Latin America could become a world leader in non-commercial open science

“In the 1990s, new repositories and databases were born that would become pillars of a solid infrastructure for open-access scientific communication. With the launch of the open access journals databases Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, the digitisation of scientific journals was given a boost and a quality seal was granted to published research. With a strong public imprint, these repositories acted as a springboard for the development of non-commercial open access environment that is today the hallmark of the region.

Latin America now has the optimal conditions to create open science infrastructure that capitalises on these previous efforts. And two examples stand out.

Brazil’s BrCris was developed by the Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia alongside major national public agencies. Brazil is an immense country, with a professionalised scientific and technological system that has produced many databases on a national scale, making integration a huge challenge. Examples include the Open Data Portal, the CV system Plataforma Lattes and the directory of research groups known as CNPQ….

The second case is that of the PerúCRIS platform. It was first devised when Peru approved its Open Access Law in 2013. The need then arose to integrate three scientific information platforms: the directory of researchers, the national directory of institutions and the national network of repositories. The new platform also includes all undergraduate and graduate theses….”

a luxury market? – basic research – KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper

“The rapid migration of scientific online journals around the turn of the century seemed to usher in changes: In 1995, Forbes predicted that Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, would be the “first victim of the Internet”. After 25 years, the tech-scientific arm of the RELX group, a multinational conglomerate that the publisher has become, has annual sales of more than £ 2.6 billion with profit margins of between 30% and 40%. …

Who in their right mind would spend dozens more times to have their item in nature?

The answer? Almost every. Not because scientists are not very eager to deal with their budgets, but on the contrary: Articles in renowned magazines are the engine that guarantees reputation, jobs and research resources in the academic world. Like those who pay for a Louis Vuitton bag, the writers care less about the product than about the brand.

The result is a prestigious economy that allows big magazines to demand what they want, and also gets freelance work from academics who want to bond with their brands as reviewers or editors. There is no room for renewal in this market: even competitors offering better services at lower cost would take decades to build a reputation for a nature or a science.

As a result, researchers from countries like Brazil are forced to choose between two ethically questionable alternatives: have their work blocked by paywalls for the benefit of others, or waste the country’s scarce research resources with excessive open access fees….

Ironically, Brazil has also launched Scielo, perhaps the world’s most successful large-scale Open Access initiative, which uses publicly funded infrastructure to ensure that most national journals do not charge access or publication fees. However, a large segment of Brazilian researchers cannot afford to use it as they have to lower their college degrees by not using large magazines….”

Open Science and the emergence of preprints

“In the context of this journal, Revista Gaúcha de Enfermagem, the debate on the particularities regarding the new preprint model of publication has been a present topic and has stimulated intense debate in the scientific communication and editorial communities considering the contradictions that surround this model. At the same time, the editors have been consulted regarding the priority action lines of SciELO, the Scientific Electronic Library Online, in order to consolidate their own preprint repository, according to the international scientific publication trends towards Open Science, which has been integrating more and more the debate in forums and specific events (1-2….”

Towards open science: what we know and what we need to know

“Open science presents itself as a set of policies and actions to disseminate research results in an accessible, free and reusable and reproducible way through public digital repositories. As a movement, it uses three basic elements: open access to publications; data opening (whether raw, models, specifications, or documentation); computational process opening (software and algorithms)(1).

Although it is not a new phenomenon, the term can still cause strangeness even to experienced researchers. Open access to articles, as the first element, encountered (and still finds) great resistance to becoming unanimous, although pressure from the scientific society and funding agencies has accelerated the progress of this stage. On the other hand, data opening seems to have been better received, at least in its interface related to the deposit of scientific manuscripts in the preprint format, however this is only the beginning.

Concerning the Brazilian experience, SciELO and the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology (IBICT – Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia) have been leading the opening process and for some time have designed guidelines and strategies to guide their journals towards open science: TOP (Transparency and Openness Promotion)(2). This system interestingly presents levels of openness experimentation that range from pointing out what is a certain item to making it conditional on it being expressly fulfilled for the manuscript to be published.

Although it has existed since 2017, it was only in 2020 that the alignment of Brazilian journals to TOP was indeed accelerated, and significant changes will be adopted in the journals in the coming months and years to adapt to such principles.

Having this information and basing ourselves on the fact that historically changes have been the target of resistance, especially when they happen in an ancient system, like the scientific publication system, we use our privilege to take on multiple roles (author, reviewer, and editor) among the scientific publication process in Brazilian journals to reflect and point out in this editorial four central issues related to editorial management that should be recurrent among the actors involved in the publication process in the coming years months: …”

Scriptorium: Creating an Open-Access Creative Writing Journal in Brazil

“The university press (EDIPUCRS) holds an open access-only policy when it comes to journal publishing, so every PUCRS journal is available without cost.5 Authors are not charged—publishing costs are covered by the university—and the editorial team is comprised by faculty members, helped by graduate and undergraduate students. In 2018, according to a report by Science-Metrix, Brazil had 75% of scholarly articles freely available. More recent data from Nature (2019) shows that, while the country remains one of the world leaders in open access, Brazil is now in fourth place, following Indonesia, Colombia, and Bangladesh.6

This kind of output of open access journals in Brazil can be explained by the fact that a large portion of research in Brazil is funded by public money. As such, one of the demands from funding agencies is that the results need to be shared in open access publications, leading more researchers to submit their work to OA journals. In addition, OA periodicals receive a higher evaluation from the Ministry of Education—which translates to more funding to the universities that publish them….”

