Taking steps to address inequities in open-access publishing through an early career publication honor

Abstract:  Access to resources—whether human, financial, or social—is a key indicator of research output and, in turn, academic career progression. However, resources are not equally distributed among scientists and disparities often stem from external factors. This reality is particularly impactful for early career researchers (ECRs) who have limited control over the resources available to them to advance their careers. The resources needed to fund open-access (OA) publishing are a well-known source of academic inequity (Ross-Hellauer 2022). Despite this, wide support for OA publishing exists across the scientific community, largely because OA articles increase access to the scientific literature by removing costly paywalls (Piwowar et al. 2018). Benefits of OA publishing also exist for individual researchers; OA studies are read and cited more, so much so that an “open access citation advantage” has been described (McCabe and Snyder 2014). Depending on the methods and journals studied, this advantage ranges from an 8 to 40% increase in citation rate (Piwowar et al. 2018). The OA publishing model is set to expand further, with influential groups seeking to mandate OA publishing (e.g., Plan S; Else 2021) including recent guidance from the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy (The White House 2022). However, OA publishing remains expensive, often prohibitively so, and OA fees deter ECRs broadly (Sarabipour et al. 2019), and particularly those from the Global South (Kwon 2022; Santidrián Tomillo et al. 2022).


Factors influencing Canadian HASS researchers’ open access publishing practices: Implication for the future of scholarly communication | Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS / Actes du congrès annuel de l’ACSI

Despite increasing awareness and support for open access (OA) publishing, and the advantages of doing so, there is still a low uptake of OA in some disciplines. We surveyed 228 early and mid-career researchers from 15 public universities in Canada. The Social Exchange Theory provided a theoretical foundation that informed factors investigated in this study. Correlation and regression analyses were used to test research hypotheses, while one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed to test level of effect sizes within subjects. Findings show that altruism (r =.352, ? = .331) influenced researchers’ OA publishing practices whereas visibility and prestige do not, even though they are positively correlated. Furthermore, ANOVA results showed that researchers’ career stages have significant effect on their OA publishing practices as mid-career researchers published more in OA outlets. Therefore, building structures and policies that spur researchers’ altruism towards publishing OA should be a continuous and future approach to achieving the ideals of OA in Canada.

Preprints in Chemistry: a Research Team’s Journey** – Ciriminna – ChemistryOpen – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  The benefits of publishing research papers first in preprint form are substantial and long-lasting also in chemistry. Recounting the outcomes of our team’s nearly six-year journey through preprint publishing, we show evidence that preprinting research substantially benefits both early career and senior researchers in today’s highly interdisciplinary chemical research. These findings are of general value, as shown by analyzing the case of four more research teams based in economically developed and developing countries.


Access to science for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries: challenges and future perspectives

Abstract:  Background and objectives: Science education developed historically from experimentation science to model theories of cognition. Digitization in medical science brought about new challenges of access to science for education and publishing. The aims of our study are to describe the differences in access to science and scientific publications for junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries, and to identify difficulties and their association with demographic, workplace, social and personal factors. Methods: We performed a thirty-nine-question-survey to define access to science from two major perspectives, scientific education, and scientific publishing. We explored scientific education through demographic data and scientific resources (institutional, online, personal), and evaluated scientific publishing of thesis and articles according to demographic data, number of publications, and difficulties with publishing. Results: Our study identified personal and environmental factors interfering with scientific access, some of which are attributed to junior doctors and neurologists in French-speaking countries as age, gender, ethnicity, income and work and life-balance. A heavier load was observed for African scientists. The main scientific resources used for medical education were Journals 82,9%, Congresses 79,4%, and Sci-Hub 74,5%. Junior scientists are facing major difficulties in writing in science due to linguistic (56,5%), financial (64,7%), scientific (55,3%), and logistic (65,3%) factors. Conclusions: This paper suggests that ethnicity, age, gender, and work-life balance can all impact access to science at different levels. The challenge now is to create digital platforms that modernize medical education and help build bridges for research within diverse scientific communities

A guide to preprinting for early-career researchers | Biology Open | The Company of Biologists

Abstract:  The use of preprints, research manuscripts shared publicly before completing the traditional peer-review process, is becoming a more common practice among life science researchers. Early-career researchers (ECRs) benefit from posting preprints as they are shareable, citable, and prove productivity. However, preprinting a manuscript involves a discussion among all co-authors, and ECRs are often not the decision-makers. Therefore, ECRs may find themselves in situations where they are interested in depositing a preprint but are unsure how to approach their co-authors or advisor about preprinting. Leveraging our own experiences as ECRs, and feedback from the research community, we have constructed a guide for ECRs who are considering preprinting to enable them to take ownership over the process and to raise awareness about preprinting options. We hope that this guide helps ECRs to initiate conversations about preprinting with co-authors and encourage them to preprint their future research.


