International developments in open research
As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to open research, there has for many years been an Open Research Working Group. The ORWG brings together researchers, the Library, Research and Innovation Services, and the Principal’s Office to consider the University’s approach and policies relating to the evolving open research environment, ensuring researchers, the University and wider society benefit from open research practices. One aspect of the ORWG is to ensure awareness of reports and recommendations from a wide range of international organisations with an interest in driving open research polices and practice. The following roundup of important updates is based on a recent report by the ORWG academic representative from Physics and Astronomy, Dr Martin Dominik:
Council of the EU conclusions on Research assessment and implementation of Open Science
The latest report to inform the picture of open research beyond the UK comes from the Council of the European Union. The Council has published guidelines on research assessment and the promotion of open science policies:
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for immediate open access to scientific publications, as rapid access to the latest research results has proved essential in order to deliver rapid responses to the epidemiological crisis. Open and more accessible science has a crucial role to play in enhancing the quality, efficiency, transparency and integrity of research and innovation.
In its conclusions on open science, the Council proposes joint action throughout the European Research Area in three areas: the reform of research assessment systems, developing capacities for academic publishing and scientific communication and promoting multilingualism to raise the profile of EU research results. Improvements in these three areas will make research careers more attractive, facilitate scientific exchanges and bring science and society closer together.
The conclusions are available in full at: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/56958/st10126-en22.pdf
IAP Report on Predatory Publishing
The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) has issued a report “Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences” summarising a two-year study: https://www.interacademies.org/project/predatorypublishing
Global Network of Young Academies: Contributing to scholarly debate on the “UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science”
The Open Science Global Working Group of the global network of Young Academies has published two articles in the CODATA Data Science Journal as part of a special collection “Open Science for Global Transformation”. One of these articles looks at how we can build an equitable global research ecosystem in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that recognises science as a global common good and an integral part of the shared cultural heritage of humankind, as well as how unequal power and opportunities from institutional to global level constitutes a major obstacle. A complementary article specifically looks at the challenges for young researchers to engaging in the wide variety of open research practices and reports results of a related survey.
“Open Science – For Whom?”: http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2022-001
“Barriers to Full Participation in the Open Science Life Cycle among Early Career Researchers”: http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2022-002
20th anniversary recommendations of the Budapest Open Access Initiative
20 years on from the original statement of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, a set of four high-level recommendations has been released, which cover
- Host OA research on open community-controlled infrastructure.
- Reform research assessment, particularly eliminating disincentives for OA.
- Favour inclusive publishing and distribution channels that never exclude authors on economic grounds. Take full advantage of OA repositories and no-APC journals (“green” and “diamond” OA). Move away from article processing charges (APCs).
- When spending money, remember the goals to which OA is the means. Favour models which benefit all regions of the world, which are controlled by academic-led and non-profit organisations, which avoid concentrating new OA literature in commercially dominant journals, and which avoid entrenching models in conflict with these goals. Move away from read-and-publish agreements.
Science Europe & COAlition S Diamond OA action plan
Science Europe and cOAlition S have presented an Action Plan to further developing and expanding a sustainable, community-driven Diamond OA scholarly communication ecosystem: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6282402
cOAlition S pushes on RRS with campaign
cOAlition S is launching on online campaign “Publish with Power: Protect your right” to further encourage researchers to follow the rights-retention strategy (RRS): “Open Access benefits everyone. Retain your rights. It’s good for you, for science, and for society.”: https://www.coalition-s.org/resources/rights-retention-strategy/
Paris Call on Research Assessment / Joining EC initiative for coalition
The Paris Call on Research Assessment was presented to the Open Science European Conference (OSEC), organised in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, held in Paris and on-line in February 2022. It aligns with the effort by the European Commission to build a coalition on reforming research assessment. An agreement document, following up from the earlier scoping report, is shaping up and should be released soon. The last draft looked impressively progressive.
ISE: The role of researchers and alignment with OA practices in research assessment
The Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE), formed by 16 European Learned Societies and
Research Organisations, issued a report “Centrality of researchers in reforming research assessment: Routes to improve research by aligning rewards with Open Science practices”, which raises several important issues, but somewhat oddly does not make any reference to the Hong Kong Principles, which embrace Open Science as a process.
Research Assessment: Recognising the asset of diversity for scholarship serving society
The on-line conference “The presence and future of astronomy”, organised by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), included a session on assessment and metrics, for which Martin Dominik presented a condensed view of 10 years of discussion within the Global Young Academy, which is now available as a short 5-page document. Entitled “Research Assessment: Recognising the asset of diversity for scholarship serving society“, it takes a fundamental approach and calls for judgement that meets a specific purpose, rejecting the universality of research “excellence” as a mis-concept.
It particularly recognises diversity as key asset in the research ecosystem, where both individuals and institutions need freedom to let them thrive within their respective niche rather than trying to engage in meaningless competition. Aligning with the Hong Kong Principles, it argues that we should leave behind the obsession with outputs, productivity and citations, and should rather judge outputs and outcomes by the process, valuing the journey rather than the destination reached. That is, we need to value the intrinsic traits, skills, and competencies of researchers and not conflate assessment with their career paths, which involves various environments, conditions, and circumstances. Diversity of practice is to belong to individuals, not to disciplines, and researchers assume a wide variety of team roles. And finally, we should support initiative rather than driving by incentives.