Global Food Policy Report 2018, International Food Policy Research Institute

From Chapter 6:

“KEY FINDINGS 

? Open data can improve the performance of food systems and help achieve global food and nutrition security. 

? Accessible data are critical for decision making, from the farm to the retail level of food systems. 

? Open data increase both the visibility and utility of research, allowing researchers to create more knowledge products and support decision making. 

? Open data allow governments to make evidence-based policy decisions and push governments toward increased accountability. 

? Data quality and ease of use are essential for putting data to use, but datasets are often too large or complex to be easily handled. 

? Inequality in access to knowledge is increasing. Data policies, commitments, and investments can improve access to and use of knowledge, but current commitment and action on open data are uneven. 

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS 

? Democratize data access and improve livelihoods by putting data tools, such as mobile-phone apps, into farmers’ hands. 

? Increase the efficiency of knowledge transfers to prevent loss of information and ensure uptake in the field. 

? Make government “big data” public to drive high-quality analysis of food systems and better policy and decision making. 

? Build open data initiatives, including to reduce inequality and address issues of data quality, use, storage, and dissemination. 

? Increase data quality and ease of use through better data collection, new tools, working groups, capacity building, and improvements in big data platforms. 

? Empower citizen stakeholders to demand open data through capacity building and access to data tools.”

Obstacles facing Africa’s young climate scientists | Nature Climate Change

“However, early-career scientists in Africa face numerous challenges in securing resources, training and research positions. These challenges threaten to undermine the continent’s ability to deal with environmental change resulting from climate change….One such challenge is underfunded and inadequate research facilities4. Computational and e-infrastructure limitations are especially salient; high demand for supercomputers and sufficient storage for big data far exceed what most African universities can afford. The ratio between the number of usable computers and users is low in most universities5. Some also struggle to bear the cost of subscribing to closed-access journals. While open-access journals provide unmeasurable succour to researchers in these institutions, scientists are left with an incomplete view of progress in their fields….”

New fund to support groundbreaking open research – Wellcome

New Open Research Fund supports innovative approaches that enable data, code or other research outputs to be discovered, accessed and reused.

It will allow researchers from any discipline to do experiments at the cutting edge of open research and evaluate the benefits and risks of their approach.

The awards are:

  • for new activities or to develop existing activities
  • open to individuals or teams from anywhere in the world
  • up to £50,000 each.

Wellcome will be accepting applications once a year.

Robert Kiley, Head of Wellcome’s Open Research team, says: “We believe the research community are best placed to devise new and innovative ways to make research outputs more open and usable.

“These awards provide a unique opportunity for the most interesting and groundbreaking proposals to be developed, tested and evaluated.”

Open Access Policy Adopted by IU Bloomington Faculty | Indiana University Libraries

“In 2017, the Bloomington Faculty Council unanimously approved an Open Access policy that ensures that faculty scholarship will be accessible and available to the public for future generations. Adopting such a policy reduces barriers to research and learning by making research available on the public internet to be downloaded and shared freely, making it possible for scholarship to be more widely read and cited than literature that appears in closed-access, licensed journal databases. The policy can be found at IUB’s VPFAA site and an FAQ has been posted to our website. The Scholarly Communication staff will be available to help authors deposit their work in IUScholarWorks Open, our repository for the Open Access policy.. Faculty members may also contact us to opt-out of the policy or opt-out themselves using the same repository. Resources are available for faculty who are interested in learning more about the impact and implementation of the policy. Please direct questions to iusw@indiana.edu or the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.”

The Supercontinent of Scholarly Publishing? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Three years ago, I felt called to the unhappy task of pointing out the many points of failure in what Lettie Conrad calls the “researcher experience.” I observed that “Instead of the rich and seamless digital library for scholarship that they need, researchers today encounter archipelagos of content bridged by infrastructure that is insufficient and often outdated.” Perhaps researchers need a supercontinent.

