Guest Post – Scaffolding a Shift to a Values-driven Open Books Ecosystem – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Pressure from all sides of the ecosystem has propelled growth, experimentation, and commitment to making more scholarship accessible to more people. There is increased awareness, too, that making research open does not resolve all issues of equity and access to knowledge, that more critical engagement with the moral economy of open access is still to come. Living in a pandemic has accelerated the momentum and heightened the sense of urgency, not only in discourse, but in concrete steps being taken and strategies developed by institutions and publishers alike. Libraries, scholars, students, and readers of all kinds have had to move rapidly to adopt and adapt digital resources and tools. Open access books offer increased access to knowledge for the reader, but they also present an opportunity to remake a fragmented ecosystem, and to increase channels of communication about the processes involved in researching, writing, shepherding, financing, publishing, acquiring, and reading research….

Digital books, open or not, require infrastructure. Disintermediating hosting, distribution, and sales helps simplify cost structures. Non-profit presses are developing their own infrastructure to support greater strategic choice. Fulcrum, from Michigan Publishing, and Manifold, from the University of Minnesota Press, are two such developments that expand the new universe of values-aligned platforms. The MIT Press Direct platform launched in 2019 in an effort to disintermediate the relationship between the press and libraries. The platform aligns ebook distribution with the university press mission and opens space for dialogue with libraries. The greater connection with libraries has confirmed a gap in knowledge sharing between librarians, editors, library sales, and authors that, when filled, could make the monograph publication process clearer. Each stakeholder, internal and external to a press, holds valuable information about open access book development, funding, hosting, and discovery. Creating channels to share this information, and doing so through new, collective models, has the potential to benefit the system as a whole….”

Open access publishing is the ethical choice | Wonkhe

“I had a stroke half a decade ago and found I couldn’t access the medical literature on my extremely rare vascular condition.

I’m a capable reader, but I couldn’t get past the paywalls – which seemed absurd, given most research is publicly funded. While I had, already, long been an open access advocate by that point, this strengthened my resolve.

The public is often underestimated. Keeping research locked behind paywalls under the assumption that most people won’t be interested in, or capable of, reading academic research is patronising….

While this moral quandary should not be passed to young researchers, there may be benefits to them in taking a firm stance. Early career researchers are less likely to have grants to pay for article processing charges to make their work open access compared to their senior colleagues. Early career researchers are also the ones who are inadvertently paying the extortionate subscription fees to publishers. According to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the amount of money UK universities fork out each year to access paywalled content from Elsevier – the largest academic publisher in the world – could pay 1,028 academic researchers a salary of £45,000 per year.

We know for-profit publishers, such as Elsevier, hold all the cards with respect to those prestigious titles. What we need are systematic “read and publish” deals that allow people to publish where they want without having to find funding for open access….

The current outlook for prospective researchers to secure an academic position at a university is compromised because so much money is spent propping up for-profit, commercial publishers. Rather than focusing on career damage to those who can’t publish with an Elsevier title, we should focus on the opportunity cost in hundreds of lost careers in academia….”

Why they shared: recovering early arguments for sharing social scientific data | Science in Context | Cambridge Core

Abstract:  Most social scientists today think of data sharing as an ethical imperative essential to making social science more transparent, verifiable, and replicable. But what moved the architects of some of the U.S.’s first university-based social scientific research institutions, the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (ISR), and its spin-off, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), to share their data? Relying primarily on archived records, unpublished personal papers, and oral histories, I show that Angus Campbell, Warren Miller, Philip Converse, and others understood sharing data not as an ethical imperative intrinsic to social science but as a useful means to the diverse ends of financial stability, scholarly and institutional autonomy, and epistemological reproduction. I conclude that data sharing must be evaluated not only on the basis of the scientific ideals its supporters affirm, but also on the professional objectives it serves.

 

Openness in Big Data and Data Repositories | SpringerLink

Abstract:  There is a growing expectation, or even requirement, for researchers to deposit a variety of research data in data repositories as a condition of funding or publication. This expectation recognizes the enormous benefits of data collected and created for research purposes being made available for secondary uses, as open science gains increasing support. This is particularly so in the context of big data, especially where health data is involved. There are, however, also challenges relating to the collection, storage, and re-use of research data. This paper gives a brief overview of the landscape of data sharing via data repositories and discusses some of the key ethical issues raised by the sharing of health-related research data, including expectations of privacy and confidentiality, the transparency of repository governance structures, access restrictions, as well as data ownership and the fair attribution of credit. To consider these issues and the values that are pertinent, the paper applies the deliberative balancing approach articulated in the Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research (Xafis et al. 2019) to the domain of Openness in Big Data and Data Repositories. Please refer to that article for more information on how this framework is to be used, including a full explanation of the key values involved and the balancing approach used in the case study at the end.

