The case for open access | Apollo Magazine

“For a growing number of museums, providing open access to online collections is seen as crucial to engaging with the public and serving their wider missions. While select institutions began exploring open access a decade ago, the practice is now becoming mainstream. In February, the Smithsonian released 2.8 million images of its collections for unrestricted public reuse. This spectacular announcement followed recent initiatives by the Cleveland Museum of Art, Paris Musées, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and others. All are part of the Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) movement that advocates for liberal access to and reuse of public domain collections.

A key Open GLAM principle is that works in the public domain – meaning copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitised. This may sound obvious but the reality is less straightforward. Copyright law in this area is complex and lacks international harmonisation….

The evidence from open access museums shows that foregone revenue from image licensing is generally outweighed by an increase in brand visibility and new opportunities for revenue generation. Adopting open access need not prevent museums from undertaking commercial partnerships….

Most museums lose more money than they make on image licensing….

In the UK, a small but growing number of institutions are responding to the call. The first to embrace open access was the National Library of Wales, which now employs a ‘National Wikimedian’ to develop collaborations and services that advance the representation of Wales and the Welsh language on Wikimedia projects. York Museums Trust releases the majority of its online images to the public domain. This year, Birmingham Museums sponsored an art remix contest with artist Coldwar Steve and the local creative community Black Hole Club, inviting the public to respond imaginatively using Birmingham’s open collections….

Open access can also be transformative inside heritage institutions. One year after the Cleveland Museum of Art’s open access launch, its chief digital information officer, Jane Alexander, noted the following impacts: increased updating of attribution, provenance and collections information; curators forging new connections with scholars; and resources being reallocated from responding to image requests to supporting digitisation. The vast majority of the museum’s online users who are looking for images now self-serve from its online collections, freeing up valuable staff time….”

When you are making plans to publish research, you need to plan for data sharing: Climacteric: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Open data is another step on the pathway of strengthening medical research. Allowing access to data facilitates testing the reproducibility of research findings. It also allows for the testing of new hypotheses, the incorporation of individual level data into meta-analyses and the development of very large data sets in which to develop and test new algorithms. There are now many data repositories that researchers can use to share their protocols, syntax and data. There are strategies both for managing what other researchers do with publically available data and for rewarding researchers who share their data. There is a strong ethical argument for making data publically available and research participants are generally supportive of this approach.

 

When you are making plans to publish research, you need to plan for data sharing: Climacteric: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Open data is another step on the pathway of strengthening medical research. Allowing access to data facilitates testing the reproducibility of research findings. It also allows for the testing of new hypotheses, the incorporation of individual level data into meta-analyses and the development of very large data sets in which to develop and test new algorithms. There are now many data repositories that researchers can use to share their protocols, syntax and data. There are strategies both for managing what other researchers do with publically available data and for rewarding researchers who share their data. There is a strong ethical argument for making data publically available and research participants are generally supportive of this approach.

 

The rise of preprints in chemistry | Nature Chemistry

“Chemistry is now starting to embrace preprints, with more and more researchers in chemical and materials sciences posting their manuscripts online prior to peer review. Preprints can speed up the dissemination of scientific results and lead to more informal exchanges between researchers, hopefully accelerating the pace of research as a whole….

Several bibliometric studies have shown that preprints also increase the visibility of the work being done5 by combining two distinct advantages: they are open access, and they appear online earlier than the final peer-reviewed publication. This typically translates into more views and higher impact than non-preprinted articles in the same field6,7: namely, preprinted articles typically have better online metrics, attention scores and number of citations8. …”

Guide and Toolbox to Replicability and Open Science in Entomology | Journal of Insect Science | Oxford Academic

Abstract:  The ability to replicate scientific experiments is a cornerstone of the scientific method. Sharing ideas, workflows, data, and protocols facilitates testing the generalizability of results, increases the speed that science progresses, and enhances quality control of published work. Fields of science such as medicine, the social sciences, and the physical sciences have embraced practices designed to increase replicability. Granting agencies, for example, may require data management plans and journals may require data and code availability statements along with the deposition of data and code in publicly available repositories. While many tools commonly used in replicable workflows such as distributed version control systems (e.g., ‘git’) or script programming languages for data cleaning and analysis may have a steep learning curve, their adoption can increase individual efficiency and facilitate collaborations both within entomology and across disciplines. The open science movement is developing within the discipline of entomology, but practitioners of these concepts or those desiring to work more collaboratively across disciplines may be unsure where or how to embrace these initiatives. This article is meant to introduce some of the tools entomologists can incorporate into their workflows to increase the replicability and openness of their work. We describe these tools and others, recommend additional resources for learning more about these tools, and discuss the benefits to both individuals and the scientific community and potential drawbacks associated with implementing a replicable workflow.

 

Covid-19 – Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent | Science & technology | The Economist

“The current public-health emergency has, however, turbocharged all this. With physicians, policymakers and prime ministers all needing the latest science in order to make immediate life-and-death decisions, speed has become paramount. Journals have responded to sharp rises in submissions by working overtime. In so doing they have squeezed their normal processes down to days or weeks….

