Prof. Kamel Belhamel: “For the global south, Open Access is an opportunity in terms of innovation, the diffusion of knowledge and the emergence of new ideas.”

Continuing the highly successful Open Science Stars series, this round we’re honoured to bring you Prof. Kamel Belhamel, the recently appointed DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa. Here’s his story.

Hi Kamel, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Thank you for interviewing me Jon and congratulations on receiving your hard-earned doctoral degree. Best wishes for the future. (Ed: Thank you!! 🙂)

Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

I am Kamel Belhamel, full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Bejaia, director of the Laboratory of Organic Materials and Editor in chief of Algerian Journal of Natural Products (E-ISSN: 2353-0391). I graduated in Chemistry at the University of Setif- Algeria and achieved my PhD at the same University in the field of Process Engineering and Chemistry of Materials. I have taken part to several international projects such as: Italian project, German – DAAD, French- Algerian framework programme CMEP and co-ordinator of several Algerian national research projects, CNEPRU, PNR). My scientific activity is focused on the chemistry of macrocycles; Solvent extraction of metal ions from ores and waste solutions; Extraction and study of chemical composition from plant extract; Electrodeposition of metals and alloys. I am author/co-author of 20 scientific papers in international scientific journals and more than 50 abstract books in national and international conferences. I was Supervisor of many Master’s and 11 PhD students. I am a member of the Scientific Committee of the Faculty of Technology, the Algerian Chemical Society, and Training Manager of Master of Science: pharmaceutical processes at the University of Bejaia. Recently, I was appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa.

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

I have heard about open access journals during my first scientific visit to Freie Universität, Berlin in 2000. When I selected an open access journal, Molecules, and edited by MDPI, in order to publish our research results, my friend, Prof. Rainer Ludwig, has refused to publish in this journal because, in this period it hadn’t obtained an impact factor and asked for high APCs (article-processing charges). One important element to keep in mind when discussing Open science, that this concept is very old. By the 12th century, Bejaia, my city was an important port and an open centre of science in the North Africa. The Italian mathematician Fibonacci (c. 1170 – c. 1250) has studied Arabic numerals and algebraic notation in Bejaia. He introduced these and modern mathematics into medieval Europe in his famous book Liber Abaci. Another influential North African Muslim thinker of the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun, has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest. He has written a part of his famous Muqaddimah “Introduction” in Bejaia. This document, summarize his theories of the science of sociology, was the greatest legacy that he freely offered for all of humanity and the generations to come.

 

The bust of Ibn Khaldun  and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel
The bust of Ibn Khaldun and the entrance door of the Casbah of Bejaia (built in 1154, place of learning for Ibn Khaldun , Fibonacci and other scientists). Image credit: Kamel Belhamel

You recently were appointed as the DOAJ Ambassador for North Africa – congratulations! What sort of activities does this role entail? Continue reading…

Bastian Greshake – “At least no one is seriously using MatLab”

The latest Open Science Stars interview couldn’t be better timed, as I’m sitting here with the interviewee, Bastian Greshake at OpenCon in Washington DC! Let’s get right to it!

Hi Bastian, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

Sure! Right now I’m working on my PhD in bioinformatics at the University of Frankfurt, the city in the middle of Germany that is famous for having a more or less working airport. Before I transferred into being an armchair/standing desk biologist I did a Master’s degree in Ecology & Evolution. Much of my, maybe let’s say “traditional”, research is about how evolution has shaped the genomes of the funny living things around us. And then there’s the whole open* shebang, which we’ll probably talk about later.

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When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

I’m not really sure whether it was before or during my undergrad studies. I was certainly experimenting with open source software since I was 15 or so. For the open access-part I at least vividly remember one of the computational biology nerds sporting an open access-shirt, so I guess that way of advertising works. In any case, in my naivety I was puzzled and shocked that open science and science aren’t the same thing yet (c.f. this), as I would have assumed that academics would be progressive, being on the frontier of knowledge and all (boy, was I wrong!).

What is the state of ‘open science’ in the field of bioinformatics? Do you think it’s progressing faster or more frustratingly slower than other fields?

Bioinformatics is a pretty huge field, so I don’t really dare to speak for all of it. But at least for the part that I’m meddling in I think we’re doing a pretty good job open science-wise. Much of the data people generate is ending up in open repositories, virtually everything is programmed in open source programming languages and much of the written code ends up being open sourced as well. And there are some decent open access journals, with pre-prints becoming more and more accepted as well. Of course, it’s not perfect yet. Many people still seem to have a hard time to resist the siren song of Nature/Science publications and unfortunately it’s also the case that people still use and publish closed source and commercial software for their analysis. But hey, at least no one is seriously using Matlab.

