Joint CAUL-AOASG Election Statement: Developing a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia

Australia needs a national strategy for open scholarship.

We are at a stalemate in improving access to scholarly research because of the tension between the needs of research institutions, which want to disseminate their research outputs as widely as possible, and commercial publishers, who dominate academic publishing, and who primarily serve the needs of their shareholders.

Australian universities alone pay more than $280 million each year for access to academic research publications, yet that access is limited to only those who work in universities. In the 2018 Excellence for Research Australia (ERA) exercise universities reported that only 32% of articles submitted for ERA evaluation are openly available.

The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG), which are led by experts in access to knowledge, have been advocating for many years for open scholarship: making the outputs of publicly-funded Australian research openly available in alignment with the F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles to ensure that anyone can find, read, use and reuse research outputs.

Widening access to academic research increases opportunities for collaboration among researchers[1] and industry, especially internationally; increases the pace of discovery[2]; increases the trust of the public and their engagement with research; and supports a stronger evidence base for the development of policy[3].

Over the past ten years Australia has gone from being a world leader in widening access to research outputs, mainly through the establishment of a national set of institutional repositories, to lagging behind international initiatives in open scholarship policies and practices.

Plan S, a relatively new initiative, initially from a European-led coalition but now global in scope, intends to make research from coalition partners open by 2020. Plan S offers the opportunity to catalyse a discussion on how Australia can match the rest of the world — a discussion that would involve Australian researchers, research funders, industry partners, government and academic publishers.

A re-invigorated commitment to open scholarship will help ensure that Australian researchers can continue to collaborate with international colleagues, access international funding programs, and contribute to major global projects.

To achieve these goals, Australia needs a national strategy for open scholarship.

In its 2018 inquiry into the Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training recommended “that the Australian Government develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment”. CAUL and AOASG supported this recommendation[4].

It is now time to implement that approach through the establishment of a cross-sectoral body charged with developing and implementing, within three years, a national action plan for open scholarship – a plan that would include recommendations on changes to the policy and funding framework for Australian higher education. Open scholarship should also be included in the terms of reference for any post-election reviews or inquiries on Australian higher education and research.

Achieving fair and open access to Australian research outputs would be a realistic and significant accomplishment for a new or re-appointed Minister after the election, and a priority for government. CAUL and the AOASG are ready to offer their experience, expertise and knowledge to the goal of open scholarship.

More information on open scholarship, the F.A.I.R. principles, and CAUL and AOASG can be found in our joint background briefing.

[1] http://opensourcemalaria.org/

[2] https://wellcome.ac.uk/funding/guidance/open-access-policy

[3] https://apo.org.au/

[4] https://www.caul.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/media/open-scholarship2018joint-statement.pdf

caul aoasg

Support Academic Publishing Day on February 7th

Academic-Led Publishing Day is a global digital event to foster discussions about how members of the scholarly community can develop and support academic-led publishing initiatives. Academic-Led publishing refers to scholarly publishing initiatives wherein one or more academic organisations control decisions pertaining to copyright, distribution, and publishing infrastructure.

Its aim is to create an open dialogue about academic-led publishing programs and funding models – both current and potential – and to raise awareness about the roles and capabilities of different stakeholders in this space.

Many Australian and New Zealand Universities publish journals under these principles, for example Queensland University of Technology’s eJournals and Auckland University of Technology’s Tuwhera.

How to get involved

Join the Public Forum for scholarly publishing reform towards Fair Open Access

Follow updates from the Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) and volunteer to help tag relevant news items. Click “About” at the top of the page to learn how to get involved!

Show public support for Fair Open Access Principles

Learn how to launch and support academic-led journals.

Sign public statement against author-facing charges by journals

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is hosting a free webinar on February 7th at 3pm GMT – while it’s not a sleep friendly time for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere – presenters include world experts at the forefront of publishing initiatives that promote Open Access and Open Scholarship at institutions:

Paul Ayris – Chief Executive UCL Press

Kathleen Shearer –  Executive Director of Confederation of Open Access Repositories

Charles Watkinson – Director, University of Michigan Press).

Catriona MacCallum Director of Open Science, Hindawi

Claire Redhead – Executive Director, OASPA (will chair the discussion).

Full details and information on how to register for the webinar can be found here.

#ALPubDay

Imagine a World where Everyone Added One More Reference to Wikipedia

The AOASG is a big supporter of Wikipedia.  As one of the world’s largest open access initiatives why wouldn’t we?  We want to make it even better and you can help by taking part in #1lib1ref which kicks off today and runs until 5 February.  While the campaign is targeted at librarians we think everyone who cares about open access should have a go!

