Neil Gaiman, Alok Menon, Naomi Klein, Saul Williams, and 300+ authors pen open letter supporting libraries’ rights in the digital age | Fight for the Future

Over 300 authors including Neil Gaiman, Alok Menon, Naomi Klein, Saul Williams, Hanif Abdurraqib, Lawrence Lessig, Chuck Wendig, and Cory Doctorow have released an open letter in support of the continued role of libraries in the digital age. 

It reads in part:

“Libraries are a fundamental collective good. We, the undersigned authors, are disheartened by the recent attacks against libraries being made in our name by trade associations such as the American Association of Publishers and the Publishers Association: undermining the traditional rights of libraries to own and preserve books, intimidating libraries with lawsuits, and smearing librarians.“

The full text of the letter, full list of signatories, as well as a form for more authors to sign on is available at http://FightForTheFuture.org/Authors-For-Libraries.

The letter demands that publishers, distributors, and trade associations:

Enshrine the right of libraries to own, preserve, and loan books on reasonable terms regardless of format
End lawsuits aimed to intimidate libraries or diminish their role in society
Halt industry-led smear campaigns against librarians

Notable among the signatories are Chuck Wendig and Neil Gaiman. Wendig initially criticized the Internet Archive’s temporary suspension of 1-owned-to-1-loaned restrictions during the first pandemic lockdown, but has since spoken out against major publishers’ lawsuit against the library, joining Gaiman. The suit seeks to end the Internet Archive’s Open Library Project, which partners with 80+ libraries including Boston Public Library, Milton Public Library, University of Arizona, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to loan out digital scans of physical books the Internet Archive Library owns.

The suit’s scope reaches to the core of the right to own digital books. Briefs in the case are due October 7th. If publishers prevail, they will effectively terminate the rights of all libraries across the US to own, preserve, and loan digital books by “blocking” a practice called controlled digital lending—locking in licensing models with grave implications for readers’ safety.

 

COARA – Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment

“Our vision is that the assessment of research, researchers and research organisations recognises the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research. This requires basing assessment primarily on qualitative judgement, for which peer review is central, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.”

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment is now final – COARA

“Launched in January 2022 as a co-creation exercise, the process of drafting an agreement for reforming research assessment has reached an important milestone. On 8 July, the final version of the agreement was presented at a Stakeholder Assembly bringing together the 350+ organisations from 40+ countries having expressed interest in being involved in the process. Today, the final Agreement is made public with this news.

Organisations involved have provided feedback to the evolving drafts of the agreement, as prepared by a team composed of representatives from the European University Association (EUA), Science Europe, and the European Commission, alongside Dr Karen Stroobants in her individual capacity as researcher with expertise in research on research.

A core group of 20 research organisations, representing the diversity of the research community across Europe, also contributed to the drafting process, while EU Member States and Associated Countries have been consulted on the agreement in the framework of the ERA Forum and the European Research Area Committee (ERAC).

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment sets a shared direction for changes in assessment practices for research, researchers and research performing organisations, with the overarching goal to maximise the quality and impact of research. The Agreement includes the principles, commitments and timeframe for reforms and lays out the principles for a Coalition of organisations willing to work together in implementing the changes.

Signatories will commit to a common vision, which is that the assessment of research, researchers and research organisations recognises the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research. This requires basing assessment primarily on qualitative judgement supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.”

Grants and hiring: will impact factors and h-indices be scrapped?

“Universities, scientific academies, funding institutions and other organizations around the world will have the option to sign a document that would oblige signatories to change how they assess researchers for jobs, promotions and grants.

Signatories would commit to moving away from standard metrics such as impact factors, and adopting a system that rewards researchers for the quality of their work and their full contributions to science. “People are questioning the way they are being evaluated,” says Stephane Berghmans, director of research and innovation at the European University Association (EUA). The Brussels-based group helped to draft the agreement, which is known as the Agreement on Reforming Researcher Assessment. “This was the time.” 

