ERA Portal Austria – Science Europe publishes reaction to Pact for Research and Innovation

On 23 July 2021, Science Europe published a reaction to the Commission Proposal for a Council Recommendation on a Pact for Research and Innovation. The organsiation of 38 European public research funders and performers welcomes the inclusion of a common set of values and principles in the EC’s proposals that it also shares, as well as the Pact’s emphasis on research and scientific knowledge. Science Europe supports the reaffirmation of the investment target of 3% of EU GDP dedicated to research and development, as well as the new 1.25% EU GDP public effort target to be achieved by Member States by 2030. It also advocates for a systematic inclusion of stakeholders. The Pact must be implemented in a relevant way for the research activity in the ERA, meaningfully involving research communities and R&I stakeholders in the development and implementation of ERA policies, Science Europe says. Last but not least, Science Europe welcomes the emphasis on global outreach and cooperation with third countries and calls for the countries associated to the EU Framework Programmes, in particular the UK and Switzerland, to be included in ERA’s development process.

All publishers must provide researchers with clarity and transparency on Open Access – CESAER

“On 25 May 2021, more than 880 universities and research-performing and research-funding organisations united within CESAER, EUA and Science Europe call on all publishers to stop requiring researchers to sign over their rights and to end the use of restrictions and embargoes. The joint statement, signed by the presidents of the three organisations, is a strong show of support for Open Science and Open Access.

The statement expresses deep concern regarding the unclear practices of some publishers, in particular the examples recently reported by cOAlition S, that complicate and confuse matters for researchers. The organisations urge publishers to reconsider their position and modernise their approaches in a way that fully respects researchers’ rights, including sharing their peer-reviewed research findings without restrictions or embargoes.

Notably, the statement declares that researchers who wish to deposit their author-accepted manuscript in a repository with an open license (e.g. CC BY), and without any embargo, must be able to do so.

Currently, publishers commonly require authors to sign exclusive publishing agreements that restrict what authors can do with their research findings. The statement urges this outdated system to be replaced and supports a diversity of models for the open dissemination of research for the greater benefit of society….”

Science Europe Vacancy: Communications Manager

“Science Europe is looking for a highly motivated individual to take responsibility of its communications. The role aims to create, implement, and oversee communications activities, both internal and external, that effectively promote the mission, vision, values and work of the organisation [which includes open access and Plan S].”

Practical Guide to Sustainable Research Data – Science Europe

“This Practical Guide provides guidance to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of research data, and supports organisations to provide a framework in which researchers can share their output in a sustainable way.

It includes three complementary maturity matrices for funders, performers, and data infrastructures. These allow them to evaluate the current status of their policies and practices, and to identify next steps towards sustainable data sharing and seeking alignment with other organisations in doing so….”

All publishers must fully respect researchers’ rights by providing clarity and transparency on Open Access

“We are especially concerned by the unclear and opaque communication and practices of some publishers as reported by cOAlition S. Such an approach complicates and confuses matters for researchers, impeding progress towards a scholarly communication system based on Open Access to research outputs. We urge those publishers to reconsider their position and modernise, ensuring they play their part in providing fair and transparent conditions for authors. These should fully respect researchers’ rights, including the right to share their peer-reviewed research findings without restrictions or embargoes. If a publisher or platform chooses to take the stance of requiring authors to sign away their rights, they should clearly and publicly state this to ensure that researchers make informed choices. More broadly, the standard position of platforms and publishers should be to empower researchers to publish their findings (including data and digital assets) while retaining their rights. Researchers who wish to deposit their author-accepted manuscript in a repository with an open license (e.g. CC BY), and without any embargo, must be able to do so….”

Joint Position Statement on “Data Repository Selection – Criteria That Matter” | Zenodo

Abstract:  Over the past three years, “Data Repository Selection-Criteria That Matter” – “a set of criteria for the identification and selection of those data repositories that accept research data submissions” – were developed by a group of publishers facilitated by the FAIRsharing initiative. Throughout this time, a large number of organizations and individuals have formulated responses and expressed concern about the criteria and the process through which the criteria were developed. Collectively, our organizations consider that the “Data Repository: Selection Criteria that Matter” recommendations – as currently conceived – will act as an impediment to achieving these aims. As such, we are issuing this Joint Position Statement to highlight the community’s concerns and request that the authors of these criteria respond with specific actions.


OA Diamond Journals Study completed: Report emphasizes diversity and sustainable pathways for diamond Open Access

OPERAS is pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred…

OA Diamond Journals Study completed: Report emphasizes diversity and sustainable pathways for diamond Open Access – OPERAS

:OPERAS is pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth report and associated recommendations arising from a study of open access journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as “OA diamond journals”. 

Funded by Science Europe and commissioned by cOAlition S in order to gain a better understanding of the OA diamond landscape, the publication of the study is the culmination of work undertaken from June 2020 to February 2021 by a consortium of 10 organisations led by OPERAS.

