View of The UGC-CARE initiative: Indian academia’s quest for research and publishing integrity | First Monday

Abstract:  This paper discusses the reasons for emergence of predatory publications in India, engendered by mandates of higher educational institutions: that require stipulated number of research publications for employment and promotions. Predatory journals have eclipsed the merits of open access publishing, compromised ethical practices, and left the research community groping for benchmarks of research integrity and publication ethics. To fight back the menace of predatory publications, University Grants Commission, India has established “Consortium for Academic Research and Ethics” (UGC-CARE) in 2018 to promote and benchmark research integrity and publication ethics among the Indian academia. The present paper discusses the UGC-CARE initiative, its structure, objectives and specifically, “UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals” (UGC-CARE list) and finally, the challenges it faces.

 

Adjustments to the ARC’s position on preprints | Australian Research Council

“For future scheme rounds, the Australian Research Council (ARC) will allow the referencing and inclusion of preprints in any part of a National Competitive Grant Program (NCGP) grant application. This includes within the Research Outputs list as well as the body of an application.

This adjustment to ARC’s policy position reflects contemporary trends and the emerging significance of preprint acceptance and use across multiple research disciplines as a mechanism to expedite research and facilitate open research, as well as to provide greater equity across disciplines and career stages. …

The ARC appreciates the feedback it has received from the research sector on the issue of the inclusion of preprints within NCGP grant applications. We thank the esteemed academics, learned academies, research institutions and peak bodies that have assisted the ARC to ensure that the broadest range of disciplinary perspectives could be incorporated into this policy decision.”

Genuine open access to academic books requires collective solutions | Impact of Social Sciences

UKRI, the UK’s national research funding agency, and cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders, recently reaffirmed their commitments to delivering open access to academic books. However, whilst an open trajectory has been clearly set, how this is to be achieved remains unclear. In this post Lucy Barnes argues that for academic books to be genuinely open, an emphasis should be placed on collective funding models that limit the prospect of new barriers to access being erected through the imposition of expensive book processing charges (BPCs).

81% of Horizon 2020 papers were published in open access journals | Science|Business

“European Commission boasts of high level of open access publishing in Horizon 2020. But researchers complain getting processing fees approved is long winded and could result in them losing out on intellectual property rights….

A large majority of Horizon 2020 researchers complied with the requirement to deposit open access publications in repositories. However, only 39% of Horizon 2020 deposited datasets are findable, with the remainder not including reliable metadata needed to track them down. Only 32% of deposited datasets can be quickly accessed via a link in the metadata….

Since then, the EU has also mandated that all papers coming from projects funded through Horizon Europe, its €95.5 billion research programme, should be published in open access journals.

 

The study estimates the average cost in Horizon 2020 of publishing an open access article was around €2,200. Processing charges for articles in subscription journals in which some of the articles are open access and some behind a paywall, had a higher average cost of €2,600. Trouble is looming, with charges for such hybrid journals no longer being eligible for funding under Horizon Europe….”

Researchers and publishers respond to new UK open-access policy – Physics World

“The largest funding body in the UK has announced a new open-access policy that will come into effect on 1 April 2022. UK Research and Inno­vation (UKRI) – the umbrella group for the UK’s seven research coun­cils – will from that date mandate that all published papers written by researchers containing work carried out using UKRI cash must be free to read immediately upon publication. Yet the announcement has been met with concern by some publishers and researchers….”

 

Concerns about new ARC “no preprint rule”

“The Australian Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry, Mathematics and Statistics communities express grave concern about a recent change to Australian Research Council (ARC) rules to forbid reference to preprints anywhere in a grant application. We are particularly concerned about the impact on early career researchers whose ARC fellowship applications have recently been ruled ineligible because of a violation of this new rule. We are not aware of any consultation with our scientific communities about this change. We urge the ARC to rescind this rule, as it is unworkable and inconsistent with standard practice in our disciplines. Preprints are vital for the rapid dissemination of knowledge in physics, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and statistics. This is particularly important in fields where there is a long lead-time between journal submission and publication. Citing preprints in publications, reports, or grant applications is an entrenched disciplinary norm in these fields. Experts and referees who encounter such citations know that preprints are not peer reviewed and are experienced in assigning them appropriate weight….”

‘Preprints’ are how cutting-edge science circulates. Banning them from grant applications penalises researchers for being up-to-date

“A sudden rule change by the Australian Research Council — to ban grant applications that cite preprint material — has deemed 32 early and mid-career researchers ineligible to receive critical funding….

The researchers were caught unaware by the rule, which many consider unworkable and unethical. It is out of step with the way science operates….

All these applications were in physics or astronomy. Ten of the disqualified applicants were from the University of Melbourne and Sydney alone — many at make-or-break career points.

In addition to the effect on the applicants themselves, this wasted significant time, effort and resources devoted by university grant administrators, academic mentors and expert reviewers.

Australia’s National Medical Health and Research Council (NHMRC) allows preprints to be used. So do all international funding agencies that we know of, such as the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the European Research Council (ERC)….

To have no mechanism to cite the most up-to-date available knowledge presents an ethical dilemma: how to properly credit the work of others, which either hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or was never intended for peer review….

The Australian research community has united to express concern about the ARC’s rule. The Australian Institute of Physics, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Australian Mathematical Society, and Astronomical Society of Australia have coordinated an open letter, signed by many leading scientists, urging the ARC to rescind the preprint ban as a matter of urgency….”

UKRI’s new open access policy will hinder open science | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The final published version – known as version of record, or VOR – is not some artificial construct of publishers. We know from our recent research with 1,400 researchers, as well as an analysis of article usage, that it is overwhelmingly the VOR that researchers want to read and cite – and it is also the VOR of their own research that, as authors, they want others to read and cite. They find the VOR easier to read, more reliable, and more authoritative and credible because of the reassurance provided by peer review and the stamp of credibility provided by proof of publication in a recognised journal.

Researchers also highlighted the value added to the VOR through the publication process, compared with earlier article versions (the submitted manuscript or the accepted manuscript), including copy-editing and typesetting. Critically, VORs include figures and links to relevant open data, open code and open protocols. This facilitates open science for the whole research system – which is the main goal of making research articles OA in the first place.

Green OA typically revolves around posting the accepted manuscript, but the cost of creating these is, in essence, borne by library subscriptions given that they are created as part of the process of being published in paywalled journals. This is a problem in itself: OA should be about removing paywalls, not becoming dependent on them. Attempts to make accepted manuscripts more widely available do not reflect researchers’ needs and could set back the transition to full (gold) OA and the realisation of the benefits of open science.

Second, as good as transformative agreements are, they have their limits. The industry-standard contract stipulates that a paper’s eligibility for gold OA depends on whether the corresponding author’s institution is part of the agreement. But the UKRI OA policy applies to all co-authors it funds in whole or in part. This is significant. We estimate that between 30 and 40 per cent of papers that have at least one UK author do not have a UK corresponding author and therefore wouldn’t be covered by existing transformative agreements. Those co-authors risk of being left without a viable funded OA publishing route….”

 

Reflections on the new UKRI open access policy | UKSG

by Samuel A. Moore, Scholarly Communication Specialist, Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge University Libraries & Niamh Tumelty, Head of Open Research Services, Office of Scholarly Communication, Cambridge University Libraries

At Cambridge University Libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communication, we have been supporting Cambridge researchers to comply with a variety of open access policies for many years. The policy landscape has evolved considerably in the past decade and affects increasing numbers of UK-based researchers, not only through the Research Excellence Framework but also through Plan S and charitable funder policies. Earlier this month, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) – the UK’s principal government research funder – released its new policy on open access relating to publications arising from UKRI-funded research. In this editorial we explore and assess some of the policy’s implications. 

Physicists lose in ARC pre-print shambles | Campus Morning Mail

“On instruction of the Senate, the Australian Research Council reported yesterday on grant applications ruled ineligible for breaking the rule against including any reference to pre-prints

17 Future Fellowship applications were excluded out of 675 and 15  out of 996 were cut from consideration for the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.

All excluded applications were either in astronomy/space science or (mainly) from four FoR categories of physics….

As Danny Kingsley points out (CMM August 23) physicists have been using pre-prints for 30 years. “Why were the serious implications of this requirement only noticed at the point where applications were excluded?” she asks.”

Preprint ban in grant applications deemed ‘plain ludicrous’

“Australia’s major research funder has ruled more than 20 fellowship applications ineligible because they mentioned preprints and other non-peer reviewed materials, sparking an outcry from scientists who say the move is a blow to open science and will stymie careers.

At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the use of preprints to the fore, researchers say the stance by the Australian Research Council (ARC) — which limits applicants’ ability to refer to the latest research — is out of step with modern publishing practices and at odds with overseas funding agencies that allow or encourage the use of preprints.

In the past week, researchers have taken to Twitter in outrage, calling the blanket ruling “short sighted”, “plain ludicrous”, “cruel”, “astonishing”, “outdated” and “gut-wrenching”….”

ASAPbio open letter to ARC – Google Docs

“The Australian Research Council (ARC) does not allow researchers to cite preprints in their grant applications and recently disqualified a number of applications for this reason.  

 
Preprints advance scientific discovery and are encouraged by many funders, including Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council. Citation of any source, regardless of its peer review status, is essential for proper attribution of ideas, and prohibiting the citation of preprints prevents applicants from discussing and building on the latest science. Further, listing preprints as evidence of productivity allows reviewers to develop an accurate picture of an applicant’s research outputs.

 
On August 31, we will send the list of signatories below to the ARC along with an offer to provide more information about preprints in the life sciences that can inform their review of their policy. We are also happy to support Australian researchers, librarians, editors, and other stakeholders in having conversations about preprints. Please get in touch with Jessica Polka (jessica.polka@asapbio.org) if you would like assistance in hosting an event for your community. You can also sign other open letters: one drafted by Australian researchers to encourage the ARC to reconsider its preprint policies, and a second encouraging the same as well as eligibility extension and policy simplification. …”

Allow preprint citations in ARC grant applications to maximise the value from publicly funded research

“Open Letter to Professor Sue Thomas (CEO of the Australian Research Council) and The Hon Alan Tudge (Minister for Education and Youth)

The signatories of this letter argue that it is in Australian taxpayers’ best interests to allow preprint citations in ARC grant applications. The ARC currently prohibits citations to preprints (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83 for definition) in grant applications (e.g. DP22 funding rules 2.1 “Pre-print publications should not be included in any part of the application form.”). But preprints are an essential and growing part of many fields of research.

Allowing the citation of preprints in ARC grant applications has many benefits:

* It improves our ability to judge and compare grant applications
* It allows for the inclusion and discussion of the latest science
* It speeds up research progress and discovery (such as the COVID-19 pandemic)
* It improves the accuracy with which we can evaluate researchers’ track records
* It establishes priority of discoveries and ideas
* It brings us in line with other major national and international granting bodies (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83)

Referencing preprints is essential for assessing the quality, novelty, benefits, feasibility, and value of any research proposal. It also contributes to assessing the track records of researchers themselves. The ARC is tasked with apportioning $775.3M in public funding every year. Citing preprints will improve the value that Australian taxpayers get for this significant investment. This is common practice by many national and international funding agencies already….”

‘Devastating career event’: scientists caught out by change to Australian Research Council fine print | Research funding | The Guardian

“Researchers have been deemed ineligible for critical career grants by the Australian Research Council as the result of a rule change that has been described as punitive, “extraordinary” and out of keeping with modern scientific practices.

Researchers are devastated and angry after being ruled out for Australian Research Council (ARC) fellowships because of a new requirement that bans preprint material from being cited in funding applications, with several saying it spells the end of their careers in academia or Australian universities.

 

Guardian Australia has spoken to six researchers at four universities, in the fields of astronomy, computer science and physics, whose applications were deemed ineligible as a result of the technicality….”

COPIM response to new UKRI Open Access Policy | Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

COPIM (Community-led Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) welcomes the announcement of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s open access (OA) policy, which will:

include monographs, chapters & edited collections from 1 January 2024;

require the final version of a publication or accepted manuscript to be made open access via a publisher’s website, a platform or a repository, within a maximum of 12 months of publication;

and recommend Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licensing, while other Creative Commons permissions such as Attribution Non-Commercial (BY NC) and Attribution Non-Derivative (BY ND) licences are also permitted.

At COPIM, we believe that a shift to open access for academic books is not only possible, but necessary. We — together with a larger network of projects committed to community-led and not-for-profit approaches to scholarly publishing — are developing infrastructures and business models to support publishers and authors in making their long-form research output openly available without relying on embargoes or author-facing charges (otherwise known as Book Processing Charges or BPCs). These infrastructures are already supporting university and scholar-led presses to publish open access books without these constraints.

We are pleased to note that both UKRI’s summary of the responses to its consultation on the new policy and its explanation of its policy changes emphasised that COPIM is well positioned to support a transition towards open access for long-form academic work, and we look forward to doing so.undefined

The experience of our consortial partners who publish open access books is that there is a wide and deep appetite among readers for open access to long-form academic research. Furthermore, given the importance of the book to the creation and dissemination of Humanities and Social Science research, it is vital that we achieve immediate and equitable open access routes for books. The alternative is a future in which access to Humanities and Social Sciences research is limited and expensive, and these disciplines increasingly marginalised.

In this response, we would like to briefly outline how COPIM and COPIM’s consortial partners are already supporting embargo- and BPC-free open access for books, and in what ways the infrastructures and models built by COPIM will help to support other presses to do so. We would also like to outline how we feel the UKRI open access policy could be extended further, and what we would like to see from any future policies for open access books, based on our initial response to the UKRI open access consultation.