#bropenscience is broken science | The Psychologist

“As a jocular retort to one of a few cases of strange and aggressive behaviour from some open science people towards others online, one of us (Olivia) coined the expression #bropenscience in a June 2017 tweet. This was after a discussion with other women within the open science movement, who had noticed this phenomenon, but were looking for a concise description. #bropenscience is a tongue-in-cheek expression but also has a serious side, shedding light on the narrow demographics and off-putting behavioural patterns seen in open science. The phrase is a necessary rhetorical device to draw attention to an issue that has been systematically underappreciated. It evokes a visceral reaction. By design. Labelling broblems allows us to tackle them. As a field, psychology is well-equipped to self-reflect on patterns of behaviours and rhetorical devices – most of us are used to analysing complex social dynamics. However, #bropenscience has also been misunderstood and misrepresented, not least because Twitter has a tricky interface and people love drama!

Here we will clarify the important points for those who might not have been following these discussions. We will explain why having a hashtag like #bropenscience, or at least having this dialogue, is useful as part of the process of achieving openness in scholarship. Along the way we will explain what open science and open scholarship are, why we care about them, and finally, we will describe specific actions that readers can take to help promote equity and inclusion, the fundamentals for openness.

We offer our opinions as open science advocates, albeit with different priorities and expertise. Just as it is important for scientists to criticise the scientific process, so too must open science advocates critically engage with the suggested reforms….”

No tickets for women in the COVID-19 race? A study on manuscript submissions and reviews in 2347 Elsevier journals during the pandemic by Flaminio Squazzoni, Giangiacomo Bravo, Francisco Grimaldo, Daniel Garc?a-Costa, Mike Farjam, Bahar Mehmani :: SSRN

Abstract:  During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the submission rate to scholarly journals increased abnormally (e.g., more than 90% in health & medicine Elsevier journals). Given that most academics have been forced to work from home, the competing demands for home-schooling, child and other care duties might have penalised the scientific productivity of women. To test this hypothesis, we looked at submitted manuscripts and peer review activities for all Elsevier journals between February and May 2018-2020, including data on almost 6 million academics. Results showed that women submitted proportionally fewer manuscripts than men during the COVID-19 lockdown months. This deficit was especially pronounced among women in more advanced stages of their career. The rate of the peer-review invitation acceptance showed a less pronounced gender pattern, with the exception of health & medicine, where women were also less keen to accept reviewing. Our findings indicate that the pandemic has already created cumulative advantages for men.


Proprietary Grapes Come With Draconian End User License Agreement

“A company put an end user license agreement (EULA) on a bag of grapes: “The recipient of the produce contained in this package agrees not to propagate or reproduce any portion of this produce, including ‘but not limited to’ seeds, stems, tissue, and fruit,” read the EULA on a bag of Carnival brand grapes….”

US Patent Boss Says No Evidence Of Patents Holding Back COVID Treatments, Days Before Pharma Firms Prove He’s Wrong | Techdirt

“A week or so ago, the head of the US Patent and Trademark Office, Andrei Iancu, who has been an extreme patent maximalist over the years, insisted that there was simply no evidence that patents hold back COVID treatments. This is a debate we’ve been having over the past few months. We’ve seen some aggressive actions by patent holders, and the usual crew of patent system supporters claiming, without evidence that no one would create a vaccine without much longer patent terms….

But just to highlight how ridiculous Iancu’s statements were, just days later, Pfizer, Regeneron, and BioNTech — all working on COVID treatments (including the antibody cocktail that President Trump took from Regeneron) — were all sued for patent infringement for their COVID treatments….

So, it certainly appears that patents are getting in the way of some COVID-19 treatments….”

OPEN DATA: Agencies Need Guidance to Establish Comprehensive Data Inventories; Information on Their Progress is Limited

“The Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary Government Data Act of 2018 (OPEN Government Data Act) codifies and expands open data policy and generally requires agencies to publish information as open data by default, as well as develop and maintain comprehensive data inventories. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not issued statutorily-required guidance for agencies to implement comprehensive data inventories, which could limit agencies’ progress in implementing their requirements under the act. OMB also has not met requirements to publicly report on agencies’ performance and compliance with the act. Access to this information could inform Congress and the public about agencies’ open data progress and statutory compliance….

Pandemic Amplifies Trouble with Restrictive Licensing and E-Textbooks – SPARC

“Students who can’t afford to buy textbooks have long relied on reserve copies at their campus libraries. As the global pandemic shuttered colleges and universities, it also cut off access to these print learning materials. Many students and faculty members asked the next logical question: Why can’t the library just provide a digital copy?

