Open and Shut?: The OA interviews: Arianna Becerril-García, Chair of AmeliCA

“A professor in the School of Political and Social Sciences at the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEM), Arianna Becerril-García is also the Executive Director of Redalyc, the Network of Scientific Journals from Latin America and the Caribbean, Spain and Portugal. Redalyc is a regional open access portal for the social sciences and humanities that indexes 1,305 local journals and hosts the full texts of more than 650,000 articles. …

In addition, Becerril-García is the Chair of a new project called AmeliCA (Open Knowledge for Latin America and the Global South). AmeliCA’s goal is to propagate the Redalyc model to the more than 15,000 journals in the region and elsewhere in the Global South.

As Chair of AmeliCA, Becerril-García has become a vocal critic of Plan S – the European OA initiative announced last year by a group of funders that call themselves cOAlition S. While AmeliCA shares cOAlition S’s goal of achieving universal open access, says Becerril-García, it fears that, as currently conceived, Plan S would disenfranchise researchers in the Global South and exclude them further from the international scholarly publishing system….”

Influence of open educational resources on educational practices in the Global South | Nature Human Behaviour

“Open educational resources enable the effective use and sharing of knowledge with those who have been denied an education due to economic or social circumstances. Sarita Kumar outlines how open educational resources can benefit education systems across the Global South by opening up an entire generation to new ideas, technologies and advancements….”

Governance of a global genetic resource commons for non-commercial research: A case-study of the DNA barcode commons

Abstract:  Life sciences research that uses genetic resources is increasingly collaborative and global, yet collective action remains a significant barrier to the creation and management of shared research resources. These resources include sequence data and associated metadata, and biological samples, and can be understood as a type of knowledge commons. Collective action by stakeholders to create and use knowledge commons for research has potential benefits for all involved, including minimizing costs and sharing risks, but there are gaps in our understanding of how institutional arrangements may promote such collective action in the context of global genetic resources. We address this research gap by examining the attributes of an exemplar global knowledge commons: The DNA barcode commons. DNA barcodes are short, standardized gene regions that can be used to inexpensively identify unknown specimens, and proponents have led international efforts to make DNA barcodes a standard species identification tool. Our research examined if and how attributes of the DNA barcode commons, including governance of DNA barcode resources and management of infrastructure, facilitate global participation in DNA barcoding efforts. Our data sources included key informant interviews, organizational documents, scientific outputs of the DNA barcoding community, and DNA barcode record submissions. Our research suggested that the goal of creating a globally inclusive DNA barcode commons is partially impeded by the assumption that scientific norms and expectations held by researchers in high income countries are universal. We found scientific norms are informed by a complex history of resource misappropriation and mistrust between stakeholders. DNA barcode organizations can mitigate the challenges caused by its global membership through creating more inclusive governance structures, developing norms for the community are specific to the context of DNA barcoding, and through increasing awareness and knowledge of pertinent legal frameworks.

Are open access journals peer reviewed? – Quora

As of today, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists 13,229 peer-reviewed open-access (OA) journals.

DOAJ deliberately limits its coverage to the peer-reviewed variety, and evaluates each listed journal individually.

At the same time, some scam or “predatory” OA journals claim to perform peer review but do not. They give OA a bad name, and get wide publicity, creating the false impression that all or most OA journals are scams.

Analogy: Some police are corrupt, and cases of (actual or suspected) police corruption get wide publicity. But that doesn’t mean that all or most police are corrupt….”

For a fair, free and open future: celebrating 15 years of the Open Knowledge Foundation – Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

Fifteen years ago, the Open Knowledge Foundation was launched in Cambridge by entrepreneur and economist Rufus Pollock.

At the time, open data was an entirely new concept. Worldwide internet users were barely above the 10 per cent mark, and Facebook was still in its infancy.

But Rufus foresaw both the massive potential and the huge risks of the modern digital age. He believed in access to information for everyone about how we live, what we consume, and who we are – for example, how our tax money gets spent, what’s in the food we eat or the medicines we take, and where the energy comes from to power our cities.

From humble beginnings, the Open Knowledge Foundation grew across the globe and pioneered the way that we use data today, striving to build open knowledge in government, business and civil society – and creating the technology to make open material useful.

We created the Open Definition that is still the benchmark today – that open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.

With staff on six continents, we became known as Open Knowledge International and launched projects in dozens of countries….”

In support of open infrastructures: A statement from OPERAS in response to the ‘Open Research Library’, a new initiative from Knowledge Unlatched – OPERAS

On May 16, Knowledge Unlatched (KU) launched a new hosting platform for Open Access monographs, the Open Research Library (ORL). Notwithstanding its name, we do not consider the Open Research Library to qualify as an open infrastructure.

The statement from KU opens as follows:

“Free access to scientific content is often limited due to the fragile technical infrastructure around it: content is stored in a variety of versions at various locations and without any uniform search functionalities. The Open Access initiative Knowledge Unlatched has addressed this growing problem and is now launching the Open Research Library together with several international partners. Its goal is to unite all Open Access (OA) book content over the coming months. To this end the Open Research Library is working with publishers and libraries worldwide and is open to all providers and users of quality-assured research content.”

