“While the U.S. president is calling for suspending patents on COVID-19 vaccines, experts at UNESCO are quietly working on a more ambitious plan: a new global system for sharing scientific knowledge that would outlast the current pandemic.
At a meeting that concluded Tuesday, diplomats and legal and technical experts from UNESCO’S member states tried to draw up global guidelines under a project called Open Science….
The Open Science talks aim to come up with a “soft law” by the end of this year that governments could use as a guide for setting science policies and systematically sharing data, software and research across borders, Persic said….
In 2019, then-President Donald Trump pulled out of UNESCO, but U.S. diplomats are taking part in the Open Science talks as observers….”
Abstract: During the previous Ebola and Zika outbreaks, researchers shared their data, allowing many published epidemiological studies to be produced only from open research data, to speed up investigations and control of these infections. This study aims to evaluate the dissemination of the COVID-19 research data underlying scientific publications. Analysis of COVID-19 publications from December 1, 2019, to April 30, 2020, was conducted through the PubMed Central repository to evaluate the research data available through its publication as supplementary material or deposited in repositories. The PubMed Central search generated 5,905 records, of which 804 papers included complementary research data, especially as supplementary material (77.4%). The most productive journals were The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the most frequent keyword was pneumonia, and the most used repositories were GitHub and GenBank. An expected growth in the number of published articles following the course of the pandemics is confirmed in this work, while the underlying research data are only 13.6%. It can be deduced that data sharing is not a common practice, even in health emergencies, such as the present one. High-impact generalist journals have accounted for a large share of global publishing. The topics most often covered are related to epidemiological and public health concepts, genetics, virology and respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia. However, it is essential to interpret these data with caution following the evolution of publications and their funding in the coming months.
From the body of the paper: “In global public health emergencies, it should be mandatory to disseminate any information that may be of value in fighting the crisis. For this to be done efficiently, there is a need to develop agreed global standards for sharing data and results for scientists, institutions and governments.”
“Thus, researchers need to modernize the way they do their scholarship, institutions need to modernize their infrastructure such that researchers are enabled to modernize their scholarship. These have now had more than 30 years for this modernization and neither of them have acted. At this point it is fair to assume, barring some major catastrophe forcing their hands, that such modernization is not going to magically appear within the next three decades, either. Funders, therefore, are in a position to incentivize this long overdue modernization which institutions and hence researchers have been too complacent or too reticent to tackle.
If, as I would tend to agree, we are faced with a collective action problem and the size of the collective is the major determinant for effective problem solving, then it is a short step to realize that funders are in a uniquely suited position to start solving this collective action problem. Conversely, then, it is only legitimate to question the motives of those who seek to make the collective action problem unnecessary difficult by advocating to target individual researchers or institutions. What could possibly be the benefit of making the collective action problem numerically more difficult to solve?”
Abstract: The rights retention strategy (RRS) is a new tool to help academic authors retain rights over their manuscripts. This will allow you to freely share your author accepted manuscript at any time. The RRS is simple and elegant; authors need follow only two steps. (1) Add the following text, e.g. to the cover page, or acknowledgements, to your manuscript before submission to a journal: “A CC BY or equivalent licence is applied to the AAM arising from this submission.” (2) Once your article is accepted for publication, you can deposit your version of the manuscript in a public repository. This strategy has been developed by cOAlition-S, but can be used by all authors, irrespective of funding. Here I describe pros and cons of this approach, but recommend its adoption by scholars as a way to retain ownership of their own content.
“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. …”
This briefing paper aims to support decision makers at research organisations and research funders to develop new monitoring exercises or assess and improve existing processes to measure the Open Access status of publications.
The availability of data and information on the current state of scholarly publishing is invaluable to help advance Open Access. Given the complexity of the scholarly publishing system, this involves a multitude of decisions.
This briefing paper provides recommendations on the three main questions an organisation should answer to develop a monitoring exercise: Why, What, and How?
Examples of different monitoring exercises have been selected to represent different use cases, organisational setups, data sources, and strategies of interpretation.
“In accordance with the UNESCO Constitution and the Rules of Procedure concerning recommendations to Member States and international conventions covered by the terms of Article IV, paragraph 4, of the Constitution, the final report together with the draft text of the Recommendation on Open Science was sent to UNESCO Member States in March 2021 (CL/4349). It is submitted to the special committee meeting of technical and legal experts, designated by Member States, to be held on 6-7 and 10-12 May, as per the circular letter (CL/4338) sent in January 2021, followed by the letter ref. SC/PCB/SPP/2376 sent in April 2021.”
“At its 40th session in November 2019, UNESCO’s General Conference decided to elaborate a draft Recommendation on Open Science.
The first draft of the Recommendation on Open Science was sent to UNESCO Member States in September 2020 (CL/4333), requesting their comments and observations by 31 December 2020. The Open Science Advisory Committee and the UNESCO Secretariat have taken these comments into account in the draft text of the Recommendation and the related final report, sent to UNESCO Member States in March 2021 (CL/4349).
The draft text of the Recommendation will be examined by technical and legal experts, designated by Member States, at the intergovernmental special committee meeting related to the draft UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which will take place online on 6-7 May and 10-12 May 2021 (letter ref. SC/PCB/SPP/2376 sent on 12 April 2021, following CL/4338 sent in January 2021).
The draft approved at the intergovernmental meeting will be submitted to Member States in August 2021, with a view to its adoption by the General Conference at its 41st session in November 2021….”
Abstract: In the late 1990s chemists were among the early adopters of open access (OA) publishing. As also happened with preprints, the early successful adoption of OA publishing by chemists subsequently slowed down. In 2016 chemistry was found to be the discipline with the lowest proportion of OA articles in articles published between 2009 and 2015. To benefit from open science in terms of enhanced citations, collaboration, job and funding opportunities, chemistry scholars need updated information (and education) of practical relevance about open science. Suggesting avenues for quick uptake of OA publishing from chemists in both developed and developing countries, this article offers a critical perspective on academic publishing in the chemical sciences that will be useful to inform that education.