Universities and other endorsers will be able to sign the agreement from 28 September. The European Commission (EC) announced plans last November for putting together the agreement; it proposed that assessment criteria reward ethics and integrity, teamwork and a variety of outputs, along with ‘research quality’ and impact. In January, the commission began to draft the agreement with the EUA and others….”

Declaración de CLACSO “Una nueva evaluación académica y científica para una ciencia con relevancia social en América Latina y el Caribe» | Universo Abierto

From Google’s English:  “This declaration was approved by the XXVII General Assembly of CLACSO, within the framework of the  9th Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Social Sciences , in Mexico City in June 2022. In turn, it was enriched with the contributions of various regional and international specialists and representatives of CLACSO member centers, who participated in the plenary “Balance, perspectives and challenges for a new agenda for academic evaluation in Latin America and the Caribbean” at the International Seminar of the  Forum Latin American Scientific Evaluation (FOLEC)- CLACSO  during the 9th. Conference.

In this way, CLACSO-FOLEC, together with a multiplicity of actors and actors committed to the issue, has managed to consolidate a common Declaration of Principles and high consensus on responsible academic evaluation from and for Latin America and the Caribbean. Following these guidelines, CLACSO-FOLEC seeks to promote the implementation of these principles – converted into proposals and tools for action – by the National Science and Technology Organizations, scientific institutions and higher education in the region. Likewise, it mobilizes the study and survey of good practices and different innovations in the evaluation processes,     

We would very much like your individual and/or institutional support for the Declaration. For that, you can offer your adhesion in the link.”

Reforming research assessment: the Agreement is now final

“Launched in January 2022 as a co-creation exercise, the process of drafting an agreement for reforming research assessment has reached an important milestone. On 8 July, the final version of the agreement was presented at a Stakeholder Assembly bringing together the 350+ organisations from 40+ countries having expressed interest in being involved in the process. Today, the final Agreement is made public with this news.

Organisations involved include public and private research funders, universities, research centres, institutes and infrastructures, associations and alliances thereof, national and regional authorities, accreditation and evaluation agencies, learned societies and associations of researchers, and other relevant organisations, representing a broad diversity of views and perspectives. They have provided feedback to the evolving drafts of the agreement, as prepared by a team composed of representatives from the European University Association (EUA), Science Europe, the European Commission and Dr Karen Stroobants in her individual capacity as researcher with expertise in research on research. A core group of 20 research organisations, representing the diversity of the research community across Europe, also contributed to the drafting process, while EU Member States and Associated Countries have been consulted on the agreement in the framework of the ERA Forum and the European Research Area Committee (ERAC).

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment sets a shared direction for changes in assessment practices for research, researchers and research performing organisations, with the overarching goal to maximise the quality and impact of research.  The Agreement includes the principles, commitments and timeframe for reforms and lays out the principles for a Coalition of organisations willing to work together in implementing the changes. The Final version of the Agreement can be accessed here….”

Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment

“As signatories of this Agreement, we agree on the need to reform research assessment practices. Our vision is that the assessment of research, researchers and research organisations recognises the diverse outputs, practices and activities that maximise the quality and impact of research. This requires basing assessment primarily on qualitative judgement, for which peer review is central, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators. Among other purposes, this is fundamental for: deciding which researchers to recruit, promote or reward, selecting which research proposals to fund, and identifying which research units and organisations to support….”

 

Wiley Signs Declaration on Research Assessment, Deepens Commitment to Responsible Research Assessment | John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

“Global research and education leader Wiley today announced it has signed the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which is a world-wide initiative designed to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. 

As the publisher of nearly 2,000 academic journals, Wiley will deliver more ways to assess and recognize research outputs, which in turn supports healthy scholarship and allows more researchers to thrive in their careers. To this end, Wiley will roll out a broad range of journal and article metrics across its journal portfolio with the aim of providing a holistic, well-rounded view of the value and impact of any author’s research. This includes metrics that measure levels of impact beyond citation value, including usage, re-use, reproducibility, peer review assessment, geographic reach, and public recognition via references in media outlets….”

PCI Manifesto – Peer Community In

“I agree to submit at least one of my best articles to a PCI for peer review before the end of 2023 and, if recommended, to publish it in Peer Community Journal.”

