CoNOSC – Council for National Open Science Coordination

“On 21 October 2019, in Helsinki, France, the Netherlands and Finland invited representatives of the ERAC countries to discuss the creation of a network of open science coordination. The program of the day is included. Twenty-one countries were present, as well as the European Union. Participants agreed that it was necessary to create such a network to enable the coordination of national efforts in the field of open science.

The objectives and organizational principles of this network, which we have named ‘Council for National Open Science Coordination’ (CoNOSC), are specified in the attached Memorandum of Understanding. Here is the summary:

 

 

– CoNOSC helps to fill  in the gaps in national open science coordination.

– CoNOSC will provide a valuable insights through the dialogue with other international partners.

– CoNOSC membership is in principle open to all countries within the European Research Area….”

Guest Post – Transforming the Transformative Agreement – The Scholarly Kitchen

“At Cambridge University Press, we’ve been engaged in a major expansion of our TAs with US institutions. Agreements with 130 institutions came into effect this year with a diverse mix of organizations, including state university systems, liberal arts colleges, and major research universities. These agreements follow the “Read and Publish” model (R&P) we kicked off in the US with the University of California system; repurposing institutions’ existing subscription spend to open up access to important scholarly content and to extend the reach of their researchers’ work. The success this year in the US now gives us real scale — we have over 100 TAs covering 1000 institutes in 30 countries — and a critical mass of customer, author, and stakeholder feedback has given us a much better sense of what we will need to prioritize moving forward.

Yet even as we’ve actively sought to build momentum for change through R&P arrangements, we know that the evolution of TAs is essential to a long-term transition. While there are still many challenges we must solve for collectively, we are focusing our external engagement on four main areas.

Funder mandates should not be the only drivers of change….

Increased scale must come with better use of resources….

Equity and diversity must be supported in new ways….

Open is a means, not an end….”

Why the price of scholarly publishing is so much higher than the cost | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

“In an efficient market, competing providers of a good will each try to undercut each other until the prices they charge approach the cost. If, for example, Elsevier and Springer-Nature were competing in a healthy free market, they would each be charging prices around one third of what they are charging now, for fear of being outcompeted by their lower-priced competitor. (Half of those price-cuts would be absorbed just by decreasing the huge profit margins; the rest would have to come from streamlining business processes, in particular things like the costs of maintaining paywalls and the means of passing through them.)

So why doesn’t the Invisible Hand operate on scholarly publishers? Because they are not really in competition. Subscriptions are not substitutable goods because each published article is unique. If I need to read an article in an Elsevier journal then it’s no good my buying a lower-priced Springer-Nature subscription instead: it won’t give me access to the article I need.

(This is one of the reasons why the APC-based model — despite its very real drawbacks — is better than the subscription model: because the editorial-and-publication services offered by Elsevier and Springer-Nature are substitutable. If one offers the service for $3000 and the other for $2000, I can go to the better-value provider. And if some other publisher offers it for $1000 or $500, I can go there instead.)…

Björn Brembs has been writing for years about the fact that every market has a luxury segment: you can buy a perfectly functional wristwatch for $10, yet people spend thousands on high-end watches. He’s long been concerned that if scholarly publishing goes APC-only, then people will be queuing up to pay the €9,500 APC for Nature in what would become a straightforward pay-for-prestige deal. And he’s right: given the outstandingly stupid way we evaluate reseachers for jobs, promotion and tenure, lots of people will pay a 10x markup for the “I was published in Nature” badge even though Nature papers are an objectively bad way to communicate research.

But it feels like something stranger is happening here. It’s almost as though the whole darned market is a luxury segment….

How can funders fix this, and get APCs down to levels that approximate publishing cost? I see at least three possibilities.

First, they could stop paying APCs for their grantees. Instead, they could add a fixed sum onto all grants they make — $1,500, say — and leave it up to the researchers whether to spend more on a legacy publisher (supplementing the $1,500 from other sources of their own) or to spend less on a cheaper born-OA publisher and redistribute the excess elsewhere.

Second, funders could simply publish the papes themselves. To be fair several big funders are doing this now, so we have Wellcome Open Research, Gates Open Research, etc. But doesn’t it seem a bit silly to silo research according to what body awarded the grant that funded it? And what about authors who don’t have a grant from one of these bodies, or indeed any grant at all?

That’s why I think the third solution is best. I would like to see funders stop paying APCs and stop building their own publishing solutions, and instead collaborate to build and maintain a global publishing solution that all researchers could use irrespective of grant-recipient status. I have much to say on what such a solution should look like, but that is for another time.”

Job: Wikimedian in Residence @ National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Are you passionate about helping people and organisations share knowledge? Do you have experience of team working, developing partnerships and managing projects?

At the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) we’re recruiting our first Wikimedian in Residence and are looking for a proactive and enthusiastic individual with excellent communication skills to join us.

This six month post is part of a pilot to help NIHR evaluate the opportunities to use Wikimedia to support dissemination of NIHR funded research. We’re looking for someone who can help us to actively engage with the Wikimedia platforms and communities, provide training and write and edit Wikimedia content. While knowledge of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia initiatives is valued it is not essential.

