All the Research That’s Fit to Print: Open Access and the News Media

Abstract:  The goal of the open access (OA) movement is to help everyone access the scholarly research, not just those who can afford to. However, most studies looking at whether OA has met this goal have focused on whether other scholars are making use of OA research. Few have considered how the broader public, including the news media, uses OA research. This study sought to answer whether the news media mentions OA articles more or less than paywalled articles by looking at articles published from 2010 through 2018 in journals across all four quartiles of the Journal Impact Factor using data obtained through Altmetric.com and the Web of Science. Gold, green and hybrid OA articles all had a positive correlation with the number of news mentions received. News mentions for OA articles did see a dip in 2018, although they remained higher than those for paywalled articles.

 

 

WILL PODCASTING AND SOCIAL MEDIA REPLACE JOURNALS AND TRADITIONAL SCIENCE COMMUNICATION? NO, BUT… | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  The digital world in which we live is changing rapidly. The changing media environment is having a direct impact on traditional forms of communication and knowledge translation in public health and epidemiology. Openly accessible digital media can be used to reach a broader and more diverse audience of trainees, scientists, and the lay public than traditional forms of scientific communication. The new digital landscape for delivering content is vast and new platforms are continuously being added. We focus on several, including Twitter and podcasting and discuss their relevance to epidemiology and science communication. We highlight three key reasons why we think epidemiologists should be engaging with these mediums: 1) science communication, 2) career advancement, 3) development of a community and public service. Other positive and negative consequences of engaging in these forms of new media are also discussed. The authors of this commentary are all engaged in social media and podcasting for scientific communication and in this manuscript, we reflect on our experience with these mediums as tools to advance the field of epidemiology.

 

Opening Up Scholarship in the Humanities: Digital Publishing, Knowledge Translation, and Public Engagement

Abstract:  Opening Up Scholarship in the Humanities: Digital Publishing, Knowledge Translation, and Public Engagement considers the concept of humanistic, open, social scholarship and argues for its value in the contemporary academy as both a set of socially oriented activities and an organizing framework for such activities. This endeavour spans the interrelated areas of knowledge creation, public engagement, and open access, and demonstrates the importance of considering this triad as critical for the pursuit of academic work moving forward—especially in the humanities. Under the umbrella of open social scholarship, I consider open access as a baseline for public engagement and argue for the vitalness of this sort of work. Moreover, I suggest that there is a strong connection between digital scholarship and social knowledge creation. I explore the knowledge translation lessons that other fields might have for the humanities and include a journalist–humanist case study to this end. I also argue for the value of producing research output in many different forms and formats. Finally, I propose that there are benefits to explicitly popularizing the humanities. In sum, this dissertation speculates on past, current, and future scholarly communication activities, and proposes that such activities might be opened up for wider engagement and, thus, social benefit.

Dissemination of applied research to the field: attitudes and practices of faculty authors in social work

Abstract:  In applied research disciplines like social work, there is a clear disconnect between the production and dissemination of research and the access and use of research in practice. This research/practice divide is particularly problematic for practitioners required to work within evidence-based or research-informed frameworks. To explore this issue, we conducted a nationwide survey and qualitative interviews with social work faculty regarding their research dissemination attitudes and practices, especially to non-academic audiences. The survey and interviews provide data on faculty dissemination methods, attitudes toward gold and green open access and promotion and tenure considerations. Results demonstrate that faculty are primarily engaged with traditional publishing models and much less engaged with dissemination to non-academic audiences. Faculty are skeptical of open access journals, avoid article processing charges and are only minimally engaged with institutional repositories. Faculty are conflicted regarding the dissemination of their research, especially in the context of promotion and tenure. Shifting dissemination outside of non-academic audiences would require increased confidence in open access, support for the creation of practitioner-focused materials and prioritizing the impact of research on practice.

 

The future of public intellectualism lies in reforming the digital public sphere | Impact of Social Sciences

” Web-based academic scholarship, which promotes values of openness, public engagement and professional autonomy, has the potential to transform the shape and substance of public intellectualism and the digital public sphere….

This form of scholarly activity marks a new shift in academic practice from a formal, one-dimensional type of communication to different forms of engagement with academic knowledge within and beyond the academy. The emergence of digital tools such as blogs, wikis as well as other platforms for open communication and dialogue has given rise to a digital scholarship culture that characterises academic knowledge as a public good. This approach to knowledge has had the effect of expanding and diversifying the field of digital scholarship – see the proliferation of collaborative magazine-style websites like The New Inquiry, A Public Space, The Society Pages, Warscapes and Social Theory Applied. …

These conditions act as prerequisites to any new future of public intellectualism in which the university plays a significant role and are necessary for academia to more readily and willingly develop forms of public pedagogy – outward facing, open, proactive – that engage with the digital public sphere….”

