The largest number of articles come from PLOS ONE (not surprisingly, it’s the world’s largest journal) and BioMed Central. If you stop and think about it, it’s good to unite these publishers around content, that’s the true spirit of Open Access.
As some of you may have noticed, we have a different take on Collections here at ScienceOpen and don’t see why all the articles have to come from the same publisher as is usually the case. Since we’ve also aggregated nearly 1.5 million OA articles, we decided to build a little “collection widget”, establish a new role of “Community Editor” (comes with a modest stipend) and have researchers themselves curate a collection or “mini-journal” in their discipline.
In this way, we hope it will become more obvious which disciplines or niche sub-fields are still short on OA content, Community Editors are also empowered to call for more submissions. In topics where there is already an abundance of OA articles, the art form becomes finding ways to surface the best content and who better to curate it than an expert researcher (rather than a professional editor).
As always, getting a new concept off the ground is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. To demonstrate how Collections work, we asked our Consulting Editor Richard Gallagher to pick a topic, choose some articles (and comment on his top 10 as to why he chose them), write an editorial and finally use the widget to pull it all together.
The result of his endeavors is the ScienceOpen Collection on Cancer Immunotherapy. Then we decided to interview Richard so that he could share his experiences and encourage others to apply for the role of Community Editor themselves (to those who have already stepped up, thanks for participating):
Q. What’s your scientific/professional background and how did it help you select these articles
A. I am a mucosal immunologist if I go back far enough. I’ve been involved in scientific editing for over 20 years and always had a more than passing interest in immunotherapy for cancer: it presents a challenge on so many levels, but the potential is enormous.
Q. What were your criteria for article selection?
A. Simply put, I looked for research that could have a substantial impact on the treatment of cancer, however far from application it may currently be. The fact that among the articles there are new therapies, combinations of therapies, new techniques for cell preparation and better approaches to monitoring patient responses shows the breadth of progress in the field.
Q. What was the hardest part of curating this collection?
A. Culling very good research! Like any list of “the most exciting research” is it subjective. I have provided notes as to why I selected each article for reference.
Q. What was the easiest part of curating this collection?
A. Since all of the papers have all undergone peer review of one sort or another, they were generally in very good shape
Q. What skills are required to successfully curate a collection?
A. Not so much a skill but an interest in the field in broad terms is a must. An ability to briefly summarize the significance of complex findings is required too.
Q. How long did it take you to curate this collection?
A. I did it over a six week period, spending maybe 10 hours per week. This is the first Collection that I had done (or in fact anyone had done!) for ScienceOpen so that time involved thinking about the criteria for selection and how the summaries should be handled, as well as selecting the articles.
Q. What types of people would be most suitable for the role of “Community Editor”?
A. Scientists who love to read and think widely about their subject. I remember always being drawn to journal clubs and departmental presentations, I got real enjoyment out of learning something new and digging around in a wide range topics. The ideal curators or community editors could be PhD students or post-docs that like this aspect of the work. Perhaps two or three of them from different labs working together would be an interesting way of organizing the community team, some mentorship might also be helpful.
Q. What would you like to see happen as a result of this collection?
A. The collections need to be updated on a regular basis by the curators. This will produce a valuable resource for little time investment: no-one can stay current across a broad swathe of the literature and this will draw attention to the most interesting OA research being published. It would be terrific if these collections became starting points for discussions of particular articles and where the field is (or should be) headed. On a purely practical level, I would like to see others taking part in Post-Publication Peer Review of these articles and giving feedback on my selection criteria which I have provided for every article.
To apply for the role of Community Editor yourself or to apply on behalf of a team, simply email Sebastian Alers with your resume and a cover note.
Just a quick post to say that we are delighted to have been accepted as members of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) and the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). You can see our listings here and here.
Both of these organizations have a rigorous application process and that’s all for the good given the proliferation of OA publishers. They offer important “white list” services to would be authors, allowing them to check the credentials and approach of publishers that may be unfamiliar to them. It makes sense to have these checks and balances in place and is preferable to alternatives such as naming and shaming which sometimes catches the good and the bad guys in the same net.
As anyone who has ever worked in start-up land will tell you, getting traction and recognition in the early days is quite the uphill battle (even for PLOS and PLOS ONE back in the day where I used to work). We are thrilled to have crossed this milestone!
As the future leaders of tomorrow’s global health world, the 700 students and young professionals from various disciplines in the Global Health NGN, present a unified voice to improve knowledge exchange, strengthen training programs and promote career development in global health. You can find out more about them by reading their 2014 Barcelona conference report here. Supporting Earlier Career Researchers has been a focus for ScienceOpen since its launch in May 2014 and this announcement gives further momentum to that effort.
