EU

The Cost of Open Access
The Cost of Open Access 685 680 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

Introduction

The rise of Open Access (OA) publishing has transformed the landscape of academic research dissemination. While the OA model offers significant benefits in terms of accessibility and visibility, it also imposes financial burdens on researchers and funding agencies due to Article Processing Charges (APCs). This study investigates the extent of APC expenditures in Spanish publicly funded research, specifically focusing on projects funded under the Competitive Knowledge Generation (CKG) call.

Methodology

We conducted a comprehensive analysis of APC expenditures associated with CKG projects awarded between 2013 and 2019. Our dataset, which covers 94% of Gold and Hybrid journals, offers a substantial but not complete view of APC-related costs. The analysis also examines the relationship between APC expenses and project budgets across different research fields.

Findings

Quantifying APC Expenditures

The first research question (RQ1) aimed to quantify the amount of money spent on APCs in CKG projects. Our findings reveal that at least €45.87 million were transferred to various publishers for APCs. This figure, though significant, is likely an underestimate given the dataset’s incomplete coverage of journals. Notably, the APC expenditure is almost equivalent to the total budget allocated for CKG psychology projects during the same period (€45.83 million). This raises critical questions about alternative uses for these funds, such as personnel hiring, equipment procurement, or the development of alternative publishing models.

APC Expenditures Relative to Project Budgets

To contextualize APC expenses, we compared them with project budgets, addressing our second research question (RQ2). The analysis shows that APC costs constitute an average of 3 to 8% of the total project funding. However, this percentage varies significantly across disciplines, with some projects spending over half of their budget on APCs. This variability underscores the need for strategic discussions on project funding allocation and the compatibility of meeting OA mandates while fulfilling project objectives. Moreover, researchers often rely on personal funds or transformative agreements to cover APCs, highlighting potential inequities in the APC model, particularly for researchers in less affluent regions or early-career stages.

Field-Specific APC Expenditures

Our third research question (RQ3) explored the correlation between publication intensity and APC expenditures. Results indicate that fields with higher publication rates tend to spend more on APCs. However, this relationship is complex. Some high-publication fields have developed cost-effective OA strategies, such as utilizing embargo periods or preprint servers, which mitigate APC costs. Conversely, fields with lower publication rates, like Humanities and Social Sciences, often publish in journals that do not charge APCs, further affecting expenditure patterns.

Project Budget Size and APC Expenditures

The fourth research question (RQ4) examined whether projects with larger budgets spend more on APCs. Our analysis confirmed this trend, suggesting that ample funding reduces the pressure to minimize APC costs. However, this situation disadvantages researchers with smaller budgets, potentially exacerbating funding inequalities. Institutional and regional disparities further complicate this issue, with institutions specializing in well-funded fields being more likely to secure larger projects and, consequently, spend more on APCs.

Availability of OA Journals and APC Expenditures

The final research question (RQ5) investigated the correlation between the availability of OA journals and APC expenditures. We found a negative correlation: higher availability of OA journals, especially those without APCs (Diamond journals), correlates with lower APC expenditures. This suggests that increasing the number of OA journals can alleviate some financial pressures associated with APCs. However, the relationship is multifaceted and may involve market dynamics that influence APC pricing strategies.

Discussion and Conclusion

The study highlights significant financial implications of the OA publishing model on Spanish publicly funded research. As OA mandates become more prevalent and the Gold OA model expands, APC expenditures are likely to rise. The development of alternative publishing models, such as Diamond journals, presents a potential solution to mitigate these costs. National case studies, like this one, are essential for understanding the broader impact of APCs and informing strategies to ensure equitable access to OA publishing.

Future research should focus on obtaining a more accurate estimate of APC expenditures by including publications in Spanish journals. Additionally, exploring cross-country comparisons of APC expenses and funding allocations could provide valuable insights into the global landscape of OA publishing. Understanding researchers’ behaviors and funding strategies through qualitative methods would also contribute to a more nuanced view of APC-related challenges.