It’s not so simple. Many publishers will only sell e-books directly to students – not libraries – and licensing fees have been jacked up. The industry claims that selling digital copies to libraries will cannibalize the e-book market….

In a shot across the bow, the University of Guelph Library in Canada posted a statement on its website explaining how publishers have limited their ability to serve students in need….

Guelph staff decided to name names, listing the publishers unwilling to sell the library e-textbook versions of their publications: Pearson, Cengage, Houghton, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press Canada (Textbook Division), Thieme, and Elsevier imprints (such as Elsevier Health Science, Mosby, and Saunders)….

If universities had developed openly licensed materials years ago, students wouldn’t be facing these barriers now, noted Courtney.”

Open-access fees creating ‘a crisis’ for African research – Research Professional News

“The fees that some open access journals charge scientists to publish—known as article processing charges, or APCs—are keeping African researchers out of top publications, an editorial in BMJ Global Health has warned. 

“The stifling effect of APCs on publications [by African researchers] must now be considered a crisis,” it says. 

The editorial was written by four African health researchers who are based in Congo, South Africa and Australia. It appeared in the journal’s September issue.

On average, APCs are in the US$1,250-US$2,225 range, they write, but for top journals the fee can rise to US$5,000.

Partial and full fee waivers exist for researchers in Africa. But there are caveats, the authors write. Researchers may be based in a country with a per capita income above the waiver threshold, but where government support for science is paltry. Or they can be ineligible for waivers because they have partners in high-income countries….”

Wikipedia and the End of Open Collaboration?

“Wikipedia’s incredible success masks a more complex story. In fact, not even Wikipedia has been able to maintain a stable community of volunteers over the past two decades. Figure 1 shows the number of “active” contributors to eight of the largest language versions of Wikipedia over time. The top left panel shows English Wikipedia’s explosive contributor growth through March 2007 and its transition into a long, slow period of decline. The other panels show similar patterns across the seven largest Wikipedia language versions measured by contributor base. Readership and other uses of Wikipedia have increased steadily over the period shown. As scholars of open collaboration and as concerned contributors to, and users of, Wikipedia, these dynamics have been the center of much of our research over the last decade.

Although the death of Wikipedia has been foretold many times, the dynamics playing out in the graphs above imply that long-term decline in contributors may be undermining the project from within in important ways. As the contributor bases of most of the large Wikipedia language versions shrink over time, fewer editors means reduced capacity to cover new topics and to maintain high quality content. What future do these projects have? What explains the patterns illustrated in Figure 1? What should Wikipedia and proponents of open collaborations and knowledge do? …”

Gaps in Academic Communication – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Recently I saw a LinkedIn advertisement looking for Chinese speaking Associate Editors for the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). I approached Dominic Mitchell who posted the message, and suggested he post a message on Chinese social media. The next day I noticed a post in Chinese by the DOAJ WeChat account, and shared it with my network of STM publishers. There was immediate interest, and issues. The application form was a Google Doc which cannot be opened by Chinese users since Google does not have a license to operate in China. Realizing that this could be a problem, the DOAJ post offered a Word file, available for download from a Google Drive account which was still inaccessible to Chinese users….

A few weeks ago, an old document from a double-first-class university in south China triggered a lot of discussion among researchers and publishers. This internal document states that, “starting from January 1, 2019, papers published in open access journals will not be recognized by the university” in performance evaluation. It was rumored that at least one other top-100 university has the same regulation. As incredible as it sounds, this reflects the perception of open access by many Chinese researchers and publishers. Twenty years ago, the same skepticism on open access publications was not uncommon in the West, but it remains surprisingly prevalent in China.

I also often encounter a lack of interest in open access from Chinese STM publishers, which is perplexing considering how hot this topic has been in the West. I attribute this to the uncommercialized status of STM publishing in China. The majority of journals are fully funded and published by universities or research institutes. Reputation and quality have always been placed above all other metrics, and the business side is much less of a concern. This attitude towards open access is changing slowly. From 2016 to 2019, the total number of open access papers published by Chinese authors in gold or hybrid journals has more than doubled, and the percentage of these papers among all papers by Chinese authors increased by 1-2% every year, to 24% in 2019 (source of data: Dimensions). Meanwhile there is more and more vocal support of open access, so it could be just a matter of time until China fully embraces it….”