 

Here’s how you can help in five easy steps, thanks to the Wikipedia Library 

  1. Find an article that needs a citation. There are many ways to do this. Here are some strategies.
  2. Find a reliable source that can support that article
  3. Add a citation using Wikipedia Style. Click here to learn about adding citations and editing Wikipedia
  4. Add the project hashtag #1lib1ref in the Wikipedia Edit Summary
  5. Share your edit on social media and learn more about libraries and WikipediaGrab a userbox for your user page if you’re into that sort of thing.

OA week 2018 – Designing for Equity

 

Today marks the kickoff of OA week, Now in its 10th year, it’s an opportunity to raise awareness, celebrate and reflect on everything that’s going on in OA.

OA Week poster 8_5x11_2ndoriginal

Since OA week started the OA landscape has got much more complex. Now there are a range of models of OA for research articles: green (repository-based); gold (journal-based); bronze (which is not really OA at all but just free to read); hybrid OA (supposed to be transitional but as the most expensive way to fund OA is  consuming the biggest proportion of  article processing charges (APCs) paid by some funders); and even illegal, black OA. Universities support OA through their OA presses and journal publishing. There are new OA models for monographs  and books and increasingly the expectation of more open data. Layered on top of this are other changes to publishing with more open expectations for peer review in some fields and emerging new models such as preprints.

What underpins all of this is the need to build a robust, well supported infrastructure that encompasses a variety of models in order to ensure that not only can everyone benefit from OA, but that everyone can participate more equitably in  contributing to knowledge, a theme summed up in this delightful gif from Mark Hooper.

Mark-Hooper-OA18.gif

 

Key elements of infrastructure

FAIR genericHence the theme of this years OA week is so timely. “Designing the Equitable Foundations of Open Knowledge” explicitly recognises that there is no one model of open scholarship that will work for all. In order to have a truly equitable system, the foundations have to be purposefully designed. There is a role for serendipity and evolution but assuming all that we need will just arise ad hoc risks leaving out key parts of the system. One part of the infrastructure are the elements that identify and link people and research outputs and we have highlighted the need for these and other key items – such as Creative Commons licenses – in this OA week bookmark which you are welcome to share under a CC-BY license.

Welcoming new AOASG members

OA week is always a week of new announcements on OA and we will be featuring many of these throughout the week. As a first one, we are especially delighted to welcome three new members to the AOASG this week – University of the Sunshine Coast, Flinders University and The University of Notre Dame. We very much look forward to working with them alongside our current members: Charles Sturt, Curtin, Griffith, Macquarie, Melbourne, Newcastle, QUT, UNSW, UWA, Victoria, and the CONZUL group of university libraries in New Zealand. Widening our group’s membership gives us the opportunity to represent and support a wider part of the sector.

On our 2018 OA week page we have  gathered together in one place many diverse activities this week across Australia and New Zealand. Keep in touch to let us know how your OA  activities go this week and if you’d like to find out more about membership of AOASG  or our many activities, let us know.

 

Funder-based open publishing platforms: what they are and why they’re happening

Thomas Ingraham

Thomas Ingraham

By Thomas Ingraham

Historically, funders had no reason to get involved with publishing: they were experts at funding research, publishers were experts at publishing research – why venture into a role that is already well-serviced by established professionals?

However, since the advent of online publishing and the open access movement, and the subsequent realization of potentially widespread irreproducibility and publication bias in the scholarly literature, the interests of funders are growing increasingly at odds with conventional scholarly publishing.

Funders (like ARC & NHMRC) are mandated to ensure maximum impact is achieved from the projects they fund. This means:

  • Making research open access for reuse by anyone; not blocked by unaffordable paywalls.
  • Ensuring new findings can be rapidly translated into new research or practical applications; not delayed by months or years due to lengthy embargo periods, or unnecessarily cumbersome peer review and production systems.
  • Guaranteeing all valid work they fund is available for reuse, including data, code and negative results; not leaving these outputs to languish on a hard drive where no one can use it due to a novelty-obsessed editorial system or a data-shy research culture.

Further, funders want publishing to be as rigorous and transparent as possible, to ensure the system’s accountability and so build academic and public trust in the published literature, after it took a knock during the reproducibility crisis.

