The evolving role of research ethics committees in the era of open data | South African Journal of Bioethics and Law

Abstract:  While open science gains prominence in South Africa with the encouragement of open data sharing for research purposes, there are stricter laws and regulations around privacy – and specifically the use, management and transfer of personal information – to consider. The Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPIA), which came into effect in 2021, established stringent requirements for the processing of personal information and has changed the regulatory landscape for the transfer of personal information across South African borders. At the same time, draft national policies on open science encourage wide accessibility to data and open data sharing in line with international best practice. As a result, the operation of research ethics committees (RECs) in South Africa is affected by the conflicting demands of the shift towards open science on the one hand, and the stricter laws protecting participants’ personal information and the transfer thereof, on the other. This article explores the continuing evolving role of RECs in the era of open data and recommends the development of a data transfer agreement (DTA) for the ethical management of personal health information, considering the challenges that RECs encounter, which centres predominantly on privacy, data sharing and access concerns following advances in genetic and genomic research and biobanking.


EDI and open access: How JACMP is the future of ethical publishing—A tale in two parts – Hedrick – Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics – Wiley Online Library

“The Wiley and the JACMP are committed to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusivity within the journal and the entire publishing process. Some current efforts include the signing of the Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity in Publishing, utilizing double blind review, and providing open access to all JACMP articles. Future endeavors, aligning with the Joint Commitment, will likely include collecting diversity data from authors and reviewers, pushing the JACMP to the forefront of ethical publishing. We cannot do our best work  without including the best minds. As Mother Teresa said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ”

FORCE11 and COPE Release Recommendations on Data Publishing Ethics for Publishers and Repositories: A Discussion with the Working Group Leadership – The Scholarly Kitchen

“FORCE11 was formed out of a community of researchers, publishers, librarians and software developers who found common cause in attempting to rethink the ecosystem of scholarly communications and get the community to leverage the benefits of electronic scholarship.  Over the years, the group has been at the forefront of initiatives such as data citation, the FAIR initiative, software citation and its use in scholarship, as well as researcher rights among others. Partnerships have also been core to FORCE11’s mission with many of these initiatives being joint efforts across the community including with the Research Data Alliance (RDA), Research Software Alliance (ReSA), UCLA, and the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).  

Last fall, the joint FORCE11 & COPE Research Data Publication Ethics Working Group published recommendations for the ethical handling of research data publication. The group has built on the recommendations and released policy templates for journals and publishers, as well as data repositories. Both are freely available via the FORCE11 website. The leaders of this group, Daniella Lowenberg and Iratxe Puebla, along with group member Matthew Cannon, shared their reflections on the project, its goals, and what the group has accomplished ….”

Motivating and Maintaining Ethics, Equity, Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Expertise in Peer Review

Abstract:  Scientists who engage in science and the scientific endeavor should seek truth with conviction of morals and commitment to ethics. While the number of publications continues to increase, the number of retractions has increased at a faster rate. Journals publish fraudulent research papers despite claims of peer review and adherence to publishing ethics. Nevertheless, appropriate ethical peer review will remain a gatekeeper when selecting research manuscripts in scholarly publishing and approving research applications for grant funding. However, this peer review must become more open, fair, transparent, equitable, and just with new recommendations and guidelines for reproducible and accountable reviews that support and promote fair citation and citational justice. We should engineer this new peer-review process with modern informatics technology and information science to provide and defend better safeguards for truth and integrity, to clarify and maintain the provenance of information and ideas, and to rebuild and restore trust in scholarly research institutions. Indeed, this new approach will be necessary in the current post-truth era to counter the ease and speed with which mis-information, dis-information, anti-information, caco-information, and mal-information spread through the internet, web, news, and social media. The most important question for application of new peer-review methods to these information wars should be ‘Who does what when?’ in support of reproducible and accountable reviews. Who refers to the authors, reviewers, editors, and publishers as participants in the review process. What refers to disclosure of the participants’ identities, the material content of author manuscripts and reviewer commentaries, and other communications between authors and reviewers. When refers to tracking the sequential points in time for which disclosure of whose identity, which content, and which communication at which step of the peer-review process for which audience of readers and reviewers. We believe that quality peer review, and peer review of peer review, must be motivated and maintained by elevating their status and prestige to an art and a science. Both peer review itself and peer review analyses of peer reviews should be incentivised by publishing peer reviews as citable references separately from the research report reviewed while crossreferenced and crosslinked to the report reviewed.


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.”

View of Open Research Data: Experimenting Towards a Publishing Infrastructure | Engaging Science, Technology, and Society

In this editorial, we describe the work that has been undertaken by the ESTS editorial collective (EC) over the last two years towards establishing a publishing infrastructure for open research data. A broad movement in the scholarly community is pushing towards data sharing or “open data,” particularly in the natural sciences and medicine. Recognizing that there are compelling reasons why scholars are wary of data sharing and careful to protect their work, our EC has pursued experiments towards establishing a publishing infrastructure. The goal is to better understand the possible benefits for the STS community from data sharing and the role that a scholarly-run journal like ESTS could play in realizing such opportunities. The sharing of data could serve as an archive of work in/for STS; offer greater recognition of diverse contributions to scholarly research beyond individual author(s); enable reuse of data for new insights and pedagogical opportunities; and engender new forms of scholarly community in the field.

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing – OASPA

“The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) are scholarly organisations that have seen an increase in the number, and broad range in the quality, of membership applications. Our organisations have collaborated to identify principles of transparency and best practice for scholarly publications and to clarify that these principles form the basis of the criteria by which suitability for membership is assessed by COPE, DOAJ and OASPA, and part of the criteria on which membership applications are evaluated by WAME. Each organisation also has their own, additional criteria which are used when evaluating applications. The organisations will not share lists of or journals that failed to demonstrate that they met the criteria for transparency and best practice.

This is the third version of a work in progress (published January 2018); the first version was made available by OASPA in December 2013 and a second version in June 2015. We encourage its wide dissemination and continue to welcome feedback on the general principles and the specific criteria. Background on the organisations is below….”

Revised principles of transparency and best practice released | OASPA

A revised version of the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing has been released by four key scholarly publishing organizations today. These guiding principles are intended as a foundation for best practice in scholarly publishing to help existing and new journals reach the best possible standards. 

The fourth edition of the Principles represents a collective effort between the four organizations to align the principles with today’s scholarly publishing landscape. The last update was in 2018, and the scholarly publishing landscape has changed. Guidance is provided on the information that should be made available on websites, peer review, access, author fees and publication ethics. The principles also cover ownership and management, copyright and licensing, and editorial policies. They stress the need for inclusivity in scholarly publishing and emphasize that editorial decisions should be based on merit and not affected by factors such as the origins of the manuscript and the nationality, political beliefs or religion of the author.


Harvard Lawyers Don’t Think That Piracy is Theft, Research Finds * TorrentFreak

“An in-depth study among 50 Harvard lawyers shows that downloading and streaming pirated content is widely tolerated and even supported by some. It is certainly not seen as a form of theft by these legal experts. Based on these findings, the researchers call for a paradigm shift where entertainment providers focus more on convenience, accessibility and affordability….”

Fairness in digital sharing legal professional attitudes toward digital piracy and digital commons – Ciesielska – 2022 – Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Contrary to a popular belief of lawyers having the most strict perception of law, law professionals actually strongly skew toward more favorable views of digital sharing. According to our qualitative study, relying on in-depth interviews with 50 Harvard lawyers, digital piracy is quite acceptable. It is considered fair, especially among friends and for noncommercial purposes. We argue that this not only can indicate that the existing law is becoming outdated because of its inability to be enforced, but also that ethically it is not corresponding to what is considered fair, good service, or being societally beneficial. The common perception of relying on a fixed price for digital content is eroding. We show that on the verges of business, society, and law, there is a potential for the new paradigm of digital commons to emerge.