In conclusion, while APCs facilitate OA publishing, they also pose significant financial challenges. Addressing these issues requires a multifaceted approach involving policy adjustments, funding reallocations, and the promotion of alternative publishing models. This study contributes to the ongoing discourse on sustainable and equitable OA publishing practices.

Alonso-Álvarez, P., Sastrón-Toledo, P. & Mañana-Rodriguez, J. The cost of open access: comparing public projects’ budgets and article processing charges expenditure. Scientometrics (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-024-04988-3

Japan Initiates a Nationwide Plan Towards Open Science
Japan Initiates a Nationwide Plan Towards Open Science 1024 576 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

In June, the Japanese government announced a significant move toward achieving its goal of making publicly funded research papers freely accessible by April 2025. As reported by Dalmeet Singh Chawla for Nature News, this initiative positions Japan as one of the pioneering countries to implement a nationwide open access (OA) plan.

Major Investment in Infrastructure

To facilitate the transition to OA, the Japanese government has committed ¥10 billion (approximately £50 million) to standardize data and publication repositories across universities. Each institution will maintain its own repository to host research produced by its academics. However, these repositories will be integrated into a single national server. This integration will create a unified record of all research produced by Japanese academics, ensuring that articles published in Japanese are not overlooked.

Adopting a Green OA Strategy

Japan’s approach to open science will be based on the green OA model, which the government believes is more feasible for universities compared to the gold OA model. Green OA involves self-archiving where researchers publish their work in repositories, making it freely available. This strategy has received positive feedback from experts in the field of open science and OA.

Johan Rooryck, Executive Director of cOAlition S, endorsed the use of green OA, particularly for content currently behind paywalls. He emphasized that this model would help democratize access to research. Similarly, Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories, praised the Japanese government’s plans for their equitable nature, highlighting how they would ensure broader and more inclusive access to scientific knowledge.

With this strategic investment and commitment to green OA, Japan is set to lead the way in making academic research more accessible, fostering a more inclusive and collaborative scientific community on a national scale.

Original article via The Publication Plan

We Need to put Open Access Journals at the Heart of Academic Publishing
We Need to put Open Access Journals at the Heart of Academic Publishing 1024 576 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

The current system of academic publishing serves only a select few and needs to be overhauled to better align with academic ideals and provide better value for money, writes Tim Glawion.

It’s widely acknowledged that academic publishing is problematic. Unlike other complex socio-economic phenomena that become less intimidating as you learn more about them, the deeper you delve into publishing, the more concerning it becomes. One bright spot is the Open Science movement, which holds great promise and attracts dedicated individuals, many in Africa. However, it still lags behind the private sector in usability, accessibility, and reach.

Despite understanding the limitations of impact metrics, scholars continue to publish in high-impact journals because these metrics serve as recognizable benchmarks in the competitive academic job market. Academics tolerate exorbitant article processing charges (APCs) of up to £8,000, which have no relation to the actual cost of publishing, because research institutions cover these fees. This practice reinforces the dominance of these institutions and marginalizes those who cannot afford the “open access” fees, resulting in their work being cited less.

Journal editors often remain with large publishers because these publishers simplify their tasks by negotiating impact factors with Clarivate, submitting articles to databases, and providing services like copyediting, typesetting, and archiving. Starting a new independent journal quickly reveals the challenges of handling these responsibilities without such support.

The capitalist nature of scholarly publishing undermines its quality. When profits are tied to APCs, there is an incentive to increase submissions at the expense of quality assurance. This might explain the proliferation of in-house journals and series by large publishers and the disproportionate increase in the number of published articles compared to doctorates issued.

Non-capitalist publishing alternatives align more closely with academic principles of free scholarly exchange and public outreach but are often too complicated. For instance, hosting a journal using the Open Journal System requires web development and online database skills, which can be daunting for most users. More publicly funded institutions are needed to offer the comprehensive services that large, profit-driven publishers currently provide.

Such institutions are rare but do exist. For example, Science for Africa funds and connects Open Science projects, the Public Knowledge Project enables journal hosting, and Open Research Europe publishes through open peer review. Additionally, university librarians in North America or Europe can offer a surprising range of in-house not-for-profit publishing services tailored to academic needs.

