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Open Science Round-up: March 2023

As we march on to yet another month, Moumita Koley summarizes the top stories, opportunities and readings in the world of Open Science. Through our guest editorial, Prof. Leslie Chan, Director of the Knowledge Equity Lab at University of Toronto Scarborough, speaks on the importance of Open Science in knowledge creation.

Open science has gained momentum in recent years as a way to increase transparency, knowledge sharing, and participation in scientific research. However, much of the deliberation and implementation of open science has largely been dominated by actors and institutions in the Global North, focusing on technical requirements and standards rather than examining the power structures that determine who can participate in knowledge production processes. This limited representation of knowledge has led to an incomplete and distorted understanding of the world and the issues affecting local communities. Without challenging these epistemic power structures, knowledge and research inequalities will continue to be entrenched and have severe consequences for sustainable and equitable development. 

Open science provides an opportunity to critically reflect on who is involved in knowledge-making processes, what tools are used, what policies are prioritized, and whose knowledge is being produced and legitimized. Ultimately, open science provides a unique lens for understanding how science could be made fairer and more inclusive for communities and worldviews that have been previously marginalized from scientific discourses. In this regard, the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, adopted by 193 member states in 2021, is particularly encouraging. It calls for “access to knowledge by everyone for the benefits of science and society and to promote opportunities for innovation and participation in the co-creation of knowledge.” It further calls for recognition of the importance of diverse cultures and knowledge systems as foundations for sustainable development. 

The recommendation encourages open dialogue with indigenous peoples and local communities and respect for diverse knowledge holders to address contemporary problems and co-design locally appropriate strategies for transformative change. To further reduce inequities and sustainability in scientific knowledge production, currently dominated by the profit-driven publishing cartels, there must also be strong and targeted investments in shared open infrastructures that are community-led and community-governed. This will ensure the long-term health of an equitable system nurturing an “ecology of knowledges.”   

Leslie Chan is an Associate Professor, Teaching stream, in the Department of Global Development Studies and the Director of the Knowledge Equity Lab at the University of Toronto Scarborough. He has been interested in the role and design of open knowledge infrastructure and their impact on local and international development and has been active in the experimentation and implementation of scholarly communication. Leslie has been exploring the dynamics of university-community partnerships, knowledge co-creation, participatory research, and knowledge production for justice and equity. Since 2000, Leslie has served as the director of Bioline International, an open access journal platform from the Global South. He was one of the original signatories of the Budapest Open Access Initiative and is on the advisory board of international organiations including the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and the steering committee of Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI).  

Big Stories in Open Science

A Setback for Internet Archive 

A US federal judge has ruled against the Internet archive in a case brought by four book publishers. The court decided that the Archive does not hold the right to scan books and lend them out like a library. To lend through its National Emergency Library program, Archive must take permission from the publishers who are the original copyright holders. Experts fears that this ruling will impact libraries across the US.  

Web of Science Removes Several Prominent Journals from Core Collection 

Web of Science announced de-listings of around fifty journals from the Web of Science Core Collection for failing to meet quality criteria. As a result, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH), the flagship journal of MDPI, has lost its Impact Factor, alongside 50 others This is an unusually large number for a single year, and Clarivate said it is continuing to review 450 more journals. 

Australia’s Productivity Commission Backs Open Access 

  • The Productivity Commission (PC), Australia, published its five-yearly productivity inquiry and extended support for open-access publishing in Australia. The report states that open access will boost Australian innovation, providing “significant benefits for diffusion and productivity growth”. 

A First of its Kind Medical Research Impact Analysis Tool   

  • In collaboration with the pioneering start-up Overton, BMJ, a global healthcare knowledge provider, has developed BMJ Impact Analytics which will help in finding, tracking, and sharing the real-world impact of research on health and social care. 

