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Save the date: participative Bay Area OA week event for Generation Open

Image credit: Rom Mader, Free Poster for OA week, Blue Sky Rural Mountains Version, Flickr, CC BY-SA
Image credit: Ron Mader, Free Poster for OA week, Blue Sky Rural Mountains Version, Flickr, CC BY-SA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE September 24th 2014 – Dan Morgan (UCP) is joining the organizing team, a warm OA welcome to him and the University of California Press crew! For a free ticket to the event, please see this Eventbrite

A few Bay Area Open Access people – Liz Allen (ScienceOpen), Pete Binfield (PeerJ, with Georgina Gurnhill in the UK), Lenny Teytelman (Zappy Lab) and Laurence Bianchini (My Science Work), who are expanding to the Bay Area, welcome) – got together and brainstormed what our ideal OA week event would look like.

We agreed that we wanted to avoid a traditional format and so we settled on:

  • Moderated un-conference where the audience talks and asks questions
  • Simple event theme, we picked “#OpenAccess – it’s up to all of us”
  • “Lightning talks” that anyone can give, 5 image slides in 5 minutes
  • Time to chat and mingle over a drink and something to eat
  • Ideally, a cool venue with great views (with Disabled Access)

Not wishing to brag (but bragging none the less!), we feel that the program below achieves our vision and will support our goal of how early career researchers can make science more open. We ran it past our academic partners UCSF Library (Anneliese Taylor), UAW post-doc union (Felicia Goldsmith) and they liked it too. Now all we need is for you all to save the date and make this an event to remember.

Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Venue: SkyDeck, Berkeley (one of the first research university startup accelerators)

Start time: 6.00pm

End time: 8.30pm

Theme: #OpenAccess – it’s up to all of us

Format (suitable for global cloning!):

8 mins – relax with a drink, a snack and “What is OA?” video by Jorge Cham (PhD Comics), Nick Shockey (Right to Research) and Jonathan Eisen (UCD)

10 minutes – un-conference OA topic selection by audience

20 minutes – topic discussion with moderation (your host for the evening, Lenny!)

10 minutes – grab another drink (alcoholic or non), stave off hunger with nibbles

40 minutes – lightning talks, “#OpenAccess – it’s up to all of us”

Last 30 minutes or so – greeting old friends and making some new ones

Slides for your lightning talk (5 image based slides) should be sent to lenny@zappylab.com no later than Monday October 20th. We will be taping them for social media (you have been warned). We have created an Eventbrite so you can RSVP.

Finally, in the spirit of “the more the merrier” other OA Publishers and Academic Partners who want to participate are welcome to email Liz.

How to make science more open – 7 ideas for early career researchers

Moreopen

Quick update: in celebration of Open Access Week 2014, we’re waiving publication fees for early career researchers until November!

Recently, we’ve noticed more and more calls for greater Open Access (OA) participation from earlier career researchers, post-docs and graduate students. Thankfully their voice is increasingly being heard on many issues.

Erin McKiernan, a researcher working primarily in experimental and theoretical Neuroscience, published an excellent piece in the Guardian newspaper in which she made several memorable statements – two of which are particularly so:

if you believe in openness, stand up for it”

“I am an early career researcher, and have pledged to make all of my work openly available”

Let’s also not forget the Open Letter to the AAAS, protesting the pricing and licensing model for their first Open Access journal led by Jon Tennant and Erin McKiernan (busy lady) and signed by 114 researchers, many of them at earlier career stages.

And finally, researchers such as Jessica Polka and Kristin Krukenberg, provide a great example of “post-docs doing it for themselves”. Togerther with a team, they are organizing the Future of Research Symposium, October 2/3 2014 in Boston, to ensure that the voices of junior scientists are heard in the ongoing dialog about policies that shape the scientific establishment.

With these words ringing in our ears, here are 7 different ways for interacting with the literature that provide earlier career researchers with more ways to shape their future.

