Open science round-up: December 2022

This month’s guest editorial looks at the next steps for the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science through 2023, and Jenice Goveas provides an overview of Open Science news from December in our regular monthly round-up.

Architectural ceiling sky

One of the major Open Science stories of the past few years has been the development and adoption of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. Ana Peršić of UNESCO tells us what’s next for the Recommendation’s implementation:

“We enter this New Year 2023 conscious of the urgent need for a more equal, fair and just world. The acceleration of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the milestone climate change and biodiversity agreements that marked 2022 have set the ambitious global agenda to ensure a better future for generations to come. To be able to deliver on this agenda, the recently held World Science Forum called for a more equal, fair and just science to make a critical contribution. The only way for science to play a more decisive role in ensuring that resources, opportunities and benefits in society are accessible to all and are distributed in a fair manner is by a strong commitment to Open Science – commitment by all actors in the science ecosystem to advancing accessibility, equity, collaboration, transparency, inclusion and trust in the production, communication and use of science.

Today, with the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, negotiated and adopted in 2021 by 193 countries, we have a set of shared values and guiding principles, and a common roadmap to advance Open Science globally. Rallying behind and supporting the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is an opportunity that cannot be missed.

To ensure that Open Science does not repeat the mistakes of the conventional closed science systems which have led to inequalities in participation in scientific processes and inequities in sharing of scientific progress and benefits, at UNESCO, we are working with multistakeholder Working Groups, open to all, to unpack key challenges and barriers in operationalizing open science, including its unintended consequences, across the world. In collaboration with the Working Groups and other partners, the UNESCO Open Science Toolkit is being produced to address these challenges and to support the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

I would like to use this opportunity to invite the readers to use and disseminate the guides, factsheets and checklists contained in the Toolkit and to reiterate UNESCO’s invitation to the international scientific community through the Members of the International Science Council to join us in the work ahead.

Dr Ana Peršić is Programme Specialist at the Section of Science Technology Innovation Policy at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. An ecologist by training (Master in Ecological Sciences at the University of Padova, Italy and PhD in Ecotoxicology at the University of Paris South, France), Dr Ana Peršić joined UNESCO in April 2006 as Assistant Program Specialist serving the UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme within the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences. She then served as Science Specialist at the UNESCO Liaison Office in New York from 2011 to 2018. Her work relates to strengthening the science-policy interface and the promotion of science technology and innovation in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2019 her focus has been on open science – she coordinated the development of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and is currently working towards its implementation.

Big stories in Open Science:

The Push for peer-reviewed preprints gains momentum:

  • The scientific community is witnessing greater support for the public review of preprints and increasingly recognizing the benefits it offers over traditional, journal-based peer review. Recently cOAlition S and EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships officially recognized peer-reviewed preprints as peer-reviewed publications. HHMI, ASAPbio, and EMBO jointly organized a meeting in December to promote community consensus and support for preprint peer review and to create funder, institutional and journal policies that recognize both preprints with reviews, and reviews of preprints.

Newly launched SCOAP3 for Books gains the support of CERN:

  • The world’s largest disciplinary open access initiative, the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP³), recently launched a new initiative to make books in particle physics and related domains fully open access, under the SCOAP3 for books initiative. The initiative, which has already made more than 60 academic books (including monographs and textbooks) available open access through voluntary contributions for opening education and research, got a boost with CERN joining in December. SCOAP3 aims to bring about enduring change in the publishing landscape for books and related disciplines with the aim of achieving full open access.

PLOS to partner on preprints with EarthArXiv for 2023

  • PLoS has entered into a partnership with EarthArXiv—a community-based preprint server focused on earth and planetary science, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research, and hosted by the California Digital Library (CDL). The new relationship will open opportunities for authors submitting to PLOS ClimatePLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water to post preprints with ease. From 2023, authors will have the option to automatically forward their manuscript to the EarthArXiv preprint server during submission. 

Crowdsourced peer review in scholarly publishing

  • Qeios, a new journal that has been operating as a pre-print platform, is on its way to become the first academic journal that relies on the scientific public, rather than editors, for publication decisions. Through an AI-based system Qeios generates crowd-sourced peer reviews prior to publication. Reviews are published alongside the article and authors have the chance to respond and update their article, as needed. A reader can see the whole history of comments and changes, making the entire process of vetting an article transparent and fast.

China releases report on Open Access publishing landscape:

  • China has released a Joint Report Prepared by the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) and International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) aimed at promoting the practice of open science. The report highlights open access policies, practices and practical problems of different countries and regions. It calls for increased stakeholder cooperation and consensus to explore a dynamic and sustainable open science environment.

Strengthening Diamond Open Access in Europe:

  • With the aim is to foster institutional publishing using the Open Access model across Europe, the European Commission has funded the project “Creating a Robust Accessible Federated Technology for Open Access (CRAFT-OA)” for three years, awarding a total of 4.8 million Euros. The project’s four core areas include: the technical improvement of journal platforms and software; the building of active communities; better visibility, discoverability and recognition for Diamond OA publications; and their integration into the European Open Science Cloud, the European cloud service for science, and other big data aggregators. The University of Göttingen will lead the EU project with 23 partners in 14 European countries from January 2023.

Report on the state of journal production and access 2022 published:

  • Scholastica has published the 2022 “State of Journal Production and Access” report which details results of a global, cross-disciplinary survey of scholarly society, university and research institution publishers about how they approach journal production and access.

Kyrgyzstan taking strides towards Open Access

  • Universities in Kyrgyzstan have established an Open Access Working Group to promote open access and advance scholarly communication in universities across the country. The Working Group comprises library directors, research officers and administrators from major universities. The establishment of this Group was one of the outcomes of the EIFL-supported open access training as part of the project titled ‘Building a foundation for Open Access development across universities in Kyrgyzstan’. 

The Global Open Culture Call to Action for Policymakers

Open Science Events and Opportunities:

  • The Tübingen Open Science Initiative will host the second Winter School on Open Science/Open Scholarship on 13 February. Quantitative, qualitative and cross-paradigm aspects of Open Science/Open Scholarship will be covered in six hands-on workshops. Register here.
  • NIH Office of Data Science Strategy is organizing a Data Sharing and Reuse Seminar on 13 January 2023. Register here.
  • OpenAIRE is organizing ‘Copyright for Open Science’, a series of workshops where legal scholars, policy makers, publishers, creators, researchers and information scientists share their views as to how an equitable, sustainable and just model for Open Science may be achieved. The next virtual workshop will be held on 19 January 2023. Register here.

Job Opportunities:

Our top ten open science reads:

  1. Building Blocks for a Scholarly Blog Archive
  2. Factors that hinder and promote open science in ecology research and education
  3. How Africa is overcoming ‘knowledge colonialism’
  4. On the culture of open access: the Sci-hub paradox
  5. Zlibrary’s demise and its consequence – how things stand at the moment
  6. Adding equity to transformative agreements and journal subscriptions 
  7. ‘Peer Community In’ May Accomplish What Open Access Could Not
  8. Australia and New Zealand face bumpy road to open access research
  9. Why we need open-source science innovation — not patents and paywalls
  10. It’s time for Canada to adopt open access for taxpayer-funded research too

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Image by HamZa NOUASRIA on Unsplash.

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