India’s Fumbled Chance For Sharing Knowledge – CodeBlue

“In terms of open access to knowledge, India could have been the Vishwa Guru — the world’s teacher.

As early as 2000, India was making moves to allow taxpayer-funded research to be freely available for anyone in the world to read, share and distribute. But India has squandered that advantage.

Fast forward to 2022, and much of India’s research is still locked up behind the paywalls of corporate academic publishers, while the global science community increasingly questions why taxpayer-funded research should not be available for everyone to read….”

The ‘OA market’ – what is healthy? Part 1 – OASPA

“I joined OASPA in the summer of 2022. Considering the point of representation, and the need to reflect a greater diversity of viewpoints, particularly from those outside of Europe, I’ve been gathering non-European perspectives on the ‘OA market’ work done so far. 

I had email conversations and in-person conversations via Zoom with 15 individuals. All participants were asked to review the work completed by OASPA in 2021 (as documented in the issue brief and reflections). Feedback was specifically sought about the ‘OA market’ and the three areas of focus outlined above….

1. Publishing can be a cost rather than a revenue/profit source…

2. Wide access is being achieved in ways that are not always recognized…

3. APCs and OA are (not?) the same…

4. How can libraries focus on content acquisition and (OA) publishing?…

5. Pricing is a huge problem…

6. “Brain drain” and (Western) market gain…

7. Equity first for better health and diversity…”

 

The future of global health research, publishing, and practice – The Lancet Global Health

“As we move into our tenth year of operation, we would like to build on our commitment to making global health research, publishing, and practice a more equitable and effective space. We are therefore effecting a number of initiatives. Before outlining them, however, a word on article processing charges. It is often brought to our attention that the fee that we charge to cover the cost of reviewing, technical editing, typesetting and graphics, online hosting, archiving, and promotion of accepted manuscripts is way beyond the reach of researchers from low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We want to emphasise that we never, ever, expect researchers from any country to pay this charge from their own pockets. Our business model is based on the premise that more and more research funders are mandating gold open-access publication and are prepared to pay for it. If there is no such funding available and no, or only partial, funding available from institutional sources, then we waive or discount the fee. Whether the fee is paid or not does not affect the open-access nature of the article….”

Opinion: Why we’re becoming a Digital Public Good — and why we aren’t | Devex

“A few months ago, Medtronic LABS made the decision to open source our digital health platform SPICE, and pursue certification as a Digital Public Good. DPGs are defined by the Digital Public Good Alliance as: “Open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards, and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the Sustainable Development Goals.” The growing momentum around DPGs in global health is relatively new, coinciding with the launch of the U.N. Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation in 2020. The movement aims to put governments in the driver’s seat, promote better collaboration among development partners, and reduce barriers to the digitization of health systems.”

The Gaping Problem At The Heart Of Scientific Research – CodeBlue

“But the very need for these groups to call for research to be made available in the middle of a global emergency demonstrates the failure of the current publishing system.

Making research immediately free to read, which, when combined with the use of an open publishing licence, is known as ‘open access’ — is a hot topic in science. Global health bodies know how important open research is, especially in times of emergency, which is why they have repeatedly called for research to be made open. 

The latest plaintive request came in August 2022 from the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for mpox research to be made open. Previous global calls were in 2016 for Zika and in 2018 for Ebola. 

The consequences of lack of access to research can be dire. In 2015 a group of African researchers claimed that an earlier Ebola outbreak could have been prevented if research on it had been published openly.

The past 12 months have seen a flurry of changes in open access globally and from January 2023, the high profile journal Science will allow published research to be immediately placed in publicly-accessible repositories at no cost to scientists.

In August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum to all US research funding agencies that by January 1, 2026, they must make all the research they fund immediately publicly available, along with the data behind that research….

As 2023 unfolds, it seems that the benefits of open access have been proved beyond doubt. The next emergency in front of us, climate change, is much more complex, and there too are calls for open access.

Serious investment in a variety of approaches is essential to ensure a diverse, equitable, open access future.”