Open data: a committee in retrospect – herrmann.tech

“The prospect of recreating an open data committee in the Brazilian federal government prompted me to remember and tell the story of the open data committee that we created eight years ago. Please note, however, that this is not the whole story of the National Infrastructure for Open Data (INDA), or even the most important parts of it, but rather just the part that involves its committee and the issues that were discussed in it over the years….”

Different viewpoints on open access by staff and researchers from the University of Antwerp

 

Open Access Policies and Experiences in Brazil: A Success Story?
by Felipe César de Andrade

Open Access at the University of Antwerp: a library point of view
by Rudi Baccarne

A student’s guide to Open Access
by Joris Van Meenen

From ‘Open Science’ to ‘Science’, lessons learned from this year’s Open Access week
by Martijn Van Roie

Two years into the Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative: reflections on conducting a large-scale replication of Brazilian biomedical science

Abstract:  Scientists have increasingly recognised that low methodological and analytical rigour combined with publish-or-perish incentives can make the published scientific literature unreliable. As a response to this, large-scale systematic replications of the literature have emerged as a way to assess the problem empirically. The Brazilian Reproducibility Initiative is one such effort, aimed at estimating the reproducibility of Brazilian biomedical research. Its goal is to perform multicentre replications of a quasi-random sample of at least 60 experiments from Brazilian articles published over a 20-year period, using a set of common laboratory methods. In this article, we describe the challenges of managing a multicentre project with collaborating teams across the country, as well as its successes and failures over the first two years. We end with a brief discussion of the Initiative’s current status and its possible future contributions after the project is concluded in 2021.

 

Clinical trials sponsored by industry and other private organizations

Abstract:  The present manuscript discussed some relevant aspects related to private sponsored clinical trials in dentistry. For decades, the academy has been the major responsible for research in Brazil. Distant from the trade sector, academic research has not always provided clear benefits to society. A key aspect of making benefits clearer is the process of scientific knowledge transference to decision-makers, which is, in fact, the ground of evidence-based dentistry. Although private sponsoring of clinical research seems to be part of the research progress of the business rates, investment in Brazil is lower than those observed in other countries. It is particularly important to understand that instead of creating its own rules, dentistry imported the high-quality standards originally designed for pharmaceutical studies. Therefore, it is critical to understand the original rules and how dental items are classified by regulatory agencies. In fact, knowledge about international and local regulation is a basic assumption in industry-sponsored research. Despite globalization, the identification of industry-sponsored studies through open access databases is still very hard and time-demanding. A common concern when conducting industry-sponsored trials is study biases. Fortunately, many relevant organizations, academic and industry groups, have been working seriously against that. Finally, for less experienced researchers, many aspects related to industry-sponsored studies – such as confidentiality, authorship, budget – are deeply discussed until a final version of the trial agreement can be written and signed, protecting all sides. In short, the scenario should be improved, but it already represents a nice opportunity for dental research.

 

Brazilian Publication Profiles: Where and How Brazilian authors publish

Abstract:  Publishing profiles can help institutions and financing agencies understand the different needs of knowledge areas and regions for development within a country. Incites ® (Web of Science) was used to see where Brazilian authors were publishing, the impact, and the cost of this publishing. The USA was the country of choice for publishing journals, along with Brazil, England, and the Netherlands. While Brazilian authors continue to publish in hybrid journals, they are more often opting for closed access, with 89% of the papers published in Brazil being open access, compared with 21% of papers published abroad. The correlation between the cost of publishing and the number of citations was positive and significant. Publishing patterns were different depending on the area of knowledge and the Brazilian region. Stagnation or reduction in publications with international collaboration, industry collaboration, or in high impact open access journals may be the cause of a reduction in citation impact. These data can help in elaborating public and institutional policies for financing publications in Brazil, especially when looking at unfavourable changes in currency exchange rates.

 

Who Benefits from the Public Good? How OER Is Contributing to the Private Appropriation of the Educational Commons | SpringerLink

Abstract:  The idea of Open Educational Resources (OER) has a history and is embedded in social contexts that influence its practice. To get a handle on tensions between different conceptualizations of “open” we discuss some of the battles surrounding the usage of the term. We note the origin of the concept of OER and how the emergence of the OER movement fits into the discourse of educational improvements through technologies and techniques. We argue that there is a relation between an uncritical stance toward technology and the appropriation of education activities by private oligopolies, a phenomenon that could be mitigated by a larger awareness of recent history and current sociotechnical analysis. We point out how these dilemmas play out in the Brazilian context of the implementation of OER in public policies and conclude by mentioning some programs and projects that point to the way forward.

