Analysis: The lack of diversity in climate-science research – Carbon Brief

“A recent analysis entitled “The Reuters Hot List” ranked the 1,000 “most influential” climate scientists – largely based on their publication record and social media engagement. Scientists from the global south are vastly under-represented in the list, with, for example, only five African scientists included. Meanwhile, only 122 of the 1,000 authors are female.

Biases in authorship make it likely that the existing bank of knowledge around climate change and its impacts is skewed towards the interests of male authors from the global north. This can create blind spots around the needs of some of the most vulnerable people to climate change, particularly women and communities in the global south.

Carbon Brief has analysed the gender and “country of affiliation” of the authors of 100 highly cited climate science papers from the past five years – mapped below – to reveal geographic and gender biases….

Conducting scientific research is expensive – and, arguably, the most obvious issue with running climate studies from countries in the global south is the lack of funding. While the US dedicates more than 2.5% of its annual GDP to “research and development”, no country in sub-saharan Africa – even the comparably rich South Africa – spends more than 1%. …

The inaccessibility of scientific literature is also a problem for publishing. “One of the biggest issues is that people can’t access literature that they can cite,” Schipper tells Carbon Brief. …

[Quoting Marton Demeter:] ‘If open access in journals with article processing charges (APCs) become the mainstream way of publication, then global-south scholars’ chances to publish in leading journals will be even lower than today, as they wont be able to pay the high APCs – which will be easily paid by researchers working at sourceful western universities or researchers that are funded by international grants.’ ”

 

Wikifunctions, a new Wikipedia project to automate and standardize information.

“When Vrande?i? reviewed how San Francisco was described in each language back in 2019, he noticed that 62 Wikipedia language editions listed an out-of-date mayor. The most egregiously out-of-date instance was the Cebuano Wikipedia, which listed Feinstein as the current mayor of San Francisco. The problem was that the Cebuano language Wikipedia was very out-of-date, which is where Wikidata could have helped. Wikidata allocates items a unique QID; the concept “mayor of San Francisco,” for instance, is Q795295. Different language editions of Wikipedia can then insert Wikidata queries within their articles. That way, if the mayor of San Francisco is updated after an election, one change to the central Wikidata item can update all of the language editions of Wikipedia automatically….”

“Positively Disrupt(ing) Research Culture for the Better”: An Interview with Alexandra Freeman of Octopus – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In early August, it was announced that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) would provide significant funding for a new open publishing platform. Called Octopus, this initiative is not yet fully launched, but when it is it plans to “provide a new ‘primary research record’ for recording and appraising research “as it happens’”; UKRI calls Octopus “a ground-breaking global service which could positively disrupt research culture for the better.” I reached out to Octopus’s founder, Dr. Alexandra Freeman, to ask some questions about Octopus and its plans for the future….”

How to end the hegemony of English in scientific research | USA | EL PAÍS in English

“last year 84% of researchers from Ibero-American countries – where Spanish or Portuguese is spoken – published their own work in English instead of their native tongues.

“Only 13% of scientists in Spain presented their work in Spanish, followed by 12% of those in Mexico, 16% in Chile, and around 20% in Argentina, Colombia and Peru,” reads the report….

German, French and Russian, which were once commonly used in various scientific publications, are now in a similar predicament: under 1% of all papers, reviews or academic conferences that appeared in scientific journals in 2020 were written in those languages….

The situation has to do not just with science, but with geopolitics, he adds. “Ibero-American countries have fallen into the trap of Anglo private industries,” said Badillo. “States pay scientists to investigate; we produce the knowledge, give it away to the big journals, thereby donating the findings of our work, and then these publications charge a truly astounding amount to the national science systems in order to access the results of our own investigations.” Ultimately, most citizens are unable to access the science that they are funding with their taxes, because it is only available in publications that charge for reading content that is written in a different language anyway….

There are three reasons for this “dictatorship of English,” as the authors of the study called it….

The third reason is tied to, and determines, the other two. “There are two major international companies, Elsevier and Clarivate Analytics, that have privatized the evaluation systems for the quality of science; they produce the international indexes listing the impact factor of journals that have been favoring English for decades,” said Badillo….

The consequences are numerous. One of them is limited access to knowledge because of the language barrier….

