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….”

Effects of copyrights on science

Abstract:  Copyrights grant publishers exclusive rights to content for almost a century. In science, this can involve substantial social costs by limiting who can access existing research. This column uses a unique WWII-era programme in the US, which allowed US publishers to reprint exact copies of German-owned science books, to explore how copyrights affect follow-on science. This artificial removal of copyright barriers led to a 25% decline in prices, and a 67% increase in citations. These results suggest that restrictive copyright policies slow down the progress of science considerably.

Why So Many Repositories? Examining the Limitations and Possibilities of the Institutional Repositories Landscape

Abstract:  Academic libraries fail to take advantage of the network effect because they manage too many digital repositories locally. While this argument applies to all manner of digital repositories, this article examines the fragmented environment of institutional repositories, in which effort and costs are duplicated, numerous software platforms and versions are managed simultaneously, metadata are applied inconsistently, users are served poorly, and libraries are unable to take advantage of collective data about content and users. In the meantime, commercial IR vendors and academic social networks have shown much greater success with cloud-based models. Collectively, the library profession has enough funding to create a national-level IR, but it lacks the willingness to abandon local control.

Guest Post: From Supermarkets to Marketplaces – The Evolution of the Open Access Ecosystem – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Sven Fund. Sven is the Managing Director of Knowledge Unlatched and founder of fullstopp, a digital consulting agency serving publishers, libraries, and intermediaries. From 2008 to 2015, Sven was the CEO of Berlin-based publisher De Gruyter. Prior to that he served in different functions from Managing Director to Executive Board member at what is now Springer Nature. He is a lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.

Open access (OA) is undergoing yet another metamorphosis. So far, the space has been dominated by author-pays (via Article Processing Charges – APCs) models, both hybrid and “pure”. And while funders like Wellcome and the German Research Foundation are reviewing their policies – many of them a decade old by now – it is becoming ever clearer that APCs will not be the future of OA, at least not uniquely. With their normative approach of flipping traditional acquisition budgets, Ralf Schimmer, Kai Geschuhn and Andreas Vogler have been advocating in principle that which is now becoming reality: i.e. that in order to really shake up the academic publishing market, other transactional models are necessary….

To make OA really work, libraries have to cooperate and co-spend in order to shift the market-shaping from publishers to themselves. Publishers are structured like supermarkets: They operate as global consortia around their own products, generating demand, shouldering financial risk and investments and in the process generating profit. As long as libraries or other agents are not prepared to supersede this role with a better structure, the underlying problem will remain….”

The Greatest Generational Impact: Open Neuroscience as an Emerging Knowledge Commons (Chapter 8) – Governing Medical Knowledge Commons

“Neuroscience is transforming. Brain data collected in multitudes of individuals and institutions around the world are being openly shared, moved from office desks and personal storage devices to institutionally supported cloud systems and public repositories – effectively bringing Neuroscience into the era of Big Data. This is an important evolution in Neuroscience, since the value of open data sharing has not always been recognized.”

The Greatest Generational Impact: Open Neuroscience as an Emerging Knowledge Commons (Chapter 8) – Governing Medical Knowledge Commons

“Neuroscience is transforming. Brain data collected in multitudes of individuals and institutions around the world are being openly shared, moved from office desks and personal storage devices to institutionally supported cloud systems and public repositories – effectively bringing Neuroscience into the era of Big Data. This is an important evolution in Neuroscience, since the value of open data sharing has not always been recognized.”

Funder Perspectives on Open Infrastructure

“In March, 2019, the Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) issued an open call for participation in a survey to better understand funder perspectives with respect to supporting open infrastructure. Sixteen funders completed the questionnaire, evenly split between ORFG members and other funding organizations. The vast majority of respondents (four in five) have some form of open access position, nearly evenly split between policies and recommendations. Beyond open access, however, there is very little consensus on other open activities. Data sharing is the only other activity supported by more than half of the respondents (four data sharing policies and six data sharing recommendations). Publication of null results, protocol sharing, and code sharing are each in play at roughly a third of responding foundations.”

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….”