Does the rise of immediate green Open Access undermine progress? A response from cOAlition S to the OASPA open post | Plan S

“The primary argument made by the signatories to the blog post is that authors, if they have a choice between making either the AAM or VoR OA, will invariably opt for the AAM on the grounds that they don’t have to pay a publishing cost.  No evidence is provided to substantiate this claim.

Moreover, this argument is far too simplistic. It ignores the fact that if an institution has participated in, say, a “Read and Publish” deal, it has already paid to make the VoR OA.  For example, Wiley, one of the signatories to the OASPA blog post, have such a deal in place in the UK which in 2020 has resulted in more than 6300 VoR articles being made OA. This equates to around 80% of UK-funded research published by Wiley in this year. In this example, both Wellcome and UKRI OA funds have been used to contribute to the “publish” pot.

The argument also assumes that researchers are paying publication fees directly, and thus would prefer to use those funds on other activities.  In practice however, publication costs are being met directly by the institution (via Read and Publish deals etc.) and/or by the funder….

However, even though Plan S was announced more than 2 years ago – and will be implemented within the next four weeks – many publishers have not developed any Plan S-aligned publishing policies.  As such, the RRS provides a means by which our funded researchers can continue to seek publication of their choice and remain compliant with their funders’ OA policy.

We also find the characterisation of repositories – a limbo where multiple, inferior versions of articles are said to languish, with no access to the underlying data etc. – to be painfully at odds with the reality of many repositories.  For example, Europe PMC – supported by several cOAlition S funders including the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), WHO, UKRI and Wellcome – accepts AAMs and provides a number of value-added services.  These include mining the text to provide links to chemical compounds, genetic sequences, etc; linking the submission to the relevant grant ID and any preprint associated with the submission; as well as an unambiguous link to the VoR on the publisher site….

To conclude, cOAlition S organisations are prepared to pay publishers a fair, reasonable, and transparent fee for the services they provide to make the VoR OA. And, though we believe there is added value in the VoR, to ensure this model is widely adopted, publishers need to demonstrate to the research community that the value provided by making this version OA is commensurate with the price charged.”

Transparency and secrecy in citizen science: Lessons from herping – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  In this paper I will outline a worry that citizen science can promote a kind of transparency that is harmful. I argue for the value of secrecy in citizen science. My argument will consist of analysis of a particular community (herpers), a particular citizen science platform (iNaturalist, drawing contrasts with other platforms), and my own travels in citizen science. I aim to avoid a simple distinction between science versus non-science, and instead analyze herping as a rich practice [MacIntyre, 2007]. Herping exemplifies citizen science as functioning simultaneously within and outside the sphere of science. I show that herpers have developed communal systems of transmitting and protecting knowledge. Ethical concerns about secrecy are inherently linked to these systems of knowledge. My over-arching aim is to urge caution in the drive to transparency, as the concepts of transparency and secrecy merit close scrutiny. The concerns I raise are complementary to those suggested by previous philosophical work, and (I argue) resist straightforward solutions.

 

[Free Webinar] Increasing transparency and trust in preprints: Steps journals can take

“What steps can academic journals take to help scholars and the general public (especially the mainstream media) more easily determine preprint quality and distinguish peer-reviewed preprints from unvetted ones?

We explored this question during Scholastica’s recent panel-style webinar, “Increasing transparency and trust in preprints: Steps journals can take“ as part of Peer Review Week 2020, themed “Trust in Peer Review.” …”

Reducing bias and improving transparency in medical research: a critical overview of the problems, progress and suggested next steps – Stephen H Bradley, Nicholas J DeVito, Kelly E Lloyd, Georgia C Richards, Tanja Rombey, Cole Wayant, Peter J Gill, 2020

Abstract:  In recent years there has been increasing awareness of problems that have undermined trust in medical research. This review outlines some of the most important issues including research culture, reporting biases, and statistical and methodological issues. It examines measures that have been instituted to address these problems and explores the success and limitations of these measures. The paper concludes by proposing three achievable actions which could be implemented to deliver significantly improved transparency and mitigation of bias. These measures are as follows: (1) mandatory registration of interests by those involved in research; (2) that journals support the ‘registered reports’ publication format; and (3) that comprehensive study documentation for all publicly funded research be made available on a World Health Organization research repository. We suggest that achieving such measures requires a broad-based campaign which mobilises public opinion. We invite readers to feedback on the proposed actions and to join us in calling for their implementation.

 

Preprint Servers’ Policies, Submission Requirements, and Transparency in Reporting and Research Integrity Recommendations | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Preprint servers are online platforms that enable free sharing of preprints, scholarly manuscripts that have not been peer reviewed or published in a traditional publishing venue (eg, journal, conference proceeding, book). They facilitate faster dissemination of research, soliciting of feedback or collaborations, and establishing of priority of discoveries and ideas.1 However, they can also enable sharing of manuscripts that lack sufficient quality or methodological details necessary for research assessment, and can help spread unreliable and even fake information.2 Since 2010, more than 30 new preprint servers have emerged, yet research on preprint servers is still scarce.3 With the increase in the numbers of preprints and preprint servers, we explored servers’ policies, submission requirements, and transparency in reporting and research integrity recommendations, as the latter are often perceived as mechanisms by which academic rigor and trustworthiness are fostered and preserved.