So why aren’t these alternatives more widely known and used? European science funders have created parallel tracks, doubling the financial burden on taxpayers instead of reducing it. For example, many institutions fund the overpriced APCs of large publishers through public science funds—the same funds meant to support independent Open Access journals. This approach supports both David and Goliath, without any clear rationale.

A New System

To move away from the current flawed system, we must make it harder to profit excessively and simplify Open Science. Additionally, journals and articles should be evaluated separately.

First, we need a clear alternative to the Journal Impact Factor. Current alternatives are merely variations of quantified metrics. Journals should be ranked based on the quality of service they offer authors, including meaningful review processes and professional editing. This would encourage a race to the top in scholarly services.

Second, we need to reassess the role of articles in academic careers. The trend of measuring an academic’s worth through journal rank, personal citation scores, and publication counts needs a straightforward alternative that conveys a scholar’s standing. A relational score, potentially utilizing Artificial Intelligence to analyze an author’s work for its methodological, theoretical, and empirical depth, could be beneficial. Hiring committees should focus on finding the right fit for the team, not just the most high-profile candidate.

Third, we must stop paying APCs. Instead, long-term funding should be directed to Open Access journals hosted by academic institutions globally, especially in Africa where research and publishing funds are scarce. This funding should collaborate with local publishers to professionalize the OA movement, preventing it from becoming as US-Eurocentric as the broader higher education sector. Localizing scholarship can help integrate indigenous knowledge and decolonizing epistemologies into global academia.

Shifting from APC funding to journal and infrastructure funding is a political decision that could save taxpayers money. This ongoing debate about how we fund academic research and publishing should aim to establish a simpler, more equitable system.

About the Author

Tim Glawion is an interim professor of political science at the University of Freiburg and a senior researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute. He was co-Editor in Chief of Africa Spectrum from 2022 to 2024 and is the author of “The Security Arena in Africa” (Cambridge University Press).

Original article at LSE

Photo via Royal Society of Chemistry

Understanding the Open Science Movement Through the Lens of History
Understanding the Open Science Movement Through the Lens of History 740 380 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

The Open Science movement, which promotes transparent, accessible, and reproducible research, has gained significant momentum in recent years. To fully appreciate its significance, we must examine its historical roots, evolution, and the societal shifts that have influenced its development.

Early Foundations: The Birth of Scientific Communication

The origins of the Open Science movement can be traced back to the 17th century with the advent of scientific journals. The establishment of journals like the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1665 marked the beginning of a formalized system for disseminating scientific knowledge. These publications were crucial in promoting the sharing of experimental results and ideas, fostering a collaborative scientific community.

The Enlightenment era further propelled the ideals of openness and transparency. Philosophers and scientists advocated for the free exchange of knowledge, emphasizing the importance of empirical evidence and reason. This period laid the groundwork for the principles that underpin the modern Open Science movement.

The 20th Century: Institutionalization and the Rise of Closed Systems

The 20th century witnessed significant advancements in science and technology, accompanied by the institutionalization of research. Governments and private institutions increasingly funded scientific research, leading to the establishment of large research organizations and universities.

However, this period also saw the rise of proprietary research and closed systems. Intellectual property rights, patents, and commercialization of research outcomes often restricted access to scientific knowledge. The Cold War era further exacerbated this trend, with research being driven by national interests and security concerns, leading to the classification of significant scientific findings.

The Digital Revolution: Catalyzing Open Science

The late 20th and early 21st centuries brought about the digital revolution, fundamentally transforming how scientific knowledge is created and shared. The internet and digital technologies provided unprecedented opportunities for open access and collaboration. Key milestones include:

  1. Open Access Journals: The launch of pioneering open access journals like PLOS ONE in 2006 challenged the traditional subscription-based model, making scientific articles freely accessible to the public.
  2. Preprint Servers: Platforms like arXiv, established in 1991, allowed researchers to share preprints of their work, promoting rapid dissemination and feedback.
  3. Open Data Initiatives: Efforts to make research data publicly available gained traction, exemplified by initiatives such as the Human Genome Project, which released genomic data openly.