1. Publish OA. There’s a great deal of young talent advocating for OA but research shows that when it comes to actual publication, multidisciplinary OA titles (so called “megajournals”) tend to attract more experienced authors. This is easy to understand since the current promotion and tenure system overvalues well-established high impact journals and doesn’t recognize that articles and individuals can have significant impact, regardless of where they are published.

So what happens to younger scholars when it comes to publishing OA? Firstly, they usually don’t get to choose the publication venue, that’s usually a leadership prerogative. In some respects, it’s probably easier for a senior author to persuade a junior one to publish OA than the contrary. This also helps to explain why early career researchers can appear very conservative because their career depends on acceptance by conservative authorities. Therefore, change needs to be driven from the top down, as well as from the bottom up of course.

Additionally, the down-sides of handing over copyright to a traditional publisher may only become apparent after restricted paid access has reduced the reach of their work. With OA, authors keep their copyright and content is free for everyone to read and re-use with attribution.

In the world outside of scholarly publishing, first achievements are not the last and there’s recognition that practice makes perfect. Even within scholarly publishing there’s a growing realization that there doesn’t have to be a conflict between being open and being successful.

At ScienceOpen, we believe that our system of publication within about a week of submission (after an internal editorial check) with DOI and Non-Anonymous Post-Publication Peer-Review provides a less stressful way for junior faculty to build their publication history.

We also offer additional support that earlier career researchers may find useful. We have free workspaces where authors can collaborate on their articles and submit them to us or elsewhere as they prefer. Unlike some OA journals, we offer proofs and an iterative correction process before publication which also includes complimentary copy-editing and language polishing if required. After publication, two minor or major Versions are included.

And, we have an active social media program that we use to advocate for OA and promote our author’s work. We enjoy interviewing our lead authors and are also happy to interview authoring teams or team members with a strong story to tell, just ask us. Naturally this effort works best if we join forces with your own personal social media streams.

Full and partial fee waivers are available to those who demonstrate need, for those in low or middle income countries and in less well-funded disciplines.

2. Choose more progressive forms of Peer Review. Anonymous Peer Review encourages disinhibition. Since the balance of power is also skewed, this can fuel unhelpful, even destructive, reviewer comments. At ScienceOpen, we only offer non-anonymous Post-Publication Peer Review.

Authors can suggest up to 10 people to review their article. Reviews of ScienceOpen articles and any of the 1.3mm other OA papers aggregated on our platform, are by named academics with minimally five publications on their ORCID ID which is our way of maintaining the standard of scientific discourse. We believe that those who have experienced Peer Review themselves should be more likely to understand the pitfalls of the process and offer constructive feedback to others.

3. Participate in conferences. As an early career researcher, paying to attend a large international event can cost upwards of $2000 which makes it a luxury activity often requiring travel scholarships etc. If you get the opportunity to go, we recommend reading this recent article about live tweeting from the event before-hand so you can bring those who are not there into the conversation. And, if you can’t go to an event, don’t despair, because the same article describes ways to ask remote questions. Also, let’s not forget that posters are a great way to get involved in a meeting, ScienceOpen even rewards the best with prizes!

4. Participate in journal clubs. These informal meetings offer a way to discuss the best new literature but they aren’t always run on inclusive lines. If your group is dominated by senior faculty, we suggest you politely make two suggestions to the person organizing the club:

  1. That the group leader rotates and is picked from junior faculty
  2. That the definition of discussion success = everyone participates

5. Participate in online Groups. ScienceOpen has aggregated over 1.3 million (and growing) OA articles from publishers such as PLOS, F1000 Research, BMC, peerJ, eLife to name but a few (from PMC) and physics articles from ArXiv. We’re intrigued to see what discipline specific conversations emerge when the literature is on the same platform and researchers form Groups to discuss it.

