PsyArXiv Preprints | When open data closes the door: Problematising a one size fits all approach to open data in journal submission guidelines

Abstract:  Opening data promises to improve research rigour and democratise knowledge production. But it also poses practical, theoretical, and ethical risks for qualitative research. Despite discussion about open data in qualitative social psychology predating the replication crisis, the nuances of this discussion have not been translated into current journal policies. Through a content analysis of 261 journals in the domain of social psychology, we establish the state of current journal policies for open data. We critically discuss how these expectations may not be adequate for establishing qualitative rigour, can introduce ethical challenges, and may place those who wish to use qualitative approaches at a disadvantage in peer review and publication processes. We assert that open data requirements should include clearer guidelines that reflect the nuance of data sharing in qualitative research, and move away from a universal ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to data sharing.

 

Risky business: COVAX and the financialization of global vaccine equity | Globalization and Health | Full Text

Abstract:  Background

During the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, COVAX has been the world’s most prominent effort to ensure equitable access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Launched as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (Act-A) in June 2020, COVAX suggested to serve as a vaccine buyers’ and distribution club for countries around the world. It also aimed to support the pharmaceutical industry in speeding up and broadening vaccine development. While COVAX has recently come under critique for failing to bring about global vaccine equity, influential politicians and public health advocates insist that future iterations of it will improve pandemic preparedness. So far COVAX’s role in the ongoing financialization of global health, i.e. in the rise of financial concepts, motives, practices and institutions has not been analyzed.

Methods

This article describes and critically assesses COVAX’s financial logics, i.e. the concepts, arguments and financing flows on which COVAX relies. It is based on a review of over 109 COVAX related reports, ten in-depth interviews with global health experts working either in or with COVAX, as well as participant observation in 18 webinars and online meetings concerned with global pandemic financing, between September 2020 and August 2021.

Results

The article finds that COVAX expands the scale and scope of financial instruments in global health governance, and that this is done by conflating different understandings of risk. Specifically, COVAX conflates public health risk and corporate financial risk, leading it to privilege concerns of pharmaceutical companies over those of most participating countries – especially low and lower-middle income countries (LICs and LMICs). COVAX thus drives the financialization of global health and ends up constituting a risk itself – that of perpetuating the downsides of financialization (e.g. heightened inequality, secrecy, complexity in governance, an ineffective and slow use of aid), whilst insufficiently realising its potential benefits (pandemic risk reduction, increased public access to emergency funding, indirect price control over essential goods and services).

Conclusion

Future iterations of vaccine buyers’ and distribution clubs as well as public vaccine development efforts should work towards reducing all aspects of public health risk rather than privileging its corporate financial aspects. This will include reassessing the interplay of aid and corporate subsidies in global health.

Wikimedia Movement and the Paradox of Open | 14 August 2021 | Wikimania

“Wikimedia Movement and the Paradox of Open

Saturday August 14, 17:00 UTC

Speakers: Anna Mazgal, Senior EU Policy Advisor at Wikimedia Deutschland

Tanveer Hassan, Senior Program Officer, Community Resources at Wikimedia Foundation

Alek Tarkowski, Strategy Director at Open Future Foundation, member of the Wikimedia Poland Association

Abstract: Open sharing of free knowledge, commons based peer production is increasingly seen as not only a challenge but also an enabler of concentrations of power online – this is the “Paradox of Open”. In early 2021, Alek Tarkowski co-authored (with Paul Keller) an essay describing this paradox. During the session we will conduct a conversation on this paradox and see how it applies to the Wikimedia Movement, often seen as one of the most significant achievements of the free knowledge / openness movement. In particular, we will reflect how we can solve this Paradox and combat unjust concentrations of power, as we implement the new Movement Strategy. The discussion will be led by movement members and partners who have been engaged in both current and past stages of the Movement Strategy 2030 process….”

Editorial policy regarding the citation of preprints in the British Journal of Pharmacology (BJP) – George – – British Journal of Pharmacology – Wiley Online Library

“Because of the increasing number of articles submitted to BJP over the past year and that cite preprint material, the Editor-In-Chief and Senior Editors with the full Editorial Board of BJP have undertaken a review of the issues and our discipline-relevant data to set policy on the issue of preprint citation for the Journal….

The discussion so far has highlighted the negative aspects of preprints, but it is important to be balanced in our considerations and to note that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of preprints has been viewed as a key factor in the break-neck speed with which the biomedical research community has shared research on insights regarding the biology and clinical features of the infection, resulting in the rapid and timely delivery of much needed therapeutic options (Else, 2020)….

