January 2017 SPARC Innovator: ASAPbio

“Ron Vale says he’s had a great run at science and now wants to focus on improving biomedical research for the next generation.


“I’ve had this magical life doing this work that I loved and now feel a moral obligation to make sure other young people can live that dream,” says the 58-year-old professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California San Francisco.


Just how to attract and retain young scientists in the field is complicated, but Vale says one tangible way is to change the culture of how science is communicated and accelerate the process.


To address the issue, Vale wrote an opinion piece in biorXiv.org in July of 2015 in which he suggested that biologists consider using preprints to communicate their findings in parallel with using conventional journal publication. The idea of sharing preprints – drafts of scholarly articles posted online prior to publication in a peer-reviewed journal – attracted attention. Preprints are widely used in the physics, mathematics, and computer science communities, but were largely unknown and minimally used in biology in 2015….”

New study on the benefits of Open Data – European Data Portal

“The Bertelsmann foundation has published a new study on Open Data: Open Data – Wertschöpfung im digitalen Zeitalter (Open Data – Value creation in the digital age). Illustrated with examples from both Germany and other countries, the study emphasizes that freely accessible data brings many practical advantages to citizens, politics and the economy and could even increase social prosperity.”

Transitioning Your Journal from Subscription to Open Access – SPARC

“In recent years, dozens of subscription journals have “flipped” to an open access model. While each journal has its own specific goals, challenges, and priorities, open access generally provides an opportunity to broaden the impact and availability of scholarly research.  Editors, journal managers, learned societies, and publishers considering transitioning their publications from the subscription model to open access may wish to consider the following:…”

The Virtual Reformation — Kill Your Darlings

“With more books available, supply created demand. People, particularly those with means, began to learn to read. Even before Martin Luther nailed his ‘The 95 Theses’ to the church door in 1517, cracks were beginning to appear in the ironclad control the Catholic Church had previously exercised over access to information and knowledge….But even in the face of such draconian consequences, the public continued to demand their own direct relationship with God and their right to read the Bible in their own language. What people were really agitating for, perhaps, was access to information and knowledge. They were no longer willing to know only what the priestly class wanted them to know….Now that everybody with a smart device has access to the media as well as the ability to create content themselves, things that used to be kept quiet are getting out; everyone can have a direct relationship with what used to be privileged information….”

Streit um wissenschaftliche Publikationen – “Irgendwo muss Geld fließen – denn der Prozess kostet Geld”

From Google Translate: “Universities and scientific specialist publishers are arguing about access to scientific publications – the universities are becoming too expensive for their subscriptions. Hannfisch von Hindenburg from the publishing house Elsevier defended the money demands of the publishing houses in the DLF – but signaled willingness to talk to enable more open access.”

Social Theory Journal disClosure Adopts Open Access Copyright Policy | UKNow

“[T]his year’s Editors-in-Chief Eric Huntley, Lauren Moore, Matthew Rosenblum and Alan van den Arend have also decided to comprehensively rework the journal’s copyright policy, adopting a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC) and committing to open access principles. This move will encourage disClosure’s substantial global readership to widely distribute and reuse disClosure content in new and innovative ways….

Open access refers to a growing movement in academic publishing that seeks to remove barriers to the access and use of research outputs. While the contents of disClosure have been freely available since 2013, the new CC-BY-NC license goes several steps further. For example, contributors to the journal now retain their copyright in their work. Furthermore, anyone is free to redistribute and rework journal content for non-commercial purposes as long as they credit the original author and describe any changes made. Finally, the new policy retroactively applies to all previously published content: the last 25 years of disClosure are now licensed under the same permissive terms….”

Novel processes and metrics for a scientific evaluation rooted in the principles of science

Abstract:  Scientific evaluation is a determinant of how scientists, institutions and funders behave, and as such is a key element in the making of science. In this article, we propose an alternative to the current norm of evaluating research with journal rank. Following a well-defined notion of scientific value, we introduce qualitative processes that can also be quantified and give rise to meaningful and easy-to-use article-level metrics. In our approach, the goal of a scientist is transformed from convincing an editorial board through a vertical process to convincing peers through an horizontal one. We argue that such an evaluation system naturally provides the incentives and logic needed to constantly promote quality, reproducibility, openness and collaboration in science. The system is legally and technically feasible and can gradually lead to the self-organized reappropriation of the scientific process by the scholarly community and its institutions. We propose an implementation of our evaluation system with the platform “the Self-Journals of Science” (www.sjscience.org)