Best Practice: The First Six Month of Open Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington

An Interview Lynnee Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger, William Madison Randall Bibliothek at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW)

A new central department was created for you with the posts of research data librarian and scholarly communications librarian. How did you go about filling these new roles?

Allison Michelle Kittinger (Scholarly Communications Librarian): As soon as I assumed this position, I became the voice of my institution in scholarly communications spaces. I was our representative for scholarly communications committees within our library and in our university system. This gave me a lot of connections and a kind of support network off the bat that gave me a good picture of what had been happening so far around scholarly communications and Open Science here. Many of my roles, such as managing Open Access and Open Education funding and overseeing the institutional repository were inherited from librarians that began this work on campus when it was not in their job description. Now, I am the point person to continue this work and grow it into a community.

Lynnee Argabright (Research Data Librarian): Lynnee Argabright (Research Data Librarian): I began thinking about this new role by considering the research data lifecycle—data collection, cleaning, analysis, visualisation, sharing …— and looking at academic literature to see what other data librarians have done. A good one was “Academic Libraries and Research Data Services” (PDF) and the follow-up study “Research Data Services in Academic Libraries: Where are We Today?”. It helped me scope out what a data librarian could do, and then I scaled down to thinking what I could do immediately versus in the future. I also thought about my support capacity as a single unit servicing the campus, with potential collaborations with non-data-specific others. I talked with many people on campus about their data needs and about the current data infrastructure and support. Based on that, I am allocating my time on a rollout schedule (see discussion of “maturity models” in “Maturing research data services and the transformation of academic libraries”) to learn about/plan/develop services for particular data lifecycle areas—such as reviewing Data Management Plans and teaching data analysis in R workshops—before I market those specific services to campus. Data discovery was a lifecycle area I could start on right away, joining the subject librarians in their course instruction sessions about finding research results and getting follow-up consultations for finding Open Data.

What are your goals in the new jobs, i.e. for the first year of Open Science at UNCW?

Allison: Awareness, always! Faculty are hungry for the services we offer but not all of them know we are here and doing the work now. My main goal now that much of my role has been established is to raise awareness of the

Lynnee: A big priority for me is to intentionally and transparently fit in Open Science to as many of my data services as possible. Am I teaching about data discovery? I could show Open Data sources. Am I consulting on data privacy? I could bring up how to de-identify data so the data could potentially be shared. Did I get a question about data analysis? I could recommend Open Source tools.

One particular initiative I want to get started in my first year is data sharing. Promoting data sharing on campus would be of value to a campus with newly increased research intensity expectations; not only because researchers new to getting grants now often face the expectation to share their data, but also because sharing data will help showcase UNCW-produced research to the world. However, repository deposit participation does not happen overnight—as another OSC poster explains—so a first year goal to get involved with data sharing has been to get a feel for administering the technical Dataverse infrastructure we have, begin mentioning the benefits of data sharing in other data conversations to fuel awareness, and start looking into how to ease the experience of preparing data to be shared.

An Increased Use of the Institutional Repository by Researchers from 7% to 45%: Lessons from the Open Access Campaign at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana

I began too excitedly by offering a workshop about data sharing and Dataverse, to generally go over the benefits of sharing data, as well as to demo how to use Dataverse … and only one person showed up, so Allison’s point about awareness is super important.

What were the biggest road blocks so far? How did you manage to overcome them?

Allison: Being new in part, but that is overcome by time and making connections. Sometimes not knowing who to reach out to or collaborate with because we’ve never made those connections before on campus. Everyone is learning together. I think a lack of awareness can be a roadblock, but in general once I’ve explained my role and what I do to people who weren’t aware of me they are very receptive. I credit that to the culture at our institution.

Lynnee: My new department has been asked to go through the subject librarians if they want to reach out to researchers, so a roadblock I’m facing in my new role is getting patrons to know I exist and even to think that the library could be involved in data in the first place. One of the strategies I tried within my first six months was to begin planning campus-wide programming that celebrated international events.

I helped Allison with planning Open Access Week in October 2021, and proposed to co-host a Love Data Week in February 2022 with another campus office partner. Hosting these programmes could simultaneously teach researchers data skills, build a campus community for data activity, and boost awareness that the library is involved with data.