Contemporary Developments: Institutional and Policy Support

In recent years, the Open Science movement has garnered substantial support from governments, funding agencies, and institutions. Policies mandating open access to publicly funded research have been implemented in various countries. The European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program, for example, emphasizes open access and open data as key components of scientific research.

Additionally, the emergence of open-source tools and platforms has facilitated collaborative research. Projects like the Open Science Framework (OSF) provide infrastructure for sharing data, code, and research workflows, enhancing reproducibility and transparency.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite its progress, the Open Science movement faces several challenges. Concerns about data privacy, intellectual property rights, and the quality of open-access publications persist. Moreover, the transition to open practices requires cultural shifts within the scientific community, incentivizing researchers to prioritize openness over traditional metrics of success.

The future of Open Science lies in addressing these challenges while continuing to build on the principles of transparency, accessibility, and collaboration. Innovations in blockchain technology, for instance, hold potential for ensuring data integrity and provenance. Furthermore, fostering international cooperation and aligning policies across borders will be crucial in realizing the global potential of Open Science.

Future is Open Science

Understanding the Open Science movement through the lens of history reveals a trajectory rooted in the early ideals of knowledge sharing and transparency. From the establishment of scientific journals in the 17th century to the digital revolution and contemporary policy support, the journey of Open Science reflects a dynamic interplay between societal needs, technological advancements, and cultural shifts. As we move forward, embracing the principles of Open Science will be essential in addressing the complex challenges of our time and advancing the collective progress of humanity.

Photo via APA

Seven Strategies to Improve Your Academic Writing
Seven Strategies to Improve Your Academic Writing 670 335 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

Whether you’re drafting a research article or a grant proposal, identifying areas for improvement can be challenging. Patrick Dunleavy, a professor of political science at LSE, has developed seven strategies to help refine problematic articles or chapters. These tactics are designed to elevate your work from merely adequate to exceptional.

1. Focus on One Thing

Overcomplicating your writing by attempting to cover too much ground can dilute your message and exceed length limits, making it difficult for reviewers to follow your argument. Instead, focus on doing one thing well within clearly defined boundaries. This approach not only clarifies your intent but also ensures that your work remains substantive without fragmenting it across multiple articles.

2. Simplify the Structure

Social science articles should ideally be 8,000 words or less, with chapters around 10,000 words. Use sub-headings every 2,000 words to create a predictable rhythm and structure. Avoid multi-tiered hierarchies of sub-headings, as these can overwhelm readers and obscure your main points. Each section heading should be substantive, guiding the reader through your narrative logically and clearly.

3. Say It Once, Say It Right

Repetition can undermine a reader’s confidence in your writing. Avoid previewing, stating, restating, and summarizing the same point. Instead, present each point clearly and concisely the first time. This approach ensures your argument is direct and engaging without unnecessary repetition.

4. Re-Plan Your Paragraphs

Revisiting and reorganizing your paragraphs can offer fresh insights into your existing draft. Techniques like “reverse outlining,” where you extract a detailed structure from your finished text, can help you see your work from a new perspective. This method can reveal alternative sequences and improve the overall flow of your writing.

5. Clarify the Motivation

Readers need to understand why your research matters. Clearly articulate the significance of your study, why it was conducted, and its broader implications. If you’re struggling to write an effective conclusion, it might indicate that your motivation isn’t clear enough. A compelling introduction and a strong, forward-looking start to each chapter can help maintain reader interest.

6. Strengthen Argument Tokens

Every paragraph in your research should be supported by “tokens” such as citations, quotations, empirical evidence, or data. Ensure these elements are robust and convincing. Updating and expanding your literature search just before submission can provide a more comprehensive and current foundation for your arguments.

7. Enhance Data and Exhibits

Effective data presentation is crucial. Design exhibits that follow good design principles and ensure that each chart, table, or diagram is fully labeled and relevant to your readers. The data should be presented in a way that underscores its importance and applicability.