 

Openness in Big Data and Data Repositories | SpringerLink

Abstract:  There is a growing expectation, or even requirement, for researchers to deposit a variety of research data in data repositories as a condition of funding or publication. This expectation recognizes the enormous benefits of data collected and created for research purposes being made available for secondary uses, as open science gains increasing support. This is particularly so in the context of big data, especially where health data is involved. There are, however, also challenges relating to the collection, storage, and re-use of research data. This paper gives a brief overview of the landscape of data sharing via data repositories and discusses some of the key ethical issues raised by the sharing of health-related research data, including expectations of privacy and confidentiality, the transparency of repository governance structures, access restrictions, as well as data ownership and the fair attribution of credit. To consider these issues and the values that are pertinent, the paper applies the deliberative balancing approach articulated in the Ethics Framework for Big Data in Health and Research (Xafis et al. 2019) to the domain of Openness in Big Data and Data Repositories. Please refer to that article for more information on how this framework is to be used, including a full explanation of the key values involved and the balancing approach used in the case study at the end.

 

Imposters and Impersonators in Preprints: How do we trust authors in Open Science? – The Scholarly Kitchen

“The prevalence of fictitious authorship across preprints is still unknown, and the writers’ motivations are opaque in most cases. This nefarious behavior within the open science arena raises many questions in need of discussing….”

Why we need to think about ethics when using satellite data for development | Devex

“To avoid these dynamics, Allan says it’s vital that stakeholders think carefully about who controls the collection of data, what platforms are being used to store and organize the data collected — and if those platforms are proprietary, or open-sourced — and what will happen to the data after the project is complete.

“The problem with proprietary data is that each NGO might be mapping different things, and they aren’t necessarily sharing that data,” Allan said. “So you might have Oxfam mapping one type of water source, but ignoring WaterAid, who may be mapping another, potentially leading to false resource reports.”

Another issue with proprietary data is that after the project is complete, it often becomes inaccessible to anyone except the NGO and donors, he said.

“The data is not only getting wasted, but it’s also potentially insecure, through lack of sustained ownership,” he said. “One way to get around this issue is to make data open-source, available in the public space, accountable to — and also update-able by — local communities.” …”

Open access pay-for-review option — ethical question

“Although I welcome the ‘guided open access’ option being adopted by the Nature family of journals (see Nature 588, 19–20; 2020), I have serious ethical concerns about it in the short and medium term.

These go beyond the commonly voiced financial and organizational problems, such as how to get funders on board or how reviews can be transferred to other publishers. For example, given that most manuscripts are rejected without review, wealthy authors or disciplines might use the guided option to buy their way into the process. In a world where slots in highly influential journals are limited, positive reviews of manuscripts that might otherwise be rejected could disadvantage those unable to afford the guided option, and make selection of non-guided manuscripts harder.

Moreover, what would happen if the success of guided open access were to cause a sudden flood of reviewing requests from Nature journals? Potential reviewers might not react well to participating for free, knowing that authors are paying for the chance to have their manuscript reviewed. Incentives for reviewers beyond serving the scientific community might be necessary. Such incentives, together with the opportunity to review high-flying manuscripts, could affect the dynamics of the finite pool of reviewers by diverting reviewers from other journals. The net result could be control of the peer-review process by a few important publishers….”

Can open access publishing be made ‘JUST’ for authors from low-middle income countries? – The American Journal of Emergency Medicine

“OA applies the principles of ‘FAIR’ in its publishing model. Proposed in March 2016 and endorsed by the European commission and the G20, ‘FAIR’ is an acronym for ‘findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable’, intended to more clearly define what is meant by the term ‘open access’ and make the concept easier to discuss [5]. We wondered if the ‘FAIR’ concept can be supported by the philosophy of ‘JUST’ as well, to empower authors especially from the low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

J- Jargon friendly, U- Universal, S- Sharing, T- Transparent….”

The Scholarly Knowledge Ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities for the Field of Information

Abstract:  In this research article, we draw upon major reports from a cross-section of disciplines related to large scale scientific information ecosystems to characterize the most significant research challenges, and promising potential approaches. We explore two themes that emerge across research areas: the need to align research approaches and methods with core ethical principles; and the promise of approaches that are transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral.