Journal Article: “Interventions in Scholarly Communication: Design Lessons From Public Health”
The article linked below was recently published by First Monday.
Center for Research on Equitable and Open Scholarship, MIT Libraries,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Philip N. Cohen
University of Maryland
First Monday 28(8)
Despite widespread perception that changes to scholarly communication are needed, there are substantial disagreements over the short- and long-term benefits of most proposed approaches to changing this system, and the lack of systematic, empirical research in this area makes these controversies difficult to resolve. We argue that experience in public health can be usefully applied to scholarly communication. Starting with the history of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) application, we illustrate four ways complex human systems threaten reliable predictions and blunt ad hoc interventions. We then show how these apply to interventions in scholarly publication — open access based on the article processing charges (APC) and the adoption of preprints, with an emphasis on the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, we offer approaches to help guide the design of future interventions: identifying measures and outcomes, developing infrastructure, incorporating assessment, and contributing to theories of systemic change.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.