Open access is a case study for boosting research | The Financial Express

“On August 25, the US announced an open access policy to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to federally-funded research. Americans will now have free access to scholarly works, and by 2025, all federal agencies have to implement open access policies to ensure taxpayer-funded research is freely accessible to all citizens. India could follow this path, which may change the country’s higher education landscape and can be a vital tool for achieving SDG goals….

Thus, the price inelasticity of this monopolist market has been taken advantage of by selected commercial corporates (publishers) who do not produce or fund the research but use it as a raw material for commerce. Serial crisis also gave rise to shadow libraries like Library Genesis, Z-Library and Sci-Hub….

Since most research is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money—meaning the citizens indirectly fund it—the citizens therefore have the right to access the research output. OA can improve the verifiability and credibility of research output and taxpayers can also see the impact of the research they have funded….

Recently, India promised a ‘one nation, one subscription’ (ONOS) policy to get subscriptions for all citizens of major research work published globally, a step up from the existing subscription policy through the central library consortium e-ShodhSindhu. ONOS can be a prolific policy but whether it can address the issue of serial crisis is still a question….”

Removing author fees can help open access journals make research available to everyone

“Publishing a journal requires money, but that amounts to only 10 to 15 per cent of what publishers charge authors to make their work open access. Author fees are disproportionate with publishing costs, and correlate to the journal’s prestige, impact and profit model.

In this environment, author fees will continue to increase so long as someone can pay for it. It also means that open access publishing privileges a certain set of researchers….”

Sci-Hub: The Largest Scientific Papers Library and Alternatives

“Sci-Hub is a library of scientific papers and journals that anyone can access for free. The site contains over 64 million papers from over 24,000 journals, making it one of the largest scientific libraries in the world. Anyone can search for and download papers from Sci-Hub, without needing a subscription or login. This makes it an invaluable resource for students and researchers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing this information. While some publishers have raised concerns about copyright infringement, Sci-Hub provides a valuable service by making knowledge more accessible to everyone.

The best alternative is Library Genesis, which is free. Other great sites and apps similar to Sci-Hub are Z-Library, Project Gutenberg, and Ebook3000.

Sci-Hub alternatives are mainly eBook Libraries but may also be Torrent Search Engines or Paywall Remover Tools….”

COMMUNIA Association – Policy recommendations

“Find here COMMUNIA’s 20 Policy Recommendations for the Public Domain developed between late 2021 and early 2022, and launched in May 2022. These supersede the 14 policy recommendations published in 2011 and evaluated in 2021. Our recommendations identify possibilities for reshaping copyright in ways that expand the public domain and strengthen the rights of users and all types of cultural creators. We envision a copyright framework that maximises societal benefits by embracing the possibilities for wider access to knowledge and culture in an increasingly digitised environment. 

The policy recommendations focus on four areas: measures to defend and expand the public domain, measures that protect and promote usage rights, measures to empower creators and their audiences and measures that create safeguards against copyright abuse. Together with the Public Domain Manifesto they guide our advocacy work. …”

Safeguarding science in the wake of conflict – International Science Council

“Full adoption of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommendation on open science is highlighted as a pathway for enabling displaced scholars to continue their work, and supporting the (re)development of fragile science systems. Crucially, stakeholders must work together to develop sustainable frameworks in higher education and research systems for a more predictable and effective approach to the phases of preparedness, response and rebuilding in the aftermath of conflict or disaster….”

Stop paying to be published Open Access –  a French perspective

“I recommend that they publish in a journal with no APC (‘diamond’ OA journal) or a non-OA journal and make the peer reviewed manuscript or accepted author manuscript (AAM) OA through a repository (‘green’ OA). In some cases, a journal with low and affordable APC may also be suitable. I propose this in accordance with the French national open science policy, which clearly asks that scientific articles must be available OA and encourages its research community to turn to free publication models for both authors and readers….

French national policy invites those who publish in paywalled journals to deposit their AAM as soon as it is published. If the journal  does not allow it, the AAM may be deposited in an open archive with a delay (embargo). The Rights Retention Strategy, developed by the cOAlition S, makes it even possible to publish AAM without embargo. I therefore recommend resorting to this strategy….”