US faculty members support open-access publishing in broad survey

“A survey of more than 7,600 US faculty members found strong support for open-access (OA) models of publication, especially among younger respondents. At the same time, faculty members deciding where to submit a paper for publication are losing interest in journal impact factors, which reflect the average number of citations.

The survey, conducted by the New York City-based research firm Ithaka S+R, took place in late 2021. The results were published on 14 July.

OA publishing makes scientific literature freely available in perpetuity for all readers. Some research has found that OA scientific articles are more widely read and receive more citations than those published under a standard subscription model….

In the Ithaka S+R survey, 63% of respondents agreed with the statement: “I would be happy to see the traditional subscription-based model replaced entirely with an open access publication system in which all scholarly research outputs would be freely available to the public.” That proportion is essentially unchanged since 2018, the last time the triennial survey was conducted, but is six percentage points higher than in 2015….”

Majority of early career researchers in physical science want to publish open access, but face financial barriers

“A new global study from AIP Publishing, the American Physical Society (APS), IOP Publishing (IOPP) and Optica Publishing Group (formerly OSA) indicates that the majority of early career researchers (ECRs) want to publish open access (OA) but they need grants from funding agencies to do so….

67% of ECRs say that making their work openly available is important to them. Yet, 70% have been prevented from publishing OA because they have not been able to access the necessary monies from funding agencies to cover the cost. When asked why ECRs favor OA publishing, agreeing with its principles and benefitting from a wider readership were cited as the top two reasons….”

What do researchers think about paying to publish open access – Findings from a global survey | Impact of Social Sciences

“According to the results of our international survey on attitudes towards the pay-to-publish model, this would be a fairly common conversation amongst academic researchers on the subject of article processing charges (APCs), the pay to publish mode of academic publishing. Authors have warned about the potentially detrimental consequences of this new business model. And, as we have explored, most scholars worldwide share such concern. At least, in relation to the global, general consequences of this system, rather than the particular ones.

Globally speaking, participants stated that they at least partially agree with the idea that paying to publish ‘damages or slows scientific advancement’. Yet, when we asked them if they felt that this model ‘has slowed or damaged my scientific career’, their opinion was less emphatic, and most of them did not feel particularly affected by the APC model: they neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. Thus, it would seem most scholars seem to think that other people are suffering the worst consequences of this publication system, while they are among the lucky ones….

The perception of the pay to publish model is also conditioned by the income level of the country where the researchers work. Those from nations from the lower ranks in the World Bank Income Yearly Report state hold lower opinions towards pay to publish. Once again, we interpret that lacking access to external funding leads to expressing a worse opinion of the pay-to-publish model, as 60% of researchers from low-income countries have to pay these publication fees with their own money as they lack external funding.

Younger scholars also tended to be more critical. Early career researchers tend to have less access to financial aid, they therefore distrust this system, as they are less inclined to buy into and accept this model. Beyond the economic frame, we also found that the reluctance between younger scholars is deeper among those aged 26-35. We hypothesize that this demographic has acquired some experience in the scientific environment, enough that they are aware of the structural consequences of the pay-to publish model, while most of them are not tenured nor have regular access to external funding, thereby sharpening their initial criticism….”

Unjournal: Call for participants and research – “Unjournal”+ EA & global priority research groups

“I am David Reinstein (Senior Economist at Rethink Priorities, following 15 years in academia) and a supporter of open science (BITSS Catalyst). I am writing with an open call for committee members, board members, reviewers, and suggestions of relevant work for a new peer-review initiative (not a publication!) called The Unjournal.

The Unjournal team is building a system for credible, public, journal-independent feedback and evaluation of research. Peer review can be slow; our system will enable researchers to get more prompt, efficient, and substantive feedback and advice, with metrics and signals of quality. The Unjournal will also help researchers advance, promote, and improve their work, while still allowing them to submit it to traditional journals at any point in the process….

