“Positively Disrupt(ing) Research Culture for the Better”: An Interview with Alexandra Freeman of Octopus – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In early August, it was announced that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) would provide significant funding for a new open publishing platform. Called Octopus, this initiative is not yet fully launched, but when it is it plans to “provide a new ‘primary research record’ for recording and appraising research “as it happens’”; UKRI calls Octopus “a ground-breaking global service which could positively disrupt research culture for the better.” I reached out to Octopus’s founder, Dr. Alexandra Freeman, to ask some questions about Octopus and its plans for the future….”

How can governments nudge students to become ebook readers? Evidence from Indonesia | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate if and how government intervention can nudge students to become ebook readers.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 1,144 students from four middle and high schools in urban and rural areas of Indonesia participated in this study. The results from statistical analyses were further discussed through the lens of the nudge theory.

Findings

This paper founds evidence that government intervention in the form of the Buku Sekolah Elektronik (BSE) policy that has been providing free electronic textbooks for more than a decade can help nudge students to become ebook readers. After controlling for student’s demographic information, this paper founds that their awareness of such a policy is significantly associated with a stronger preference toward ebooks while having no significant effect on their preferences toward printed book format. This paper also founds that mobile device adoption plays an important role where early adopters tend to prefer ebook format, whereas laggards are more associated with printed book format.

Originality/value

Many have studied the benefits of using ebooks in learning, but the literature also shows that most students still prefer reading printed books over ebooks. This is true not only in developing countries where problems with infrastructures can hamper the adoption of ebooks in general but also in developed countries where ebooks are much more prevalent, even among the general population. This paper showed how government interventions have the potency to help tip the scales and nudge students to become ebook readers.

Efficiency of “Publish or Perish” Policy—Some Considerations Based on the Uzbekistan Experience

Abstract:  Researchers from Uzbekistan are leading the global list of publications in predatory journals. The current paper reviews the principles of implementation of the “publish or perish policy” in Uzbekistan with an overarching aim of detecting the factors that are pushing more and more scholars to publish the results of their studies in predatory journals. Scientific publications have historically been a cornerstone in the development of science. For the past five decades, the quantity of publications has become a common indicator for determining academic capacity. Governments and institutions are increasingly employing this indicator as an important criterion for promotion and recruitment; simultaneously, researchers are being awarded Ph.D. and D.Sc. degrees for the number of articles they publish in scholarly journals. Many talented academics have had a pay rise or promotion declined due to a short or nonexistent bibliography, which leads to significant pressure on academics to publish. The “publish or perish” principle has become a trend in academia and the key performance indicator for habilitation in Uzbekistan. The present study makes a case for re-examining the criteria set by the Supreme Attestation Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for candidates applying for Ph.D. and D.Sc. as well as faculty promotion requirements in the light of current evidence for the deteriorating academic performance of scholars. View Full-Text

 

Publishing for science or science for publications? The role of open science to reduce research waste – Siegerink – 2021 – Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis – Wiley Online Library

“One of the underlying ideas of Open Science is that when scientists are open about what they are doing, and what they have been up to, double work can be prevented. For example, Prospero (https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/), a registry in which authors can file their initiative to execute a systematic review and meta-analysis can indeed fulfill that role. However, Chapelle et al show that only 10 of the 20 meta-analyses were indeed preregistered. …

Another way to reduce redundant publications is to share research before it is peer-reviewed by publishing it on a preprint server such as medRxiv.org. Although the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has popularized this practice, it is only used for a small fraction of all research output. Would further adoption of this practice be a way to further reduce research waste? The data collected by Chapelle et al suggest that the time window between “received” and “published online” was short. Preprints will only prevent double work when there is a sufficiently large window between these two timepoints during which other researchers have to decide whether or not to start a new project….

As long as the scientific enterprise incentivizes research waste and science for publications, time and resources are wasted. Open science practices cannot counteract this because they do not address the root cause….”

