The European University Association and Science Europe Join Efforts to Improve Scholarly Research Assessment Methodologies

“EUA and Science Europe are committed to working together on building a strong dialogue between their members, with a view to:

• support necessary changes for a better balance between qualitative and quantitative research assessment approaches, aiming at evaluating the merits of scholarly research. Furthermore, novel criteria and methods need to be developed towards a fairer and more transparent assessment of research, researchers and research teams, conducive to selecting excellent proposals and researchers.governments and public authorities to guarantee scholars and students the rights that constitute academic freedom, including the rights to freedom of expression, opinion, thought, information and assembly as well as the rights to education and teaching;

• recognise the diversity of research outputs and other relevant academic activities and their value in a manner that is appropriate to each research field and that challenges the overreliance on journal-based metrics.universities, funding agencies, academies and other research organisations to ensure that all researchers, teachers and students are guaranteed academic freedom, by fostering a culture in which free expression and the open exchange of opinion are valued and by shielding the research and teaching community from sanctions for exercising academic freedom.

• consider a broad range of criteria to reward and incentivise research quality as the fundamental principle of scholarly research, and ascertain assessment processes and methods that accurately reflect the vast dimensions of research quality and credit all scientific contributions appropriately. EUA and Science Europe will launch activities to further engage their members in improving and strengthening their research assessment practices. Building on these actions, both associations commit to maintaining a continuous dialogue and explore opportunities for joint actions, with a view to promoting strong synergies between the rewards and incentives structures of research funders and research performing organisations, as well as universities….”

Plan S: how open access can nurture new positive and collective forms of ‘academic freedom’ – Samuel Moore

Following on from my last post on academic freedom and statements of principle, I want to further clarify my thoughts on how academic freedom relates to open access mandates. Paradoxically, despite claiming that objections to open access mandates on the grounds of academic freedom are mere conservatism, it is likely that the coercive aspect of mandates is what perpetuates such objections….”

Open Letter in Support of Funder Open Publishing Mandates

We, the undersigned, believe that the world’s scholarly literature is a public resource that only achieves its full value when it is freely available to all. For too long we have tolerated a pay-for-access business model for scholarly journals that is inequitable, impedes progress in our fields, and denies the public the full benefit of our work. We therefore welcome efforts on the part of public and private research funders to require that publications based on work they fund be made immediately freely and openly available without restrictions on access or use.

Funders are uniquely positioned to transform scholarly publishing by changing the explicit and implicit rules under which we all operate. We recognize that funder mandates may superficially limit our publishing options in the short term, but believe they will lead to a system that optimizes what we really care about: maximizing the reach of our scholarship and its value to the research community and public.

We understand that effective scholarly communication costs money, and support substantial investment in this endeavor, but only if it allows everyone to freely access and use the scholarly literature. We acknowledge that challenges remain, especially ensuring that all scholars everywhere have the unfettered ability to freely share their work and have their contributions recognized. And we therefore commit to continue working with funders, universities, research institutions and other stakeholders until we have created a stable, fair, effective and open system of scholarly communication….”

Open Letter in Support of Funder Open Publishing Mandates

We, the undersigned, believe that the world’s scholarly literature is a public resource that only achieves its full value when it is freely available to all. For too long we have tolerated a pay-for-access business model for scholarly journals that is inequitable, impedes progress in our fields, and denies the public the full benefit of our work. We therefore welcome efforts on the part of public and private research funders to require that publications based on work they fund be made immediately freely and openly available without restrictions on access or use.

Funders are uniquely positioned to transform scholarly publishing by changing the explicit and implicit rules under which we all operate. We recognize that funder mandates may superficially limit our publishing options in the short term, but believe they will lead to a system that optimizes what we really care about: maximizing the reach of our scholarship and its value to the research community and public.

We understand that effective scholarly communication costs money, and support substantial investment in this endeavor, but only if it allows everyone to freely access and use the scholarly literature. We acknowledge that challenges remain, especially ensuring that all scholars everywhere have the unfettered ability to freely share their work and have their contributions recognized. And we therefore commit to continue working with funders, universities, research institutions and other stakeholders until we have created a stable, fair, effective and open system of scholarly communication….”

Open Research Position Statement | Scholarly Communication

Open Research Working Group – Position statement on Open Research: Approved by Research Policy Committee at its meeting on 22 November 2018 and by the General Board of the Faculties on 16 January 2019….