Facilitating open science without sacrificing IP rights: A novel tool for improving replicability of published research: EMBO reports: Vol 0, No 0

“Various factors contribute to the restricted access to materials: avoiding criticism, fear of falsification and retraction, or a desire to stay ahead of peers. Commercial and proprietary concerns also play a significant role in the decision of scientists and organizations to conceal replication materials (Campbell & Bendavid,?2002; Hong & Walsh,?2009). Such motivations are more prominent as the line between academic and commercially oriented research becomes blurred. Nowadays, commercial firms commonly publish in scientific journals, whereas scientists, universities, and research institutions benefit from the commercialization of research findings and often seek patent protection. All of this cultivates an environment of secrecy, in contrast with the scientific tradition of openness and sharing (Merton,?1942)….

Instead of choosing between IP rights and replicability, we suggest an inclusive approach that facilitates replications without depriving scientists of IP rights. Our proposal is to implement a new policy tool: the Conditional Access Agreement (CAA). Recall that it is public access to replication materials that jeopardizes both the prospect of securing patent protection (as novelty and non-obviousness are examined vis-à-vis the public prior art) and trade secret protection (since the pertinent information must be kept out of the public domain). Access, however, does not have to be public. This is precisely the gist of the CAA mechanism—establishing a private, controlled channel of communication for the transfer of replication materials between authors and replicators….

The CAA mechanism would work as follows (Fig?1): When submitting a paper for publication, an author would execute an agreement vis-à-vis the journal, pledging to provide full access to replication materials upon demand. The agreement would specify that anyone requesting access to the materials can only obtain it upon signing a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Under an NDA, the receiving party commits to use the information disclosed by the other party only for a limited purpose while keeping it confidential. …”

Evaluation of Open Access Websites for Anesthesia Education : Anesthesia & Analgesia

Abstract:  BACKGROUND: 

While the prevalence of free, open access medical education resources for health professionals has expanded over the past 10 years, many educational resources for health care professionals are not publicly available or require fees for access. This lack of open access creates global inequities in the availability and sharing of information and may have the most significant impact on health care providers with the greatest need. The extent of open access online educational websites aimed for clinicians and trainees in anesthesiology worldwide is unknown. In this study, we aimed to identify and evaluate the quality of websites designed to provide open access educational resources for anesthesia trainees and clinicians.

METHODS: 

A PubMed search of articles published between 2009 and 2020, and a Startpage search engine web search was conducted in May 2021 to identify websites using the following inclusion criteria: (1) contain educational content relevant for anesthesia providers or trainees, (2) offer content free of charge, and (3) are written in the English language. Websites were each scored by 2 independent reviewers using a website quality evaluation tool with previous validity evidence that was modified for anesthesia (the Anesthesia Medical Education Website Quality Evaluation Tool).

RESULTS: 

Seventy-five articles and 175 websites were identified; 37 websites met inclusion criteria. The most common types of educational content contained in the websites included videos (66%, 25/37), text-based resources (51%, 19/37), podcasts (35%, 13/37), and interactive learning resources (32%, 12/37). Few websites described an editorial review process (24%, 9/37) or included opportunities for active engagement or interaction by learners (30%,11/37). Scores by tertile differed significantly across multiple domains, including disclosure of author/webmaster/website institution; description of an editorial review process; relevancy to residents, fellows, and faculty; comprehensiveness; accuracy; disclosure of content creation or revision; ease of access to information; interactivity; clear and professional presentation of information; and links to external information.

CONCLUSIONS: 

We found 37 open access websites for anesthesia education available on the Internet. Many of these websites may serve as a valuable resource for anesthesia clinicians looking for self-directed learning resources and for educators seeking to curate resources into thoughtfully integrated learning experiences. Ongoing efforts are needed to expand the number and improve the existing open access websites, especially with interactivity, to support the education and training of anesthesia providers in even the most resource-limited areas of the world. Our findings may provide recommendations for those educators and organizations seeking to fill this needed gap to create new high-quality educational websites.

