Passenger Pigeon Manifesto

“We are supposed to learn from history, yet we don’t have access to it. Historical photographs of extinct animals are among the most important artefacts to teach and inform about human impact on nature. But where to look when one wants to see all that is left of these beings? Where can I access all the extant photos of the thylacine or the passenger pigeon? History books use photos to help us relate to narratives and see a shared reality. But how can we look through our own communities’ photographic heritage, share it with each other and use it for research and education?

Historical photos are kept by archives, libraries, museums and other cultural institutions. Preservation, which is the goal of cultural institutions, means ensuring not only the existence of but the access to historical materials. It is the opposite of owning: it’s sustainable sharing. Similarly, conservation is not capturing and caging but ensuring the conditions and freedom to live.

Even though most of our tangible cultural heritage has not been digitised yet, a process greatly hindered by the lack of resources for professionals, we could already have much to look at online. In reality, a significant portion of already digitised historical photos is not available freely to the public – despite being in the public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium sized previews scattered throughout numerous online catalogs but most of the time we don’t get to see them in full quality and detail. In general, they are hidden, the memory of their existence slowly going extinct.

The knowledge and efforts of these institutions are crucial in tending our cultural landscape but they cannot become prisons to our history. Instead of claiming ownership, their task is to provide unrestricted access and free use. Cultural heritage should not be accessible only for those who can afford paying for it….”

African Makers Against COVID-19: Exploring Open Source Responses to a Global Crisis | Zenodo

“The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the most pressing global health, security, economic and political issues of 2020, and responding to this novel challenge has put significant financial, technical and logistical constraints on governments and their partners. A number of responses are being developed by grassroots makers to enable personal protection, sanitation, and medical services, using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-Together (DIT) approaches – demonstrating an open, rapid and bottom-up response to the crisis. Initiated by Africa Open Science & Hardware, the Berlin University of the Arts (Weizenbaum Institute), the Technische Universität Berlin (Einstein Center Digital Future), and in dialogue with the GIZ Togo and GIZ Ghana, the inaugural ‘African Makers Against COVID-19’ digital roundtable on 29 May 2020 brought together makers responding to the pandemic across the African continent to discuss approaches, opportunities and challenges. By identifying and connecting makers, researchers and development professionals, we sought to highlight:

1. the processes and mechanisms underlying making in response to COVID-19

2. how devices and technologies are implemented at health facilities and in communities

3. opportunities and challenges influencing further development and scale-up of innovations

4. interventions that could enable sustainability of grassroots African initiatives against COVID-19…”


Five Minutes with Professor Sonia Livingstone on the benefits of open access and institutional repositories. | Impact of Social Sciences

“I honestly don’t remember how it all began, though now depositing my research is second nature (and such a regular activity that I fear I burden the always-helpful library staff). I think I began with the documents that seemed to have no place but that I had worked hard on and so wanted to be able to point to on occasion.

What was great about depositing such documents was that I held copyright so they could be instantly accessible to anyone interested….

[Question:] Have you been surprised by how many downloads your research has received in LSERO? So far this year you have received over 86,000 downloads!

Astonished! What can I say? I work in a topical field (children and young people’s engagement with the internet), though I am encouraged that some of less topical work (e.g. on media audiences) also gets noticed through LSERO. I also work in a field that has fostered a constructive and lively dialogue between academics and stakeholders/publics. This leads me to another list – who do I imagine is the audience downloading on such a scale?

It might be academics in universities with nicely resourced libraries looking for a convenient source, and it might be my students (thanks guys!).
But I hope it is also academics in less well-resourced universities who wouldn’t otherwise have access to work that, once published, sits beyond a pay wall.
And I also believe (and hope) that it’s non-academics, whether policy makers or journalists or NGOs and other stakeholders who also lack access to academic journal publications and who don’t generally (like to or have budget for) purchasing academic work….”

Plain Language Summary of Publication articles: helping disseminate published scientific articles to patients | Future Oncology

“Future Science Group (FSG) is keen to recognize and promote the vital role of patients in medical and scientific research, and as such, has introduced a new article type to its collection – the Plain Language Summary of Publication (PLSP). The present issue of Future Oncology features, as the first in this series, a standalone, peer-reviewed, open access PLSP article [6], which provides a visually enriched summary of a recently published research article [7]. PLSP articles are written to be read and understood by patients, patient advocates, their family members, friends and caregivers. The article will also enable other non-specialist clinicians, research scientists, decision-makers and a range of professionals in the health care community to gain an understanding of the research presented.

PLSP articles are written under the assumption that the audience has no background understanding of the study, medical terminology or clinical research in general. Each PLSP, however, will have a different style depending on the subject matter and a ‘personalized’ approach to writing each PLSP will be necessary in order to meet the educational requirements of the intended audience. For example, in the case of rare diseases, where patient readers are often well informed about the subject, a more ‘technically written’ PLSP may be considered. We recommend that all authors planning to write a PLSP first review the PLSP toolkit developed by Envision Pharma with support from PFMD, along with our own author guidelines [8]….”

