Springer Nature and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) Announce New Partnership

Following Springer Nature’s successful transformative agreements (TAs) in Europe and North America, the company is pleased to announce its first TA in the Asia-Pacific region. The agreement with the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) will give members of the CAUL consortium the ability to publish their research open access (OA) in over 2000 journals[1], making it CAUL’s largest TA to date.

Open Access Week 2021 | Open Access Australasia

“This year Open Access Australasia, through its OA Week practitioners’ group and in consultation with the wider open access community, has planned a festival of thoughtful panels and topical presentations for OA week 2021.

In keeping with the theme of Building Structural Equity we will be looking at, using open science to combat global challenges, openness through a First Nations lens, the benefits and barriers to OERs, what open means for different disciplines, accessibility, and non-technical communication, as well as hacking OA, shaking up research assessment and how different parts of the open knowledge ecosystem interacts….”

Cambridge University Press and CAUL Strike Major Uncapped Transformative Open Access Agreement in Australia & New Zealand

Cambridge University Press and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) have reached a transformative agreement to support Open Access (OA) publishing in Cambridge Journals for 2022.  It is one of the first major uncapped transformative agreements reached with CAUL by a publisher of significant size in Australia and New Zealand.

Free for all, or free-for-all? A content analysis of Australian university open access policies | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Recent research demonstrates that Australia lags in providing open access to research outputs. In Australia, while the two major research funding bodies require open access of outputs from projects they fund, these bodies only fund a small proportion of research conducted. The major source of research and experimental development funding in Australian higher education is general university, or institutional, funding, and such funds are not subject to national funder open access policies. Thus, institutional policies and other institutional supports for open access are important in understanding Australia’s OA position. The purpose of this paper is, therefore, to understand the characteristics of Australian institutional open access policies and to explore the extent they represent a coherent and unified approach to delivering and promoting open access in Australia. Open access policies were located using a systematic web search approach and then their contents were analysed. Only half of Australian universities were found to have an open access policy. There was a wide variation in language used, expressed intent of the policy and expectations of researchers. Few policies mention monitoring or compliance and only three mention consequences for non-compliance. While it is understandable that institutions develop their own policies, when language is used which does not reflect national and international understandings, when requirements are not clear and with consequences, policies are unlikely to contribute to understanding of open access, to uptake of the policy, or to ease of transferring understanding and practices between institutions. A more unified approach to open access is recommended.

 

James Cook University, Australia | Open Access Week 2021

“This year JCU open access activities will be held during the course of Open Access Week (25-31 October). JCU Library is pleased to once again present two Open Access awards, first introduced in 2020: HDR Open Access Advocate 2021, and the ECR Open Access Champion 2021. The winners of the awards will be announced at a presentation event to be held on 25 October. You are invited to register for one of the many events organised by Open Access Australasia Check out our Open Access Guide for information about the many benefits of open access and how you can publish open access. Social media posts during October 2021….”

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….”

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.”

Concerns about new ARC “no preprint rule”

“The Australian Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics communities express grave concern about a recent change to Australian Research Council (ARC) rules to forbid reference to preprints anywhere in a grant application. We are particularly concerned about the impact on early career researchers whose ARC fellowship applications have recently been ruled ineligible because of a violation of this new rule. We are not aware of any consultation with our scientific communities about this change. We urge the ARC to rescind this rule, as it is unworkable and inconsistent with standard practice in our disciplines. Preprints are vital for the rapid dissemination of knowledge in physics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and statistics. This is particularly important in fields where there is a long lead-time between journal submission and publication. Citing preprints in publications, reports, or grant applications is an entrenched disciplinary norm in these fields. Experts and referees who encounter such citations know that preprints are not peer reviewed and are experienced in assigning them appropriate weight….”

‘Preprints’ are how cutting-edge science circulates. Banning them from grant applications penalises researchers for being up-to-date

“A sudden rule change by the Australian Research Council — to ban grant applications that cite preprint material — has deemed 32 early and mid-career researchers ineligible to receive critical funding….

The researchers were caught unaware by the rule, which many consider unworkable and unethical. It is out of step with the way science operates….

All these applications were in physics or astronomy. Ten of the disqualified applicants were from the University of Melbourne and Sydney alone — many at make-or-break career points.

In addition to the effect on the applicants themselves, this wasted significant time, effort and resources devoted by university grant administrators, academic mentors and expert reviewers.

Australia’s National Medical Health and Research Council (NHMRC) allows preprints to be used. So do all international funding agencies that we know of, such as the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the European Research Council (ERC)….

To have no mechanism to cite the most up-to-date available knowledge presents an ethical dilemma: how to properly credit the work of others, which either hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or was never intended for peer review….

The Australian research community has united to express concern about the ARC’s rule. The Australian Institute of Physics, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Australian Mathematical Society, and Astronomical Society of Australia have coordinated an open letter, signed by many leading scientists, urging the ARC to rescind the preprint ban as a matter of urgency….”

How the ARC can fix its fellowship red cards – Campus Morning Mail

“Last week our national funder, the Australian Research Council gave 32 fellowship applicants a red card for not sticking to a newly introduced rule. Here there was no yellow card, no time out, just the maximum penalty for an arguably minor transgression. The dismissal of their applications, totalling $22m, doesn’t send them off for the match or even a couple of games, it is for a whole year. Indeed given an average 15 per cent success rate and tight application limits, this could well be the end of the road for many a promising academic career.

Academia is renowned for passionate differences of opinion, so it is most unusual that a single procedural hiccough has united the whole sector. ARCgate has attracted scrutiny, both in the Senate and internationally. It is no coincidence that the red cards were all in the physical sciences, where this citing of preprints is not only common practice but failure to do so can be considered unethical.  Physicists have long known that referencing preprints gives others due credit and communicates cutting edge results quickly while under lengthy peer review. Most international bodies have followed suit, allowing, or even encouraging this. So too has the National Health & Medical Research Council, as COVID-19 taught us the importance of rapid communication.

It doesn’t help to dwell on how or why the rule was implemented, or its misalignment with modern publication culture. The important issue now is for the ARC to deal with this problem quickly….”

Chief Scientist gets the nod on open access | Campus Morning Mail

“Industry Minister Christian Porter ticked the plan last week – which is good, except that it is for 2021.

Most of the tasks are of the standard advise and participate kind, but two give Dr Foley space, if not time, to get things done

* create a government scientists group, “to leverage the government’s investment in science and identify opportunities for collaboration.” She is also tasked with increasing awareness of the scitech advice available to government “including improvement of mechanisms for its delivery.”  Perhaps this could encourage her to suggest an independent parliamentary science office, as knocked-back by the government the other week (CMM August 12).

* “Champion Open Access … including development of a roadmap, with links to research integrity.”  This is an issue the Chief Scientist is already engaged with. In March Dr Foley was “closely considering” OA as one of her priorities. “Access to information is the great enabler for innovation and for research commercialisation.  Lack of access to information is a real roadblock, and hinders our ability to compete internationally,” she said (CMM March 18).”

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.”

Physicists lose in ARC pre-print shambles | Campus Morning Mail

“On instruction of the Senate, the Australian Research Council reported yesterday on grant applications ruled ineligible for breaking the rule against including any reference to pre-prints

17 Future Fellowship applications were excluded out of 675 and 15  out of 996 were cut from consideration for the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

All excluded applications were either in astronomy/space science or (mainly) from four FoR categories of physics….

As Danny Kingsley points out (CMM August 23) physicists have been using pre-prints for 30 years. “Why were the serious implications of this requirement only noticed at the point where applications were excluded?” she asks.”