AOASG and Creative Commons Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

AOASG is delighted to have formed affiliations with both Creative Commons  Australia and  Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

Over the past year, the AOASG has changed its focus and its name from being purely Australian and focused on support (Australian Open Access Support Group) to being Australasian and with more of an emphasis on strategy (Australasian Open Access Strategy Group). As publishing changes globally, especially the move to a more open publishing world, the role of supporting infrastructure and standards such as licenses from Creative Commons becomes even more strategically important.

CCA,pgn

We already work with Creative Commons  in a number of ways. Last year we collaborated with Creative Commons  Australia on the production of a resource “Know your rights” to explain what the licenses mean for users. Together, we run regular online meet ups in Australia and New Zealand thus supporting communities of practices in both places.

creativecommonskiwi-300x278However, Creative Commons’ work in areas outside the remit of AOASG – such as the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums (GLAM) and schools  provides a welcome opportunity to reach out beyond the boundaries of traditional scholarly publishing. In return, we hope that the affiliation of Creative Commons  Australia and Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand with AOASG will reinforce the importance of licenses within the academic publishing community.

We look forward to more collaborations across the three organisations in future.

 

AOASG August 2016 newsletter

8 August 2016: what’s in this month’s newsletter

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ
What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally
Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing
OA week update
Recent writing & resources on OA

If it were possible, this past couple of months has seen even more of an acceleration of news and initiatives in Open Access. Below, we’ve highlighted some of major relevance. Comments on this month’s news and suggestions for inclusion in the next newsletter, planned for September, are always welcome.
In the meantime follow @openaccess_anz on twitter for daily updates.

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally

General new initiatives

Support for abolition of subscriptions
Nearly two-thirds of UK researchers support the abolition of subscriptions and a move to open access, according to a major study commissioned by Jisc and Research Libraries UK.

Pre-payment agreements begin
The European Union FP7 Post-Grant Open Access Pilot is now moving onto the pre-payment agreement implementation stage.

New Wellcome publishing venue
The Wellcome trust announced that starting later this year it was implementing a new way for their researchers to share their outputs. Wellcome Open Research will use services developed by F1000Research. Once articles pass transparent invited peer review, they’ll be indexed in major bibliographic databases, and deposited in PubMed Central and Europe PMC.

MUSE Open – a new OA platform
Johns Hopkins University was awarded a two-year $938,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop and deploy MUSE Open in Project MUSE, a unit of The Johns Hopkins University Press. MUSE Open is planned as an OA platform for monographs in the humanities and social sciences.

SocArXiv, and the Center for Open Science partner on new OA social science preprint server
A plan to develop a new preprint server which enables the sharing of data and code with the potential for post-publication review was recently released and signals an interesting new direction for COS

New eprint server for engineering
And in another development in preprints EngrXiv, a new free, open access, open source archive for engineering research and design was announced – also in partnership with COS.

Preprints
And another preprint server – called Preprints – was announced – this time from a publisher, MDPI.

Canadian Government opens up
The Government of Canada has released a new plan for open government centering on openness and transparency.Section C focuses on making government data and information openly available without restriction on reuse.

Monitoring open access costs
Report from Jisc Scholarly Communications Analyst released on Article processing charges (APCs) and subscriptions. Key points include

  • The average APC has increased by 6% over the past two years, a rise well above the cost of inflation
  • Publishers’ APC costs are converging to a more uniform price range, although they still vary widely. Journals with low APCs are raising their prices, perhaps to avoid being perceived as low quality
  • APC expenditure is unevenly distributed between publishers, with the lion’s share of income distributed among a handful of major publishers.

Converting subscription journals to open access
Harvard Library published its report on converting subscription journals to open access. The report’s authors identified 15 journal-flipping scenarios: 10 that depend on article processing charges (APCs) and 5 that dispense with APCs. For each one they give examples, evidence, and their assessment of its strengths and weaknesses. The examples come from all scholarly niches by academic field, regions of the world, and economic strata. As well as the authors’s analysis 20 experts provided comments.

OA guidelines for Norway
Norway develops proposed national guidelines for open access.

ARL to open up SPEC kits
The Association of Research Libraries will open up access for all SPEC Kits on the ARL Digital Publications platform to all users by the end of August.
14M+ new books available to vision-impaired
More than 14 million digital books will soon be made available to blind and print-disabled users, thanks to a new collaboration involving the National Federation of the Blindand the HathiTrust Digital Library,

Open science statement signed
15 global organizations have endorsed statements to promote open science support for data citation, monitoring data sharing policies, and developing interlinking policy and infrastructure.  The meeting to discuss this was in 2015, but the full statement and list of signatories have just been released here.

Reports from meetings on open scholarship

2020 timeline for EU scientific articles
The video recording of Ralf Schimmer’s talk on “Initiatives for the Large-Scale Transition to Open Access”  at the LIBER Annual Conference 2016 in Helsinki is a good overview of the imperative for change in the publishing system, which is driving thinking in Europe on OA. This talk aligns with discussions at the Competitiveness Council  in Brussels in May, where the decision was made that all scientific publicly funded articles in Europe must be freely accessible and the data must be reusable, with a few exceptions, as of 2020.Dublin conference recordings on YouTube
Organizers of the 2016 Open Repositories Conference held in Dublin in June have made more than 40 selected video recordings of conference sessions available on YouTube. 

Repositories

DCN becomes largest OA repository
The Digital Commons Network (DCN) was launched three years ago and has just surpassed  two million open access articles from more than 450 institutions making it the largest subject repository of open access scholarship available.First Open Repository in Myanmar
EIFL, in association with the University of Mandalay and the University of Yangon, launched the first open access repository in the country of Myanmar. A nice round up of the initiative is here

The IRUS-UK August newsletter highlighted a number of new case studies, which show how  IRUS-UK statistics are helping to promote Open Access awareness.

VARI Launched
London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has launched its research institute VARI and is making its publicly funded project outcomes from this available open access.

Book publishing

Knowledge Unlatched released its usage statistics of over 67,000 downloads in 180 countries with 20,000 page views

Data sharing

Concordat on Open Research Data launched
The Concordat on Open Research Data has been developed by a UK multi-stakeholder group and is a set of expectations of best practice reflecting the needs of the research community.

Clinical trial data sharing
Four articles in the  NEJM give contrasting views of data sharing in clinical trials. On the one hand US Senator Elizabeth Warren argues strongly for full data sharing; by contrast two groups of academics argue for limitations to be placed on data sharing.Open data creating apps
The Helsinki Region Infoshare service has opened the capital region’s data for everyone, and gives rise to apps and services making everyday life easier.


