Anti-transparency within the EU shift to open science | Science and Public Policy | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  In 2014, the European Commission initiated a process to strengthen science 2.0 as a core research policy concept. However, this turned into a substantial ideational shift. The concept of science 2.0 was dropped. Instead, open science became established as one of the three pillars of the €94 billion research framework programme Horizon Europe. This article scrutinises the official narrative regarding the shift of concepts, identifying transparency issues, specifically misrepresentation of concepts and data, and the redaction of key material. This can be characterised as problems of input legitimacy. A public consultation did take place, but numerous transparency issues can be found. From science 2.0 to open science, the ideational shift was portrayed as simply a matter of exchanging two synonymous concepts. However, science 2.0 is a descriptive concept referring to science being transformed by digitalisation. In contrast, open science involves normative assumptions about how science should work and be governed.

 

Why making academic research free is complicated – Vox

“Freeing research largely paid for by taxpayer money can seem like a no-brainer, but over time, the potential downsides of open science efforts like the Plan S mandate have become more apparent. While pay-to-publish but free-to-read platforms bring more research to the public, they can add barriers for researchers and worsen some existing inequalities in academia. Scientific publishing will remain a for-profit industry and a highly lucrative one for publishers. Shifting the fees onto authors doesn’t change this.

Many of the newly founded open-access journals drop the fees entirely, but even if they’re not trying to make a profit, they still need to cover their operating costs. They fall back on ad revenue, individual donations or philanthropic grants, corporate sponsorship, and even crowdfunding.

But open-access platforms often lack the prestige of well-known top journals like Nature. Scientists early in their careers — as well as those at less wealthy universities in low-income countries — often rely on precarious, short-term grant funding to carry out their research. Their career depends on putting out an impressive publication record, which is already an uphill battle….”

 

A Critical Examination of the OSTP Memo | By Every Means Necessary

by Dave Ghamandi, also available via https://doi.org/10.17613/ejk2-ys30

“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories . . .”

-Amilcar Cabral

INTRODUCTION

Open access (OA) takes many forms. It can be the product of voluntary associations that are cooperative and mutually supportive. It can result from the “free market,” where Springer Nature charges an $11,000+ article processing charge (APC) to make a single article OA. It can also be produced through a regulatory-compliance-and-punishment system. The latter is what’s found in the new Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo issued on August 25, 2022.[1] The OSTP’s stated aims in the memo give anti-imperialists much to be concerned about, especially as the biden administration previously justified increasing public access to federally-funded research as a way of battling China in a new Cold War. Those of us in the belly of the beast—the u.s. empire—have an obligation to develop, share, and act upon a critical analysis of the OSTP memo. This analysis is rooted in the historical and present-day evidence that the executive branch manages a corporately-controlled state and is not accustomed to giving gifts to the working class. I attempt to explain and predict in this essay.

[…]

 

Opinion: Open access is not open – The Varsity

“The convenience of accessing open-access science literature for free comes at a cost to the authors themselves. In the case of open-access journals, researchers are required to pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) for publishing their accepted work. Furthermore, as an unnamed senior researcher from North America included in a recent study points out, open access may disadvantage authors in institutions lacking in resources. 

In many instances, researchers cannot access or download their own work or that of their colleagues due to paywall restrictions. The lack of accessibility and control over one’s own copyright material and how it is disseminated is a predicament reminiscent of the reason why Taylor Swift decided to claim ownership for her music by re-recording her old albums. …”

Calls for disease-specific open access criticised – Research Professional News

“Amid monkeypox content push, Plan S leaders say all research should be openly available

Open access to research results should not be “dictated by the perceived urgency of a disease”, leaders of the Plan S open-access initiative have stressed, amid a push to make papers on the monkeypox outbreak freely available.

Plan S executive director Johan Rooryck and head of strategy Robert Kiley said in a blog post published on 16 August that—in line with Plan S—funders should instead require open access to any papers reporting work they have supported.

Earlier this month science and technology leaders from across the globe called on scholarly publishers to provide open access to papers reporting research on monkeypox, to aid the public health response to the disease. Science leaders made similar requests during the Zika, Ebola and Covid-19 outbreaks.

Publishers have responded to the call to action, with Springer Nature and Elsevier both announcing they were making monkeypox content free to access.