Viewpoint: As part of global shift, Utrecht University is changing how it evaluates its researchers | Science|Business

Many scientists are transitioning to a new way of working, known as open science, which will require new ways of evaluating researchers’ work. At Utrecht University we are adapting the reward system so it will incentivise this shift. The change that has received the most public attention, ditching the publishing metric known as the journal impact factor, is important, but it’s just one step in a much larger transformation. Through open science, researchers and research administrators seek to improve the quality, reproducibility and social impact of research. Open science includes open access publishing, so citizens and peers can access the fruits of publicly-funded research without paying for the privilege, and moving to a system of FAIR data, making information easy for researchers to find, access, and reuse. Open science also includes software sharing.

We moeten af van telzucht in de wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “On July 19, ScienceGuide published an open letter from 171 academics who are concerned about the new Recognition and Valuation of scientists. In fact, the signatories warn that the new ‘Recognize and Appreciate’ leads to more arbitrariness and loss of quality. This will jeopardize the international top position of Dutch science, argue the writers, which will adversely affect young academics in particular.  …

It is noticeable that these young scientists, whom the letter speaks of, do not seem to be involved in drafting the message. It is also striking that signatories to the open letter themselves are mainly at the top of the academic career ladder; 142 of the 171 signatories are even professors. As Young Science in Transition, PhD candidates Network Netherlands, PostDocNL, a large number of members of De Jonge Akademies and many other young researchers, we do not agree with the message they are proclaiming. In fact, we worry about these kinds of noises when it comes to our current and future careers. Young academics are eagerly waiting for a new system of Recognition and Appreciation. …”

Nieuwe Erkennen en waarderen schaadt Nederlandse wetenschap – ScienceGuide

From Google’s English:  “A group of 171 scientists, including 142 professors, warns in this open letter that the new Recognition and Valuation will harm Dutch science. The medical, exact and life sciences in particular are in danger of losing their international top position as a result of the new Recognition and Appreciation, because it is no longer clear how scientists are judged.

An article was recently published in Nature about the new policy of Utrecht University whereby the impact factors of scientific journals are no longer included in the evaluation of scientists. Measurable performance figures have been abandoned in favor of an ‘open science’ system and elevating the team above the individual.  

Here 171 academics warn that this new ‘Recognition and appreciation’ will lead to more arbitrariness and less quality and that this policy will have major consequences for the international recognition and appreciation of Dutch scientists. This will have negative consequences in particular for young researchers, who will no longer be able to compete internationally.  …”

Why the new Recognition & Rewards actually boosts excellent science

“During the last few weeks, several opinion pieces have appeared questioning the new Recognition and Rewards (R&R) and Open Science in Dutch academia. On July 13, the TU/e Cursor published interviews with professors who question the usefulness of a new vision on R&R (1). A day later, on July 14, the chairman of the board of NWO compared science to top sport, with an emphasis on sacrifice and top performance (2), a line of thinking that fits the traditional way of R&R in academia. On July 19, an opinion piece was published by 171 university (head) teachers and professors (3), this time in ScienceGuide questioning again the new vision of R&R. These articles, all published within a week, show that as the new R&R gains traction within universities, established scholars are questioning its usefulness and effectiveness. Like others before us (4), we would like to respond. …”

From principles to practices: Open Science at Europe’s universities: 2020-2021 EUA Open Science Survey results

“KEY RESULTS: • Open Science principles: over half (59%) of the surveyed institutions rated Open Science’s strategic importance as very high or high. Open Access to research publications was considered to be highly important for 90% of institutions, but only 60% considered its implementation level to be high. However, the gap between importance and implementation is much wider in data-related areas (RDM, FAIR and data sharing): high importance at between 55-70% of the institutions surveyed, with high levels of implementation at 15-25%. • Open Science policies: 54% of institutions have an Open Science policy and 37% are developing one. Only 9% of surveyed institutions lack an Open Science policy or are not planning to draft one. • Monitoring Open Access to research publications: 80% of institutions monitored the number of publications in their repository and 70% monitored articles published by their researchers in Open Access journals. In addition, almost 60% reported monitoring the cost of publications by their researchers in Open Access journals. • Infrastructure for Open Access to research publications: 90% of the institutions surveyed have their own repository, participate in a shared repository or both. For journal hosting or publishing platforms this figure reaches 66%, and levels out at 57% for monograph hosting/publishing. In addition, 66% of those surveyed reported that their institution has participated in or supported non-commercial Open Access publishing. Data-related skills: over 50% of the surveyed institutions reported that research data skills were only partially available. Moreover, all of the institutions that indicated the absence or partial availability of data skills, considered that more of these skills are needed at institutional level. • Emerging areas of Open Science: Approximately 50% of the respondents know of citizen science and open education activities at their institutions. • Open Science in academic assessment: In 34% of institutions, none of the Open Science elements examined by the survey were included in academic assessments. Amongst the institutions that included Open Science activities in their academic assessments, 77% took into consideration article deposition in a repository. …”

Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities | Science and Public Policy | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  Despite the increasing availability of Open Science (OS) infrastructure and the rise in policies to change behaviour, OS practices are not yet the norm. While pioneering researchers are developing OS practices, the majority sticks to status quo. To transition to common practice, we must engage a critical proportion of the academic community. In this transition, OS Communities (OSCs) play a key role. OSCs are bottom-up learning groups of scholars that discuss OS within and across disciplines. They make OS knowledge more accessible and facilitate communication among scholars and policymakers. Over the past two years, eleven OSCs were founded at several Dutch university cities. In other countries, similar OSCs are starting up. In this article, we discuss the pivotal role OSCs play in the large-scale transition to OS. We emphasize that, despite the grassroot character of OSCs, support from universities is critical for OSCs to be viable, effective, and sustainable.

 

Open Future

“Numerous organisations and initiatives have been launched with a belief in openness and free knowledge. Their proponents placed their bets on the combined power of networked information services and new governance models for the production and sharing of content and data. We – as members of this broad movement – were among those who believed it possible to leverage this combination of power and opportunity to build a more democratic society, unleashing the power of the internet to create universal access to knowledge and culture. For us, such openness meant not only freedom, but also presented a path to justice and equality….

The open revolution that we imagined did not, however, happen. At least not on the scale that we and many other proponents of free culture expected.

Nevertheless, the growing Open movement demonstrated the viability of our ideas. As proof we have Wikipedia, Open Government data initiatives, the ascent of Open Access publishing, the role of free software in powering the infrastructure of the internet and the gradual opening of the collections of many cultural heritage institutions….

Over time, we have observed the significant evolution of our movement’s normative basis – away from a justification based on the voluntary exercise of rights by individual creators and towards a justification based on the production of social goods….

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a wholesale transformation of the networked information ecosystem. The web moved away from the ideals and the open design of the early internet and turned into an environment that is dominated by a small number of platforms….

The concentration of power in the hands of a small number of information intermediaries negates one of the core assumptions of the Open movement….”

Promoting inclusive metrics of success and impact to dismantle a discriminatory reward system in science

Abstract:  Success and impact metrics in science are based on a system that perpetuates sexist and racist “rewards” by prioritizing citations and impact factors. These metrics are flawed and biased against already marginalized groups and fail to accurately capture the breadth of individuals’ meaningful scientific impacts. We advocate shifting this outdated value system to advance science through principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. We outline pathways for a paradigm shift in scientific values based on multidimensional mentorship and promoting mentee well-being. These actions will require collective efforts supported by academic leaders and administrators to drive essential systemic change.

 

Webinar: Community Open Principles | EIFL

Join this webinar on Community Open Principles: Before, During and After the Global Pandemic, which is part of the Reimagining Educational Practices for Open (REPO) Community Event Series. 

Date and time: 30 June, 1pm UTC
Registration: You can register here. 

Speakers – Dr Ana Persic, UNESCO, Dr Arianna Becerril García, AmeliCA, Dr Johanna Havemann, Open Science MOOC, and Osman Aldirdiri, AfricArXiv – will lead the discussion by addressing the following questions:

When we talk about Open what do we mean? 
How can we navigate the different definitions of what it means to be a community and to be Open? 
How do we engage with communities and train members around Open?
What evidence are we using of how we are addressing Open? 
How can we be more inclusive and align our Open principles to foster norms, incentives, and recognition? 
Have our understandings around Open shifted during the pandemic? 

The webinar aims to include open science perspectives from a diverse group of communities, to learn from different approaches, and identify next steps that everyone in our global community can consider. More about REPO in this blog by Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager.