Global Trends in Open Access: Themes from Africa, Asia and Latin America – The Scholarly Kitchen %

“The opportunity for researchers to share their findings and draw on the research findings of others is vital for researchers, policymakers and wider society. But all too often, the way that this process works is decided by relatively small numbers of countries and people –- often those based in the global North, in “elite” institutions or in large, commercial publishers.

Important voices can be missed and, as a result, important learning about what people have found already works around the world is not reflected in academia, policy decisions, and practice. 

In a recent Scholarly Kitchen webinar, I was delighted to be joined by great speakers from three continents, who are all experts in open access with different perspectives. This post summarizes some of the key themes discussed by Arianna Becerril García, who is based in Mexico, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou, who is based in Cameroon, and Vrushali Dandawate, who is in India….”

Fee-free Open Access publishing in leading biological science journals now available to researchers in developing and transition economy countries

“From Albania to Zimbabwe, researchers in 30 developing and transition economy countries can benefit from immediate and fee-free Open Access publishing in The Company of Biologists’ subscription journals following a Read & Publish agreement with Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL).

This landmark agreement runs until 31 December 2023 and institutional members of EIFL-partner library consortia in eligible countries can participate free of charge.

Researchers in eligible countries will be able to publish an uncapped number of Open Access research articles in Development, Journal of Cell Science and Journal of Experimental Biology without paying an article processing charge (APC). They will also benefit from free and unlimited access to the journals and their archives dating back to 1853….”

Consultation with Indigenous Peoples on the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science

“As a part of a series of thematic consultations for building a global consensus on Open Science, UNESCO organized an online meeting on January 15 to take stock of Indigenous peoples‘ perspective on Open Science.  

In view of developing a standard-setting instrument on Open Science, UNESCO is leading an inclusive, transparent and consultative process. In this process, inclusiveness of diverse knowledge systems and knowledge holders is essential, and the first draft of the Recommendation is based on the broad inputs provided by stakeholders from all regions and groups.

Considering the great importance given to the creation of a productive relationship between Open Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems, the consultation with Indigenous Peoples brought together 120 participants from 50 countries, including indigenous scholars and academics, members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), members of different initiatives such as the Forest Peoples Programme, the Global Indigenous Data Alliance, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, and the drafting committee of the CARE principles for Indigenous Data Governance.    …”

Open access ‘excludes’ developing world scientists – SciDev.Net

“Pay-to-publish models adopted by science journals ‘exacerbate the exclusion of researchers from the global South’.

Open access publishing is excluding many developing world scientists as complex fee waiver systems fall short, say leading researchers….”

The need for free and open data in Earth observation activities – SpaceNews

“The evolving quality and quantity of Earth observation data enables an ever-increasingly profound knowledge of the climate crisis, enhancing the efficacy of mitigation strategies as well as the management of risk and natural or human-made disasters. Access to satellite imagery offers a unique and game-changing advantage compared to data collected in situ: the capacity to build data sets with decades worth of observations while providing constant, up-to-date, and reliable information.

The environmental emergency, while having severe global effects, will not affect all states equally. Poorer, less developed countries are expected to face severe challenges directly related to climate change, and will experience the large majority of climate-induced human mobility, be it internally displaced people or climate migrants. Open Data policies promoting free and open access to Earth observation data and information are an important tool to guarantee access to satellite imagery to those states which do not yet possess the capabilities for independent access to space. This is especially true for data related to the causes and effects of climate emergencies, such as the Essential Climate Variables identified by the Global Climate Observing System. Open Data principles not only greatly enhance the mitigation strategies of less-developed countries, but would significantly further their risk and disaster management….”

Opening Access, Closing the Knowledge Gap? Analysing GC No. 25 on the Right to Science and Its Implications for the Global Science System in the Digital Age eBook (2021) / 0044-2348 | Nomos eLibrary

Abstract:  The Corona pandemic as never before shows the advantages of Open Science and Open Access (OA), understood as the unrestricted access to research data, software and publications over the internet. It might accelerate the long-predicted “access revolution” in the academic publishing system towards a system in which scientific publications are freely available for readers over the internet. This paradigm shift, for which the “flipping” of this journal is but one of many examples, is underway, with major research funding organisations at the national and international levels massively supporting it. The call for OA has now also been taken up by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which in its recent General Comment (GC) No. 25 explicitly asks states to promote OA. Following the line of argument of the OA movement, the Committee finds that OA is beneficial to democracy, scientific progress and furthermore a tool to bridge the “knowledge gap”. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the GC and its implications for the global science system in the digital age. It argues that the great merit of the GC lies in highlighting that “benefitting” from science includes access to science as such and not only to its material outcomes. This underscores the independent meaning of the right to science which so far was primarily seen as an enabler for other social rights. However, when it comes to OA, the GC has problematic flaws. It simply assumes that OA is beneficial to the right to science, overlooking that the OA model which is likely to become the global standard risks to benefit the already privileged, namely researchers and publishers of wealthy institutions in the Global North, further sidelining those at the margins. Rather than narrowing existing gaps, it risks to further deepen them. In order to remain meaningful in the face of the fundamental criticism it faces, human rights law needs to address systemic issues and inequalities in the science system and beyond.

