bjoern.brembs.blog » Who’s responsible for the lack of action?

“There are regular discussions among academics as to who should be the prime mover in infrastructure reform. Some point to the publishers to finally change their business model. Others claim that researchers need to vote with their feet and change how they publish. Again others find that libraries should just stop subscribing to journals and use the saved money for a modern publishing system. Finally and most recently, people have been urging funding agencies to use their power to attach strings to their grant funds and force change where none has occurred….

We, the scientific community and all institutions supporting them, are all responsible for change.

The more relevant question is: who is in the strategically best position to break the lock-in-effect and initiate change?

Researchers decide if they evaluate colleagues on glamour proxies that deteriorate the reliability of science by valuing “novelty” above all else, or if they stand up and demand an infrastructure from their institutions that supports reliability, saves time and provides for an optimized workflow in which they can focus on science again, instead of being constantly side-tracked by the technical minutiae of reviews, meetings, submissions, etc.
Libraries decide how to spend their ~10b€ annually: on subscriptions/APCs in opaque and unaccountable negotiations, exempt from spending rules or on a modern infrastructure without antiquated journals and with a thriving, innovative market that allows them to choose among the lowest responsible bidders?
Funders decide whether to support scientists at institutions that fund monopolists and reward unreliable science, or those that work at institutions which spend their infrastructure and research funds in a fiscally responsible way to provide an infrastructure that preserves not only text, but data and code as well, ensuring the reliability and veracity of the results….”

Women’s journal submission rates continue to fall

““We are seeing some recent improvements, though I worry that those will drop precipitously as the semester begins,” Cassidy Sugimoto, professor of informatics at Indiana University at Bloomington and a co-author of an ongoing study of article submissions to preprint databases, said as her own two daughters did their remote schoolwork in the next room. “Issues such as disproportionate teaching and service obligations, coupled with the move to online schooling for children, are likely to take a toll on women in the upcoming year.”

Sugimoto and her co-authors published their initial COVID-19-era preprint analysis in Nature Index in May.

“We are all in the same storm, but not in the same boat,” they wrote at the time. “The scientific workforce has moved en masse into the home, where male faculty are four times more likely to have a partner engaged in full domestic care than their female colleagues.”

That analysis looked at submissions to 11 preprint repositories, which are indicative of overall research activity, and three platforms for registered reports, which are indicative of new projects. Sugimoto and her colleagues found that women submitted fewer articles in March and April 2020 compared to the preceding two months and to March and April 2019. Submissions by women as first, or primary, authors — often junior scholars — were especially down, with some indication that they were shifting to middle authors.

EarthArXiv, medRxiv, SocArXiv and National Bureau of Economic Research working papers saw the biggest declines in female authorship. In arXiv and bioRxiv, female authorship had been increasing in January and February 2020 but then dropped as COVID-19 spread, to match rates in earlier years.

Female first-author submissions to medRxiv, a medical preprint site, dropped from 36 percent in December to 20 percent in April, for example. In addition to potentially harming the careers of the junior scholars who often take on first-author roles, Sugimoto and her colleagues wrote that the medical first-authorship gap has public health implications. Why? If much of the current medical research is on COVID-19, and if “women and other minorities are absent,” it may “alter the emphasis on aspects of the virus that are particularly important for certain populations.” Indeed, other researchers have found that COVID-19-related papers in medicine and economics have fewer female authors than expected. In economics in particular, it is senior, male academics who are publishing on these new issues.

Sugimoto and her colleagues continue to track preprint submission rates for women. The most recent available data, from June and July, show some normalization of women’s submission rates. Regarding medRxiv, for instance, female first authorship dropped to about 16 percent in April. It has been climbing back toward the year average of about 31 percent since. Some areas have yet to improve, though. Female first-author submissions to NBER, for economics research, were still around 11 percent in June, compared to about 18 percent in June 2019 and the 16 percent year average. 

Sugimoto and her colleagues have argued that the clearest way to track women’s productivity rates is via preprints, as these prepublished papers reveal what academics are submitting, not just what is getting green-lit after the formal peer-review process. Other researchers have said the same, with similar findings. Some individual journal editors similarly concerned about gender equity in publishing during COVID-19 also have shared their own submission data and analyses….”

Research Culture: Changing how we evaluate research is difficult, but not impossible | eLife

Abstract:  The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) was published in 2013 and described how funding agencies, institutions, publishers, organizations that supply metrics, and individual researchers could better evaluate the outputs of scientific research. Since then DORA has evolved into an active initiative that gives practical advice to institutions on new ways to assess and evaluate research. This article outlines a framework for driving institutional change that was developed at a meeting convened by DORA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The framework has four broad goals: understanding the obstacles to changes in the way research is assessed; experimenting with different approaches; creating a shared vision when revising existing policies and practices; and communicating that vision on campus and beyond.

