The changing role of funders in responsible research assessment: progress, obstacles and the way ahead

“Encouraging interim results of different vaccine trials reflect the speed, innovation and dedication that the research community has shown in its response to Covid-19. But the pandemic has also shone a spotlight on the inner workings of research, and in lots of ways—good and bad—has intensified scrutiny of how research is funded, practiced, disseminated and evaluated, and how research cultures can be made more open, inclusive and impactful.

 

The uncertain possibilities that flow from this moment follow a period in which concern has intensified over several long-standing problems, all linked to research assessment. As attention shifts from describing these problems, towards designing and implementing solutions, efforts are coalescing around the idea of responsible research assessment (RRA). This is an umbrella term for approaches to assessment which incentivise, reflect and reward the plural characteristics of high-quality research, in support of diverse and inclusive research cultures.

This working paper explores what RRA is, and where it comes from, by outlining fifteen initiatives that have influenced the content, shape and direction of current RRA debates. It goes on to describe some of the responses that these have elicited, with a particular focus on the role and contribution of research funders, who have more freedom and agency to experiment and drive change than many of the other actors in research systems.

The paper also presents the findings of a new survey of RRA policies and practices in the participant organisations of the Global Research Council (GRC)—most of which are national public funding agencies—with responses from 55 organisations worldwide….”

Opening Pandora’s Box: Peeking inside Psychology’s data sharing practices, and seven recommendations for change | SpringerLink

Abstract:  Open data-sharing is a valuable practice that ought to enhance the impact, reach, and transparency of a research project. While widely advocated by many researchers and mandated by some journals and funding agencies, little is known about detailed practices across psychological science. In a pre-registered study, we show that overall, few research papers directly link to available data in many, though not all, journals. Most importantly, even where open data can be identified, the majority of these lacked completeness and reusability—conclusions that closely mirror those reported outside of Psychology. Exploring the reasons behind these findings, we offer seven specific recommendations for engineering and incentivizing improved practices, so that the potential of open data can be better realized across psychology and social science more generally.

 

Opening up Agricultural Research and Data Tickets, Wed, Nov 11, 2020 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite

“The world’s growing population will need more and better food, from less farmable land, being produced by fewer farmers, in a far more volatile and changing climate. A more efficient and equitable agricultural system, in harmony with the environment, requires a step-change in how research is conducted and?how its outputs and data are?shared.

Opening up agricultural research and data is key to accelerating new discoveries and translating them into practice in the field. Other scientific disciplines have adopted?open science but agriculture, although making some progress, is lagging behind.

This webinar?debates the?benefits and opportunities inherent in “open agriculture” and also reviews?some of the?obstacles to change:

• Incentive structures for academic researchers perpetuate?a?restrictive and closed approach, discouraging early data sharing, with low uptake of preprint?and data-sharing initiatives

• The?majority of agricultural research is still published in pay-walled journals?which have established impact factors, copyright transfer, and perverse incentive schemes

• The?corporate sector?conducts important research and development, but commercial constraints inhibit more open sharing of data and insights

• How can open agricultural knowledge and data improve development outcomes for women?

• Open science presents both opportunities and challenges for researchers in low- and middle-income countries

• What would be the ideal open frameworks for agriculture?…”

Opening up Agricultural Research and Data Tickets, Wed, Nov 11, 2020 at 2:00 PM | Eventbrite

“The world’s growing population will need more and better food, from less farmable land, being produced by fewer farmers, in a far more volatile and changing climate. A more efficient and equitable agricultural system, in harmony with the environment, requires a step-change in how research is conducted and?how its outputs and data are?shared.

Opening up agricultural research and data is key to accelerating new discoveries and translating them into practice in the field. Other scientific disciplines have adopted?open science but agriculture, although making some progress, is lagging behind.

This webinar?debates the?benefits and opportunities inherent in “open agriculture” and also reviews?some of the?obstacles to change:

• Incentive structures for academic researchers perpetuate?a?restrictive and closed approach, discouraging early data sharing, with low uptake of preprint?and data-sharing initiatives

• The?majority of agricultural research is still published in pay-walled journals?which have established impact factors, copyright transfer, and perverse incentive schemes

• The?corporate sector?conducts important research and development, but commercial constraints inhibit more open sharing of data and insights

• How can open agricultural knowledge and data improve development outcomes for women?

• Open science presents both opportunities and challenges for researchers in low- and middle-income countries

• What would be the ideal open frameworks for agriculture?…”

Understanding content sharing on the internet: test of a cognitive-affective-conative model | Emerald Insight

Abstract:  Purpose

With the prevalence of user-generated content on the internet, this study aims to propose a cognitive-affective-conative model to examine how users create and share their content online. The moderating role of gender differences is also tested in the model.

Design/methodology/approach

This study collects a representative sample of 873 internet users via a nation-wide survey in Taiwan.