“I support PCI and adhere to the idea of making Peer Community Journal a widely-used venue for the publication of high-quality articles.”

“I will be bound by this promise only if at least 500 other researchers make the same commitment.” …

“PCI has now been running for five years, and has evaluated and recommended hundreds of high-quality preprints. At the end of 2021, we launched Peer Community Journal, to enable authors of PCI-recommended preprints to publish their articles in an open access journal for free. More than 200 authors have already opted to publish their recommended preprints in Peer Community Journal. This is a first step, but we need to aim even higher for the scientific and academic community to reclaim control over the publication process.

Our goal is for Peer Community Journal to provide an efficient route for open access publication at no cost to authors or readers. The Peer Community In model allows high-quality research to be reviewed and published, while saving the scientific community millions of dollars in subscription and publication fees….”

Statement on APC.pdf – Google Drive

“In the midst of this complex scenario, we believe that the international community should assume the challenge of exercising multilateral governance and academic cooperation in the face of the inequities that arise from this new OA publication model. To that end, the signing global organizations promote the creation of an ad hoc worldwide committee (Global Initiative for Equitable OA Models), working under the umbrella of multilateral global academic institutions or similar bodies. The Committee aspires to:

1. Establish a fluid dialogue between the various members of the scientific community, policy makers and representatives from governments, to further discuss options and implement joint actions for an equitable model of OA for the global scientific community.

2. Draft a global agreement aimed at enforcing equitable access to publishing in OA Journals moving away from Author Pays OA and toward models that either a) repurpose existing subscription funds to fund e.g. sponsored OA or b) subscribe-to-open OA; or obtain funding for academic publishing from institutions or other public sources (diamond/platinum OA). Regulation should include guidelines aimed at setting copyrights.

3. Create a global economic containment network to financially support the least developing countries and scientifically lagging countries in order to strengthen national scientific R&D systems in line with objectives previously established by the countries at the multilateral level, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

4. Set up a network of existing or new diamond journals from developing countries, aimed at promoting non commercial open publishing practices with clear and transparent regulations and strong standardized peer review processes. This can lead to new prestigious and recognized options where scientific communication will prevail over the interests from the publishing industry.”

A CALL TO ACTION TO REFORM GLOBAL HEALTH PARTNERSHIPS – Consortium of Universities for Global Health

“The global health enterprise has improved the well-being of people. However, structural inequities persist within the sector. This contributes to inequality and wholly insufficient impacts to address the Sustainable Development Goals.   

Power imbalances are embedded across funding, political power, management capacity and technical capabilities The current pandemic which has highlighted, not created these inequities, is an opportunity to truly acknowledge these gaps and build forward better to rectify them. This must include ensuring that partnerships between institutions in high income countries (HICs) and those in low and low middle-income countries (LLMICs) are equitable, effective, and that most of the benefits from those arrangements accrue to the LLMIC institution. Collaborations rooted in respect, honesty, equity, and commitment to outcomes that are aligned with the needs of the LLMIC partners are essential to reforming global health. Such partnerships, across sectors, will be much more effective in addressing the development challenges before us.

We the undersigned support the following actions the global health community should collaborate on to improve the health of people and the planet in an equitable and sustainable manner:

HIC institutions should provide free access to their academic libraries to their LLMIC partners

HICs should share their curricula with LLMIC partners, free of charge

Where possible, HICs should provide to their LLMIC partners free compatible computers, software and affordable, and reliable 3G broadband as requested

When students from HICs are participating in experiential learning opportunities in an LLMIC institution, agreements should be in place that provide tangible benefits sought the host institution. Host institutions should be compensated for any human resources and other assets utilized by hosting the HIC students. HIC institutions could provide their own trainers to build capacity in the host institution as directed by the host. This includes strengthening LLMIC management capacity.

Staff in LLMIC should be fully compensated for training students from HICs or supporting HIC led research projects

HIC institutions should provide training and mentorship in grant writing and grant applications

Research questions must be co-created in collaboration with the host institution/community/country.