Several funders have implemented policies encouraging open access and data sharing but feel the progress has been too slow and the wider publishing system too resistant to change. There is also the issue of the cost effectiveness of current immediate open access options. Most are expensive and funders are worried costs could escalate further, especially for prestige and hybrid journals.

Some funders felt they couldn’t simply wait for the publishing system to realign itself with these goals; they need to get actively involved in kick-starting a better way of disseminating research.

So, in late 2016, Wellcome became the first funder to decisively move into the publishing game with the launch of Wellcome Open Research. Other major philanthropic and public funders have since launched their own open publishing platforms, namely: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Health Research Board Ireland, and most recently AMRC (a consortium of 24 UK-based biomedical charities). Earlier this year, the European Commission put out a tender to create its own platform, which would make it the biggest funder by far to move into this space.

Current funder-based publishing platforms

Current funder-based publishing platforms

The platforms allow a funder’s grantees (and their collaborators) to openly share any research they think is fit to publish, along with any dependent raw data and code, within a few days of submission; referees openly review the work and if they deem it scientifically sound, the work is indexed. Articles can be updated if and when necessary.

The platform development and publishing work is contracted to an independent publisher, partially to make use of their expertise, partially to avoid potential funder conflicts of interest influencing editorial decisions. Currently, F1000Research is the sole provider of these platforms, but this may well change after the European Commission announces the results of its tender. However, the platform is owned by the funder and operates under its name; the latter is important as this endorsement helps ease their grantee’s minds, knowing anything they publish on the platform will be considered eligible for evaluations.

Funder publishing platforms are a still a very new development, and there are issues that need to be navigated carefully. These include but are not limited to preventing funder-editorial conflicts of interest; how smaller funders can get involved; who pays in joint-funder collaborations; avoiding vendor lock-in; and arranging long term governance of the platforms. These issues all look to be resolvable, and it will be exciting to see how much these platforms might disrupt the publishing ecosystem over the next few years.

Tom Ingraham is Scholarly Communications Officer at the University of Queensland. He was formerly an Associate Editor and Publisher at F1000Research, spending six years at the company from its inception in 2012 until early 2018 managing several of its publishing initiatives and community-based article collections.

SCOSS hits half-million Euro funding mark

SCOSS_NewPieceGreat news to hear that funding for SCOSS (Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science) has raised half a million Euros in funding.

This is an important new initiative whereby libraries and other users of open infrastructure can directly contribute to supporting it.  As the press release notes “The initiative, which intends to provide a framework for libraries, policymakers and other stakeholders to collectively fund and stabilize a vital infrastructure of freely available open science services, selected the Directory of Open Access Journals and SHERPA/RoMEO as beneficiaries of this pilot call for community funding.”

In Australia and New Zealand more than 64 percent of all universities have pledged funding via the Council of Australian University Libraries (CAUL consortium).

Read the full press release here.

https://sparceurope.org/global-sustainability-coalition-for-open-science-scoss-hits-half-million-euro-funding-mark/

Creative Commons Aotearoa is now Tohatoha

This blog post has been reproduced with permission from Tohatoha Chief Executive Mandy Henk

Wendy Henk

We have so much exciting news to share with you all! New projects, new people, a new website rolling out soon – it’s been a whirlwind year behind the scenes.

But first, you’re probably wondering why we decided to change our name and logo. Tohatoha is the Māori word for ‘share’ – and that’s what we are about; sharing information so that every single New Zealander has access to knowledge and stories — whether they get that access through the Internet, in their local library, or by listening to the elders of their communities.

We want a world where New Zealand leads by ensuring universal access to research, education and culture — one where Aotearoa builds a fair and equitable information system. ‘Tohatoha’, as a name, communicates both the primacy of sharing and embraces our uniquely Kiwi identity.

Our new logo, designed for us by Mohawk Media, takes the globally recognised symbol for New Zealand – the kiwi bird – and combines it with the iconic, cultural image

for Kiwi ingenuity, Number-8 fencing wire. The DIY ethic embedded in our origins as part of Internet mash-up culture, entwined with our national symbol, gives us a recognisable visual identity both here and overseas. Alongside this, the new tagline – supporting Kiwis to, create, share and innovate – encapsulates our work and our mission.
To be clear, we will still continue to support the New Zealand chapter of Creative Commons, but our work will be broader than simply supporting the Creative Commons licenses. We will still do that work when and as needed, but as the range of threats to information sharing in the digital and analogue worlds grows, so we also need to grow and evolve. That’s what this repositioning is about – adapting to a changing environment so that we can realise our vision.