 

Revisiting 2019, setting goals for 2020, and reflecting upon open science

“The major objectives of the Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia (JBP, Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology) are to disseminate Brazilian research in the field of respiratory diseases and related areas, to expand the internationalization of the journal, and to act as one of the major sources of updates for the members of the Sociedade Brasileira de Pneumologia e Tisiologia (Brazilian Thoracic Society), increasingly reaching out to our readers. The JBP will celebrate its 45th anniversary in 2020. Since its inception, it has matured in the dissemination of knowledge by monitoring the developments and occasional events occurring in the field of pulmonology, continuing to be the leading Latin American journal in the field. The secondary and indirect objectives that should be highlighted are to increase the interest of recent graduates in the field and to promote the development of new researchers in related areas….

In Plan S,5 organized by an international coalition, as well as in presentations in various forums and publications by the SciELO Program, it has been suggested that open practices of scientific communication be adopted over the next five years. This scientific model includes open and unrestricted access to all peer-reviewed publications, acceptance of manuscripts previously deposited on a preprint server, adoption of the continuous publication modality, making all research content available in detail, and the possibility of open peer review.5-8 However, although most of the proposals put forth have been in agreement regarding open communication, which will certainly contribute to the progress of science, establish greater transparency in editorial processes, and democratize access to information, there are still certain questions about the universal adoption of this policy, even within the international scientific community, especially regarding the possibility of opening the peer review process (i.e., disclosing the identity of the reviewers to the authors). Certainly, there are advantages to an open peer review process, because it will increase the importance of the reviewers and promote a trend toward improvement of the quality of the evaluations, because all of the participants are likely to be more careful in carrying out their part in the process and to venture out of their comfort zone. However, there are potential negative aspects of this process, including a higher risk that reviewers will decline to participate in the peer review process (given that it has already been difficult to find reviewers in the various areas of knowledge using the traditional model) and a potential risk of “retaliation” by authors in the event of negative reviews regarding the manuscript in question….”

Where do we aspire to publish? A position paper on scientific communication in biochemistry and molecular biology

Abstract:  The scientific publication landscape is changing quickly, with an enormous increase in options and models. Articles can be published in a complex variety of journals that differ in their presentation format (online-only or in-print), editorial organizations that maintain them (commercial and/or society-based), editorial handling (academic or professional editors), editorial board composition (academic or professional), payment options to cover editorial costs (open access or pay-to-read), indexation, visibility, branding, and other aspects. Additionally, online submissions of non-revised versions of manuscripts prior to seeking publication in a peer-reviewed journal (a practice known as pre-printing) are a growing trend in biological sciences. In this changing landscape, researchers in biochemistry and molecular biology must re-think their priorities in terms of scientific output dissemination. The evaluation processes and institutional funding for scientific publications should also be revised accordingly. This article presents the results of discussions within the Department of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, on this subject.

 

Where do we aspire to publish? A position paper on scientific communication in biochemistry and molecular biology

Abstract:  The scientific publication landscape is changing quickly, with an enormous increase in options and models. Articles can be published in a complex variety of journals that differ in their presentation format (online-only or in-print), editorial organizations that maintain them (commercial and/or society-based), editorial handling (academic or professional editors), editorial board composition (academic or professional), payment options to cover editorial costs (open access or pay-to-read), indexation, visibility, branding, and other aspects. Additionally, online submissions of non-revised versions of manuscripts prior to seeking publication in a peer-reviewed journal (a practice known as pre-printing) are a growing trend in biological sciences. In this changing landscape, researchers in biochemistry and molecular biology must re-think their priorities in terms of scientific output dissemination. The evaluation processes and institutional funding for scientific publications should also be revised accordingly. This article presents the results of discussions within the Department of Biochemistry, University of São Paulo, on this subject.

 

São Paulo Statement on Open Access | National Research Foundation

The representatives of African Open Science Platform, AmeLICA, cOAlition S, OA2020, and SciELO – five of the major worldwide Open Access initiatives – met on 01 May 2019 during the annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) in Sao Paulo. They are united in their common mission of making knowledge available and accessible wherever it can have the greatest impact and help solve humanity’s challenges regardless of where it was produced.

The combined effect of the five initiatives has generated a new momentum in the push towards universal, full and immediate Open Access.

The Five Initiatives jointly state that:

  • They consider that scholarly and scientific knowledge is a global public good. When generated by public funds, free access to it is a universal right.
  • They share one common ultimate objective: providing universal, unrestricted, and immediate Open Access to scholarly information, including use and re-use by humans and machines.
  • They share the belief that this common goal can be achieved through a variety of approaches.
  • They will pursue points of alignment among their approaches and ways to co-operate towards reaching the shared objective.
  • They seek an active dialogue with all stakeholders, including researchers, research funders, universities, libraries, publishers, learned societies, governments, and citizens to take into account the diversity of the global scholarly community….”