HIC institutions should provide training in article writing and ensure fair and equitable authorship of research papers between the scientists from LLMICs and HICs who participated in the project

Research findings must be shared with equity, fairness and respect of the work provided between all collaborators from LLMICs and HICs who participate in the research

A plan to disseminate the research findings should be part of the design of the study proposal….”

Petition · Stop offering paid fast-track academic publishing · Change.org

“This is an open letter to Taylor & Francis, publishers of academic journals. We are writing to ask T&F to discontinue the policy of fast-tracking submissions for a fee. We refer to the policy here. A recent clarification of this policy was published by T&F but it does not adequately address our concerns.

We have two objections to the policy. First is that we are against any form of preferential treatment for those who can pay. Fast-tracking for a fee creates a two-tier system, wherein the well-funded have an unfair advantage over the less well-to-do; in particular, it exacerbates the differences between scientists in different economic circumstances and at different points in their career. The fast-track policy at the least allows faster publication by those with funds, improving the chance for the funded to win subsequent grants and to publish before other labs working on the same topic.

Our second objection to the policy stems from our concern that fast-tracked manuscripts may receive an advantage above and beyond just faster publication. …”

Should we accept Elsevier’s 7th proposal?

“Here we outline reasons for and against accepting Elsevier’s 7th proposal.  It is based on information provided by the University of Cambridge library.  …

We recommend the deal be rejected after considering the following pro/cons.  If you agree, please consider signing at the bottom of the document, and share with colleagues.  (Anyone from UK can sign.) …”

Bedreigingen voor fundamenteel wetenschappelijk onderzoek in Nederland brengen onze toekomstige welvaart in gevaar – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “The approach by which Dutch science has risen to the top 5 in the world since the 1980s is under threat, write Raymond Poot and more than a hundred other scientists. Not through Open Access or Recognition and Valuation, but through the link between this and the signing of DORA and the roll-out of Open Science. In this contribution, Poot shares the conclusions and recommendations from a study into the consequences of Open Science and DORA. “A scenario of an internationally competitive Dutch science, where different talents can come into their own, is entirely possible. However, the current policy has to be drastically adjusted for that.” …

Dutch scientists are no longer assessed on the basis of international, scientific and measurable criteria, as was done very successfully at NWO for thirty years. These criteria have been partly removed by Open Science and DORA and replaced by criteria that are politically motivated and difficult to measure. As we described in our previous contribution in ScienceGuide, the negative effects of Open Science and DORA at NWO are amplified because measurable criteria are replaced by narratives. Sometimes the CV is even omitted entirely.  …

To show that ‘policy’ based on Open Science and DORA contains major risks that we should not get used to, I wrote a report with Bas de Bruin and Frank Grosveld that goes deeper into the matter. The report is supported by 105 scientists (further support for the report can be emailed to Raymond Poot). In the report we discuss the effects of DORA on evaluations, and we examine the underlying reasoning behind DORA. We also discuss the focus of Open Science on the (direct) benefit of research for society, the focus on public involvement in research and the focus on team science and leadership.’. We discuss the current Open Access policy of Open Science, Plan S, to enforce Open Access for all Dutch scientific publications. 

The conclusions of our report are alarming.  

1) The combination of different Open Science  policies  with DORA puts the fundamental sciences at a disadvantage compared to the more applied sciences. Through the ERC and Marie Curie competitions, Europe spends twenty-five percent of its innovation budget on scientist-initiated fundamental research, which is selected for excellence. The Netherlands spends only five percent of its budget on such research. Europe has a reason to spend so much on scientist-initiated research, according to conclusion two of our report. 

2) Scientist-initiated fundamental research that is selected on the basis of scientific quality provides considerably more social benefit per euro spent in the medium term than research that is selected on the basis of direct social or industrial relevance. This apparent paradox is related to the observation that the usefulness of scientific discoveries is very difficult to predict, while it is clear that without real discoveries there is little progress. While this message is difficult to sell to politicians, it is a very important one. 

3) Various Open Science measures reduce the quality of Dutch science by not selecting for scientific quality and at the same time creating a lot of bureaucracy. …”