By employing these strategies, you can transform a lackluster draft into a compelling and persuasive piece of academic writing. For more detailed advice, refer to Patrick Dunleavy’s book, “Authoring a PhD” (Palgrave, 2003), particularly Chapter 5 on “Writing clearly” and Chapter 6 on “Developing as a Writer.” Additional insights can be found on Rachael Cayley’s blog, “Explorations of Style,” and Thomas Basboll’s blog, “Research as a Second Language.”

About the Author: Patrick Dunleavy is a professor of political science at LSE and Chair of the LSE Public Policy Group. He is the author of “Authoring a PhD: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral dissertation or thesis” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

Image credit: Nic McPhee (Flickr, CC BY-SA)

Original article via Impact of Social Science blog

Science Diplomacy: Who are the Scientific Attachés?
Science Diplomacy: Who are the Scientific Attachés? 828 644 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

Written by
Giulia Rizzo
Chair of the MCAA France Chapter
Postdoctoral researcher at INSERM


Science diplomacy involves using scientific collaborations among nations to tackle common issues and foster constructive international partnerships. In this article, three scientific attachés share their experiences in this field.

According to the Royal Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, science diplomacy encompasses three main activities: “science in diplomacy,” which involves providing scientific advice to support foreign policy objectives; “diplomacy for science,” which facilitates international scientific cooperation; and “science for diplomacy,” which aims to enhance international relations through scientific collaboration.

To gain a deeper understanding of science diplomacy, I interviewed three Italian scientific diplomats.

Who are Scientific Attachés?

A scientific attaché, also known as a science or technical attaché, is a member of a diplomatic mission whose role is managed by their country’s ministry of foreign affairs. The scientific attachés I interviewed are Cristina Biino from the International Organization in Geneva, overseeing Italian multilateral projects at the UN; Marco Borra from the Italian Embassy in Paris, handling bilateral projects between France and Italy; and Costanza Conti from the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, managing bilateral projects between Canada and Italy.

According to the interviewees, scientific attachés have five primary functions:

  1. Advising their country’s ambassador on scientific and technical matters.
  2. Reporting on scientific and technological events.
  3. Representing and supporting their country in scientific, political, and technical matters within foreign scientific and technical academies, industries, or intergovernmental organizations.
  4. Organizing events to disseminate specific scientific topics.
  5. Supporting their home country’s research network in the host country.

The role does not require specific training or a Master’s degree. In Italy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues an official call for candidates, interviewing them based on their background, career development, and language proficiency. Applicants must have Italian citizenship and be permanently employed at an Italian public institution. The contract for a scientific attaché typically lasts two years, with the possibility of renewal up to eight years.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Scientific Attaché

The interviewees highlighted several positives of being a scientific attaché, such as the dynamic and challenging nature of the job, the opportunity to influence and foster international cooperation, and working within a multicultural environment. They also noted the variety of potential career paths available after their diplomatic tenure.

However, the short duration of contract terms poses challenges for long-term planning and initiatives. Relocating for the position also presents initial difficulties, particularly in finding suitable housing and schools for their children, due to differences in educational systems and associated costs.

Advice for Aspiring Scientific Attachés

For those interested in becoming scientific diplomats, Cristina Biino recommends expanding their interests to include diverse subjects like climate change and artificial intelligence. Marco Borra suggests getting involved in international and multicultural associations and events to facilitate cooperation. Costanza Conti emphasizes the importance of interpersonal relationships, as diplomacy relies heavily on building strong human connections.

As science continues to address global challenges, the role of scientific diplomats is crucial in building bridges, fostering understanding, and advancing collective goals on the world stage. Science diplomacy serves as a powerful tool for creating nontraditional alliances and collaboratively tackling global issues.

Original article by Giulia Rizzo.

Copyright in distance education and research – survey for Public interest institutions
Copyright in distance education and research – survey for Public interest institutions 1024 670 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

Dear members/network,

European Commission is conducting a study exploring the role of copyright in facilitating access to digital collections of public interest institutions (PIIs), such as libraries, archives, museums, as well as educational establishments and research organisations specifically for distance education and research purposes.

The main objective of this study is to understand how copyright rules impact access to various content (books, journals, films, videos, visual works, music, databases, etc.) for education and research, especially in digital contexts.

