Open Access is not a research issue. It’s not a European issue. It’s not a publisher or policy issue. Open Access is a global issue.
Knowledge is a public good, and forms the basis of an environment in which everyone can develop and build inclusively. It can help to inspire publication innovation and entrepreneurship. Open Access to research sits at the core of this on a global level.
As part of our ‘Open Science Stars’ series, we’ve been trying to expose some of the views and experiences of people from the world of open around the world. This global perspective is important, because researchers have a responsibility to contribute to the open sharing of results around the world, and not take a free ride based on elite privilege.
Open Access and China
Today, we wanted to delve a bit into the status of OA in China. Recently, we partnered with Higher Education Press, one of the top publishers in China, to index one of their flagship journals, and to demonstrate China’s continued support for more open research practices. China has committed to rapid growth in scientific research and development recently, and this is reflected in the solid evidence for a strongly developing open access research base.
Free to publish Open Access journals offer an incredible service to the research community and broader public, with editors often working long hours with no compensation. We want to recognise this effort and reward it with free indexing on our platform!
More visibility for your journal
Journals indexed on ScienceOpen:
Reach new audiences and maximize your readership
Drive more usage to your journals
Upload your content to a unique search/discovery and communication platform
Open up the context of your content
What do we need from you?
An application form can be found here. Fill it out, and submit to our team. Simple!
On the last day of every month, we will select and announce the winners via social media, and begin the next cycle! Out of the applicants, we will select up to 10 journals per month for free indexing, and the best application will get a free featuredjournal collection too! All others will roll over into the next month.
For years now, the journal and the publisher have held sway over many aspects of discovery and evaluation of research and researchers. The development of the Web was expected to disrupt this, but innovation has been slow. Collectively, the research community have been cautious in embracing the power that has been granted to us for integration, sharing, and using semantic technologies to enhance how we read, communicate, and re-use the scientific record.
At ScienceOpen, we believe that opening up article-level information will be part of the next wave of innovation in scholarly publishing and communications. Our CEO, Stephanie Dawson, spoke about this with Research Information recently, conveying the idea that we need to embrace the power of modern technologies to unlock the multi-dimensional intrinsic value of articles in their broader ‘context’.
If there’s one thing that this Open Science Stars series has shown us, it is that there is a great diversity of perspectives and experiences in the world of scholarly publishing and communications. This week, we have the absolute please of giving you all an interview with Prof. Jacinto Dávila, a researcher based in Venezuela. Here’s his open story.
Hi Jacinto! Thanks for joining us here. Could you start off by letting us know a little bit about your background?
Hello Jon. I am a computational logician. That is probably a label, invented at Imperial College (Ed: yay!). So, I would add that I am System Engineer and also got a PhD in Logic from Imperial. But almost all my professional life has been spent teaching and doing research at Universidad de Los Andes, in Venezuela. Thus, I will call myself a computer scientist in the third world.
When did you first hear about open access and open science? What were your initial thoughts?
We had news of the rising movement back in 2005, thanks to Jean-Claude Guedón. I used to be at the computing academic board of my University and we got serious about it in 2006, submitting a proposal for our rector to sign the Berlin Declaration, which he did on October, 2006. By then, we already had a fully operational repository, which have been up and running since 1995. We saw the open access initiative as a fantastic opportunity to level the game because we have historically suffered to have access to international results, which is always an expensive deal. We also thought, naively in retrospect¸that just by going open we would have a fair chance of publishing our own work too.
We need to change the defaults views on sharing knowledge, at least for public works.
Today, we are pleased to announce that ScienceOpen hit the 20 million article record! In fact, it’s still climbing even as this is being written. This is thanks to what we call our ‘aggregation’ engine, which takes published research articles from any field, and applies a little bit of magic to them to open up their context and let us all do amazing things, such as find similar articles, post-publication peer review them, and trace their citation genealogies.
I asked Alexander Grossmann, professor of publishing and co-founder of ScienceOpen, what this milestone means to him and to open science more broadly.
The association of the Mafia and the Roman capital (link)
Most of the articles are in Italian, so for non-Italian speakers it’s a great chance to brush up on a new language, or worth using a browser like Google Chrome to auto-translate the text.
We look forward to helping to make this fascinating research more open to the world, and exposing the context around it all.