Since then, I’ve gotten more researcher participation in workshops and consultations, and other research staff are reaching out to collaborate. I recognise running campus-wide programming takes a lot of work up front to plan and it may not take off at first, but it did help me get recognised, and it will slowly build up the library’s brand in the data sphere. Here are my reflections about making event planning sustainable.

The job profiles of modern librarians have diversified greatly in recent years. However, many people still have the image of the old lady with a bun putting dusty books on shelves in their minds when they think of libraries. Where do you think this perception gap comes from?

Allison: The public perception of librarians I would guess comes from media stereotypes about public libraries. I’d think academic libraries are not the first type of library people think about when they think of libraries. Especially in roles like ours, they can be removed from students and the public and focused more on faculty and research activity. Open Science shows a path for us to engage with all these populations and stay research-focused at the same time. Our institution is known for student and community engagement, so I always have an eye towards the research happening in those spaces too. Visibility is the key to closing existing perception gaps.

Lynnee: This is a classic case of “You do not know what you do not know”; if nothing intervenes in an individual’s interactions with the library, the use of the library as a quiet place for books will remain. How do we change this perception? Library spaces that remove the books in exchange for group work areas, that provide classroom and exhibit and maker spaces, and that allow food can begin to change what the physical library means. Librarians embedding into classes to cover more than journal subscriptions and participating in campus committees can begin to change what library representation means.

Whenever I hear “the library can help with that?” (which I hear frequently in this new research role), I consider it a huge win. Yes, we are getting involved in active research engagement and collaborations. Yes, we are moving the needle on infrastructure that supports Open Science. Each small thing we do in our answers to everyday consultations or in flyers around the campus can be a perception shift away from “Bun Lady.”

Why is it so important for modern library staff to do marketing and public relations for their services?

Allison: I’ve seen direct marketing work firsthand. Our library dean sends out personal congratulatory emails to researchers when they publish an article, and includes a sentence about depositing their work in the institutional repository with me copied. Faculty love this recognition, and they are happy to use the repository when they are made aware of it. In addition, press releases have worked really well for Open Access and Open Publishing initiatives. We published a press release about a faculty member publishing our first open textbook with the library in partnership with UNC Press, and now we have more faculty interested in publishing their work in the same way.

Lynnee: Marketing highlights what services the library offers and is especially important when participating in new areas of research support. Since the library had not really provided data support previously, I started by developing partnerships with the other research support offices, such as the grants office, the Institutional Review Board office, the graduate school administrators, the faculty support office, and Campus IT.

These offices may have overlaps in data services, or may be contact points that researchers are coming to for help, and if these offices know about me, they can direct patrons with data needs to come to me. For example, I was preparing for a Data Management Plan workshop and told our grants office about it, since the deadline for their internal funding opportunities was approaching. They sent out the workshop news in their email listserv. Based on the timing of their email and of people’s registrations, this marketing was the cause of most of my attendees—none of whom had previously met me.

How can you build up a sustainable Open Science campus in times of temporary employment?

Allison: Not just positions; funding can be temporary, organisational structures can be temporary. My definition of sustainability is the work can be picked up if someone leaves off, and it has a continued commitment for support on a broader level. For example, our APC fund in the library was not funded next year. Only the library was funding it, and in the reorganisation we’ve had recently our funds are spread more thinly across more departments. Where I see us going is more diamond Open Access publishing and more institutional read-and-publish deals that cover these costs for faculty. And that shows that a lack of sustainability can be an opportunity to move closer to our true values as well. Sustainability should also be a path to growth.

Lynnee: I think this is where promoting data management practices can be particularly helpful for Open Science. Documentation of processes during data collection and data processing can greatly help a lab as students cycle in and out. Compiling documentation files can then be easier to share in a repository when the research project is completed. I can encourage the use of Open Source collaborative software, such as Open Science Framework and e-lab notebooks, which can show transparency of a team’s process through version logs, editing logs, and data file permissions. Influencing researchers to pick up use of these tools or practices and become familiar with them in their workflows can make Open Science a practical, efficient, and collaborative way to do research.

What are the lessons you have learned in the first six months of Open Science?

