A global approach for natural history museum collections | Science

Abstract:  Over the past three centuries, people have collected objects and specimens and placed them in natural history museums throughout the world. Taken as a whole, this global collection is the physical basis for our understanding of the natural world and our place in it, an unparalleled source of information that is directly relevant to issues as diverse as wildlife conservation, climate change, pandemic preparedness, food security, invasive species, rare minerals, and the bioeconomy (1). Strategic coordination and use of the global collection has the potential to focus future collecting and guide decisions that are relevant to the future of humanity and biodiversity. To begin to map the aggregate holdings of the global collection, we describe here a simple and fast method to assess the contents of any natural history museum, and report results based on our assessment of 73 of the world’s largest natural history museums and herbaria from 28 countries.

From the body of the article:

“Natural history museums have generally operated independently, and no interoperable data structure exists to provide open access to their collective holdings. Because most natural history museum data are not digitally discoverable, the networks of data aggregators have not been able to access these “dark data” …”


Current Status of Open Access Journals in India: A Bird’s Eye View: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  The present study aims to determine the current status of open access journals published in India in terms of numbers, yearly growth, funding organizations, major subject area, indexing, and abstracting status, publication charges, and open access licensing models of such journals. The study used the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as the source database and retrieved the bibliographic records of selected 306 Open Access (OA) journals published in India from 2003 to May 20, 2021. Further, the study referred to other web sources such as Web of Science, and Scopus to examine the indexing status of 306 open access journals and Journal Citation Report (JCR) database was referred to know the impact factor (IF) status of these journals. As per DOAJ database records, India ranks 16th as an OA journal publishing country across the globe. The yearly growth of open access journals in India was found to be 22.36%. Among these 306 open access journals, about 44.11% of journals are indexed in Scopus, 34.96% of journals are indexed in Web of Science, and 7.18% of journals with impact factor (IF) are indexed in JCR. Almost 74% of open access journals published in India do not charge Article Processing Charges (APC). The quality and quantity of OA journals published in India will surely attract authors, researchers, and academicians to rethink open access journals and their extensive use will boost the impact of research in India.


Peer reviewers from Low- and Middle-Income Countries(LMIC) for open access journals in oncology can improve the equity in cancer research and clinical trials. – ScienceDirect

“Open access journals(OAJ) in biomedicine are aimed to improve the reach and distribution of research and clinical trial publications. The publication in OAJ mode with article publishing charge(APC), in the oncology journals, are attracting and publishing the vast majority of papers from high-income countries(HIC). However, (a) there is great disparity in cancer care facilities and survival outcomes between high income and low-and middle-income countries(LMIC), (b) there is under-representation of publication of research and clinical trials, specific to cancers from LMIC, (c) OAJ in ‘oncology’ subject with APC are becoming unaffordable or have low contribution from LMIC. Unless proactive efforts are made, the OAJ and APC models would continue to miss the publication of clinical, basic, and outcomes data on cancers diagnosed and treated in LMIC regions. The cancer research and clinical trials which can bring to notice the challenges and hurdles faced by researchers, clinicians and cancer patients in LMIC will be served to some measure by engaging peer reviewers from those countries who are understanding the ecosystem. Peer reviewers from developing countries working for the open access oncology journals can increase the diversity in publication, thus nurturing a process of global equity in cancer management.”

Survey of US Higher Education Faculty 2023, Interest in Producing or Using Open Access Educational Materials

“This report looks closely at which faculty author, hope to author, or use open access educational materials.  Survey respondents comment on their hopes and fears for open access, and contribute to a unique dataset enabling report readers to pinpoint faculty who enable open access to their lectures, who want to write textbooks, open access or otherwise, or who have developed open access materials in the past.  The study helps its readers to answer questions such as: what type of faculty, defined  by many characteristics, have produced open access materials?  Who is interested in doing so?  Who is using such materials and to what extent?

This study is based on data from a survey of 954 higher education faculty randomly chosen from nearly 500 colleges and universities in the USA. Data is broken out by personal variables such as work title, gender, personal income level, academic discipline, age and other variables, as well as institutional indicators such as college or university type or Carnegie class, enrollment size, public or private status and others.

Just a few of this 98-page report’s many findings are that:

7.44% of faculty sampled are currently writing a textbook for either commercial or open access distribution.
54.55% of faculty under the age of thirty had ever used an open access textbook in one of their classes.
Faculty in environmental sciences were the most likely of those in all subject fields to have made their lectures available open access online.
Broken out by race or ethnicity, Black or African American faculty were the most interested in authoring open access educational materials….”

