The Elephant Roundup (May 2023)

Emily Joan Elliott Discussion

A monthly newsletter from Feeding the Elephant: A Forum for Scholarly Communications.

Academic Freedom

Ryan Quinn, From Ending Tenure to Enshrining It, Inside Higher Ed, May 9, 2023

  • Texas’s Senate has passed anti-tenure, anti-DEI and anti-transgender sports access bills. But they may face stronger opposition in the state’s House of Representatives.

Eva Surovell, Florida Lawmakers Want Oversight of Invited Speakers on Public-College Campuses, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 11, 2023.

  • The Florida legislature passed a bill that would mandate public universities to create an office or charge an existing office with holding at least 4 talks a year that represent a diversity of viewpoints. Universities would have to report this information to the state.

Eva Surovell, Diversity Spending Is Banned in Florida’s Public Colleges, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 15, 2023.

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed three laws on Monday that prohibit spending on DEI programs and require post-tenure review every 5 years among other things.

Todd A. Carpenter, The Publishing Community Should More Actively Oppose Book Bans, Scholarly Kitchen, May 25, 2023.

  • Censoring or banning books for political reasons is nothing new in the U.S., but in a recent court filing, Penguin Random House was party to a lawsuit challenging book bans. More publishers should join the batter, Todd A. Carpenter argues.


Artificial Intelligence

Ray Schroeder, Generative AI Is Only as Good as the Prompt You Give It, Inside Higher Ed, April 26, 2023.

  • As faculty fret over students embracing AI, the output is only as good as the prompt it is given, but there are ways to refine the prompt and therefor output.

Richard de Grijs, Guest Post — Artificial Intelligence Not Yet Intelligent Enough to be a Trusted Research Aid, Scholarly Kitchen, April 27, 2023.

  • After using ChatGPT to find out more about a historical actor, Richard de Grijs learned new tidbits, but the AI technology could provide no accurate citations. Few of the citations provided even existed.

Emma Watkins, Guest Post: AI and Scholarly Publishing — A (Slightly) Hopeful View, Scholarly Kitchen, May 10, 2023.

  • Emma Watkins paraphrases Stephen Hawking, saying that AI could be the best or worst thing that happens to publishing, while offering up some hope about the value of the tool.


Open Access

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, The Double-Cost of Green-via-Gold, Scholarly Kitchen, April 25, 2023.

  • As the federal government mandates open access to papers that result from government-funded research, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe explores how this is being done and the costs associated with making findings open access.

Jack Grove, Can the E.U. Make a ‘Parallel Publishing System’ Work?, Times Higher Education, May 17, 2023

  • As anger mounts over cost of open access deals, moves to finance diamond journals and expand state-run digital platforms have divided opinion

Roger C. Schonfeld and Dylan Ruediger, Intended Audience and Actual Distribution: A Growing Mismatch?, Scholarly Kitchen, April 17, 2023.

  • Scholars often write for an audience of peers, but as OA extends the reach of articles and research, how can publishers address this gap?


Scholarly Publishing

Christopher Schaberg, Reimagining the Academic Book Launch, Inside Higher Ed, April 24, 2023.

  • The book launch is not new, but the ways scholars can execute or reimagine it are endless and offer the chance to better engage the audience.

Haseeb Irfanullah, Drawing Lines to Cross Them: How Publishers are Moving Beyond Established Norms, Scholarly Kitchen, April 20, 2023.

  • “In this post, I look into five ‘lines’ that the publishing industry has broadly agreed upon, but that now we are finding ourselves crossing,” writes Haseen Irfanullah, who delves into ethics, peer review, international politics, and more.

Annette Windhorn and Peter Berkery, Guest Post — A Decade of Resilience for University Presses, Scholarly Kitchen, April 18, 2023.

  • Over the past decade, the Association of University Presses has grown in total number of members and geographical locations. Peter Berkery reflects on his 10 years at the helm, recounting decisions made and lessons learned.

Justin Weinberg, Wiley Removes Goodin as Editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy (Updated), Daily Nous, April 27, 2023.

  • Wiley removed Robert Goodin as editor-in-chief, citing communication issues. Other members of the team resigned, accusing Wiley of pressuring them to accept more articles to collect author processing fees, even at the expense of quality.

Anna Fazackerley, ‘Too greedy’: mass walkout at global science journal over ‘unethical’ fees, Guardian, May 7, 2023.

  • In the wake of Elsevier’s high author processing charges and record profits, the entire editorial board of Neuroimage walked out and vows to make a rival journal.

Charlie Rapple, Roy Kaufman, and David Crotty, Smorgasbord: Trends from the Spring 2023 Meetings and Conferences, Scholarly Kitchen, May 11, 2023.

  • It’s conference season for scholarly publishing, and the chefs provide a rundown of the emerging trends and conversations in the field.

Ryan Quinn, Astronomy Preprint Withdrawn Over a Co-Author’s Inclusion, Inside Higher Ed, May 18, 2023

  • An astronomy preprint’s lead author withdrew the paper and is removing one of the co-authors: Geoff Marcy, who resigned his professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015 after the institution concluded he repeatedly violated sexual harassment policies. 

Avi Staiman, 10 Trends I Observed Interviewing 10 Publishing Executives About the Future of Academic Books, Scholarly Kitchen, May 23, 2023.

  • In his foray into podcasting with New Books Network, Avi Staiman interviewed publishing executives and found there is no consensus on a sustainable plan for OA, Amazon has changed the landscape, and more.


Academic Libraries

Roger C. Schonfeld, Is the Library Responsible for Open Access Compliance? Scholarly Kitchen, April 17, 2023.

  • After advocating for more open access, academic libraries scored a big win with the Nelson memo, but who will pay for open access? Roger Schonfeld advocates for libraries to avoid picking up this tag.

David Jesse, After Protests and a Resignation, a New University Withdraws a Plan for a Digital-First Library, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2023.

  • In order to cut costs, three public colleges in Vermont merged into one and faced considerable backlash after announcing plans to remove all print books from the library. Read on to find out how the decision played out.

Scott Jaschik, Berkeley Students Rally to Save a Library, Inside Higher Ed, May 3, 2023

  • Students at the University of California at Berkeley are rallying to save the anthropology library and are now occupying the library full-time to do so.

Josh Moody, New College of Florida Abruptly Dismisses Librarian, Inside Higher Ed, May 4, 2024

  • Fired librarian Helene Gold is the second LGBTQ+ employee dismissed by the college this year.

Andreas Mace, Guest Post — Do Libraries Still Dream Unified Dreams? Part 1, Scholarly Kitchen, May 16, 2023.

  • Many librarians have dreamed of a unified system to execute most of its functions, writes Andreas Mace, and emerging technologies have both helped and hindered this process. Mace examines the pros and cons of having one big system.

Andreas Mace, Guest Post — Do Libraries Still Dream Unified Dreams? Part 2, Scholarly Kitchen, May 17, 2023.

  • Responding to his earlier post, Andreas Mace looks at the alternative to one integrated library service: modular services working together to achieve various aspects of library services.


ICYMI on the Elephant

Emily Joan Elliott, Thinking of Tackling That Summer Project? We Have Advice for You!, May 3, 2023.

Niels Eichhorn, The Future of Open Access at H-Net, May 17, 2023.

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