Findings

The results show that hedonic value has a positive impact on internet satisfaction, and social value affects life satisfaction and internet satisfaction positively. Both life satisfaction and internet satisfaction are positively related to content sharing on the internet. In particular, the positive effect of life satisfaction on online content sharing is greater for male users than for female users.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the existing literature by investigating online content sharing behavior from the cognitive-affective-conative perspective. This study also provides a better understanding of this behavior by simultaneously examining life satisfaction and internet satisfaction as two underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, gender differences play an important role in determining content sharing on the internet.

Practical implications

For digital marketing practitioners, this study suggests several online editing and social mechanisms for encouraging users’ engagement in content sharing behavior on the internet.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first that examines a cognitive-affective-conative framework of content sharing behavior on the internet. This study also demonstrates boundary conditions of this framework by testing the moderating role of gender differences.

fiddle: a tool to combat publication bias by getting research out of the file drawer and into the scientific community | Clinical Science | Portland Press

Abstract:  Statistically significant findings are more likely to be published than non-significant or null findings, leaving scientists and healthcare personnel to make decisions based on distorted scientific evidence. Continuously expanding ´file drawers’ of unpublished data from well-designed experiments waste resources creates problems for researchers, the scientific community and the public. There is limited awareness of the negative impact that publication bias and selective reporting have on the scientific literature. Alternative publication formats have recently been introduced that make it easier to publish research that is difficult to publish in traditional peer reviewed journals. These include micropublications, data repositories, data journals, preprints, publishing platforms, and journals focusing on null or neutral results. While these alternative formats have the potential to reduce publication bias, many scientists are unaware that these formats exist and don’t know how to use them. Our open source file drawer data liberation effort (fiddle) tool (RRID:SCR_017327 available at: http://s-quest.bihealth.org/fiddle/) is a match-making Shiny app designed to help biomedical researchers to identify the most appropriate publication format for their data. Users can search for a publication format that meets their needs, compare and contrast different publication formats, and find links to publishing platforms. This tool will assist scientists in getting otherwise inaccessible, hidden data out of the file drawer into the scientific community and literature. We briefly highlight essential details that should be included to ensure reporting quality, which will allow others to use and benefit from research published in these new formats.

fiddle [file drawer data liberation effort]

“This “match-making” tool helps you to identify alternate ways of publishing information from well-designed experiments that is often difficult to publish in traditional journals (i.e. null or neutral results, datasets, etc.). Choose the criteria that are most relevant to you, or choose the scenario that best reflects your situation. The tool will highlight the most suitable options….”

Preliminary report on the first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science – UNESCO Digital Library

UNESCO

1. Adopts thé présent Recommendation on Open Science on this day of… November2021;

2. Recommends that Member States apply thé provisions of this Recommendation by taking appropriate steps, including whatever législative or other measures maybe required, in conformity with thé constitutional practice and governing structures of each State, to give effect within their jurisdictions to thé principles of thé Recommendation;

3. Also recommends that Member States bring thé Recommendation to thé attentionof thé authorities and bodies responsible for science, technology and innovation,and consult relevant actors concerned with Open Science;

4. Further recommends that Member States report to it, at such dates and in suchmanner as shall be determined, on thé action taken in pursuance of this Recommendation….”

Preliminary report on the first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science – UNESCO Digital Library

UNESCO

1. Adopts thé présent Recommendation on Open Science on this day of… November2021;

2. Recommends that Member States apply thé provisions of this Recommendation by taking appropriate steps, including whatever législative or other measures maybe required, in conformity with thé constitutional practice and governing structures of each State, to give effect within their jurisdictions to thé principles of thé Recommendation;

3. Also recommends that Member States bring thé Recommendation to thé attentionof thé authorities and bodies responsible for science, technology and innovation,and consult relevant actors concerned with Open Science;

4. Further recommends that Member States report to it, at such dates and in suchmanner as shall be determined, on thé action taken in pursuance of this Recommendation….”

The open-access availability of criminological research to practitioners and policy makers | Matt Ashby

Abstract:  Criminology produces policy-relevant research and criminologists often seek to influence practice, but most criminological research is confined to expensive subscription journals. This disadvantages researchers in the global south, policy makers and practitioners who have the skills to use research findings but do not have journal subscriptions. Open access seeks to increase availability of research, but take-up among criminologists has been low. This study used a sample of 12,541 articles published in criminology journals between 2017 and 2019 to estimate the proportion of articles available via different types of open access. Overall 22% of research was available to non-subscribers, about half that found in other disciplines, even though authors had the right to make articles open without payment in at least 95% of cases. Open access was even less common in many leading journals and among researchers in the United States. Open access has the potential to increase access to research for those outside academia, but few scholars exercise their existing rights to distribute freely the submitted or accepted versions of their articles online. Policies to incentivise authors to make research open access where possible are needed unlock the benefits of greater access to criminological research.