AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research

Abstract:  AccessLabs are workshops with two simultaneous motivations, achieved through direct citizen-scientist pairings: (1) to decentralise research skills so that a broader range of people are able to access/use scientific research, and (2) to expose science researchers to the difficulties of using their research as an outsider, creating new open access advocates. Five trial AccessLabs have taken place for policy makers, media/journalists, marine sector participants, community groups, and artists. The act of pairing science academics with local community members helps build understanding and trust between groups at a time when this relationship appears to be under increasing threat from different political and economic currents in society. Here, we outline the workshop motivations, format, and evaluation, with the aim that others can build on the methods developed.

Hashtag SciComm: How Social Media Platforms Are Shaping the Future of Science | PLOS Blogs Network

Established in 2006, Twitter is currently one of the most powerful social networking platforms for scientists across the world. In a 2014 survey by Nature, about 13% of scientists reported that they regularly use Twitter mainly to follow discussion on research-related issues [1]. I recently asked my Twitter followers to tell me the things they enjoy about ‘Science Twitter’ and/or the scientists they followed. After over a hundred responses primarily from scientists, the top two responses (> 35%) related to how scientists showcase their human side – their passion and struggles – and the sense of community established as a result. A recent study found that most followers of scientists on Twitter are scientists themselves [2], which is reflected in the responses I obtained. While this is great for certain aspects of science communication, it limits the power of outreaching to a wider community. However, the same study showed that the types of followers became more diverse as the number of followers increased beyond a certain threshold. While not every scientist has the interest or resources to achieve thousands of followers, there are certain ways in which scientists can improve their presence and experience in social media. Here are my top five tips on how to do this: …”

Open access: remember doctors in developing countries | The BMJ

Just as patients’ access to journals is important,1 so is the access of doctors in developing countries. Here, institutional access to scientific literature is rare, unlike in most Western countries. Subscribing to four or five ‘‘must have’’ journals, even when subsidised, costs two or three months of salary. Though subscription rates are understandable, they should not stop someone gaining desired knowledge. The excitement when a new study is published on a topic of interest soon vanishes when you know you can’t afford it….

The biggest service journals could do for patients and medical society is to increase subsidies or make access completely free to facilitate research in the developing world. Perhaps in a few years’ time, when young doctors see a great publication their next thought will be, “This is great. I’m going to learn a lot from this paper” rather than “If I buy this, will I be able to pay the rent?” “

Open access: remember the limitations of abstracts and the role of professional endorsement | The BMJ

In my discipline (e-health literacy), I often find myself debating whether abstracts being freely available to patients is of any real benefit. For researchers and clinicians, abstracts are a great timesaver—enabling a “flick-through” of the copious amounts of new articles for timely follow up. They may also be used by treating physicians and healthcare teams as a starting point for treatment planning and research. But abstracts are not designed to be an independent pathway to inform health decisions for patients lacking the appropriate professional expertise and health literacy skills….”

[Is this an argument against OA for abstracts, or for OA to full-text articles?]

Open+: Versioning Open Social Scholarship

Abstract:  Advocates of the Open Access (OA) movement have been fighting for free and unfettered access to research output since the early 1990s. Open access is a crucial element of a fair, efficient scholarly communication system where all are able to find, interpret, and use the results of publicly-funded research. Universal open access is more possible now than ever before, thanks to networked technologies and the development of open scholarship policies. But what happens after access to research is provided? In this paper I argue that versioning scholarship across varying modes and formats would move scholarly communication from a straightforward open access system to a more engaging environment for multiple communities.

[From the body of the paper:] “Here is my suggestion for simultaneously upholding important traditions of humanistic scholarship (e.g. peer review, long-form writing), as well as taking advantage of digital technologies, while committing to open scholarship as a de facto public good and ethical imperative of higher education: versioning. Ideas gain depth and traction as they are brought to light, discussed, reviewed, and refuted. This process of refinement is how we develop convincing arguments. Instead of thinking of “lowbrow” or opular communication mechanisms as outside of the scholarly communication process, or else as a public record or starting point for an idea, what if we considered multiple versions of an argument as equally important and requiring of our sustained effort and attention? The germ of any research output is the main argument or theory—what if that germ was sprouted in various venues and forms? One could simultaneously or sequentially publish a long-form argument via open access academic journal article; work with a journalist or writer colleague to explore the same argument in a more public, online venue—revised as appropriate for such a modality; post a truncated version of the argument on a personal blog as an easy referent; and create short, pithy social media encapsulations of the argument as well. Each mode of engagement will engender different reactions and feedback, as different audiences will collaborate and create knowledge at each interaction point (Arbuckle & Stewart 2017)….”

