Category: open science

Credit where credit is due: Research parasites and tackling misconceptions about academic data sharing

Benedikt Fecher and Gert G. Wagner look at a recent editorial which faced considerable criticism for typecasting researchers who use or build on previous datasets as “research parasites”. They argue that the authors appear to miss the point, not only of data sharing, but of scientific research more broadly. But as problematic as the editorial may be, it points to a […]

Five Minutes with Ulrich Herb on Open Science: “Open Science must be adapted to disciplinary specificities”

In a recent interview conducted by OpenAire, open science veteran Ulrich Herb shares the main findings of his research on the extent of open research practices in the discipline of sociology, as well as his wider thoughts on the history and future of the Open Science movement. This interview originally appeared on the OpenAIRE portal here. How do you understand the term “Open Science”? […]

Incentives for open science: New prizes to encourage research integrity and transparency in social science.

The high-profile political science study on same-sex marriage views, now determined to be fraudulent, is the latest case exposing the failure of incentive structures in the academy. The academic community must strengthen research evidence and do more to promote transparency. Temina Madon shares the launch of prizes run by the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) that look to provide recognition, visibility and […]

Bumper week of FOSTER events

It has been a busy week for FOSTER open science events! David Ball and I have been in the Czech Republic speaking at open science days in Prague and Brno. Martin Donnelly spoke at the 2020 vision event in Oxford, and Joy Davidson is involved in a workshop in collaboration with UNESCO on open science for doctoral schools.

The Czech events have been well represented with speakers from current EC projects, including PASTEUR4OA, OpenAIRE and naturally FOSTER. It’s still early days in terms of open access in the Czech Republic. Several universities have publications repositories (usually based on DSpace) but there are few mandates and uptake is slow. The notion of sharing data openly is a big leap and seems a long way off. It was interesting discussing researchers’ attitudes over dinner. Some of the concerns about sharing are the same as elsewhere, but Jan explained there’s a more deep-seated resistance due to historical events. Being open could bring you into conflict with authority so it will take a lot more advocacy than in other contexts to convince researchers of the benefits.

I’ve found that the starting point of openness can be problematic in training events as some attendees immediately switch off if they don’t feel it applies to them and their data. I think this is a concern for FOSTER and the EC’s Open Data Pilot. More perhaps needs to be made of the benefits of data management per se, with open data sharing being one potential outcome where applicable. Even if data can’t be made openly available, they should still be managed. That message needs to come across more strongly.

David Ball gave an introduction to open access and reflected on studies conducted by PASTEUR4OA and FOSTER. One of these studies showed that the vast quantity of published articles (over 75%) are not deposited at all, but deposit rates are over four times higher for institutions with a mandatory policy. So there is clearly a benefit to having an open access policy. David recommended that policies insist on deposit once papers are accepted for publication and link deposit with research evaluation as these criteria are the most effective.

Two key themes to emerge in discussion were the need for advocacy and concerns about open access limiting the choice of where to deposit. When thinking about how best to communicate open access, David recommended avoiding standalone events. Embedding messages into faculty away days, researcher-led events, or meetings that senior management will already be at is preferable. Given the concerns about data sharing, the need for advocacy from research champions and persuasive examples that demonstrate the benefits to be gained will be essential in the Czech context.

Jana Kratěnová from the Technology Centre of the Academy of Sciences spoke about the Horizon 2020 requirements in more detail. She reflected on the tension between what funders requires and what publishers allow. The EC requirements mandate open access and expect publications to be shared within 6 or 12 months depending on the discipline. Some people are concerned about such policies restricting the choice of publisher, for example if researchers want to publish in a high-impact journal that doesn’t offer ‘gold’ options or allow self-archiving in the required timeframes. From the twitter stream it sounds like similar concerns were raised at the Oxford event too. 

It was interesting to learn more about the open access position in the Czech Republic. Hana, Petra and their colleagues were excellent hosts. We had time to enjoy a wander around the old towns and were told about the local history. We also sampled the excellent wine and beer brewed at the Czech University of Life Sciences. Very tasty!

Open science and the disciplinary culture clash – Why is it so hard to reach a consensus?

When it comes down to the nitty gritty detail of what open science means for an individual researcher, the disciplinary context is key. As clear and straightforward as making research publicly available is, many questions still remain for specific disciplines. Peter Kraker reports back from a session on openness in the humanities where definitions of data, research work and research materials were […]

Working towards Sustainable Software for Science: on the creation, maintenance and evaluation of open-source software

Alongside research papers and data, software is a vital research object. As more become confronted with its significance in the future of scientific discovery, a variety of opinions and philosophies are emerging over how to approach sustainable scientific software development. Matthew Turk provides background on his involvement in the Working towards Sustainable Software for Science: Practice and Experiences (WSSSPE) workshops […]

Fostering open science

Training for EC project officers on open access and open data in Horizon 2020

We ran four half-day workshops at the end of June as part of the FOSTER project. FOSTER aims to facilitate open science by training researchers about open access a…

Impact Round Up 24 November: Scientific closures, responsible sharing and how to evaluate scientific claims.

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. From top-down government mandates to the day-to-day process of sharing one’s research, open access continues to be an … Continue reading

Two Altmetrics Workshops in San Francisco

Last week, a group forward-thinking individuals interested in measuring scholarly impact gathered at Fort Mason in San Francisco to talk about altmetrics. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded the events at Fort Mason, which included (1) an altmetrics-focused workshop run by the open-access publisher (and leader in ALM) PLOS, and (2) a NISO Alternative Assessment Initiative Project Workshop to discuss standards and […]