 

The answer proposed by the OEI and the Real Instituto Elcano is to move towards open science, a movement to make scientific research and dissemination – including publications and databases – free and accessible to all citizens. “Science needs to get out of the ivory tower where it has been bureaucratized for years, and enter into greater dialogue with society,” insisted Badillo, pointing to tools that could help with the change of paradigm. “Artificial intelligence and automatic translation should help us guarantee access to science. It would be ideal to see, in the short run, an option to read the contents of each scientific article translated not just into Spanish or Portuguese but Korean, Mandarin or any other language.” ”

How PIDs & Preprints are facilitating the ownership of African scholarly content

“As part of the NISO.plus conference 2021 in the session “Quality and reliability of preprints, Ms Joy Owango presented the work AfricArXiv and TCC Africa are doing in facilitating ownership of African scholarly content using persistent identifiers.”

How to build a more inclusive SSH scholarly landscape | F1000Research

“There are several layers that need to be unpacked. The scholarly communication landscape in the SSH is very diverse,  which is not in itself a bad thing, but more communication and coordination between different institutions and stakeholders is needed. Moreover, the open science policies vary across Europe and there’s no consensus among researchers on how important and prestigious open access is. Similarly, digital innovations are adopted to a varying extent by different disciplines and individual scholars, with some curious and eager to experiment with different forms and others sticking to safer, more traditional solutions (interestingly, it often has nothing to do with the career stage!). 

The evaluation criteria have not caught up with the digital transformation and so many authors end up publishing via more traditional outputs even though they would rather experiment with the former as they know that they need to have the established publications  – for example articles in prestigious journals – on their academic resume.

There is another issue linked to evaluation: often publications in English are recognised as more valuable by funders or institutions which is not the best situation, especially in the case of domestic authors addressing important local issues in their native language.

There are several layers to a successful research infrastructure in the SSH. Firstly -and this really is key -it needs to be inclusive, so open to different stakeholders representing diverse perspectives.

Secondly, the infrastructure has to be dedicated to the specific traits of SSH: for example, research outputs often tend to be more traditional than in the case of hard sciences (‘the monograph is the king,’ claimed one of our interviewees in the OPERAS-P project) and there is often less funding for opening up research. Multilingualism is also an important aspect of the SSH as it is crucial that a topic that is important to smaller, local communities can be presented to them in a way that they can understand.

Thirdly, it needs to be researcher-driven, thus reflecting the actual needs of the scholars and be developed with the collaborators from various academic circles….”

Ouvrir la Science – Deuxième Plan national pour la science ouverte

From Google’s English:  “The National Open Science Plan announced in 2018 by the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, has enabled France to adopt a coherent and dynamic policy in the field of open science, coordinated by the Committee for Open Science, which brings together the ministry, research and higher education institutions and the scientific community. After three years of implementation, the progress made is notable. The rate of French scientific publications in open access rose from 41% to 56%. The National Open Science Fund was created, it launched two calls for projects in favor of open scientific publication and it supported structuring international initiatives. The National Research Agency and other funding agencies now require open access to publications and the drafting of data management plans for the projects they fund. The function of ministerial research data administrator has been created and a network is being deployed in the establishments. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published. About twenty universities and research organizations have adopted an open science policy. Several guides and recommendations for putting open science into practice have been published.

The steps already taken and the evolution of the international context invite us to extend, renew and strengthen our commitments by adopting a second National Plan for Open Science, the effects of which will be deployed until 2024. With this new plan, France is continuing the ambitious trajectory initiated by the law for a digital republic of 2016 and confirmed by the research programming law of 2020, which includes open science in the missions of researchers and teacher-researchers.

This second National Plan extends its scope to source codes resulting from research, it structures actions in favor of the opening or sharing of data through the creation of the Research Data Gouv platform, it multiplies the levers of transformation in order to generalize open science practices and it presents disciplinary and thematic variations. It is firmly in line with a European ambition and proposes, within the framework of the French Presidency of the European Union, to act to take effective account of open science practices in individual and collective research evaluations. It is about initiating a process of sustainable transformation in order to make open science a common and shared practice…”

OPERAS report “Future of Scholarly Communication. Forging an inclusive and innovative research infrastructure for scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities” | Zenodo

Avanço, Karla, Balula, Ana, B?aszczy?ska, Marta, Buchner, Anna, Caliman, Lorena, Clivaz, Claire, … Wieneke, Lars. (2021, June 29). Future of Scholarly Communication . Forging an inclusive and innovative research infrastructure for scholarly communication in Social Sciences and Humanities. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.5017705

 