At ScienceOpen we welcome earlier career researchers to take these roles. They can start a discipline in their niche area, invite others to join their group from the over 2 million networked on the platform already or from outside, and use the Search functionality to curate existing content into themed collections based on criteria they pick (and explain using comments).

6. Become a Collection Editor. The natural evolution for a Group that is actively curating and discussing existing content is to call for new content so that the collection “grows and lives” and we invite applications for these roles from researchers at all career stages. Getting closer to the publishing process by managing and building a Collection is a great way to raise your profile in your community of choice and build relationships with others.

7. Keep advocating for change. Last, but by no means least, continue to advocate for change. Join ScienceOpen in signing open letters to reform journals that don’t “get” OA. Advocate for initiatives such as DORA (San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, sign it too) that works to break the stranglehold of the Impact Factor. Let’s keep up the pressure!

Above all, enjoy making Science more open and if you want to remind yourself why, watch this short and funny video from Sebastian Alers, a member of our Editorial Team.

In:  Announcements  

ScienceOpen speaking at 6th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing (#COASP)

unesco5

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.

For those of you who are new to the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), it is a journal publisher’s trade organization established in 2008. Many people ScienceOpen knows are also speaking at this conference including: Mark Patterson (eLife), Catriona MacCallum (PLOS), Phil Bourne (NIH) and Daniel Mietchen (Museum für Naturkunde).

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 Brazil: German OA connection – the secret of successful collaboration!

Joao Bosco Pesquero and Michael Bader standing next to a statue of Max Delbrück.
Joao Bosco Pesquero and Michael Bader standing next to a statue of Max Delbrück.

ScienceOpen Editor, Nana Bit-Avragim, interviewed Editorial Board Member Michael Bader, a Professor at Charité and a Group Leader at Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin, Germany and his 20 year collaborative research partner (and friend) Joao Bosco Pesquero, a Professor from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil.

Their lasting connection is a great example of open, cross-border research originating from a shared passion for science that surpasses language barriers. Before we dive into the interview, here’s some background on their research interests:

Michael Bader (MB). Prof. Bader is interested in understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms that regulate angiotensin, bradykinin and serotonin hormones and their role in the regulation of the cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems. In addition to the molecular and cellular aspects of hormone regulation, Prof. Bader’s research group is focused on the development and characterization of new transgenic techniques, e.g. the “knockout” technology for rats, the widely used animal model for cardiovascular diseases

João Bosco Pesquero (JBP). Prof. Pesquero’s research areas include molecular and cellular biology and physiology of the kinin–kallikrein system. Joao Bosco Pesquero has contributed enormously to research on kinin receptors and was the first to generate a transgenic model for kinin B1 receptor insufficiency in mammals in collaboration with Michael Bader. Prof. Pesquero’s recent project is dedicated to the idea of applying cutting-edge technologies underlying modern genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics to sports medicine. This unique project, Atletas do Futuro, is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to predict and modify a person’s ability and capacity for sport.

Q1. What is the “secret” behind your 20-year successful collaboration?

JBP + MB: We believe that the similarity of our empathy and character are the bedrock of our successful collaboration.

MB: We are fair and open and therefore trust each other. My advice would be: do not be selfish and tricky, but rather build up trust. Interestingly, having different points of view supports our collaboration.

JBP: We enjoy what we are doing together and always have fun at work. We are interested in more or less the same research topics and we trust each other.

JBP + MB: However, one of the essential aspects of our long-term and fruitful partnership relies on the PROBRAL initiative, a funding program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Thanks to DAAD support, we were able to keep our research work running effectively and for the long term.

NB/ScienceOpen: I believe that the next generation of young scientists growing up in your labs will ‘inherit’ your genes of ‘empathy’ and ‘affinity’ and will keep up your good work.

Q2. As established researchers, what would be your advice for young scientists trying to navigate the scientific publishing landscape?