Pharmaceutical companies should publish more research open access – The BMJ

“Pharmaceutical companies fund around half of all biomedical research, but, in contrast to many public funders of research, only two companies (Takeda and Ipsen) mandate that all the research they fund must be published open access. Nevertheless, other pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, are able to publish up to three quarters of the research they fund open access without a mandate. This is not bad when less than 50% of research overall is published open access….

Open Pharma has produced a position statement on open access that calls for journals to give authors who are publishing research funded by pharmaceutical companies the same rights as authors of research funded by public funders. In the 9 months since its launch, the position statement has gained over 150 endorsements, including eight publisher and 29 pharmaceutical company endorsements.

The liveliest part of the roundtable meeting was when patients called for full open access to research. Patients have not usually been included in debates about open access because they have not been considered to be “end users” of research. Nowadays, not only do patients participate at each stage of the research life cycle, from clinical trial design to establishing patient-reported outcome measurements, but they are also increasingly involved in the creation and curation of scientific studies. Yet patients can access no more than one-quarter of published clinical research. …”

Sharing research with academia and beyond: Insights from early career researchers in Australia and Japan – Merga – 2020 – Learned Publishing – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Quality scholarly research outputs, such as peer reviewed journal articles published in reputable journals, are essential for early career researchers’ (ECRs) vocational success while also offering benefits for their institutions. Research outputs destined for audiences beyond academia are also increasingly valued by funders, end users, and tertiary institutions. While there is an expectation that ECRs may create diverse research outputs for an array of audiences, the kinds of research output texts produced by ECRs for varied audiences warrants further investigation. In addition, the routes of dissemination that ECRs use to share their academic research outputs to secure impact beyond academia are not well understood. Drawing on semi?structured interviews of 30 respondents in Australia and Japan, we explore the research?sharing practices of ECRs, finding that ECRs may potentially create a wide range of research?informed texts for end users beyond academia, using an array of methods for dissemination. The examples of the output text types and dissemination routes we provide in this paper can be used to inspire ECRs and also more senior academics to share their research more broadly, and perhaps more effectively, and can be used by publishers to improve research impact and support ECRs’ research translation.


Baltimore’s community lab puts the scientific method in the people’s hands – The Washington Post

“Huon de Kermadec, originally from France, has been collaborating with a group of other “biohackers” for about two years to develop an alternative. The Open Insulin Project springs from the idea that people with diabetes should have access to affordable treatment methods outside the traditional pharmacologic brands, which can cost hundreds of dollars per vial.

If successful, the project could enable diabetics to set up their own low-cost insulin production systems at home.

A 30-something biochemist with a doctorate, Huon de Kermadec started working on open-source insulin in Oakland, Calif. But when his wife accepted a job at Johns Hopkins University, Huon de Kermadec relocated his workspace to the Baltimore Under Ground Science Space (BUGSS), a community lab designed with such purposes in mind.

BUGSS operates under the ethos that people other than university faculty members and students should have access to research lab space. Do-it-yourself biologists, hobbyists, and high school and home-schooled students have made BUGSS their official headquarters and classroom as they pursue advanced projects without much red tape involved….”

What is Open Science: even a 12-year old child can participate in creation of a scientific article – YouTube

“Our first introduction video is dedicated to the problem of peer review process in scientific communication. In the view of recent scandals with articles retraction from prestigious journals such as hydroxychloroquine study from the Lancet journal, we must overview the need of peer review in the current scholarly publishing system. What is a peer review and why does it prevent our scientific progress and citizens participation in it? What is Open science and Open peer review? And why do we need to transform our science to be open?

To answer these questions, we invited to the interview Matheus Pereira Lobo, Brazilian physicist and mathematician, professor at the Federal University of Tocantins, co-editor of the Open Journal of Mathematics and Physics. He shares his thoughts about peer review process and tells about the alternative, his Open Journal of Mathematics and Physics which welcomes collaboration not only with his colleagues but with the broad public.”

Public Knowledge | The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Public Knowledge supports the creation and preservation of our cultural record—the vast and ever-growing historical archive that helps us explore and better understand our intertwined humanity. Our goal is to increase equitable access to deep knowledge—from scholarly texts to community collections—that helps  build an informed, culturally diverse, and civically engaged society.

We work with archives, presses, and a range of university, public, and other local, national, and global libraries that are foundational to knowledge production and distribution. We prioritize grantmaking that supports the innovative maintenance of technology, tools, and infrastructure for content related to our social justice orientation, expands digital inclusion, and focuses on the preservation of materials from historically underrepresented and underfunded cultures and populations.

In collaboration with our grantees and funding partners, we aspire to cultivate networked resources, services, and collections, and to ensure that more authentic, reflective, complex, and nuanced stories are revealed, preserved, and told.”

The Mellon Foundation Announces Transformation of its Strategic Direction and New Focus on Social Justice | The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Public Knowledge supports the creation and preservation of our cultural record—the vast and ever-growing historical archive that helps us explore and better understand our intertwined humanity. The goal of Public Knowledge is to increase equitable access to deep knowledge— from scholarly texts to community collections—that helps build an informed, culturally diverse, and civically engaged society….”