Empirical validation of IR sustainability model: leveraging on a PLS-SEM approach | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose This study aims to validate a proposed conceptual model for the implementation of sustainable institutional repositories (IRs) in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative approach shaped the survey research design. This study used structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis to evaluate the proposed model. The population of the study comprises 117 librarians, information technology staff and researchers knowledgeable about IR implementation status across 14 public universities in Nigeria. The data was collected using an online survey. The Smart-PLS v3.3 software was used to facilitate the analysis.

Findings

The findings indicate that the nine identified factors of the IR sustainability model have a significant influence on the implementation of sustainable IRs. This signified that the model has adequately depicted the relationship between the implementation of sustainable IRs and the identified factors.

Originality/value

This study provides an integrated synthesis of factors that influence the implementation of sustainable IRs. This study also presents the first-ever empirically validated model for sustainable IRs. The findings of this study addressed the challenge of implementing sustainable IRs and institutionalized the idea of IRs’ sustainability assessment.

Open access publishing deal for low-, middle-income countries

“Academics based in 70 low- and middle-income countries, including those in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, will be able to have their primary research published Gold Open Access by Nature – at no cost – thus enabling their scientific work to be permanently and freely available online for anyone to read.

Academics in the regions that are set to benefit from the announcement have welcomed the development, but some have also raised questions about the longer-term impact on the development of the publishing industries in low- and medium-income countries and diversity in the industry.

Springer Nature announced earlier in January that financial support, via a dedicated fund, has been made available to support authors from 70 countries classified by the World Bank as low-income or lower-middle-income to help them have their research published open access in Nature and the Nature-branded journals….

These high article processing fees for Gold Open Access publishing systemically exclude the participation of scholars from developing countries, said Dr Edmond Sanganyado, assistant professor in environmental forensics at Northumbria University, United Kingdom, and a committee member of Global Young Academy….”

Aaron Swartz and His Legacy of Internet Activism

“To build this future for our society, we need to adopt the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto to inverse the information asymmetry between citizens and Big Tech-Big Government. This can only happen if we build alternative networks of information infrastructures that support these ideas. These information networks can’t be built overnight, but we need to strive towards them. Sci-Hub and LibGen are some examples of these information infrastructures and not only do we need to support them, we need to build more of them.”

Making universal access to research a reality | Research Information

“Transformative agreements make OA publication by authors in participating institutions as simple as possible. They are contracts between publishers and universities that fold the cost of publishing (article publication charges (APCs)) into subscription contracts and comply with various OA funder mandates. In short, they enable researchers to publish their research OA at no cost to them as the fees and admin are covered by their institutions. 

According to figures from the ESAC initiative, there has been a 60% year on year increase in TAs since 2014 when they first started recording the deals. They have been gaining momentum in Europe for several years and are now appearing in the US, Latin America, Canada, Australia and spreading across other countries around the world. 

IOP Publishing now has transformative agreements with over 300 institutions in 17 countries. The agreements come in a variety of forms, no two are exactly the same as member institutions are diverse with different sets of requirements. The number of years the agreement is in place can vary from one to three years, the types of journals included can differ, some have limits on the number of OA articles, others are uncapped. Our starting principle is to offer unlimited agreements to stimulate the greatest uptake. We see them as the most effective shift to a more open future at scale….”

Just 35% Indian research papers open-access, BHU’s data analysis platform shows

“Only about 35% of India’s scientific research publications is open–access, even though a large chunk of the research itself is public-funded, an analysis of research data by a team at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) has found. It has also found that less than a third of Indian research papers have women as lead authors….

The analysis has produced interesting findings. For instance, researchers found that a sizable percent of research is not available as open access despite being funded by the government. According to its records, 35.13% of India’s research was open-access in 2019; out of the 20 countries considered, India was ahead of only China (34.45%) and Iran (32.49%)….”

How was the transition to open access advanced in 2022? | Research Information

“Undoubtedly, 2022 has been a year of growth for open access (OA). Funder policies and deadlines have come into play and, as a result of the pandemic, the impact and benefits of open research and open access are now better understood by people beyond academia. 

