Learned Societies, Equity, and Open Access | In the Dark

“I think it’s relevant to raise some points about the extent that such organizations (including, in my field,  the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics) rely for their financial security upon the revenues generated by publishing traditional journals and why this is not in the best interests of their disciplines….

When I criticized the exploitative behaviour of IoP Publishing some time ago in a recent blog post, I drew a stern response from the Chief Executive of the Institute of Physics, Paul Hardaker. That comment seems to admit that the high prices charged by IOP Publishing for access to  its journals is nothing to do with the real cost of disseminating scientific knowledge but is instead a means of generating income to allow the IoP to pursue its noble aim of  “promoting Physics”.

This is the case for other learned societies too, and it explains why such organizations have lobbied very hard for the “Gold” Open Access some authorities are attempting to foist on the research community, rather than the far more sensible and sustainable approaches to Open Access employed, for example, by the Open Journal of Astrophysics….

The other problematic aspect of the approach of these learned societies is that I think it is fundamentally dishonest. University and other institutional libraries are provided with funds to provide access to published research, not to provide a backdoor subsidy for a range of extraneous activities that have nothing to do with that purpose. The learned societies do many good things – and some are indeed outstandingly good – but that does not give them the right to siphon off funds from their constituents in this way.  Institutional affiliation, paid for by fee, would be a much fairer way of funding these activities….”

Guest Post – Pandemic Disruptor: Canadian Perspectives on how COVID-19 is Changing Open Access (Part 1) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly the research ecosystem can come together to respond and share research results on a global scale. Since the current system is not open by default, stakeholders in publishing, academia (including libraries and administration), and research funding have had to reactively change their policies to enable rapid access to, and dissemination of, scientific information and research results to respond to the current pandemic.

COVID-19 is not the first global health crisis to demonstrate the critical role open access plays in disease response, containment and prevention. In 2015, a group of scientists working on the Ebola pandemic published a letter attributing the slow response to detecting the disease to a closed and inequitable research system. The authors highlighted how a pay-walled 1982 article hid crucial findings of the existence of Ebola antibodies within the Liberian community, proving it was not “a new phenomenon” as once thought. (Editor’s Note: the nuances of this complex situation were discussed in several Scholarly Kitchen posts, including “Discovery and Access in Light of the Ebola Outbreak” and “Access Alone Isn’t Enough: Revisiting Calls for Discovery, Infrastructure, Technology, and Training“). The COVID-19 pandemic and associated calls for immediate open access demonstrate that paywall barriers remained in place despite past lessons, preventing access to critical information.

In this two-part series, one of Canada’s federal scientific research funders (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC) and largest STEM publisher (Canadian Science Publishing – CSP) are collaborating because, as a funder and a publisher, we recognize that we are part of the same complex scholarly research ecosystem. We need closer collaboration to move towards a more open, sustainable, and equitable publishing environment. We will draw on the expert opinions of Canadian stakeholders about the impact of COVID-19 on open access (OA) and scholarly publishing and, national and regional policies to advance science for the public good. We propose greater collaboration among all stakeholders in the scholarly publishing system, to make sustainable changes for greater equity and openness.,,,:

 

Guest Post – Pandemic Disruptor: Canadian Perspectives on how COVID-19 is Changing Open Access (Part 1) – The Scholarly Kitchen

“COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly the research ecosystem can come together to respond and share research results on a global scale. Since the current system is not open by default, stakeholders in publishing, academia (including libraries and administration), and research funding have had to reactively change their policies to enable rapid access to, and dissemination of, scientific information and research results to respond to the current pandemic.

COVID-19 is not the first global health crisis to demonstrate the critical role open access plays in disease response, containment and prevention. In 2015, a group of scientists working on the Ebola pandemic published a letter attributing the slow response to detecting the disease to a closed and inequitable research system. The authors highlighted how a pay-walled 1982 article hid crucial findings of the existence of Ebola antibodies within the Liberian community, proving it was not “a new phenomenon” as once thought. (Editor’s Note: the nuances of this complex situation were discussed in several Scholarly Kitchen posts, including “Discovery and Access in Light of the Ebola Outbreak” and “Access Alone Isn’t Enough: Revisiting Calls for Discovery, Infrastructure, Technology, and Training“). The COVID-19 pandemic and associated calls for immediate open access demonstrate that paywall barriers remained in place despite past lessons, preventing access to critical information.