Accelerating pooled licensing of medicines to enhance global production and equitable access – The Lancet

“From October to November, 2021, the pharmaceutical firms Merck and Pfizer licensed their new COVID-19 oral antiviral medications to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). In both cases, the drugs were licensed quickly, before they were launched, and the MPP then reached agreements with pharmaceutical firms across the globe (27 firms for Merck’s molnupiravir and 36 firms for Pfizer’s nirmatrelvir) to provide generic versions of these to roughly 100 low-income and middle-income countries. This Viewpoint examines the importance of these licences for the global production of, and access to, new medicines, during the pandemic and beyond. It would be a welcome development for these arrangements, which can generate sufficient volumes of production to avoid the supply shortages that encumbered the global vaccination response, to be an indication of a future in which new drugs have multiple suppliers in most low-income and middle-income countries. To explore that possibility, the Viewpoint highlights the political conditions that could make originator firms more inclined to license their products quickly to the MPP, and discusses how public policy can build on the opportunity created by these conditions to promote such licensing further….”

 

Accelerating pooled licensing of medicines to enhance global production and equitable access – The Lancet

“From October to November, 2021, the pharmaceutical firms Merck and Pfizer licensed their new COVID-19 oral antiviral medications to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). In both cases, the drugs were licensed quickly, before they were launched, and the MPP then reached agreements with pharmaceutical firms across the globe (27 firms for Merck’s molnupiravir and 36 firms for Pfizer’s nirmatrelvir) to provide generic versions of these to roughly 100 low-income and middle-income countries. This Viewpoint examines the importance of these licences for the global production of, and access to, new medicines, during the pandemic and beyond. It would be a welcome development for these arrangements, which can generate sufficient volumes of production to avoid the supply shortages that encumbered the global vaccination response, to be an indication of a future in which new drugs have multiple suppliers in most low-income and middle-income countries. To explore that possibility, the Viewpoint highlights the political conditions that could make originator firms more inclined to license their products quickly to the MPP, and discusses how public policy can build on the opportunity created by these conditions to promote such licensing further….”

 

SocArXiv Papers | Misapplied Metrics: Variation in the h-index within and between disciplines

Abstract:  Scholars and university administrators have a vested interest in building equitable valuation systems of academic work for both practical (e.g., resource distribution) and more lofty purposes (e.g., what constitutes “good” research). Well-established inequalities in science pose a difficult challenge to those interested in constructing a parsimonious and fair method for valuation as stratification occurs within academic disciplines, but also between them. Despite warnings against the practice, the popular h-index has been formally used as one such metric of valuation. In this article, we use the case of the h-index to examine how within and between discipline inequalities extend from the reliance of metrics, an illustration of the risk involved in the so-called “tyranny of metrics.” Using data from over 42,000 high performing scientists across 120 disciplines, we construct multilevel models predicting the h-index. Results suggest significant within-discipline variation in several forms, including a female penalty, as well as significant between discipline variation. Conclusions include recommendations to avoid using the h-index or similar metrics for valuation purposes.

Reporting and transparent research practices in sports medicine and orthopaedic clinical trials: a meta-research study | BMJ Open

Abstract:  Objectives Transparent reporting of clinical trials is essential to assess the risk of bias and translate research findings into clinical practice. While existing studies have shown that deficiencies are common, detailed empirical and field-specific data are scarce. Therefore, this study aimed to examine current clinical trial reporting and transparent research practices in sports medicine and orthopaedics.

Setting Exploratory meta-research study on reporting quality and transparent research practices in orthopaedics and sports medicine clinical trials.

Participants The sample included clinical trials published in the top 25% of sports medicine and orthopaedics journals over 9 months.

Primary and secondary outcome measures Two independent reviewers assessed pre-registration, open data and criteria related to scientific rigour, like randomisation, blinding, and sample size calculations, as well as the study sample, and data analysis.

