India’s Fumbled Chance For Sharing Knowledge – CodeBlue

“In terms of open access to knowledge, India could have been the Vishwa Guru — the world’s teacher.

As early as 2000, India was making moves to allow taxpayer-funded research to be freely available for anyone in the world to read, share and distribute. But India has squandered that advantage.

Fast forward to 2022, and much of India’s research is still locked up behind the paywalls of corporate academic publishers, while the global science community increasingly questions why taxpayer-funded research should not be available for everyone to read….”

Time to Reform Academic Publishing | Forum

“In particular, as graduate, professional, and medical students, we have been shaped by the relics of an inequitable publishing model that was created before the age of the internet. Our everyday work—from designing and running experiments to diagnosing and treating patients—relies on the results of taxpayer-funded research. Having these resources freely available will help to accelerate innovation and level the playing field for smaller and less well-funded research groups and institutions. With this goal of creating an equitable research ecosystem in mind, we want to highlight the importance of creating one that is equitable in whole….

But today, the incentives for institutions do not align with goals of equity, and change will be necessary to help support a more equitable system. Nor do incentives within institutions always align with these goals. This is especially true for early-career researchers, who might struggle to comply with new open-access guidelines if they need to pay a high article publishing fee to make their research open in a journal that is valued by their institutions’ promotion and tenure guidelines.

To these ends, it is imperative that the process for communicating research results to the public and other researchers does not shift from a “pay-to-read” model to a “pay-to-publish” model. That is, we should not use taxpayer dollars to pay publishers to make research available, nor should we simply pass these costs on to researchers. This approach would be unsustainable long-term and would go against the equity goals of the new OSTP policy. Instead, we hope that funders, professional societies, and institutions will come along with us in imagining and supporting innovative ways for communicating science that are more equitable and better for research….”

The Gaping Problem At The Heart Of Scientific Research – CodeBlue

“But the very need for these groups to call for research to be made available in the middle of a global emergency demonstrates the failure of the current publishing system.

Making research immediately free to read, which, when combined with the use of an open publishing licence, is known as ‘open access’ — is a hot topic in science. Global health bodies know how important open research is, especially in times of emergency, which is why they have repeatedly called for research to be made open. 

The latest plaintive request came in August 2022 from the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for mpox research to be made open. Previous global calls were in 2016 for Zika and in 2018 for Ebola. 

The consequences of lack of access to research can be dire. In 2015 a group of African researchers claimed that an earlier Ebola outbreak could have been prevented if research on it had been published openly.

The past 12 months have seen a flurry of changes in open access globally and from January 2023, the high profile journal Science will allow published research to be immediately placed in publicly-accessible repositories at no cost to scientists.

In August 2022, the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memorandum to all US research funding agencies that by January 1, 2026, they must make all the research they fund immediately publicly available, along with the data behind that research….

As 2023 unfolds, it seems that the benefits of open access have been proved beyond doubt. The next emergency in front of us, climate change, is much more complex, and there too are calls for open access.

Serious investment in a variety of approaches is essential to ensure a diverse, equitable, open access future.”

From “Open” to “Decentralised” Science: Opportunities and Challenges – Research Consulting

“Over the past few months, we have been hearing more and more about the concept of ‘Decentralised Science’, or DeSci, for short. The term has appeared in several reports, articles and even client enquiries. Since this somewhat nebulous concept doesn’t have a single, widely understood definition, we thought that a blog highlighting its relevance for research stakeholders would be welcome!

In this post, we will provide insights and tips to help you navigate this evolving area, as well as highlighting why we should all care about what’s next for DeSci….”

Updates on the Future for 2023 – openoregon.org

“Peeking around the corner into 2023, the barriers preventing faculty from more widespread adoption of OER are the usual ones: time and money. Further, Oregon’s statewide OER program is working with faculty who are worn out by the ongoing pandemic and responding to heightened student needs.

Beyond these obvious constraints, though, here are four big challenges we’re thinking about right now.

Do these resonate for your program? Do you have something different on your mind? Comments are open!…”

Open Inaccessibility

“When a PDF is downloaded, who can read it?

At the start of the year I discussed the social model of disability and inaccessibility in relation to open scholarship, but since then I have not done much more in a practical sense. Here’s the best explanation of the social model of disability I have seen…

Content inaccessibility came back on my radar again when I read a recent study about content accessibility improvements for arXiv. This paper calls content accessibility “the next frontier of open science.” As we see a simultaneous increase in user-generated content platforms for publishing, where there is less control over what and how things get published, I would agree and argue that accessibility will become a bigger topic quickly.