While we can agree with the observation that ‘free access to scientific content is often limited due to the fragile infrastructure around it’, we do not think this initiative is helpful in strengthening the Open Access infrastructure for monographs.

OPERAS, the European Research Infrastructure dedicated to open scholarly communication in the Social Sciences and Humanities, supports the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures: infrastructures should be open, transparent, sustainable, and community-governed. OPERAS is dedicated to develop a distributed research infrastructure in close collaboration with the scholarly community, in accordance with these principles. OPERAS has demonstrated its support of these principles in various projects:

  • the HIRMEOS project, a collaborative project of five European book publishing platforms to develop a shared set of added value services, in order to make these available to the scholarly community and enable integration with the open science ecosystem;
  • the development of the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) as a central platform to improve transparency and quality assurance around Open Access monographs;
  • the upcoming, recently funded project TRIPLE, an innovative discovery service aimed at increasing the discovery, access, reuse and societal impact of Social Sciences and Humanities artefacts (data, publications and projects).

In our opinion, the ORL does not meet the criteria for open infrastructures. On the contrary, based on the statement from KU and the early release of the ORL, the approach of this platform closely resembles well-known internet strategies to quickly achieve a dominant position by aggregating all available content and offering a free service to the community, while aiming for a lock-in of users and stakeholders. The ORL is neither open nor transparent, in particular regarding its governance.

While we are not against commercial ventures or market competition, we strongly believe that vital infrastructures supporting Open Science should not fall in the hands of commercial operators. These infrastructures should be a collective responsibility of stakeholders in scholarly communication. We see SCOSS and the recent launch of the IOI initiative as positive signs that this collective responsibility can become a reality. With this in mind, we think that the ORL is not helpful, and could well be harmful, on the road to establishing a distributed, open and sustainable infrastructure for Open Access monographs.


This statement is the outcome of an open consultation with the OPERAS Core Group. 20 May 2019.

African Principles for Open Access in Scholarly Communication – AfricArXiv

“1) Academic Research and knowledge from and about Africa should be freely available to all who wish to access, use or reuse it while at the same time being protected from misuse and misappropriation.

2) African scientists and scientists working on African topics and/or territory will make their research achievements including underlying datasets available in a digital Open Access repository or journal and an explicit Open Access license is applied.

3) African research output should be made available in the principle common language of the global science community as well as in one or more local African languages – at least in summary.

4) It is important to take into consideration in the discussions indigenous and traditional knowledge in its various forms.

5) It is necessary to respect the diverse dynamics of knowledge generation and circulation by discipline and geographical area.

6) It is necessary to recognise, respect and acknowledge the regional diversity of African scientific journals, institutional repositories and academic systems.

7) African Open Access policies and initiatives promote Open Scholarship, Open Source and Open Standards for interoperability purposes.

8) Multi-stakeholder mechanisms for collaboration and cooperation should be established to ensure equal participation across the African continent.

9) Economic investment in Open Access is consistent with its benefit to societies on the African continent – therefore institutions and governments in Africa provide the enabling environment, infrastructure and capacity building required to support Open Access

10) African Open Access stakeholders and actors keep up close dialogues with representatives from all world regions, namely Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania….”

African Principles for Open Access in Scholarly Communication – AfricArXiv

“1) Academic Research and knowledge from and about Africa should be freely available to all who wish to access, use or reuse it while at the same time being protected from misuse and misappropriation.

2) African scientists and scientists working on African topics and/or territory will make their research achievements including underlying datasets available in a digital Open Access repository or journal and an explicit Open Access license is applied.

3) African research output should be made available in the principle common language of the global science community as well as in one or more local African languages – at least in summary.

4) It is important to take into consideration in the discussions indigenous and traditional knowledge in its various forms.

5) It is necessary to respect the diverse dynamics of knowledge generation and circulation by discipline and geographical area.

6) It is necessary to recognise, respect and acknowledge the regional diversity of African scientific journals, institutional repositories and academic systems.

7) African Open Access policies and initiatives promote Open Scholarship, Open Source and Open Standards for interoperability purposes.

8) Multi-stakeholder mechanisms for collaboration and cooperation should be established to ensure equal participation across the African continent.

9) Economic investment in Open Access is consistent with its benefit to societies on the African continent – therefore institutions and governments in Africa provide the enabling environment, infrastructure and capacity building required to support Open Access

10) African Open Access stakeholders and actors keep up close dialogues with representatives from all world regions, namely Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Oceania….”

DOAJ reaches its funding target within 18 months of starting its fund-raising programme – SPARC Europe

“We are delighted to announce that the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has reached its funding target to cover its operational costs as outlined in its SCOSS application. Eight consortia and 175 institutions/organisations from 18 different countries have committed support to DOAJ. “We’d like to thank our supporters. That this many organisations have gotten behind this initiative and promised this amount of funding shows how important sustaining open access infrastructure is,” said Lars Bjørnshauge, DOAJ Managing Director….”