An excellent example is the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial which showed the benefit of the simple and low-cost utility of dexamethasone that has saved many lives globally. The RECOVERY trial was published as a preprint on 22 June 2020 (Horby et al., 2020) and as a peer-reviewed article published as an epub in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 17th 2020 (RECOVERY collaborative group, 2021). Whilst it is highly likely that the preprint publication and sharing of the results saved lives during the short time between preprint posting and full publication, the data were made available to regulatory authorities and clinicians prior to full publication….

CONCLUSION: THE BJP WILL NOT ALLOW THE FORMAL CITATION OF PREPRINTS

 

The Editorial Board of the BJP support the principles of preprinting. However, given the potential risks associated with allowing the citation of preprints, it is our collective view, supported by feedback received from the journal’s international Editorial Board, that BJP should take all reasonable steps to avoid perpetuating these risks….

We are aware that the issue of preprint citation is under discussion at COPE and that the British Pharmacological Society is establishing a working group to review this issue more broadly across its publications. Thus, the stated editorial position will be reviewed, and if solutions to the problems highlighted above emerge, we will revisit our policy….”

The Paradox of Open

“Numerous organisations and initiatives have been launched with a belief in openness and free knowledge. Their proponents placed their bets on the combined power of networked information services and new governance models for the production and sharing of content and data. We – as members of this broad movement – were among those who believed it possible to leverage this combination of power and opportunity to build a more democratic society, unleashing the power of the internet to create universal access to knowledge and culture. For us, such openness meant not only freedom, but also presented a path to justice and equality….

We learned that open approaches flourish under two types of conditions:

[1] Projects where many people contribute to the creation of a common resource – this is the story of Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Blender.org, and the countless free software projects that provide much of the internet’s infrastructure.

[2] Circumstances where opening up is the result of external incentives or requirements, rather than voluntary actions – this is the story of publicly-funded knowledge production like Open Access academic publications, cultural heritage collections in the Public Domain, Open Educational Resources (OER), and Open Government data.

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a wholesale transformation of the networked information ecosystem. The web moved away from the ideals and the open design of the early internet and turned into an environment that is dominated by a small number of platforms….

In almost all fields of application, Open has been used to challenge the power of publishers and entertainment industry gatekeepers. At the point where the power of these old information intermediaries is supplanted by a new generation of platform-based information intermediaries, the value of the Open approach reaches its limits.

 

As long as Open is being defined mainly as a response to the former, exclusivity-based strategies for managing access to information, Open does not account for the power structures that have emerged in the massively intermediated information economy….

 

The ideas of open access and free reuse of information goods continue to be some of the most powerful challenges to the exclusive control by corporations and states over information goods. 

 

Yet making such resources open also exposes them to the imbalances of power that shape these societies – and in the worst cases serves to strengthen these imbalances….”

 

Revisiting – The Tyranny of Unintended Consequences: Richard Poynder on Open Access and the Open Access Movement – The Scholarly Kitchen

“A week ago [18 November 2019], Richard Poynder, a well-known and widely respected observer of the scholarly communication ecosystem whose blog Open and Shut? is generally considered a must-read source on the topic, published an extensive commentary on the current state and future prospects of both open access (OA) and the open access movement. Titled “Open Access: Could Defeat Be Snatched from the Jaws of Victory?,” it is an important contribution to the ongoing discussion of the future of scholarly communication….”

Elsevier’s OA Win — and Florida’s Fail – by Kent Anderson – The Geyser — Hot Takes & Deep Thinking on the Info Economy

“Two quick notes about predictable consequences this Monday morning. The first involves Elsevier’s well-known-by-now success in the OA market, emphasized in their earnings call on June 30, 2021, and captured in a transcript released late last week. In it, Elsevier executives claim they are growing faster in OA articles and revenues than the overall market, suggesting they are stealing share from others. What’s also striking is that the battle has become — in Elsevier’s mind, and probably in actual fact — between Elsevier and “other major providers.” That is, the era of a diverse publishing ecosystem continues to wind down as the consolidation so many predicted decades ago — including yours truly — has now become the norm.

The irony of all this is that OA — which has always been willing to move the goalposts and has held out a litany of diverse goals, not all of which made sense or have ever been measured — once included the goal of gutting the large commercial publishers like Elsevier. Instead, the middle of the market has been gutted — just as in nearly every other media space since the introduction of broadband. Entirely predictable, often predicted, entirely avoidable, but here we are — a few major providers dominating the scholarly and scientific publishing landscape, with Elsevier taking pole position….”

