Having a Social Impact: Supporting Social Justice and Open Access through Digital Initiative Projects

Abstract: Digital infrastructures and tools allow organizations and institutions to create opportunities for projects, information transfer, learning, and platforms for a range of voices. It also creates opportunities that promote open access, social justice, and social impact. Panelists who are directly involved in digital initiative projects that specifically seek to impact society, either by opening up information resources to everyone, or by giving people the digital resources they need to be self-supportive, will talk about their projects and the beliefs that underpin their efforts. From libraries, to online content providers, to digital skills educators, the panel represents a wide range of organizations that are employing digital initiatives for social good. Organizations participating in this panel discussion include three nonprofit organizations: the Catholic Research Resources Alliance, Digital Divide Data, and the Center for Bibliographical and Research Studies, UC-Riverside. 

Public Access Submission System on Vimeo

“Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, MIT, and 221B have developed the Public Access Submission System (PASS), which will support compliance with US funding agencies’ public access policies and institutional open access policies. By combining workflows between the two compliance pathways, PASS facilitates simultaneous submission into funder repositories (e.g., PubMedCentral) and institutional repositories. We intend to integrate a data archive so that researchers can submit cited data at the same time. PASS also features a novel technology stack including Fedora, Ember, JSON-LD, Elasticsearch, ActiveMQ, Java and Shibboleth (with an eye toward multi-institutional support). This talk will include a demonstration of PASS in action. The talk will also outline the steps by which we have engaged the university’s central administration (including the president’s office and the provost’s office) to provide funding, sponsorship for PASS and access to internal grants databases (e.g., COEUS) and engaged US funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health who have offered access to APIs for tracking and correlating submissions, and the National Science Foundation which discussed ways to integrate PASS and their reporting system in the future.”

ARL-SSRC Meeting on Open Scholarship in the Social Sciences: Summary and Next Steps

“Open scholarship and open research practices are gaining momentum in the social sciences and the academy broadly. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) convened a meeting in December 2018 at a pivotal moment for social science leaders to discuss opportunities and commit to a shared agenda, with tangible next steps, to build on successes to date. By focusing on each participant sector’s distinctive roles, shared values, and objectives with respect to an open scholarly ecosystem, the actionoriented meeting explored how the community can increase access to social science research and ensure that scholars and scholarship thrive in an environment that is “inclusive, equitable, trustworthy, and durable.”1 In order to surface and articulate constituent values prior to the meeting, MIT Libraries visiting scholar and University of Maryland professor of sociology Philip Cohen conducted video interviews with a sample of the participants, including several who were unable to attend. Excerpts of those interviews2 and Cohen’s associated commentary was provided to the participants in advance….”

Panelists Discuss Open Science in OASPA Webinar – OASPA

“Danny [Kingsley] opened the webinar by contending that irrespective of teaching or research quality within academia, the only thing that seems to count in research is the publication of novel results in high-impact journals. This, she explained, has contributed to cultural problems in academia of ‘star researchers’ and imbalances of power within the academy, but when it comes to science in particular, further challenges arise in the publication of these of research outputs in the way of reproducibility, integrity, replicability, and irreproducibility. Open science, she argued, offers researchers the chance to be rewarded for their research outputs at any stage of the research cycle, including the data on which publications are based. In order for open science to be embraced, institutions must play along; Danny’s own university, the University of Cambridge, has launched a pilot in which researchers and librarians work together ‘completely openly’ on open science initiatives, and after consulting the research community found that the benefits of open research are not always obvious, and rarely rewarded. Moving to a culture of open research, contended Danny, requires a robust infrastructure in place within the institution to support moves towards openness.

Chris [Jackson], a geologist working at Imperial College London and a passionate advocate of open science, began by pointing out the reasons why scientists might want to make their research open access: to improve their ‘H-indexes’ (one of the metrics scientists are measured by); to signal to their community that they’re engaged with their research enough to promote it; and to be innovative into the future. But the fear for many scientific researchers, he explained, is that not enough of one’s peers are engaged in open access; that one will experience a ‘time sink’ in learning all the relevant infrastructure and language necessary to actually publish research open access; that publishing open access will be too expensive not just in the Global South, but in some parts of the Global North too; and that being measured for one’s ‘openness’ isn’t yet appropriate for a CV entry. Not all funders of the academy, he continued, have a moral obligation when it comes to funding research; large corporations, he argued, are unlikely to pay extra open access costs. Practical solutions to make research more open, Chris argued, may lie in opportunities to publish preprints – including his own collaborative efforts on EarthArXiv – to demonstrate how research is conducted, and the life it has prior to final publication.

Finally, Eva [Méndez] spoke from a range of her different ‘hats’ as a librarian, researcher, and policy-maker to illustrate her analogy of open science behaving as a ‘mushroom’ rather than an ‘umbrella’: research integrity, research infrastructures, the academic reward system, and altmetrics comprise the roots of open science, all which lay the foundation for the movements of open access, open data, open peer review, and so on. The Open Science Policy Platform, which Eva works on, is working to systematically change science by asking researchers, librarians, and anyone else working within the research process, to ask themselves what they can do for open science. Eva also called for ‘cool metadata’, in which metadata does not exists simply for information retrieval, but is open and accessible in order that it can work to establish relationships between users and outcomes of research.