 

Duties and responsibilities:

 

Scoping and development work

Support the establishment of a “pilot steering committee” with key representatives from across NIHR including Central Communications, Research Design Service and NIHR Academy.
Work with NIHR CED and the pilot steering committee to identify priority areas of NIHR’s research that could enrich Wikipedia and sister projects – thereby supporting the dissemination of NIHR funded research. 
Identify and propose solutions to any barriers to promoting NIHR funded research including copyright or compliance with Wikipedia guidelines. 
Advocacy: be an advocate for open knowledge within NIHR.
Reporting: produce ongoing updates and a summary report on the outcomes of the residency.

 

Writing/Editing Wikipedia articles

Create/improve Wikimedia projects content for identified NIHR outputs and research
Encourage and increase the direct participation of NIHR researchers in the provision of content for Wikimedia projects, and encourage creation (and improvement) of Wikimedia projects relating to NIHR’s content.

 

Training

Provide training on Wikimedia editing, best practice and Wikimedia volunteer community engagement. 
Develop guidance on the use of Wikipedia for NIHR staff addressing key issues related to copyright and Wikipedia best practice.
Organise and host workshops for NIHR staff, researchers and PPI representatives to enable them to directly contribute their knowledge and expertise to develop Wikipedia articles. 

 

Collaborating with Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia volunteer community

Support collaboration between NIHR, Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia community – potentially leading to a sustainable relationship and joint projects in the future. Do this in collaboration with NIHR CED and other NIHR staff, relevant partner organisations and volunteers from Wikimedia movement. 
Establish links between NIHR staff, Wikimedia volunteers and others, helping NIHR with Wikimedia volunteer engagement.
Share Wikimedia’s values and act as an advocate for its mission and ethos.

View of The UGC-CARE initiative: Indian academia’s quest for research and publishing integrity | First Monday

Abstract:  This paper discusses the reasons for emergence of predatory publications in India, engendered by mandates of higher educational institutions: that require stipulated number of research publications for employment and promotions. Predatory journals have eclipsed the merits of open access publishing, compromised ethical practices, and left the research community groping for benchmarks of research integrity and publication ethics. To fight back the menace of predatory publications, University Grants Commission, India has established “Consortium for Academic Research and Ethics” (UGC-CARE) in 2018 to promote and benchmark research integrity and publication ethics among the Indian academia. The present paper discusses the UGC-CARE initiative, its structure, objectives and specifically, “UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals” (UGC-CARE list) and finally, the challenges it faces.

 

OAreport: Put OA policies into practice in minutes, not months.

“We discover papers and data using open scholarly metadata, targeted text and data mining, and an institution’s internal data sources….

We transparently analyse those papers against all the terms of the institution’s current policy, or custom criteria, to provide detailed statistics and key insights….

We help libraries and funders unlock individual papers as they’re published by making outreach a one-click process, and help build evidence for systemic changes….”

Australian funder backflips on controversial preprint ban

“Australia’s major research funding body has backtracked on a rule that banned the mention of preprints in grant applications, under pressure from researchers who decried the ruling as “astonishing” and “outdated”.

The policy adjustment by the Australian Research Council (ARC) comes nearly four weeks after an anonymous researcher behind the ARC Tracker account on Twitter revealed that dozens of applications for early-career funding schemes had been rejected for citing preprints. More than 30 applications, worth Aus$22 million (US$16 million), were ruled ineligible.

Several rejected applicants, who can’t apply again because fellowship-application attempts are limited, told Nature last month that the decision had effectively ended their careers….”

OSF Preprints | A survey of funders’ and institutions’ needs for understanding researchers’ open research practices

Abstract:  A growing number of research-performing organisations (institutions) and funding agencies have policies that support open research practices — sharing of research data, code and software. However, funders and institutions lack sufficient tools, time or resources to monitor compliance with these policies.

  To better understand funder and institution needs related to understanding open research practices of researchers, we targeted funders and institutions with a survey in 2020 and received 122 completed responses. Our survey assessed and scored, (from 0-100), the importance of and satisfaction with 17 factors associated with understanding open research practices. This includes things such as knowing if a research paper includes links to research data in a repository; knowing if a research grant made code available in a public repository; knowing if research data were made available in a reusable form; and knowing reasons why research data are not publicly available. Half of respondents had tried to evaluate researchers’ open research practices in the past and 78% plan to do this in the future. The most common method used to find out if researchers are practicing open research was personal contact with researchers and the most common reason for doing it was to increase their knowledge of researchers’ sharing practices (e.g. determine current state of sharing; track changes in practices over time; compare different departments/disciplines). The results indicate that nearly all of the 17 factors we asked about in the survey were underserved. The mean importance of all factors to respondents was 71.7, approaching the 75 threshold of “very important”. The average satisfaction of all factors was 41.3, indicating a negative level of satisfaction with ability to complete these tasks. The results imply an opportunity for better solutions to meet these needs. The growth of policies and requirements for making research data and code available does not appear to be matched with solutions for determining if these policies have been complied with. We conclude that publishers can better support some of the needs of funders and institutions by introducing simple solutions such as: – Mandatory data availability statements (DAS) in research articles – Not permitting generic “data available on request” statements – Enabling and encouraging the use of data repositories and other methods that make data available in a more reusable way – Providing visible links to research data on publications – Making information available on data and code sharing practices in publications available to institutions and funding agencies – Extending policies that require transparency in sharing of research data, to sharing of code

How can publishers better meet the open research needs of funders and institutions?

