Implementing clinical trial data sharing requires training a new generation of biomedical researchers | Nature Medicine

“Data sharing enhances the value of medical research and builds trust in clinical trials, but more biomedical researchers need to be trained in these approaches, which include meta-research, data science and ethical, legal and social issues….”

Moving From Idealism to Realism With Data Sharing | Annals of Internal Medicine

Only these opening sentences are OA: “Significant efforts have been made in the past decade to promote open science and data sharing in clinical research. The moral and scientific arguments are clear: If data are shared, it could promote transparency and understanding of the results, honor the participation of individuals, and enable new discoveries (1).

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy recently updated guidance requiring that results of federally funded research be made immediately available, and federal agencies have drafted a series of policies that outline expectations of their awardees. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a new Policy….”

Guest Post – Are We Providing What Researchers Need in the Transition to Open Science? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Why — despite live examples of seeing the impact of open research practices and the indication from researchers and the academic community that they want open research practices to be the norm — is there such a disparity between awareness, behavior, and action? How can we close this gap so that behaviors align with aspirations around open science?

Putting all these studies together, the reasons presented for the gap are mixed but include concerns around data misuse; lack of credit for sharing data; and the need for better support in how to make data and research sustainably open. Mandates, particularly funder mandates for this particular sample group, seem to have a limited role in driving authors to practice open research (although that may well change with new mandates for data sharing coming into effect from very large funding bodies such as federal agencies in the US). Comparatively, institutional encouragement had relatively good success. Where applicable, journal requirements to share materials, code, or data, or journal encouragement to facilitate preprint deposition, drove the same or greater degree of success as institutional encouragement….

One conclusion that becomes apparent is that more can be done by publishers and their partners to directly help and facilitate the adoption of open research practices. Encouraging or mandating sharing of objects as part of the manuscript publication process is an effective and efficient way of ensuring that open science practices are followed. Journals have been successful in the past in enforcing data-sharing mandates around the release of protein and nucleic acid sequences, for example, so we know that the right policies and initiatives can bring positive change….”

The lack of resources for ethical open access journals hurts academia and the public – Universitetsläraren, 1 feb 2023

“…While decentralised initiatives such as Quartz OA and Libraria promise to unlock crowdsourcing tools to alleviate financial hardships for non-commercial Open Access journals, a wider discussion still needs to take place across the higher education sector and—one could add—society at large, about how best to remove the economic, legal, and technological barriers to accessing research findings. Ultimately, this is a question of ownership: who owns the research we collectively produce and who, if anyone, should be able to profit from it? In the meantime, at a bare minimum universities, research funders, and national consortiums should set aside substantial funding to support the ethical, non-profit Open Access ecosystem. In practical terms, this means earmarking funding for already established non-profit Open Access publications and providing incentives, resources, and support to allow editorial boards to ‘flip’ journals currently being published through agreements with commercial publishers to ethical Open Access models….”

Why The Failure By Funders To Require Academics To Retain Copyright In Their Papers Is The Biggest Obstacle To Open Access Today

Back in August last year, Techdirt covered a major announcement by the US government that all taxpayer-supported research should be immediately available to the public at no cost. As Mike wrote at the time, this is really big, not least for the following key element mentioned in the press release:

This policy guidance will end the current optional embargo that allows scientific publishers to put taxpayer-funded research behind a subscription-based paywall – which may block access for innovators for whom the paywall is a barrier, even barring scientists and their academic institutions from access to their own research findings.

The idea that researchers can’t share or even access their own work might seem absurd – well, it is absurd – but it is also something that happens depressingly often in the academic world, and is one reason why so many people turn to things like Sci-Hub. The new policy addresses this by requiring free and immediate access. However, this only applies to US-funded research, which means that even when it comes into force in 2025, there will still be millions of articles that cannot be accessed and shared freely because they are funded by agencies in other nations.

It would be great if all the funders outside the US could adopt a similar policy requiring immediate free access. The UK is one country that has already taken this approach. In April 2022, the main government funding body in England, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), made it mandatory for all the results of research that it funds to be made immediately available as open access when they are published in journals.

There are three ways for academics to do this. One is to use Gold open access, where typically an article processing charge is paid by the the researcher’s institution to make it freely available immediately. Another is something called “Read & Publish”, a kind of transitional approach, where a publisher receives two bundled payments – a traditional one to publish the article, and another to allow anyone to read it. The final option is Green open access, whereby the researcher’s manuscript is placed in some kind of online repository where it can be downloaded by anyone for free. However, a problem has arisen with this last approach, as the N8 Research Partnership, which represents 12% of all UK academics and 200,000 students there, explains:

in order to achieve this third route to open access researchers need to be able to apply a CC BY license – which allows anyone to make commercial use of the work under the condition of attributing the research in the manner specified by the author or licensor – and place their accepted manuscript in an institutional or other preferred repository. This must now be done without embargo granted to any publisher [under UKRI rules].

However, some publishers are no longer compliant with several not accepting that a researcher’s original rights should be retained by them, meaning that publishers may not accept manuscripts where an application has been made for a CC BY license and the researcher has clearly stated that they own their research.

The key issue is that CC BY may not be an option unless researchers retain the copyright in their articles. It might seem extraordinary, but in addition to providing their work to publishers for free, academics have generally been required to hand over the copyright as well, effectively losing control of their own research results.

The solution to this problem is simple: researchers should retain the copyright in their work, and the N8 Research Partnership now requires its members to enforce this if a publisher refuses to allow a CC BY license. However, the new policy does not make this mandatory for the other ways of publishing – Gold open access or Read & Publish. This is a huge mistake. There is no reason for a researcher to assign their copyright to a publisher – a non-exclusive license is all that the latter requires. By allowing the practise to continue, N8 is implicitly condoning it in some situations. N8 is not alone in this, but the failure by funders to require rights retention as a matter of course is perhaps the biggest obstacle to rolling out full open access around the world today.

Follow me @glynmoody on Mastodon or Twitter.

Toward Equitable Open Research: Stakeholder Co-created Recommendations for Research Institutions, Funders and Researchers — Graz University of Technology

Abstract:  Open Research aims to make research more accessible, transparent, reproducible, shared and collaborative. Doing so is meant to democratise and diversify access to knowledge and knowledge production, and ensure that research is useful outside of academic contexts. Increasing equity is therefore a key aim of the Open Research movement, yet mounting evidence demonstrates that the practices of Open Research are implemented in ways that undermine this. In response, we convened a diverse community of researchers, research managers and funders to co-create actionable recommendations for supporting the equitable implementation of Open Research.

Using a Co-creative Modified Delphi Method, we generated consensus-driven recommendations that address three key problem areas: the resource-intensive nature of Open Research, the high cost of Article Processing Charges, and obstructive reward and recognition practices at funders and research institutions that undermine the implementation of Open Research. In this paper, we provide an overview of these issues, a detailed description of the co-creative process, and present the recommendations and the debates that surrounded them. We discuss these recommendations in relation to other recently published ones and conclude that implementing ours requires “global thinking” to ensure that a systemic and inclusive approach to change is taken.


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 –

“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….”