“The challenges faced by the higher education community due to COVID-19 are deep and lasting. We are all affected and need to respond. At ITHAKA, our not-for-profit mission is to make access to knowledge and education more accessible for all. We have asked ourselves what it means to fulfill that mission during these difficult times and have discussed with our trustees creative ways we can respond. Through these discussions we decided to establish a $4 million fee relief program and to develop a range of expanded access offerings to help schools and universities that have had to rapidly pivot to online instruction.
Our expanded access offerings for JSTOR-participating institutions in response to COVID-19 include access to unlicensed JSTOR Archive and Primary Source collections as well as Artstor at no cost. Participation in these programs has been remarkable; to date this content has been accessed more than 24 million times by users at nearly 12,000 institutions….”
“The systems for communicating scholarship were stressed substantially during the height of the pandemic. The pandemic provided, in real time, a master class in the opportunities and challenges of speedy open early-stage research sharing. The benefits of preprints, in enabling large-scale early-stage research communication, became apparent, as medRxiv and bioRxiv in particular saw a surge of submissions. Other scientific communication has been even less formal than preprints. Yet, in an environment of unrelenting public interest, and the unforeseen politicization of clinical care findings, preprint services have had to adapt rapidly, developing review systems to prevent misuse and providing disclaimers, among other changes. Some observers felt these shortcomings risked launching an “infodemic of bad information.” Some medical journals also launched a fast-track peer review process that demonstrated the efficiencies that could be driven, at least under emergency conditions, into their editorial processes. Many publishers made Coronavirus and related research papers freely available, and some observers felt these developments were accelerating the shift towards open access. At the same time, several papers evincing research misconduct were published in top-tier journals and subsequently retracted. The combined effect of accelerating research communication and an endless thirst for public information about the disease led to single studies, in some cases themselves inadequate in terms of research design, driving a public narrative about potential treatments that were not thoroughly vetted.…”
What are the main challenges for Open Science implementation in your country?
The biggest challenges in Poland are, first of all, the lack of awareness and lack of knowledge about Open Science among researchers. Despite the fact that there are many initiatives, events and courses, either available for free on the internet or as services and resources provided by university libraries, scientists in Poland do not always know what Open Science and related concepts are about. Another problem concerns the lack of systemic support in this regard at the university level or national level policies e.g. during research assessment. If these policies will not include incentives for researchers to practice OS, it will be very difficult to develop this habit and permanently introduce it into the researchers’ daily work. In addition, practicing OS requires specific skills, as well as some kind of administrative work, which, given the current heavy workload of researchers, may become another unwanted duty if universities do not provide support in this area. The discussion on this topic in Poland is still difficult – Open Science has many opponents and, sadly, it often applies to scientists themselves who do not distinguish OS practices from practices of predatory publishing houses….”
“At the STM Association Annual Meeting in “virtual Frankfurt” last week, much of the focus was on how scholarly publishers are responding to the COVID crisis. Publishing executives reported how they have accelerated their editorial and peer review processes for COVID submissions, rightly taking pride in the contributions they have made to fighting the pandemic. They also emphasized again and again that they want to be more trusted. This is a formidable challenge in light of some recent failures. To achieve their objectives, publishers need to become more comfortable talking about their mistakes to prove convincingly that they are learning from them….
At the same time, I would encourage publishers to balance their celebrations with self-reflection. Scholarly publishers wish to see themselves as stewards of the scholarly record and of the transition to open science. To do so in a way that is compelling to all stakeholders, they must continuously increase the quality and rigor of their work, probe their processes for weaknesses, and make their work ever more resilient against potential points of failure. …
Today, the scholarly publishing sector looks to reestablish itself as a steward of the scholarly record and a trusted party to lead the transition to open science, and we need it in this type of role more than ever. Being entrusted with this role requires that publishers identify problems honestly and with humility, since trust is earned, or squandered, at a sector-wide level. The sector does not need triumphalism from leaders that enables their organizations to downplay festering problems. And, it does not need its boosters to selectively amplify concerns with preprints — when publishers should focus on their own shortcomings. The sector needs not only to ask for trust but also to make sure that it is continuously earning it every day.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19.
The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts.
Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia.
With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic, while affecting the lives and work of scientists all over the globe, has also enabled an outpouring of generosity and innovation when it comes to rapid and open sharing of research outputs. During the International Open Access Week 2020, we examine some of the initiatives taken by various national and international organisations to improve global access to COVID-19 research….”
“Uploading scientific studies to preprint servers before sending them off to journals for peer-review has become a standard practice in the physical and mathematical sciences. However, biologists have been slow in embracing the trend. In this article, Divya examines the advantages offered by as well as the risk associated with the widespread use of preprints during the time of the pandemic. …”
“This past March, the Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) launched a program to facilitate the rapid release of Harvard’s COVID-19 research. Under this program, authors submit coronavirus-related papers to DASH, Harvard’s open-access institutional repository, where they are expedited, or “fast-tracked,” through the standard workflow. Now, seven months on, this program has successfully distributed a collection of vital research open-access to a global audience….
Fast-tracking COVID-19 was a simple program to implement, for both OSC staff and authors. Leveraging current DASH submission tools, authors deposit their work to DASH as they normally would. After deposit, authors contact OSC staff to request a fast-track. OSC then expedites the deposit and makes it public in DASH, typically within a few hours….
As of October, 2020, over 30 COVID-19-related works have been fast-tracked in DASH over the past seven months. These works have seen over 400,000 downloads from readers across the globe; DASH had more than one million downloads in the month of June 2020, the repository’s best download month ever, due in part to the COVID-19 fast-track program. Our first fast-tracked paper, by Dr. Marc Lipsitch, registered over 21,000 readers during its first four days on DASH….”
“The newly-launched library serviced a temporary collection of books — about 4 million in total, many in the public domain — with a targeted focus of supporting remote teaching, research activities and independent scholarship. For this service, students paid nothing.
This Open Library is now at the center of a lawsuit filed by major publishing corporations, including HarperCollins, Hatchett, Wiley and Random House, against the Internet Archives, a nonprofit website, alleging that the Open Library concept is a “mass copyright infringement.”
The lawsuit is scheduled for a federal court trial in 2021. The publishers are seeking to have the Open Library permanently shut down….
In an op-ed written for The Nation, journalist and new media pioneer Maria Bustillos took a critical look at the lawsuit, the concept of an open library and what ownership means when major publishers seek to change what it means to own a book….”
“Perhaps more than any other time, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has foregrounded the importance of open access in support of the dissemination of scholarly resources. With regard to COVID-related research specifically, pre-print servers (ArXiv, BioRxiv, MedArXiv, etc) are playing a vital role in disseminating and advancing research on pace with the pandemic. Publishers are also providing access to research resources in unprecedented and creative ways. At the center are libraries, which are responsible for aggregating information about and access to established and emerging OA initiatives, while also developing strategies to support OA in the future. Learn more about how OA helps and develops during COVID-19 from pre-print servers, publishing, and library vantage points.”