Where SocArXiv is now

A good time to sum up our progress.

We just completed our first O3S conference, and we’re wrapping up our first year of support from the Sloan and Open Societies foundations. So it’s a good time to sum up our progress.

O3S17 networking break
O3S networking break / photo PNC

Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences

More even than we had hoped, the O3S conference turned into a great mechanism for fundraising, outreach, and generating innovating ideas. We had about 20 presenters (many of them junior scholars, whose travel we paid for), and almost 50 registrants. Participants came from as far as Chile, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Toronto, and from the Washington area. They included sociologists, librarians, economists and other scholars, software developers, publishers, and open access advocates. UMD campus leaders and the library were very supportive, and we are optimistic about their continued support for an annual conference. The panels were all high quality, the audience was engaged, the keynotes were riveting, and the workshop was highly productive. In addition to the panels and registrants, a great group of graduate students volunteered to support the conference. (We’ll have more on the workshop and new ideas later.)

SocArXiv service

We have almost 1600 papers on SocArXiv, and October has been our biggest month yet (135 papers). We are small compared with the big disciplinary paper services, but growing more each month, with a widening community of users. Our high visibility launch last fall led to a burst of activity, and now 15 other community preprint services have followed us on the OSF Preprints server. This includes some key players, such as LawArXiv (which we were instrumental in bringing to the OSF system), PsyArXiv (which has developed a relationship with the American Psychological Association), the LIS Scholarship Archive for library science (which is making important connections to libraries), and others. We wouldn’t want to take all the credit for this healthy proliferation, but we should take some. (As an aside, I also note with some pride that nearly all the subsequent communities on OSF Preprints include librarians on their Steering Committees.)

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We are about to start using the OSF’s expanded moderation system, allowing us and the other communities to have a customized paper moderation workflow. This has already turned into a great way for us to recruit volunteers, and generated lively discussion about moderation principles and related governance questions.

At the American Sociological Association meetings this summer, we launched the Sociology Open Award Recognition program, which encourages sections of the ASA to run use SocArXiv for paper award nominations. This led to discussion with more than 10 sections representing thousands of sociologists, several of which adopted variations on our program, with others still considering proposals.

Fundraising

We were able to leverage our foundation grants to help motivate others to contribute to SocArXiv. This includes two gifts of $10,000 from libraries (MIT and UCLA), and about $25,000 from the Sociology Department, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and Libraries at the University of Maryland, for our conference (including in-kind contributions). We have also opened up a very promising dialogue with the Red OA group at ARL (which seeks upstream initiatives to strengthen open publishing), which may lead to additional support from libraries, and there are some other leads.

Peer review

Partly motivated by the Red OA initiative, our next project addresses the question of peer review. The Center for Open Science is working to integrate peer review capacity on the OSF Preprints platform (through partnerships and/or their own technology). While that proceeds, we want to figure out what our research community wants and needs most from an open peer review platform. Should we run our own “journals,” work with existing journals, create an open platform for overlay journals, or some other alternative? We have initiated conversations about convening researchers to address these questions, to include also research into peer review processes, which might entail surveys, focus groups, or experimental research. In this effort we are fortunate to have the leadership of Elizabeth Popp Berman, a sociologist on our steering committee who specializes in the sociology of knowledge, and science and technology studies. (Here is a recent essay I wrote on open peer review.)

Needs for the coming year

The peer review project will need funding in the coming year, for convening meetings and conducting research. Our other fundraising goals center on personnel and outreach. We’d like support for our research efforts, my time, and graduate assistants to handle paper moderation and research for the peer review project. And then we will need money for outreach (travel, marketing, materials), and the next O3S conference (especially travel for junior scholars). We are also in discussions with the Center for Open Science on a sustainability model for all the preprint services they host; while their service to us is free, we would like to develop a long-term plan by which the communities work together to secure the future of the system. This is an ongoing conversation.

 

SocArXiv presentations: slides, audio, video

Hear the audio, see the video, flip through the slides — or arrange a presentation at your institution!

Below are the materials from two recent SocArXiv presentations: slides, audio, video. If you would like Philip Cohen or someone else to visit your institution for a presentation or workshop, let us know, and consider joining the great libraries that have already become institutional supporters of the project: details are here.

Philip Cohen did a plenary presentation at the Social Sciences Librarian Bootcamp at Tufts University. This focuses on the motivation for preprints, the pitch for social scientists, and a discussion of disrupting academic publishing more broadly. The slides are available in the SocArXiv collection here; if you would like to add the audio, or just listen (22 minutes), you can download it here or listen below:

Philip also did an Introduction to Preprints webinar with the Center for Open Science. It runs almost an hour, including Q&A, with an introduction to preprints from Philip, a description of COS’s Preprints community project from Matthew Spitzer, and a technical tutorial from COS’s Courtney Soderberg. It’s on YouTube, or watch it here:

 

Why your section of the American Sociological Association should open its paper award, and how we’ll help

Please propose this to your council or at your membership meeting this August in Montreal.

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We’ll get to the monetary incentives below, but first the pitch.

Academia has a lot of research awards. Awards can help bring attention to the best research, and give recognition to under-recognized scholars. On the other hand, they can also encourage petty competition and internal hierarchies. We at SocArXiv want to help more sociologists open up their scholarship, and we think we can do that while promoting some of what’s good about awards.

We know that working openly is better – better for our careers, better for our science, and better for the wider communities we hope to serve. But we also know there are obstacles, including these two.

1. The habit problem. It seems daunting, like doing more work just to help other people (a goal we all share, of course), which takes away from the singular focus we need to get jobs, get tenure, and earn the esteem of our peers and other important people.

2. The prestige problem. There are a lot of junk open journals that will “publish” anything for a buck. And many of the most prestigious journals aren’t open access. In fact, some people are afraid that if they share their work before it’s peer reviewed they will seem desperate, or like they’re not committed to the idea of peer review.

To overcome these obstacles, we have to make it easy to develop the habits of open scholarship, and we have to find ways to promote high quality work that is also open. Our small contribution to that end is Sociology Open Award Recognition (SOAR).

Here’s how it works.

If you are a section of the American Sociological Association, require that papers submitted for your award(s) be posted on SocArXiv before the award deadline. (In the case of already-published papers, these can be the latest version the author has permission to share.) How you promote the award is up to you, but we encourage you to ask authors to use a common hashtag when submitting, and then publishing a list of submitted papers on your website. Think of the buzz this will generate leading up to the conference, as your members proudly share their best work! Then, when you make the award, SocArXiv will reimburse up to $400 for the winner’s travel to the ASA meetings. Just send us a link to your award instructions page — we’ll help you promote it.

If you are an individual and your ASA section does not participate, but you are submitting a paper for their award, upload the paper to SocArXiv before the award submission deadline. If you win the award, let us know and we will give you $250. Again, we encourage, but do not require, that you let the world know you’re doing this.

We know that award rules vary. Some consider only peer-reviewed papers, some only those that have not yet been peer-reviewed and published. For papers that have not yet been published, you can post them on SocArXiv, and then when they are published add the DOI to the SocArXiv record and readers will be directed to the published version — while still having access to original for free. You can also post papers on SocArXiv that have already been published. (You should always check your author agreement or the Sherpa/ROMEO database to see what version, if any, you’re allowed to share). If your award requires the papers to be published already, and people want to submit papers from journals that aren’t friendly to preprint posting, you might not be able to participate as a section, but individual authors still can.

We hope that SOAR will help people, especially junior scholars, develop the habit of sharing their work earlier; and that it will help the leaders in the discipline to see the benefits of promoting openness through their institutional practices. All while drawing attention to award-winning scholars and their research.

If you’re holding an award competition, you’re probably trying to get the word out about the best research to as many interested people as possible. Openness can help. And if you’re an individual willing to share your paper with an award committee, it is ready to share with the public. If you’re willing to submit it for an award, you should be proud enough to promote it publicly. Draw attention to your work, get feedback, meet potential collaborators, make friends, influence people, and maybe win some money.

So if you are a section officer or member, please propose this to your council or at your membership meeting this August in Montreal. We’ll sponsor as many section awards as we can, but we might run out of money, so don’t delay! For more information, visit the SocArXiv Frequently Asked Questions page, or let us know if we can help.

Contact us at: socarxiv@gmail.com. Upload a paper now using the web interface; browse or search SocArXiv on OSF | Preprints. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates, Check out our YouTube videos; make a contribution through the University of Maryland.

Call for Papers is up for O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences

We hope you can join us!

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SocArXiv’s will host the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27, 2017 at University of Maryland, College Park. The symposium will (a) highlight research that uses the tools and methods of open scholarship; (b) bring together researchers who work on problems of open access, publishing, and open scholarship; and (c) facilitate exchange of ideas on the development of SocArXiv.

The Call for Papers is now up, here, where you will also find information about our keynote speakers and the details for submitting your work. Registration information will is coming soon. We hope you can join us!

Save the date: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences, October 26-27

SocArXiv will host the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27 at University of Maryland.

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October 26-27, 2017
University of Maryland, College Park

SocArXiv will host the inaugural O3S: Open Scholarship for the Social Sciences symposium on October 26 and 27, 2017 at University of Maryland, College Park. The symposium will (a) highlight research that uses the tools and methods of open scholarship; (b) bring together researchers who work on problems of open access, publishing, and open scholarship; and (c) facilitate exchange of ideas on the development of SocArXiv.

The symposium will feature two keynote speakers: Tressie McMillan Cottom, sociology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Jeffrey Spies, co-founder and chief technology officer at the Center for Open Science. Participants will also participate in panels and a workshop session on the future challenges and next steps for SocArXiv.

