OA = Funders and Lobbyists | Oct 10, 2022

“Do OA and open science represent a set of aligned interests being pushed by the rich and powerful — politicians, funders, lobbyists, and larger commercial operators — to allow for techno-utopian political posturing while they double-dip on their already-plentiful societal advantages and increase the odds that their current advantages grow?

However you answer this very leading question, it’s increasingly clear that policies are not being implemented transparently and openly, but rather via a hidden web of relationships, deals, and coordination — from Plan S to OSTP.

More and more information is pointing to a gradual, purposeful, and internecine takeover of publishing, not to make it more author-centric, but to make it more funder-centric. The relationships among funders, governments, and oligarchs are often blurry, with lobbyists an indicator that some kind of alignment is in the works.

A recent paper in Science and Public Policy about inadequate transparency in the EU’s approach to creating its influential open science policy discusses the role of lobbyists in the paradigm shift from “science 2.0” to “open science” as policies were formulated in Brussels and elsewhere. This was a meaningful shift. Both phrases are vague, but the first is more commonly understood as connoting a digital future based on existing norms. The latter injects a new set of untested norms, with the authors worrying that: ‘. . . successful projects of openness tend to be exploited on the one hand by powerful commercial actors and, on the other hand, by non-serious or even criminal actors, sometimes working in a grey area.’

Given the trail of influence SPARC and ORFG have left in the US through the NLM and the OSTP — in addition to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) — and their efforts to obscure relationships, roles, and ties to the registered lobbying firm (New Venture Fund [NVF]) that is their fiscal sponsor, some statements in the paper hit familiar notes when it comes to lobbyists on this side of the Atlantic:…

Given the power dynamics — with subscription-based journals creating strong filters at the headwaters of various scientific communities, often leading to funded projects being unpublished or published in lesser journals than their funders imagined — it’s little wonder funders changed lanes, entering publishing in order to gain further influence, lower barriers, and put their interests at the headwaters. “Publishers being co-opted by funders” now seems to be the unspoken intent of OA and open science.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20221010111724/https://www.the-geyser.com/oa-and-its-lobbyists/

An open ecosystem for scientific research: A commentary by Greg Tananbaum – PhilanTopic | PND | Candid

“Our organization, the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG), is a collaborative of 25 philanthropies representing annual giving of $12 billion that is committed to the open sharing of research outputs. Our members aim to increase the impact of the work we support by creating an open ecosystem for scientific research—where data, analytics, methods, materials, and publications are openly available to all to access, test, and build upon. This approach closes information-sharing gaps, encourages innovation, and increases trust in the scientific process.  

In the wake of a tumultuous 2020—the inequity laid bare by the George Floyd killing and the rampant disinformation surrounding COVID-19—ORFG members realized that we needed to think even more expansively about our entire grantmaking processes and whether they reflect our values. To truly support open research, inclusivity, and equity, we understood we needed to rethink how we make decisions about where our money goes, from the way we build and socialize funding programs, to how we develop diverse applicant pools, all the way through how we support grantees and alumni.

To accomplish this, we engaged with the Civic Science Fellows program to support a fellow, Eunice Mercado-Lara, who could connect with broad and diverse communities to help shape our grantmaking processes. Open science seeks to level the playing field by providing wide access to the research process and products, and it is one component of the larger civic science movement, where science and evidence inform equitable and inclusive solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Major scientific advances such as gene editing, artificial intelligence, and vaccine technology can be transformational, but only when we successfully grapple with the array of complex political, social, and ethical questions that inevitably accompany these developments….”

ORFG Invites Feedback on Open and Equitable Grantmaking Draft Primers — Open Research Funders Group

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG), in conjunction with the Health Research Alliance and PREreview, is pleased to release the initial drafts of a set of primers designed to render the grantmaking lifecycle more open and equitable. For the past nine months, the ORFG and our partners have been exploring tangible ways to make both the processes of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, inclusive, and trustworthy.  With significant co-creation from our working group and the broader community, we have identified interventions across the grantmaking lifecycle – program development, dissemination and publicity, application mechanics, proposal review, funding decisions, grantee and alumni support, and impact assessment. For each stage, the primers detail specific actions funders can take to ensure a broader range of voices and perspectives are engaged and supported.  These interventions will be actively tested over the next year by a cohort of 11 philanthropies, with results and lessons learned reported transparently at the conclusion.

The primers are works in progress and we welcome ongoing input and questions from all parties. Please explore the drafts and leave feedback, either anonymously or with attribution. If you prefer, you can also (1) email us your thoughts and/or request to arrange a call to share it verbally, and/or (2) join our recurring Open Community Calls. We will continue to update these primers to reflect the insights of the community.”

ORFG Issues Community Call to Improve Research Output Tracking — Open Research Funders Group

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) engages a range of actors to develop principles and policies that encourage sharing of papers, data, and other research outputs. It is in this spirit of engagement and broad collaboration that today we publish an open letter to the community – a call to action for interested parties across the research ecosystem to engage, convene, and collaborate in service of better research output tracking.