Allison: That sustainability also can’t exist without collaboration. That’s true in Open Science initiatives and in roles supporting them. It takes a team like our department and buy-in from the library and other campus entities to grow these programmes. If you’re the “one person” in charge of all of these things, and you can only use your own resources and nobody else’s, it can feel like you’re alone in the work, and it would all crumble if you leave. But I haven’t felt that way, and for anyone looking to establish Open Science roles, it is crucial that nobody feels so.

Lynnee Marie Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger: The First 6 Months of Open Science

Lynnee: I discovered I do not have to be a perfect expert in all areas of my job—often, what I know is already far more than what my patrons know, and if I am unsure about a question, I can explore with the patron for answers. Another lesson I picked up by learning the culture of my university is to think about Open Science in terms of my university’s and patrons’ needs. Our institution recently went from an R3 to an R2 Carnegie classification, which means the campus has a larger emphasis on research than before; thus, more of my patrons may need help with research-related skills — for example, how to write data management plans (DMPs) for grant applications. While reviewing DMPs, I can work in Open Science by asking them how they plan to share their data afterwards, which gets into what data repositories are reliable and how to be responsible about sharing sensitive data.

This might also be interesting for you:

We were talking to:

Allison Michelle Kittinger is the scholarly communications librarian at UNC Wilmington. She manages all things concerning Open Publishing, including an Open Education fund, Open Access initiatives, Open Journal support, and the campus institutional repository. She can also be found on ORCID.
Portrait: UNCW©, photographer: Jeff Janowski

Lynnee Marie Argabright is the research data librarian at UNC Wilmington. She provides guidance about collecting, using, managing, and sharing data in research, through instructional workshops or individual consultations. Lynnee has previous work experience in areas such as Open Access outreach, bibliometric network analysis visualisation, finding economic data, and higher education textbook and monograph publishing. She can also be found on Twitter and ORCID.
Portrait: UNCW©, photographer: Jeff Janowski

The post Best Practice: The First Six Month of Open Science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

Open Science Conference 2022: New Challenges at the Global Level

by Guido Scherp, Doreen Siegfried and Claudia Sittner

The Open Science Conference 2022 was more international than ever before. Almost 300 participants from 49 countries followed the 10 presentations and the panel discussion on the latest developments in the increasingly global Open Science ecosystem. While the talks often focused on the macro-level of the science system, additional 13 poster presentations took visitors to many best practice examples in different corners of Europe. Those who could not be there live could follow #OSC2022 on Twitter or watch the video recordings of the talks and presentations afterwards.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Thank you for being a part of this insightful three-day-event!

This year there was a cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO (DUK). In the context of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which have been adopted at the end of 2021, the DUK organised a panel discussion and a workshop. The global perspective on Open Science associated with the recommendation has certainly contributed to greater internationalisation, especially outside Europe.

Professor Klaus Tochtermann, chair of the conference, emphasised in his opening address that much has happened in the Open Science movement since the last OSC in 2021. For example, the EU now requires a clear commitment to support open practices in research proposals in the Horizon Europe framework programme. The EU had already put the topic of Open Science on the research agenda in 2015. At that time, the focus was on Open Innovation, Open Science and Open to the World. In addition, the EU Commission recently launched an initiative to reform the existing system of research evaluation.

Tweet OpenAire: #StandWithUkraine

In view of the Ukraine war, Tochtermann also emphasised the importance of value-driven science diplomacy and freedom of science, in which global cooperation plays a central role.

Current challenges of the Open Science transformation

Once again, many “classics” were represented at this year’s conference. These included contributions on the latest developments in the fields of research data, societal participation and science communication. However, some conference contributions this year addressed points of contact between Open Science and other areas and showed how strongly Open Science is ultimately interwoven with a fundamental transformation of the science system. Openness alone does not solve all the problems in the global and interlinked academic sector, but it does show which barriers in the science system are currently hindering the implementation of Open Science. It is also important to keep an eye on the unintended negative effects of this transformation.

Tweet Ulrike Küstes: Kudos and standing ovations to @rimamrahal and your very precise addresses of the demands for change in #research in terms of precarious work environments, tenure clock and ideas for a better science legislation at #osc2022

In her presentation “On the Importance of Permanent Employment Contracts for Research Quality and Robustness”, Rima-Maria Rahal discussed how much research quality suffers under current working conditions. These include, on the one hand, temporary positions and the competitive pressure in the science system. In Germany, this is currently characterized by the #IchBinHanna debate (German) on Twitter. On the other hand, the misguided incentive system with its focus on the impact factor complicates the situation for many researchers. Ultimately, these framework conditions also hinder the implementation of Open Science on a broad scale. Improving research practice offers the opportunity to initiate structural changes in favour of research quality and to link them to open principles such as reproducibility, transparency and collaboration.