The study is carried out at the request of European Commission by Visionary Analytics together with research partners Ecorys, KEA, and OK Consulting. Please find the support letter from the European Commission here.

A survey within the study is currently ongoing. The survey has two target groups potentially relevant to you or your network:

  • Cultural heritage institutions (e.g. library, museum, archive), educational institutions (e.g. school, university), and research institutions (e.g. think-tank, research institute)
  • Educators (school teachers, university lecturers), students (general, vocational, higher education), scientific researchers, or patrons of a library, museum or archive

This is a unique opportunity to share your experiences, which will directly inform policy-making and thus will be very valuable.

We encourage you to participate in the survey and disseminate it further to your network and community. If you have already received a link to the survey, please use the one you received to complete the survey if you are in the target group, or share it with your members if you are an association representing the target group. If you have not received a link, please use the below links:

  • If you want to share your perspectives on behalf of a cultural heritage institution (e.g. library, museum, archive), educational institution (e.g. school, university), or research institution (e.g. think-tank, research institute), please use this link: survey
  • If you want to share your perspectives as an individual – teacher, educator, lecturer, student, researcher, or patron of a library, museum or archive – please use this link: survey

We kindly ask to fill in the survey until the 15/07/2024.

If you need to pause survey and continue later, you should press “Save and continue” in the upper right corner and provide your email. The link to the survey will be sent to your email and after opening the you will be directed to the point where you paused the survey. Your progress is saved once you proceed to the next survey page.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or the study, please reach out to the study team via copyright@visionarysurveys.lt

Thank you!

Photo via NICK ARTSRUNI 

Towards Responsible Publishing
Towards Responsible Publishing 736 524 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

A Proposal from cOAlition S

Introduction

New scientific discoveries are built on the foundation of established results from previous research. For this chain of knowledge to function optimally, all research results must be openly accessible to the scientific community. As Marc Schiltz stated in “Why Plan S,” the global push towards full and immediate Open Access (OA) has become an unstoppable trend over the past five years. However, academic publishing practices have lagged behind, failing to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the way science is performed, disseminated, and utilized. This growing disconnect jeopardizes the goal of universal OA for research outputs.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the necessity for faster, more efficient publishing models. Traditional publishing systems were too slow to disseminate critical and urgently needed information about SARS-CoV2. In response, scholars worldwide have adopted new practices to improve the dissemination and peer review of research findings, such as sharing articles before peer review and participating in open peer review processes. Innovative models like “diamond” publishing, which provide scholar-led services free to authors and readers, have been championed by research institutions, particularly in Latin America. These developments demand that funders and other stakeholders, including university libraries, rethink how best to support the dissemination of research responsibly, equitably, and sustainably.

In this document, cOAlition S proposes a vision and set of principles for a future scholarly communication system. This system aims to align with the evolving needs of the research community, promote open science, and address the challenges of the current publishing models. A consultative process will be undertaken to gather input from the research community, with a revised proposal to be considered by cOAlition S funders in June 2024.

The Dominant Publishing Models Are Highly Inequitable

Most academic journals sustain their operations through subscriptions, article processing charges (APCs), or both, creating significant barriers for researchers. Subscription paywalls hinder access to relevant research findings, while APCs can prevent researchers from publishing their work. While acknowledging that publishing incurs costs, cOAlition S believes all researchers should be able to publish their work as Open Access without facing author charges.

Key Challenges in the Current Scholarly Communication Ecosystem

  1. Delayed Sharing of Research Outputs: The pre-publication peer review model causes significant publication delays, sometimes taking longer than traditional print and postal distribution. In the digital age, a 12-month delay in releasing new knowledge is as detrimental as the previously common 12-month open access publication embargo.
  2. Underutilized Peer Review Potential: Peer review, while essential for quality control, is often confidential, hiding the efforts and insights of reviewers. Repetitive and confidential reviewing processes waste earlier peer review reports’ insights and undermine the quality control and accountability of authors, reviewers, and editors.
  3. Editorial Gatekeeping and Career Incentives: The rejection-resubmission cycle, coupled with career incentives linked to editorial gatekeeping, burdens scientists, particularly early career researchers. This cycle threatens the well-being and persistence of the next generation of scientists in academic research.

Why Scholarly Communication Needs to Change

The problems with the current scholarly communication ecosystem can be distilled into four key challenges. cOAlition S proposes a scholar-led communication ecosystem to address these issues. This ecosystem empowers scholars to share their research outputs and participate in new quality control mechanisms, ensuring rapid and transparent dissemination of high-quality scientific knowledge.

Scope

This document focuses on scholarly communications related to research articles and associated content elements, such as peer review reports, author responses, and editorial decisions. While other research outputs like monographs are important, they are beyond the current scope. Open Science, as defined by the UNESCO Recommendation, covers all disciplines.

Vision

cOAlition S envisions a community-based scholarly communication system that empowers scholars to share their research outputs and participate in quality control mechanisms and evaluation standards. This approach ensures the rapid and transparent dissemination of high-quality scientific knowledge.

Principles

The following principles support this vision:

  1. Authors Control Dissemination: Authors, not third-party suppliers, should decide when and where to publish their work, including pre- and post-peer review versions and associated peer review reports.
  2. Immediate and Open Sharing: Researchers should share their outputs openly, allowing others to adapt, reuse, and build upon these results at no cost to themselves.
  3. Community-Based Quality Control: Academic communities should set and monitor quality standards through open quality control processes, publishing peer review reports to enable transparency and trust.
  4. Inclusive Research Assessment: All scholarly contributions should be considered in research assessment, with their value determined by relevant research communities.
  5. Support for Scholar-Led Publishing: Stakeholders, including funders and institutions, should support the development and adoption of community-based publishing, respecting disciplinary differences and epistemic traditions.

Opportunities to Engage

A scholar-led communication system is not a new concept but builds on existing good practices. Researchers, service providers, funders, and institutions must work together to put scholarship at the center of scholarly communication. Researchers will need to take an active role in disseminating their outputs and contributing to open peer review. Service providers must tailor their services to support scholarly contributions. Funders and institutions should incentivize and reward practices aligned with these principles and provide financial support for infrastructure and services.

Mission

cOAlition S aims to facilitate the transition to an open, scholar-led communication ecosystem in partnership with the research community, through funding requirements and research assessment processes.

Conclusion

The Plan S initiative has enabled unprecedented levels of Open Access research. However, current models, such as Read and Publish agreements and APCs, remain inequitable. Pre-publication peer review delays sharing, and inaccessible peer review reports hinder responsible research assessment. The proposed scholar-led communication ecosystem addresses these issues, building on existing good practices and aligning with recent conclusions from the Council of the European Union and UNESCO.

Consultation

The consultation process, running from November 2023 to April 2024, aims to refine the proposal based on input from the research community. Details on how to contribute can be found at: cOAlition S Consultation.

Example of a Scholar-Led Ecosystem: Publish, Review, Curate (PRC) Model

The PRC model distinguishes three core functions of scholarly communication: publication, peer review, and curation. This model ensures the full and immediate sharing of scholarly outputs, with authors deciding when to publish unreviewed publications, exposing their work for formal review, and having curation editors select peer-reviewed papers for publication.


By proposing a transition to a scholar-led communication system, cOAlition S seeks to create a more equitable, efficient, and transparent scholarly communication ecosystem, fostering the rapid dissemination of high-quality scientific knowledge.

Navigating Open Science in a Broken Academic Publishing System
Navigating Open Science in a Broken Academic Publishing System 1024 602 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

Original Article By Dr. Heidi Seibold

The academic publishing system is undeniably flawed, a sentiment shared by many in the scholarly community. However, aspiring academics striving for a successful career while adhering to the principles of openness can still navigate this landscape effectively. Here’s a pragmatic approach to achieving this balance.

Understanding the Challenge

It’s natural to fear that not publishing in established journals could hinder your career progression. The pressure to publish in recognized journals is immense, as these are often deemed valuable by peers and employers. Nevertheless, embracing Open Science doesn’t have to be daunting. Start with manageable steps and gradually incorporate more open practices into your workflow.