 

Open Science and Its Enemies: Challenges for a Sustainable Science–Society Social Contract

Abstract:  Science as a social institution has evolved as the most powerful, highly influential, and sought out institution after the conflicts between science and religion following Galileo. Knowledge as a public good, scientific peer review of science, the prominence of open publications, and the emphasis on professional recognition and scientific autonomy have been the hallmark of science in the past three centuries. According to this scientific spirit, the scientific social system and society formed a unique social contract. This social contract drew considerable institutional and state legitimacy for the openness and public good of science in the service of state and society, all through the post-war period. Openness and public good of science are recognized and legitimized by the scientific community and science agencies at the global level. This paradigm of open science, in varying forms and manifestations, contributed to the progress of systematic knowledge at the service of humankind over the last three centuries. Entering the third decade of the 21st century, the social contract between science and society is undergoing major changes. In fact, the whole paradigm of open science and its social contract is being challenged by various “enemies” or adversaries such as (a) market-based privatized commercial science, (b) industry 4.0 advanced technologies, and (c) a “new iron curtain” on the free flow of science data and information. What is at stake? Are there major changes? Is the very social institution of science transforming? What impact will this have on our contemporary and future sustainable society? These are some important issues that will be addressed in this article. View Full-Text

 

OAR@UM: Academics’ perspective of open access and institutional repositories, University of Malta : a case study

Abstract:  This research explores factors affecting academics’ willingness towards self-archiving in their University’s IR. Academics are the main contributors of Institutional Repositories (IRs). Whatsoever, voluntary contributions from their end lacks, which is a problem faced by Universities globally. Since the situation at the University of Malta (UM) is of no exception to such hindrance to its IR (OAR@UM) content and potential, this study specifically tackled UM academics. Both positive and negative drivers towards self-archiving in OAR@UM were investigated in terms of perceptions, awareness, practice and knowledge. Apart from the IR, OA publishing in general was also considered. Also, from the reviewed literature a gap was identified. Thus, this study attempted to fill such gap by extending its scope to also explore the academics’ willingness towards engaging in knowledge sharing activities along with, related preferences such as, venue and material type. This study adopted the Willingness Indicator Model, a new research model based upon the Theory of Planned Behaviour and that was specifically developed by this researcher for the purpose of this study. A quantitative research design using online questionnaire survey was employed albeit questions that derive both quantitative and qualitative information were incorporated. Findings transpired that despite low contribution, overall, participants did positively perceive OAR@UM to be a high quality venue, acknowledged access benefits, recognised that it benefits the UM and regarded it as the majorly preferred self-archiving venue. They also overall acknowledged that it benefits the UM. Among others, the major inspiring factors towards depositing respectively were the prospect of increased professional visibility and altruism in terms of benefiting other researchers. On the other hand, among others, major inhibiting factors respectively were, not finding the time, self-archiving being unusual practice within discipline, and copyright concerns. High awareness about the availability of OA and OAR@UM showed. Nonetheless, a lack of OA and self-archiving concept knowledge along with, knowledge related to OAR@UM in relation to concept and related services emerged. To this effect, low OAR@UM contributors resulted. As concluded, this particularly occurred as a consequence of negative perceptions, unrecognised benefits and concerns which most were unfounded ones and that thus, could simply cease through the acquisition of appropriate concept related knowledge that of course could only be derived through appropriate education, promotion and communication.

OAR@UM: Academics’ perspective of open access and institutional repositories, University of Malta : a case study

Abstract:  This research explores factors affecting academics’ willingness towards self-archiving in their University’s IR. Academics are the main contributors of Institutional Repositories (IRs). Whatsoever, voluntary contributions from their end lacks, which is a problem faced by Universities globally. Since the situation at the University of Malta (UM) is of no exception to such hindrance to its IR (OAR@UM) content and potential, this study specifically tackled UM academics. Both positive and negative drivers towards self-archiving in OAR@UM were investigated in terms of perceptions, awareness, practice and knowledge. Apart from the IR, OA publishing in general was also considered. Also, from the reviewed literature a gap was identified. Thus, this study attempted to fill such gap by extending its scope to also explore the academics’ willingness towards engaging in knowledge sharing activities along with, related preferences such as, venue and material type. This study adopted the Willingness Indicator Model, a new research model based upon the Theory of Planned Behaviour and that was specifically developed by this researcher for the purpose of this study. A quantitative research design using online questionnaire survey was employed albeit questions that derive both quantitative and qualitative information were incorporated. Findings transpired that despite low contribution, overall, participants did positively perceive OAR@UM to be a high quality venue, acknowledged access benefits, recognised that it benefits the UM and regarded it as the majorly preferred self-archiving venue. They also overall acknowledged that it benefits the UM. Among others, the major inspiring factors towards depositing respectively were the prospect of increased professional visibility and altruism in terms of benefiting other researchers. On the other hand, among others, major inhibiting factors respectively were, not finding the time, self-archiving being unusual practice within discipline, and copyright concerns. High awareness about the availability of OA and OAR@UM showed. Nonetheless, a lack of OA and self-archiving concept knowledge along with, knowledge related to OAR@UM in relation to concept and related services emerged. To this effect, low OAR@UM contributors resulted. As concluded, this particularly occurred as a consequence of negative perceptions, unrecognised benefits and concerns which most were unfounded ones and that thus, could simply cease through the acquisition of appropriate concept related knowledge that of course could only be derived through appropriate education, promotion and communication.