Science as a Public Good: Public Use and Funding of Science

Abstract:  Knowledge of how science is consumed in public domains is essential for a deeper understanding of the role of science in human society. While science is heavily supported by public funding, common depictions suggest that scientific research remains an isolated or ‘ivory tower’ activity, with weak connectivity to public use, little relationship between the quality of research and its public use, and little correspondence between the funding of science and its public use. This paper introduces a measurement framework to examine public good features of science, allowing us to study public uses of science, the public funding of science, and how use and funding relate. Specifically, we integrate five large-scale datasets that link scientific publications from all scientific fields to their upstream funding support and downstream public uses across three public domains – government documents, the news media, and marketplace invention. We find that the public uses of science are extremely diverse, with different public domains drawing distinctively across scientific fields. Yet amidst these differences, we find key forms of alignment in the interface between science and society. First, despite concerns that the public does not engage high-quality science, we find universal alignment, in each scientific field and public domain, between what the public consumes and what is highly impactful within science. Second, despite myriad factors underpinning the public funding of science, the resulting allocation across fields presents a striking alignment with the field’s collective public use. Overall, public uses of science present a rich landscape of specialized consumption, yet collectively science and society interface with remarkable, quantifiable alignment between scientific use, public use, and funding.

 

Open access publishing is the ethical choice | Wonkhe

“I had a stroke half a decade ago and found I couldn’t access the medical literature on my extremely rare vascular condition.

I’m a capable reader, but I couldn’t get past the paywalls – which seemed absurd, given most research is publicly funded. While I had, already, long been an open access advocate by that point, this strengthened my resolve.

The public is often underestimated. Keeping research locked behind paywalls under the assumption that most people won’t be interested in, or capable of, reading academic research is patronising….

While this moral quandary should not be passed to young researchers, there may be benefits to them in taking a firm stance. Early career researchers are less likely to have grants to pay for article processing charges to make their work open access compared to their senior colleagues. Early career researchers are also the ones who are inadvertently paying the extortionate subscription fees to publishers. According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the amount of money UK universities fork out each year to access paywalled content from Elsevier – the largest academic publisher in the world – could pay 1,028 academic researchers a salary of £45,000 per year.

We know for-profit publishers, such as Elsevier, hold all the cards with respect to those prestigious titles. What we need are systematic “read and publish” deals that allow people to publish where they want without having to find funding for open access….

The current outlook for prospective researchers to secure an academic position at a university is compromised because so much money is spent propping up for-profit, commercial publishers. Rather than focusing on career damage to those who can’t publish with an Elsevier title, we should focus on the opportunity cost in hundreds of lost careers in academia….”

Training researchers in dissemination of study results to research participants and communities | Translational Behavioral Medicine | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Dissemination of research beyond the academic community is an ethical responsibility of researchers and necessary in translational research to help ensure the uptake of research findings to improve health outcomes. Often, partnerships between community and academicians do not include research dissemination plans, possibly reflecting researchers not knowing how to create these plans. This manuscript details the development process of a research dissemination training module for academicians and researchers. This training was conceptualized and developed by Core faculty and staff. Development steps were: (a) identifying researchers’ dissemination needs using the Core Investigator Survey; (b) identifying communities dissemination needs/preferences using feedback from our community advisory board; (c) conducting a literature search to identify dissemination concepts from researchers and community perspectives; (d) developing the training module; (e) conducting a cognitive review with one basic science researcher and one community-based participatory researcher; (f) evaluating the training; and (g) finalizing the training module. Training attendees included 1 clinical and 3 basic science clinical researchers, a biomedical postdoctoral fellow, and 10 research staff. Of those completing the feedback survey, 60% had some experience with research dissemination. As a result of training, more than 50% of respondents strongly agreed that as researchers they have a clear understanding of dissemination, a greater understanding of the dissemination process, how to identify stakeholders and successfully develop a dissemination plan. While disseminating research findings beyond academic publications may be new to some researchers, this training provided the tools to implement dissemination practices in their current and future research.

 

Canadian Health Geographers Share Virus Risk Maps with Public Before Publishers – SPARC

“As Valorie Crooks and her research team were developing maps to show COVID-19 risks in neighborhoods across British Columbia, she knew the information was too urgent to wait on an academic journal to disseminate.

Instead, the geography professor from Simon Fraser University in Canada took the data she and her research colleagues, which included patient partners, gathered to create an interactive website with the maps that they shared publicly.

“The need for information right now is so critical, that it just does not align with the timelines of scientific publishing,” Crooks says. “So, we went for a public leap of faith and shared our maps.”

The response has been substantial from both the media and the public. The open access strategy has prompted feedback from the public that’s helped researchers refine their work and provided useful information to policymakers as they respond to the crisis….”

Open Notes: New Federal Rules Promoting Open and Transparent Communication – ScienceDirect

“While health systems and clinicians are increasingly aware of new federal rules1 that mandate offering patients access to the notes clinicians write in electronic health records (open notes), for many, and certainly for patients and their families, they come as a surprise. Taking effect April 5, 2021, the rules enact the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act and aim to increase interoperability and ensure greater transparency in health care. Many health professionals support these goals but are anxious about how their practice and clinician-patient relationships may be affected. Stimulated in part by the OpenNotes movement,2 considerable anecdotal and research evidence is accumulating from the more than 250 health systems3 already sharing clinical notes with 55 million Americans registered on their electronic patient portals. More than 100 papers have been published dissecting the effects on care of this fundamental change in practice.2 What is being learned?”