Briefly, the Unjournal’s process (proposed and under-discussion):

Identify or invite contributions of relevant research that is publicly hosted on any open platform or archive in any format (we can help facilitate hosting and help you get a time-stamped DOI).
Pay reviewers to evaluate and give careful feedback on this work. Elicit quantifiable and comparable metrics of research quality as credible measures of value.
Publicly post and link all reviews of the work. Award financial prizes for work judged to be the strongest.

Note: We will make some clearly stated exceptions for ECRs, allowing them to hide negative reviews.
Note: We are likely to ask reviewers to remain anonymous (unsigned reviews), but this is under consideration

Aim to be as transparent as possible in these processes. …”

eLife and PREreview extend partnership to boost community engagement in open peer review | For the press | eLife

eLife and PREreview are pleased to announce their continued partnership to engage more diverse communities of researchers in peer review.

eLife and PREreview formally teamed up last year following their collaborations on a number of initiatives. Now, as eLife moves towards a new ‘publish, review, curate’ model that puts preprints first, the organisations will increase their efforts to involve more early-career researchers, and researchers from communities that are traditionally marginalised within the peer-review process, in the public review of preprints. Their work will involve further integrating PREreview into Sciety – an application developed by a team within eLife to bring open evaluation and curation together in one place – and opening up new opportunities for more researchers to participate in public review.

Open access in low-income countries — open letter on equity

“As chair of the World Academy of Sciences Young Affiliates Network (TYAN), I am one of the organizers of an open letter describing the adverse impact on researchers in developing countries of article-processing charges for open-access publications (see go.nature.com/3jn1k6s). We call for a multilateral solution to the problem that will help the entire global community. By mid-May, the letter’s signatory list included 17 Nobel laureates and more than 30 international organizations and academies.

Article-processing fees are deepening the inequalities between scientists from developed and developing countries in sharing scientific advances (see, for example, T. Ross-Hellauer Nature 603, 363; 2022). The international community must exercise multilateral governance and academic cooperation to ensure that open-access publication models promote equal opportunities for researchers worldwide….”

Unlocking Science: The rise of Open Science in Canada | Scientifique en chef

“Open Science is the movement to make science more accessible and transparent. From publishing in open access journals, to sharing data, to increasing outreach – open science can take many forms.

In this cafe, we will hear from two guest speakers about the importance and practice of open science, followed by small group discussion in break-out rooms to discuss how early career researchers can move open science forward. We will be discussing open science recommendations in the context of UNESCO’s open science framework….”

Need for universal acceptance of preprinting by editors of journals of health professional education | SpringerLink

“While publishers in multiple fields are adopting preprints [2], we have discovered a great deal of confusion about the pros and cons of preprinting as well as disparity in publishers’ policies regarding preprinting in health professions education (HPE). In seeking to resolve this confusion, we documented preprint policies at 74 journals within HPE (e.g. nursing, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, rehabilitation sciences, nutrition). We culled preprint policies for 43 (58%) journals using journal websites, JISC’s Sherpa Romeo tool, and Wikipedia’s list of academic publishers by preprint policy. We then obtained information from email solicitations for an additional 27 (36%), leaving us without information for 4 (5%). Of the 70 journals for which we have information, 53 (76%) will review/accept preprinted manuscripts; 11 (16%) do not, and 6 (9%) are unclear or make decisions on a case-by-case basis. (For a link to our list of HPE journals and our understanding of their policies regarding preprinted manuscripts, see https://jahse.med.utah.edu/submission/ and select “Where to Publish”.) No wonder there is confusion.

We encourage our colleagues across the health professions to join our call to eliminate this confusion by encouraging all HPE journals to support and promote preprinting. The value of preprinting has only become more important during the COVID-19 pandemic [3]. Being able to preprint scholarship prior to formal submission enhances formative review and revision, augments the benefits of peer coaching, and promotes higher quality publications. Preprinting also makes work available to others more quickly, which can enhance collaboration and uptake of new ideas without compromising the eventual copyright of the final published product.”

Webinar Report: An introduction to open science | Inside eLife | eLife

“On April 12, 2022, our eLife Community Ambassadors and Open Science Champions heard and discussed strategies to sustainably advocate for open science (OS), as well as greater integrity and equity in research.

The aim of the webinar was to introduce OS to this global group of more than 300 early-career researchers (ECRs), as well as to discuss different ways of practising OS and how to overcome the barriers to adopting these – all under the guidance of our experienced panel of open science advocates. With our Community Ambassadors programme, we want to enable each researcher to consider their role in creating a more open and inclusive global research environment, and to facilitate a space and community for all those interested to voice any questions about or ideas for promoting OS practices in their local research communities….”