Category: open science

Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

In The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things, Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener offer an experimental co-memoir that blurs, unhooks and reweaves the relationship between “academic” and “creative” writing, while also disturbing traditional divisions between professional and personal life. The book succeeds in bringing emotion and empathy to academic writing, writes Vanessa Longden, and prompts reflection on personal practice. This […]

Our current conceptualisation of peer review must be expanded if we’re to realise the greatest innovations

All agree that peer review is an area of scholarly communications that is ripe for innovation. However, it may be that our current conceptualisation of peer review places limits on our progress and ambitions. Jon Treadway highlights four alternative tracks of development, including an increased recognition of the many diverse contributions to the research process, a renewed and widened understanding […]

Open peer review: bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to the peer review process

Open peer review is moving into the mainstream, but it is often poorly understood and surveys of researcher attitudes show important barriers to implementation. Tony Ross-Hellauer provides an overview of work conducted as part of an OpenAIRE2020 project to offer clarity on OPR, and issues an open call to publishers and researchers interested in OPR to come together to share […]

We have the technology to save peer review – now it is up to our communities to implement it

Today marks the beginning of Peer Review Week 2017. Here on the Impact Blog, we’ll be featuring posts covering a variety of perspectives on and issues relating to peer review, and which also consider this year’s theme of “Transparency”. To kick things off, Jon Tennant, Daniel Graziotin and Sarah Kearns consider what can be done to address the various shortcomings […]

Journal policies that encourage data sharing prove extremely effective

There is currently little incentive for researchers to share their data. But what if it was enough for journals to simply ask authors to make their data available? Michèle B. Nuijten reports on a recent study that found journal policies that encourage data sharing to be extremely effective, with a steep increase in the percentage of articles with open data […]

A new high-level policy analysis sheds more light on Europe’s open data and open science policies

A collaboration between the Digital Curation Center and SPARC Europe, the Analysis of Open Data and Open Science Policies in Europe report published in May. The report analyses national policies on research data management throughout Europe. Here, Martin Donnelly shares some of the findings. A majority of policies were owned by or heavily involved national research funders, laying out expectations […]

Starter tips on sharing data and analysis scripts

Researchers are increasingly encouraged to make their data openly accessible and usable for others. To early-career researchers in particular, this can seem daunting, with different considerations when posting data publicly rather than retaining it solely for internal use. Katherine Wood has compiled a short open data starter guide to make the process less overwhelming and help researchers do their bit for […]

Survey findings suggest both individuals and institutions can do more to promote open science practices in India

How much have the open science movement’s practices and principles permeated researcher behaviour and attitudes in India? Arul George Scaria, Satheesh Menon and Shreyashi Ray have conducted a survey among researchers working across five different disciplines in India and reveal that more can be done to promote open science within its research institutions. While a majority of respondents believe open science […]

Incentivising open practices

While some studies have shown that researchers share data because it’s the right thing to do [1], direct benefits clearly have a tangible impact too. Several research papers have demonstrated a boost in citation rates across a range of disciplines when underlying data are shared [2]. There have also been repeated calls over the years for good practice to be recognised as part of tenure or promotion criteria, though few concrete examples of doing so have arisen to date.

In his keynote at the Repository Fringe conference earlier this month, Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost, reported that UCL have done exactly that – there is now explicit recognition of open practices in the Academic Careers Framework.

“All research outputs are available through Open Access wherever possible”

This means that academics will be rewarded for open practices, whether that be making their published works available open access, sharing research data, or undertaking work in an open way. The addition is intentionally broad to recognise any contributions towards open scholarship. The provision is a threshold criterion, which is expected of all academic colleagues embracing the new Framework. Academic colleagues are free to submit examples of their Open approach to sharing their research outputs and the impact that this sharing has.

What was particularly encouraging to hear was that the University didn’t receive any resistance to this change. Typically the difficulties in updating policy and mandating openness are put forward as a barrier, but in their year-long consultation with Faculty, this provision was accepted.

Mirroring policy structures on a European level, the University has also established its own Open Science Policy Platform to coordinate work across all areas of open scholarship and ensure the institution leads developments in this field.

Another impressive development at UCL is the introduction of the first fully Open Access University Press. Paul noted how this has transformed monograph publishing and distribution, citing examples of textbooks with over 100,000 accesses, whereas 400 copies is considered a good level of sales for the traditional publication route. Authors also explained their choice in opting for the Press over other routes, considering openness to colleagues in developing countries a key factor.

The progress made at UCL to recognise and support open practices will undoubtedly help speed forward the culture change. It should also inspire other institutions to follow suit. If you have policies requiring the management and sharing of research outputs, recognising and rewarding those who act on these should also follow.

For the full presentation Paul gave with Tiberius Ignat of Scientific Knowledge Services in Switzerland, see the University of Edinburgh ERA repository.

[1] The 2016 Jisc DAF study of 1,185 UK researchers found that the highest reason cited as a motivation for sharing data was that “Research is a public good and should be open to all”. See slide 20 at: https://www.slideshare.net/JiscRDM/daf-survey-results-research-data-network The e-Infrastructures Austria study of 3026 Austrian researchers found that 54% of respondents considered research data to be a relevant scientific output, noting this as the fourth highest incentive to share. See question 16 in the full report at: https://phaidra.univie.ac.at/detail_object/o:409318?SID=10009269

[2] For example see the references in the SPARC Europe briefing paper on “The Open Data Citation Advantage” at: http://sparceurope.org/open-data-citation-advantage

Scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open, but non-profit too

Much of the rhetoric around the future of scholarly communication hinges on the “open” label. In light of Elsevier’s recent acquisition of bepress and the announcement that, owing to high fees, an established mathematics journal’s editorial team will split from its publisher to start an open access alternative, Jefferson Pooley argues that the scholarly communication ecosystem should aim not only […]