Want more OA news?

We can’t cover everything here! For daily email updates the best ways to keep up to date is the Open Access Tracking Project. Our Twitter account has posts throughout each day and our curated newsfeed on the website is updated daily.

The newsletter archive provides snapshots of key issues throughout the year.


Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing


The DARIAH Winter School “Open Data Citation for Social Science and Humanities” is set to take place in Prague on 24th-28th of October, 2016. Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Open Con will be on 12-14 November in Washington, DC, with satellite events hosted around the world. From the website Open Con describes itself as  “a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data.”

OASPA’s 8th Conference on OA Scholarly Publishing (COASP) will be on 21st & 22nd September, 2016. at Westin Arlington Gateway, Virginia.


OA week 2016!

SPARC has announced that the theme for this year’s 9th International Open Access Week, to be held October 24-30, will be “Open in Action.” Details below.

International Open Access Week has always been about action, and this year’s theme encourages all stakeholders to take concrete steps to make their own work more openly available and encourage others to do the same. From posting pre-prints in a repository to supporting colleagues in making their work more accessible, this year’s Open Access Week will focus on moving from discussion to action in opening up our system for communicating research.

Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, International Open Access Week is an opportunity to take action in making openness the default for research—to raise the visibility of scholarship, accelerate research, and turn breakthroughs into better lives. This year’s Open Access Week will be held from October 24th through the 30th; however, those celebrating the week are encouraged to schedule local events whenever is most suitable during the year.

The “Open in Action” theme will also highlight the researchers, librarians, students, and others who have made a commitment to working in the open and how that decision has benefited them—from researchers just starting their careers to those at the top of their field.

The list of global OA week events is here.


Recent writing & resources on OA

Designing a fair and sustainable system of academic publishing: P2P Foundation Blog

Preparing for the Research Excellence Framework: Examples of Open Access Good Practice across the United Kingdom: Research paper from The Serials Librarian

Given frustrations with academic structures, how can we build a more human-centered open science?   London School of Economics & Political Science: The Impact Blog

Open access: All human knowledge is there—so why can’t everybody access it? Great review by Glyn Moody on the history of OA and why we aren’t there yet.

AOASG response to Productivity Commission Issues Paper on Data Availability and Use

AOASG response to Productivity Commission Issues Paper on Data Availability and Use

Prepared by Dr Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, AOASG, on behalf of the AOASG; July 2016

eo@aoasg.org.au

The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) [1] exists to advocate, collaborate, raise awareness and lead and build capacity for open access in Australia and New Zealand. The AOASG is supported by ten Australian and eight New Zealand Institutions.

General comments

The AOASG welcomes the Productivity Commission inquiry into data availability and use. The inquiry is timely both nationally and globally. We limit our response to the general sections and paragraphs 1 and 4 under the scope of the inquiry.

We especially note and agree that this inquiry should consider domestic and international best practices and the measures adopted internationally to encourage sharing and linking of both public and private data.

Specific comments

Page 3

Definitions

Paragraph entitled:  Open Data

Open data has most usefully been characterised as having the four characteristics  denoted by the acronym: FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.[2] This terminology is more useful than the term “open”, which can be interpreted in many different ways. As the developers of the FAIR principles note: “FAIR Principles put specific emphasis on enhancing the ability of machines to automatically find and use the data, in addition to supporting its reuse by individuals.” The move to more open data is part of the drive for more open scholarship generally, that has been highlighted by a number of global initiatives recently including the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science, an initiative of the Dutch Government, during their chairing of the EU in Jan-June 2016.[3]

Page 4

Box 1 Paragraph entitled: Why does data matter?

Data are also critical in ensuring the reproducibility of the academic literature. Without data to back up published research findings, research is based on trust at best. There are many examples now of researchers being unable to reproduce previously published research findings and where the data behind published papers have been found to be unavailable or uninterpretable. Furthermore, there are many cases where lack of data availability has been linked to fraud in research and publishing.[4] There is now an increasing global consensus that in order to better ensure the integrity of research and to prevent research fraud and improve its investigation, researchers should be willing to make the data that underpins academic papers available. Such data should be in a format that allows their interrogation, provided that appropriate processes are in place to ensure the protection of sensitive data. The Australian National Data Service (ANDS)[5] has provided guidance on handling sensitive data, including those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.[6] As data become more open it is essential such guidance remains current.

As well as the principles noted above, there is also increasing infrastructure in place directed at increasing the sharing of these data.  National examples, with well-established policies, tools and processes in place include ANDS and its many tools including its portal, Research Data Australia.[7] International repositories for academic data include long established publicly supported ones such as GenBank[8] and non-profit and commercially used ones such as Dryad[9] and Figshare,[10] respectively. Many Australian institutions also have their own data repositories which are linked to Research Data Australia.

Page 8

Box 2 Paragraph entitled: Insufficient dataset linkage?

Poor, or absent, linkage between published research and the underlying data is one of the most important reasons leading to poor reproducibility in much of the academic literature, especially in some areas of science and medicine.[11]  It has also been well established that URLs cited in papers decay very dramatically after publication, having a half-life of at best 4.7 years after publication in one study[12]—which reinforces the need for the development of a secure culture of archiving, not merely linkage to temporary websites for example.

Page 9

Paragraph entitled: Benefits of increasing data availability and use

As noted above, one clear benefit of increasing data availability would be to increase the reliability of the published literature. This in turn leads to increased efficiency of research. The issue of lack of data leading to waste in research is mentioned in the campaign by the Reward Alliance, one of whose key recommendations is “Make publicly available the full protocols, analysis plans or sequence of analytical choices, and raw data for all designed and undertaken biomedical research”.[13]

Page 13

Paragraph entitled: More recently the Australian Government…

We very much welcome the Australian Government’s stated commitment to open data. Of particular importance is the requirement for a Creative Commons license,[14] which fulfils the “R” i.e. reusable part of a FAIR framework for data. Guidance will be required to ensure which license is the most appropriate one for specific contexts and recommendations on developing such guidance would be important in ensuring data is optimally re-useable.

Page 14

Question: What benefits would the community derive from increasing the availability and use of public sector data?

See comments above which relate to the reliability of the academic literature and increased efficiency that would accrue through better access to and reliability of data associated with publications. Of note, many academic journals also now recognise the importance of such data sharing including, for example, the PLOS journals.[15]

However, currently there are few accepted processes for citing data, though the Research Data Alliance[16] and Force11,[17] two international organisations, both have groups that have worked on citation practices.

One crucial element of improving data accessibility is to ensure that academics who generate the data for others to use are given appropriate credit for it. Systems to reward such behaviour need to be developed and supported by institutions and funders of research.

 

Page 22

Question: How should the costs associated with making more public sector data widely available be funded?

Page 22

Question: Is availability of skilled labour an issue in areas such as data science or other data‑specific occupations? Is there a role for government in improving the skills base in this area?

There is unquestionably a lack of comfort among many academics in the curation of data associated with their work. There is a need for skills in data management and analysis, especially of complex datasets, to be incorporated into the training of early career researchers. Programmes such as Data Carpentry[19] have been successful in peer to peer training of researchers, though clearly could be scaled up further.

[1] ‘Australasian Open Access Strategy Group’, Australasian Open Access Strategy Group <https://aoasg.org.au/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[2] ‘Article Metrics – The FAIR Guiding Principles for Scientific Data Management and Stewardship : Scientific Data’ <http://www.nature.com/articles/sdata201618/metrics&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[3] NL EU 2016, Amsterdam Call for Action on Open ScienceNL <https://wiki.surfnet.nl/display/OSCFA/Amsterdam+Call+for+Action+on+Open+Science&gt;.

[4] ‘Cases | Committee on Publication Ethics: COPE’ <http://publicationethics.org/cases/?f%5B0%5D=im_field_classifications%3A757&gt; [accessed 27 July 2016].

[5] ANDS, ‘Australian National Data Service’, ANDS <http://www.ands.org.au/about-us&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[6] ANDS, ‘Ethics, Consent and Data Sharing’, ANDS <http://www.ands.org.au/guides/ethics-consent-and-data-sharing&gt; [accessed 27 July 2016].

[7] ‘Research Data Australia’ <https://researchdata.ands.org.au/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[8] ‘GenBank Home’ <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[9] ‘ Dryad’ <http://datadryad.org/pages/organization&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[10] ‘Figshare – Credit for All Your Research’ <https://figshare.com/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[11] John P. A. Ioannidis, ‘Why Most Clinical Research Is Not Useful’, PLOS Med, 13.6 (2016), e1002049 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002049&gt;.

[12] P. Habibzadeh, ‘Decay of References to Web Sites in Articles Published in General Medical Journals: Mainstream vs Small Journals’, Applied Clinical Informatics, 4.4 (2013), 455–64 <http://dx.doi.org/10.4338/ACI-2013-07-RA-0055&gt;.

[13] ‘Key Recommendations | Research Waste’ <http://researchwaste.net/about/recommendations/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[14] ‘Creative Commons Australia’, Creative Commons Australia <http://creativecommons.org.au/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[15] ‘PLOS Data Availability’ <http://journals.plos.org/plosone/s/data-availability&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[16] ‘Research Data Alliance Data Citation Working Group’, RDA, 2013 <https://rd-alliance.org/groups/data-citation-wg.html&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[17] ‘Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles – FINAL | FORCE11’ <https://www.force11.org/group/joint-declaration-data-citation-principles-final&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

[18] Australian Government Department of Industry and Science, ‘Australian Scheme for Higher Education Repositories (ASHER) and the Implementation Assistance Program (IAP)’ <http://www.industry.gov.au/science/ResearchInfrastructure/Pages/ASHERandIAP.aspx&gt; [accessed 27 July 2016].

[19] ‘Data Carpentry’, Data Carpentry <http://www.datacarpentry.org/&gt; [accessed 18 July 2016].

Identifying publishing outlets that follow best practice

Andy Pleffer provides advice  on deciding where to publish, based on Macquarie University’s approach 

checklist-1402461_1920There are two sides to the proverbial open access coin. Heads: the open access movement has produced many high quality, peer-review publications designed to make research accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Tails: the adoption of quasi-open access models appeals to new publishers seeking to set up journals with little-to-no standards for quality—where publications are at best a waste of effort, and at worst damaging to your career.

Sarah Beaubien and Max Eckhard (Grand Valley State University) addressed this tension through their seminal piece on Open Access Journal Quality Indicators, which has subsequently been adopted and promulgated by many other US institutions. And rightfully so, as the article champions three principles that are crucial to identifying best practice approaches to publishing academic research:

  1. On each occasion you are looking to publish your research, each outlet you consider should be evaluated on its own merits.
  2. There is no single criterion that will always reliably indicate high or low quality.
  3. Informed decisions occur when a series of tried and trusted criteria cumulate to reveal either a net positive or negative result.

At Macquarie University, we determined that the overarching theme uniting these three principles is due diligence. By providing enough guiding information on concerns in the current publishing landscape, we aim to enable researchers in developing your own sense of quality and, ultimately, empowering you to become self-sufficient in critiquing potential outlets for your scholarly research.We aim for advice that  is:

  • focused on the big picture
  • simple to understand
  • adaptable to different contexts (or disciplines), and
  • experiential, in that its value builds through repeated application.

As a researcher, selecting appropriate venues is an investment in your own currency. When you have invested many months or years thoroughly researching and writing your scholarly work, the end goal should be to maximise the return on your investment: to gain exposure, engagement and influence with your research. The most successful investments are built on a wise strategy, and a wise research publication strategy is informed by a sound understanding of best practice.

We call this “strategic publishing”. Designed in consultation with academics and senior administrators, these guidelines address four key themes in best practice publishing: relevance, reputation, visibility and validity. In summary, your chosen outlet must be:

  • relevant to your field of research to guarantee it will target an appropriate audience
  • considered reputable to those in your research community
  • visible and easy to access for your research to be read, and
  • characterised by ethical and valid publishing practices.

Underpinned by evidence, this approach is characterised by investigating and responding to checklists of tried and trusted criteria in order to determine a net result—one that can be compared and contrasted across myriad outlets. Other great resources that resonate and harmonise with this method include the Think Check Submit checklist, the SHERPA/RoMEO database of copyright and self-archiving policies, and the joint peak body initiative on Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Times change. Individual outlets and publishers come and go: some change hands; some change policies. Places are exchanged on editorial boards, while metrics and rankings designed to gauge quality publication outlets are only applicable to specified time periods.

Do not risk the currency of your research on complacency or guesswork. Have a well-defined publishing strategy, monitor its impact and adapt it as necessary. By doing your due diligence and associating your work with outlets that follow best practice approaches to publishing, you will be placing yourself in a much better position to grow the reach of your research.

Dr Andy Pleffer manages research data projects and develops resources for researchers at Macquarie University, Sydney.

Macquarie University is a member of AOASG.

