CEO Stephanie Dawson (ScienceOpen) has packed her bags and travelled from Berlin to Paris for the 6th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing (COASP) meeting from 17-19th September.
Although the 1959 stamp pictured above depicts the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (the conference location), we don’t suggest that Stephanie affix it to her postcard home to the rest of the ScienceOpen team (extolling them to work hard in her absence), since it is a rare collector’s item.
On Thursday 18th September, from 4.15-5.30pm, as part of the Late Breaking/Show and Tell Session, Stephanie will give a presentation entitled “OA Publishing 3.0: Beyond the journal, a redefined role in the research ecosystem“?
Stephanie’s presentation is under wraps for now but will be made available on the OASPA website as soon as possible after the conference. During her talk, Stephanie will explain how the term 3.0, which usually refers to self-publishing, also applies to the future of OA publishing and how ScienceOpen, the new research + publishing network, offers services to authors that enable this transition.
After this is done on Thursday, lucky Stephanie will have dinner at Le Grand Bistro de Breteuil! The rest of the ScienceOpen team are not jealous.
The ScienceOpen team are pleased to announce some changes to facilitate the spread of Open Access publishing beyond the sciences, its traditional strong-hold. To encourage those in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) to try OA we are:
Lowering our HSS publication fee until such time as more OA funds become available to this community. Needs based partial or full fee waivers are available.
Exploring different publication formats, not just articles
Actively recruiting members of the HSS community to our Editorial and Advisory Board
Seeking recommendations for existing OA HSS content to add to our platform
“It is very important in my opinion. I have been arguing since 2004 that OA brings the same benefits in every field, even if some fields present more obstacles or fewer opportunities. For example, the natural sciences are better funded than the humanities, which means they have more money to pay for OA. In particular, there is more public funding for the sciences than the humanities, which means that the compelling taxpayer argument for OA gets more traction in the sciences than the humanities. In addition, books are at least as important as journal articles for humanities scholars, if not more important, and OA for books, while growing quickly, is objectively harder than OA for journal articles. The good news is that OA in the humanities is growing – not faster than OA in the sciences, but faster than in the past. More humanities scholars understand the benefits and opportunities for OA, and are answering the objections and misunderstandings raised against it”.
This graph from a 2010 PLOS ONE article (mirrored here on the ScienceOpen platform) digs a little deeper into this story and shows the relative balance of Gold Open Access (publishing in an Open Access journal) in areas such as Medicine and the Lifesciences in contrast to Green OA (self-archiving of journal articles in an Open Access repository).
After over twenty years working in scientific and medical research communication at Nature/PLOS and then recently joining ScienceOpen, which welcomes submissions from all areas of the Sciences, Medicine, the Humanities and Social Sciences, I realized:
How little I understood about the publication needs of those who work outside the Sciences/Medicine
How important it was for my new role that I made an effort to get up to speed
The solution to my dilemma? Run my own mini-research project on Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences to answer the question “can one size of OA fit all?”
As Martin Eve so eloquently wrote: “Open Access could give the humanities fresh energy and public appeal through visibility. It could give us the chance to reach a broader audience and to fulfill the societal function of which we dream”.
After completing my initial desk research, the next step was to interview some digital, open and influential HSS thinkers for myself to see if they corroborated or disagreed with the opinions expressed in my reading material.
My interviews confirmed that, per my background reading, there appeared to be some hurdles to overcome if HSS is to fully embrace Open Access. As one interviewee said ““the knee jerk reaction to the notion that OA will work here, because it works there, is NO!”.
With that in mind, here’s what I learned during my research:
“The Article” is not a universally shared unit of communication. In HSS longer formats such as monographs and books are the norm although interest in and acceptance of online articles is growing partly because there are no space limitiations in this format. Additionally, Reviews and other added value content are common place and not many OA journals offer this service.
Similarly, “The Journal” doesn’t only carry the most important works and are less likely to be owned by huge for profit publishers but rather by socieites for whom they represent a valuable source of revenue. Profits from these journals can be slimmer with fewer longer articles without multiple authors to split the bill.
“The Article Publication Charge (APC)”, which is typically paid by an author’s institution or funder in the sciences, is not ideally-suited to the varied publication formats of HSS.
Also, “Article-Level Metrics” aren’t necessarily a natural fit in HSS although there’s clear interest in how to measure the impact of digital objects.
In terms of licensing, there’s concern over the suitability of the CC BY license given the prevalence of the use of third party materials from protective museums and archives. My solution, from a science perspective, would be to license the authors work CC-BY and to secure relevant permissions and credit them as such (admittedly a pain to undertake). However, during my reading I discovered that certain museums and archives charge more for permissions in an OA journal and that issues surrounding commercial re-use of painstakingly created materials and the historical requirement for accurate attribution abound. Life is never simple.
Finally but very importantly, Article Publication Charges (APC) as priced for the Sciences are not readily affordable to those working in HSS because of their low level of funding and inflexibility in terms of using grants to pay publication fees. Also, there seems no possibility of reserachers paying APC’s from their own pockets because of their frequently low salaries (and it wouldn’t be fair to expect this anyway).
These points are neatly summarized by K|N Consultants who observed “In HSS, articles are not the only publication type of value or even the most valued type of publication; external funding for research is minimal or non-existent; and societies often consider their publications to be the primary benefit they offer their members, and many find it difficult to imagine how they would support their society’s activities if their current publishing operations were to change”.
To conclude, we’re pleased to be able to offer full and partial fee waiver pricing flexibility to the HSS community, this is in addition to the following ScienceOpen features that are available to all:
We recognize that ScienceOpen can’t “solve” for Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences but we hope these overtures will be welcomed by this community. Please continue this conversation by commenting on this post, find us at @Science_Open or email me.
The topical issue of climate change and health is top priority at this year’s Summit. As Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General said “the evidence is overwhelming: climate change endangers human health. Solutions exist and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory”. Other topics include Universal Health Coverage and Healthy Aging.
A clear signal that the global health community welcomes a more open conversation on these pivotal issues, has been the increase of OA to the scientific and medical literature as an ideal way of disseminating knowledge. Many of the speakers at the WHS 2014 are already publishing their findings in OA journals and are choosing to make research in this field freely available for everyone to read and re-use (with attribution) which:
Broadens the conversation with those in low income countries
Facilitates global research cooperation
Provides health policy makers with quality information
Helps clinicians and patients make better informed decisions
The new partners align around their shared vision that real and lasting change in global health is catalyzed through collaboration and open dialogue. “Only a global collaboration that unites academia, the private sector, politics and civil society can provide the key to solving the problems of health and health systems today and tomorrow “ explain the WHS Presidents 2014, Prof José Otávio Costa Auler Jr. and Prof Detlev Ganten.
The Summitt, which attracts 1200 participants and is to be held from October 19-22 at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, was initiated in 2009 on the occasion of the 300th year anniversary of the Charité –Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
ScienceOpen, headquartered in Berlin (with offices in Boston and San Francisco, USA), has aggregated over 1.3 million OA articles from leading publishers from over 2 million networked authors which allows users unfettered accesss to medical and health knowledge from a variety of sources. It welcomes submissions of all types of content (Research Articles, Reviews, Posters etc.) from all disciplines and offers
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
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
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.
At ScienceOpen, the research + publishing network, we’re enjoying some of the upsides of being the new kid on the Open Access (OA) block. Innovation and building on the experiments of others is easier when there’s less to lose but we are also the first to admit that life as a start-up is not for the faint hearted!
In the years since user generated comments and reviews were first introduced, those of us who strive to improve research communication have wrestled with questions such as: potential for career damage; content for peer and public audiences; comments from experts, everyone or a mix and lower than anticipated participation.
We want to acknowledge the many organizations who have done a tremendous job at showing different paths forward in this challenging space. Now it’s our turn to try.
Since launch, ScienceOpen has assigned members different user privileges based on their previous publishing history as verified by their ORCID ID. This seemed like a reasonable way to measure involvement in the field and provided the right level of publishing experience to understand the pitfalls of the process. This neat diagram encapsulates how it works.
Scientific and Expert Members of ScienceOpen can review all the content on the site which includes 1.3million+ OA articles and a very small number of our own articles (did we mention, we’re new!).
All reviews require a four point assessment (using five stars) of the level of: importance, validity, completeness and comprehensibility and there’s space to introduce and summarize the material. Inline annotation captures reviewer feedback during reading. Next up in the site release cycle, mechanisms to make it easy for authors to respond to in-line observations.
In a move sure to please busy researchers tired of participating without recognition, each review, including the subsequent dialogue, receives a Digital Object Identified (DOI) so that others can find and cite the analysis and the contribution becomes a registered part of the scientific debate.
Welcome to our wonderful world of Reviewing! Please share your feedback here or @Science_Open.