Press Release: Springer Nature and LYRASIS Announce Open Access Sponsorship Agreement for Books that Support Research and Teaching Aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

“Springer Nature has signed its first sponsorship agreement for open access books with LYRASIS, a US non-profit membership association of libraries, archives, and museums, starting in 2021. The agreement is set to lead to the publication of new open access book titles. The collaboration will focus on climate change, equity, peace, and justice and will provide free access to research in critical areas that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Springer Nature is helping to advance the SDGs through a dedicated SDG publishing programme, bringing to light and disseminating important knowledge related to the world’s most pressing challenges. Since the SDGs were launched in 2015, Springer Nature has published more than 300,000 relevant articles and book chapters, which have been downloaded more than 750 million times. Springer Nature is also leading the way in open access book (OA) publishing, first piloting open access books in 2011. Its open access book portfolio now includes over 1,400 titles spanning all academic disciplines, with more than 170 million chapter downloads worldwide. As research shows that open access books are downloaded ten times more often and cited 2.4 times more, reaching 61% more countries compared to non-open access books, this new sponsoring partnership will foster the advancement of science as well as the visibility, dissemination and impact of research on these critical challenges. 

The new open access book titles will be published under the Springer Nature imprints of Springer and Palgrave Macmillan under a CC BY 4.0 licence to give readers around the world free access to the books via Springer Nature’s content platform SpringerLink. …”

Open Science in Kenya: Where Are We? | Research Metrics and Analytics

“According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Open Science is the movement to make scientific research and data accessible to all. It has great potential for advancing science. At its core, it includes (but is not limited to) open access, open data, and open research. Some of the associated advantages are promoting collaboration, sharing and reproducibility in research, and preventing the reinvention of the wheel, thus saving resources. As research becomes more globalized and its output grows exponentially, especially in data, the need for open scientific research practices is more evident — the future of modern science. This has resulted in a concerted global interest in open science uptake. Even so, barriers still exist. The formal training curriculum in most, if not all, universities in Kenya does not equip students with the knowledge and tools to subsequently practice open science in their research. Therefore, to work openly and collaboratively, there is a need for awareness and training in the use of open science tools. These have been neglected, especially in most developing countries, and remain barriers to the cause. Moreover, there is scanty research on the state of affairs regarding the practice and/or adoption of open science. Thus, we developed, through the OpenScienceKE framework, a model to narrow the gap. A sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model was applied in Nairobi, the economic and administrative capital of Kenya. Using the model, we sensitized through seminars, trained on the use of tools through workshops, applied the skills learned in training through hackathons to collaboratively answer the question on the state of open science in Kenya. While the former parts of the model had 20–50 participants, the latter part mainly involved participants with a bioinformatics background, leveraging their advanced computational skills. This model resulted in an open resource that researchers can use to publish as open access cost-effectively. Moreover, we observed a growing interest in open science practices in Kenya through literature search and data mining and that lack of awareness and skills may still hinder the adoption and practice of open science. Furthermore, at the time of the analyses, we surprisingly found that out of the 20,069 papers downloaded from BioRXiv, only 18 had Kenyan authors, a majority of which are international (16) collaborations. This may suggest poor uptake of the use of preprints among Kenyan researchers. The findings in this study highlight the state of open science in Kenya and challenges facing its adoption and practice while bringing forth possible areas for primary consideration in the campaign toward open science. It also proposes a model (sensitize-train-hack-collaborate model) that may be adopted by researchers, funders and other proponents of open science to address some of the challenges faced in promoting its adoption in Kenya….”

 

International disparities in open access practices in the Earth Sciences

Abstract:  Background: Open access (OA) implies free and unrestricted access to and re-use of research articles. Recently, OA publishing has seen a new wave of interest, debate, and practices surrounding that mode of publishing.

Objectives: To provide an overview of publication practices and to compare them among six countries across the world to stimulate further debate and to raise awareness about OA to facilitate decision-making on further development of OA practices in earth sciences.

Methods: The number of OA articles, their distribution among the six countries, and top ten journals publishing OA articles were identified using two databases, namely Scopus and the Web of Science, based mainly on the data for 2018.

