Open and Inclusive Access to Research

“Open and Inclusive Access to Research is a four day virtual symposium, organised by Gimena Del Rio Riande, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, and Wouter Schallier. Primary funding was provided by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), with addition financial and in-kind support provided by Eclac, Force11, and the Sloan Foundation through the Reimagining Educational Practices for Open (REPO) project. The coapplicants and collaborators on the proposal were Gimena Del Rio Riande, CONICET; Juan Pablo Alperin, Simon Fraser University; Wouter Schallier, ECLAC; and Tanja Niemann, Université de Montréal.

The goal of this workshop is to bring experts and early career research professionals from Canada and Latin America together in a bilingual workshop environment that will enable them to exchange knowledge and expertise about Open Research Practices in a strategic yet very hands-on manner, with panels and prominent speakers from both continents. Researchers and policy makers in both Canada and Latin America have played leading roles internationally in the area of Open and Inclusive access to research, and particularly in Open Access, Open Data, and Open Science and Scholarship as a means to achieve this. The goal of this workshop is to bring those experts and early career researchers together to discuss areas of convergence and difference in a more systematic way….”

Research for the Public Good | Public Scholarship and Engagement

“Eisen has always been in favor of sharing his research. When he was a graduate student, he shared findings about his work on genomics and evolution on his website before publishing them in any journal. But his commitment to and passion for open access to scientific research exploded in 2003 when the issue became personal.

While pregnant, Eisen’s wife underwent an amniocentesis — a relatively common procedure. Unfortunately, the procedure was not done correctly and the situation became very dangerous. One of the major complications this created was related to the issue of Rh incompatibility. Due to the mixing of fetal and maternal blood, his wife should have received a RhoGAM immunization. However, the doctors did not initially do this and when pressed a few days later they were unsure if a late immunization could work. So Eisen tried to examine the literature to figure out what to do. Eisen had the scientific training necessary to locate and understand research papers on the topic that could give him the answer. But he couldn’t access them.

“Here I was at 2 a.m. in a hospital room across the street from the genomic center where I worked, and I couldn’t get papers on RhoGAM immunizations,” Eisen said. “There were papers on the topic, I just couldn’t get access to them.” 

His wife survived, but the couple lost their baby. This was a galvanizing incident for Eisen, who said it was the moment he realized, “This is insane.”

“We paid for this research with public dollars,” Eisen continued. “The goal of this research is to benefit humanity and communicate science; here I am a trained person, trying to make a decision, and I couldn’t get the papers. I never looked back and became a relentless supporter of open access to scientific knowledge.” …”

How can open science help achieve sustainability? | Research Information

“A focused, strategic and global approach to addressing the causes of climate change could pull us back from the precipice upon which we stand. But what does this have to do with research publishing? Of course publishers are part of a global network that reviews, improves, disseminates and ensures access to critical research that is providing the evidence-base about climate change – and, crucially – mitigation of its impact. However we believe that scholarly publishing, as a sector, has a wider role to play. Our impact is not just through publication of climate research, not just through our environmental consciousness as businesses, but also through driving open research. But why is open science critical if we are to collectively address climate change or support other sustainable development goals? 

The last 18 months has provided a perfect case study of why open science and open research matters. As Covid-19 took hold around the globe, it underscored how interconnected the world is and provided many examples of the vital role that open science could play in speeding up the response and improving outcomes. If rapidly and openly sharing research data and papers is critical to understanding and combating coronavirus, doesn’t the same hold true for climate and environmental concerns? Or other health issues such as cancer, heart disease, maternal and child mortality? 

The short answer is yes. But we have a long way to go. The past 18 months has shown the positive impact that open science can have in tackling the sorts of global issues that require collaborative, multi-disciplinary solutions. However it has also thrown into stark relief the gaps and challenges that hinder the full realisation of the potential of open research to help address societal challenges. The lack of integrated policy, if not tackled, will limit the social impact of open research, particularly with respect to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). …”

Annual report: a recap of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) activities in 2020 | DORA

“Over the past year, it has become increasingly clear that research assessment reform is a systems challenge that requires collective action. Point interventions simply do not solve these types of complex challenges that involve multiple stakeholders. Because of this, we dedicated our efforts in 2020 on building a community of practice and finding new ways to support organizations seeking to improve the decision-making that impacts research careers.