 

 

 

AOASG response to Productivity Commission Intellectual Property Arrangements, Draft report

aoasgAOASG response to Productivity Commission Intellectual Property Arrangements, Draft report

Prepared by Dr Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, on behalf of the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, (AOASG), June 2, 2016

General comments

The AOASG (https://aoasg.org.au/) welcomes the Productivity Commission report. We limit our response to Chapter 15: IP and Public Institutions, though we note the comment on p4 that “Open access repositories can further assist in the dissemination of ideas generated through publicly‑funded initiatives.”, which we agree with for all outputs of research.

We particularly welcome:

DRAFT Recommendation 15.1

“All Australian, and State and Territory Governments should implement an open access policy for publiclyfunded research

We also believe there is an opportunity with this report to bring some clarity to the issues surrounding copyright and license as applied to research outputs.

Specific comments

Page 401

Paragraph entitled “Key points”

Response

The dissemination of research findings does not have to be limited by IP applied on the work that it reports.

We agree that journals remain an important mechanism of dissemination, but they are now just one part of a rapidly evolving ecosystem of publishing and the same issues apply to all outlets for dissemination of research, and which include not just research articles but also data, code, software, etc.

Copyright per se does not limit dissemination – it is the retention of copyright, coupled with restrictive licenses as applied by subscription publishers that limit dissemination. We feel it is essential to separate out these two issues.

Page 404

Paragraph beginning “The key relevant questions for this inquiry relate to:

  • where the IP system frustrates the achievement of the underlying goal for public funding
  • changes to the IP system that would accentuate the benefits of such public funding.

Response

For scholarly publishing we already have the tools to hand to ensure that authors retain rights to and get credit for their work while allowing for maximum dissemination. The two tools required are proper application of copyright in conjunction with Creative Commons Licenses.

However, the current inconsistent and largely publisher-driven application of these tools does “frustrate the achievement of the underlying goal for public funding”.

This is to be expected when publishers are operating under a subscription model. In this situation the long term practice has been to require the transfer of copyright to journals, and also require that restrictive licenses agreements are signed.

However, restriction of author rights is not now limited to subscription publications.  For articles that are apparently open access, Elsevier, for example, requires that authors grant Elsevier an exclusive license (https://www.elsevier.com/about/company-information/policies/copyright) to publish for article published under a CC BY license (intended to be the most liberal of the licenses). This is direct contradiction of both the spirit and the letter of the Creative Commons license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Furthermore, a number of publishers are seeking to assert rights over earlier versions of articles, an area where they have no jurisdiction. Rights being asserted include requirements for citation of articles to which a preprint may relate http://media.wiley.com/assets/7320/85/eOAA-CC-BY_sample_2015.pdf). This is an example of a meaningless and probably unenforceable requirement, but which may nonetheless have a stifling effect on authors seeking to share research before formal publication.

Page 405

Paragraph beginning “A major mechanism for diffusion of ideas is through academic journals”

Response

The models of dissemination of scholarly outputs are changing very substantially and though journals remain at the core, as above we note that there are other important mechanisms now such as preprint servers, repositories (for data as well as for research manuscripts) etc. Despite the diverse array of outputs and their routes of dissemination the issue in relation to IP are largely the same.

  • Copyright needs to remain with the generators of the work (if work is not owned by the Government or is otherwise in the public domain);
  • Generators of work must be credited for that work;
  • Licenses applied to the work should maximize its discoverability, dissemination and reuse.

Copyright does not per se limit reuse, but it will do if coupled with restrictive licenses. For example, an author may retain copyright but grant an exclusive license to a journal which could then restrict reuse (see above); conversely an author may assign copyright to another body (e.g. their institution) but if that is coupled with a non-exclusive license that allows reuse, dissemination is not impeded.

We therefore suggest that the Commission separates out the issues of copyright and licenses and makes the following recommendations

  1. Authors (or their institutions) should retain copyright to research outputs.
  2. Outputs should be licensed under the most appropriate, usually the least restrictive, internationally accepted license from Creative Commons, preferably CC BY.
  3. Publisher-specific licenses, even supposedly “open access” ones such as those from Elsevier (https://www.elsevier.com/about/company-information/policies/open-access-licenses/elsevier-user-license), should not be supported as they lead to further confusion.
  4. These terms should apply to all research outputs wherever they are stored and wherever they are in the lifecycle of the research including but not limited to; preprint, author’s accepted manuscript, published article, data etc.

Page 406

Page beginning Copyright for publically funded research

Response

We believe copyright over research articles should not be mixed up with IP rights over the subject of the research itself. In particular, copyright itself, whether held by authors or publishers, does not limit the visibility or accessibility or reusability of articles or associated data. What does limit accessibility and reusability is the license associated with those works (see above) and which was previously most commonly denoted as “All rights reserved”

With the technology now available to us, the role of copyright has changed. As Jan Velterop said in 2005, (http://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org/pdf/open_access_publishing_and_scholarly_societies.pdf) “copyright can [now] be used for what it is meant to in science, not to make the articles artificially scarce and in the process restrict their distribution, but instead, to ensure that their potential for maximum possible dissemination can be realised”

Page 407

Paragraph beginning “universities and some publishers”

Response

The fact that universities are able to provide access to journals may be seamless, but it is at great cost. In fact the vast majority of research journals require a subscription. In 2014, Australian universities paid AUD 221 million (data from the Council of Australian University Librarians, CAUL) for access to electronic journals. While it is true that open access journals are increasing, currently they remain in the minority and the proportion of work that is fully open access is around 12-15%, though many more articles are free to access at some point.

Page 407

Paragraph beginning “Recognising that further incentives”

Response

This is indeed a hugely active area of policy development globally. It is clear that there is a number of different approaches to open access, with some countries favouring it via journals primarily (e.g. the UK and most recently the Netherlands) and others such as the US and Australia approaching it via the route of repositories – usually institutional. What is currently unclear, however, is the copyright and license status of much of the material within institutional repositories and this has led to difficulties in promoting seamless dissemination via these venues.

Page 408

Paragraph beginning “A similar trend”

Response

We agree that there is no one policy now covering all publicly funded research and we therefore support Recommendation 15.1 on page 409. We particularly welcome the insightful comment on page 409 that precedes it: “It is important when crafting policy in relation to open access to delineate exactly what is meant by the term” As noted above, the interchangeable use of phrases open access and free access, without clear indication of what these terms mean with regard to copyright and licenses has led to much confusion among authors in particular. We would urge caution therefore in the use of these terms, including in this recommendation. We do not recommend the development of different policies at national, state and territory levels. Rather, we believe the opportunity should be taken to craft one overarching policy that is applicable nationally.

Page 408

Paragraph beginning “encouragement of different ways”

Response

We welcome the recognition that new models of publishing will need to be supported and that funds must be allocated for this purpose as the transition occurs. However, a fundamental aim of a transition to new publishing models must be that costs are lowered. Schimmer and colleagues (https://www.mpg.de/9202262/area-wide-transition-open-access) have modelled this (via the “flipping” of journals from subscription to open access for three countries, including Germany. Whether this can be replicated elsewhere remains to be seen. It is not yet clear the flipping projects will reduce costs over a sustained period if pricing decisions remain in the hands of the established vendors. What will be crucially important is the encouragement of a diversity of publishing models from a variety of players, not just the five large publishers (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127502) who currently dominate scholarly publishing.

Furthermore, such innovation and openness should be specifically rewarded – not just “treated neutrally” as on the bottom of page 408.

AOASG May 2016 Newsletter: Australian Productivity Commission & US VP on OA; OA week theme & what “open” really means

17 May 2016: in this month’s newsletter

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ
What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally
Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing
OA week is back!
Recent writing & resources on OA

 

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ

The Productivity Commission of the Australian Government issued its Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements.

One of its recommendations was:
“15.1 All Australian, and State and Territory Governments should implement an open access policy for publicly-funded research. The policy should provide free access through an open access repository for all publications funded by governments, directly or through university funding, within 12 months of publication. The policy should minimise exemptions. The Australian Government should seek to establish the same policy for international agencies to which it is a contributory funder, but which still charge for their publications, such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.” 

Among a range of other comments was this: it is “important when crafting policies relating to open access to delineate exactly what is meant by the term.”

The report garnered a lot of positive comment, internationally, including from TechDirt – “the Productivity Commission, released one of the most amazing reports on copyright that you’ll see out of a government body.”

Responses are invited by June 3, 2016.

A second consultation is on Data Availability and Use for which an issues paper was released on 18 April  to assist anyone wanting to prepare a submission to the public inquiry. It outlines a range of issues about which the Commission is seeking information. Initial submissions are due by Friday 29 July 2016. Further comment will be sought upon release of the draft report in November 2016.

An International Alliance of Research Library Associations, including CAULendorsed an Accord on Open Data

Richard White, the University of Otago’s copyright officer, took a look at the recent revelations about Sci-Hub usage (see more below).

Jane McCredie at the Medical Journal of Australia wrote on OA in this blog: Open access, the modern dilemma.

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally

US Vice-Presidential support for open access
In speech to the AACR US Vice-President Joe Biden  came out strongly in support of OA, data sharing and collaboration as part of the $1 billion Cancer Moonshot initiative. SPARC reported on this here.

How do researchers access scholarly publications?
There was even more discussion about Sci-Hub following an article in Science  (Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone). along with a feature on its founder and a responsefrom the Editor-in-Chief of Science.

To continue the theme of the ways in which academics access research, a paper which surveyed how students access the resources they need found only one in five obtain all resources legally.

Creative Commons and rights statements
Ryan Merkely, CEO of Creative Commons, wrote in ForbesYou Pay to Read Research You Fund. That’s Ludicrous.  And in the courts, a judgement (Court Correctly Interprets Creative Commons Licenses) on Creative Commons was hailed as an important  interpretation of the issues.

RightsStatements.org – an initiative of Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America – announced the provision of 11 standardized rights statements for online cultural heritage.

Meetings on open scholarship

The European Union Presidency Conference on Open Science  was held on April 4 and 5. The conference preamble noted that “Open Science is a key priority of the Dutch Presidency. The Netherlands [who hold the presidency currently] is committed to open access to scientific publications and the best possible re-use of research data, and it would like to accelerate the transition this requires.” The output of that conference was the  Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science,  which feedback was solicited on (the AOASG gave feedback  on this). The final version of this document is not yet released. The draft document proposed ambitious goals around open access and data sharing and reuse in science, ie:
Two pan-European goals for 2020
  • Full open access for all scientific publications.
  • A fundamentally new approach towards optimal reuse of research data.
 Two flanking policies
  • New assessment, reward and evaluation systems. ‘
  • Alignment of policies and exchange of best practices.
There were then twelve concrete actions proposed as a result of these goals.
Danny Kingsley reported on the first OSI workshop in this blog Watch this space.

The Force 11 meeting covered many forward looking discussions. A specifically interesting one was reported here Working Beyond Borders: Why We Need Global Diversity in Scholarly Communications

Policy and more
JISC in the UK outlined released its OA Publisher Compliance document.

A paper defending hybrid journals by the Publishers Association triggered a strong response from RLUK.

COAR and UNESCO issued a Statement on Open Access, responding to European initiatives focused on gold OA. They note: “This statement highlights a number of issues that need to be addressed by organizations during the large-scale shift from subscription-based to Open access mode of publishing”

News from OA publishers
The DOAJ announced it had removed more than 3000 journals from its database for failing reapply by the deadline. This is part of a long-term project to curate the DOAJ list of journals.

Two new manuscript submissions systems for open access publishing  were launched. From eLife there was Continuum, a new open-source tool for publishing and from the PLOS journals, Aperta was launched on PLOS Biology. In other journal newsCanadian Science Publishing announced the launch of FACETS, Canada’s first and only multidisciplinary open access science journal.

An analysis of two publishers, Springer Open  and de Gruyter,  have shown that they are developing a model whereby institutions sponsor a journal, that then has no article processing charge for authors.

OA papers and data in particle physics 
In news from CERN, the SCOAP3 initiative was extended for three more years and CERN put 300TB of data from the Large Hadron Collider online.

Costs of publishing now more transparent than ever
More and more data on costs in publishing are being released, with  the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) publishing its Publication Cost Data 2015

In the annual Periodicals Price Survey 2016 the authors  found an “average e-journal package price increase of 5.8% to 6.3%, down slightly from last year’s average of 6.6%. this year’s feature examines pricing for 18,473 unique titles, our largest sample to date. Increasing the sample makes the results more reliable”

Preprints
Preprints and their place in scholarly communication are a hot topic for discussion. Hilda Bastian dissected some of the issues in her blog, Breaking Down Pros and Cons of Preprints in Biomedicine – where she also draws the cartoons.

But in further new of their increasing acceptability, Crossrefannounced that members will soon be able to assign Crossref DOIs to preprints.

Growth of OA
Heather Morrison continues her excellent  regular summary, Dramatic Growth of Open Access  with a March 31, 2016 update. More controversially, she noted that Elsevier is now the worlds largest publisher of OA journals (by number of journals) which is prompted discussion on twitter about what that really means for OA .

