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Open science round-up: September 2022

Momentum around Open Science continued to build through September 2022. Jenice Goveas rounds up the latest news.

The month of September saw ripples of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policy, particularly on the other side of the Pacific, where Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council took a significant step towards Open Access. Dr Ginny Barbour, Director, Open Access Australasia gives us a glimpse of the positive developments in Australia and New Zealand:

“The August 25th announcement by the US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on public access to federally funded research, and the data behind that research, was met with a great deal of interest in the university sector and beyond in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Following on from the work that UNESCO is doing on the implementation of the UNESCO Open Science Recommendation, it is clear that there is considerable global impetus now for Open Access and Open Science.”

Australia’s two federally funded agencies, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) – which funds health research – and the Australian Research Council (ARC), which funds all other research, from humanities to physics, have had Open Access policies since 2013. These policies were revised in 2018, but allowed a 12 month embargo. On September 20th, the NHMRC announced a substantial step forward by requiring that all NHMRC funded research will need to be made immediately Open Access at the time of first online publication with a CC-BY licence. The policy comes into effect immediately for all new grants awarded under guidelines issued on or after 20 September 2022 and from 1 Jan 2024 for other grants. It brings the NHMRC into line with cOAlition S, which the NHMRC has also just announced that it will be joining. There are a number of other Open Access initiatives in Australasia. The Australian Chief Scientist, Dr Cathy Foley, announced soon after she started in the role in 2021 that she wanted to see a national approach to Open Access in Australia and is currently developing that approach.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, where no national funders currently have Open Access policies, there is also new interest in Open Access, triggered by a report from the Office of the New Zealand Chief Science Advisor. That report, entitled The Future is Open: Intern report on Open Access publishing in Aotearoa laid out a number of possible options for Open Access in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Finally, a number of regional read and publish deals have been negotiated by the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL). Open Access Australasia provides updates on Open Access in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, including OA Week 2022 activities”.

Dr Ginny Barbour, Director, Open Access Australasia

Big stories in Open Science:

The Global International Open Access Week:

  • The International Open Access Week, which is celebrated globally between 24-30 October, will be entering its fifteenth year. While the world will be abuzz with hundreds of activities and programmes that advocate Open Access and engage communities to create awareness on the potential benefits of Open Access, the larger aim is to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. This year’s theme is an invitation to collaborate on climate justice. More information is available on the International Open Access Week website.

Plan S Journal Comparison Service Launched:

  • cOAlition S has released the end-user portal of the Journal Comparison Service (JCS) – a secure, free, online service that aims to shed light on publishing fees and services. It can enable a better understanding of comparative key indicators of journals and publishers including publication frequency, acceptance time, and pricelists for APCs and subscriptions. Currently libraries and library consortia participating in Open Access agreements with publishers can use it after signing an End User Agreement.

COARA releases Agreement on Reforming Research:

  • Since January 2022, the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (COARA), comprising more than 350 European organizations representing diverse stakeholders from over 40 countries has been involved in providing inputs towards drafting the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment, which aims to maximise the quality and impact of research changes in research assessment practices. It includes the principles, commitments and timeframe for reforms and lays out the principles for a coalition of organizations willing to work together in implementing the changes. The agreement is open for signatures from organizations from across the world. 

Doha to hold the Third Arab Open Access Forum:

  • The library of Doha Institute for Graduate Studies will be organizing the third Arab Open Access Forum online during 29-31 October 2022, in collaboration with Arab Community of Open Access (ACOA). The forum aims to provide an opportunity for the academic and research community to get familiarized with the merits and advantages of free access and its global development, in addition to enhancing Arab content and providing it freely.

Z- Library to be Blocked in France:

  • Z- library, a shadow library project that provides  access to  more than 11.2 million ebooks and 85 million articles freely, had become quite a formidable educational resource. However, under copyright law, Z-Library is illegal and offers unfair competition to publishers. In response to the legal action initiated by the French National Publishing Union demanding that Z-Library should be rendered inaccessible, a Paris court verdict ruled that more than 200 domains related to Z-Library must be blocked by French ISPs. Last month, Z-Library was also targeted by a blocking injunction in India.

GigaByte wins the  2022 ALPSP Award for Innovation in Scholarly Publishing :

  • The GigaByte journal of GigaScience Press was awarded the 2022 annual Scholarly Publishing Innovation Award by the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), which recognizes innovators in publishing communities at a time of rapid change in the field. GigaByte publishing platform allows extremely rapid, low-cost article publication and enables inclusion of several features that let readers interact directly with the data used in the research. The content and interface can be presented in any language, making article access inclusive.

Experts Predict Asia likely to follow US on Open Access:

  • In the wake of last month’s OSTP policy in the US, experts have predicted that Asian research powerhouses such as China, Japan, South Korea and India will soon introduce open access mandates. According to Cable Green, the Director of Open Knowledge at Creative Commons, it is expected that such mandates could “catalyse a change in the publishing culture worldwide”.

JISC Supports Implementation of UKRI Open Access Policy.

  • The UKRI Open Access Policy requires that from 1 January 2024, the final version of record of all research outputs be made open access (OA) within 12 months of publication with a Creative Commons licence. Extending support to implement this requirement, JISC has been conducting various awareness raising and engagement activities with researchers, publishers, libraries and other stakeholders.

Project to Develop Institutional OA Publishing Models launched

Open Knowledge Network Roadmap report released:

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing:

Peer Review Week Celebrated Globally:

Open Science Events and Opportunities:

Job Opportunities:

Our top ten open science reads from September:

  1. Academics contributing to books are risking their livelihoods
  2. Open Letter: Open Science Should Provide Support, not Impose Sanctions
  3. The Destiny of Articles When Pairing “Traditional”—With Open Access Sibling Journals
  4. This Woman Has Done More for Science Than Anyone Else in History
  5. Copyright is failing artists: Here’s what could replace it
  6. “Knock knock! Who’s there?” A study on scholarly repositories’ availability
  7. Preprints as a driver of open science: Opportunities for Southeast Asia
  8. How Will Academia Handle the Zero Embargo?
  9. Open Access Doesn’t Need APCs
  10. Veritas and Copyright: The Public Library in Peril

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Image by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash.

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