In the coming months, this partnership will manifest itself in publishing the scholarly output of this group where appropriate, for a discounted price and specifically conference posters that ScienceOpen will publish free of charge.
Additionally, The Global Health NGN will also be able to make use of free ScienceOpen tools such as: Groups to run Journal Clubs, Discussions and Workshops and Collections to unite Global Health content from over 1.4 million articles from leading Open Access publishers currently aggregated on the ScienceOpen platform.
ScienceOpen Editor, Nana Bit-Avragim, an MD and translational scientist with a focus on molecular and developmental Cardiology with a passion for extending the reach of Open Access in Global Health said “all of us at ScienceOpen enjoy supporting “Generation Open” in their quest to express their opinions and share research knowledge as broadly as possible, especially in a field such as this which is of such critical global importance. We look forward to a productive partnership”.
Ragna Boerma (Global Health NGN) is an MD with an MSc in Global Health, currently pursuing her PhD in Neurogenetics said, “Global Health strives for better health care for all, worldwide. Better health care starts with knowledge, which should be freely available for everyone in an equitable way. This is why Global Health NGN supports Open Access and ScienceOpen.”
If you would like to contact the Global Health NGN then please email Camila González Beiras, VP External Affairs.
Here at ScienceOpen, we’re delighted to get the New Year off to such a great start!
The Max Planck Society (MPG), an independent, non-profit German research organization and ScienceOpen, the research + Open Access publishing network based in Germany and the USA, have signed an agreement (official PR) that will allow authors affiliated to MPG as members of one of its 82 institutes and research facilities, unlimited free publication of posters and research articles in 2015.
The Max Planck Society is a co-founder of the international Open Access movement and has negotiated favorable publishing terms for its researchers at all career levels with a range of OA titles that now include ScienceOpen, which offers three main services to researchers:
Aggregates nearly 1.4 million OA articles (PubMed Central & ArXiv)
Facilitates transparent & network based peer review after publication
Following the Max Planck Digital Library OA Ambassadors Conference, ScienceOpen fielded a short survey to some MPG researchers (143 completions) to gauge their likely support for this partnership. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – 95% of respondents said that they would welcome a collaboration between MPG and ScienceOpen.
Other encouraging signs from the survey included nearly 90% of participants who were willing to publish in a journal that offers Non-Anonymous Peer Review after publication and 86% who don’t believe that Impact Factors are a good method to evaluate the quality of individual articles and authors.
We also want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank those working at the MPG from our Editorial Board for their support. They include the following researchers, feel free to reach out to them directly for more information about the publishing process at ScienceOpen.
Colloids and Interfaces
Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience
Developmental Biology and Biochemistry
Chemical Physics of Solids
Heart and Lung Research
History of Science
Heart and Lung Research
Frank Sander, General Manager of the Max Planck Digital Library said “since we have received many positive acknowledgements from senior Max Planck researchers, we are happy to now provide this one year pilot which allows unlimited publications with ScienceOpen free of charge for all Max Planck affiliates.”
ScienceOpen CEO, Stephanie Dawson, said “all of us at ScienceOpen are delighted to end our year on such a positive note by establishing this important relationship. We look forward to a productive 2015”.
If your society or organization wishes to make a similar arrangement with us, please email Liz.
It may be the beginning of the Holiday season, but here at ScienceOpen we’re already looking forward to our speaking engagements in 2015!
First up, co-founder Alexander Grossmann, Physicist, Publisher and Professor, is going to be participating in a session on “new publishing developments” (venue, NH Hotel Berlin Mitte) on Monday 19th January between 3.30 and 5pm.
The agenda for this “pre-conference day” is particularly relevant to us. Here’s an excerpt taken from the conference program so that you can see why: “Open Access has changed a lot within scholarly publishing. One thing that is often overlooked is the fact, that it required academia to become much more actively involved in the publishing process. This has created both a new way of thinking around publishing as well as a number of very interesting start-ups. The APE 2015 Pre-Conference Day will look at the “What is Next” for our industry”.
As many of you know, we’re on a mission to “democratize publishing” and have Community Editor roles available for researchers, appointed by our Editorial Team, which give them the ability to curate, commission and manage content in their own article Collection or Mini Journal. In return for their expert knowledge and effort, we offer a modest stipend ($1500) that can be put towards travel to attend conferences that are particularly relevant to their field. We welcome applications for these roles.