Results The sample included 163 clinical trials from 27 journals. While the majority of trials mentioned rigour criteria, essential details were often missing. Sixty per cent (95% confidence interval (CI) 53% to 68%) of trials reported sample size calculations, but only 32% (95% CI 25% to 39%) justified the expected effect size. Few trials indicated the blinding status of all main stakeholders (4%; 95% CI 1% to 7%). Only 18% (95% CI 12% to 24%) included information on randomisation type, method and concealed allocation. Most trials reported participants’ sex/gender (95%; 95% CI 92% to 98%) and information on inclusion and exclusion criteria (78%; 95% CI 72% to 84%). Only 20% (95% CI 14% to 26%) of trials were pre-registered. No trials deposited data in open repositories.

Conclusions These results will aid the sports medicine and orthopaedics community in developing tailored interventions to improve reporting. While authors typically mention blinding, randomisation and other factors, essential details are often missing. Greater acceptance of open science practices, like pre-registration and open data, is needed. As these practices have been widely encouraged, we discuss systemic interventions that may improve clinical trial reporting.

A Possible Fix For Scientific (and Academic) Publishing | Peer Review – News and Blog

“This is a proposal for a software platform that may help the academic community solve these problems, and more….

Peer Review [the proposed platform] allows scholars, scientists, academics, and researchers to self organize their own peer review and refereeing, without needing journal editors to manually mediate it. The platform allows review and refereeing to be crowdsourced, using a reputation system tied to academic fields to determine who should be able to offer review and to referee.

The platform splits pre-publish peer review from post-publish refereeing. Pre-publish review then becomes completely about helping authors polish their work and decide if their articles are ready to publish. Refereeing happens post-publish, and in a way which is easily understandable to the lay reader, helping the general public sort solid studies from shakey ones.

 

Peer Review is being developed open source. The hope is to form a non-profit to develop it which would be governed by the community of academics who use the platform in collaboration with the team of software professionals who build it (a multi-stakeholder cooperative)….”

Ten simple rules for maximizing the recommendations of the NIH data management and sharing plan | PLOS Computational Biology

Abstract:  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) recognizes the NIH’s role as a key steward of United States biomedical research and information and seeks to enhance that stewardship through systematic recommendations for the preservation and sharing of research data generated by funded projects. The policy is effective as of January 2023. The recommendations include a requirement for the submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP) with funding applications, and while no strict template was provided, the NIH has released supplemental draft guidance on elements to consider when developing a plan. This article provides 10 key recommendations for creating a DMSP that is both maximally compliant and effective.

 

Guest Post – Why Transformative Agreements Should Offer Unlimited Open Access Publishing – The Scholarly Kitchen

“According to figures from the ESAC initiative, there has been a 60% year on year increase in TAs. In 2021, 184 TAs were made worldwide compared to 114 in 2020, and the upward trend is continuing as 103 TAs have been listed in the first four months of this year. TAs, which have been gaining ground in Europe for several years, are now also appearing in the US and Canada and spreading across other countries around the world. In January next year, the first TA with the Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) consortium which represents mainly Lower-Middle-Income Countries, will come into effect….

So, the interest is clear, and so is the uptake. But are all TAs made equal and do they make good on their promises? TAs set out to ‘transition’ or ‘transform’ existing library spend on subscriptions to academic journals towards OA publication fees. I’ve taken a closer look across the industry and assessed the aspirations of various TAs and compared them to our own TA approach here at IOP Publishing (IOPP).

 

For TAs to deliver on their promise of enabling OA at scale they must deliver on the basic notion of transformation as a first principle. Looking at restricted or capped TA models, where the number of articles that can be published under the agreement is limited, we believe that the transition to full and immediate OA at scale will not be achieved….

So, whilst many approaches and models exist, we believe that the one that offers the most effective shift to a more open future at scale is a TA that offers inclusive and unlimited publishing. It provides a simple and transparent framework to accelerate the move to open access in a way that is sustainable for both libraries and publishers. Genuine transformative agreements must maximize OA publishing capability, remove payment barriers for authors, move subscription funds to publishing, and increase efficacy for library staff. We believe that author choice should remain the north star in the evolution of open access publishing models. Simplicity in a world of complexity should be admired and not avoided.”