Our new structure is also about sharing power. As an organisation we have our roots in the open movement – open source, open access, open data – and we fiercely support openness. But there is still so much work to be done to bring marginalised voices to the centre and make space for new voices across the spectrum of New Zealand society.

Building a movement focused on sharing that doesn’t explicitly seek out and welcome diverse communities – rural communities, Māori communities, migrant communities – is a movement destined to seek the wrong things for the wrong reasons. For us, openness is a strategy; the goal is a more equitable system for sharing knowledge – and you can’t build a more equitable system without welcoming new voices and sharing power with new communities.

I look forward to hearing from you as we begin this new part of our journey. Change is scary and so to do it right we need your engagement, your voice, and your support. There is so much work to be done in this space, so let’s do it together and do it right.

Mandy Henk, Chief Executive, Tohatoha

Open access medical content and the world’s largest encyclopedia

Authors & Wikipedians: Thomas Shafee, Diptanshu Das, James Heilman & Gwinyai Masukume

Wikipedia aims to make a free and accessible summary of all human knowledge and is therefore one of the most well known open access efforts. The cumulative efforts of its volunteer writers (Wikipedians) has resulted in it dwarfing all previous encyclopedias in scope and depth. Additional collaborations with members of the open access community are taking this further. Many of these ideas are globally relevant, however a number of initiatives exist in Australia and New Zealand. A pair of recent papers in Science and JECH make the case that there has never been a better time to help shape the world’s most-read information source.

An open access encyclopedia

A few decades ago, an encyclopedia was a luxury that few could afford. Now, all with Internet access have free access to an encyclopedia larger than could fit in most homes, if printed. Wikipedia is extensively used by the general public, as well as doctors, medical students, lawmakers, and educators.

Indeed, it’s the primary free information source in many countries, especially for biomedical content. For example, during the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the rapid updating and translation of relevant Wikipedia into more than 115 languages lead to these articles being read nearly 100 million times that year. Access to Wikipedia without data charges is also available in over 50 countries via the Wikipedia Zero project, covering more than 300 million people. The offline medical Wikipedia app and Internet-in-a-box initiatives offer greater accessibility to those with limited connectivity. With over half of the world’s population not online, and many more with only intermittent access, these efforts are critical.

Wikipedia and the open access movement strengthen each other

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, and therefore can only summarise existing knowledge. It therefore depends on citing reliable and verifiable reference sources to support its statements. Since it is editable by anyone, it is particularly important that anyone be able to cross-check the stated ‘facts’. Indeed, Wikipedia is the 6th highest referrer of DOI links (the unique hyperlinks assigned to academic articles).

However, most Wikipedia readers (and many of its writers) do not have access to paywalled articles. How then can references be checked? Some journals provide access to Wikipedians through the Wikipedia Resource Library. This allows details within paywalled sources to be duly summarised and distributed, but it’s an imperfect solution. Readers wanting to check a source or read deeper into a subject hit the wall, and images can’t be easily replicated. Wikipedia articles commonly cite open access articles, however there are often no open access alternatives to paywalled articles. Currently, there is no perfect solution for which sources to cite, but any efforts that strengthen open access benefit the encyclopedia.

What can be done to help?

Any advances in the open access movement aid Wikipedia, as well as more targeted efforts.

On an individual level, teaching people how to directly edit Wikipedia enables them to get involved on the ground-level. There are widespread Australian examples, including universities, conferences, libraries, and  societies across the country. Similar events in New Zealand have been hosted by Royal Society Te Apārangi and Whanganui museum. The editing interface has been updated to be as easy to use as a Word document. People may contribute for a specific event (an edit-a-thon), or become regular contributors. The writer community organises itself into groups  called ‘WikiProjects’ with shared topic interests. Efforts include adding or improving text, copy-editing, reviewing new edits, and adding images or other media.

Encouraging professional bodies to formally recognise Wikipedia editing as a service to the academic community and wider world will help legitimize it as a worthwhile use of time by busy professionals. Greater involvement by subject experts can improve Wikipedia’s quality. As yet, no Australian or New Zealand funding body formally recognises Wikipedia editing for grant or fellowship applications.