The agenda for the next two days (venue, Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences) looks equally inspiring and features many top rate speakers. If we don’t know them personally, we feel like we do through our Twitter connections! Here are just a few of the luminaries that are presenting and moderating but check out the full line up:
Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services & Acting Head of Library, Wellcome Library, London
Dr. Ralf Schimmer, Head, Max Planck Digital Library, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Munich
Alex D. Wade, Director, Scholarly Communication, Internet Services Research Group, Microsoft Research,Redmond, WA
Drs. Jan Velterop, Advocate and Advisor, Open Access and Open Science, Guildford
Dr. Matt Cockerill,Co-Founder of Riffyn, Riffyn, Oakland
Reviewing the program in detail did make us smile however. There’s a session on Wednesday, at 8.30am, entitled: Wake-up Session: how to make money with Semantics, moderated by Richard Padley, CEO, Semantico, Brighton. All we can say is that we hope someone remembers to have the coffee pot on for Richard and that the topic of “making money” makes his audience suitably jazzed!
One question that has always intrigued me is “what new activities are enabled when Open Access content from different publishers is available on the same platform and the community is given the tools to curate it”?
Now, thanks to the growth in Open Access content, our latest feature release which includes refined search and community tools for content curation (thanks Ed, Dave, Raj and Jeff from the Dev team), it could just be that I am one step closer to finding out.
To get back to basics, ScienceOpen offers three main services to researchers:
1. We aggregate OA content from other sources
2. We offer rapid publishing services
3. We facilitate expert peer review after publication
The new features that we just released on Friday last week, were built to help researchers find and curate content from nearly 1.4mm articles on our site (per 1. above). All the major OA providers have content here, PLOS, BMC, F1000Research, PeerJ etc. While we were working on this release, we also added new drill down search options including the ability to filter by content source: ScienceOpen, ArXiv and PubMed Central. This is an important add because the community said they wanted greater delineation between our own and mirrored content. The first step for us in response to this feedback was to offer visual markers and now we’ve added filtering to make this abundantly clear.
In terms of what to do with the articles once they have been located, we’ve developed a rather nifty Collection tool to help draw content together and customize it’s appearance, you can see two initial examples here using our own content: ScienceOpen Research and ScienceOpen Posters. We’ve also developed a new role called “Community Editor” and our Editorial team will offer these positions to researchers (the role carries a modest stipend). These indiviudals can choose which existing content they want to feature in their Collection and if they wish, decide which articles need to be written in order to fill content gaps and call for more. Editors are also empowered to invite others at all career levels to assist them. It also seems likely that societies, disease organizations and other groups will be interested in customized channels and they are equally welcome to get involved.
So what’s motivating us to do this?
It’s about democratizing publishing in the broadest possible sense of the phrase.
We believe that siloeing OA content on Publisher’s websites isn’t in the true spirit of Open Access and we’re proud to be first to break the mold in this regard. Which publisher brands research is irrelevant as long as the content is sound.
We believe that “journals”, whether “mega”, highly specialized or super selective are becoming outmoded. What we need are channels where OA content can be digitally spliced, diced or amassed in anyway the community prefers.
We believe in giving the power for content creation, curation and review fully back to the research community who have the discipline specific expertise to do the best possible job in these roles. Researchers, at all career levels, gain valuable roles (as Reviewers and Community Editors) and experience which raise their professional profile and give them some (DOI’s, modest stipends) recognition (more is required).
It gives us great pleasure to announce the addition of Richard Gallagher, an esteemed alum of Nature, Science and The Scientist, to the ScienceOpen team in the role of Consulting Editor. Richard is based in the Bay Area so his appointment expands our Californian footprint, our other locations being Berlin (Editorial HQ) and Boston (Software and Development HQ). Richard is a convert to the Open Access cause and is an enthusiastic supporter so we’re delighted to have him join at this time of great change!
Richard’s research background includes a BSc in Immunology and a PhD in Cell Biology (cell adhesion and immune response) from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. After this, Richard became a Post-Doctoral Fellow at University College, Dublin, Ireland where he studied Immunological aspects of Sarcoidosis and his final post in academia was as a Wellcome Trust Lecturer in Immunology at Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.
He made the transfer to publishing in 1989 and never looked back! He was the Chief Biology Editor, Nature, and then its Publisher; he established the Science office in Europe where he was Office Head and Senior Editor and he was Editor and Publisher at The Scientist.
Despite this illustrious background, Richard is an eminently approachable individual, always up for a new challenge and well known and liked in the Scientific Publishing Industry. On a personal note, I worked for Richard at Nature and am simply delighted to have this opportunity to work with him again.
