Remarks on barriers to Open Science for ECRs

“Yesterday was the first of four listening sessions by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. These are specifically geared towards Early-Career Researchers (ECRs), which I guess I technically would still be had I stayed in academia.

I had the opportunity to briefly participate and share some prepared remarks. Sharing those here to document my own thoughts and make them more accessible. The quality of other’s input was inspiring….”

Provide Feedback on Open Science to White House | Duke University Medical Center Library Online

“The OSTP is hosting a series of virtual public listening sessions to explore perspectives from the early career researcher community on the challenges and opportunities for advancing open science in the United States. Hosted as part of a Year of Open Science, these listening sessions aim to elevate the needs, priorities, and experiences of this community in shaping a future of open and equitable research.

OSTP is seeking input from undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows from a diverse range of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as those involved in training and capacity building, including librarians, educators, and administrators. We are therefore writing to invite your community to join the conversation. We welcome your support in sharing this opportunity with your broader community/network….”

Biomedical supervisors’ role modeling of open science practices | eLife

Abstract:  Supervision is one important way to socialize Ph.D. candidates into open and responsible research. We hypothesized that one should be more likely to identify open science practices (here publishing open access and sharing data) in empirical publications that were part of a Ph.D. thesis when the Ph.D. candidates’ supervisors engaged in these practices compared to those whose supervisors did not or less often did. Departing from thesis repositories at four Dutch University Medical centers, we included 211 pairs of supervisors and Ph.D. candidates, resulting in a sample of 2062 publications. We determined open access status using UnpaywallR and Open Data using Oddpub, where we also manually screened publications with potential open data statements. Eighty-three percent of our sample was published openly, and 9% had open data statements. Having a supervisor who published open access more often than the national average was associated with an odds of 1.99 to publish open access. However, this effect became nonsignificant when correcting for institutions. Having a supervisor who shared data was associated with 2.22 (CI:1.19–4.12) times the odds to share data compared to having a supervisor that did not. This odds ratio increased to 4.6 (CI:1.86–11.35) after removing false positives. The prevalence of open data in our sample was comparable to international studies; open access rates were higher. Whilst Ph.D. candidates spearhead initiatives to promote open science, this study adds value by investigating the role of supervisors in promoting open science.


Nieuwe gids over open science speciaal voor beginnende onderzoekers | NWO

From Google’s English:  “What should I pay attention to in open science? How do I set up my research openly and transparently? Where can I publish? NWO has published a manual on open science in collaboration with UNL, DANS-KNAW and UKB (the partnership of university libraries and the KB). The guide answers a number of frequently asked questions from (young) researchers that they have when they start working with open science.”

White House Listening Session on: Open Science Possibilities for Training and Capacity Building: Perspectives from the Early Career Researcher-Supporting Community

“Open science carries with it a world of possibilities: spurring discovery and equitable innovation, bolstering public trust, democratizing access to research, strengthening evidence-based decision making, and creating a better life for all. These possibilities place open science at the heart of Biden-Harris Administration priorities – from curbing greenhouse gas emissions to reducing social inequalities to ending cancer as we know it.

To help realize these possibilities, the White House is taking action to elevate the needs, priorities, and experiences of those who will shape and inherit the future of open science: the early career research (ECR) community. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will host a series of virtual listening sessions to explore perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for advancing open science in the United States and solutions that might be implemented by the U.S. Government….”

Practical Guide on Open Science is available!

“Practical Guide on Open Science for Early-Career Researchers is published by the Dutch consortium of University Libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands (UKB), together with the Universities of The Netherlands (UNL), the Dutch National Centre of Expertise and Repository for Research Data (DANS) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO). The guide is fully open access and available to any researcher and interested party via Zenodo repository.

This guide will be useful for anyone looking for practical information about Open Science, but especially for beginning researchers such as PhD candidates and researchers who recently received their PhD. The practical guide is designed to accompany researchers from all disciplines at Dutch universities and research institutes. Every chapter provides help, tools, links and practices that can be applied immediately….”

