The sharing of research data facing the COVID-19 pandemic | SpringerLink

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.”

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….”

University of Hull Open Access Policy – revised May 2021 – Digital Repository

“The University of Hull recognises open access publication as a valuable component of dissemination for research outputs. Open access publication channels for journal articles in particular now sit alongside more traditional publication channels as options: equivalent options are rapidly developing for monographs and research data. Open access dissemination of research outputs broadens the audience that can be reached and enables wider awareness of the research. This can generate more and quicker impact, with concomitant reputational benefits for future research.

Research funders are increasingly advocating and requiring consideration of open access as a means of publication to realise these advantages. Similarly, openness of research generally is now at the forefront of public research funding policy, and open access is a key component of this. This policy describes an approach to open access for the University of Hull that blends the advantages of open access with the requirements laid out by funders in following this path.

This revised and updated policy was agreed in May 2021….”

JAMA Publishes Trial Results Delayed 5 Years. Here’s Why

“A treatment for shortening the painful episodes of sickle cell disease (SCD) is not effective, results published in JAMA indicate. But the effort it took to publish the findings is an important part of the story and reveal problems with data ownership, company motivations, and public resources that go well beyond a single clinical trial or experimental agent….”

Carrying the torch of openness. The Open Data Charter is looking for a… | by Open Data Charter | opendatacharter | May, 2021 | Medium

“Last year the Open Data Charter (ODC) celebrated its fifth year of operation, calling for governments to repair the many cracks in data infrastructures that hinder swift and accountable responses to global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate action and other sources of power imbalance in societies. As part of a global push for a fairer balance of data rights to be enshrined in governing principles and incisive policies and practices, our work on advocacy and movement building in this area is making headway with policy makers, civil society organisations and others….


After close to 5 years as the ODC’s founding Executive Director, Ania Calderon will be stepping down to make way for new leadership. We thank her for a bold vision and thoughtful guidance that she has brought to the ODC and wish her success in her future endeavours. To ensure a smooth transition, we are pleased to launch a search for a forward-looking leader who will steer the course of the ODC as a driver of open data reforms needed for an inclusive global recovery….”

University Rankings and Governance by Metrics and Algorithms | Zenodo

Abstract:  This paper looks closely at how data analytic providers leverage rankings as a part of their strategies to further extract rent and assets from the university beyond their traditional roles as publishers and citation data providers. Multinational publishers such as Elsevier, with over 2,500 journals in its portfolio, has transitioned to become a data analytic firm. Rankings expand their abilities to monetize further their existing journal holdings, as there is a strong association between publication in high-impact journals and improvement in rankings.  The global academic publishing industry has become highly oligopolistic, and a small handful of legacy multinational firms are now publishing the majority of the world’s research output (See Larivière et. al. 2015; Fyfe et. al. 2017; Posada & Chen, 2018). It is therefore crucial that their roles and enormous market power in influencing university rankings be more closely scrutinized. We suggest that due to a combination of a lack of transparency regarding, for example, Elsevier’s data services and products and their self-positioning as a key intermediary in the commercial rankings business, they have managed to evade the social responsibilities and scrutiny that come with occupying such a critical public function in university evaluation. As the quest for ever-higher rankings often works in conflict with universities’ public missions, it is critical to raise questions about the governance of such private digital platforms and the compatibility between their private interests and the maintenance of universities’ public values.


We’re building a replacement for Microsoft Academic Graph – Our Research blog

“This week Microsoft Research announced that their free bibliographic database–Microsoft Academic Graph, or MAG for short–is being discontinued. This is sad news, because MAG was a great source of open scholcomm metadata, including citation counts and author affiliations. MAG data is used in Unsub, as well as several other well-known open science tools.

Thankfully, we’ve got a contingency plan for this situation, which we’ve been working on for a while now. We’re building a successor to MAG. Like all our projects, it’ll be open-source and the data will be free to everyone via data dump and API. It will launch at the end of the year, when MAG is scheduled to disappear.

It’s important to note that this new service will not be a perfect replacement, especially right when it launches. MAG has excellent support for conference proceedings, for example; we won’t match that for a while, if ever.  Instead, we’ll be focusing on supporting the most important use-cases, and building out from there. If you use MAG today, we’d love to hear what your key use-cases are, so we can prioritize accordingly. Here’s where you can tell us.

We plan to have this launched by the time MAG disappears at year’s end. That’s an aggressive schedule, but we’ve built and launched other large projects (Unpaywall, Unsub) in less time. We’ve also got a good head start, since we’ve been working toward this as an internal project for a while now….”