Top Harvard lawyers don’t think making and sharing unauthorised digital copies is theft – Walled Culture

“Our study reveals that law professionals, with raised professional ethics standards and expectations toward lawabiding behavior, highly above average understanding of law, and higher than average socio-economic status, do not equate digital piracy with physical theft, and are generally very tolerant or even supportive of it….

There is the shared sense that digital goods differ from physical goods, and that this constitutes a basis for new societal norms to emerge: while they ‘would never do anything illegal elsewhere’ [Interview 36], pirating digital content is treated morally differently and morally acceptable….”

Potential ethical problems in the creation of open educational resources through virtual spaces in academia: Heliyon

Abstract:  The concept of open educational resources (OER) is an emerging phenomenon that encourages modern teaching and learning in the higher education sector. Although many institutions are promoting the adoption and creation of OER, they are still lacking in the policies and development guidelines related to the creation. This could perpetrate the potential ethical problems that affect the development of OER. This study aimed to find out ethical procedures and peer-review processes associated with the adoption and development of OER. A qualitative approach was used to gather data from OER developers in the academic space. Structuration theory was considered the main theoretical underpinning of this study. The commonly used big data virtual spaces for OER, such as social media and learning management systems (LMS), were identified. The study articulates three major causalities of OER’s ethical problems, as follows: non-compliance to openness, transactional purchases of OER, non-incentives for developers. Also, the scholars’ ideas and OER outputs cannot be undermined; however, there is a need for a peer-review process in the creation of OER. Institutions are expected to formulate the standards and requirements to be followed in the creation of OER because OER contributes to the rising of big data in the education domains. The study recommends that OER be developed for a specific purpose and aligned with the specific subject content, and the resource must be precise and peer reviewed for quality measures.


Handbook of Research on the Global View of Open Access and Scholarly Communications | IGI Global

Handbook of Research on the Global View of Open Access and Scholarly Communications

Daniel Gelaw Alemneh (University of North Texas, USA)

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9805-4

ISBN13: 9781799898054|ISBN10: 1799898059|EISBN13: 9781799898078

Funding Information: This book is being published under Platinum Open Access through IGI Global’s Transformative Open Access Initiative with University of North Texas, USA.


In an information and knowledge society, access to information and knowledge is a basic human right, making equitable and fair access to information and knowledge paramount. Open Access (OA) plays a huge role in addressing inequities as well as broad-based and inclusive scientific progress. On the surface, the number of publications discussing OA issues from various angles are on the rise. However, what is missing is a comprehensive assessment of the extent of OA implementation and a discussion of how to proceed in integrating OA issues from various perspectives.

The Handbook of Research on the Global View of Open Access and Scholarly Communications articulates OA concepts and issues while demystifying the state-of-the-art knowledge domain in the areas of OA and scholarly communications from diverse perspectives as well as implications for the information and knowledge society. Covering topics such as ethics, copyright challenges, and open access initiatives, this book is a dynamic resource for publishers, librarians, higher education administrators, policymakers, students and educators of higher education, researchers, and academicians.


Open science for enabling reproducible, ethical and collaborative research: Insights from The Turing Way | Zenodo

Abstract:  In this talk, I discuss open science as a framework to ensure that all our research components can be easily accessed, openly examined and built upon by others. I will introduce The Turing Way – an open source, open collaboration and community-driven guide to reproducible, ethical and inclusive data science and research. Drawing insights from the project, I will share best practices that researchers should integrate to ensure the highest reproducible and ethical standards from the start of their projects so that their research work is easy to reuse and reproduce at all stages of the development. All attendees will leave the talk understanding the many dimensions of openness and how they can participate in an inclusive, kind and inspiring open source ecosystem as they collaboratively seek to improve research culture. All questions and contributions are welcome at the GitHub repository: