2022. 01. 18.

A Brief Talk with Dejan Beukovic

Dejan Beukovic

  • Assistant professor at University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Agriculture (PFNS)
  • Expertise and interest: animal science, animal nutrition, control and quality of feedstuffs, wildlife & game management
  • Member of RRizing lab of Co-Change project at PFNS, responsible for open access
  • Visit on Twitter and LinkedIn

The Co-Change Lab called RRizing Lab at the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Novi Sad focuses on several RRI keys. In this interview, we are talking with Dejan Beukovic about the steps that have been made for the implementation of open access aspects at the faculty.

How did you analyse the status of open access (OA) in recent years at your faculty and what results did you get? What is the rate of OA publications at your faculty?

We collected data on the year of publication, category, publishers, Directory of Open Access Journals listing, publication fee, commercial publishers, OA publishing, embargo, copyright owner, publisher deposit conditions. I needed to check all the entries manually as the Faculty doesn’t have a repository, so analytics that would filter the database couldn’t work. Sometimes I met publications in journals that weren’t listed on Sherpa Romeo (where the OA policies of journals are stored). This meant going to the journal site and patiently searching for the necessary information. Some information could not be found or was not clearly defined (especially in the case of the less influential journal sites). In these situations, the result was named: "no data'' or ''unknown”. Systematization of such collected data took a while.

The evaluation of the elements of OA, present in the publication of scientific production can be defined as follows. The biggest minus is the absence of an official institutional repository. This can be solved by using the Institutional Repository of the University of Novi Sad. However, using this option does not solve the ultimate goal of timeliness and motivation of the author to feed our repository. This type of work requires continuous education and highlighting the benefits not only for the authors but also for the institution they represent. The small share of journals does not require a publication fee. This is very difficult to avoid, especially with giant publishers who own reputable journals. The expectation is that the current situation will be maintained and difficult to change. The share of non-commercial publishers is close to 50%, which is optimistic. This group of publishers should be targeted. Nearly 40% of open access journals may be associated with a high share of publication cost, as well as with commercial publishing. Representation of Creative Commons Attribution Licence is about 50%, a positive result that contributes to higher rates of OA and open publishing. No embargo and OA pathway are hopeful elements. Still, work needs to be done to place the content in an adequate repository to increase visibility.

The report about our OA study is available here.

The publishing rulebook of your faculty is currently being modified. Which amendments are you going to add to this regulation which will support OA publications?

The amendments to the policy will refer to a closer definition of copyright. The Faculty will take over the ownership rights with the appropriate financial compensation to the authors. Also, the publications will be protected with the relevant Creative Commons license and freely published in OA.

Implementing OA aspects to the publishing rulebook of the faculty is a sound institutional change. Should you change the repository of publications as well?

The rulebook will include changes regarding the repository where textbooks and monographs will be kept. The rulebook will define what the authors need to submit from the data to prepare the metadata. As well as other technical details in that regard. What was under consideration but currently rejected is the possibility to make the migration of textbooks and monographs that have already been published in the Zenodo public repository. Objective reasons are that Zenodo implies the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which conflicts with the stated conditions in the introductory page of textbooks and monographs. Therefore, instead of Zenodo, we will search for another service or platform. And replacing the text that defines the terms of use with the appropriate Creative Commons license would mean republishing the entire production so far, which is currently likewise questionable.

Putting new points in the rulebook is not sufficient to make colleagues effectively use OA aspects. How will you engage or train them?

The application of the rulebook will include training. The first training will be organized through a webinar in February 2022 in Serbian. Experts of this field who apply OA within their universities and institutions will introduce the basic principles to the participants. There will also be a discussion that is always full of tricky questions. After that, a survey will be conducted. Then, the draft rulebook will go on a public debate (it is always tense and tricky). The bodies of the Faculty will adopt the final version of the rulebook. Honestly, the problem of using the repository for books and monographs is not expected, as the author's work ends with the submission of the manuscript and the receipt of compensation for the acquired publishing rights. Further work should be in the hands of the data manager. The bigger problem will be the self-archiving of scientific papers in the repository. Further application on this issue will include tutorials, motivation and education for assistants and doctoral students, emphasizing the benefits of visibility and citations.