We also strongly support the expansion of dual-publishing of peer reviewed articles by academic journals (e.g. by PLOS, Gene, and Wiki.J.Med). This process creates a citable ‘version of record’ in the journal (providing academic credit for the authors) and the content is then used to create or overhaul the relevant Wikipedia pages. Through Wikipedia, health professionals can massively impact public health literacy (even obscure Wikipedia pages usually get hundreds or thousands of views per day). Academics similarly gain a public impact that is matched by few other platforms. In return, the encyclopedia benefits from the accurate and expert-reviewed information and the journal gains greater exposure.

Larger groups and organisations can also be mobilised to contribute to Wikipedia as an open access outlet. For example, Blausen Medical and Osmosis.org have contributed galleries of open access images and videos, which are used to illustrate the encyclopedia. Institutions such as the Cochrane, Cancer research UK, and Consumer Reports have teamed up with experienced Wikipedians and trained their members to add information and references to relevant Wikipedia articles. Journals can also be encouraged to release their back-catalogues under open access licenses, unlocking vital sources. Studies at Australia’s Monash University also recommended integrating Wikipedia editing into university courses, and several universities, such as the University of Sydney, do just this.  Even database services can integrate their data into Wikipedia’s structured knowledge database, WikiData (e.g. on genes and RNA families).

By Marcos Vinicius de Paulo (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The big picture

Although the recent articles in Science and JECH focused on the biomedical field, these are examples of a much wider phenomenon. For instance, there have been several ongoing collaborations between Galleries, Libraries and Museums around the world to add their knowledge to Wikipedia under open access licenses.

Wikipedia also has the potential to be a knowledge access platform for the 4 billion people who are not currently online. Its open license allows people to translate, build upon, and distribute its content in new and innovative ways with no requirements beyond attribution and releasing what they create under a similar license.

Wikipedia and the open access movement are already intertwined. Open access publishing provides information needed for growing, improving and updating Wikipedia. Meanwhile, Wikipedians search, summarise and combine that vast sea of information into free articles. Each benefits from the strengths of the other, and can be helped by specific collaboration efforts.

The Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation that hosts Wikipedia, is currently formulating its strategy through to 2030 and has identified collaboration with the wider knowledge ecosystem as one of its key themes.

References:

Shafee, Thomas; Masukume, Gwinyai; Kipersztok, Lisa; Das, Diptanshu; Häggström, Mikael; Heilman, James (2017-10-29). “The evolution of Wikipedia’s medical content: past, present and future”. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 71 (10). doi:10.1136/jech-2016-208601.

Shafee, Thomas; Mietchen, Daniel; Su, Andrew I. (2017-08-11). “Academics can help shape Wikipedia”. Science. 357 (6351): 557–558. doi:10.1126/science.aao0462.

Lead image (white books):   Michael Mandiberg (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons

This work is licensed by AOASG under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Competing interests:

All authors have contributed to Wikipedia articles, are current participants in WikiProject Medicine, and are on the editorial board of WikiJournal of Medicine. Thomas Shafee is on the editorial board of PLOS Genetics. James Heilman is a former and current member of the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees. The authors do not receive financial compensation for their contributions to these projects.

Follow the authors on Twitter:

Gwinyai Masukume
James Heilman
Diptanshu Das

Framework for F.A.I.R. Access to Australia’s research

fair-logo-all-darkThe National Science and Innovation Agenda has sharpened the focus on leveraging commercial and public value from Australia’s research. Research outputs, whether data, software, methods or publications, underpin innovation and are a critical component of future research. Yet Australia does not have an overarching statement of principle or policy with respect to access.

In July 2016, under the auspices of the Universities Australia’s Deputy Vice-Chancellors (Research) Committee, a working group of representatives of university, research, business and the not-for-profit sector, with observers from government bodies, drafted a national statement of principles aimed at opening up access to Australia’s research. The draft statement was sent for consultation across the Australian higher education sector as well as to relevant government agencies, peak bodies, and industry associations involved in research in Australia. High-level feedback was also sought from relevant international bodies working in open access.

The resulting statement, available here, proposes a framework for this access that builds on principles already established for data: namely that all Australia’s research outputs should be F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

“This statement affirms the need to make Australia’s publicly funded research outputs F.A.I.R., recognising this will require different approaches across different types of research output, a long-term national commitment, and consideration of the global change agenda.”

The working group has completed its work and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group is now undertaking coordination of the statement and responses to it.

We welcome expressions of support for this statement as we seek to make F.A.I.R. access an integral part of Australia’s national research and innovation framework.

Linda O’Brien, Chair, Australian F.A.I.R. Access Working Group

Virginia Barbour, Executive Director, AOASG