Many people still seem to have a hard time to resist the siren song of Nature/Science

Continue reading…

Platinum indexing for platinum journals

Thank you to everyone who applied for the latest round of ScienceOpen’s free indexing competition! Following the major success of the first round, we are pleased to announce that we will be offering free abstracting and indexing services for the following journals:

  1. Il Capitale Culturale. Studies on the Value of Cultural Heritage
  2. Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
  3. Anti-Trafficking Review
  4. Path of Science

We also decided that one journal deserves a special free promotional journal collection: Anti-Trafficking Review. Congratulations!

Free to publish OA journals offer an incredible service to the research community and broader public, with editors often working long hours with little-no compensation. We want to recognise this effort and reward it with free indexing on our platform! But why should journal editors care?

More visibility for your journal

Journals indexed on ScienceOpen:

  • Reach new audiences and maximize your readership
  • Drive more usage to your journals
  • Upload your content to a unique search/discovery and communication platform
  • Open up the context of your content

To apply for the next round, an application form can be found here. Fill it out, and submit to our team. Simple, and hassle free!

 

“It’s so very broken.” Rachael Dunlop on the state of scholarly communications

Continuing the awesome Open Science Stars series, we spoke with Dr. Rachael Dunlop about her thoughts on scholarly communications. Rachael is such an awesome scientist, she has her own Wikipedia page!

Hi Rachael! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

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Rachael Dunlop at QED 2013 in Manchester UK. CC BY SA 3.0 (Source)

I was a late starter in science, having worked in graphic design and advertising as my first career. I went to uni aged 26 to get a science degree and emerged 8 years later with a PhD in Cell Biology. I originally planned to become a Virologist but my Microbiology lecturer was so awful, I switched to Toxicology. Funnily enough, I’d never done any Biology in high school so in first year uni, I had to borrow my sister’s year 12 text books to teach myself the basics of Biology – and now I’m a Biologist.

When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?

I can’t really recall but it would have been around the time I first started publishing and became aware that if you paid an exorbitant fee, then people could read your papers for free. Of course, researchers never ever have a spare USD3000 to throw around on publishing so it just always seemed out of my reach. It’s a great idea if you can afford it. As for open science, ideas are currency in research so there was never any discussion about participating in an open system.

Continue reading…

New partnership with Cold Spring Harbor

 

At ScienceOpen we’re pleased to announce yet another new publishing partnership with Cold Spring Harbor. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York, USA. Since 1933, it has helped to advance scientific knowledge in all areas of genetics and molecular biology, including cancer biology, plant science, bioinformatics, and neurobiology.

Cold Spring Harbor Molecular Case Studies is an open access, peer reviewed, international journal in the field of precision medicine. Anyone can now freely browse, sort, and peer review any content from the journal using our advanced discovery engine.

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Articles display scores from Altmetric, and like all other open access content on our platform display the little OA logo. Integrated into our existing corpus of 26 million articles and article records, Cold Spring Harbor content will be put into context through our citation and recommendation network.

For more information about our indexing services, please contact our Marketing Manager Agata Morka (agata.morka@scienceopen.com). We are still running our free indexing competition for APC-free open access journals, so get in touch if you qualify!

How to start an Open Science revolution! An interview with patient advocate, Graham Steel.

Continuing our Open Science Stars interview series, today we’re happy to bring to you Graham Steel, a relentless campaigner for all things Open!

Hi Graham, and thanks for joining us here! Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?

For 25 years, my background (as in day job) was dealing with insurance claims for various insurers, legal firms and service providers. In my spare time as of around 2001, I became involved in research/science outreach and as of now, I would class myself as an open science enthusiast. From Jan 2015 – August 2016, I acted as Community Manager (then Social Media Manager) for ContentMine.

When did you first hear about open access/data/science? What were your initial thoughts?

In order, I first heard about open access late 2006, open science the following year and then open data. My initial thoughts were that all these entities were much needed and refreshing alternatives to all that I had seen or read about such topics up until then, i.e., closed access, prohibitive paywalls, “data not shown” etc.

You’re what some people call a ‘Patient Advocate’ – what is that, and what’s the story there?