But Rooryck and Kiley criticised this disease-specific approach, saying that publisher responses are “typically time-limited and may contain restrictions on how the research can be reused”. …”

Transformative agreements are not the key to open access | Times Higher Education (THE)

“For years, there has been a debate about the most effective strategy to achieve universal open access to scholarly publications. This has unnecessarily pitted two approaches against each other: the “gold” approach, based on open-access journals, and the “green” approach, based on open-access repositories. While there are strengths and drawbacks to each, both are critical – for the moment, at least….

The Plan S requirement for immediate open access has further fuelled the debate. In a recent article published in Times Higher Education, Springer Nature’s chief publishing officer, Stephen Inchcoombe, argues that transformative agreements (TAs) are the fastest route towards full open access. Yet these agreements – which allow researchers to both access journals’ subscription content and to publish in them open access – are only available to institutions or countries with the substantial funds required to pay for them. In addition, they sometimes take years to negotiate and, because most institutions will not be able to afford TAs with all publishers, they lock researchers into publishing in specific venues.

Moreover, TAs do not transform journals to open access, but make individual articles available for a fee. While such “transformative journals” are supposedly on a path to becoming fully open access, the real direction of travel is questionable. As such, transformative agreements alone will only result in a slow and partial transition to open access, with content remaining siloed in various publisher platforms.

 

That underlines the case for a parallel green route. Inchcoombe claims that repository content is of lower quality and has less visibility than the publishers’ version. But the accepted manuscript (the most common version found in repositories) contains the same content as the published version. In addition, articles in repositories such as arXiv, Pubmed Central and Zenodo, as well as many institutional repositories, are both highly used and highly cited. …”

Academics concerned over UK universities’ Springer Nature deal – Research Professional News

“Issues cited include how to reach open access and “eye-watering”

article processing charge

A group of prominent academics have written an open letter voicing
concern about UK universities negotiating a deal with Springer Nature
for access to its journals in 2023 and beyond.

The letter, which has 35 signatories, takes issue with transformative
deals, which are ways for publishers to move from traditional
subscription journals to an open-access model.

Lead author Stephen Eglen, a computational neuroscience professor at
the University of Cambridge, told Research Professional News that
legacy publishers such as Springer Nature seem to be pushing for gold
open access, which usually means article processing charges (APCs)
must be paid, despite there being “many other more sustainable
alternatives”….

But academics in the letter have suggested that money spent on

publishers such as Springer Nature “could be better invested instead
in building ethical scholarly communications infrastructure or diamond
open-access models”, where there are no fees for readers or authors….”

Pro-Con Debate: Should Code Sharing Be Mandatory for Publication?

Abstract:  In this Pro-Con commentary article, we discuss whether or not code sharing should be mandatory for scientific publications. Scientific programming is an increasingly prevalent tool in research. However, there are not unified guidelines for code availability requirements. Some journals require code sharing. Others require code descriptions. Yet others have no policies around code sharing. The Pro side presented here argues that code sharing should be mandatory for all scientific publications involving code. This Pro argument comes in 2 parts. First, any defensible reason for not sharing code is an equally valid a reason for the manuscript itself not being published. Second, lack of code sharing requirements creates 2 tiers of science: one where reproducibility is required and one where it is not. Additionally, the Pro authors suggest that a debate over code sharing is itself a decade out-of-date due to the emerging availability of containerization and virtual environment sharing software. The Pro argument concludes with an appeal that authors release code to make their work more understandable by other researchers. The Con side presented here argues that computer source codes of medical technology equipment should not be subject to mandatory public disclosure. The source code is a crucial part of what makes a particular device unique and allows that device to outperform its competition. The Con authors believe that public disclosure of this proprietary information would destroy all incentives for businesses to develop new and improved technologies. Competition in the free marketplace is what drives companies to constantly improve their products, to develop new and better medical devices. The open disclosure of these “trade secret” details would effectively end that competitive drive. Why invest time, money, and energy developing a “better mousetrap” if your competitors can copy it and produce it the next day?

 

Revisiting: Will the Future of Scholarly Communication Be Pluralistic and Democratic, or Monocultural and Authoritarian? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In the pluralistic scenario, the scholarly communication ecosystem embraces some mixture of open access (OA) and toll access models. In the monocultural scenario, the scholarly communication ecosystem embraces only OA, and eliminates toll access altogether. (Theoretically, of course, it would be possible to have an all-toll-access scenario as well, but that hasn’t been a realistic possibility for years. OA is here to stay and there is no reason at all to believe that it will ever go away, or that it should.)

