank you to Andy Tattersall!

Andy TattersallAndy is an Information Specialist at The University of Sheffield and has a background in journalism and Information Management. He started using Mendeley in 2009 and became an Advisor in June 2010.

He created a series of videos called Minute Mendeley (it “sadly breaks trades descriptions as the videos are all about two minutes long,” he said) which are available on the University of Sheffield’s  iTunesU  profile.

How Mendeley influences his research

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

How Andy helps spread the word

In lots of ways, firstly about 4 years ago teaching clinicians research skills and then through formal teaching in various faculties, my own department at the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), in the iSchool and our English Department. I’ve run several workshops for colleagues as well. Over the last 4 years I would say myself and my colleagues have taught well in excess of a 1000 students and staff and it has always been well-received.

I’ve written about it in blogs and also as an article for the MmIT journal titled: References, Collections, Corrections and Mendeley back in 2011.

How did you get into research?

I never really see myself as a researcher to be honest, I do research but it’s not really core to what I do. The research I am interested in is looking at information science and literacy and how technologies and people work together. I’m very interested in the Web and Social Media and how academics and students share and manage information as part of their own work. My degrees were both at the University of Sheffield, a BA in Journalism and an MSc in Information Management – I really think they dovetail together really nicely.

How long have you been on Mendeley?

I’ve been using Mendeley since early 2009 I think, I blogged about it here in October of that year.

What were you using prior to Mendeley?

What little reference management I did do was with Reference Manager, something all of our students used. I realised that Mendeley serviced their needs far better, and the needs of some of my colleagues.

How does Mendeley influence your research?

How it affected me was more about how I saw technology was changing, it was one of those tools that sold itself really easily. I loved the organic approach of it all from how it developed to react to user’s needs.

Why did you decide to become an Advisor?

Because I saw it had real potential and that I wanted to be at the cusp of this technology change as I could it would benefit myself and the people I support – I wasn’t wrong.

What book are you reading at the moment and why?

Strangely I always read two books at a time – one for bed and one on my commute. The current ones are both quite depressing, my train one is, ‘Everything Now: Communication, Persuasion and Control: How the instant society is shaping what we think’ by Steve McKevitt and the bedside one is pretty grim, titled ‘One Soldier’s War in Chechnya’ by Arkady Babchenko. I know, cheery.

Any fun fact people might be surprised to learn about you?

I spent six years as a pirate radio DJ.

What is the best part about being a researcher?

When I’m doing it, being able to explore and test ideas and in turn hopefully improve my own and others’ ways of working.

And the worse?

Just not having the time to do the above.

What is the one thing you want people to know about Mendeley?

That it will not only help you discover research but help others discover yours.