Proliferation in research outputs and the growing diversity of dissemination channels is both a challenge and an opportunity. What is being produced throughout the lifetime of a grant? Where are these products shared? How are they being reused by citizens, researchers, and policy makers? Answering these questions could help funders better measure the impact of their grant dollars and research sharing policies, as well as help the larger academic community by making research outputs more discoverable and reusable.

Last year, the ORFG launched a working group dedicated to policy compliance and research output tracking. Through regular conversations, this group has honed in on specific roadblocks in the research output tracking workflow, and identified concrete actions that could be taken by key interested parties in the ecosystem to improve these processes.

We propose some of these actions in our open letter, organized into four priority areas: (1) funder acknowledgments, (2) persistent identifiers, (3) resource availability statements, and (4) machine readable metadata. Our proposed actions focus first on what we can do as funders to improve research output tracking, and then the complementary steps that could be taken by other actors in this space, including grants management systems, publishers, persistent identifier providers, and content repositories, among others. Our full letter can be found here. …”

ORFG Releases New Resources to Facilitate Funders’ Open Research Policies — Open Research Funders Group

“At the ORFG, one of our priorities is to advise funders on the development of policies that stimulate the sharing of research outputs like articles, data, and more. We aim to meet funders where they currently are on their policy journey, and help them tailor policies that best fit their organization’s mission and goals. But we understand this can be a challenging process – gathering information on the wide range of sharing practices, crafting clear language, and finding examples of good practices to pull from takes time, energy, and can be a significant barrier.  

That’s why we’re excited to share our newest resources, designed to make policy development as easy as possible for funders. The first resource, our Policy Clause Bank, includes sample language for policies covering a range of different scholarly outputs and sharing practices. The goals here are two-fold: one, that funders can see how their peer organizations are phrasing certain requirements (each example links out to the funder policies it was adapted from), and two, that funders can identify the plug-and-play language that best fits their needs and incorporate it into their policies with very minimal changes.  

The second resource, our Policy Generator, is a full-service complement to the self-service Policy Clause Bank. It facilitates the process of selecting the policy language that is right for each funder. The Policy Generator is a Google form with questions that guide funders through the process of choosing policy characteristics that align with funder goals and operations. Based on the selected responses, the ORFG policy team will develop a customized draft plan for any interested funder, quickly and at no charge. These tools are intended both for funders who are developing a new policy, and also for those who would like to revise an existing policy by including new research products or requirements. …”

SPARC / ORFG Webinar – Apr 20, 2022 – SPARC

“The Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) is a partnership of 24 leading philanthropic organizations committed to the open sharing of research outputs, representing the first community of practice of its kind. ORFG members have a shared belief that open research benefits society by accelerating the pace of discovery, reducing information-sharing gaps, encouraging innovation, and promoting reproducibility. The ORFG is an initiative of SPARC.

The ORFG has, since its inception in late 2016, worked to serve both as a community of practice and as an amplifier of the funder’s voice with respect to open research. Over the last year, the ORFG launched several new initiatives designed to advance open research within the membership, as well as enact systems-level change in the larger ecosystem. 

In this webinar, the ORFG team will share information on some of these initiatives, including the Open Access Funder Cohort Program, the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program, the ORFG-led National Academies Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science, and the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS). An open Q&A will follow….”

Open Science Success Stories

“The Open Science Success Stories Database compiles research articles, perspectives, case studies, news stories, and other materials that demonstrate the myriad ways in which open science benefits researchers and society alike. 

Scientists, scholars, librarians, department chairs, university administrators, philanthropic program officers, government agency representatives, policymakers, publishers, journalists and other stakeholders can use the curated resources to understand how open science is positively impacting specific disciplines and communities, as well as how these lessons can be applied to the global scientific endeavor.

The Open Science Success Stories Database is a collaboration between Arizona State University and the Open Research Funders Group, in conjunction with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science. …”

Caitlin Carter Joins ORFG as HELIOS Project Coordinator

The Open Research Funders Group is pleased to announce that Caitlin Carter has joined the organization as the inaugural Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS) Project Coordinator. In her new role, Caitlin will operationalize HELIOS, an ambitious effort to align higher education practices and incentives with open research values.