CEO of ScienceOpen Stephanie Dawson said “We are very excited to see the Italian Society of Victimology adopting a CC BY 4.0 license. By embedding this in the xml content for articles we can make it easier for our users to re-use the research by making sure it is explicitly open.”
Open Science is a global issue. This series has so far highlighted perspectives from our open science stars from around the world, and we believe having this diversity is critical to have a well-informed viewpoint on the state of research in general.
So this week, we are absolutely delighted to have Obinna Ojemeni with us from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria.
Hi Obinna! Thanks for joining us. Could you tell us a bit about your background?
I am from the South-eastern part of Nigeria and the third/last of the three sons of my parents. I attended Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Science Education & Mathematics. After my National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) program, I proceeded to the premier University of Ibadan where I obtained both Master of Education and Master of Information Science in 2010 and 2014 respectively. A Science Educationist and Information Scientist by training, and presently a University Teacher in the newly formed department of Library and Information Science, Enugu State University of Science & Technology. I am also a Doctoral (PhD) student in Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I’m studying Information Science with special focus on developments in Nigeria’s Open Access publishing landscape and bibliometric studies.
When did you first realise you wanted to be researcher? What was it that turned you?
That would be probably after my Master of Education degree program in the department of Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, which is also where I learnt how to do research and had academics that inspired me too. Besides having been trained as an Educationist, the best career would be to educate the younger generation and encourage them too as well as change the poor perception about the teaching profession.
I would rather emphasize that I come from a family of teachers, both my paternal grandparents were secondary (grandfather) and primary (grandmother) school teachers respectively. While my Mother was a Secondary school teacher, which is why I decided to take the family legacy to another level by becoming a University Teacher 🙂
When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What did you first think about it all?
I was introduced to Open Access by my Master of Information Science Project Supervisor, Dr Williams Nwagwu at Africa Regional Centre for Information Science (popularly known as ARCIS) in University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Before then I was proposing a bibliometric study of a local journal published by a scholarly society and suggesting its’ inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), but had no knowledge of the concept of Open Access. So I was mandated by my supervisor to read up studies on Open Access which gave me background knowledge of the concept and the BBB declarations that facilitated its adoption globally.
My first thought was the reality that little or no research would have been possible in Nigeria without the free availability of OA publications via the internet. And we as Nigerians especially Academics, are doing little or nothing to foster its sustenance.
In a fairly big release today, we are pleased to announce a big new partnership with SciELO, the Scientific Electronic Library Online. Many of you might know SciELO as the leading Open Access publisher in Latin America and what we might consider to be developing or emerging countries. At last count, they had published almost 600,000 peer reviewed research articles in more than 1200 journals, so constitute an enormous contribution to our global research knowledge!
Typically, SciELO content is still largely excluded from what we might consider the ‘research powerhouses’ and “global” indexing platforms of the western world. In 2013, SciELO was integrated into the Web of Science, but only covered around half of their journals. Some SciELO Brazil content is also indexed in Scopus, but this is a pay-to-access service.
As such, simply being Open Access is not sufficient in the current scholarly publishing climate – you have to be promoted, shared, and recognised too! This is crucial for publishers in terms of generating increased visibility, transparency, and credibility for research, all principles embodied by Open Access. So ScienceOpen is partnering with SciELO to generate increased visibility for its content, and to provide an enhanced global perspective on research.
Some might be wondering where you’ve heard of SciELO before. Well, Open Access advocate and keeper of predatory publishing lists Jeffrey Beall publicly commented last year that SciELO was akin to the ‘favelas’ of the scholarly publishing world, and created a bit of a stir. Thankfully, this derogatory and unnecessary characterisation was met with appropriate responses, but revealed a somewhat ingrained cultural perspective that some ‘western’ academics, and those involved in scholarly publishing, might still have: research and publishing from Latin America and peripheral countries is of lower quality than the north, for no apparent reason than geography; a factor which is often referred to as ‘ethnocentric prejudice’.
Well, at ScienceOpen we think such views are not helpful in creating a more global, collaborative and open research foundation. We believe that through integration we are stronger, and that we gain more by transcending barriers than creating them. The future of research is through global collaboration, sharing, and enabling open practices, and this is what we’re doing with SciELO. Indeed, SciELO are arguably doing more to advance Open Access publishing and global knowledge than many well-established publishers in Europe and North America!
Which is why partnering with SciELO is exciting for us for many reasons!