Plan S and what it means for your journal

“Initially, 11 funding bodies signed up as cOAlition S signatories to Plan S, and this has since increased to 24. They are predominantly European-based and collectively support about 5 percent of funded articles globally. Some notable funders include Wellcome, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Health Organization. Three funding bodies that originally signed up to Plan S have since left. Most notably, the European Research Council published a statement on 20th July 2020 announcing its withdrawal from cOAlition S due to Plan S’s imposition on researcher choices. Only a handful of funders will actually implement Plan S principles into their funding body agreements from 2021, with the rest deploying the principles at different times and in varying ways….

Some highlights:

 

The Plan S principles advocate for the publication of research that cOAlition S members have funded in compliant open access journals, platforms, and repositories that enable free and immediate access to the content. The author or their institutions should also retain copyright to their work. Further, the article should be published under an open re-use license, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) unless a CC-BY-ND (No Derivatives) re-use license is explicitly requested and justified by the grantee. The Gold OA model is therefore a primary compliant route for cOAlition S funders.
Journals are also compliant if they are part of Transformative Agreements (a commercial agreement with an OA component switching typical subscription costs to cover OA publishing).
For hybrid titles (subscription-based journals that allow authors to make individual articles open access upon payment of an Article Publishing Charge (APC), cOAlition S funders will not normally fund the APC. Authors are nevertheless permitted to publish through this model only if authors immediately self-archive their final published article in a repository, having first selected the Gold OA option and adopted a CC-BY license. cOAlition S will fund the APC in hybrid journals as long as the journal has a clear transitional pathway to gold open access (referred to as “transformative arrangement”) by 2024. The hybrid journal in this instance will become a Transformative Journal, and must therefore meet certain targets on its OA content share as part of its compliance with Plan S principles and commitment to transitioning.
When open access publication fees are applied, they must be commensurate with the publication services delivered, and the structure of such fees must be transparent to inform the market. Further, publishers will be asked to provide transparent breakdowns of their pricing from July 1, 2022, so that only publishers who adhere to at least one of the approved frameworks will be eligible to receive funds to support the open access APC from cOAlition S members….”

Reducing bias and improving transparency in medical research: a critical overview of the problems, progress and suggested next steps – Stephen H Bradley, Nicholas J DeVito, Kelly E Lloyd, Georgia C Richards, Tanja Rombey, Cole Wayant, Peter J Gill, 2020

Abstract:  In recent years there has been increasing awareness of problems that have undermined trust in medical research. This review outlines some of the most important issues including research culture, reporting biases, and statistical and methodological issues. It examines measures that have been instituted to address these problems and explores the success and limitations of these measures. The paper concludes by proposing three achievable actions which could be implemented to deliver significantly improved transparency and mitigation of bias. These measures are as follows: (1) mandatory registration of interests by those involved in research; (2) that journals support the ‘registered reports’ publication format; and (3) that comprehensive study documentation for all publicly funded research be made available on a World Health Organization research repository. We suggest that achieving such measures requires a broad-based campaign which mobilises public opinion. We invite readers to feedback on the proposed actions and to join us in calling for their implementation.

 

Transparency too little, too late? Why and how Health Canada should make clinical data and regulatory decision-making open to scrutiny in the face of COVID-19

Abstract:  Canada has become a global leader in publicly releasing clinical data behind therapeutic products since 2019. Disclosure of clinical data is, however, limited to the point of product approval. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the limitations of such a point-in-time approach to transparency. As interventions are rapidly authorized for clinical trials or clinical use through emergency mechanisms despite weak evidence of safety and effectiveness, we argue that the current level of transparency must be expanded in order to mitigate potential harms to trial participants and patients, improve the reliability of clinical trials, and ultimately preserve trust in regulatory decision-making. Using existing legal powers, we explain how the Canadian regulator can and should seek to expand data transparency by making pre-clinical studies, clinical trial protocols, informed consent forms, interim analyses, and other information transparent upstream in the research process and throughout the product’s lifecycle.

Center for Open Science: Impact Report 2020

“The credibility of science has center stage in 2020. A raging pandemic. Partisan interests. Economic and health consequences. Misinformation everywhere. An amplified desire for certainty on what will happen and how to address it. In this climate, all public health and economic research will be politicized. All findings are understood through a political lens. When the findings are against partisan interests, the scientists are accused of reporting the outcomes they want and avoiding the ones they don’t. When the findings are aligned with partisan interests, they are accepted immediately and uncertainty ignored. Politicization can seem like a black hole inexorably sucking in the scientific community and making the science just another source of information—its credibility based on agreement with one’s pre-existing ideology. All is not lost. Science has a protective force against the forces of politicization, transparency….”

Emerald academic culture survey 2020: Openness & transparency

“Our survey revealed a significant shift towards publishing through open access and sharing links to supporting datasets as the type of change that researchers are considering – from 29% in 2019 to 51% in 2020….

On the topic of open data, it was unsurprising that half of all respondents (and as many as 61% in North America) were concerned over datasets that contain sensitive or personal information that is inappropriate or unethical to share openly.

 

For some, there also appears to be a lack of clarity on how to share data, with 7% of respondents admitting that they did not know how to do this. At the regional level, this increases to 16% of respondents in the Middle East and North Africa who were unfamiliar with data sharing….”