The terms Patient Advocate and Patient Advocacy broadly speaking can mean a number of things. By definition, “Patient advocacy is an area of lay specialization in health care concerned with advocacy for patients, survivors, and carers”. For myself personally, this began in 2001 and mainly concerned bereaved relatives and then patients and their family members. See here for further details.

You relentlessly campaign for various aspects of open science – what drives you in this?

My means of background, I would say with certainty that during the period of around 2008 – 2011, the (sadly now deceased) social media aggregator site Friendfeed was the space in which the foundations for a lot of my current thinking were set out. Prior to that, having already been primed with open access and open data, that’s pretty much where open science really took off in earnest. Science and indeed research in the open is without question the way forward for all.

Science and indeed research in the open is without question the way forward for all.

Continue reading…

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Putting open into action with ScienceOpen for OA Week 2016

Open Access Week is the annual event to show our global support for all things open access! The theme this year is all about committing to putting open into action in order to take real steps towards open scholarship and supporting a stronger research framework.

SPARC have created an action portal of various activities you can undertake this week to help yourself and your colleagues support open access. These are:

  1. Make a list of open access journals in my discipline I would consider publishing in and share it with colleagues.
  2. Start a conversation about Open Access during a research group meeting, journal club, or staff meeting.
  3. Send at least one manuscript to an open-access journal within the next year.
  4. Deposit at least one of my articles into an open-access repository during Open Access Week and encourage colleagues to do the same.
  5. Use the SPARC author addendum on my next publication to reserve rights to make a copy of my work publicly accessible.
  6. Contribute to a conversation on campus about institutional support for Open Access.
  7. Sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and commit to not using journal-based metrics in evaluation.
  8. Sign up for Impactstory to explore the online impact of your research and get an ORCID.

Thankfully, ScienceOpen is here to make these things even easier for you! Some related things you can do are:

  • Use our discovery and filter tools to discover journals in your research field.
  • Start a research collection for you and your colleagues.
  • Peer review any of 26 million research articles, and receive credit for openly sharing your expertise.
  • ScienceOpen is already linked with ImpactStory and ORCID, making cross-platform integration even easier!

 

 

 

 

 

ScienceOpen joins forces with the Open Library of Humanities

It’s been a great week for us at ScienceOpen! In time for the Frankfurt Book Fair, we were happy to announce a new partnership with PeerJ to help promote Computer Science research. We’re happy now to announce another new partnership with the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), a new publishing platform the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

You can read the full press release here, find the featured journals here, and discover and filter all OLH content here. We’re very excited by this new partnership, as it helps continue our trend of breaking down barriers between ‘STEM’ and ‘HSS’ research by integrating it all together in one unified platform.

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Professor Martin Eve, co-founder of the OLH, said: “In the digital environment in which humanities research now finds itself, discoverability is key. It is vitally important that the ‘signal’ of solid research is not lost amid the ‘noise’ of the World Wide Web. Our new partnership with ScienceOpen is just one of several initiatives in which we are participating that will amplify the humanities research that we publish. Finally, we think it is important to counter the destructive in-fighting of a ‘sciences vs humanities’ culture. By participating in ScienceOpen’s indexing, OLH research will sit alongside that of our colleagues working in the natural and social sciences.”

Featured journals from the OLH include:

  1. ORBIT: A Journal of American Literature
  2. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts
  3. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship
  4. And of course, the Open Library of Humanities itself

Some of the more eye-catching research articles are:

  • When the Zombies Came for Our Children: Exploring Posthumanism in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (link)

    • “..this essay explores The Walking Dead’s psychologization of childhood as its narrative moves away from a satirical construction of the zombie apocalypse into the inquiry of contemporary (in)humanity.”
  •  Analysis of Motions in Comic Book Cover Art: Using Pictorial Metaphors (link)

    • “How are literal and metaphorical pictorial devices used in comic book cover art?”
  • ‘Graphic Medicine’ as a Mental Health Information Resource: Insights from Comics Producers (link)

    • “This paper suggests that comics producers need to make a concerted effort to reach academia, and academia – including information professionals – need to embrace new types of material to enhance teaching.”
  • Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing (link)

    • “We conclude that obtaining a more joined up picture of financial flows is vital as a means for researchers, institutions and others to understand and shape changes to the sociotechnical systems that underpin scholarly communication.”