Project Coordinator for the Higher Education Leadership Initiative for Open Scholarship (HELIOS)

“The Project Coordinator will be responsible for operationalizing the HELIOS concept.  This includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

Coordinating project management activities, resources, and scheduling

Creating and maintaining comprehensive project documentation, plans and reports

Managing regular communications and updates within the HELIOS membership

Organizing, planning, and managing community building events for HELIOS members, the wider Roundtable community, and others in the research ecosystem committed to (or interested in) open scholarship

Cultivating and coordinating grassroots activities within the HELIOS community to improve understanding and adoption of open scholarship activities and incentives

Breaking projects into doable actions and set timeframes

Liaising with HELIOS members to identify and define requirements, scope and objectives

Acting as the first point of contact and communicating project status to HELIOS…”

Good Practices Primer – Code and Software (community enhanced).docx

“As organizations develop open science policies pertaining to code and software, they can maximize their open source investments by considering the following issues: ? Timing . Does the funder or institutional policy require that code or software be made openly available immediately upon the posting of research findings (e.g., publication of an article, deposit of a dataset), or with some embargo (noting that open components remain open throughout)? Will institutions and researchers develop policies for community development of code throughout the entire lifecycle? ? Financial Support. W ill the relevant policy maker provide funding to defray costs of preparing and/or depositing the code or software, as well as providing the ongoing support to the community that receives or supports the code ? I f so, is there a cap on the amount? Must the researcher explicitly account for these expenses at the time of proposal development or project design? ? Viability, Sustainability , Future Proofing and Maintenance . Is there an existing community of developers or users that could be engaged or leveraged? If necessary, what is the viability of forming a new community with skill, interest, capacity and freedom to develop and maintain the code? What are the expectations for the duration and extent to which code should be kept up to date? Is there funding to support community development, ongoing maintenance of the software, or dependencies of the software? Is there a plan for sustainability of the community of developers and users? ? Proprietary Software. To the extent that some or all of the code base upon which research relies cannot be put under an open source license, what steps can be taken to reduce restrictions on its reuse? ? Licensing. W hat type of licensing requirements will the policy include to facilitate reuse? What are the goals of the researcher, university, funder, and society and what licenses support these goals? What resources are available to the researcher? How can institutions support the researchers? What support is available to support researchers trying to ensure compliance with licenses of underlying software dependencies? ? Metadata. What documentation and descriptive details are needed to understand and execute the code or run the software program? How will the computational environment in which software or code was originally executed be described and archived? Is the documentation and accompanying material prepared in a manner such that any reasonably adept programmer and systems engineer could easily set up, compile and run it? ? Preservation. What constitutes an appropriate deposit location for the code or software? Is there a repository that is appropriate for the subject matter in question, and/or has emerged within a specific research community as the default resource in that field? Is the repository secure, stable, open and discoverable for all to access? ? Attribution. How will the creators of the software be credited for their work, and how will the code be referred to using identifiers? How will the provenance of non-code contributions, such as design or funding, be recorded? What mechanisms exist for persistent citation? How do identifiers and provenance work interoperate with other systems? ? Further contributions. How will the project build in processes or allocate funds to give back to open source tools which it uses, in order to make a more sustainable ecosystem as a whole? ? Integration. How will an open source programs office (OSPO) integrate with the university community? How does the OSPO support the creation of software inventories, metrics, assessment, etc.? How does the OSPO work with research administration including issues such as ethical use of software? …”

Beyond manuscript peer review – Announcing Open Grant Reviewers in the making

“We are thrilled to announce that PREreview will work with Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) and Health Research Alliance (HRA) to develop Open Grant Reviewers, a mentoring and training program for grant reviewers founded on principles of equity, openness, and social justice.

At PREreview, we are passionate about re-imagining a scholarly peer review process where all researchers are trained, valued, and recognized for their contributions to advancing knowledge….

With Open Reviewers, our training and mentoring program that empowers early-career researchers (ECRs) to contribute to scholarly peer review, we engage researchers in conversations around how systems of oppression manifest in the peer review process, how to identify how our own biases inevitably affect how we review and how to address it in service of better peer review.

While Open Reviewers in its current format is meant to train researchers in how to conduct manuscript peer review, much of its content and format can be adapted to other forms of reviewing, such as grant reviewing.

It is in this capacity that PREreview is collaborating with the ORFG and HRA, organizations who have already begun the groundwork towards the development of an Open & Equitable Model Funding Program, a new model of grantmaking to make both the process of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, equitable, and inclusive. The program will design a range of interventions across the grantmaking cycle, including how funding schemes are developed, socialized, reviewed, overseen, supported, and evaluated. The plan is to pilot these interventions with a cohort of philanthropies in 2022 and 2023….”

Funders Group Hires New Fellow to Craft Best Practices for Equity in Grantmaking Process – SPARC

“SPARC welcomes Eunice Mercado-Lara as the new Open & Equitable Civic Science Fellow for the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG). In this new role, she will work with traditionally marginalized researchers, philanthropies, and other stakeholders to develop and pilot a model funding program to make both the process of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, equitable, and inclusive.

The two-year fellowship is supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and the Rita Allen Foundation. In addition to the ORFG, the Health Research Alliance will serve as a key enabler of this project. Mercado-Lara will be part of an incoming cohort of Civic Science Fellows across 21 host organizations.

Recognizing that the potential for closed practices, bias, and inequity exists across the entire grantmaking life cycle, the Open & Equitable Model Funding Program will pilot interventions across key steps of program development, review, selection, results dissemination, and evaluation and assessment. This work will be managed by Mercado-Lara in close collaboration with funders, subject matter experts, and traditionally marginalized scholars. …”