Teaching open and reproducible scholarship: a critical review of the evidence base for current pedagogical methods and their outcomes | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  In recent years, the scientific community has called for improvements in the credibility, robustness and reproducibility of research, characterized by increased interest and promotion of open and transparent research practices. While progress has been positive, there is a lack of consideration about how this approach can be embedded into undergraduate and postgraduate research training. Specifically, a critical overview of the literature which investigates how integrating open and reproducible science may influence student outcomes is needed. In this paper, we provide the first critical review of literature surrounding the integration of open and reproducible scholarship into teaching and learning and its associated outcomes in students. Our review highlighted how embedding open and reproducible scholarship appears to be associated with (i) students’ scientific literacies (i.e. students’ understanding of open research, consumption of science and the development of transferable skills); (ii) student engagement (i.e. motivation and engagement with learning, collaboration and engagement in open research) and (iii) students’ attitudes towards science (i.e. trust in science and confidence in research findings). However, our review also identified a need for more robust and rigorous methods within pedagogical research, including more interventional and experimental evaluations of teaching practice. We discuss implications for teaching and learning scholarship.


The Preprint Club: A blueprint for community?based peer review: EMBO reports: Vol 0, No 0

“Here, we would like to discuss how journal clubs could play a role in reviewing preprints. Journal clubs are ubiquitous in academia as nearly every department, institute, or even research group organize one to discuss the latest published research; in fact, journal clubs may be better served by discussing and reviewing preprints instead of already peer-reviewed research. Moreover, it provides a safe environment for ECRs to train their peer reviewing skills (Avasthi et al, 2018). With that in mind, we, a group of ECRs from the immunology departments of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of Oxford—later joined by peers from the Karolinska Institute and the University of Toronto—established the Preprint Club in 2020 to discuss manuscripts from the field of immunology….”

Bringing Open Science to formal education

“Open Science is just good science in a digital age. And if we want students and early career researchers to become good scientist, we need to start implementing Open Science in formal education: In Bachelors and/or Masters degrees, in PhD programmes, and beyond.

At the Open Science Retreat (see previous newsletter issue) we came up with a syllabus for a one semester course (12 weeks) with 1.5 hours in-person sessions each week and preparation work before each session (blended learning/flipped classroom)….”

preLights talks to Richard Sever – preLights

“Richard Sever is Assistant Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press (CSHL Press) and co-founder of bioRxiv and medRxiv. Prior to moving to CSHL Press in 2008, he worked as an editor for several journals including Current Opinion in Cell Biology, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, and Journal of Cell Science. Here, we discuss Richard’s transition into the academic publishing industry, the journey that led him to co-found the preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv with John Inglis, and his take on preprint peer review and the value it can hold for early-career researchers….”

Chefs de Cuisine: Perspectives from Publishing’s Top Table – Alison Mudditt – The Scholarly Kitchen

“I believe that we’re finally at a tipping point not only for open access, but for a transformation to open research more broadly. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen global scientific collaboration on an unprecedented scale: results were shared immediately, and online sharing became the norm. It’s hard to make a moral case that other diseases or crises don’t deserve the same urgency. Support has been steadily building for years across national and international governments, agencies and funders. And now a growing voice of scientists and science organizations have joined them. Just one example: in a recent report, the International Science Council found the current system of scientific publishing to be failing in its ability to deliver on any of the core principles which affirm the record of science.

Critically, many of us are focused on how we can make the transition to open research in ways that embrace diversity and foster equity from the start. It’s been a fundamental failing of the “old” system and I’m relieved to see that an increasing number of us understand that tweaking that system just won’t do, and that more fundamental change is needed. With this comes the opportunity to rethink what gets shared and when, and how it gets both assessed and credited. It’s an incredible opportunity to build a system that better serves both science and scientists. While there are clearly systemic changes needed in the incentive and reward systems in academia, our work at PLOS demonstrates that meaningful progress can be made by pushing on elements of the current system….”

View of What is the Future of Preprint Peer Review?

“Another organization that is blurring the lines between preprint review and journals is eLife. eLife is an open access journal funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Wellcome Trust, and the Max Planck Society. It has required all authors to post preprints since 2020 but recently took the bold step of re-defining itself as a peer review service: eLife no longer accepts or rejects papers it considers; it simply peer reviews them and posts the reports online alongside the preprint.7 PLOS Biology has also experimented with preprint peer review by asking editors to consider both formal peer reviews and unsolicited comments on bioRxiv preprints they are considering for publication.