 

Is Sci-Hub Increasing Visibility of Indian Research Papers? An Analytical Evaluation

Abstract:  Sci-Hub, founded by Alexandra Elbakyan in 2011 in Kazakhstan has, over the years, emerged as a very popular source for researchers to download scientific papers. It is believed that Sci-Hub contains more than 76 million academic articles. However, recently three foreign academic publishers (Elsevier, Wiley and American Chemical Society) have filed a lawsuit against Sci-Hub and LibGen before the Delhi High Court and prayed for complete blocking these websites in India. It is in this context, that this paper attempts to find out how many Indian research papers are available in Sci-Hub and who downloads them. The citation advantage of Indian research papers available on Sci-Hub is analysed, with results confirming that such an advantage do exist. 

Open education resources to shape post-pandemic world

“For the past two decades, the world has been building open knowledge on a massive scale, with open educational resources as a cornerstone. The 2001 launches of MIT OpenCourseWare and Creative Commons formed a solid foundation of this global open educational resource movement, which now supports many millions of learners from all walks of life.

Now, as we begin to grapple with the long-term impacts and changes in education brought on by the pandemic year, it’s crucial to assess how open educational resource (OER) tools and resources are reaching those who need and use them most. In this article, we’ll focus on students in Africa….

Beyond its role in sustaining education through the pandemic, OER like MIT OpenCourseWare has several qualities that will be essential in the rebuilding and progress to come, supporting efforts to increase equity and live more sustainably as framed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

• OER is inclusive, because it’s open for all to adapt for diverse needs and have all voices reflected.

• OER is resilient, always there when you need it, free to use in classrooms and carry with you through any future disruptions.

• OER is iterative, a collective work in progress that admits the latest insights into what’s working, and what’s not working, as knowledge is created and applied.

• OER is scalable, enabling hyper-local knowledge and lived experiences to be shared and built into a global pool of knowledge….”

Why some researchers oppose unrestricted sharing of coronavirus genome data

“Global-south scientists say that an open-access movement led by wealthy nations deprives them of credit and undermines their efforts….

But a growing faction of scientists, mostly from wealthy nations, argues that sequences should be shared on databases with no gatekeeping at all. They say this would allow huge analyses combining hundreds of thousands of genomes from different databases to flow seamlessly, and therefore deliver results more rapidly.

The debate has caught the attention of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) — which runs its own genome repository, called GenBank — and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has considered encouraging grantees to share on sites without such strong protections, Nature has learnt.

But many researchers — particularly those in resource-limited countries — are pushing back. They tell Nature that they see potential for exploitation in this no-strings-attached approach — and that GISAID’s gatekeeping is one of its biggest attractions because it ensures that users who analyse sequences from GISAID acknowledge those who deposited them. The database also requests that users seek to collaborate with the depositors….

Fears of inequitable data use are amplified by the fact that only 0.3% of COVID-19 vaccines have gone to low-income countries. “Imagine Africans working so hard to contribute to a database that’s used to make or update vaccines, and then we don’t get access to the vaccines,” says Christian Happi, a microbiologist at the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in Ede, Nigeria. “It’s very demoralizing.” …”

Rights, sharing, and embargo policies

“Cell Press supports responsible sharing. We recognize that authors want to share their papers and we encourage this. Find out how you can share your paper here: www.elsevier.com/sharing-articles .

(opens in a new window)

There are, however, some differences between Elsevier’s general policies and those of Cell Press. Most Cell Press articles are under a press embargo until the article is published because we generate substantial media coverage for relevant articles….

We are happy to consider manuscripts previously posted on preprint servers such as arXiv(opens in a new window), bioRxiv(opens in a new window), BioRN(opens in a new window), ChiRxiv(opens in a new window), ChiRN(opens in a new window), or SSRN(opens in a new window). Some of our journals, including Cell Genomics, Cell Reports, Current Biology, and iScience, also support direct submission of manuscripts from bioRxiv and/or medRxiv via transfer of manuscript files and metadata to the journal’s Editorial Manager site. Our support for posting of preprints only applies to the original submitted version of the manuscript; we do not support posting to preprint servers revisions that respond to editorial input and peer review or final accepted manuscripts….

For authors submitting from January 2021 onwards all Cell Press journals offer an open access publishing option. We have a range of journals that are either full open access, where all articles are published on an open access basis, or hybrid open access, which offer a choice between subscription and open access publishing.

Authors of papers published by Cell Press can share their accepted manuscript (the post-peer-review version that does not incorporate copy editing and proofing) via non-commercial hosting platforms, such as their institutional repository, after a posting embargo period has elapsed (this is distinct from the press embargo mentioned above)….

Cell Press open access and hybrid research journals support open access publication for groups of authors from Research4Life (R4L) countries. For papers where all of the authors are from a Group A and/or Group B R4L country we will grant a waiver or discount of the standard publishing fee, as appropriate. For fully open access journals the R4L eligibility check will be automatic. For hybrid journals please highlight your situation to the journal team during the submission process so we can adjust accordingly….”