Blog
About

Month: August 2014

In:  Societies  

Quick update on AAAS letter

Just posting this quick update because the discussion about the AAAS letter, the response of their CEO, and subsequent coverage in Times Higher Education is moving rapidly this morning. With many different time zones involved, it can be tricky to keep up for the few of us who occasionally like to sleep! Here’s a round-up for those on the West Coast who are just waking up to this or anyone who is interested.

As some of you may know, last week 115 people from the the Research and Open Access (OA) community (including some from ScienceOpen and our Boards) sent this letter to the AAAS to protest the pricing level and structure for the new OA journal Science Advances.

Science Advances has a new Twitter stream which has but one tweet:

A couple of things to point out here, Possibly in an effort not to give the open letter more publicity, the AAAS don’t say in the tweet what they are responding to (no mention of open letter or link) and neither do they say in the response. A quick read of the AAAS CEO response (who is Alan Leshner, also not named!), shows it to be a classic PR piece that copiously links to previous corporate (but it’s a non-profit member led organization) AAAS statements about Science Advances, but nowhere to the letter!

Thankfully, the AAAS CEO response does now have a link to the open letter, published at The Winnower, via a comment from Ernesto Priego, a Lecturer in Library Science at the Dept of Library and Information Science, City University, London.

Paul Jump, science and research reporter for Times Higher Education to whom the AAAS response is addressed, has today written an article entitled “Shock and derision as Kent Anderson named Science publisher” which does mention and link to the letter and clears up the confusion. However, it is also worth noting that although the article headline is true, the open letter itself doesn’t make mention of Kent Anderson and focuses on pricing and licensing. 

The team behind the open letter (Erin McKiernan and Jon Tennant plus others) are strategizing their response and I will update this post as the days (probably minutes!) unfold.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

The story unfolds:

New 1: 8/28 – the follow up email to  was published as a comment on the original letter. 

New 2: 8/30 – took AAAS a few days to come up with this “response” to the letter, an achingly funny corporate FAQ which doesn’t mention the original or the follow up letter and fails to address any community concerns. Hmm. verdict = lame.

New 3: 9/1 – over the weekend, community get a bit fed up with not being heard by AAAS (a non-profit member organization that is meant to Advance Science). Some prominent news outlets interview Jon Tennant and Erin McKiernan.  First result, this excellent article by New Statesman.

New 4: 9/3 – Second result, excellent article by The Conversation.

In:  Societies  

Open Letter to the Society for Neuroscience

Dear Society for Neuroscience,

This is an open letter concerning the recent launch of the new open access journal, eNeuro.

We welcome the diversification of journal choices for authors looking for open access venues, as well as the willingness of eNeuro to accept negative results and study replications, its membership in the Neuroscience Peer Review Consortium, the publication of peer review syntheses alongside articles, and the requirement that molecular data be publicly available.

As strong supporters of open access, we welcome the commitment of the Society to making the works it publishes freely and openly available. However, we are concerned with several aspects of the specific approach, and outline herein a number of suggestions that would allow eNeuro to provide the full benefits of open access to the communities the journal aims to serve.  Continue reading “Open Letter to the Society for Neuroscience”  

Welcome to author Nitika Pant Pai – impassioned OA advocate!

Today, we’re pleased to announce a new article entitled Head to head comparisons in performance of CD4 point–of-care assays: A Bayesian meta-analysis (2000-2013) by multiple award-winning researcher Nitika Pant Pai, Assistant Professor at McGill University in the Department of Medicine and a Scientist at the MUHC Research Institute and her co-authors Samantha WilkinsonTiago ChiavegattiBenedicte Nauche and Lawrence Joseph.

To mark the publication of her first ScienceOpen article, Nitika, who is also a member of our Editorial Board, prepared this video which is compelling both for what she says and how she says it – with a great deal of commitment!

Just 35 seconds into the video, a big smile spreads over Nitika’s face as she starts to talk about Open Access (OA) and her fist goes up as she says “more power to Open Access”! From then on, she discusses her real-life experiences of not having access to journals when she was training in India, wanting to spare others the same experience and why OA was therefore “the jewel for me”. Nitika’s enthusiasm for OA is infectious and energizing, she calls it a “pure movement”, says it is a way to “give back to the community” and believes it is going to permeate all sections of society, helping knowledge to spread. Continue reading “Welcome to author Nitika Pant Pai – impassioned OA advocate!”  

In:  Societies  

Open letter to the AAAS

Image credit: justinc, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
Image credit: justinc, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Dear AAAS,

This is an open letter concerning the recent launch of the new open access journal, Science Advances. In addition to the welcome diversification in journal choices for authors looking for open access venues, there are many positive aspects of Science Advances: its broad STEM scope, its interest in cross-disciplinary research, and the offering of fee waivers. While we welcome the commitment of the Association to open access, we are also deeply concerned with the specific approach. Herein, we outline a number of suggestions that are in line with both the current direction that scholarly publishing is taking and the needs expressed by the open access community, which this journal aims to serve. Continue reading “Open letter to the AAAS”  

In:  Licenses  

If it ain’t broke… #NoNewLicenses!