 

Subscribe to Open (S2O): An Interview Post in Two Parts (Part 1) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The AMS is not bucking the open access trend — indeed, we are launching a major new electronic-only, Diamond Open Access journal – Communications of the AMS (CAMS) – a research journal that sits at the interface of theoretical and applied mathematics. The journal is donor funded and will be endowed to ensure the journal succeeds in perpetuity.

However, we are looking for other ways to avoid reliance on article processing charges (APCs) for revenue. One of the most intriguing options is Subscribe to Open (S2O) – or at least it seems that way. But then again, there are pros and cons to a model that is philosophically appealing, but may not be sustainable in the long term….

For an independent academic society, I can see many advantages in S2O. I see the pros of a collective approach to openness that in principle is sustainable. Yet, I do see risks. Right now, there is an ethical force that sits beyond the boundary of logical institutional expenditure. Ongoing financial support requires university administration to accept the idea that their school should subscribe so that others may not need to. Will this approach work globally? Is this how an institution’s Provost or VP of Research sees sensible institutional spend going forward? On the one hand, usage may grow, but it is hard to see how there could be subscription, or financial growth with such a model – perhaps this is the point – but a publisher has to consider these issues….

Rather than letting all this keep me awake at night, I thought I would turn to a few experts with a few burning questions, asking them to help me navigate my way through this complexity.

As you read the thoughtful responses below, I am interested to know what you think. My take-away is that there is a symmetry and determination to S2O that appears to defy the logic of unsustainability. It is also clear that we need to know more over a period of time to see if S2O will work or not. The question I pose on Creative Commons Licensing appears to be an afterthought for many, and indeed the answers below solidify my sense that there is no clear link between S2O and the use of Creative Commons licensing, or if there is, it needs to transparently be the authors’ decision

Voices included here are: Curtis Brundy (Associate University Librarian, Iowa State University), Larry Howell (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University), Judith Russell (Dean of University Libraries, University of Florida), Rick Anderson (University Librarian at Brigham Young University and Scholarly Kitchen Chef), Tom Ward (Professor of Mathematics and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), Newcastle University), Richard Gallagher (President and Editor-in-Chief, Annual Reviews), Michael Levine-Clark (Dean of the University of Denver Libraries)….”

More Unexpected Consequences: How the Plan S Transformative Journal Route Favors Larger Incumbent Publishers – The Scholarly Kitchen

“But once you read the Transformative Journal reporting requirements, you will realize that this route is likely impossible for journals other than those from larger and wealthier publishers. Once again, a well-intentioned policy has created further inequities in scholarly communication….

Transformative Journals (TJs) are one route offered by cOAlition S “to encourage publishers to transition to immediate Open Access.” Through this route, a subscription/hybrid journal can remain compliant and eligible for Plan S authors by committing to a transition to becoming fully-OA and meeting a set of OA growth requirements each year until 2024, when support for TJs ends and they are expected to fully convert over to OA. Let’s ignore for now the OA growth requirements for TJs – DeltaThink’s recent analysis covers this well and shows how unrealistic the numbers are and how few journals are likely to progress adequately given the timelines involved…

Instead, I want to focus on the reporting requirements for TJs. Tallying up the number of OA articles published each year is easy to accomplish. The transparent pricing reporting requirements remain vague and meaningless enough that they shouldn’t prove too onerous for even smaller publishers to put together. Where things get difficult, if not impossible, is in the requirement for an annual public report to cOAlition S, a report that must include data on downloads, citations, and Altmetric scores for all papers published, and that must be sub-divided into OA papers versus non-OA papers.

For those working at larger publishing houses, this likely sounds trivial. You’d just assign your team of in-house bibliometric analysts to pull citation data from your expensive Web of Science, Scopus, or Dimensions subscription. Download information can be obtained from the usage tracking service you pay for, or perhaps it’s included from the full-service publishing platform that your organization owns or that you employ each year at significant cost. Altmetric numbers can come from your access to the paid service of the same name. Your employee bibliometricians will, of course, spend the necessary time parsing out the OA articles from everything else.

Hopefully the theme running through that last paragraph was fairly obvious – none of this is free, much of it is very expensive, and in-house bibliometric expertise is rare among smaller publishers….”

Dudley | The Changing Landscape of Open Access Publishing: Can Open Access Publishing Make the Scholarly World More Equitable and Productive? | Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication

Abstract:  Almost 50% of scholarly articles are now open access in some form. This greatly benefits scholars at most institutions and is especially helpful to independent scholars and those without access to libraries. It also furthers the long-standing idea of knowledge as a public good. The changing dynamics of open access (OA) threaten this positive development by solidifying the pay-to-publish OA model which further marginalizes peripheral scholars and incentivizes the development of  sub-standard and predatory journals. Causal loop diagrams (CLDs) are used to illustrate these interactions.

