Editorial: Open Science and Ethics | SpringerLink

“At first sight it seems to be self-evident that the ethics-community should embrace those open science principles unconditionally. Transparency, accessibility, and solving societal challenges are laudable goals. Understanding and solving societal challenges seems to be the core business of ethics: the theoretical branches of ethics aim for a better understanding of the practical and moral dimension of human life in general and applied ethics engages with possible solutions of urgent societal challenges. Thus, ‘open science’ seems to be the ideal context for ethical research to flourish. But as philosophers we should be a bit more reflective than just preaching the gospel of open science without critical remarks. In the following I want to highlight five possible pitfalls and problems around open science. The aim is not to frustrate the entire enterprise but to contribute to a responsible way of introducing the open science principles….

I think the opposition between academic freedom and open science is a misconception. Academic freedom is a necessary requirement for any research….”

Thought Experiment on the Impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and Japan

Abstract:  In September 2018, a consortium of eleven European research funding agencies known as cOAlition S announced “Plan S,” which requires full and immediate Open Access to all research publications stemming from projects funded by the agencies. The goal of making research output openly available to all has been generally welcomed; however, the strict requirements of Plan S, which take effect on January 1, 2020, have drawn criticisms from various stakeholders. Researchers from affected countries considered it a violation of their academic freedom, as they will be forced to publish only in conforming journals. Publishers, especially those publishing high profile journals, claim that it will be impossible to sustain their business if forced to convert to Open Access journals and to rely solely on article processing charges. Institutions operating their own Open Access platforms or Open Access repositories view the requirements as well-intended but difficult to meet. Despite the turmoil, little has been heard from non-Plan S countries, especially from non-English speaking countries outside Europe. There have been scarcely any comments or analyses relating to the impact of Plan S on these non-Plan S countries. This paper aims to fill the gap with a thought experiment on the impact of Plan S requirements on various stakeholders in these non-Plan S countries. The analysis concludes that non-Plan S countries are indirectly affected by Plan S by being forced to adapt to the world standard that Plan S sets forth. As many non-Plan S countries lack support for this transition from their respective funding agencies, they will be seriously disadvantaged to adapt to the new standards. The article processing charge for publishing in Open Access journals and the strict requirements for Open Access platforms could suppress research output from non-Plan S countries and reduce their research competitiveness. Local publishers, whose financial position in many cases is already precarious, may be forced to shut down or merge with larger commercial publishers. As scholarly communication is globally interconnected, the author argues the need to consider the impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and explore alternative ways for realizing full and immediate OA by learning from local practices. This analysis uses Japan as an exemplar of non-Plan S countries. 

The Open Letter: Reaction of Researchers to Plan S: too far, too risky. A response of the Fair Open Access Alliance

[Undated]

“We write to provide a counter view to the recent open letter (“Plan S: Too Far, Too Risky”),1 partly based on our FOAA recommendations for the implementation of Plan S.2 We are glad to note that the researchers who have signed the open letter support open access as their very first principle. However, the letter itself goes on to make a number of highly problematic and logically fallacious statements with which we strongly disagree and here contest….”

The Open Letter: Reaction of Researchers to Plan S: too far, too risky. A response of the Fair Open Access Alliance

[Undated]

“We write to provide a counter view to the recent open letter (“Plan S: Too Far, Too Risky”),1 partly based on our FOAA recommendations for the implementation of Plan S.2 We are glad to note that the researchers who have signed the open letter support open access as their very first principle. However, the letter itself goes on to make a number of highly problematic and logically fallacious statements with which we strongly disagree and here contest….”

Kumsal Bayazit, Elsevier CEO, shares her vision for building a better future in research

“First and foremost, I want to be very clear: Elsevier fully supports open access….

In fact, my professional background is in applying technology to content to help professionals make better decisions. For example, working in the part of RELX that serves legal professionals, I’ve seen the powerful benefits of analytical services that are built on top of freely available content, such as case law. This is why I’m excited by the potential to create value for researchers by applying text-mining and artificial intelligence technologies to the entire corpus of peer-reviewed content. I understand and appreciate the role that open access can play in delivering that vision.