2.1 The University recognises contributions from researchers at all career stages, working collaboratively across a wide range of disciplines. Across the disciplinary spectrum there are a wide range of cultural settings that influence both capacity for and appropriateness of fully Open Research. Open publications and open data l take different forms, and require different approaches, in each of these settings. The University supports the academic freedom of researchers to pursue new knowledge, and to choose the means of dissemination; but within that free choice, the University encourages outputs of research, and where appropriate the accompanying data, to be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

2.2 The University relies on its researchers to uphold principles of scholarly rigour so that open materials are of the highest research quality and, where appropriate, will aid reproducibility. This may include:

 

  • where possible, ensuring all publications are Open Access;
  • where appropriate and possible, making openly available the underlying data relating to these publications;
  • sharing protocols openly;
  • collaborative approaches including blogging, online editions, releasing teaching materials, pre-print deposit….”

Why You Should Care about Open Access: An Open Letter to Scholarly and Scientific Authors – The Scholarly Kitchen

“If you are someone who interacts with the world of scholarly publishing primarily in your role as a researcher and/or author of scholarly or scientific articles, then there are basically two reasons for you to get involved with the open access (OA) movement:

  1. If you want to encourage the transition of scholarly publishing from a primarily toll-access to a primarily (or entirely) open-access model;
  2. If you have concerns about such a transition and want to have an influence on whether (and if so, how and to what degree) it happens.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to make OA happen, then join the movement; it needs your voice, and there are a thousand ways to get involved. If you have concerns or reservations about OA — or, more specifically, about OA being made mandatory rather than voluntary — then the movement also needs to hear your voice….”

Plan S: Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publication – European Physical Society (EPS)

The EPS welcomes the initiative “cOAlition S for the Realisation of Full and Immediate Open Access”, and supports the rationale on which it is built.

At the same time, the EPS is concerned that several of the governing principles proposed for the implementation of Plan S are not conducive to a transition to Open Access that is well-managed and preserves the important assets of today’s scientific publication system.

  • The core values added to the publication process by quality journals need to be protected. In a gold-standard OA environment, these are professional editing, independent peer review, and reliable long-term archiving. A forced transition to full OA over a short period of time risks to undermine the economic viability of many journals, causing irrecoverable damage to established, well-functioning networks of editors and referees. Publication in OA repositories can only complement, not replace publication in peer-reviewed outlets.
  • Diversity and competition need to be preserved. Learned societies and other not-for-profit publishers contribute significant diversity to a publication landscape dominated by a small number of commercial publishing giants, but operate with limited financial reserves, and are particularly vulnerable to economic damage from rash transition scenarios.
  • Scientific publishing is a global undertaking. Non-European authors account for a significant fraction of articles published in European journals today, but have generally no access to dedicated OA funding. Plan S can only succeed when it is coordinated with major stakeholders outside Europe. A Euro-centric implementation risks to accentuate knowledge divides, both inside Europe and between North and South.
  • Plan S limits researchers’ freedom to choose where to publish, which is inherent in the current culture. This restriction is difficult for the scientific community to accept while academic recruitment and career advancement are still based on publication metrics and journal prestige rather than on the scientific merit of individual publications.
    • Hybrid journals do not represent a sustainable business model. However, they are a valuable – or even necessary – instrument to manage a smooth and successful transition to full OA for limited transition periods.

The EPS welcomes and supports Plan S as a medium to long-term vision, but is concerned that a rushed enforcement may cause irrecoverable damage to the European academic publishing system and, in particular, to not-for-profit publishers. It is also noted that Plan S is presently supported by a minority of funding agencies from EU Member States. The EPS recognizes that its reservations are addressed in part by the implementation guide “Making full and immediate Open Access a reality” published on November 27, 2018, but urges cOAlition S to engage further with funding agencies, publishers – both not-for-profit and commercial – and the scientific community towards a plan that can be supported by all stakeholders. In this process, scientists are most credibly represented through the learned societies. The EPS, as the top-level representation of the European physics community, stands ready to work with cOAlition S on a successful and sustainable implementation….”

Plan S: Are the Concerns Warranted? — Meta-Research Center

“Because of the low job security in the early stage of an academic career it is possible that early career researchers will be negatively affected by Plan S. Plan S currently involves 14 national funding agencies (including India that announced their participation on January 12th) and draws support from big private funds like the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Combined, these funds represent not more than 15% of the available research money in the world.

This relatively small market share could hurt young researchers dependent on Plan S funders as they will not be allowed to publish in some prestigious, but closed access journals. When researchers funded by other agencies can put these publications on their CV they would have an unfair advantage on the academic labour market. Only when Plan S or similar initiatives would cover a critical mass of the world’s research output would the playing field be levelled….”

 

My Response to Plan S – Toby Green – Medium

“1. Publishing has been hi-jacked by the reputation economy….

2. Publishing is a bundle of services: as the low-cost airlines showed, unbundling can open up markets….

3. The central problem isn’t open access, it’s that scholarly publishing costs more than available funds….

4. Finally, why not do it yourself?….”