 

SocArXiv Papers | Dynamics of Cumulative Advantage and Threats to Equity in Open Science – A Scoping Review

Open Science holds the promise to make scientific endeavours more inclusive, participatory, understandable, accessible, and re-usable for large audiences. However, making processes open will not per se drive wide re-use or participation unless also accompanied by the capacity (in terms of knowledge, skills, financial resources, technological readiness and motivation) to do so. These capacities vary considerably across regions, institutions and demographics. Those advantaged by such factors will remain potentially privileged, putting Open Science’s agenda of inclusivity at risk of propagating conditions of “cumulative advantage”. With this paper, we systematically scope existing research addressing the question: “What evidence and discourse exists in the literature about the ways in which dynamics and structures of inequality could persist or be exacerbated in the transition to Open Science, across disciplines, regions and demographics?” Aiming to synthesise findings, identify gaps in the literature, and inform future research and policy, our results identify threats to equity associated with all aspects of Open Science, including Open Access, Open/FAIR Data, Open Methods, Open Evaluation, Citizen Science, as well as its interfaces with society, industry and policy. Key threats include: stratifications of publishing due to the exclusionary nature of the author-pays model of Open Access; potential widening of the digital divide due to the infrastructure-dependent, highly situated nature of open data practices; risks of diminishing qualitative methodologies as “reproducibility” becomes synonymous with quality; new risks of bias and exclusion in means of transparent evaluation; and crucial asymmetries in the Open Science relationships with industry and the public, which privileges the former and fails to fully include the latter.

Signs of divisiveness, discrimination and stigmatization caused by Jeffrey Beall’s “predatory” open access publishing blacklists and philosophy – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  Jeffrey Beall, a US librarian, coined the term “predatory publishing” specifically to describe a movement or phenomenon of open access (OA) journals and publishers that he and others believed displayed exploitative and unscholarly principles. Using a blog to transmit those ideas, and profiling specific cases using blacklists, one of the most polemic aspects of Beall’s blog was its tendency to attract and incite academic radicalism. Beall targeted both publishers and standalone journals, but how he precisely determined that an OA journal or a publisher was predatory was in many cases an ambiguity. Beall’s deficient and highly subjective criteria, as well as those blacklists’ incapacity to clearly distinguish low quality OA publishers from predatory ones, may have negatively impacted the operations of several Beall-blacklisted OA journals and publishers. Freedom of speech that embraces prejudice, via Beall’s blog, and the establishment of “predatory” blacklists, are enhanced discriminatory ideologies that continue to be carried downstream from Beall to and by other like-minded individuals and groups who proliferate academic divisiveness and may also be formalizing and institutionalizing a culture of discriminative philosophies by cloning Beall’s blacklists and encouraging their continued use.

News – Call for proposals: Risks and Trust in pursuit of a well functioning Persistent Identifier infrastructure for research – News – Knowledge Exchange

“As part of its work on Open Science, the Knowledge Exchange (KE) are currently exploring the role of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) within modern-day research. To better understand what is needed to build and exploit a well-functioning PID infrastructure for research, we wish to commission a consultant to undertake further investigation, analysis and recommendations, to identify best possible strategic and operational paths to achieve a well-functioning PID infrastructure for Knowledge Exchange (KE) member states and beyond.

We are inviting consultants to submit proposals to undertake work around ‘PIDs: Risk and Trust’. Detailed information around the background and scope of the PIDs: Risk and Trust work is provided below, along with suggested timelines for completion, selection criteria and contact details for key personal….”

Gelenkte Wissenschaft: Die DFG warnt vor Einfluss des Plattformkapitalismus (“Guiding” science: DFG warns against influence of platform capitalism) | Frankfurter Allgemeine

German Research Foundation warns against the growing influence of major publishers on research. Scientific freedom is under threat from two sides.

 

 

Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft warnt vor dem wachsenden Einfluss der Großverlage auf die Forschung. Die Wissenschaftsfreiheit ist hier von zwei Seiten bedroht.

How the COVID pandemic is changing global science collaborations

“Another long-term trend that researchers are watching out for is the push for scientists to share their research data more openly. This was mandated by the biomedical funding charity, Wellcome, for research that it funded on COVID-19, although there have been instances of people circumventing the rules by making data available ‘upon request’.

In theory, the push for open data might lessen international collaboration if it is no longer necessary to establish personal relationships to access data. Sugimoto says this could happen, but also wonders whether open data might help to link researchers from across the world by making their work more visible. “It could actually, in some ways, enhance and increase international collaboration rather than diminish it,” she says….”