Making Research Knowledge Public Award | Interview with recipients Hannah McGregor and Juan Pablo Alperin – scholcommlab

“What does “making research knowledge public” look like to you? 

Juan Pablo Alperin: I see open access as a very basic, initial step toward making research knowledge public. We never know who in society might care about our work, regardless of how niche an audience we might have in mind. My own research and other evidence points to the fact that there are members of the public who want to know. Even if faculty don’t want to change anything else about what they do, they can make sure that their research is at least accessible to anyone who wants to see it. For me, making research knowledge public is about enabling and supporting an ecosystem in which that becomes the norm. 

Hannah McGregor: I think open access should be the default and baseline, particularly for journals. But access goes beyond just paywalls; it also has to do with language and discoverability. Journals—open access or not—still circulate within particular systems of discoverability that are available mostly to people who know how universities work. 

The side of things that I have been working on is what my colleague Jon Bath calls public-first scholarship. I’ve been thinking about what it means to do your work in the public from the get-go, rather than doing it within the university and then making it public later. I’m making podcasts, because podcasts are not a university medium. They are a medium that has their own logic, a logic that is inherently open and inherently public-facing. I want the audience for my work to not be precluded by people who have access to scholarship….”

Making Evidence Affordable: Get Ready For The Citizen Science Revolution

“Take the most rigorous study possible – a large double blind clinical trial. It can cost tens of millions of dollars to conduct such a trial, and (depending on what assessment is being conducted) take years of bureaucratic wrangling to complete.

This creates (some would argue by design) a “monopoly of proof,” leaving billion dollar companies among the few who can (quite literally) afford to prove their products work.

So how does a new wellness product company provide solid evidence that their products are the real deal?…

Every purchaser of Qualia Mind or Qualia Focus gets free access to the assessment tools from Cambridge Brain Sciences used in the pilot study so consumers can test their personal mental performance before and after use to see if the products work for them….”

Plan S: how important is open access publishing? | Times Higher Education (THE)

Dislike of gold open access is also partly responsible for researchers’ opposition to Plan S. Lynn Kamerlin, professor of structural biology at Uppsala University, is one of the instigators of the open letter against it. While she pledges strong support for open access, she is happy with the current rate of progress and sees the recent “explosion” in the use of preprint servers as illustrative of the range of routes towards it. She fears that the details of Plan S’ “embargo requirements and repository technical requirements…are so draconian that paid-for gold becomes the easiest way to fulfil them”. This will convert the “nudges” towards gold in existing funder mandates (which she supports) into a “shove”, which will be “a disaster for the research community” because it will disadvantage those unable to pay article processing charges and “seriously jeopardise the much more rigorous quality control standards provided by high-quality society journals compared to the high-volume for-profit business model, which has an inbuilt conflict of interest”.

Nor is Kamerlin alone in expressing a concern that the allegedly lower standards of peer review practised by fully open access journals have compromised quality. But, for Suber, debating quality rather misses the point. “Yes, there is some low-quality open access work, but there’s also low-quality subscription journal work, and people who step back [to see the bigger picture] always acknowledge that,” he says. “Quality and access are completely independent of each other. Open access isn’t a kind of peer review, it’s a kind of dissemination.”

However, he agrees with Kamerlin that the “green” form of open access, whereby academics post work that is in subscription journals on their institutional repositories or elsewhere…is another good option….”

Public Scholarship in Practice and Philosophy | hc:22279 | Humanities CORE

Abstract:  This piece offers several threads that bind an ideal together: there are practical actions to increase the public-ness of scholarship, increasingly compelling reasons to adopt an outward-orientation, as well as many challenges to performing public scholarship in higher education. We propose that a more public scholarly practice can be sought through the dissemination of research products, the processes by which research and scholarship are conducted, opening pedagogy beyond the classroom, developing soft skills as a public intellectual, and increasing visibility with/in communities.

Making research accessible to inform better policy decisions | Think Tank Initiative

We can’t expect policymakers to just know what policies are best for a given context – to make better decisions, they need evidence. This is why local data and research are so important, as they can inform policies to be more effective, and to better respond to on-the-ground realities. Yet academic research does not speak for itself. In fact, it is estimated that, on average, academic papers may be read by as few as 10 people….