Current events also influenced our approach this year and evolved our thinking about research assessment reform. The Covid-19 pandemic led to the abrupt global disruption of academic research, along with many other industries. For academics with limited access to research laboratories and other on-campus resources, work stalled. Without appropriate action, this disruption will have a profound effect on the advancement and promotion of the academic workforce, and it will likely disproportionately affect women and underrepresented and minoritized researchers. So in April DORA called on institutions to redefine their expectations and clearly communicate how evaluation procedures will be modified. In May, DORA organized a webinar with Rescuing Biomedical Research to better understand specific faculty concerns as a result of the pandemic….

In the Fall of 2020, DORA initiated a new community project with Schmidt to develop a means for institutions to gauge their ability to support academic assessment interventions and set them up for success. Our goal for the project was to support the development of new practices by helping institutions analyze the outcomes of their efforts. More than 70 individuals in 26 countries and 6 continents responded to our informal survey in August, and about 35 people joined us for 3 working sessions in September. From these activities, we heard it was important to look beyond individual interventions to improve assessment, because the success of these interventions depends on institutional conditions and capabilities. We were also reminded that institutional capabilities impact interventions, so it is important not only to gauge success but also to support interventions. These and other insights led us to create SPACE to Evolve Academic Assessment: a rubric for analyzing institutional conditions and progress indicators. The first draft of the rubric was developed in the last quarter of 2020. The final version was released in 2021 after an initial pilot phase with seven members of the academic community, including a college dean, policy advisor, research administrator, faculty member, and graduate student….

Another addition to the website was a repository of case studies documenting key elements of institutional change to improve academic career assessment, such as motivations, processes, timelines, new policies, and the types of people involved. The repository, Reimagining academic assessment: stories of innovation and change, was produced in partnership with the European University Association and SPARC Europe. At the time of launch, the repository included 10 structured case studies coming from 7 universities and 3 national consortia. Nine of the 10 cases are from Europe and one is from China. The case studies have shown us the importance of coalition-building to gain bottom-up support for change. We also learned that limited awareness and capacity for incentivizing and rewarding a broader range of academic activities were challenges that all the cases had to overcome. By sharing information about the creation of new policies and practices, we hope the case studies will serve as a source of inspiration for institutions seeking to review or improve academic career assessment….

Policy progress for research assessment reform continued to gain momentum in 2020. A new national policy on research assessment in China announced in February prohibits cash rewards for research papers and indicates that institutions can no longer exclusively hire or promote researchers based on their number of publications or citations. In June, Wellcome published guidance for research organizations on how to implement responsible and fair approaches for research assessment that are grounded i

Advocating for more OER-friendly copyright regulatory frameworks

“The webinar discussed the following key questions:

How does the UNESCO OER Recommendation enhance international cooperation for universal access to information?
What can be done to support the development and enhancement of the legal and regulatory framework on copyright and policies for OER development?
What are examples of good practices, challenges and solutions where OER have supported the right to information and building of inclusive Knowledge Societies?…”

Welcome to the Open Education Leadership Program 2021-2022 Fellows! – SPARC

“SPARC is pleased to welcome the 2021-2022 cohort for the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, an intensive professional development program to empower academic professionals to lead impactful open education initiatives. As the program enters its fifth year, the incoming cohort is composed of 25 fellows from a wide range of backgrounds, spanning from open education librarians, student leaders, and government program coordinators. Selected from a competitive application pool, the 2021-2022 fellows begin the program this week….”

Open Access Australasia Webinar

“The contribution of open access to the UN Sustainable Development Goals presented by Director of Research and Corporate at UNSW Library, Fiona Bradley

The UN Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2016. Five years in, great progress has been made in some areas while others lag. When the goals were adopted, the importance of data, evidence, and research to demonstrate progress was emphasised, but how much has been achieved and what role does open access play?

Join us for a brief overview of the process that led to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda process and the ongoing review mechanisms will emphasize the agenda as a tool for advocacy at global, national, and local institutional levels in which open access and access to information contribute to underpinning the achievement of all other goals.”