Repositories
The COAR annual meeting had a theme of The Role of Collaboration in Building a Global Knowledge Commons. Following the meeting, COAR announced a new initiative – the COAR Next Generation Repositories Project “to position repositories as the foundation for a distributed, globally networked infrastructure for scholarly communication, on top of which layers of value added services will be deployed, thereby transforming the system, making it more research-centric, open to and supportive of innovation, while also collectively managed by the scholarly community.”

Book publishing

The HathiTrust Research Center announced that it had expanded its services to support computational researchon the entire collection of one of the world’s largest digital libraries, held by HathiTrust.

And finally… prizes!
In Phase I of the Open Science Prize, an initiative from the Wellcome Trust, US National Institutes of Health and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, six winning teams received prizes of $80,000 to develop their prototypes. Winners included MyGene2: Accelerating Gene Discovery with Radically Open Data Sharing, a collaboration between researchers at the University of Washington, United States, and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney.

Want more OA news?

We can’t cover everything here! For daily email updates the best ways to keep up to date is the Open Access Tracking Project. Our Twitter account has posts throughout each day and our curated newsfeed on the website is updated daily.

The newsletter archive provides snapshots of key issues throughout the year.

Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing

11th Annual Conference on Open Repositories takes place at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) from the 13th – 16th June 2016.

The theme for this years’ aaDHDigital Humanities Australasia Conference in Hobart, 20-23 June  is  “Working with Complexity“.

Open Con will be on 12-14 November in Washington, DC, with satellite events hosted around the world. From the website Open Con describes itself as  “a platform for the next generation to learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information—from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital research data.”

OASPA’s 8th Conference on OA Scholarly Publishing (COASP) will be on 21st & 22nd September, 2016. at Westin Arlington Gateway, Virginia.

OA week is back!

SPARC has announced that the theme for this year’s 9th International Open Access Week, to be held October 24-30, will be “Open in Action.” Details below.

International Open Access Week has always been about action, and this year’s theme encourages all stakeholders to take concrete steps to make their own work more openly available and encourage others to do the same. From posting pre-prints in a repository to supporting colleagues in making their work more accessible, this year’s Open Access Week will focus on moving from discussion to action in opening up our system for communicating research.

Established by SPARC and partners in the student community in 2008, International Open Access Week is an opportunity to take action in making openness the default for research—to raise the visibility of scholarship, accelerate research, and turn breakthroughs into better lives. This year’s Open Access Week will be held from October 24ththrough the 30th; however, those celebrating the week are encouraged to schedule local events whenever is most suitable during the year.

The “Open in Action” theme will also highlight the researchers, librarians, students, and others who have made a commitment to working in the open and how that decision has benefitted them—from researchers just starting their careers to those at the top of their field.

Recent writing & resources on OA

The Open Access Directory listing of social medial sites about OA has been updated and revised. You can help improve it by suggesting edits.

In Fifty shades of open Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek take  an entertaining and highly informative trip through “open” everything – from open beer and puppies to open code and open access

Rights statements for cultural heritage

Julia Hickie writes on the importance of the newly released Right Statements

rightsThe much-anticipated http://rightsstatements.org has just been released. It provides 11 standard rights statements to identify the copyright status of an item, and when there are extra restrictions or exceptions to re-use. It’s been developed with cultural heritage in mind but definitely extends to the research sector.

From the blog post:

“There are three categories of rights statements: Statements for works that are in copyright, statements for works that are not in copyright, and statements for works where the copyright status is unclear. The statements provide users with easy to understand, high-level information about the copyright and re-use status of digital objects.”

Like Creative Commons, http://rightsstatements.org is human and machine readable. There are citable URLs that can be included in metadata records. This is just the kind of URL that would go in the <license_ref> field proposed in last year’s NISO Access and License Indicators Recommended Practice. That’s the really exciting part for Trove as we hope to one day use this metadata, alongside CC licences, to power a ‘Rights’ facet.

I’m imagining a bright future where a researcher couldn’t be convinced to use a CC licence but was happy for educational use and so included one of these statements with their publication. A teacher then does a search restricted to articles that are ok for re-use in an educational context, and that article comes up.

Or even those specially digitised collections, where we will have one day added these statements and users will understand that the fact that knowing that copyright has expired is not enough.

The 11 statements are:

  • In Copyright
  • In Copyright – EU-Orphan work
  • In Copyright – Educational use permitted
  • In Copyright – Non-commerical use permitted
  • In Copyright – rights holders unlocatable or unidentifiable
  • No Copyright – Contractual restrictions
  • No copyright – Non-commercial use only
  • No copyright – other known legal restrictions
  • No copyright – United States
  • Copyright not evaluated
  • No known copyright

You can read more about rightsstatements.org on the Digital Public Library of America’s blog

Julia Hickie is the Co-Assistant Director, Trove, National Library of Australia

 

AOASG response to Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science

The EUNL Conference on Open Science, convened during the Netherland’s presidency of the EU, last week proposed ambitious goals around open access and data sharing and reuse in science.

These are listed below – and at the bottom is the AOASG response, which is included on this public page along with other comments

https://wiki.surfnet.nl/display/OSCFA/Amsterdam+Call+for+Action+on+Open+Science

Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science

There are two pan-European goals for 2020

  1. Full open access for all scientificpublications.This requires leadership and can be accelerated through new publishing models and compliance with standards set.
  2. A fundamentally new approach towards optimal reuse of research data.Data sharing and stewardship is the default approach for all publicly funded research. This requires definitions, standards and infrastructures.

Two flanking policies

To reach these goals by 2020 we need flanking policy:

  1. New assessment, reward and evaluation systems. New systems that really deal with the core of knowledge creation and account for the impact of scientific research on science and society at large, including the economy, and incentivise citizen science.
  2. Alignment of policies and exchange of best practices. Practices, activities and policies should be aligned and best practices and information should be shared. It will increase clarity and comparability for all parties concerned and to achieve joint and concerted actions. This should be accompanied by regular monitoring-based stocktaking.