Preprint peer review thus encompasses a spectrum of activities from informal commenting to new services that can augment or potentially displace journals in the research ecosystem. Perhaps most significantly it prompts us to consider what peer review is and what it should be. Journal peer review is currently mostly concentrated among a small fraction of senior scientists who are overloaded and not representative of the global potential reviewer pool. ECRs are not often involved, nor are scientists from the Global South. Preprint peer review provides an opportunity to involve a more diverse sample of the scientific community. Increasing the representation of researchers from marginalized groups and the Global South in the review of clinical research could boost fields like neglected tropical diseases and socio-economic determinants of health. And since decoupled review is not exclusive or restricted to a single point in time, it could provide the basis for a new, more multi-dimensional approach to the evaluation of scientific research…”

Young researchers in action: the road towards a new PhD evaluation | DORA

“Less emphasis on bibliometrics, more focus on personal accomplishments and growth in research-related competencies. That is the goal of Young Science in Transition’s (Young SiT) new evaluation approach for PhD candidates in Utrecht, the Netherlands. But what do PhD candidates think about the new evaluation? With the DORA engagement grant, we did in-depth interviews with PhD candidates and found out how the new evaluation can be improved and successfully implemented.

The beginning: from idea to evaluation

Together with Young SiT, a thinktank of young scientists at the UMC Utrecht, we (Inez Koopman and Annemijn Algra) have been working on the development and implementation of a new evaluation method for PhD candidates since 2018.1 In this new evaluation, PhD candidates are asked to describe their progress, accomplishments and learning goals. The evaluation also includes a self-assessment of their competencies. We started bottom-up, small, and locally. This meant that we first tested our new method in our own PhD program (Clinical and Experimental Neurosciences, where approximately 200 PhD’s are enrolled). After a first round of feedback, we realized the self-evaluation tool (the Dutch PhD Competence Model) needed to be modernized. Together with a group of enthusiastic programmers, we critically reviewed its content, gathered user-feedback from various early career networks and transformed the existing model into a modern and user-friendly web-based tool.2

In the meantime, we started approaching other PhD programs from the Utrecht Graduate School of Life Sciences (GSLS) to further promote and enroll our new method. We managed to get support ‘higher up’: the directors and coordinators of the GSLS and Board of Studies of Utrecht University were interested in our idea. They too were working on a new evaluation method, so we decided to team up. Our ideas were transformed into a new and broad evaluation form and guide that can soon be used by all PhD candidates enrolled in one of the 15 GSLS programs (approximately 1800 PhD’s).

However, during the many discussions we had about the new evaluation one question kept popping up: ‘but what is the scientific evidence that this new evaluation is better than the old one’? Although the old evaluation, which included a list of all publications and prizes, was also implemented without any scientific evidence, it was a valid question. We needed to further understand the PhD perspective, and not only the perspective from PhD’s in early career networks. Did PhD candidates think the new evaluation was an improvement and if so, how it could be improved even further?

We used our DORA engagement grant to set up an in-depth interview project with a first group of PhD candidates using the newly developed evaluation guide and new version of the online PhD Competence Model. Feedback about the pros and cons of the new approach helps us shape PhD research assessment….”

Research data management needs assessment for social sciences graduate students: A mixed methods study | PLOS ONE

Abstract:  The complexity and privacy issues inherent in social science research data makes research data management (RDM) an essential skill for future researchers. Data management training has not fully addressed the needs of graduate students in the social sciences. To address this gap, this study used a mixed methods design to investigate the RDM awareness, preparation, confidence, and challenges of social science graduate students. A survey measuring RDM preparedness and training needs was completed by 98 graduate students in a school of education at a research university in the southern United States. Then, interviews exploring data awareness, knowledge of RDM, and challenges related to RDM were conducted with 10 randomly selected graduate students. All participants had low confidence in using RDM, but United States citizens had higher confidence than international graduate students. Most participants were not aware of on-campus RDM services, and were not familiar with data repositories or data sharing. Training needs identified for social science graduate students included support with data documentation and organization when collaborating, using naming procedures to track versions, data analysis using open access software, and data preservation and security. These findings are significant in highlighting the topics to cover in RDM training for social science graduate students. Additionally, RDM confidence and preparation differ between populations so being aware of the backgrounds of students taking the training will be essential for designing student-centered instruction.