In this two-part series, one of Canada’s federal scientific research funders (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – NSERC) and largest STEM publisher (Canadian Science Publishing – CSP) are collaborating because, as a funder and a publisher, we recognize that we are part of the same complex scholarly research ecosystem. We need closer collaboration to move towards a more open, sustainable, and equitable publishing environment. We will draw on the expert opinions of Canadian stakeholders about the impact of COVID-19 on open access (OA) and scholarly publishing and, national and regional policies to advance science for the public good. We propose greater collaboration among all stakeholders in the scholarly publishing system, to make sustainable changes for greater equity and openness.,,,:

 

International Open Access Week and JACS Au | JACS Au

“As JACS Au publishes its 10th issue of its inaugural year during International Open Access Week—October 25–31, 2021—we can reflect on the role of the journal in the broader open access (OA) publishing landscape.

The role of JACS Au within the ACS Publications Gold OA portfolio is to provide a highly selective venue that covers the full breadth of topics encompassed by the array of 75+ ACS journals. In further defining our targeted portion of this broad scope, we seek to publish manuscripts representing the top 5–10% of publications appearing in ACS specialty journals. (1) Building on three core elements of all ACS publications—speed, rigor, and impact—we have created a unique, high impact OA journal. Whereas the time from paper submission to publication on the web often stretches to 20–30 weeks in high impact OA journals at other publishers, JACS Au offers the characteristic speed and efficiency of ACS Publications. (1) The combination of rapid peer review and publication with OA ensures JACS Au authors benefit from maximum accessibility and availability.

As we seek to become a leading OA journal in the chemical sciences, we embrace this year’s theme for Open Access Week: “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity”. This theme articulates the importance of equity in pursuing a future for scholarship of all types that is open by default, including scientific publishing. OA publishing allows for equitable participation for all producers and consumers of knowledge and helps ensure equal access among researchers from developed and developing countries….”

Beyond manuscript peer review – Announcing Open Grant Reviewers in the making

“We are thrilled to announce that PREreview will work with Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) and Health Research Alliance (HRA) to develop Open Grant Reviewers, a mentoring and training program for grant reviewers founded on principles of equity, openness, and social justice.

At PREreview, we are passionate about re-imagining a scholarly peer review process where all researchers are trained, valued, and recognized for their contributions to advancing knowledge….

With Open Reviewers, our training and mentoring program that empowers early-career researchers (ECRs) to contribute to scholarly peer review, we engage researchers in conversations around how systems of oppression manifest in the peer review process, how to identify how our own biases inevitably affect how we review and how to address it in service of better peer review.

While Open Reviewers in its current format is meant to train researchers in how to conduct manuscript peer review, much of its content and format can be adapted to other forms of reviewing, such as grant reviewing.

It is in this capacity that PREreview is collaborating with the ORFG and HRA, organizations who have already begun the groundwork towards the development of an Open & Equitable Model Funding Program, a new model of grantmaking to make both the process of grantmaking and the resulting research outputs more transparent, equitable, and inclusive. The program will design a range of interventions across the grantmaking cycle, including how funding schemes are developed, socialized, reviewed, overseen, supported, and evaluated. The plan is to pilot these interventions with a cohort of philanthropies in 2022 and 2023….”

Working Towards Equitable Open Access | Public Knowledge Project

“As part of Open Access Week, Érudit and the Public Knowledge Project (PKP) would like to underline the value of equity in the transition to open access in Canada and around the world. The theme of this year’s International Open Access Week is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity“.

Érudit and PKP have strengthened their collaboration since 2017 by establishing Coalition Publica, a partnership that aims to develop an open, non-commercial Canadian infrastructure dedicated to research, dissemination and digital scholarly publishing. By bringing together the communities of Érudit and PKP, Coalition Publica reaches several million people each year, whether they are researchers, professors, students or professionals. These users have a wide range of needs and profiles. 

Equity and diversity is one of Coalition Publica’s four core values, as outlined in the partnership’s strategic plan. For us, equity and diversity includes learning from and being strengthened by diverse perspectives and experiences; equitable access and participation in all of our activities including software development and project governance; and recognizing the importance of bilingualism as well as Canada’s diverse regions and Indigenous cultures….”

Building Structural Equity in Open Access | arXiv.org blog

“In celebration of International Open Access Week, arXiv will host a free panel discussion, Thirty Years of Open Access: Challenges and Opportunities for Building Structural Equity. This hybrid virtual and in-person event will feature open access leaders from arXiv, AfricArXiv, and UCLA. We’ll discuss how this movement has grown and evolved — and look ahead at the next 30 years to ask: what opportunities can we seize to ensure that the open access movement continues to equalize and democratize access to research? What challenges must we overcome to truly serve all researchers around the world?…”

Guest Post – Transforming the Transformative Agreement – The Scholarly Kitchen

“At Cambridge University Press, we’ve been engaged in a major expansion of our TAs with US institutions. Agreements with 130 institutions came into effect this year with a diverse mix of organizations, including state university systems, liberal arts colleges, and major research universities. These agreements follow the “Read and Publish” model (R&P) we kicked off in the US with the University of California system; repurposing institutions’ existing subscription spend to open up access to important scholarly content and to extend the reach of their researchers’ work. The success this year in the US now gives us real scale — we have over 100 TAs covering 1000 institutes in 30 countries — and a critical mass of customer, author, and stakeholder feedback has given us a much better sense of what we will need to prioritize moving forward.

Yet even as we’ve actively sought to build momentum for change through R&P arrangements, we know that the evolution of TAs is essential to a long-term transition. While there are still many challenges we must solve for collectively, we are focusing our external engagement on four main areas.

Funder mandates should not be the only drivers of change….

Increased scale must come with better use of resources….

Equity and diversity must be supported in new ways….

Open is a means, not an end….”

Webinar | Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications | SSP Society for Scholarly Publishing

“Open access and open science are attempts to ensure knowledge is as widely accessible as possible. More and more publishers are launching open access journals and embracing open science principles. Questions remain, however, as to whether open access and open science are currently accessible to all. The most visible notions of open access and open science are primarily founded in—and have perpetuated—the values and standards established by organizations, institutions, and funders in Western Europe and North America. Open access and open science can therefore continue to exclude the very researchers that these models are supposed to benefit. For example, business models like article processing charges do not account for unequal access to funding. Other issues not specific to open access are exclusionary English-language style standards and unconscious bias in the peer review process.

In this webinar, we will explore how models of openness have not always resolved, and in some instances may have created, inequitable barriers for some researchers. We will unpack the impact of those barriers on researchers and propose some ways to overcome them.”

Charting a path in Open Science towards diversity, equity, and inclusion

“Our definition of Open is one that invites all researchers to contribute, learn from, and build on scientific discoveries, no matter where you are in the world.

Listen to our Co-Editors-in-Chief’s discuss diversity, equity and inclusion in Open Science from the field of Global Public Health…”

Open Access Week: Opening Knowledge Equitably in an Inequitable System, by Natalia Norori

“The University Libraries present an online talk by Natalia Norori, a global health professional, in celebration of Open Access Week. Norori will speak on the topic, “Opening Knowledge Equitably in an Inequitable System.” In order to open knowledge equitably, open research should enable people from all backgrounds to learn about and contribute to topics important to them and their communities. However, this is not always the case. In this talk, we will reflect on the challenges faced by early career researchers who are traditionally excluded from research, including cultural, ideological, and practical barriers. Open research could play a crucial role in building structural equity, but to do so, it should put the needs of marginalized communities and minority groups at its core. This space will provide an opportunity to discuss how opening research inclusively can help build better research practices, and move us towards a fair and equitable system.”

A Frankfurt Masterclass: PLOS, CCC, and How Open Is Open Access?

“The program looks at the nonprofit open-access publisher  Public Library of Science, better known in the acronym-laden world of scholarly publishing as PLOS.

As the program’s promotional descriptive material puts it, the center of PLOS’ approach is its “community action publishing” model, called CAP, which “relies on a flexible, sophisticated workflow that enables authors to publish open access easily, with or without funding under a formal PLOS publishing agreement.” …

“We really need to think about the missing voices,” says [Niamh O’Connor]. “Research is a global, collaborative enterprise. And we really need, as we transition to an open science future, to keep asking ourselves, open for whom? Because openness in itself, while valuable, doesn’t tackle all of the inequality in scholarly communications. It doesn’t increase inclusion, and the need for universal and equitable access to scientific knowledge and education is super-important.” …”