The study uncovers a vast archipelago of up to 29,000  journals, mostly (60%) in humanities and social sciences, serving the needs of multiple scientific communities across the world. The diamond journals comply partially to Plan S requirements but struggle on some criteria such as persistent identifiers, licenses and content preservation. More generally, in spite of scientific quality, they face many operational challenges and rely heavily on volunteering. There is a need to develop infrastructure and to increase funding to support their operations.

Using the results from a widely disseminated survey that was translated into 6 languages, together with focus groups and direct outreach to target journals and platforms, the study examines the core areas which are critical for OA diamond journals to operate, encompassing everything from legal structures and governance to technical capabilities, editorial processes and funding models. …”

Diamond unearthed: shining light on community-driven Open Access publishing | Plan S

“cOAlition S and Science Europe are pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth report and recommendations arising from a study of community-driven open access (OA) journals across the world that are free for readers and authors, usually referred to as “OA diamond journals”.

“The study uncovers the full dimension of an important part of the world of scholarly dissemination that is as old as science itself: that of the scientific community assessing scientific quality and managing scholarly communication on its own“, highlights Lidia Borrell-Damián, Secretary-General of Science Europe. Specifically, the study examines the areas that are critical for OA diamond journals, from legal structures and governance to technical capabilities, editorial processes, and funding models. The report finds that diamond journals represent a vast archipelago of relatively small journals serving a wide variety of scientific communities. They largely depend on volunteer work, universities, and government funding. Diamond journals are making headway towards Plan S compliance but face a number of operational challenges despite multiple scientific strengths. They need to be more efficiently organised, coordinated and funded to better support researchers in disseminating their work.

The study’s recommendations are to prepare an International Workshop and Symposium within 6 months, set up a funding strategy within 12 months, and establish a Diamond Publishing Capacity Center within 24 months. This may allow research funding organisations, institutions, scholarly societies, and infrastructures to sustainably strengthen OA diamond journals in the context of open science….”

Commentary on the FAIRsharing Data Repository Selection Proposal – Science Europe

“Too strict and too detailed criteria risk excluding repositories that can offer valuable services to a dedicated scientific user group. Some repositories have been certified as ‘trustworthy’ by one or several acknowledged certification bodies; however, small, institutional, or discipline-specific repositories might not (yet) have the means to seek such certification. Science Europe recommends that researchers should refer to certified repositories or discipline-specific repositories that are broadly recognised as trustworthy by their respective community where and when possible. But there are cases in which no such repository can be identified. Researchers should then be supported in their choice by a minimum selection of core criteria. Any supporting tool should not be prescriptive, overly complicated or exclude important repositories of research communities that may be in active usage for already quite some time, but do not meet formal certification criteria. Science Europe acknowledges that the criteria developed by FAIRsharing are intended to support researchers who wish to publish the data underlying their research findings and publishers in providing adequate guidance. It is understandable that publishers require access to data, for example for the purpose of providing a high quality peer review. However, based on its experience and broad consultations when developing its own criteria, Science Europe would like to point out a number of areas where it has considerable concerns with the suggested FAIRsharing criteria as they currently stand….”

Optimising the Operation and Use – Science Europe

“The majority of research infrastructures (RIs) are funded, managed, and operated within national systems. They mostly provide services to national research communities.

As research budgets are limited, and governments and funding agencies need to support increasingly large and complex RIs and RI portfolios, Science Europe and the OECD Global Science Forum joined forces to analyse how to optimise their operation and use within a national context….”

First Thoughts on the New European Research Area: An Ambitious Plan Calls for Inclusiveness and Collaboration

“Science Europe welcomes the European Commission’s ambitious Communication for ‘A New ERA for Research and Innovation.’ To further strengthen Europe’s world-leading research, a strong European Research Area is essential and must be based on research excellence, international collaboration, openness, inclusiveness, and academic freedom….

Several initiatives are foreseen by the ERA Roadmap on research careers, transnational research funding, assessment, and Open Science, that could have a transformative impact on the way research is funded and performed….”

Research Assessment Processes – Science Europe

“Science Europe has created a set of policy recommendations in 2020 for its Member Organisations and other research organisations. They were developed following an extensive study performed in 2019 (see the following section), and through a comprehensive consultation process. More information about the methodology followed is also available.

The recommendations will help research organisations to review and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their assessment processes for career progression and funding allocation. They also promote the sharing of knowledge so that organisations can learn from each other, which will enrich and strengthen national and international research systems as a whole….”

Position Statement and Recommendations on Research Assessment Processes – Science Europe

“With limited funding and research positions available, there is increasing pressure on research organisations to put processes in place that ensure assessments of research quality are effective, efficient, fair, and transparent. For this reason, research organisations dedicate significant effort and resources towards the assessments they conduct, and continually look for ways to optimise and adapt these processes.

This document presents a set of policy recommendations that can be used as a framework to guide the evaluation of these assessment processes. They were developed following an extensive study performed in 2019 and a comprehensive consultation process, and are intended for both Science Europe Member Organisations and other research organisations.”