New year, a new roundup of international developments in open research

Kirsty Knowles
Wednesday 8 February 2023

With the University’s new Open Access policy now fully in motion, we thought it important to also share Open Research developments outwith the St Andrews community.  From the recent Open Research Working Group meeting, Dr Martin Dominik, School of Physics and Astronomy, provided an update on international developments:

Coalition on Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA)
Initiated by the European Commission, the European University Association, and Science Europe (representing mainly the national research councils), and involving consultations with many other organisations, the Coalition on Advancing Research Assessment has been formed on a framework agreement based on 10 key commitments.

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment sets a shared direction for changes in assessment practices for research, researchers and research performing organisations, with the overarching goal to maximise the quality and impact of research.

There are now almost 450 signatories, with engagement from beyond Europe actively encouraged. CoARA provides a broad platform for working on implementation, with some stakeholders having already progressed further than others. Particular points of further interest include the pressure arising from university rankings, global equity, diversity across individuals and institutions, as well as bullying, harassment, and the abuse of power.

In addition to the launch of COARA, the ‘More Than Our Rank’ initiative has been developed in response to some of the problematic features and effects of the global university rankings. It provides an opportunity for academic institutions to highlight the many and various ways they serve the world that are not reflected in their ranking position. The ‘inorms’ initiative is encouraging academic institutions to demonstrate a commitment to responsible assessment and to acknowledge a broader and more diverse definition of institutional success.


White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP): free access without delay
The Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) of the White House updated U.S. policy guidance to make the results of taxpayer-supported research immediately available to the American public at no cost.  Concerns have been raised that this memorandum will improve equitable access at the cost of making participation in research less equitable, which could be devastating to research progress, and that the USA has the power to fundamentally change the landscape of scholarly publishing and make both access and participation equitable.  An Open Letter to the OSTP that addresses these points is available for signature:

See latest Fact sheet: Biden-Harris administration announces new actions to advance open and equitable research.


International Science Council (ISC): preprints and global equity in open access
The International Science Council has published a paper, “The normalization of preprints”:

This ISC Occasional Paper addresses the history of the preprint, its advantages and potential disadvantages, and concludes with some recommendations for how the growing acceptance of preprint posting should be handled within academia, and the changes in cultural norms that this entails.

Together with OA2020, the Association of African Universities (AAU), cOAlition S, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), UNESCO, and Science Europe, ISC also organised the first of three planned workshops on “Global Equity in Open Access Publishing”:


Science Europe: Open Science and Diamond Open Access
Science Europe has issued a Direction Paper “Open Science as part of a well-functioning research system”:

Science Europe, cOAlition S, OPERAS, and the French National Research Agency (ANR) present an Action Plan for Diamond Open Access to further develop and expand a sustainable, community-driven Diamond OA scholarly communication ecosystem:, with support from more than 130 signatories.


German Research Foundation (DFG): 2 position papers
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has published position papers on, “Academic publishing as a foundation and area of leverage for Research Assessment: challenges and fields of action”: (publication is available in German and English),
and “Open Science as part of research culture. Positioning of the German Research Foundation”: The latter has sparked some controversy for stating that, “the DFG does not consider full openness of the entire research process and all processes of quality assurance and research assessment to be purposeful”.


Rights retention: how publishers respond
The University of Cambridge blogged about how publishers responded to their rights retention pilot.


The future of APCs

cOAlition S confirms that financial support for transformative agreements and journals will end after 2024.  Instead, funders will direct their efforts to innovative and community-led Open Access publishing initiatives.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), publisher of the journal ‘Science’, will allow the authors to make public an almost-final version of their manuscript in a repository of their choice immediately on publication, without paying any fees.  AAAS’s new approach comes in the context of new policies on Open Science by the U.S. government.

Springer Nature Group announces “support” for authors from low-income and lower-middle income countries by publishing their articles gold OA in either Nature, or one of the Nature research journals, with the APC being covered by Springer Nature. Juan Pablo Alperin (co-scientific director of the Public Knowledge Project, co-director of the Scholarly Communications Lab, and an associate professor of publishing at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada), argues that, “ending article-processing charges will save open access”:


Further reading
DORA toolkit to guide research assessment reform – The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) published a new toolkit to guide research assessment reform involving a workbook structured around Standards, Process, Accountability, Culture and Evaluation (SPACE).

CLACSO statement on research assessment – The Latin American Council for Social Sciences (Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales – CLACSO) issued a statement, “A new research assessment towards a socially relevant science in Latin America and the Caribbean

Authors for libraries – An Open Letter seeks to defend the role of libraries as keepers of the written record of human culture, and in particular enshrine their right to permanently own and preserve books, and to purchase these permanent copies on reasonable terms, regardless of format.

“The failure of success: four lessons learned in five years of research on research integrity and research assessments” by Noémie Aubert Bonn, Raymond G. De Vries, & Wim Pinxton.

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