“Publishers investing in simple solutions in their workflows can help to better meet the needs of funders and institutions who wish to support open research practices, research released this week by PLOS concludes.

Policies can be an effective solution for changing research culture and practice. A growing number of research-performing organisations (institutions) and funding agencies have policies that support open research practices — sharing of research data, code and software — as do publishers. Seeking to deepen our understanding of funder and institution needs related to open research, we surveyed more than 100 funders and institutions in 2020. We wanted to know if they are evaluating how researchers share data and code, how they are doing it, why they are doing it, and how satisfied they are with their ability to get these tasks done. Our results are available as a preprint along with an anonymised dataset….

Simple solutions more publishers could provide include:

Mandatory Data Availability Statements (DAS) in all relevant publications.
Across the STM industry around 15% of papers include a DAS. Since we introduced our data availability policy in 2014, 100% of PLOS research articles include a DAS.
Supporting researchers to provide information on why research data (and code) are not publicly available with their publications.
Time and again “data available on request” has been shown to be ineffective at supporting new research — and is not permitted in PLOS journals. 
Enabling and encouraging the use of data repositories.
Recommending the use of data repositories is a useful step, but making them easily and freely accessible — integrated into the publishing process — can be even more effective. Rates of repository use are higher in journals that partner closely with repositories and remove cost barriers to their use.
Providing visible links to research data on publications. Many researchers also struggle to find data they can reuse, hence PLOS will soon be experimenting with improving this functionality in our articles, and integrating the Dryad repository with submission….”

 

Funders Group Hires New Fellow to Craft Best Practices for Equity in Grantmaking Process – SPARC

“SPARC welcomes Eunice Mercado-Lara as the new Open & Equitable Civic Science Fellow for the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG). In this new role, she will work with traditionally marginalized researchers, philanthropies, and other stakeholders to develop and pilot a model funding program to make both the process of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, equitable, and inclusive.

The two-year fellowship is supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and the Rita Allen Foundation. In addition to the ORFG, the Health Research Alliance will serve as a key enabler of this project. Mercado-Lara will be part of an incoming cohort of Civic Science Fellows across 21 host organizations.

Recognizing that the potential for closed practices, bias, and inequity exists across the entire grantmaking life cycle, the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program will pilot interventions across key steps of program development, review, selection, results dissemination, and evaluation and assessment. This work will be managed by Mercado-Lara in close collaboration with funders, subject matter experts, and traditionally marginalized scholars. …”

Adjustments to the ARC’s position on preprints | Australian Research Council

“For future scheme rounds, the Australian Research Council (ARC) will allow the referencing and inclusion of preprints in any part of a National Competitive Grant Program (NCGP) grant application. This includes within the Research Outputs list as well as the body of an application.

This adjustment to ARC’s policy position reflects contemporary trends and the emerging significance of preprint acceptance and use across multiple research disciplines as a mechanism to expedite research and facilitate open research, as well as to provide greater equity across disciplines and career stages. …

The ARC appreciates the feedback it has received from the research sector on the issue of the inclusion of preprints within NCGP grant applications. We thank the esteemed academics, learned academies, research institutions and peak bodies that have assisted the ARC to ensure that the broadest range of disciplinary perspectives could be incorporated into this policy decision.”

Genuine open access to academic books requires collective solutions | Impact of Social Sciences

UKRI, the UK’s national research funding agency, and cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders, recently reaffirmed their commitments to delivering open access to academic books. However, whilst an open trajectory has been clearly set, how this is to be achieved remains unclear. In this post Lucy Barnes argues that for academic books to be genuinely open, an emphasis should be placed on collective funding models that limit the prospect of new barriers to access being erected through the imposition of expensive book processing charges (BPCs).

81% of Horizon 2020 papers were published in open access journals | Science|Business

“European Commission boasts of high level of open access publishing in Horizon 2020. But researchers complain getting processing fees approved is long winded and could result in them losing out on intellectual property rights….

A large majority of Horizon 2020 researchers complied with the requirement to deposit open access publications in repositories. However, only 39% of Horizon 2020 deposited datasets are findable, with the remainder not including reliable metadata needed to track them down. Only 32% of deposited datasets can be quickly accessed via a link in the metadata….

Since then, the EU has also mandated that all papers coming from projects funded through Horizon Europe, its €95.5 billion research programme, should be published in open access journals.

 

The study estimates the average cost in Horizon 2020 of publishing an open access article was around €2,200. Processing charges for articles in subscription journals in which some of the articles are open access and some behind a paywall, had a higher average cost of €2,600. Trouble is looming, with charges for such hybrid journals no longer being eligible for funding under Horizon Europe….”