Overall, two themes featured strongly – the need for OA take up to become more global and the importance for authors to remain able to publish in their journal of choice. Taken together these themes were instrumental to enabling OA growth in 2022….

And when we look at the policy developments that have taken place this year with a number of countries reviewing their approach to OA and considering policy recommendations to speed up the transition, this move beyond Europe is likely to continue:

US- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)) has updated the US policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost

Australia – Australian funding agency, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has introduced the requirement that scholarly publications arising from the research it funds be made freely available and accessible

India – the Ministry of Education has announced the deadline for the launch of the “One Nation, One Subscription” (ONOS) policy for scientific research papers and academic journals from April 2023 to ensure countrywide access for researchers and the broader public.

 

Come 2023, we are likely to see even greater take up by authors of OA. Moreover publishers, such as Springer Nature, continue to be ready to work with funders and others to ensure that these policies drive the OA transition in a sustainable way while ensuring the needs of the researchers continue to be met. For a long time we have had the ‘supply’ (the ability to publish OA), what we have been waiting for is the ‘demand’ (authors wanting to publish OA)….”

The open access movement, to make academic papers accessible for all – The Hindu

“The government conceived of ONOS in 2020 to lower this bill, but experts remain sceptical. There are three main concerns — first, while the government will pay a fixed sum to journals, this sum could still be large; secondly which journals will be included in the negotiations and why? (a ‘recommended list’ faced some resistance in 2020); and finally as India has a large population of researchers with diverse interests, journals may not agree on a common price….”

Nature announces support for authors from over 70 countries to publish open access: Authors from low-income and lower-middle income countries to be able to publish for free in Nature and the Nature research journals

From today, primary research from authors from over 70 countries classified by the World Bank as low-income (LIC) or lower-middle-income economies (LMICs) accepted for publication in either Nature or one of the Nature research journals (e.g. Nature Chemistry, Nature Sustainability) can now be published Gold open access at no cost. This move recognises that local funding is rarely available for publishing OA in specialist journals like Nature, whose characteristics such as in-house editorial teams and low acceptance rates make it difficult for authors from these countries who are less well-funded.  

The evolving role of research ethics committees in the era of open data | South African Journal of Bioethics and Law

Abstract:  While open science gains prominence in South Africa with the encouragement of open data sharing for research purposes, there are stricter laws and regulations around privacy – and specifically the use, management and transfer of personal information – to consider. The Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect in 2021, established stringent requirements for the processing of personal information and has changed the regulatory landscape for the transfer of personal information across South African borders. At the same time, draft national policies on open science encourage wide accessibility to data and open data sharing in line with international best practice. As a result, the operation of research ethics committees (RECs) in South Africa is affected by the conflicting demands of the shift towards open science on the one hand, and the stricter laws protecting participants’ personal information and the transfer thereof, on the other. This article explores the continuing evolving role of RECs in the era of open data and recommends the development of a data transfer agreement (DTA) for the ethical management of personal health information, considering the challenges that RECs encounter, which centres predominantly on privacy, data sharing and access concerns following advances in genetic and genomic research and biobanking.

 

RePP Africa – a georeferenced and curated database on existing and proposed wind, solar, and hydropower plants | Scientific Data

Abstract:  Promoting a transition to low-carbon energy systems to mitigate climate change requires an optimization of renewable energy (RE) planning. However, curated data for the most promising RE technologies, hydro-, wind and solar power, are missing, which limits data-based decision-making support. Here, a spatially explicit database for existing and proposed renewable power plants is provided: The Renewable Power Plant database for Africa (RePP Africa) encompasses 1074 hydro-, 1128 solar, and 276 wind power plant records. For each power plant, geographic coordinates, country, construction status, and capacity (in megawatt) are reported. The number of RePP Africa records exceeds the respective values in other existing open-access databases and matches available cumulative capacity data reported by international energy organizations best with deviations <13% for hydro-, <23% for wind, and <32% for solar power plants. This contemporary database is the most harmonized open-accessible reference source on RE power plants across Africa for stakeholders from science, (non-)governmental organizations, consulting, and industry; providing a fundamental data basis for the development of an integrated sustainable RE mix.