Wiley’s First ‘Read and Publish Agreement’ in India 

  • Wiley had signed an open-access agreement with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), in India. This is the first such deal forWiley in the country, which will allow authors affiliated with MAHE to access Wiley’s journal portfolio. The agreement also enables participating researchers to publish their articles in nearly 2,000 hybrid and gold open-access journals, including those published by Hindawi. 

Turmoil at eLife: Editors Threaten to Quit Over  New Publication Model 

  • eLife, the pioneer life sciences journal, implemented significant changes to its editorial policies, that some researchers widely praised for redefining the role of scientific publications. However, many editors are not happy with this “no reject model” model. They feel that this model will diminish eLife’s impact as a high-quality journal.  

EMBO Press to be Fully Open Access From 2024 

CWTS Launces Open Science Knowledge Platform 

  • Centre for Science & Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University, in collaboration with the research councils of Netherlands and Norway, conducted a seminar series on Open Science in 2022. The series was designed around four main topics, introduction to Open Science; open scholarly communication; open data, software and infrastructures; recognition & rewards, and responsible research assessment. The contents and additional reading materials from the seminars are available through the Open Science Knowledge Platform.  

A New Platform for Monitoring Transparent Research Practices 

  • The Open Science Atlas is an upcoming online platform that aims to enable the monitoring of transparent research practices. The platform will generate dynamic maps of the research transparency landscape using a novel data extraction engine that combines global crowdsourcing and automated algorithms. Users will be able to explore these maps at various levels of granularity, ranging from broad scientific disciplines to individual institutions or journals, with the maps evolving to reflect temporal trends. 

Open Science Implementation is Gaining Momentum in  Africa 

  • Recently, the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), Tanzania’s Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Public Library of Science (PLOS), and Training Centre in Communication Africa organized a High-Level Multi-Sectoral National Open Science Dialogue for Academic and Research Institutions in Tanzania. The meeting discussed key issues three years after the decision to form a partnership to promote open science principles in the region. Capacity Building workshops to increase education and awareness of Open Science For Leadership In African Higher Education Institutions were also organised to support the development and implementation of Open Science policies, and adoption of Open Science practices in African Higher Education Institutions. 

The University of Manchester is the New Home of Crimrxiv 

  • CrimRxiv, the global open-access hub for criminology and criminal justice publications, will now be hosted by The University of Manchester. The University aims to bring a more diverse, equitable and inclusive research environment in criminology by increasing research transparency and responsibility through it. 

OSSci Meetup Discusses the Role of Open Source and Open Data in Research Impact 

  • Open-Source Science (OSSci)– recently hosted its first meetup, a hybrid event to discuss “Increasing Research Impact Through Open Source and Open Data,” at UC Santa Cruz. OSSci is an initiative by NumFOCUS in partnership with IBM that aims to accelerate scientific research and discovery by improving the ways open source is applied across science.  

Open Science Events and Opportunities

Job Opportunities:   

  • PeerJ is a hiring Publishing Editor who will be responsible for developing and implementing editorial strategies, maintaining quality control and peer review processes, and collaborating with academic editors and reviewers worldwide. To know more click here. Deadline 17 April 2023. 

Our Top Ten Open Science Reads:  

  1. The Multiple Uses of Peer Review: An Interview with Marcel Laflamme 
  2. Lack of Sustainability Plans for Preprint Services Risks Their Potential to Improve Science 
  3. Article Processing Charges are A Heavy Burden for Middle-income Countries 
  4. Community Radio: A Case of Knowledge Democracy In Action 
  5. The Chasm Between The Scholarly Record And Grey Literature  
  6. The Evaluation Game: How Publication Metrics Shape Scholarly Communication 
  7. BBC Radio 4 – The Spark, Stuart Ritchie and Open Science 
  8. Ten Lessons For Data Sharing With A Data Commons 
  9. Why Open Data is Critical During Review: An Example 
  10. Athena Unbound- Why and How Scholarly Knowledge Should be Free for All 

Image by Mikolaj on Unsplash.

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