In his presentation on “Data Tracking in Research: Academic Freedom at Risk?”, Joschka Selinger addressed the general development that scientific publishers are increasingly offering services for the entire research cycle. Against the backdrop of the Open Access development, they are transforming their business model from a pure content provider to a data analytics business (see DFG position paper).

Joschka Selinger, graphic: Karin Schliehe at Open Science Conference

This privatisation of science combined with the (non-transparent) collection and exploitation of “research behaviour” is problematic for academic freedom and the right to informational self-determination, as Felix Reda also recently pointed out in a contribution to MediaTalk. Therefore, awareness of this problem must be raised at scientific institutions in order to initiate appropriate measures to protect sensitive data.

Tweet Peter Kraker: Great Presentation by @tonyR_H on ensureing equity in open science at #os2022 – a crucial topic that deserves much more attention

In his presentation “Mitigating risks of cumulative advantage in the transition to Open Science: The ON-MERRIT project”, Tony Ross-Hellauer addressed the question of whether Open Science reinforces existing privileges in the science system or creates new ones. Ultimately, this involves factors such as APC fees that make participation in Open Science more difficult and turn it into a privilege or “cumulative advantage” for financially strong countries. These factors were examined in the Horizon 2020 project ON-MERRIT and corresponding recommendations were published in a final report. In addition to APCs, this also addresses the resource intensity of open research as well as reward and recognition practices.

The global perspective of Open Science

It became clear that a central element of the further development of Open Science is in any case the “UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science”. This recommendation has particularly shaped the global perspective on Open Science and expanded it to include aspects such as inclusivity, diversity, consideration of different science systems/cultures and equity. This became particularly clear in the panel of the German UNESCO Commission on “Promoting Open Science globally: the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science“.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Vera Lecoeuilhe reports on the negotiations an its challenges around the UNESCO recommendation on #OpenScience

In keynote speeches, Vera Lacoeuilhe, Peggy Oti-Boateng and Ghaith Fariz gave insights into the background of the recommendation and the process behind it. Negotiating such a recommendation is extremely difficult. This is despite the fact that it does not even result in legislation, but at most requires monitoring/reporting. In the end, however, there was a great consensus. The Corona pandemic has also shown how important open approaches and transnational collaborations are to overcome such challenges – even though it was a great challenge to create an atmosphere of trust in online meetings. Finally, the process leading up to a recommendation was itself inclusive, transparent and consultative in the spirit of Open Science: The text was also available for public comment in the meantime.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: All panelists agree: Science is a global endeavor and thus shared responsibility is inevitable to make #OpenScinence a sucess

In the discussion that followed, it became very clear what great expectations and demands there are with regard to the topics of inclusion and equity. The panellists agreed that there must be a change: away from “science for a chosen few” to “science for all”. Access to science and the benefits of scientific progress must be guaranteed for all.

Panel discussion, graphic: Karin Schliehe at Open Science Conference

The issue of equity was strongly addressed using the example of the African continent (for example in the context of APCs). However, the discussion also focused on the outreach of the recommendation, the global dynamics it triggered, and a collective vision for Open Science. And finally, science was seen as central to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Open Science plays a crucial role in this.

Tweet OpenAire: Agree with Internet access as minimum right

The implementation of the recommendation will now continue in working groups, the panellists reported. The topics include funding, infrastructure, capacity building and the above-mentioned monitoring. There are already some activities for the implementation of Open Science in African countries: Eleven of these best practice examples were presented at the end of the conference at the UNESCO workshop “Fostering Open Science in Africa – Practices, Opportunities, Solutions” (PDF). Anyone who would like to contact the DUK in the context of implementing the recommendation or in relation to Open Science activities is welcome to reach out to Fatma Rebeggiani (email: Rebeggiani@unesco.de).

