“ALLEA welcomes the adoption of the Conclusions on Research Assessment and Implementation of Open Science by the Council of the European Union on 10 June.
The Conclusions are in agreement with points that ALLEA has made over the years, in particular on the necessity of appropriately implementing and rewarding open science practices and the development of research assessment criteria that follow principles of excellence, research integrity and trustworthy science.
At the same time, ALLEA continues to stress that it matters how we open knowledge, as the push for Open Access publishing has also paved the way for various unethical publishing practices. The inappropriate use of journal- and publication-based metrics in funding, hiring and promotion decisions has been one of the obstacles in the transition to a more open science, and furthermore fails to recognize and reward the diverse set of competencies, activities, and outputs needed for our research ecosystem to flourish….”
“The statement “Equity in Open Access” addresses how “gold” open access publishing routes and large read-and-write deals contribute to establishing inequitable structures within academic research. The statement builds on the 2021 theme of the International Open Access Week, ‘It matters how we open knowledge: building structural equity’, which was in turn inspired by one of the four core values of Open Science, as defined in the recently released UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.
Although collective deals can be beneficial to individual researchers that are affiliated with organisations covered by such agreements, ALLEA highlights several important inequities resulting from these developments:
“[These deals] effectively incentivise such researchers to publish in the journals covered by the deal, which are often expensive journals that trade on their high ‘impact factor’ – a metric noted as problematic by Open Science initiatives.”
“This tacit incentivisation risks further increasing the market dominance of the big commercial publishers and clearly disadvantages smaller specialist and learned society publishers.”
“It takes no account of the fact that, at least in the humanities, there are still a significant number of researchers not affiliated with institutions covered by the deals, nor in some cases with any institution.”
“It privileges established over early career researchers. It ignores the needs of researchers based in the Global South, in smaller institutions, or in industry. It favours well-funded areas of research over equally important, but less well-resourced areas.” …”
“The International Science Council (ISC) and ALLEA (All European Academies) last month drew the attention of the scientific community to the inadequacies of open access to research papers as currently implemented by publishers (see go.nature.com/3otps2d and go.nature.com/3cfp6bq). Open access to the record of science is essential for an equitable and inclusive global scientific enterprise and to the scientific self-correction that is crucial for rigour and public trust. The ISC statement sets out eight fundamental principles of publishing that need to be upheld in serving the needs of science, including mandating access to all evidential data and removing restrictive copyright.”
“This report on ethical aspects of open access summarises the outcomes of a workshop which was attempting to do exactly that. Throughout the various presentations, given by a variety of stakeholders, solutions from different angles are provided. We are deeply grateful to our hosts, the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, for welcoming us in Brussels, to all of our speakers, who have made invaluable contributions to the topic, to the audience for their lively and interesting participation, and to the members of the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science & Ethics on whose initiative this workshop came to be….”