MB: We are living in a time of change, with lots of movement within the existing scientific system. To completely change that system might take several years or a decade. Unfortunately, at this very moment young academics who desire a position at a research institute still have to publish their results in journals that are measured by Impact Factors. To be realistic, I cannot completely advise my PhD-students or postdocs to publish all of their manuscripts ony with PLOS or ScienceOpen. In the evolving scholarly publishing environment, it is good to have new game-changers to contradict the existing rules and foster further development.

JBP: My advice to young scientists will be – try to do good science. Publishing is a consequence of doing research. No matter what scientific system exists and where the researchers live. The most important element to me is to perform high quality science that facilitates global discovery.

MB: The Hirsch-index is still not perfect but initially it shows the individual impact of each publication. It shows the individual scientist’s contribution.

Q3. Tell us about your interest in Open Access science and your opinion about the current state of affairs in science publishing. What has been your experience? 

MB: Closed journals are somehow old fashioned. Those closed journals like Nature, Science and Cell, which do select papers and consider themselves sexy and premium, don’t represent good science anymore. The closed journals also do not publish critical science. Some good work never appears in closed journals due to the hidden peer review process which sometimes also leads to bad quality reviews. This should have been overcome by now. In contrast, a better system would use a completely open peer review process. The novel open system is not yet established and sometimes presents weak reviews. So, both systems have many problems. But, I think it is good to have new alternatives. This is why I am participating in and staying with the new system of open science.

JBP: We are currently changing the way in which we view scientific communication. There is now some free access to information. And, we are getting more and more access. We are on the edge of changing our minds about how results should be published and evaluated. I like Open Access science and Open Evaluation of scientific results. Some journals have started offering Open Review. I think it is fair to know who is evaluating your work. We are at the beginning of new era, and I really embrace these changes. I believe that the current system will be improved and the quality of the science that it produces will be elevated too. It is heading in a good direction. The more openly we produce science and expose our work to criticism, the more it helps to improve what we do. I am confident about that – it is all for the good! By the way, last month I submitted a manuscript for BMC Medical Genetics and received the reviews signed with the full names of reviewers shortly thereafter. I was nicely surprised and pleased to read those comments and suggestions. That was my first experience of open peer review, and I am happy about that experience. 

Q4. Do you think an Open Access platform like ScienceOpen has a particular usefulness for translational research?

MB: I think that a quick and transparent way of publishing research will result in faster implementation of scientific discoveries.

JBP: This is a very important point. Quick publishing will foster technological innovations implementation, especially in patient-oriented research, that should speed up all translational research at the end. Interestingly, almost 75% of scientific knowledge is not published yet but rather is accumulating in patents. If we could apply Open Access to the patent system, that would accelerate knowledge translation and its implementation.

MB + JBP: There is another argument for Open Access which is to prevent and predict earlier failures and pitfalls in conducting translational research. As an example, there is the  history of Omapatrilat, a novel antihypertensive drug invented by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which was not approved by the food and drug administration due to some serious safety concerns at the end. If the data from the clinical studies had been freely available and published transparently, it would have clearly lead to a faster and better evaluation of this medication. 

Q5. Do you think more transparency and free exchange of data could support academic freedom and foster a new scientific culture?

MB + JBP: Basically, we have already commented on this point through the interview.  However, there are some other aspects we would like to bring up.

MB: In terms of building up a new scientific culture of communication, it is just about a different kind of behaviour. We cannot just ‘kill’ and hate people if they do not like our ideas. Indeed, we have to become more altruistic and loyal.

JBP: We have to start learning criticism. Criticism is important for us to improve our research and ourselves. We grow up by learning from failures. The same should be applied to science. Sometimes, a research project goes in the wrong direction and we do not initially realize it. We should not hesitate to speak out about negative results – it is really important. It will help to save intellectual energy, money and time and prevent others from repeating the errors.

MB + JBP: Our impression is that due to Open Access life sciences will become more transparent and faster at overcoming ineffective practices.  Every scientist can access the research results of his/her fields of interest more quickly and review them. It is a great practice!

Thank you very much for this interview and your excellent insights on Open Access and Scientific Publishing. Wishing you further success and many new successful Open projects to collaborate on.

Announcing the inaugural ScienceOpen Student Awards

25 years fall of the wall

It’s been 25 years since the “Fall of the Wall” (the actual date is November 9th 2014, the wall came down in 1989). I was living in the UK at the time and remember the excitement like it was yesterday. The European Students’ Conference (ESC), taking place from 17-20th September, is similarly celebrating its 25th anniversary.

One of the largest student-run biomedical conferences worldwide, the ESC was catalyzed by this poignant moment in history and was one of the first to facilitate the exchange of student dialogue between the West and East.

ScienceOpen, the new OA research + publishing network (short video), headquartered in Berlin, is delighted to be sponsoring and attending this conference (if you can’t be there, we will be live tweeting) and discussing how we make publishing better with this engaged audience. You can visit our stand and talk to Dr. Sebastian Alers, Senior Editor at Science Open (featured in this viral video) to learn more about who we are.

Students who are in Berlin for this event will be inspired by a varied and challenging program:

Scientific contest – those with accepted abstracts can prepare posters and compete in their discipline category to receive ScienceOpen Poster Awards comprising a cash payment and a voucher each for a free poster publication. Those who win the next oral rounds, qualify for a ScienceOpen Innovation in Publishing Award which gives each researcher a free article in ScienceOpen.

Workshops – includes ScienceOpen co-founder Alexander Grossman, Physicist and Professor of Publishing Management on “New Perspectives in Scientific Publishing”. Covers Public Post-Publication Peer Review, Altmetrics and other 21st century publishing topics.

Keynote speakers – features luminaries such as John P.A. Ioannidis, author of the OA PLOS Medicine article entitled “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, which has over a million views!

Themed lecture series – “Rethinking Medical Research – how do we achieve innovation” which will look at the opportunities and challenges that are presented to researchers and physicians including Open Access (OA) policies.

We’re kicking off our focus on Earlier Career Researchers at the ESC conference and just made this announcement of 7 ways to make science more open and interact with the literature, each other and further your career.

You can also join us and find us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn. Welcome to the next wave of OA publishing.

In:  Announcements  

Beyond science, can one size of OA fit all?

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:

Image credit: Berlin Open Access Conference.
Image credit: Berlin Open Access Conference.
  • 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

The story of how we reached this decision is the result of interviews with digital HSS thought leaders (huge thanks to all of them) – Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Peter Brantley, Eric Kansa, Sebastian Heath, Leslie Chan, Ethan Watrall, Jessica Clark, Clemens Wass and Gemma Sou – some fascinating background reading and a healthy desire to educate ourselves on the different needs of those within the humanities and social sciences compared to the sciences and medicine, with which we were far more familiar.

When we launched ScienceOpen, the new Open Access (OA) research + publishing network earlier this year, we interviewed Advisory Board Member and OA guru Peter Suber. We asked him “How important is it that OA penetrates research disciplines beyond science?”. Here’s what he said:

“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).

 

Björk et al. PLOS ONE. CC BY
Björk et al. PLOS ONE. CC BY

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?”

For background reading, I spent the best part of a long flight from San Francisco to the UK (10 hours!) making detailed notes from a number of sources. Firstly, “Open Access: a perspective from the humanities” by Peter Mandler, Professor of Modern Cultural History at the University of Cambridge. A White Paper entitled “A Scalable and Sustainable Approach  to Open Access Publishing and Archiving  for Humanities and Social Sciences” by K|N Consultants (Rebecca R. Kennison and Lisa R. Norberg).“Open Access and Being Human” by Martin Paul Eve, co-founder of the Open Library of the Humanities and Editor of the OA journal Alluviun. “The Next Obstacle for OA Publishing in the HSS: More Costs? Or the License?” by Andrea Hacker, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Finally, Podcasts can ‘level the playing field’ for researchers looking to break the mould and share accessible findings by Gemma Sou, the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, U.K.

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.

Despite my interview subjects being extremely busy, I was delighted to find that I readily secured interviews with the following people: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Peter Brantley, Eric Kansa, Sebastian Heath, Leslie Chan, Ethan Watrall, Jessica Clark, Clemens Wass, and Gemma Sou. I am indebted to them all for their insights and appreciate their time.

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:

  1. “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.
  2. 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.
  3. “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.
  4.  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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

 

In:  Guest Blog  

Promoting Openness and Transparency in Social Science Research

Image credit: Transparency, Fay Ratta, Flickr, CC BY
Image credit: Transparency, Fay Ratta, Flickr, CC BY

We’re delighted to welcome Guillaume Kroll, Program Manager at the Center for Effective Global Action, California’s leading research institute on global development and poverty alleviation, as our first ever guest blogger.

That we have chosen to highlight the social sciences in this first guest post is not by accident! Over the last few months, we’ve been thinking carefully about how to achieve one of our goals which is “to broaden Open Access beyond the sciences”. You can read more about our research project here.

Now over to Guillaume…

In recent years, there have been significant efforts to enhance the rigor and quality of evidence in the social sciences. Most notably, there is a widespread shift toward field experiments that test policy interventions using randomized treatment and control groups, in a manner similar to medical trials. This approach, advanced in part by development economists, has increased our ability to identify causal relationships between interventions and their social impacts, yielding information that is useful for policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector alike.

However, it is not clear that more rigorous research methods have directly translated into better policy, or into programs that improve people’s lives. In practice, social science remain highly susceptible to bias, over-inference, lack of transparency, and even fraud. Researchers argue that these failures result from distorted incentives and weaknesses in the institutions that govern social science. These constraints make it difficult for scholars to assess the validity of prior work, establish scientific consensus, and definitively answer questions of broad importance.

Failures in the integrity of social science research are especially problematic when study results are used for policy design, since a single policy can affect millions of people, over many years.

To address these problems, a group of social science researchers established the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS). BITSS is a network of economists, political scientists, and psychologists committed to increase the standards of rigor and integrity across social science disciplines. Since its inception, BITSS has supported collaboration among academic researchers, graduate students, journal editors, and policy-makers interested in improving the quality of evidence for decision-making. Central to BITSS efforts is the identification of useful strategies and tools for maintaining research transparency, including the use of study registries, pre-analysis plans, data sharing, and replication.

On December 11-12, 2014, BITSS will be holding a Research Transparency Forum at the University of California, Berkeley. The two-day conference will bring together academic leaders, scholarly publishers, and policy-makers to discuss recent innovations in journal practices, academic training, data sharing, and evidence-based policy in light of the push for increased transparency. BITSS is currently accepting the submission of papers to be presented and discussed at the conference.

Increasing the reliability and accuracy of scientific evidence requires well-defined standards of methodological rigor. At the same time, new tools and strategies to increase transparency must be integrated into existing research workflows to facilitate adoption. As the social sciences reinvent their practices around data, it is absolutely the right moment to build new channels of collaboration, cross-learning, and dissemination for innovative, open research practices.

To register to the Research Transparency Forum, please visit the BITSS Annual Meeting page.

In:  Guest Blog  

ScienceOpen Guest Blog Policy

SOreglogo

The ScienceOpen Blog welcomes Guest Posts from the Communities that we serve. If you have an idea for a post, please email Liz Allen (Moderator).

Blog basics: powered by WordPress. All posts and associated comments will be published if they meet acceptable standards (see Community Guidelines below).

Content license, attribution, third party content: all content is published under a CC-BY License which permits re-use, including commercial. Proper attribution is required for all third party content – please list the author or creator of content, the original source of the content and a statement of the license type. You alone are responsible for complying with applicable laws and for getting permission from the content owner as necessary. If you rely on fair use to justify use of third-party content, you alone are responsible for making sure your use constitutes actual fair use under the law.

