A reputation economy: how individual reward considerations trump systemic arguments for open access to data : Palgrave Communications

Abstract:  Open access to research data has been described as a driver of innovation and a potential cure for the reproducibility crisis in many academic fields. Against this backdrop, policy makers are increasingly advocating for making research data and supporting material openly available online. Despite its potential to further scientific progress, widespread data sharing in small science is still an ideal practised in moderation. In this article, we explore the question of what drives open access to research data using a survey among 1564 mainly German researchers across all disciplines. We show that, regardless of their disciplinary background, researchers recognize the benefits of open access to research data for both their own research and scientific progress as a whole. Nonetheless, most researchers share their data only selectively. We show that individual reward considerations conflict with widespread data sharing. Based on our results, we present policy implications that are in line with both individual reward considerations and scientific progress.

Assessing Current Practices in Review, Tenure, and Promotion – #ScholCommLab

“One of the key components of workplace advancement at the university level are the review, promotion and tenure (RPT) packets that are typically submitted every other year by early career faculty. These guidelines and forms are considered to be of highest importance for all faculty, especially for early career faculty who need to demonstrate the value and impact of their work to the university and the broader scientific community. Quite often impact is equated with “impact factor,” leading many researchers to target a narrow range of journals at the expense of a broader societal considerations (such as the public’s right to access). The importance of RPT guidelines and forms makes them a natural place to effect change towards an opening of access to research (something both Canada and the US have been pushing for through federal policies and laws). While we believe changes in RPT guidelines and forms may provide the impetus for behavioral change, leading to broader interest and adoption of open access principles, the reality is that very little is known about current RPT practices as they relate to questions of openness. This project seeks to examine the RPT process in the US and Canada in ways that can directly inform actions likely to translate into behavioural change and to a greater opening of research. You can see our progress in data collection here.”

Open Data: The Researcher Perspective

“A year ago, in April 2016, Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) and Elsevier embarked on a project to investigate open data practices at the workbench in academic research. Knowledge knows no borders, so to understand open data practices comprehensively the project has been framed from the outset as a global study. That said, both the European Union and the Dutch government have formulated the transformation of the scientific system into an open innovation system as a formal policy goal. At the time we started the project, the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science had just been published under the Dutch presidency of the Council of the European Union. However, how are policy initiatives for open science related to the day-to-day practices of researchers and scholars? With this report, we aim to contribute to bridging the gap between policy on the one hand, and daily research practices from a global perspective on the other hand. As we show, open data practices are less developed than anticipated, with the exception of fields where data practices are integrated in the research design from the very beginning. While policy has high expectations about open science and open data, the motive force comes not from the policy aims, but in changing practice at the grass roots level. This requires we confront the harsh reality that the rewards for researchers and scholars to make data available are few, and the complexity in doing so is high….”

Untangling Academic Publishing: A history of the relationship between commercial interests, academic prestige and the circulation of research | Zenodo

“In 2013, the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council funded a 4-year project on the editorial and commercial history of the world’s oldest-surviving scholarly journal (‘Publishing the Philosophical Transactions: a social, cultural and economic history of a learned journal, 1665-2015’, AH/K001841). The project is led by Dr Aileen Fyfe at the University of St Andrews in partnership with the Royal Society.

The project team convened a workshop at the Royal Society, 22 April 2016, on ‘The Politics of Academic Publishing, 1950-2016’. This briefing paper is informed by the contributions of those who attended that day, and we thank them for their insights. The authors of this briefing paper are a sub-group of those who attended the April 2016 workshop.

This report is based upon the primary (historical) research of the Philosophical Transactions project team, combined with a literature review, and the expertise of the other authors (principally in higher education research, and in scholarly communication)….”

Academics ‘should not sign over research copyright to publishers’ | THE News

“Academics should resist signing over the copyright of their research to a “profit-oriented” academic publisher if they can secure a licence to publish themselves, a report recommends, while university leaders must simultaneously seek ways to ensure that copyright remains with the author.

According to the report, Untangling Academic Publishing: A History of the Relationship between Commercial Interests, Academic Prestige and the Circulation of Knowledge, reforms of scholarly publishing have given “undue weight to commercial concerns” in recent years. Additionally, the “prestige economy”, in which academics compete for the kudos of having their work published by journals with high impact factors or by high-status presses, has stymied the move towards open access and “free sharing of knowledge”, it argues….”

[1608.07878] TrueReview: A Platform for Post-Publication Peer Review

Abstract:  In post-publication peer review, scientific contributions are first published in open-access forums, such as arXiv or other digital libraries, and are subsequently reviewed and possibly ranked and/or evaluated. Compared to the classical process of scientific publishing, in which review precedes publication, post-publication peer review leads to faster dissemination of ideas, and publicly-available reviews. The chief concern in post-publication reviewing consists in eliciting high-quality, insightful reviews from participants. 

We describe the mathematical foundations and structure of TrueReview, an open-source tool we propose to build in support of post-publication review. In TrueReview, the motivation to review is provided via an incentive system that promotes reviews and evaluations that are both truthful (they turn out to be correct in the long run) and informative (they provide significant new information). TrueReview organizes papers in venues, allowing different scientific communities to set their own submission and review policies. These venues can be manually set-up, or they can correspond to categories in well-known repositories such as arXiv. The review incentives can be used to form a reviewer ranking that can be prominently displayed alongside papers in the various disciplines, thus offering a concrete benefit to reviewers. The paper evaluations, in turn, reward the authors of the most significant papers, both via an explicit paper ranking, and via increased visibility in search.

Why we should worry less about predatory publishers and more about the quality of research and training at our academic institutions

In 2014 over 400,000 articles were published in about 8000 journals that many regard as predatory. The term “predatory publishers” was first used by Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado, who until recently documented this phenomenon on his blog and in an annual list. Although this term, and variants such as “predatory journals”, are widely used, they have been criticised. One problem is that the term predator may cover a spectrum of organizations, business activities and publications ranging from the amateurish but genuine to the deliberately misleading.

Stop binning negative results, researchers told | Times Higher Education (THE)

“A new Europe-wide code of research conduct has ordered academics and journals to treat negative experimental results as being equally worthy of publication as positive ones….The new European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity frames the bias against negative results as an issue of research conduct, stipulating that “authors and publishers [must] consider negative results to be as valid as positive findings for publication and dissemination”….It has been drawn up by All European Academies (Allea), a network of academic organisations including the British Academy, Germany’s Leopoldina and the French Académie des Sciences….The new code also puts more emphasis on research organisations themselves to prevent and detect misconduct; for example, universities should reward “open and reproducible practices” when it comes to hiring and promoting researchers, it says….”

Chambers, C.: The Seven Deadly Sins of Psychology: A Manifesto for Reforming the Culture of Scientific Practice. (eBook and Hardcover)

“Outlining a core set of best practices that can be applied across the sciences, Chambers demonstrates how all these sins can be corrected by embracing open science, an emerging philosophy that seeks to make research and its outcomes as transparent as possible….”

Academics can change the world – if they stop talking only to their peers

“Some academics insist that it’s not their job to write for the general public. They suggest that doing so would mean they’re “abandoning their mission as intellectuals”. They don’t want to feel like they’re “dumbing down” complex thinking and arguments.

The counter argument is that academics can’t operate in isolation from the world’s very real problems.

They may be producing important ideas and innovations that could help people understand and perhaps even begin to address issues like climate change, conflict, food insecurity and disease….”