Data Sharing Enters a New Era | Annals of Internal Medicine

“On 25 August 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed all federal agencies to develop or update their policies to ensure that peer-reviewed publications and the underlying data resulting from federal funds are freely available and publicly accessible on the day of publication (1). The OSTP action intends to stimulate innovation, restore faith in science, and renew commitment to open science. Although public availability of peer-reviewed publications may spur innovation, data sharing has greater potential but is complex and challenging. Yet, the OSTP announcement provided limited details regarding data sharing….

As the NIH develops new policies as mandated by OSTP, it should consider several issues. First, the 27 institutes and centers of the NIH should have a single approach to data sharing, which is more likely to result in consistent and effective data sharing. Second, NIH should fund centers of excellence for data sharing and training to assist investigators who desire to analyze shared data but need assistance in acquiring and analyzing data. Third, the NIH (and all federal agencies) should enforce its data sharing policy. It has been lax in enforcing its existing policies regarding sharing trial data and the posting of trial results on ClinicalTrials.gov (7). Although entities that receive federal awards or the journals that publish the results of those awards could help ensure data are shared, they have less influence than the NIH….

The OSTP states that the data underlining the peer-reviewed report must be made available at the time of publication, but it does not indicate when or whether the entire data set must be deposited in a publicly available repository or what happens if there is no publication….

Data sharing is more challenging than the OSTP memorandum suggests. As the United States enters a new era of mandated data sharing, federal agencies need to be cognizant of and address the important questions that arise from this mandate. Data sharing has the potential to stimulate innovation but only if the administrative structure for data sharing is efficient; is financially supported; and is respectful of the time, effort, and intellectual investment of individuals who collected the data.”

An Investigation of Gold Open Access Publications of STEM Faculty at a Public University in the United States: Science & Technology Libraries: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  This study investigated Gold Open Access journal publication by science and engineering faculty at the authors’ university from 2013 to 2022. Specifically, did Gold Open Access (OA) by these faculty increase, and did the publication rate vary between disciplines? The authors found that Gold OA publication increased by 176% over the past 10 years, and that an important factor was the Libraries’ creation of an Open Access Publishing Fund in 2017. Disciplinary differences in publication rates were also notable, with life sciences research showing the highest rates of open access publication. An analysis of where our faculty are publishing found that MDPI is the most popular Open Access publisher in STEM fields, but many of the new Gold Open Access journals from traditional STEM publishers are also being chosen.


Better incentives are needed to reward academic software development | Nature Ecology & Evolution

“Open software underpins most research today, increasing accessibility for scientists to perform state-of-the-art analyses. Positions that require programming skills have correspondingly doubled over the past decade3. The accuracy and reproducibility of scientific results is increasingly dependent on updating and maintaining software. However, the incentive structure in academia for software development — and especially maintenance — is insufficient. It is time that appropriate incentives are embraced to reflect their importance….”

Tackling overpublishing by moving to open-ended papers | Nature Materials

“Regarding the future of publishing, we suggest that its current rapid expansion should result in a phase transition, eventually offering new opportunities for research communication. A fast evolution towards data and code sharing, open-access publishing and the widespread use of preprints seems to be just the beginning. Below we outline our view on the paradigm shift in publishing that we think will benefit the scientific community.

First, we can make it easy to track scientific progress and reduce overpublishing by moving to open-ended and stackable publications instead of publishing multiple papers for each research direction. For example, instead of ten papers published on one line of research, a scientist can prepare a single study where each piece (‘chapter’) can be stacked with or inserted into the previous piece. A similar approach is implemented on Github where codes can be updated and expanded; or on Jupyter where the data, analysis and text can be published on a single page (with more chapters being added as the study develops further). Importantly, Jupyter notebooks are free and do not charge for open access as most publishers do, pointing towards a possible solution for reduced publishing fees….”

Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship | Perspectives on History | AHA

“n January 5, 2023, the AHA Council approved the Guidelines for Broadening the Definition of Historical Scholarship. In most history departments, “scholarship” has traditionally and primarily encompassed books, journal articles and book chapters, and papers presented at conferences. The weight and significance of each of these vary considerably by institution. The most valued coin of the realm remains not just the book—especially for early and midcareer scholars—but a particular kind of book known only in academia and scholarly publishing as a “monograph.” Yet many other categories of books don’t count: textbooks, official histories, anthologies, translations and critical editions, reference books, and more. These have not been deemed to be “creating new knowledge.” …

The AHA Council has decided that it is time to map a broader terrain of scholarship, with more flexible boundaries. There are many ways to be a historian, many ways to do historical work….