Community guidelines: we don’t support content that: plagiarizes; defames others; name calls; attacks; threatens; uses profanity; promotes products and services.

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In:  Announcements  

Partnering the World Health Summit to expand access to global health research

WHS

ScienceOpen, the new Open Access (OA) research + publishing network, and the World Health Summit, the preeminent forum for addressing global health issues, are delighted to announce their strategic partnership.

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

In recognition of this exciting new partnership, ScienceOpen is open for submissions pertaining to the forthcoming World Health Summit which we are also privileged to be attending.

 

 

In:  Profiles  

Researcher #profilefatigue – what it is and why it’s exhausting!

Image credit: Arallyn, Flickr, CC BY
Image credit: Arallyn, Flickr, CC BY

Most of us, whether we are researchers or not, can intuitively grasp what “profile fatigue” is. For those who are thus afflicted, we don’t recommend the pictured Bromo Soda, even though it’s for brain fatigue. This is largely because it contained Bromide, which is chronically toxic and medications containing it were removed in the USA from 1975 (wow, fairly recent!).

Naturally, in the digital age, it’s important for researchers to have profiles and be associated with their work. Funding, citations and lots of other good career advancing benefits flow from this. And, it can be beneficial to showcase a broad range of output, so blogs, slide presentations, peer-reviewed publications, conference posters etc. are all fair game. It’s also best that a researcher’s work belongs uniquely to them, so profile systems need to solve for name disambiguation (no small undertaking!).

This is all well and good until you consider the number of profiles a researcher might have created at different sites already. To help us consider this, we put together this list.

Organization Status
ORCID Non-profit: independent, community driven
Google Scholar Search: Google
Researcher ID Publisher: Thomson Reuters
Scopus Author ID Publisher: Elsevier
Mendeley Publisher: Elsevier
Academia.edu Researcher Network: Academia.edu
ResearchGate Researcher Network: ResearchGate

The list shows that a researcher could have created (or have been assigned per SCOPUS) 7 “profiles” or more accurately, 7 online records of research contributions. That’s on top of those at their research institution and other organizations) and only one iD (helpfully shown in green at the top!) is run by an independent non-profit called ORCID.

Different from a profile, ORCID is a unique, persistent personal identifier a researcher uses as they publish, submit grants, upload datasets that connects them to information on other systems. But, not all other profile systems (sigh). Which leads us, once again, to the concept of “interoperability” which is one of the central arguments behind recent community disatissfaction over the new STM licenses which we have covered previously.

Put simply, if we all go off and do our own thing with licensing and profiling then we create more confusion and effort for researchers. Best to let organizations like Creative Commons and ORCID take care of making sure that everyone can play nicely in the sandbox (although they do appreciate community advocacy on these issues).

Interoperability is one good reason why ScienceOpen integrated our registration with ORCID and use their iD’s to provide researcher profiles on our site. We don’t do this because we think profiles are kinda neat, they are but they are also time consuming and tedious to prepare (especially 6 times!).

We did it because we are trying to improve peer-review which we believe should be done after publication by experts with at least 5 publications on their ORCID iD and we believe in minimizing researcher hassle. This is why our registration process is integrated with the creation of an ORCID iD, which could become pivotal for funders in the reaonably near future (so best for researchers to get on board with them now!).

So given that it seems likely that all researchers will need an ORCID iD (and boy it would be nice if they would get one by registering with us!), then what is also important is that all the sites listed in the above grid integrate with ORCID too and that hasn’t happened yet (you know who you are!). The others have done a nice job of integrating by all accounts.

In conclusion, publishers and other service providers need to remember that they serve the scientific community, not the other way around and this publisher would like to suggest that everyone in the grid please integrate with ORCID pronto!