Twelve action items with concrete actions to be taken


Twelve action items have been included in this Call for Action. They all contribute to the transition towards open science and have been grouped around five cross-cutting themes that follow the structure of the European Open Science Agenda as proposed by the European Commission. This may help for a quick-start of the Open Science Policy Platform that will be established in May 2016. Each action item contains concrete actions that can be taken immediately by the Member States, the European Commission and the stakeholders:

Removing barriers to open science
1. Change assessment, evaluation and reward systems in science
2. Facilitate text and data mining of content
3. Improve insight into IPR and issues such as privacy
4. Create transparency on the costs and conditions of academic communication

Developing research infrastructures
5. Introduce FAIR and secure data principles
6. Set up common e-infrastructures

Fostering and creating incentives for open science
7. Adopt open access principles
8. Stimulate new publishing models for knowledge transfer
9. Stimulate evidence-based research on innovations in open science

Mainstreaming and further promoting open science policies
10. Develop, implement, monitor and refine open access plans

Stimulating and embedding open science in science and society
11. Involve researchers and new users in open science
12. Encourage stakeholders to share expertise and information on open science

 

AOASG response to Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science

Submitted on behalf of Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG https://aoasg.org.au/)  by Virginia Barbour

General comments:

We welcome the initiative being taken by the EU on open science.

Like other commentators, we would urge the consideration that these principles should apply to all of forms of scholarly outputs across all disciplines, not just science.

Specific comments below:

We recognize the need for global, not just pan-European collaboration on many of these action items, in particular for action items1.  Change assessment, evaluation and reward systems in science and also item 6. Set up common e-infrastructures

  1. Changing the reward system, to incentivize openness and sharing is the core to any wholesale transformation of scholarly communication towards openness. This change needs to happen not just at the level of individual departments or institutions or even countries, but needs to be truly international and become part of the assessment of institutions, not just individual academics. For example, many of the current university league tables are heavily reliant on the publishing as it exists now. Unless alternatives are available there will not be any substantial buy in globally.

6. Common infrastructure will underpin whether or not openness fulfils its promise. Rather than common “e-infrastructures” it may be better phrased as common international standards which facilitate inter-operability, reuse, citability, reproducibility and linking. Without interoperable structures globally we risk repeating the current situation with silos of open research outputs, rather than silos of closed outputs, as we have now. We note that in the detailed explanation of this point  the need is  stated to “Align practices in Europe and beyond” and we urge that this is considered early in any developments.

We believe further clarification of the intentions and extent of the recommendations around items 2, 3 and 5 are needed. Specifically, text and data mining rights should be extended to research publications as well as data. Furthermore, reuse should extend to other uses beyond TDM.

7. and 8. We very much support the stated intentions to “Provide a framework for developing new publishing models” and “Encourage the development of publishing models that provide free access for readers/users.” We suggest that the publication in such new models should be specifically rewarded under any new incentive structures that are developed.

AOASG April 2016 newsletter

In this month’s newsletter

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ
What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally
Has academic publishing reached its Napster moment?
Are funders of OA getting good value for money?
Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing
Recent writing & resources on OA

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing in AU & NZ

It was Open Data Day on March 5 and as part of that the Queensland Government Science Division of the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation highlighted a number of data sets that are available for use and re-use through the Queensland Government Open Data Portal,

In an article for the Conversation, Roxanne Missingham from ANU discussed the cost of textbooks and how an open access model could be the answer.

Linda O’Brien from Griffith University  highlighted the need for access to research to support the Australian government’s Innovation and Science Australia agenda.

What’s new in OA & scholarly publishing globally

March 7-11 was Open Education Week . A nice visualisation of initiatives is shownhere. One specific one worth calling out is Poland’s national program of open textbooks.

An analysis written for the Smithsonian Institution on The impact of open access on galleries, libraries, archives, and museums concluded that “A strengthened institutional brand, increased use and dissemination of collections, and increased funding opportunities have been some of the benefits associated with open-access initiatives.”

The Open Library of the Humanities expanded with all eleven sites of the University of California Library system joining its Library Partnership Subsidy scheme.

Knowledge Unlatched launched a new German branch and announced it will be scaling up more in 2016.

Europe

The European Union Presidency Conference on Open Science kicks off on April 4. The conference preamble notes that “Open Science is a key priority of the Dutch Presidency. The Netherlands [who hold the presidency currently] is committed to open access to scientific publications and the best possible re-use of research data, and it would like to accelerate the transition this requires.”

The follow up to the Berlin 12 meeting was launched in March. The initiative, called OA2020 has as its aim “the swift, smooth and scholarly-oriented transformation of today’s scholarly journals from subscription to open access publishing.”  The site is worth looking at with its suggestion of the steps needed for such a transition, which include crucially “a better understanding of publishing output and cost distribution.” Thus far theexpression of interest has 39 signatories, most from Europe.

Meanwhile, it seems that France is heading towardsgreen open access

The UK’s HEFCE OA policy began on 1st April 2016. The policy requires that to be eligible for submission to the next Research Excellence Framework, (REF), authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication must have been deposited in an institutional or subject repository.

At the Research Libraries UK conference OA was a prominent topic including a presentation from  Gerard Meijer of Radboud University, Nijmegen on the OA transformation in the Netherlands.

The Open Data button launched – a follow up to the Open Access Button.

USA

The review commissioned by Harvard University’s Library Office for Scholarly Communication on Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences – more informally known as “Journal-flipping” opened for public comment.

A draft code of conduct for altmetrics providers & aggregators has been launched and is available for comment on the NISO site.

Japan

A new open science site for Japan launched with links to policies, events and updates.

Want more OA news?

We can’t cover everything here! For daily email updates the best ways to keep up to date is the Open Access Tracking Project. Our Twitter account has posts throughout each day and our curated newsfeed on thewebsite is updated daily.

The newsletter archive provides snapshots of key issues throughout the year.

Has academic publishing reached its Napster moment?

Last month we reported on debate around Sci-Hub. Since then the debate has reached the mainstream media in a big way with discussions in the New York Times, and Washington Post. Whatever comes next it is clear that the site has stirred up much debate and has re-focussed attention on the problem of lack of access to academic papers.

Meanwhile an interesting parallel debate has been provoked by the two recent global health crises of Ebola and Zika virus. Again, as we discussed last month scientists have committed to sharing data and science publishers have committed to make access to this research free – at least for the duration of the epidemics, not necessarily long term. The Economist reported on how new models of publishing are desperately needed in such settings, but as yet are slow to catch on. Meanwhile,NPR reported on the concern that many who work in countries affected by these epidemics have when western scientists “parachute in” to do all the interesting analyses which may or may not be shared, and rarely includes local scientists in a meaningful way.

Are funders getting good value for money?

The Wellcome Trust published its 2014/5 analysis of where its money goes in OA. It’s worth comparing with last year’s analysis. All the data are on Figshare.