This recommendation and the guidelines that follow rest on four pillars:

A wide range of scholarly historical work can be undertaken in ways consistent with our disciplinary standards and values, from writing briefing papers and op-eds, to testifying in legislatures and courts, participating in the work of regulatory agencies, publishing textbooks and reference books, expanding our media presence across a wide range of platforms, and more.
To support such publicly engaged and/or policy-oriented work, history departments should give it appropriate scholarly credit in personnel decisions. Not doing so diminishes the public impact of historians and cedes to others—observers less steeped in our discipline-specific methods, epistemologies, and standards—the podium from which to shape the historical framing of vital public conversations.
Historians cannot expect decision makers or other potential audiences to appreciate the value of our work if we don’t affirm its value ourselves.
All historical work can be peer-reviewed, whether before or after publication….”


AHA: use public-facing work in hiring decisions | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Textbooks, congressional testimony, media appearances, historical gaming – the American Historical Association is urging universities to accept more types of work from candidates for hiring, promotion, tenure and other benefits.

It is a development that historians say follows movement – particularly within the field of public history – towards broader recognition. That field involves work regarding national parks, museums, documentaries, archives and historical preservation….”

Engagement in Free Open Access Medical Education by US Nephrology Fellows

Abstract Background: 

As free open access medical education use increases, it is important to characterize how and why learners are using this educational material in nephrology. We describe the frequency, purpose, and type of free open access medical education usage across US nephrology fellows.


In this cross-sectional survey, items were emailed to all US adult and pediatric nephrology fellows via the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Fellow Survey in May 2022. The eight-item survey, developed to measure free open access medical education engagement, had previously undergone instrument validation. Results were analyzed by descriptive statistics.


In total, 43% (359/842) adult nephrology fellows and 51% (45/88) pediatric nephrology fellows completed the survey. 74% (300/404) of fellows reported using free open access medical education, and 72% (215/300) started using free open access medical education within the last 2 years. Of free open access medical education users, 41% (122/300) reported viewing free open access medical education and 33% (99/300) reported applying knowledge gained from these resources daily or weekly. Common purposes for free open access medical education engagement included searching Twitter to learn about others’ opinions in the field (43%; 130/300), reading blogs to answer clinical questions (35%; 105/300), and listening to podcasts for the most up to date information (39%; 116/300). Compared with traditional educational resources, fellows preferred using free open access medical education for staying up to date on nephrology topics (75%) and answering clinical questions (37%). Amongst all fellows, the greatest barriers to free open access medical education use were unfamiliarity with free open access medical education (27%; 111/404), validity concerns (22%; 90/404), and a lack of a local community of free open access medical education users (22%; 87/404).


74% of nephrology fellows used free open access medical education resources in a variety of ways, and of these, 33% of fellows clinically applied knowledge gained from these resources. Reasons for engaging with free open access medical education varied across resources.

The People’s Access to Information: How Definitions of Ownership Influence the Public Domain: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  The following article is a composite review and critique of copyright systems in the United States and their impacts upon creators and individuals alike. The public domain is rapidly dwindling due to changes in copyright law that have greatly prolonged the length of copyright protections. The primary beneficiaries of these increased protections are the large entertainment corporations that can easily afford to contest what, in many cases, would otherwise be considered fair use of copyrighted material. This article argues the substantial need for collective action and stewardship of publicly owned information in order to generate a better and stronger public domain.


Outside the library: Early career researchers and use of alternative information sources in pandemic times – Herman – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Presents findings from a study into the attitudes and practices of pandemic-era early career researchers (ECRs) in regard to obtaining access to the formally published scholarly literature, which focused on alternative providers, notably ResearchGate and Sci-Hub. The study is a part of the Harbingers project that has been exploring the work lives and scholarly communication practices of ECRs in pre-pandemic times and during the pandemic, and utilizes data from two rounds of interviews with around 170 ECRs from the sciences and social sciences in eight countries. Findings show that alternative providers, as represented by ResearchGate and Sci-Hub, have become established and appear to be gaining ground. However, there are considerable country- and discipline-associated differences. ECRs’ country-specific level of usage of the alternative providers is partly traceable to the adequacy of library provisions, although there are other factors at play in shaping ECRs’ attitudes and practices, most notably convenience and time saving, as well as the fact that these platforms have become embedded in the scholarly dashboard. There is a dearth of evidence of the impact of the pandemic on ECRs’ ways of obtaining scholarly papers.


Editorial: The push toward open access – el?Azhary – 2023 – International Journal of Dermatology – Wiley Online Library

“Although not new, OA is being pushed vigorously now. The aim is to allow free access to articles, all over the world. The subscription model above would be pushed aside. And who pays for this? The authors pay. Ironically, readers cannot get a magazine or a book for free, even online, but they could get a medical article for free online. The author though would pay an article processing charge (APC), maybe as high as $3,500, to the publisher in order to get their article published. Imagine, a manuscript detailing and summarizing 3–4?years of hard work, and then the author pays to publish….”