Some of my main takeaways and juxtapositions from this paper include:

There is clear content inaccessibility: only 30% of people using assistive technologies rate all research as accessible (vs. 59% of people not using assistive technologies).
HTML is preferred for accessibility, but non-disabled people prefer PDFs.
Biggest improvement areas for accessibility are (1) PDF formatting, (2) images (alt texts), (3) math accessibility (e.g., MathML for screenreaders), (4) making data in figures parseable by screen readers.
People who don’t use assistive technologies don’t know what is required of them to make accessible documents
PDF is often preferred because it is easy/easier to save to reference managers….”

Something is afoot with copyright this Public Domain Day | John Naughton | The Guardian

“The interesting thing is that these were originally supposed to enter the public domain in 2003, but as Jennifer Jenkins, director of Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain puts it, “before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years”

The mechanism by which this legal heist was implemented was the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (AKA “The Sonny Bono Act” or “The Mickey Mouse Protection Act” depending on your satirical tastes). In passing it, American legislators were simply continuing business as usual in the intellectual property business….

The issue highlighted by Public Domain Day is not that intellectual property is evil but that aspects of it – especially copyright – have been monopolised and weaponised by corporate interests and that legislators have been supine in the face of their lobbying….”

 

Preprints in Health Professions Education: Raising Awareness… : Academic Medicine

Abstract:  A preprint is a version of a research manuscript posted by its authors to a preprint server before peer review. Preprints are associated with a variety of benefits, including the ability to rapidly communicate research, the opportunity for researchers to receive feedback and raise awareness of their research, and broad and unrestricted access. For early-career researchers, preprints also provide a mechanism for demonstrating research progress and productivity without the lengthy timelines of traditional journal publishing. Despite these benefits, few health professions education (HPE) research articles are deposited as preprints, suggesting that preprinting is not currently integrated into HPE culture. In this article, the authors describe preprints, their benefits and related risks, and the potential barriers that hamper their widespread use within HPE. In particular, the authors propose the barriers of discordant messaging and the lack of formal and informal education on how to deposit, critically appraise, and use preprints. To mitigate these barriers, several recommendations are proposed to facilitate preprints in becoming an accepted and encouraged component of HPE culture, allowing the field to take full advantage of this evolving form of research dissemination.

 

Close to open—Factors that hinder and promote open science in ecology research and education | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  The Open Science (OS) movement is rapidly gaining traction among policy-makers, research funders, scientific journals and individual scientists. Despite these tendencies, the pace of implementing OS throughout the scientific process and across the scientific community remains slow. Thus, a better understanding of the conditions that affect OS engagement, and in particular, of how practitioners learn, use, conduct and share research openly can guide those seeking to implement OS more broadly. We surveyed participants at an OS workshop hosted by the Living Norway Ecological Data Network in 2020 to learn how they perceived OS and its importance in their research, supervision and teaching. Further, we wanted to know what OS practices they had encountered in their education and what they saw as hindering or helping their engagement with OS. The survey contained scaled-response and open-ended questions, allowing for a mixed-methods approach. We obtained survey responses from 60 out of 128 workshop participants (47%). Responses indicated that usage and sharing of open data and code, as well as open access publication, were the most frequent OS practices. Only a minority of respondents reported having encountered OS in their formal education. A majority also viewed OS as less important in their teaching than in their research and supervisory roles. The respondents’ suggestions for what would facilitate greater OS engagement in the future included knowledge, guidelines, and resources, but also social and structural support. These are aspects that could be strengthened by promoting explicit implementation of OS practices in higher education and by nurturing a more inclusive and equitable OS culture. We argue that incorporating OS in teaching and learning of science can yield substantial benefits to the research community, student learning, and ultimately, to the wider societal objectives of science and higher education.

 

Reducing Barriers to Open Science by Standardizing Practices and Realigning Incentives

“Open science, the practice of sharing findings and resources towards the collaborative pursuit of scientific progress and societal good, can accelerate the pace of research and contribute to a more equitable society. However, the current culture of scientific research is not optimally structured to promote extensive sharing of a range of outputs. In this policy position paper, we outline current open science practices and key bottlenecks in their broader adoption. We propose that national science agencies create a digital infrastructure framework that would standardize open science principles and make them actionable. We also suggest ways of redefining research success to align better with open science, and to incentivize a system where sharing various research outputs is beneficial to researchers.”

