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.
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.
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 makepublishingbetter 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ScienceOpen reserves the right to remove any content that violates these guidelines, to block repeat and/or egregious violators from posting, and to suspend accounts as we deem necessary
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
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.
Non-profit: independent, community driven
Publisher: Thomson Reuters
Scopus Author ID
Researcher Network: Academia.edu
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!
Reviewing with ScienceOpen, the new OA research + publishing network, is a bit different from what researchers may have experienced elsewhere! To see for yourself, watch this short video on Post-Publication Peer Review.
Q. For busy researchers & physicians, time is short, so why bother to review for ScienceOpen?
A1. Firstly, because the current Peer Review system doesn’t work
David Black, the Secretary General of the International Council for Science (ICSU) said in a recent ScienceOpen interview “Peer Review as a tool of evaluation for research is flawed.” Many others agree.
Here are our observations and what we are doing to ease the strain.
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.
Martin Suhm, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany and one of our first authors said in a recent ScienceOpen interview “Post-Publication Peer Review will be an intriguing experience, certainly not without pitfalls, but worth trying”.
A2. Second, reviews receive a DOI so your contributions can be cited
We believe that scholarly publishing is not an end in itself, but the beginning of a dialogue to move research forward. In a move sure to please busy researchers tired of participating without recognition, each review receives a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) so that others can find and cite the analysis and the contribution becomes a registered part of the scientific debate.
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.
Should authors wish to make minor or major changes to their work in response to review feedback, then ScienceOpen offers Versioning. Versions are clearly visible online, the latest are presented first with prominent links to previous iterations. 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.
A3. Finally, because problems are more visible
When Peer Review is done in the open by named individuals, we believe it should be more constructive and issues will surface more quickly. The resolution of matters arising isn’t simpler or quicker because they are more obvious, but at least they can be seen and addressed.
Here’s a quick overview of ScienceOpen services:
Publishes ALL article types: Research, Reviews, Opinions, Posters etc
From ALL disciplines: science, medicine, the humanities and social science
Aggregates over 1.3 million OA articles from leading publishers
Publication within about a week from submission with DOI
Publishing with ScienceOpen, the new OA research + publishing network, is a bit different and quicker from what researchers may have experienced elsewhere! Here’s a short video that explains how we make publishing easier.
Q. For busy researchers & physicians, time is short, so why bother to publish with ScienceOpen?
A. So you can share your results quickly and get back to your research.
At ScienceOpen, we understand that the publishing process is all too often painful and time consuming. This picture demonstrates why rapid and informal web publishing plus Post-Publication Peer Review could well be the future!
Here’s a quick overview of ScienceOpen services:
Publishes ALL article types: Research, Reviews, Opinions, Posters etc
From ALL disciplines: science, medicine, the humanities and social science
Aggregates over 1.3 million OA articles from leading publishers
Publication within about a week from submission with DOI
ScienceOpen strives to offer services to researchers for a price ($800) that is significantly less than most OA journals. Full and partial fee waivers are available to those in need in low and middle income countries and in less well funded disciplines.
Welcome to the next wave of Open Access Publishing. Join us today.