The O3S symposium will take place during Open Access Week, a global event raising awareness about the benefits of open access and inspiring wider participation in making open access a new norm in scholarship and research.

Check the symposium website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for information and updates. The Call for Papers announcement and registration information will be coming soon!

The O3S symposium is generously sponsored by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Department of Sociology, the University Libraries at the University of Maryland, the Sloan Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. 

New site up: Here are our most downloaded papers

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Thanks to the heroic efforts of our partners at the Center for Open Science, we’re delighted that the beta version of SocArXiv is up, running, and ready to use. Over the last four months, more than 600 papers were deposited, mostly through our temporary drop service, and downloaded over 10,000 times.

Now SocArXiv is directly integrated into the Open Science Framework Preprints service, along with other new open access depositories, like bioRxiv, engrXiv, and PsyArXiv. Visit the site SocArXiv.org, where you can search, browse, and upload your own papers.

In the weeks and months to come, we’ll be expanding our scope and debuting new features. But to give you a taste of what we’ve got and what’s to come, we’re highlighting some selected research, starting with the five most downloaded papers.

  1. Gender Mistakes and Inequality, by Chris Bourg. This sociology dissertation uses an experimental design to show how people who misidentify the gender of another person, then after interacting, realize their mistake, are subsequently less likely to use sex as a basis for interaction.
  2. Law’s Public/Private Structure, by Christian Turner. This preprint (subsequently published in the Florida State University Law Review) creates a taxonomy of the legal distinction between public and private entities based on which type control 1) the creation and definition of law, and 2) prosecution.
  3. Medical Decision Making for Youth in Foster Care, by Zach Straussberger. Forthcoming in the John Marshall Law Review, this paper reports survey and interview results on the gap between who is legally allowed to made decisions on behalf of youth in foster care, and who is typically doing so.
  4. Two Years after Alice vs. CLS Bank, by Jasper L. Tran. Recently published in the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the paper shows that subsequent to the Alice decision, which raised the patentability standard for computer-implemented inventions, substantial majorities of challenged patents have been invalidated by the courts.
  5. Happy to Help? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Performing Acts of Kindness on the Well-Being of the Actor, by Oliver Scott Curry et al. This meta-analysis of research on whether performing acts of kindness result in a sense of well-being finds a small-to-medium positive effect across some 21 studies.

These top five papers reflect the early adoption of the site by some legal scholars. We accept papers from all social sciences as well as law. And the site allows faceted browsing and searching by subject area as well as keywords.

You can always see what’s new on the site by visiting the search page and selecting Sort by: Upload date. We’re working on new features, such as sorting by popularity. In the meantime, we’ll be highlighting more research from SocArXiv on the blog. Check it out, and add your own!

SocArXiv launches, brings sociology and social science into the open, with new grant support

SocArXiv, the open access, open source archive of social science, is officially launching in beta version today.

For more information contact: Philip Cohen, Director; pnc@umd.edu

December 7, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SocArXiv, the open access, open source archive of social science, is officially launching in beta version today. Created in partnership with the Center for Open Science, SocArXiv provides a free, noncommercial service for rapid sharing of academic papers; it is built on the Open Science Framework, a platform for researchers to upload data and code as well as research results.

By uploading working papers and preprints of their articles to SocArXiv, social scientists can now make their work immediately and permanently available to other researchers and the public, and discoverable via search engines. This alleviates the frustration of slow times to publication and sidesteps paywalls that limit the audience for academic research. Since SocArXiv is a not-for-profit alternative to existing commercial platforms, researchers can also be assured that they are sharing their research in an environment where access, not profit, will remain at the heart of the mission.

Since development was first announced in July, researchers have deposited more than 600 papers, downloaded over 10,000 times, in anticipation of SocArXiv’s launch. SocArXiv anticipates rapid growth in that number in the coming year as it establishes a reputation as the fully open repository for sociology and social science research.

“SocArXiv is an exciting opportunity to democratize access to the best of social science research,” said Katherine Newman, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “This will assist the nation’s academics in making clear to the public why their work matters beyond the ivy walls.”

“We are building the future of social science scholarly communication,” added SocArXiv director Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, which serves as the archive’s institutional home. “It’s past time for social scientists – and sociologists in particular – to bring their work out into the open, to make it better, faster, more accountable, and more transparent.”

While the archive welcomes all social science research, the program is building from a strength in sociology, a discipline that lacks a strong tradition of preprint publication and open scholarship. With the Center for Open Science developing the technology, SocArXiv is focusing on planning, community mobilization, outreach, and governance of the archive. To that end, the Open Society Foundations and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have each granted the initiative at the University of Maryland $50,000 for the coming year.

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SocArXiv is a partner of the nonprofit Center for Open Science and is housed at the University of Maryland. Led by a steering committee of sociologists and research library leaders, it is dedicated to opening up social science, reaching more people more effectively, improving academic research, and building the future. Learn more at SocArXiv.org.