Image credit: Frustration, by Eric (e-magic), CC BY-ND. https://www.flickr.com/photos/emagic/
Image credit: Frustration, by Eric (e-magic), CC BY-ND. https://www.flickr.com/photos/emagic/

On August 7th, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers  (STM) responded to a call from the Global Coalition of Access to Research, Science and Education Organizations (signed by more than 80 entities and counting, including ScienceOpen) to withdraw their new model licenses.

So what exactly is all the fuss about? Our headline pretty much sums it up and comes courtesy of OA advocate Graham Steel who rightly observed that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

The Open Access (OA) community happily relies on a license suite from Creative Commons (CC) to provide an interoperable and simple standard for our industry. ScienceOpen uses the most flexible CC “attribution license”, known to its many friends as CC-BY. We like it because it allows maximum scope for the creative re-use of research, including commercially, no permission from us required. The only caveat is “credit where credit is due” which only seems fair and means that the original authors and source must be cited, together with the license type and ideally a link to the work. We believe that research works better and faster without any limitations and that CC-BY facilitates this.

So why does the STM Association, the “voice of academic and professional publishing” (but not ours, we’re not members), think that we need new licenses? One reason they give in their response is that “Creative Commons (CC) licenses are designed to be used across the entire creative sector, and are not specifically designed for academic and scholarly publishing”. Sadly, this demonstrates a lack of understanding of the true power of the licenses which comes precisely because they were developed for use across different creative industries.

This is very important for those who work in scientific communication whose job it is to explain science to a broader audience. Research is frequently complex and mashing it up with CC-BY images (of which there are over 58 million at the photo sharing site Flickr), Wikipedia links (over 4 million CC articles) even music can really bring a story to life. Making this content freely available under a CC license is important because advances in science and medicine should ideally be available to and understood by everyone.

For those who have a role in this field, the reality is that navigating and selecting the best content from the overwhelming volume on the internet and then complying with the current dizzying array of more and less restrictive copyright licenses is already quite tricky enough, thank you kindly! We simply don’t need any more complexity.

In:  Announcements  

If you get it wrong you’ll get it right next time – versioning now live

Image credit: Editing a paper, Nic McPhee, Flickr, CC BY-SA
Image credit: Editing a paper, Nic McPhee, Flickr, CC BY-SA

While I am sitting on the sofa composing this blog post, WordPress is seamlessly taking care of my corrections, proofs and versions at the touch of a button. I take this service completely for granted am grateful for it since I usually run through quite a few drafts before I am satisfied.

The time and accuracy necessary to compose a thoughtful research article, which should be replicable and on which others may choose to build, is far greater than the effort I am expending here.

Correcting the scientific literature is therefore rightly more complex and the changes more meaningful, but surely the services offered to scientists should at least match those that are available through this free blogging software?

Sadly, this is not always the case in scientific publishing, where some authors are expected to publish without a proof and making corrections to the PDF is not an option.

Although we all strive for perfection, we know that mistakes occur and that changes need to be made, before and sometimes after publication. When this happens, having a versioning process that readers can follow is reassuring.

Authors who publish with ScienceOpen can:

  • Submit any article type: research, reviews, opinions, clinical case reports, protocols, posters etc.
  • Submit from any discipline: all sciences, medicine, humanities and social sciences
  • Submit manuscripts posted at preprint servers such as BioRxiv and arXiv
  • Use a private pre-publication workspace to develop their manuscript with co-authors
  • Get a yes/no decision on their submission within about a week after an internal check
  • Have their original manuscript published as a Preview with DOI
  • Receive proofs
  • Get copy-editing and language help when necessary as a courtesy benefit (please note, this is not a translation service!)
  • Make as many proof corrections as they wish
  • Sign off on final proofs
  • Have their Preview article replaced with a Final article in PDF, HTML and XML formats 
  • Experience fully transparent post-publication peer-review
  • Can respond to reviewer feedback by publishing a revised version, with either minor or major changes (Version 1 is the original publication, 2/3 can be minor or major in any combination and are included in the Publication Fee)

Each version has a different DOI that is semantically linked to the DOI of the original version for easy tracking. Versions are clearly visible online, the latest are presented first with prominent links to previous versions. We maintain & display information about which version of an article the reviews and comments refer to, this allows readers to follow a link to an earlier version of the content to see the article history.

ScienceOpen strives to offer services to researchers that are the best they can be, for a price ($800) that is significantly less than most OA journals. We welcome you to register today (takes about a minute) and consider publishing your next OA article with us.

In:  Licenses  

ScienceOpen joins the Coalition against STM Licenses

Image credit: keepcalm-o-matic
Image credit: keepcalm-o-matic

The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) has revealed some new “model” licenses which are ironically entitled “making OA licensing work”. We’re sorry, did we miss something?  Continue reading “ScienceOpen joins the Coalition against STM Licenses”