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Open science round-up: December 2023

Welcome to the latest edition of our Open science round-up, where Moumita Koley celebrates the conclusion of the Year of Open Science and brings you the most exciting reads and news in the world of open science.

In this issue, we feature an insightful editorial by Sal Music on the OPUS project and its significant impact in encouraging Open Science practices.

Transforming Research Assessment: The OPUS Project’s Impact on Open Science 

In our fast-paced world, Open Science is essential for expediting discoveries, ensuring universal access to information, and enhancing the impact of research. Open Science improves the quality of research and facilitates global collaboration by fostering openness, inclusivity, and the free exchange of data and ideas. Unfortunately, the current academic practices often prioritize individual achievements, which can hinder the Open Science ethos. It’s essential to shift this perspective by recognizing and rewarding contributions to open research, thereby nurturing a culture that values and incentivizes Open Science practices across all academic levels.

To address this concern, the Open and Universal Science (OPUS) project was initiated to create a framework that recognizes and rewards Open Science practices. OPUS’s mission is to change how research and researchers are evaluated (research(ers) assessment reform) at Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) and Research Funding Organisations (RFOs). The project aims to create a system that encourages and rewards researchers for engaging with Open Science practices, such as making their research outputs accessible to all, sharing their research early in the process, participating in open peer review, ensuring reproducibility of results, and engaging all stakeholders in collaborative research efforts. OPUS is working towards a comprehensive approach to embracing Open Science. 

The project, led by The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) and executed by a consortium of eighteen organizations, is making waves in the world of Open Science. OPUS is more than just a project; it’s a catalyst for change in how research is perceived, evaluated, and rewarded within the Open Science landscape.

As Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department at the International Consortium of Research Staff Association (ICoRSA) in Cork, Ireland—one of the 18 partners in the OPUS project—I have the privilege of witnessing the project’s transformative impact on Open Science practices. OPUS introduces interventions and indicators for Open Science through the Researcher Assessment Framework (RAF), testing them within pilot research organizations. We are currently crafting a Final Policy Brief to advocate for Open Science and updating the Open Science Career Assessment Matrix (OS-CAM2), promoting its adoption among European Research Area policymakers.

These efforts highlight the innovative role of OPUS in the world of Open Science, paving the way for a future where Open Science is not only encouraged but ingrained in the fabric of research and academia. 

Initially, this involves five pilot organizations: three RPOs—Nova University Lisbon, the University of Rijeka, and the University of Cyprus—and two RFOs from Lithuania and Romania (Research Council of Lithuania – RCL and Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development, and Innovation Funding – UEFISCDI). Through collaborations with these organizations, OPUS provides training, aligns funding criteria with RAF principles, and incorporates RAF components into practice. Establishing a reward system that positively influences researcher behavior toward Open Science enables these five pilots to enhance their expertise in Open Science, foster trust, and promote the adoption of Open Science practices within their communities. Subsequently, the goal is to extend this practice to all other RPOs/RFOs.

From the importance of interconnected scholarly networks to the necessity of global policy environments, OPUS advocates for re-evaluating our approach to and rewarding research in the Open Science era. It emphasizes the need to incentivize beyond traditional impact factors, calling for a global shift to holistic science policies that recognize the broader scope of Open Science beyond open data. Copyright retention is crucial for responsible use. As science becomes more data-centric, scholarly processes are transforming, with open-source platforms, particularly libraries, supporting Open Science’s mission to unlock knowledge and infrastructure.

The collaboration of eighteen partners within the consortium, spanning universities, research councils, and expert organizations, plays a pivotal role in the success of OPUS. The consortium’s diverse expertise ensures a comprehensive approach to promoting Open Science. In addition to the aforementioned pilot organizations and ICoRSA, the consortium includes PLOCAN from Gran Canaria, led by project coordinator Gordon Dalton. PLOCAN collaborates with partners, including Technopolis Consulting Group Belgium (TGB), Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), ABIS – The Academy of Business in Society (ABIS), Eurodoc-Le Conseil Europeen des Doctorants et Jeunes Docteurs (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), all based in Brussels, Belgium. Additionally, Resolvo SRL in Florence, Italy, Trustinside in Rennes, France, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, and Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) – Vitae, and JISC in the United Kingdom contribute to the consortium’s collaborative efforts.

The OPUS project is financed by the European Union through the GRANT AGREEMENT concluded with the European Research Executive Agency (REA), under the powers delegated by the European Commission. Project number: 101058471 

Sal Music

Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department, International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA)

Sal Music is the Head of the Dissemination and Communication Department at the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations, where he focuses on EU research projects. With over 20 years of experience in the communication sector, his passion for communication sciences and design initially blossomed as a hobby. Over the past 15 years, he has extended his expertise by working with international clients in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, and the Netherlands. Moreover, from freelancing to establishing his own communications agency in Hungary, Sal has amassed substantial knowledge in communications and management. 


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Big stories in Open Science

Sorbonne University Opts for OpenAlex Over Web of Science 

  • Sorbonne University is taking a definitive step towards open science, shifting its focus to the HAL open archive and encouraging open access to research data. In a strategic move, the university is discontinuing its subscription to Clarivate’s bibliometric tools Web of Science in 2024 and will instead support open, participative tools in alignment with its open science policy. A forthcoming partnership with OpenAlex underscores this transition to enhance data quality and support the international research community with transparent and reproducible resources. 