Climate change: ‘Glasgow Agreement’ can save the planet but locking scientific research behind paywalls is holding us back – Catherine Stihler | The Scotsman

“We have seen the incredible value of open research in addressing the Covid crisis. After researchers sequenced the viral genome and shared it freely online, it ultimately led to the development of life-saving vaccines.

The same approach to the Covid emergency must apply to the climate emergency.”

Advocating for Open Education – BCcampus OpenEd Resources

“Affordability is often the main driver for the use of OER, but it’s not the only reason. Using OER gives faculty the ability to customize their learning materials to support their curriculum and the learning outcomes for their course. The course materials can be dynamic, with a wide selection of OER available to create engagement, improve understanding, and break down barriers to accessibility….”

Voices of the new generation: open science is good for science (and for you) | Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

Sanjana, N.E. Voices of the new generation: open science is good for science (and for you). Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41580-021-00414-1

 

In the race to publish papers and secure funding, science can sometimes seem like a competition. But, in reality, modern science relies on open sharing and collaboration. One unexpected aspect of open science is the role it has played in uplifting the careers of myself and my lab members.

Open Science and the UNESCO initiative – International Year of Basic Sciences for Development

“Although Open Science is not new, it stems from the publication of the first scientific journals in the late seventeenth century, profound new digital opportunities have inspired scientific communities to progressively mature and crystallize the essentials of a new Open Science movement. It enlarges scientific and social horizons in the pursuit of knowledge, its dissemination and use.

Intrinsic to this new paradigm are historic values of scientific self-organization, principles of freedom and responsibility, universal accessibility and sharing, inclusivity and equitability, together with responsibilities for education and capacity development, as reflected in the statutes of the International Science Council (ISC) and in its vision of “science as a global public good”. The expanded social networks of this new openness are exemplified in trends of increased multi-nationally authored scientific papers, the growth of trans-disciplinary collaboration and of citizen science.

The shaping of this new paradigm has largely been achieved through the work of the national academies, international scientific unions and associations, and related bodies that are represented in the membership of the ISC, and reflected in its statement on Open Science. National and regional funders of science have increasingly supported the Open Science imperative by investments in supportive infrastructures and promotion of open access publishing as a condition of funding….

Now UNESCO has taken a stance. It seeks to formalize these trends at an international level by placing a recommendation on Open Science before its 193 Member States for their endorsement. It has engaged with the scientific community over the last year to generate a long list of draft recommendations for open access to the published record of science, open data, open educational resources, open-source software and code, open hardware and infrastructures, and open engagement with society.

The draft’s first contact with political reality, in the form of national representatives, took place in early May 2021. Representatives were almost universally supportive, and even added “bite” on some crucial issues….”

Let’s stop reviewing for publishers that profit from research | Joseph Paul Cohen Blog (July 2021) – AHRECS

“What’s the deal with how we review papers for venues (like conferences and journals) for free and then they go on to sell and restrict access to them? How about let’s only review for venues that freely distribute papers and stop reviewing for those that restrict access? We can also stop reviewing for those that charge high publishing charges, I believe over $100 per submission is unacceptable.

We have the power to put an end to closed access research. By only reviewing for venues that freely distribute papers, we will ensure they have the best publications and become the premier venues. It will then become in everyone’s best interest to publish in venues with freely accessible papers….”

 

Open Environmental Data Project

“We partner and collaborate with institutes, nonprofits, individuals and universities to help articulate best practices for new data commons models in the environmental context….

We provide insight that identifies, evaluates and summarizes scientific, legal, economic and cultural incentive and strategy levers for advancing environmental generative actions….”

Keep digital sequence information a common good

“The political debate surrounding digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has garnered immense interest and raised concern across the international scientific community. At the last CBD Conference of the Parties (COP 14), parties formally “agreed to resolve their differences” and, thus, with COP 15 set for October 2021, a decision on DSI and access and benefit-sharing (ABS) approaches.

Disrupting the flow of open DSI has the potential to not only severely hinder basic research and biodiversity conservation, but also innovation more broadly. This includes science and technology that addresses challenges in food security, health, biodiversity loss, and climate change worldwide, which could ultimately undermine progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What’s at stake is best highlighted by the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: diagnostic kits within weeks of virus discovery, vaccines ten months later, and ongoing surveillance for variants, all possible thanks to rapid DNA sequencing and open DSI….”