Making Early European Books Open Access | On the Trail of the Bianchi of 1399

“The Wellcome Library’s Early Modern European Book collection is currently accessible at Early European Books online. At the moment, you need a login and to physically be in the UK to see these books. The Wellcome are in the process of making 10% of these holdings open access, and I’m getting to choose about 200 volumes for this purpose. Incunabula, so books from the first 50 years of printing, will be automatically included, so I’m looking through the catalogue at books printed after around 1500.


I’m making a database of the books I’m choosing to show why I’ve selected them, so which criteria they fulfil as well as explaining why that particular volume is exciting. I’ll be blogging about some of the most exciting things I find. For now, I’ll have to go to the rare books room at the Wellcome library to take my own photos, but once this project is complete, you’ll be able to read the selected books online for free.”

UK Scholarly Communications Licence – Briefing Paper (February 2016)

“A similar model, introduced successfully at Harvard University in 2008 and adopted by many US institutions (such as MIT), inspired the UK-SCL. Under the UK-SCL each member of staff grants the university a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to make the accepted final version of their scholarly articles publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC BY NC) licence. Under this licence, non-commercial reuse is permitted, as long as the author is credited. The university can sublicense these rights to all authors of the paper and their host institutions. The university will make metadata available publicly upon deposit and the manuscript within 12 months of acceptance or immediately upon publication, whichever is earlier. On request the university will usually (but does not have to) grant a waiver to these rights for up to 2 years from publication. [The exact embargo length and length of waiver are still under discussion] Imperial College London is leading the implementation of the UK-SCL. Discussions involve over 70 organisations in the UK including several Russell Group institutions. There has also been extensive consultation with the Russell Group Policy office, HEFCE, Jisc, the Wellcome Trust and a number of international organisation….”

Open Research Central

“Open Research Central is a portal through which research in any field can be submitted for formal publication on one of the open research publishing platforms.

These platforms are currently operated by F1000 and use a model of immediate publication followed by transparent invited peer review, and require the inclusion of all supporting data (see here for more details of the model).

This model has been running on F1000Research since its inception in 2013. It is also used on Wellcome Open Research (launched November 2016) for Wellcome grant holders, and will also be used on the upcoming Gates Open Research for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant holders and UCL Child Health Open Research for all research groups at UCL focusing on child health. See the respective platforms for details of the current model, as well as author guidelines and policies.

The model continues to evolve through ongoing consultation with a wide variety of stakeholders, including numerous researchers across scientific disciplines, research funders, institutions, policy makers, and others.

While F1000 is currently maintaining Open Research Central and the publishing platforms, our longer-term plan is to transition Open Research Central to being owned and governed by the international research community with broad representation across research funding agencies, research institutions, and researchers themselves. We will assemble a governing board shortly to start this process….”

Wellcome Trust launches open-access publishing venture : Nature News & Comment

“One of the world’s largest biomedical charities, the Wellcome Trust in London, will launch an open-access publishing venture later this year. The idea behind Wellcome Open Research is to allow Wellcome grant recipients to publish their findings more quickly and to create a model that, according to the charity, other funders might adopt in future….”

Wellcome Open Research author survey results | Wellcome Open Research Blog

“Author survey shows that publication speed and the ability to share a variety of research outputs are the primary reasons why authors publish on the Wellcome Open Research publishing platform. Michael Markie, Publisher at F1000 and Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research, Wellcome discuss the survey results and what actions will taken based on them.”

European Commission considering leap into open-access publishing | Science | AAAS

“One of Europe’s biggest science spenders could soon branch out into publishing. The European Commission, which spends more than €10 billion annually on research, may follow two other big league funders, the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and set up a “publishing platform” for the scientists it funds, in an attempt to accelerate the transition to open-access publishing in Europe….”

Gates, Wellcome Award Nearly $8 Million for Faster TB Diagnosis | News | PND

“The University of Oxford has announced grants totaling nearly $8 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and others in support of efforts to speed up diagnosis of drug-resistant tuberculosis….The grants will enable Oxford researchers to expand that library [of genomce sequences] by collecting and analyzing a hundred thousand additional samples from around the world….The Oxford team will then assemble the results into a single open-access database….”

Medical research: The shackles of scientific journals | The Economist

“Science should not, and need not, be shackled by journal publication. Three sensible reforms would ensure that researchers’ results could be communicated to more people more quickly, without any compromise on quality. Step one is for the organisations that finance research to demand that scientists put their academic papers, along with their experimental data, in publicly accessible ‘repositories’ before they are sent to a journal. That would allow other researchers to make use of the findings without delay. Those opposed to such ‘preprints’ argue that they allow shoddy work to proliferate because it has not yet been peer-reviewed. That may surprise physicists and mathematicians, who have been posting work to arXiv, a preprint repository, for more than 25 years with no ill effects. After peer review, research should also be freely available for all to read. Too much science, much of it paid for from the public purse, languishes behind paywalls.

Step two is to improve the process of peer review itself. Journals currently administer a system of organising anonymous peer reviewers to pass judgment on new research—a fact they use, in part, to justify their hefty subscription prices. But this murky process is prone to abuse. At its worst, cabals of researchers are suspected of guaranteeing favourable reviews for each other’s work. Better that reviewers are named and that the reviews themselves are published. The Gates foundation has announced its support for an online repository where such open peer review of papers takes place. The repository was launched last year by the Wellcome Trust, meaning that the world’s two largest medical charities have thrown their weight behind it. Others should follow (see article).

Fight for your right

Finally, science needs to stop relying so much on journal publication as the only recognised credential for researchers and the only path to career progression. Tools exist that report how often a preprint has been viewed, for example, or whether a clinical data set has been cited in guidelines for doctors. A handful of firms are using artificial intelligence to assess the scientific importance of research, irrespective of how it has been disseminated. Such approaches need encouragement. Journals may lose out, but science itself will benefit.”