REF 2029: Major Reforms Announced by UK’s Research Excellence Framework Team 

  • The Research Excellence Framework (REF) team has announced a year’s delay for the next evaluation cycle, now set for 2029, to address key reforms, including decoupling staff from research submissions. This strategic postponement aims to resolve challenges such as integrating Higher Education Statistics Agency data and revising institutional practices, with the publication of results scheduled for December 2029. Significant community consultation has led to changes like reduced impact case study requirements and the exclusion of outputs solely authored by postgraduate students as the REF continues its collaborative approach to enhancing UK research funding assessment. 

OLH Open Access Award 2023 Winners Announced: Celebrating Innovations in Humanities Scholarship 

  • The Open Library of Humanities has announced the winners of the OLH Open Access Award 2023, recognizing three outstanding initiatives for their commitment to open access in humanities. The award recipients include ‘Data papers’ by the University College Cork, focusing on maximizing the potential of humanities data; ‘Grassroots’, a new platform of the Journal of Political Ecology, amplifying diverse environmental discourses; and ‘Post45′, an online journal highlighting American literature and culture post-mid-twentieth century. Each winner demonstrates innovative approaches to expanding access to research and scholarship, with plans to utilize the funding for enhancing digital infrastructure, launching prize competitions, and promoting open data sharing. This award highlights the Open Library of Humanities’ dedication to fostering accessible, equitable scholarship in the humanities. 

GW4 Universities Unite for Rights Retention  

  • The GW4 Universities—Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter—have unified to enhance Open Access and research impact through a collaborative Rights Retention initiative. This joint effort, marked by a shared statement, aims to empower academics with greater control over their work and ensure compliance with grant agreements while fostering an inclusive research culture. By advocating for researchers and improving open-access workflows, GW4 reinforces its commitment to a robust and open research environment, exemplifying its role as a member of the UK Reproducibility Network and a decade-long collaborative university alliance. 

Innovating Scholarly Publishing: Launch of the Experimental Publishing Compendium  

  • The Copim community and Open Book Futures launched an Experimental Publishing Compendium, a pivotal resource for those seeking to revolutionize scholarly books. This comprehensive guide, available at compendium.copim.ac.uk, is designed for scholars, publishers, librarians, and more, offering tools, examples, and practices to challenge conventional publishing. The compendium celebrated the launch by showcasing 24 innovative tools, encouraging exploration beyond traditional print formats. Curated by a dedicated team, this experimental publishing compendium is licensed under Creative Commons and available on GitHub. 

Clarivate Enhances Research Connectivity with ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Integration 

  • Clarivate Plc has expanded its Web of Science platform by integrating over 172 million cited references from ProQuest™ Dissertations & Theses Global. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Citation Index includes 5.7 million post-graduate works from over 4,100 institutions across many countries. The integration of ProQuest data in Web of Science will allow researchers and students to trace the evolution of topics and gauge the impact of graduate works across disciplines. 

PREreview.org Unveils New ‘Request-a-Review’ Feature for Preprint Servers 

  • PREreview.org, in a groundbreaking collaboration with eLife and Sciety and powered by the COAR Notify Protocol, proudly launches its ‘request-a-review’ feature, streamlining peer feedback for early research. Partnering with bioRxiv and SciELO Preprints, this innovative service allows authors to solicit reviews from a vibrant community at the click of a button, bolstering preprint scrutiny and enhancement. With the COAR Notify Protocol facilitating seamless connections between research platforms, PREreview sets the stage for a new era of collaborative and thorough scientific evaluation. 

New Initiative Strengthens Diamond Open-Access Publishing Across Africa 

  • IFL, AJOL, and WACREN, with backing from Wellcome, are launching a three-year initiative to enhance the quality and viability of diamond open-access publishing in Africa, coinciding with the rise of Diamond OA and its alignment with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The project will engage with the African OA community through consultations and landscape studies, followed by two open calls for proposals starting in 2024 to fortify regional publishing services. This collaborative effort aims to integrate Diamond OA support into African open science policies, ensuring sustainable funding and strengthening the infrastructure for open-access publishing. 

ResearchGate and AAAS Partner Up to Amplify Reach of Science Partner Journals 

  • ResearchGate, the networking hub for scientists, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have partnered to enhance the visibility of the AAAS’s fourteen Science Partner Journals through ResearchGate’s Journal Home feature. This collaboration will make all content from the 14 open-access journals accessible on ResearchGate, complete with COUNTER-compliant reading usage data for AAAS. With dedicated profiles for each journal and integrated author content, the partnership aims to broaden the dissemination of scientific research and foster greater engagement within the research community. 

Job opportunities

  • Creative Commons is looking for an experienced and well-organized Open Climate Campaign Communications Manager to create and execute a communications plan in support of the existing Open Climate Campaign strategy, goals, and outcomes. This position is a full-time (40hrs/week) contract. This contract may start as early as February 2024 and end as late as June 2026. Application deadline is 12 January 2024
  • Zotero, an open-source project, is looking for a JavaScript Developer. This is a remote position.  Interested candidates can send the application to jobs@zotero.org with the subject line “Zotero JavaScript Developer”.  
  • Wikimedia Deutschland is looking for a permanent Product Manager of  Wikibase Cloud, based in Berlin. The application should be sent with detailed application documents (Resume and motivational Letter) via the job portal.

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Disclaimer

The information, opinions and recommendations presented by our guests are those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the values and beliefs of the International Science Council.


Photo by JJ Ying on Unsplash.

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