When I began this study I was surprised to find that, while the term “accessibility” is used frequently, it is not clearly defined and appears to have different meanings for different people. For example, does it refer to the availability of research? Its usability? Something else? In the end, I decided to work with a concept of accessibility drawn from an information sciences study that highlights three dimensions: physical, intellectual, and social (read more about this concept in this open access article)….

Seeing research as a public good – a contribution towards our communal stock of knowledge – highlights the importance of research accessibility for all. I would argue that there is a moral imperative for all researchers to try and make their work as accessible as possible.  Increasing accessibility can help research to inform other studies, or may lead to findings being applied in different contexts and at different scales. …”

Could This Search Engine Save Your Life? – The Chronicle of Higher Education

One of the Allen Institute’s priorities is an academically oriented search engine, established in 2015, called Semantic Scholar (slogan: “Cut through the clutter”). The need is great, with more than 34,000 peer-reviewed journals publishing 2.5 million articles a year. “What if a cure for an intractable cancer is hidden within the tedious reports on thousands of clinical studies?,” Etzioni once said.

Although Semantic Scholar has focused so far on computer and biomedical sciences, Etzioni says that the engine will soon push into the social sciences and the humanities as well. The Chronicle spoke with him about information overload, impact factors’ imperfect inevitability, and the promise and perils of AI….”

When open access to research becomes personal – Expanded world – Medium

What did I find when I was looking for high-quality, up to date information? First off, that there isn’t much on either of these particular cancers. What there is, is mostly in fairly obscure journals, but some other papers are in much better known journals; overwhelmingly, however, the research required a subscription to read. Cost to read of just the first few articles came to well over AUD $100. And because I do use unpaywall to see if there were OA copies (there weren’t) there are no other easy or legal options for these parents. For those who’d like to say that subscription articles are usually freely available in 6–12 months, I’ll just point out that for one of these cancers the median survival is around 5 months. Oh, and there are trials for these cancers, duly registered but not reported….”

Earth Science Engagement Through Art and Astronaut Photography

“For over five decades of manned spaceflight missions, NASA astronauts have taken extraordinary photographs of Earth’s surface and dynamic processes. Humans on board the International Space Station (ISS) have a unique platform to perform Earth observations at various viewing angles, seasons, and times of day. Astronaut photos taken from the ISS comprise a true?color (RGB) dataset taken with multiple handheld digital cameras and lens types (prior to 2004, film cameras were in use). Earth observations through astronaut photography are an important and unique remote sensing method when monitoring natural disasters, urban growth, and environmental changes. While astronaut imagery can be used for earth science research, there is also an artistic aspect to the photography that fascinates a wide global population. A broader public audience can be introduced to earth science through high resolution, Earth art photos taken from the perspective of an astronaut. The Crew Earth Observations (CEO) Facility within the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA’s Johnson Space Center supports the acquisition, analysis, and curation of astronaut photography of Earth’s surface and atmosphere. CEO’s website, the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth (, provides free public access to view, search, and download over three million images taken by astronauts throughout all of NASA’s crewed spaceflight history, with an emphasis on current ISS imagery. The CEO Facility actively curates a digital collection of exceptional Earth art astronaut photos used for public engagement. Our new Downloadable Earth Art page focuses on broad earth science topics including: mountains, water, clouds, agriculture, as well as an “abstract” category. This continuously?updated collection is comprised of freely accessible and high?quality downloadable materials, such as single? and dual?screen digital wallpapers. All Earth Art materials are presented with science?based information that complements the artistic qualities of the imagery, and facilitate connections between general audiences and earth science from the International Space Station.”

OASPA Member Spotlight: The Internet Policy Review – OASPA

“[Q] Why did the Internet Policy Review decide to adopt an open access publishing model for your journal? Can you talk a bit about your understanding of open access that informs your vision for publishing?

[A] How could we not make our content open access? We’re a non-profit journal and we publish in the public interest. This means we need to make all of our research articles, op-eds, news articles, and special issue articles accessible to the public at no cost. It also means we require no APCs (article processing charges). For us, it’s important to make the way we talk about research in the journal as accessible as possible so that we’re not just speaking to ourselves. As Christina Riesenweber pointed out in one of our Q&A articles, it’s not just about making the text itself available to the public; it’s about making sure lots of people can make sense of the content….”