Why should the public be involved in science? | ORION Open Science

” “For research to be really impactful, the public has to be involved. They need to understand the research and we need to help to connect the research to what people care about,” says Imran Khan, Head of Public Engagement at Wellcome Trust in the UK, one of the world’s largest research funders. But do the public wish to be involved in science? The German and Swedish Science Barometers, the EU-project ORION Open Science European public attitudes survey and the Wellcome Trust Global Monitor have all asked this question….

After the presentations, the participants discussed in smaller groups why and how the public should be involved in science. They then shared their thoughts both orally and by using an online tool. According to the workshop participants, the public should be involved in science because: 

  • Science will have an impact on their lives.
  • We need the views of the public.
  • Knowledge gives insights and increases trust. It’s a base for democracy.
  • It can improve quality and broaden perspectives.
  • They pay for it!

But how can we interest the public to get involved? Some suggestions from the participants in the workshop included:

  • Must depart from their own interest and relevance.
  • The wow effect – science is fun!
  • Create arenas for connection between researchers and the public.
  • Show how research affects society and how you can contribute.
  • Make participating fun and giving….”

 

Aligning Social Media Indicators with the Documents in an Open Access Repository

Abstract:  In this paper we describe our current efforts towards building a framework that extends the functionality of an Open Access Repository by implementing processes to incorporate the ongoing trends in social media into the context of a digital collection. We refer to these processes collectively as the Social Media Engine. The purpose of our framework is twofold: first, we propose to challenge some of the preconceived notions of digital libraries by making repositories more dynamic; and second, by challenging this notion we want to promote public engagement and open scholarship. As a work in progress, we believe that a real challenge lies in investigating the implications that these two points introduce within the context of the humanities.

Digital USD – Digital Initiatives Symposium: What If We Get Open Access?: A New Case for Undergraduate Scientific Literacy

Abstract:  For the educators among us who care about the Open Access Movement, are we prepared for what comes in a post-OA world? Suppose that Plan-S (or another initiative with similar objectives) succeeds in making vast quantities of previously paywalled scientific literature openly available to anyone with an Internet connection.

On one hand, it’s the utopia we’ve fought for: our best ideas, set free to circulate among the minds who will incorporate them toward solving the big issues humanity faces. On the other hand, what if scientific literature becomes weaponized in the same way that journalism has in recent years, where legitimate work gets sewn with seeds of doubt, and bad-faith efforts gain more traction than they deserve. When our research institutions continue to have trouble assessing science literature, to what measure should laypersons hold themselves?

In this cheery presentation, we will imagine a possible dystopia of our own creation, followed by a discussion of tools, tech, and approaches that could be used in an undergraduate education setting to make our future scientists better research communicators and our future citizens better research consumers.

Crowdsourcing in medical research: concepts and applications

Abstract:  Crowdsourcing shifts medical research from a closed environment to an open collaboration between the public and researchers. We define crowdsourcing as an approach to problem solving which involves an organization having a large group attempt to solve a problem or part of a problem, then sharing solutions. Crowdsourcing allows large groups of individuals to participate in medical research through innovation challenges, hackathons, and related activities. The purpose of this literature review is to examine the definition, concepts, and applications of crowdsourcing in medicine. This multi-disciplinary review defines crowdsourcing for medicine, identifies conceptual antecedents (collective intelligence and open source models), and explores implications of the approach. Several critiques of crowdsourcing are also examined. Although several crowdsourcing definitions exist, there are two essential elements: (1) having a large group of individuals, including those with skills and those without skills, propose potential solutions; (2) sharing solutions through implementation or open access materials. The public can be a central force in contributing to formative, pre-clinical, and clinical research. A growing evidence base suggests that crowdsourcing in medicine can result in high-quality outcomes, broad community engagement, and more open science.

Open access: remember the patients | The BMJ

A growing number of us patients are experiencing a comparable frustration at having newly minted knowledge kept from us—for financial reasons. While I fully understand the economic needs of the people who create and publish knowledge, I implore all of them—all of you—to “remember the patients.” In your deliberations about policy, please remember the needs of the people for whose ultimate benefit your work exists. And modify the financial structure of this work, to prioritise not just creating the knowledge but also delivering it to those in medical need.

Families coping with desperate illness hope that everyone in the healing professions will do everything in their power to bring the newest findings to the point of need. Little do they know that those parties sometimes have other priorities. You should see the look of fear, even outrage, when they learn of this.

If I’m suffering, and remedies are developed, what needs should outweigh mine and keep those remedies hidden? If my baby has a potentially fatal disease, and useful knowledge has been developed, what needs should outweigh ours? Or, if my baby’s condition is not fatal but potentially disabling, and new knowledge has come to light, what needs should outweigh ours to keep that hidden?…”