Open Science Policy Platform: final report

The Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP, also EUOSPP) presented in April 2020 its final report “Progress on Open Science: Towards a Shared Research Knowledge System”.

What was the role of the OSPP?

The OSPP consisted of 25 representatives of the most important relevant European open science stakeholders (except business and industry community). This high-level advisory group was set up in 2016 by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Its role was to advise the European Commission on how to develop its Open Science Policy. It also supported policy implementation by reviewing best practices, drawing policy guidelines, and encouraging their active uptake by stakeholders. In particular, the OSPP was in charge of working with other high-level expert groups on very specific topics and bringing the stakeholder’s perspective into their recommendations.

According to Europe Direct, there will be no third mandate for the OSPP. There are clear rules that regulate the maximum length of time during which an expert group can advise the commission, “which in this case means there will be no extension after the two mandates (12 months per mandate).”

OSPP final report

The final report provides a brief overview of the four-year work (two mandates) of the platform. It draws up recommendations for the Commission and analyses the status of implementation of open science practices. It also describes progress made and barriers imposed on Open Science implementation by each different stakeholder community1 over the past two years.

The report identifies three ambitions with high disparities between stakeholders (research integrity, skills&education, citizen science), which suggests a need for further discussion to develop common views on the challenges. Another urgent issue is the role of open science in public-private partnerships and “the dilemma faced by business and industry in adopting Open Science practices and principles whilst fulfilling requirements for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and commercial practices”. Here, the OSPP recognises that it is difficult to address the challenges faced by the business and industry community who are not represented among the OSPP stakeholders.

In conclusion, the OSPP experts call upon the EU Member States and all relevant actors in the private and public sectors to undertake broader systemic efforts and coordinate their strategies.

The report encourages them to move beyond Open Science to co-create a “research system based on shared knowledge by 2030”, identifying five priorities:

  1. An academic career structure that fosters outputs, practices and behaviours to maximise contributions to a shared research knowledge system.  
  2. A research system that is reliable, transparent and trustworthy.
  3. A research system that enables innovation.
  4. A research culture that facilitates diversity and equity of opportunity.
  5. A research system that is built on evidence- based policy and practice.

1 In this report, stakeholders are divided into the following groups: Universities & Research Organizations, Scientific Societies and Academies, Research Funding Organizations, Policy-Making Organizations, Citizen Science Organizations, Publishers, Open Science Platforms and Intermediaries, Research Libraries, Researchers.

Methodology:

The report does not strive to provide consensus view, but rather shows stakeholders’ opinions along the eight identified core areas (“ambitions”) identified by the EU Commission: 1) rewards and incentives, 2) indicators & next-generation metrics, 3) future of scholarly communications, 3) European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), 5) FAIR data, 6) research integrity, 7) skills &  education, 8) citizen science.

Each stakeholder community evaluated the level of progress for each ambition according to 5 categories (discussion, planning, implementation, adoption and common practice). For each ambition, 2 to 4 recommendations were made.

image: Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

The post Open Science Policy Platform: final report appeared first on openscience.eu.

Auf dem Weg zur Open Access Transformation | Informationspraxis

From Google’s English:  Since 2010, the DFG program “Open Access Publishing” has been a central instrument for the institutional funding of open access publications at German universities. In the course of a DFG program evaluation, the central library of the Research Center Jülich created a data analysis that shows the publication output of the sponsored universities illuminated in 2011-2017. The results of the study lead to the following findings:

The DFG program has proven to be structuring for the funded universities, which thus have a publication fund located at the university library.
Open access publishing is a trend at German universities, as the tenfold increase in the gold open access rate at the sponsored and non-sponsored universities between 2006 and 2017 shows.
The German university publication system is still a long way from a complete open access transformation, since the proportion of closed access publications has declined little and the absolute number of closed access publications has even increased.
With a few exceptions, the level of APCs among the publishers under review increases significantly and on average exceeds the price increase rates for subscription magazines.

Recommendations for action at the end of the article show what funded institutions and funding agencies should take into account in future monitoring procedures.

Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”

Commercial Textbooks Present Challenges in a Virtual Environment | Library

“As we approach the fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. …However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Approximately 85% of existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. …

We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including…Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors….”