In the view of many, though, this is not enough. These people support a different way of disseminating scientific information—one that dethrones the journals by making journal publication an optional extra rather than a researcher’s primary goal. This model of scientific publishing relies on online repositories called preprint servers, on which papers can be posted swiftly and with only minimal formalities. Mathematicians and physicists already use them widely. Biologists increasingly do so too. Covid-19, however, has seen a step-change. Around half of the available scientific work on the pandemic has been released through preprint servers. The hope of preprinting’s supporters is that this will make the shift to using them irreversible….

This increased speed shows that scientists have learned from their sluggish responses to previous outbreaks. In an analysis of research carried out during and after the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16 and the Zika outbreak of 2015-16, Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard now working on covid-19, looked at just how sluggish those responses were. He found that, where preprints had been available, they appeared around 100 days before journal articles that had eventually been published on the same work. Unfortunately, less than 5% of all the journal articles published about the two outbreaks had been preprinted….”

Coronavirus Research Moves Faster than Medical Journals

“Many of the coronavirus-related papers being posted on MedRxiv are rushed and flawed, and some are terrible. But a lot report serious research findings, some of which will eventually find their way into prestigious journals, which have been softening their stance on previously released research. (“We encourage posting to preprint servers as a way to share information immediately,” emails Jennifer Zeis, director of communications at the New England Journal of Medicine.) In the meantime, the research is out there, being commented on and followed up on by other scientists, and reported on in the news media. The journals, which normally keep their content behind steep paywalls, are also offering coronavirus articles outside of it. New efforts to sort through the resulting bounty of available research are emerging, from a group of Johns Hopkins University scholars sifting manually through new Covid-19 papers to a 59,000-article machine-readable data set, requested by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and enabled by an assortment of tech corporations and academic and philanthropic organizations, that is meant to be mined for insights using artificial intelligence and other such means.

This is the future for scientific communication that has been predicted since the spread of the internet began to enable it in the early 1990s (and to some extent long before then), yet proved slow and fitful in its arrival. It involves more or less open access to scientific research and data, and a more-open review process with a much wider range of potential peers than the peer review offered by journals. For its most enthusiastic boosters, it is also an opportunity to break through disciplinary barriers, broaden and improve the standards for research success and generally just make science work better. To skeptics, it means abandoning high standards and a viable economic model for research publishing in favor of a chaotic, uncertain new approach.

I’m mostly on the side of the boosters here, but have learned during five years of writing on and off about academic publishing that the existing way of doing things is quite well entrenched, and that would-be innovators often misunderstand the challenges involved in displacing or replacing it….”

Enhanced Access to Publicly Funded Data for Science, Technology and Innovation | en | OECD

“In increasingly knowledge-based societies and economies, data are a key resource. Enhanced access to publicly funded data enables research and innovation, and has far-reaching effects on resource efficiency, productivity and competitiveness, creating benefits for society at large. Yet these benefits must also be balanced against associated risks to privacy, intellectual property, national security and the public interest. This report presents current policy practice to promote access to publicly funded data for science, technology and innovation, as well as policy challenges for the future. It examines national policies and international initiatives, and identifies seven issues that require policy attention….”

Preprint servers: a ‘rush to publish’ or ‘just in time delivery’ for science? | Thorax

“At Thorax [a journal from BMJ] we embrace this new pathway to publishing medical research findings and we welcome the submission of manuscripts which have previously appeared on a preprint server. We do, however, ask all submitting authors to make this clear in the covering letter at the time of submission. The first batch of 10 articles, which previously appeared as preprints, have been through peer review with Thorax. The acceptance of articles which have previously appeared as a preprint is now widespread among medical journals.5 6 Acceptance of preprints is, however, not universal and authors are well advised to check the guidelines of their target journals before they post a preprint….

In due course, when the COVID-19 curve (flattened or otherwise) hits baseline, researchers and journals must use the preprint literature wisely and as it is intended—as a way to share research data rapidly before formal expert review in a journal. Any individual claims should be treated with healthy scepticism, until verified by peer review. …”

Using social media to promote academic research: Identifying the benefits of twitter for sharing academic work

Abstract:  To disseminate research, scholars once relied on university media services or journal press releases, but today any academic can turn to Twitter to share their published work with a broader audience. The possibility that scholars can push their research out, rather than hope that it is pulled in, holds the potential for scholars to draw wide attention to their research. In this manuscript, we examine whether there are systematic differences in the types of scholars who most benefit from this push model. Specifically, we investigate the extent to which there are gender differences in the dissemination of research via Twitter. We carry out our analyses by tracking tweet patterns for articles published in six journals across two fields (political science and communication), and we pair this Twitter data with demographic and educational data about the authors of the published articles, as well as article citation rates. We find considerable evidence that, overall, article citations are positively correlated with tweets about the article, and we find little evidence to suggest that author gender affects the transmission of research in this new media.