Points to note include:

  • As in 2014 hybrid publishing is the most expensive model.
  • OA journals published by subscription publishers tended to have higher APCs then their “born digital” counterparts.
  • Elsevier is the most expensive publisher
  • 392 articles for which the Wellcome paid an APC were not available OA – ie in PMC or Europe PMC. As they say “In financial terms this equates to around £765,000.  Spending this level of money – and not having access to the article in the designated repository – is clearly unacceptable.”
  • 50% of Wiley papers were non-compliant with the policy
  • There were  many examples of papers where the licence cited on the PMC article  was different to the licence cited on the publisher web site.

The blog ends by noting that the Wellcome will be developing “a more detailed set of principles and requirements which have to be met before we regard a journal to be compliant.  Journals which confirm that they can meet these will be compliant with our policy; those which don’t, will not.” They add that they will still fund hybrid journals for now but “If hybrid publishers are unable to commit to the Wellcome Trust’s set of requirements and do not significantly improve the quality of the service, then classifying those hybrid journals as “non-compliant” will be an inevitable next step.”

A critical issue in the acceptance of OA via the APC route has to be that it guarantees OA and hence the Wellcome’s statement on what it is doing in compliance is important. It’s worth noting that SCOAP3 has > 99% compliance for its OA model – which has now published more than 10,000 articles.

A useful briefing paper on costs in scholarly publishing was released by Alma Swan on behalf ofPasteur4OA. This is one of a series of Pasteur4OA resources.

Upcoming events in OA & scholarly publishing

The FORCE11 FORCE16 conference will be in Portland Oregon on April 17 -19, 2016. 

OASPA’s  8th Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing (COASP) will be held on the 21st & 22nd September, 2016.

Recent writing & resources on OA

Peter Suber’s book Knowledge Unbound: Selected Writings on Open Access, 2002–2011 was published  and is OA to read.

Creative Commons launched its 2016-2020 strategy

Breaking the myths of scholarly credit

Catriona MacCallum on why it takes 30 seconds to transform science.

Email: cmaccallum@plos.org
Twitter: @catmacOA
ORCID: 0000-0001-9623-2225

Information on the Feb 2016 Australian Outreach Meeting, and the official launch in Canberra of the Australian ORCID consortium  is here

orcid_128x128Imagine a world where researchers can reliably keep track of – and receive credit for – the myriad ways in which they contribute to science – not just articles, books, data and software but peer-review reports, preprints, grants, blog posts, video and sound recordings, and not just complete stories but individual experiments, images, methods and analyses.

A diverse group of publishers and journals, including PLOS, eLife, the Royal Society, AGU, EMBO, Hindawi, IEEE and the Science Journals, have banded together to help make this a reality by supporting the adoption of ORCID iDs, a persistent digital identifier for researchers, in their publication workflows in 2016. In an Open Letter, they outline their intention to require iDs from corresponding authors of accepted articles that will ensure researchers get credit for their work while reducing the reporting burden on them. The specific date of requirement in 2016 will vary and be added to the letter subsequently.

As Natasha Simons pointed out in a previous post on this blog, ORCID iDs are already integrated in the workflows of many publishers and other scholarly platforms. Indeed, there are currently more than 200 research platforms and workflow systems that collect and connect iDs from researchers. And almost 2 million researchers have registered for an iD, not least because it helps to distinguish their contributions from those of all the other Smiths, Jones or Zhangs in their field. Funders are also signalling their interest. The Wellcome Trust requires their grantees to use ORCID iDs in grant applications and others, such as the NHMRC and ARC in Australia, look poised to follow suit.

If ORCID iDs are being embraced so widely, why is this new commitment by publishers needed?

The rationale is to speed up the adoption and use of ORCID iDs within scholarly systems. This will benefit researchers, publishers and funders who want to ensure that appropriate credit is given for an output, and also help readers or future collaborators discover the work of particular researcher more easily.

Persistent identifiers are increasingly common. Most researchers are familiar with Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), which are a unique alphanumeric string attached to a digital object, most commonly an article, book or dataset. They persist because they contain stable information (metadata) about the object even if the URL to the website where the object is hosted changes or the object is hosted on multiple websites.

DOIs work because they have been adopted by 1000s of publishers and libraries as the de facto standard for identifying and locating scholarly digital objects. They are an accepted and essential part of the scholarly infrastructure – a key machine-readable connector in the global digital network, with registration organisations such as Crossref and DataCite acting as a junction box.

In many respects, an ORCID iD provides the equivalent of a DOI for researchers – enabling articles and datasets and a host of other outputs to be linked unambiguously to specific individuals – while ORCID the organisation is the junction box. To register for an iD takes about 30 seconds and is free, and it’s up to the researcher to choose which data and fields are made public in the ORCID record associated with their iD (e.g. see Jonathan Eisen’s public record as well as the privacy policy on ORCID).

In the open letter, the guidelines for publishers includes a requirement that the metadata they already send to Crossref with DOIs also include the ORCID iDs for authors. This will help reduce the reporting burden for researchers (e.g., to funders or institutions) because Crossref’s new auto-update function means that researchers can choose to have their ORCID record automatically updated with any new article, book, dataset (or other object) that already has a Crossref DOI.

An oft repeated sentiment is that the value of open access is to enable others to discover and build on work that already exists. But making something freely available on the web is just a first and somewhat limited step. Persistent identifiers, such as DOIs and ORCID iDs, are crucial to building the infrastructure for Open Science and enable discovery not just of the work itself but also of the researchers who made that contribution possible.

Moreover, if we are to reform the evaluation and credit system, then we need to be able to reliably link scientists (in the broadest sense) to all their contributions. Making these traceable and transparent will help dispel the myths that the only valid contribution to science comes in the form of a published article or book and the only measure of quality is publication in a high impact journal or established monograph press.

ORCID iDs provide the digital glue to facilitate this. The hope is that the publisher’s Open Letter and joint commitment will accelerate the incorporation of ORDID iDs in every scholarly system.  There are many different ways that funders, research organisations and content providers can support ORCID (available on their website). If you are a publisher, make the commitment and sign the open letter. If you are a researcher take 30 seconds to help transform research – register for an ORCID iD and use it wherever you use your name.

 

See also the post about the initiative by Laurel Haak, Executive Director of ORCID.

Competing interests: Catriona MacCallum is a paid employee of PLOS, one of the organisers and original signatories of the Open Letter supporting ORCID. PLOS is also an unfunded partner in the EU THOR project, whose aim is to establish seamless integration between articles, data, and researchers across the research lifecycle.

 About the author: Catriona is currently the Acting Advocacy Director for PLOS