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Open science round-up: November 2022

As we move into the last month of 2022, Jenice Goveas looks at some significant developments in the Open Science movement.

One such innovation in scholarly publishing models was recently announced by eLife. We have Damian Pattinson, Executive Director at eLife, to tell us more.

“In October, eLife announced its new publishing model – eliminating accept/reject decisions following peer review and focusing instead on the public review and assessment of preprints. In relinquishing the traditional journal role of gatekeeping, we hope to restore author autonomy, provide a simpler process with clear and certain outcomes, and ensure that work is evaluated based on its merits, rather than on where it is published.

eLife was founded to innovate in open-access publishing as part of our mission to promote responsible behaviours in science. The last couple of decades have seen dramatic changes in the academic publishing landscape, with the rise of the internet and preprint posting. Despite this, the process of peer review remains the same as when it was constrained by the limitations of printed media, slowing scientific progress and allowing inequities to remain. The wealth of benefits that peer review can provide to the community have been reduced to a binary accept/reject decision. 

eLife’s independent funding puts us in a unique position to take steps in remedying this. In our new model, the rich evaluations provided by reviewers will be made openly available to readers through public reviews and an eLife assessment. This will make the evaluations more beneficial to all – clearly communicating what the reviewers think are the strengths and weaknesses of a paper, its potential to advance science, what questions remain, and how the work fits into the broader research field.

The output of our model is a ‘Reviewed Preprint’ that combines the scrutiny of peer review with the immediacy of preprints, speeding up the publishing process in an open, fair and equitable manner. Authors can choose to publish their Reviewed Preprint as a Version of Record at any time. A number of funders have already committed their support for recognising Reviewed Preprints in research assessment, demonstrating that this new model serves as a faster, more useful alternative to traditional journal articles. We all know that the current publishing model is deeply flawed, but until now there have been few genuine alternatives available to researchers. I hope that this new model will be taken up by researchers, societies and journals as a means of providing faster, more transparent peer review and publication.”

Damian Pattinson started his publishing career at the BMJ, where he worked as an editor on BMJ Clinical Evidence and Best Practice. He joined PLOS ONE as editorial director, and oversaw the dramatic expansion of the journal to become the largest scientific journal in the world. He moved to Research Square as vice-president of publishing innovation, where he launched the Research Square preprint server. He holds a PhD in Neuroscience from University College London.

Big stories in Open Science:

India to Implement One Nation One Subscription Initiative

  • India’s Ministry of Education announced a One Nation One Subscription (ONOS) initiative through which the government will negotiate with journal publishers for “all people in India” to have access to national and international journal publications and research papers under a single centrally negotiated payment to be made by the government. Resources from 70 publishers are being taken into consideration by a core committee for the first phase of ONOS, which the Ministry aims to implement by 1 April 2023.

New Zealand’s Ministry Introduces Open Access to Research Policy

  • New Zealand’s Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is introducing a new open access to research policy for all new MBIE-funded research. According to the policy, researchers will have to make their peer-reviewed research publications openly available. They can choose how and where their research is published through an approved Open Access pathway that encourages use of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence, permitting free use and reuse subject to proper attribution. The policy will apply to new calls from 1 January 2023.

KOALA Consortium Model Successfully Identifies Funders

  • The Konsortiale Open-Access-Lösungen aufbauen (KOALA) project which explores consortia-based solutions for financing open access has identified institutions to participate in the collaborative funding of the first two bundles. From January 2023, six titles from the media and social sciences will be jointly funded for three years by 70 different institutions. The publishing bodies commit to meet the KOALA minimum standards, which include clauses of open access, long-term archiving, metadata standards, ethical guidelines and no data tracking. 

Royal Society of Chemistry Commits to Make its Journals Open Access

  • The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has become the first Chemistry publisher to commit to a 100% open access model. It aims to make all its journals Open Access in the next five years, and to fund the move in a way that will avoid individual authors from paying article processing charges (APCs). RSC hopes to achieve this by negotiating new ‘institutional or funder level’ agreements, with a flat rate that accounts for regional differences, so that researchers in poorer nations would not be expected to pay the same rates as those in richer countries. Currently RSC publishes 44 journals largely operating on a subscription model. You may also be interested to watch the presentation of the plans by Sara Bosshart, Head of Open Access Journals at the RSC in a recent virtual discussion held by the ISC.

Ukraine’s National Open Access Plan

  • The Ukraine government recently approved a National Plan for Open Science that will upgrade Ukraine’s legislation to conform with European Union standards. It will create three new institutional data repositories by 2025 along with open online services for scientists.

Participatory Approach for Open Science in Ghana

  • Library Support for Embedded NREN Services and E-infrastructure (LIBSENSE), a special Research and Education Network-Libraries initiative, led by the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), gathered key stakeholders of the open science ecosystem in Ghana to deliberate on an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach towards developing a national open science policy and action plan. Similar events were also held in Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Botswana.

Neuro-Irv and Helga Cooper Open Science prizes 2022

  • The Neuro-Irv and Helga Cooper Foundation Open Science prizes recognize projects, services, tools, and platforms that unlock the power of Open Science in neuroscience to advance research, innovation, and collaboration for the benefit of health and society. The 2022 winners include initiatives like Neuromatch for leadership and ingenuity in providing tools and resources that aid in data sharing and collaboration.

Georgia Discusses National Policy and Strategy for Open Science

  • For the first time ever, Georgia hosted the Open Science Forum supported by the EU. The meeting witnessed discussions on the country’s Open Science policy and strategy, and involvement in the European open science cloud (EOSC). The forum also provided training for EOSC ambassadors, where open science cloud-enabled platform developers and European experts shared their best practices.

Oxford University Press unveils its Read and Publish deal in Japan

  • Oxford University Press (OUP), has announced its transformative three-year Read and Publish agreement with major journals consortium the Japan Alliance of University Library Consortia for E-Resources (JUSTICE). The Read and Publish deal is OUP’s first national agreement in Asia and its 30th worldwide. 

Z-Library’s shutdown; end of an era for free, but illegal, college textbook access

  • US federal agents arrested Russian nationals Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, for allegedly running the pirate e-book repository Z-Library- the “world’s largest library” holding over 11 million titles, mostly bootleg versions stripped of copyright protections. The pair face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud. The Authors Guild had complained to the Office of the United States Trade Representative after a “#zlibrary” hashtag started trending on TikTok, with over 19 million views. Students and other users were touting Z-Library as a way to get free textbooks and other course material.

Fully Open Access Blog Launched

UKRI’s Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment

  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) recently signed the international agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, which commits to a common vision for the assessment of research, researchers and research organizations with an overarching goal to maximise the quality and impact of research. The Agreement was the result of a co-creation process involving more than 350 organizations from 40 countries. It was opened for new signatories on 28 September 2022 during a plenary session at the European Research and Innovation Days.

Open Science Events and Opportunities:

Our top ten open science reads:

  1. The Predator Effect – Fraud in the Scholarly Publishing Industry
  2. Identifying the Needs of African Open Access Publishing Communities
  3. How to Move Open Science from the Periphery to the Centre
  4. How Can AI Help the Campaign for Open Science?
  5. Stop Congratulating Colleagues for Publishing in High Impact-Factor Journals
  6. Influence of Social Networking Sites on Scholarly Communication
  7. Double-Anonymised Peer Review is Not the Answer to Status Bias
  8. Three Myths About Open Science that Just Won’t Die
  9. Towards Richer Metadata – Perspectives from Three Datacite Projects
  10. Does the Peer Review Process Need Blockchain?

Image by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash

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