Since then, Sci-Hub has come on the scene, and publishers are in some combination of being outraged and/or scared. It may be that these businesses are too late. The formula for stabilizing a sector facing rampant piracy is the combination of legal action and seamless central access to content that allowed the music industry to find a future after Napster. Thus far, for scholarly publishers, legal action is not working, with cross-border enforcement challenging in this geopolitical moment. But what about the seamless centralized access to content? How is this sector going to accept the tectonic shift necessary to establish the supercontinent?…”

What Happens When Science Just Disappears? | WIRED

“KAY DICKERSIN KNEW she was leaping to the front lines of scholarly publication when she joined The Online Journal of Current Clinical Trials. Scientific print-publishing was—and still is—slow and cumbersome, and reading its results sometimes required researchers to go to the library. But as associate editor at this electronic peer-reviewed journal—one of the very first, launched in the summer of 1992—Dickersin was poised to help bring scientists into the new digital age. Dickersin, an epidemiologist, acted as an associate editor, helping researchers publish their work. But the OJCCT was a bit ahead of its time. The journal was sold in 1994 to a publisher that eventually became part of Taylor & Francis, and which stopped the e-presses just a couple years later. And after that happened, its papers—reports, reviews, and meta-analysis of clinical trials—all disappeared. Dickersin wasn’t just sad to lose her editing gig: She was dismayed that the scientific community was losing those archives. “One of my important studies was in there,” she says, “and no one could get it.” Couldn’t, that is, until Dickersin decided to go spelunking for science. For more than a decade, Dickersin’s paper was missing along with about 80 others. Sometimes, the ex-editors would try to find out who had the rights to the articles, whether they could just take copies and put them on their own website. “We don’t want to do that,” they’d always conclude. “We don’t want to get in trouble.” Finally, Dickersin went to the librarians at Johns Hopkins University, where she is a professor, for help—and that’s how she found Portico. Portico is like a Wayback Machine for scholarly publications. The digital preservation service ingests, meta-tags, preserves, manages, and updates content for publishers and libraries, and then provides access to those archives. The company soon signed on to the project and got permission from Taylor & Francis to make the future archives open-access….”

Time for accessible journals | Research Information

“The case for making publications accessible is so obvious and has been made so often that I won’t waste time here setting out those arguments. You know that accessibility is the right thing to do.

What you may not know is that making a publication accessible has recently become a whole lot more straightforward – and that your publications today are closer to being made properly accessible – than you realise….”

Taylor & Francis scraps extra charges after university protests | The Bookseller

“Taylor & Francis has backtracked over plans to charge extra for access to older research papers online, after more than 110 universities signed a letter of protest.

The latest renewal of UK universities’ deal with the publisher, which is yet to be signed, only covers papers published in the last 20 years, reported Times Higher Education. Research released before this would have to be bought in a separate package by university.

The 20-year span of papers included in the main deal would have moved forward in time with each year. This would mean the archive would increase and costs would escalate further as researchers attempted to access papers from 1997 onwards, described by academics as the beginning of the born digital record. 

In an open letter dated 13th February, head librarians from more than 110 UK and Irish institutions, as well as representatives from Research Libraries UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries (Sconul), and the Irish Universities Association, urged Taylor & Francis to drop the extra charges.

“A “moving wall” approach for non-subscribed titles within the journal package will increase administration activities and costs substantially for libraries and for Taylor & Francis, impose direct additional licensing costs, and create confusion and annoyance for your customers and our reader communities,” the letter reads….”

MyScienceWork, a scientific platform in open access – Paris Innovation Review

“The MyScienceWork scientific platform was launched in 2012 by Virginie Simon and Tristan Davaille with the aim of making scientific knowledge accessible to the largest possible public. A part of the open access movement, it now provides access to 70 million multidisciplinary scientific articles and 12 million patents. The main activity of this start-up, which has offices in Paris, Luxembourg and San Francisco, consists of the analysis of scientific data, which it undertakes both for educational and research institutions and for businesses….”

Research: Sci-Hub provides access to nearly all scholarly literature | eLife | Daniel Scott Himmelstein et al.

“Abstract: The website Sci-Hub enables users to download PDF versions of scholarly articles, including many articles that are paywalled at their journal’s site. Sci-Hub has grown rapidly since its creation in 2011, but the extent of its coverage was unclear. Here we report that, as of March 2017, Sci-Hub’s database contains 68.9% of the 81.6 million scholarly articles registered with Crossref and 85.1% of articles published in toll access journals. We find that coverage varies by discipline and publisher, and that Sci-Hub preferentially covers popular, paywalled content. For toll access articles, we find that Sci-Hub provides greater coverage than the University of Pennsylvania, a major research university in the United States. Green open access to toll access articles via licit services, on the other hand, remains quite limited. Our interactive browser at https://greenelab.github.io/scihub allows users to explore these findings in more detail. For the first time, nearly all scholarly literature is available gratis to anyone with an Internet connection, suggesting the toll access business model may become unsustainable.”