Research Integrity and Reproducibility are Two spects of the Same Underlying Issue – A Report from STM Week 2022 – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Imagine if the integrity of the publishing process didn’t rely purely on publishers’ ability to detect fraud, malpractice, or mistakes based on the limited information available in a submitted manuscript. Instead, what if this responsibility were spread throughout the ecosystem, from funder grant management system, to data management plan, to data center, to lab notebook, to preprint, to published version of record, making use of trusted assertions to build an open, verifiable research environment that also leverages transparency so that publishers, funders, institutions, and other researchers could all trace findings and claims back through the whole research process? 

The vision I laid out above may sound utopian, but much of the technology and tools required already exist. As well as the TREs [Trusted Research Environments], which can be seen as a model for traceability, and ORCID trust markers, which illustrate how the same thing can be done securely in the open, initiatives like Center for Open Science, and Octopus show how a range of outputs and activities can be used to document the entire research process.

The problem is not technology, it’s a wicked mix of perverse incentives, network effects, business model inertia, and sustainability challenges that lock us all into the same restrictive ideas about what constitutes a research publication, and what counts for prestige and career advancement. To address the range of challenges from poor research practice to industrial-scale fraud by paper mills, we need a whole-sector approach that involves funders, institutional research management and libraries, researchers, and publishers. As fellow Chef Alice Meadows and I wrote in a previous post, it really does take a village, and cross-sector collaboration is vital to building the interoperable research information infrastructure needed to connect the people, places, and things of the scholarly ecosystem in a way that is verifiable and trusted.”

Opinion: The Promise and Plight of Open Data | TS Digest | The Scientist

“At the same time, open data allow anyone to reproduce a study’s analyses and validate its findings. Occasionally, readers identify errors in the data or analyses that slipped through the peer-review process. These errors can be handled through published corrections or retractions, depending on their severity. One would expect open data to result in more errors being identified and fixed in published papers. 

But are journals with open-data policies more likely than their traditional counterparts to correct published research with erroneous results? To answer this, we collected information on data policies and article retractions for 199 journals that publish research in the fields of ecology and evolution, and compared retraction rates before and after open-data policies were implemented. 

Surprisingly, we found no detectable link between data-sharing policies and annual rates of article retractions. We also found that the publication of corrections was not affected by requirements to share data, and that these results persisted after accounting for differences in publication rates among journals and time lags between policy implementation and study publication due to the peer-review process. While our analysis was restricted to studies in ecology and evolution, colleagues in psychology and medicine have suggested to us that they expect similar patterns in their fields of study. 

Do these results mean that open-data policies are ineffective? No. There is no doubt that open data promote transparency, but our results suggest that a greater potential for error detection does not necessarily translate into greater error correction. We propose three additional practices, some of which could actually improve open-data practices, to help science self-correct. …”

Performing openness in academic publishing | Alex McLean

I was unsure about writing this blog post, but today I was turned away from signing up for the openly-advertised University of Sheffield’s Open Research initiative’s inaugural annual Open Research lecture for not being a current member of the institution. So urged on by a deep sense of irony, here I am with a rant about trying to publish a book open access.

After much collaborative work over many years, I’m really happy that the Live Coding book came out a couple of weeks ago, on MIT Press. A fresh editorial team at MIT were really helpful and responsive in taking it over the line, with copy-editing helping iron over the different voices in the book into what I think is a great text that I hope people will enjoy.

[…]

 

To access the ebook for free, you have to instead click on the ‘resources’ tab, and find a link to the epub or mobi ebook download there. Of course, this isn’t a mere resource for the book, but the actual book, so that’s a bit like hiding the free download behind a door that says ‘beware of the leopard’. I did negotiate putting some text on the bottom of the page pointing to this badly named tab, but unfortunately the tab could not be changed and the ebook links couldn’t be added to the front page.

[…]

Kick-off for EU database of public domain works and digital access to scientific works | Patrick Breyer

With yesterday’s budget vote, the EU Parliament approved the funding of two pilot projects in the field of free knowledge initiated by the Pirate Party’s MEP Patrick Breyer in cooperation with civil society.

The first pilot project “Public EU directory of works in the public domain and under free licenses“, is funding a feasibility study for the creation of a database of public domain works. The development of such a database shall provide legal certainty for platforms, providers, galleries, libraries, archives and museums, as well as other non-profit organizations that work with public domain or freely licensed content.

The second project, “The Role of Copyright Laws in facilitation of distance education and research”  intends to strengthen schools, universities and the cultural sector. The pilot project will assess copyright obstacles for online teaching and will focus on possible adaptions to the legal framework in order to enhance an appropriate balance of the interests of the authors and the use for educational and research purposes in the public interest. In addition, public access to culture and education shall be increased, in particular by granting licenses to libraries.

[….]