Well, we’ve had some absolute stars recently in our ‘open science’ series! If you haven’t seen them yet, head over and check them out – such a diverse array of experiences and perspectives! Today we spoke with Josh King, the founder of Brevy. It’s an awesome new platform, and we’ll let Josh tell you more about it here, enjoy!
Hi Josh, thanks for joining us! Could you tell us a bit about why you started Brevy?
Brevy is an independent, volunteer group of a few stubborn individuals who work on the project during our off hours (read “nights and weekends”). While my own day job is in science outreach, I work with a couple of other partners (a fantastic computer science start-up owner and a behavioural psychologist make up our merry band) to help direct and maintain the site. We’re nothing special on our own, so the real stars here are those that pitch a hand adding summaries to Brevy or introducing it as class assignments to help grow the body of content!
When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What did you first think?
That would likely be during my undergraduate years studying biochemistry and becoming hopelessly frustrated trying to write reports using papers I often had no access to (even with our university library!). At the time, I thought the concepts as fanciful dreams, but thankfully here we are with open access a growing paradigm and various open science platforms blossoming around the web.
What do you think the biggest problem with the current scholarly publishing system is?
Meaningful publishing. By reasonable estimates, at least more than a 1,000,000 academic papers are published each year. These works are published on platforms known largely only to academics, and then only to that specific subset of academia. Publications on these platforms are not always accessible even to this select group and generally do not well support further dialogue or dissemination, with a surprisingly significant number going uncited. Taken pessimistically, this is tantamount to ejecting hundreds of thousands of new pieces of knowledge into the void each year.
We can be optimistic about this however! Taken optimistically, there are hundreds of thousands of possibly exciting and ground-breaking new ideas all of the time that most of us don’t know about! But to see it this way, to truly believe it, we have to start caring about the meaningfulness of research. We have to start thinking about different types of impacts than citation count and means of prestige other than the journal name. And we have to care what our work means to the world outside academia.
Recently, we’ve been running an ‘open science stars‘ series to highlight a range of great people from around the world working to advance open science practices. This week, we have something a little special for you. All previous interviews have been with students or researchers, but this story is from a physician in the United States Navy, Commander Jean-Paul Chretien! So sit back and enjoy the show.
Hi Commander Jean-Paul! For starters could you let us know a little about your background?
Thank you for interviewing me. Let me say first that throughout this interview I’m expressing my own views, not necessarily the official policy or position of the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, or US Government.
I’m a physician in the United States Navy, and my training is in public health, epidemiology, and informatics. I work on challenges at the intersection of health and national security, like infectious disease outbreaks and climate change.
I was drawn first to the military, before medicine, but I knew what life as a doctor is like because my parents are physicians. I wanted to be a military officer from a pretty young age. Service to country, the chance to lead, the adventure – all of that appealed to me. For college I went to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, thinking maybe I would command a warship someday. But while I was there, studying international affairs and national security, I learned that some of the most pressing security challenges were health problems like HIV/AIDS, at the time. And I learned that in many battles and wars, diseases crippled military forces and civilian populations in war zones. Infections often caused more casualties than combat.
So I decided to go to medical school, but not to be a doctor practicing in a clinic. I wanted to be a doctor for populations, and bring medical knowledge to decisions that impact military service members, the broader American public, and, well, everyone.
When did you first hear about Open Access and Open Science? What were your first thoughts? Has there ever been a case where lack of access to information has seriously compromised your work?
When I was a student working on my MD and my PhD in epidemiology, I didn’t think about Open Access because access wasn’t a problem for me. Through my university, I could access just about any journal article I needed. But later, when I began my global health work in the U.S. military, I saw how access restrictions constrained biomedical research, patient care, and population health around the world.
At that time, I worked in a Department of Defense program that partners with dozens of countries to improve their capabilities for detecting and containing epidemics. I had collaborators around the world, public health personnel and researchers in countries with limited resources, who could not read about studies on the diseases that burden them. How can they join the global effort against infectious disease outbreaks if they can’t always access the most current and best research on those diseases?
When I began my global health work in the U.S. military, I saw how access restrictions constrained biomedical research, patient care, and population health around the world.
Then, what galvanized my commitment to open access and open science in general was the Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa in late 2013, and spread to Europe and the U.S. It’s waning now, but infections are still occurring. There have been more than 28,000 confirmed cases with around 11,000 deaths, by far the largest Ebola epidemic ever.