Options for Open Access Publishing

Publish a Preprint

One of the simplest ways to begin your Open Science journey is by publishing a preprint. Most journals permit preprint submissions. Uploading your paper to a preprint server such as arXiv or OSF preprints before or alongside journal submission ensures early dissemination of your work. Resources like ASAPbio’s searchable list of preprint servers can help you find the right platform for your field.

To verify if your target journal allows preprints, use tools like Sherpa Romeo. For example, if you aim to publish in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Sherpa Romeo confirms that preprints are permitted. Here’s the workflow:

  1. Identify your target journal.
  2. Check preprint policies on Sherpa Romeo.
  3. Prepare your paper for submission.
  4. Upload to a preprint server and submit to the journal.

Publish in an Established Open Access Journal

Many reputable open access journals exist across various fields. Publishing in these journals ensures that your work is freely accessible. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a useful resource to find such journals by field.

Be mindful of article processing charges (APCs), which can be steep, sometimes exceeding 4000 Euros. However, many institutions and funders offer support for APCs. Consult your library—they often have information on available funding.

For instance, journals like the Journal of Statistical Software are free for both authors and readers, providing an excellent publishing option without financial burden.

Utilize Institutional Open Access Agreements

Increasingly, institutions and regions are forming agreements with publishers, allowing researchers to publish and access works without additional cost. While some Open Access advocates critique these agreements, they can be beneficial for individual researchers. Examples include the German DEAL and agreements at TU Munich.

Consult your library to discover such agreements and understand how they can support your open access publishing efforts.

What to Avoid: Hybrid Journals

Hybrid journals charge fees to make individual articles open access while the rest of the journal remains closed. Paying these fees is generally discouraged as it funnels more money into an already expensive system. Instead, if you choose to publish in a hybrid journal, opt to publish a preprint without paying the open access fee.

Recognizing Predatory Journals

A common misconception is that open access journals are often predatory, prioritizing profit over scientific integrity. However, most open access journals maintain high standards. Utilize tools like the Think. Check. Submit. checklist to identify reputable journals and dispel the myth that all open access journals are predatory.

Embracing Openness in Your Academic Journey

Balancing a commitment to Open Science with the demands of an academic career is achievable through strategic choices. By starting with preprints, considering established open access journals, and leveraging institutional agreements, researchers can maintain openness without compromising their career aspirations. Remember, the belief that all open access journals are predatory is a myth—responsible selection and due diligence are key to successful and ethical publishing.

For a deeper dive into alternatives like Peer Community In (PCI), which uses preprints to bypass traditional publishing systems, explore my previous posts on the topic.

Embrace openness and take these pragmatic steps to advance your career while staying true to your values.


Dr. Heidi Seibold is an advocate for Open Science, sharing insights and strategies for researchers navigating the evolving landscape of academic publishing.

Original article can be found here.

Regional Symposium on Democratizing Science in the Arab Region (28-29 November 2024)
Regional Symposium on Democratizing Science in the Arab Region (28-29 November 2024) 1024 459 Open and Universal Science (OPUS) Project

The UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Rabat organises a regional symposium titled Democratisingg Science: Implementation Pathways of the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science in the Arab Region.” This significant event will take place on November 28 and 29, 2024, at Mohammed V University in Rabat.

The symposium is being organised in partnership with the World Federation of Scientific Workers (WFSW), the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), and UNESCO field offices in the Arab region. It aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among decision-makers, scientists, and researchers from across the region.

Participants will explore strategies and pathways for implementing the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, with a focus on enhancing accessibility, inclusivity, and innovation within the scientific community. The symposium will feature a range of discussions, workshops, and keynote presentations designed to promote the democratisation of science.

Interested individuals are invited to register for either online or in-person participation through the following link: Event Registration. The detailed agenda and programme of work will be made available in due course via the provided registration link.

This symposium represents a unique opportunity to contribute to the advancement of open science in the Arab region, ensuring that scientific knowledge and innovation are accessible to all.

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