We have to choose between these scenarios because as a matter of simple logic, they can’t coexist; one of them will eventually win and one of them will lose….

The scholcomm community is not struggling to choose between “OA” and “not OA,” but between “universal and mandatory OA” and “non-universal and optional OA.” …”

Top ten reasons to not share your code (and why you should anyway) | Software Sustainability Institute

“I am an advocate of sharing the computer code used to produce tables or figures appearing in mathematical and scientific publications, particularly when the results produced by the code are an integral part of the research being presented. I’m not alone, and in fact the number of people thinking this way seems to be rapidly increasing, see for example [1–3, 6–8, 10].

But there is still much resistance to this idea, and in the past several years I have heard many of the same arguments repeated over and over. So I thought it might be useful to write down some of the arguments, along with counter-arguments that may be worth considering….”

It is not transformation if nothing changes – Science & research news | Frontiers

“The substantial benefits of open access (OA) publishing are within our reach, but legacy publishers are employing commercial tactics to delay the necessary transition.

This paper exposes several of the negative, often unintended, consequences of “transformative agreements” (TAs).  It argues that these agreements, sold as a pathway to open science, in fact reinforce the status quo.  TAs maintain paywalled access as the standard financial model in publishing.  They are negotiated in the absence of basic competition and procurement rules.  And by concentrating resources into silos for a few incumbents only, they pose a threat to the diversity of the publishing ecosystem, locking out innovators, including the very players who demonstrate the benefits of OA publishing.  Deployed as a commercial tactic, these agreements will stall the establishment of a transparent and competitive marketplace for professional editorial services….:”

How does open science ‘democratise’ and ‘collectivise’ research? – Samuel Moore

“Yet it isn’t clear what the relationship is between the greater sharing of research materials and the so-called democratisation at work in open science. What actually is democratising and collectivising about what HELIOS is trying to do?

It is important to ask this question because HELIOS is, by all accounts, a top-down initiative led by senior figures of research-intensive universities in the US. Despite the casual association between open science and collectivity, it appears that HELIOS is more a way for university leaders to coerce researchers into a cultural change, not something that is led by the research community at large. While changing tenure guidelines to prioritise publishing in open access journals, sharing FAIR data and releasing reusable open code may have some good outcomes, they are not themselves the basis for greater collective governance of science. Instead, these changes will provide an economic reason for researchers to adopt open science practices, a reason still based on individual progress within the academy….”

Critique of “Transformative” Reasons: “T”As and Their Discontents | Brianne Selman @ Library Publishing Forum, 18 May 2022

Presentation slides by Brianne Selman. Session description: “This session will summarize some of the major categories of the critiques of “transformative” agreements. Perspectives that critique negotiation approaches, the continued bundling of costs into large agreements, market concentrations, decline in scholarly standards, analysis of whether OA goals are even being met by TAs, as well as major equity and diversity concerns will be summarized and discussed.”

A Plea for Polarization: Or Why We Shouldn’t Center Comfort and Peace Before Justice

“I recently read an op-ed calling for less polarization in the world of open access, and I couldn’t agree less. Read it for yourself in the Times Higher Education. Pieces like this are very sophisticated in the ways that they narrow the acceptable range of debate. It demands peace before justice. Let’s break this down….”

Decolonising Open Educational Resources (OER): Why the focus on ‘open’ and ‘access’ is not enough for the EdTech revolution – EdTech Hub

“Open Educational Resources have offered a number of promises and opportunities, primarily in terms of customising learning to students’ needs, pace, and interests. Additionally, it has provided teachers with a wide range of customisation and collaboration options. On the flip side, there is a difference between thinking about new developments in an operational sense and in a social sense. Thinking of developments in education in a technological dimension relates to their operational sense and stops there. However, such developments acquire social and cultural meanings beyond mere function. We understand the latter by looking at what happens in practice as people, communities, cultures, and systems interact with and react to these developments. In effect, there are inherent assumptions within OER that several scholars have taken  a critical look at:

Education science is universal (it is not!) (King, 1999)
Learning outcomes are the benchmark (they are not!) (Fasheh, 1990)
‘Open’ is neutral and apolitical – and so is education data (they are not!)  (Watters, 2014) 
‘Open’ removes systemic barriers to access (not necessarily!) (Bali et al., 2018)
‘Open’ is inherently good or just (not necessarily!)  (Watters, 2014) …”