This report discusses the scholarly communication issues in Social Sciences and Humanities that are relevant to the future development and functioning of OPERAS. The outcomes collected here can be divided into two groups of innovations regarding 1) the operation of OPERAS, and 2) its activities. The “operational” issues include the ways in which an innovative research infrastructure should be governed (Chapter 1) as well as the business models for open access publications in Social Sciences and Humanities (Chapter 2). The other group of issues is dedicated to strategic areas where OPERAS and its services may play an instrumental role in providing, enabling, or unlocking innovation: FAIR data (Chapter 3), bibliodiversity and multilingualism in scholarly communication (Chapter 4), the future of scholarly writing (Chapter 5), and quality assessment (Chapter 6). Each chapter provides an overview of the main findings and challenges with emphasis on recommendations for OPERAS and other stakeholders like e-infrastructures, publishers, SSH researchers, research performing organisations, policy makers, and funders. Links to data and further publications stemming from work concerning particular tasks are located at the end of each chapter.

Balula and Leão (2021) Multilingualism within Scholarly Communication… | JLIS.it

Balula, A., & Leão, D. (2021). Multilingualism within Scholarly Communication in SSH. A literature review. JLIS.It, 12(2), 88–98. https://doi.org/10.4403/jlis.it-12672

Abstract

It is undeniable that scholarly publication is boosted nowadays by the use of the English language, but this does not (and cannot) mean that the other languages have to be obliterated as scientific and cultural agents, equally valid and indispensable. Therefore, multilingualism is an expression of bibliodiversity that has to be protected and cherished, particularly in the area of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), a field in which culturally and societally relevant studies are made in local languages, when approaching areas such as cultural heritage, education, migration, public administration. The main goal of this paper is to present a literature review in order to identify the main aspects influencing language selection and the use of multilingualism within scholarly communication, allowing for putting forward recommendations for future initiatives aiming at enhancing multilingualism, particularly in connection with the opportunities deriving from Open Science.  

Multilingualism within Scholarly Communication… | Balula | JLIS.it

Abstract:  It is undeniable that scholarly publication is boosted nowadays by the use of the English language, but this does not (and cannot) mean that the other languages have to be obliterated as scientific and cultural agents, equally valid and indispensable. Therefore, multilingualism is an expression of bibliodiversity that has to be protected and cherished, particularly in the area of  Social  Sciences  and  Humanities  (SSH),  a  field  in  which  culturally  and  societally  relevant  studies  are  made  in  local languages, when approaching areas such as cultural heritage, education, migration, public administration. The main goal of this paper is to present a literature review in order to identify the main aspects influencing language selection and the useof multilingualism within scholarly communication, allowing for putting forward recommendations for future initiatives aiming at enhancing multilingualism, particularly in connection with the opportunities deriving from Open Science.

Global Trends in Open Access: Themes from Africa, Asia and Latin America – The Scholarly Kitchen %

“The opportunity for researchers to share their findings and draw on the research findings of others is vital for researchers, policymakers and wider society. But all too often, the way that this process works is decided by relatively small numbers of countries and people –- often those based in the global North, in “elite” institutions or in large, commercial publishers.

Important voices can be missed and, as a result, important learning about what people have found already works around the world is not reflected in academia, policy decisions, and practice. 

In a recent Scholarly Kitchen webinar, I was delighted to be joined by great speakers from three continents, who are all experts in open access with different perspectives. This post summarizes some of the key themes discussed by Arianna Becerril García, who is based in Mexico, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, who is based in Cameroon, and Vrushali Dandawate, who is in India….”

Launch of Translate Science – Translate Science Blog

“Translate Science is an open volunteer group interested in improving the translation of the scientific literature. The group has come together to support work on tools, services and advocate for translating science….

Translated scientific articles open science to regular people, science enthusiasts, activists, advisors, trainers, consultants, architects, doctors, journalists, planners, administrators, technicians and scientists. Such a lower barrier to participating in science is especially important on topics such as climate change, environment, agriculture and health. The easier knowledge transfer goes both ways: people benefiting from scientific knowledge and people having knowledge scientists should know. Translations thus help both science and society. They aid innovation and tackling the big global challenges in the fields of climate change, agriculture and health….”

Manipulation of bibliometric data by editors of scientific journals

“Such misuse of terms not only justifies the erroneous practice of research bureaucracy of evaluating research performance on those terms but also encourages editors of scientific journals and reviewers of research papers to ‘game’ the bibliometric indicators. For instance, if a journal seems to lack adequate number of citations, the editor of that journal might decide to make it obligatory for its authors to cite papers from journal in question. I know an Indian journal of fairly reasonable quality in terms of several other criteria but can no longer consider it so because it forces authors to include unnecessary (that is plain false) citations to papers in that journal. Any further assessment of this journal that includes self-citations will lead to a distorted measure of its real status….

