One common criticism of the open access and open science movements is that they tend to take a standardised view of science and scholarship, and so propose one-size-fits-all approaches when advocating for ways of making research and the research process more open and transparent. This often poses significant challenges for, for instance, researchers in non-STEM disciplines. It is also often deeply problematic for those based in the global South.
It’s the year 2024: a scientist in Sudan, the family member of a patient with a rare disease in the United States, a farmer in China – assuming they have access to the internet, they are all able to access the latest scientific findings at any time, without restriction and free of charge. On this basis, they can develop new energy supply options for their community, prepare for visits to the doctor or follow the latest research on seeds and breeds. A pipe dream? Or isn’t free access to academic literature something we should have had for a long time, three decades since the development of the world wide web?
“This is not the final chapter in the story of the relationships between ResearchGate and various publishers but this negotiated agreement with SNCUPT does demonstrate that there is not a uniformity of perspective in the publishing community about article sharing on ResearchGate, or presumably on the many other scholarly collaboration networks that exist. It also signals that ResearchGate, a decade-old start-up disruptor with with venture capital investment and a rapidly grown user base, has taken its place at the negotiating table and found not just enemies but allies.”
“CODATA-RDA schools changed my career, making me a more responsible researcher but also an Open Science ambassador for the Central American area. I now aspire to be a young researcher that can teach Open and Data Science principles through my job at the University of Costa Rica and through the CODATA-RDA Schools, as well as also serve as a mentor for other people that want to learn how to practice Open Science.”
“Although I have not lived in Finland since 2013, I’ve kept in touch with the open science community there as well as with current open access discussions. On January 17, I got a rather unpleasant birthday present in the form of an announced three-year, 27 M€ deal between FinELib, a consortium of Finnish research institutions, and Elsevier, perhaps the most egregious of the big publishers. The deal was reached after two years of hard negotiations, supported by almost 3000 Finnish researchers who had committed in the #nodealnoreview boycott to refuse reviewing for Elsevier if the negotiations fail.
The glowing press release, seemingly written purely by Elsevier, compounded with an almost complete lack of details, left an immediate bad taste in my mouth. My opinion did not much improve through discussions in the Finnish Open Science Facebook group, and with journalist Richard Poynder whom I urged to try and get more details. He just published his Q&A with FinELib, which I warmly recommend you read. I have two principal concerns with the deal: the lack of transparency over the actual terms, and the hybrid OA discount option — especially as it was immediately implemented at the University of Helsinki….”