Results: In 2018, only 24%–31% of the total number of articles indexed by either of the databases were OA articles. Six of the top ten earth sciences journals that publish OA articles were fully OA journals and four were hybrid journals. Fully OA journals were mostly published by emerging publishers and their article processing charges ranged from $1000 to $2200.

Conclusions: The rise in OA publishing has potential implications for researchers and tends to shift article-processing charges from organizations to individuals. Until the earth sciences community decides to move away from journal-based criteria to evaluate researchers, it is likely that such high costs will continue to maintain financial inequities within this research community, especially to the disadvantage of researchers from the least developed countries. However, earth scientists, by opting for legal self- archiving of their publications, could help to promote equitable and sustainable access to, and wider dissemination of, their work.

Open access publication: Academic colonialism or knowledge philanthropy? – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publication of scholarly articles in journals has come to be celebrated as opening up new knowledge base to researchers, making knowledge a ‘public-good’. What seems to have gone amiss is a deep-seeded exclusion and discrimination that OA furthers by being blind to authors’ location. I argue that OA entrenches prevailing ‘academic colonialism’, without any reflection on transforming existing academic hierarchies. The paper brings forth the idea of academiccolonialism leading to a hierarchization of scholarships, wherein the authors belonging to the so-called Global South stand at a disadvantage.

 

Open access publication: Academic colonialism or knowledge philanthropy? – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Open access (OA) publication of scholarly articles in journals has come to be celebrated as opening up new knowledge base to researchers, making knowledge a ‘public-good’. What seems to have gone amiss is a deep-seeded exclusion and discrimination that OA furthers by being blind to authors’ location. I argue that OA entrenches prevailing ‘academic colonialism’, without any reflection on transforming existing academic hierarchies. The paper brings forth the idea of academiccolonialism leading to a hierarchization of scholarships, wherein the authors belonging to the so-called Global South stand at a disadvantage.

 

How Academic Pirate Alexandra Elbakyan Is Fighting Scientific Misinformation

“In the decade since Alexandra Elbakyan founded Sci-Hub, science’s so-called “pirate queen” has amassed more than 85 million full-text research articles, which she’s made available, for free, to anyone who can track down her custom search engine. …

In the swirling chaos of the pandemic—and a new, or at least newly-acknowledged, era of digital disinformation—Sci-Hub kicked into overdrive. Its number of daily users has grown 20 percent, from 500,000 to 600,000, according to Elbakyan. During lockdown, people accessed articles about COVID-19 10 to 100 times more often than articles about other diseases. …”

Mapping for a sustainable world

“Open access is a major step towards achieving the SDGs by being able to monitor progress and build collective understanding. Because the SDG datasets and the cartographic guidance in this book are openly available, more people than ever before can make maps in support of an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable future….

However, maps both historically and currently are part of the problem, contributing to the global inequities the SDGs seek to dissolve and thus reinforcing dominant power structures. Questions on who can make and access maps—as well as the knowledge to make and access these maps—persist. In this book, we attempt to open this knowledge on cartographic design too often paywalled behind expensive textbooks or university courses. While opening this knowledge is one step towards democratizing cartography, it is not enough to confront the SDGs. We call on the global community of cartographers to continue developing and sharing open data, maps, and mapping technologies to better the world….”

Make your nomination for the 2021 UCT Open Textbook Award | UCT News

“The University of Cape Town (UCT) is calling for nominations for the 2021 UCT Open Textbook Award.

The award, which was launched in 2020, is an initiative of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC): Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Lis Lange, and aims to incentivise innovation in teaching and learning, recognise the efforts of open textbook authors and promote the creation and reuse of open educational resources….”

Elsevier launches India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub to curb spread of misinformation

“A recent study showed that 67.2 percent of misinformation in India involves health-related topics, such as falsehoods on the COVID-19 vaccine, other forms of medical treatments, medical institutions, and healthcare facilities.

The same study also found that online media was responsible for higher volumes of inaccurate news (94.4 percent) in comparison with mainstream media (5.6 percent), with false claims being distributed mainly on social media platforms.

 

To address this problem, Elsevier, a global information and analytics business, launched its India COVID-19 Healthcare Hub for frontline healthcare workers and members of the public in India. It offers the latest evidence-based information along with information on the management and prevention of the virus, thereby limiting the spread of misinformation….”