The question is not whether open access is desirable or beneficial — the question is how we get there. My takeaway from my discussions on the topic is that there are many points of view. Publishers are often blamed for not making enough progress, which I think is fair. But it would also be unfair not to recognize the lack of alignment within our communities about the best way forward, which is understandable as this is a multi-dimensional issue that requires substantial problem-solving and action to make progress.

I am a pragmatist, and I commit to working pragmatically with libraries and other stakeholders to achieve shared open access goals. Part of this means acknowledging obstacles where they exist and discussing them openly and objectively so that we can find solutions to overcome them. If we don’t, progress will continue to be slow. I feel optimistic given the extent of commitment to make progress. In that spirit, please allow me to share t some of the obstacles that I have learned about in the last nine months….”

Scholarly Communications Licence

“PA members are deeply concerned about a proposal from a scholarly communications working group to introduce a new model licence within HEIs. The SCL would give the implementing university a non-exclusive licence to make work open access on publication, in conflict with any green open licence in place with a publisher, and with an option for a researcher to secure a waiver from the HEI should the publisher require it. 

Principal concerns are the significant administrative burden on researchers, institutions and publishers that could arise as waivers are requested; a conflict with UK policy on OA; the way the SCL seeks immediate non-commercial re-use rights for all UK research outputs; and the potential limit it places on the choice of researchers over where to publish. 

The documents on this page set out the publisher position. …”

Publizieren: “Open Access sollte freiwillig sein” – Forschung & Lehre

From Google’s English: “I consider the possibility of free access to publications to enrich the scientific publishing culture as long as it is voluntary. I like to use Open Access myself sometimes. But I see it critically that central arguments in the open access debate are presented as alternative, although they are not on closer analysis. A compulsion to open access is felt by many scientists as restriction of their freedom of choice. It also creates bureaucracy and costs the authors money. In the light of these facts, as well as current discussions on “Plan S”, I think it is appropriate to take a closer look at the critical aspects of Open Access.”

Goldsmiths conference: ‘OA mandates will damage academic freedom’ | The Bookseller

“Academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) voiced concerns that Open Access mandates will damage academic freedom at a conference held at Goldsmiths, University of London, on Friday (24th May). The conference heard that widening the funder Open Access mandates developed for STEM subjects to cover the humanities fields would actively prevent some researchers from publishing, because they would not have access to funds.

A push has been initiated in the UK to require all monographs to be published Open Access to be eligible for the 2027 Research Excellence Framework (REF). Meanwhile under international initiative Plan S, all government-funded research will have to be published Open Access from 2020.

Sarah Kember, professor of new technologies of communication at Goldsmiths and director of Goldsmiths Press, suggested that funder-mandated OA publishing – as opposed to scholar-led OA initiatives such as Goldsmiths Press – could narrow the range of work appearing and damage diversity. …”

Should funders driving for universal open access in research be obliged to ensure freedom of publication for all? | The BMJ

Large funders are moving to enforce open access to their research.1 The Wellcome Trust’s open access policy will change on 1 January 2020 to fund only article processing charges (APCs) in fully open access journals, deliberately not funding open access charges in hybrid journals.2 The aim of this change is to support a transition to a fully open access world. This policy is driven by the aim of transitioning journals to become open access rather than simply making their own research available to a greater audience. Journals may choose to chase the funder’s APC money, becoming fully open access, but this will be at the cost of barring their journal to authors who do not have funding to pay the increasing numbers of APCs that will be required.

A significant APC will shift the decision whether to publish a potential article from the journal editor and peer reviewers to the purse holders of the APC funds, who could deny it getting that far. This is more benign in the case of Wellcome, which does not deduct APCs from individual grants, but it may in the short term reduce the range of journals available to authors. However, in the case of commercially funded research or in institutions with more limited money, decisions by APC fundholders could stifle academic results.

Given that the Wellcome’s open access policy aims to shift the landscape of scientific publishing, journals becoming fully open access to meet these new requirements could charge a tiered social pricing structure in which research from funders requiring fully open access journals (rather than just for their own research) are charged a premium. This premium could be used to fund the APCs in that journal of researchers who have little or no recourse to other APC funding. This would reduce potential publication bias based on funding, as well as creating an environment of open access for all.”

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….”