Latest Open Science developments and best practices

Although the global view played a major role at this year’s Open Science Conference, there were again many insights into local projects, several Open Science communities and best practice examples. Especially in the poster session with its 13 contributions, it was easy to get into touch with local project leaders about their challenges in implementing Open Science.

Refreshing as always was the presentation of new projects and approaches, for example the grassroots initiative by students for students, which we reported on here on MediaTalk. Representing the student-volunteer-led initiative, Iris Smal, Hilbrand Wouters and Christeen Saparamadu explained why it is so important to introduce students to the principles of Open Science as early as possible.

Another best practice example showed how an initiative of the Helmholtz Association is proceeding to “liberate data”. Through services, consultations or with the help of tools, researchers are supported there in the management or provision of research data. Efficient handling of metadata or knowing where to find data from different disciplines are also relevant here, Christine Lemster, Constanze Curdt and Sören Lorenz explained in their poster.

The insights into the first six months of Open Science at UNC-Wilmington (North Carolina, USA) by Open Science pioneers Lynnee Marie Argabright and Allison Michelle Kittinger were also exciting. Two completely new roles were created for the two of them: that of data librarians. The goal is to build a sustainable Open Science campus across disciplines. An important concern of the two Open Science newcomers is also to raise awareness of the research data life cycle.

Insights into how the Open Science movement is progressing in different countries have also become an integral part of the repertoire of the Open Science Conference. This time, projects from these countries were presented at the poster session:

This showed how much consideration must be given to the national or local framework conditions and country-specific sensitivities in such projects in order for them to work in the end.

Conclusion Open Science Conference 2022

This year’s Open Science Conference once again showed how the understanding of the term Open Science expands when viewed from a global perspective, and how a completely different standard emerges. Whereas principles such as transparency, openness and reusability have been the main focus up to now, UNESCO is directing the global view more towards inclusion, diversity and equity. It is becoming clear that there is not one definition and approach to Open Science, but rather many, depending on the perspective. However, the discussion about the UNESCO recommendation on Open Science has shown how important it is to agree on a few basic prerequisites in order to also meet the needs of countries from the so-called “global south”.

In any case, the global discussion is in many ways different from, for example, the European one. Nevertheless, Open Science cannot be viewed in isolation from the national or continental science system. This is certainly not a new insight, but one that was impressively demonstrated at the #OSC2022 UNESCO workshop by the many Open Science projects in African countries.

Tweet Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science: Three incredible days

Nevertheless, it is also essential to look at the world as a whole. After all, common challenges need to be overcome. The climate crisis, the fight against the global Corona pandemic or the supply of food and energy are just a few examples of why the opportunity for global cooperation should not be missed. And the gap between knowledge and science between the so-called Western countries and the global South is already too big. But if the Open Science ecosystem is to function globally, it is crucial to involve researchers from all over the world. Only in this way can the crises of our time be solved effectively and inclusively.

Web links for the Open Science Conference 2022

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About the Authors:

Dr Guido Scherp is Head of the “Open-Science-Transfer” department at the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and Coordinator of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. He can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Portrait: ZBW©, photographer: Sven Wied

Dr Doreen Siegfried is Head of Marketing and Public Relations. She can also be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Portrait: ZBW©

Claudia Sittner studied journalism and languages in Hamburg and London. She was a long time lecturer at the ZBW publication Wirtschaftsdienst – a journal for economic policy, and is now the managing editor of the blog ZBW MediaTalk. She is also a freelance travel blogger (German), speaker and author. She can also be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.
Portrait: Claudia Sittner©

The post Open Science Conference 2022: New Challenges at the Global Level first appeared on ZBW MediaTalk.

‘Wicked problems’ and how to solve them

In this Guest Blog, PLOS ONE Academic Editor, Sieglinde Snapp, discusses the challenges faced in sustainability research to solve complex, so-called “Wicked Problems”, and how conferences such as Tropentag are bringing together researchers from multiple

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SHERPA Services has joined Jisc

Staff at the Centre for Research Communications are delighted to say that we have now completed our transfer from the University of Nottingham to Jisc, to improve the long-term stability, sustainability and growth of the CRC and SHERPA Services, RoMEO, JULIET, OpenDOAR and FACT.
[…]
All of the services will continue with their current URLs and contact information, and users should see no interruption to services while we work on new developments made possible by the transfer.
Further information can be found here:

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