Judicial Tyranny or American Justice? Guest post by Lisa Matthias

‘Research hasn’t been completed until it has been properly communicated.’ This is one of the great mantras of Prof. Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government. What this means is that all research needs and deserves to be communicated to as wide an audience as possible, and published in an accessible format, in order to maximise its potential impact. To that end, we asked Lisa Matthias, who recently published her Master’s research with us at ScienceOpen, to tell us more about her work and what she found. Here’s her story!

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Recently, I published my Masters thesis all about the politicization of US Supreme Court by partisan media. The background behind my research is that partisan news outlets cater their reports to specific partisan groups that have distinct ideological beliefs. These channels broadcast one-sided coverage, which constantly reinforces and strengthens their target audience’s political beliefs, while adopting a hostile position towards opposing views at the same time. This is most deeply highlighted in the US because of the highly polarising nature of the two-party political system.

To achieve such one-sided reporting, news stories are framed. Framing refers to how a story is told, and involves selecting and highlighting certain aspects of it, while others are explicitly neglected. The goal is to encourage a particular interpretation or evaluation of the presented information. Let’s take the Supreme Court’s ruling of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide as an example. By shifting the audience’s focus to specific pieces of information, such as equal rights, religion, or opposing groups, the decision can be framed in terms of equality, morality, or conflict, respectively.

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Framing (Source)

When people form an opinion they typically take into account all the information available to them. In the case of the Supreme Court, however, it is predominantly the media that provides that information, because the Court is generally detached from the public. This means the media has great control over the information that the public bases its opinion on about the Court and, therefore, the media also affects how the public perceives the Court. However, reporters are often left to interpret the Court’s decisions and to speculate about possible consequences, but they lack the intensive legal training that is essential to fully understand the Court’s highly specified rulings. In trying to make sense of the decisions, journalists might focus on the Justices’ personal and ideological views instead of on the legal reasoning behind the ruling. The consequence of all this is that media coverage of the Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized. On the other hand, the Court wants to convey an image of itself as an apolitical institution, which is described as being guided by legal principles, instead of personal interests, which is more characteristic of politicians.

Continue reading…

The state of Open in Algeria: an in-depth view with Samir Hachani

The Open Science Stars series is an ongoing quest to bring different experiences and perspectives on the world of open science from around the world together. Only by listening to truly diverse voices can we gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding open science.

Today, we’re honoured to bring you the voice of Samir Hachani, an Algerian researcher. He attained his PhD in Library and Documentary Science in 2013, and this is his story.

Hi Samir! Can you tell us a little about your background as a researcher and your current role?

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I’m Samir Hachani, lecturer at the school of library science, Algiers University II. I hold a PhD in Library Science from Algiers University II and a Master degree from The University of Southern California (U.S.C.) – Los Angeles. I hold positions in numerous scientific organisations but my main role, besides my teaching duties, is being Vice President of “Association Science et Bien Commun”, based in Quebec (Canada) and whose motto is “For an open science, for the common good”. We militate in this association for a just and open share of science and an empowerment of the research in The Souths (we use the plural because we think the South is not uniformly made up and there are many level of developing countries) through our flagship program S.O.H.A. (Science Ouverte Haiti Afrique – Open Science Haiti Africa). My main research interests center around open access, open science, open peer review and also digital divide.

When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What was your first thought?

I first heard about open access some 10-15 years ago when I started investigating my thesis subject and I almost instantly got interested in the subject because the philosophy behind the concept was quite simple and enthralling: give access to knowledge produced by researchers or plain folks to these same people through The Internet. I first heard about open science much later (around 2010). My first impression was that I had to commit myself to the movement because it describes what I have always felt about life: sharing is paramount to make the world fair and equitable and there should not be a difference in accessing knowledge between the “have” and “have not“.

What is the current status of Open Access development in Algeria? Is there a national-scale policy in place?

It is sad to say that open access in Algeria is in dire situation. This is due to numerous reasons the UNESCO’s Global Open Access Portal summarizes in: “Lack of information on Open Access, the concept is new and not popularized enough thus implementation is not rapid, lack of clear institutional and national policy on Open Access, difficulty of securing long-term funding and getting commitments from more institutions to join the open access community”. As a practitioner speaking from the field, I could add a very weak and unstable Internet connection, a weak bandwidth (upload and download) and a rather restrictive national policy regarding telecommunications that are still public and have not been privatized. It seems that the concept itself is ignored and as an example, I conducted a questionnaire on the subject of open archives use and one of the answers was that researchers used “archives of the colonial period“!!! There is no clear policy on the subject as it is ignored and the only initiatives are those undertaken in the academic world.

Continue reading…