An average paper in the natural or applied sciences lists at least 10 references.1 Some enterprising editors have taken this number to be the minimum for papers submitted to their journals. Such a norm is enforced in many journals from Belarus, and we, authors, are now so used to that norm that we do not even realize the distortions it creates in bibliometric data. Indeed, I often notice that some authors – merely to meet the norm of at least 10 references – cite very old textbooks and Internet resources with URLs that are no longer valid. The average for a good paper may be more than 10 references, and a paper with fewer than 10 references may yet be a good paper (The first paper by Einstein did not have even one reference in its original version!). I believe that it is up to a peer reviewer to judge whether the author has given enough references and whether they are suitable, and it is not for a journal’s editor to set any mandatory quota for the number of references….

Some international journals intervene arbitrarily to revise the citations in articles they receive: I submitted a paper with my colleagues to an American journal in 2017, and one of the reviewers demanded that we replace references in Russian language with references in English. Two of us responded with a correspondence note titled ‘Don’t dismiss non-English citations’ that we had then submitted to Nature: in publishing that note, the editors of Nature removed some references – from the paper2 that condemned the practice of replacing an author’s references with those more to the editor’s liking – and replaced them with, maybe more relevant, reference to a paper that we had never read by that moment! … 

Editors of many international journals are now looking not for quality papers but for papers that will not lower the impact factor of their journals….”

“No Publication Favelas! Latin America’s Vision for Open Access” by Monica Berger | ACRL 2021 presentation

by Monica Berger, CUNY New York City College of Technology

Abstract: Open access was intended to be the great equalizer but its promise has not come to fruition in many lower-income countries of the Global South. Under-resourcing is only one of the many reasons why these scholars and publishers are marginalized. In order to examine inequality in our global scholarly communications system, we can compare a negative and a positive outgrowth of this imbalance. Predatory publishing represents a a weak imitation of traditional, commercial journal publishing. In contrast, Latin America’s community-based, quality scholarly infrastructure is anti-colonial. It can be argued that Latin America’s publishing infrastructure represents one solution to predatory publishing. As the future of open access is debated, it is critical that we look to Latin America as we support new models that reject legacy commercial journal publishing and support bibliodiversity.

Jeffrey Beall infamously called Brazil’s SciELO a “publishing favela” or slum. Yet Latin America represents an important exception to the problem of underdevelopment of scholarly communications in the Global South. In order to begin to better understand the marginalization of the Global South and Latin America’s success, we need to unpack the history of open access, its overemphasis on the reader as opposed to the author, and how notions of development influenced its discourse. This focus on the reader is neo-Colonialist, positioning scholars from the Global South as “downloaders” and not “uploaders,” whose scholarship is peripheral.

Lacking alternative publishing options, predatory publishing, or amateurish, low quality publishing, exploited this gap. In its pathetic imitation of international, corporate publishing, predatory publishing is neo-Colonial and a form of “faux” open access where subaltern authors, editors, and publishers poorly imitate Global North corporate publishing. Predatory publishing is a sad simulacra with real world damage. Since predatory publishing is overwhelming based in the Global South and many of its authors based in the Global South, it tarnishes the reputation of all scholarship from less developed countries. In contrast, predatory authorship and publishing are rare in Latin America.

Latin America is an exemplar of sustainable and humane open access. Heather Morrison deemed Latin American as a “long-time peerless leader in open access.” The advent of Plan S, a rapid flip to open access, is accelerating the co-option of open access by large, commercial publishers predicating a variety of negative outcomes. In contrast, the Latin American concept of bibliodiversity represents an important alternative model. No one size fits all and a local vision governs. Bibliodiversity interrogates the presumption that all scholarship must be English-language. It also values indigenous and local knowledge as well as lay readers. Redalyc and SciELO include measures for research collaboration. Various regional scholarly organizations cooperate, sharing expertise, providing training in editorial and technical best practices. This cooperation has expanded to a global scale. The Confederation of Open Access Repositories and SPARC are partnering with LA Referencia and others, expanding Latin America’s vision globally, generating a meaningful alternative model for open access.

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Slides with talk transcript and sources as presented at the Association of College and Research Libraries conference, ACRL 2021: Ascending into an Open Future, held virtually, April 16, 2021.