Richard’s role at ScienceOpen is pivotal in terms of empowering the research community to take leadership roles on the site and curate discipline specific Open Access content from a range of top Publishers (including PLOS, BMC, Faculty 1000 Research, PeerJ etc) into Collections or mini-journals that they can create using tools specifically built for the task. “Community Editor” Roles, with a modest stipend, will be available for those who want to participate, so watch this blog and our Twitter and Facebook page for further announcements.
And just in case you are curious, Richard is a Scotsman born and bred, he would have voted YES on independence and owns a kilt!
It’s true that it’s been a while since I was climbing the scientific career ladder! My path was somewhat different to many but diversifying is more common now than it was then, for many different reasons that I shall briefly explore below.
By most standards, I’ve had a good run and I am not done yet – these days I also enjoy my role as President of ScienceOpen working with a terrific team of enthusiastic colleagues in Berlin, Boston, and San Francisco. However, I remain mindful and respectful of my research roots and spend as much time as possible talking with young faculty, promoting their thinking and doing everything I can to support them because it seems to me that a scientific career got a lot harder than it was when I did it, and it wasn’t easy then.
To demonstrate my support of “Generation Open” and in honor of Open Access Week 2014, today I am personally announcing that we are waiving publication fees for Earlier Career Researchers until November 30th 2014 on ScienceOpen, the research + open access publishing network.
Far from being “riff-raff”, per Steven McKnight the President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, who asserted that “the average scientist today is not of the quality of our predecessors” in this unfortunate essay, I believe, in contrast, that today’s scientists battle harder than ever to conduct quality science.
That young researchers continue to make progress with their hands tied is remarkable – reduced funding; cut throat commpetition for what money remains; intense pressure to reach tenureship; more pressure to publish; a glut of talent (good for science but makes it harder to stand out) and not enough job openings.
To take advantage of my free publishing offer, all you have to do is be able to demonstrate that you are an ECR, typically defined as graduate student or Post-Doc. As long as one of the corresponding authors on an article or poster is an ECR, then all authors qualify for free publication. You must submit before 12am CET on November 30th 2014 to be eligible.
For those of you who are unfamilar with ScienceOpen here’s a quick run down, with short videos, of our services:
When it comes to preparing a poster for presentation, there are some amazing poster resources on the web for researchers at all levels of poster proficiency.
For those starting out, I like How to create a research poster from the Bern Dibner Library (simple and basic). For a comprehensive primer, I like Designing Conference Posters from Colin Purrington (comprehensive advice delivered with a sharp wit). Finally, if you are artistic and proficient (see Benjamin Gorman’s “draft” poster pictured below, looks great already!), then Dr Zen’s Better Posters and his constructive critiques can help to make your posters even more powerful.
To quote Dr Zen, “academic conference posters are often ugly, with tiny text, confusing layouts and dubious color schemes”. They may be so bad they elicit this reaction (animated GIF), courtesy of #whatshouldwecallgradschool. If we step back and think about the reasons why, it is because posters fuse two skill sets, research communication and graphic design, and both are slightly removed from the primary competence of “doing science”.
However, curiously, in an article entitled Poster Perfect in The Scientist, Colin Purrington observed that “Although occasionally there would be visually pleasing posters that promoted less-than-stellar science”, he usually found that “the attractiveness of a poster was highly correlated with the quality of the science”. Graphic design and scientific inquiry require different skills, but oddly enough, it appeared that “the people who understood the beauty of fonts had a sense of pitching their science” he said.
One reason to invest effort in preparing and printing a poster, is to communicate the essence of your research in a relatively compact space with the opportunity to interact with your audience if your content catches their eye. This may be particularly appealing for earlier career researchers who aren’t ready to publish or those who would rather avoid public speaking.
Previously, the other slightly frustrating part of poster preparation was their relatively short conference shelf life, possibly followed by a (by then dog eared) display of the poster in the lab. However, as is the case with so much of life, the internet has transformed this space such that digital poster publishing is the new normal. Posters can now happily live online and attract attention to your work in perpetuity.
Here at ScienceOpen, publishing posters is simple and pretty much like publishing an article but cheaper. Posters are published as a PDF in in ScienceOpen Posters (eISSN: 2199-8442). There are two routes to get involved, either your conference organizer has an arrangement with ScienceOpen and they pay a reduced fee and you can publish for free, nice! Or you fly solo and pay $120. Naturally, your poster is available for Non-Anonymous Post-Publication Peer Review just like our articles. To submit a poster, simply email our Editorial Office.
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.
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 email@example.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.