OA week 2020: Open access has never been more important

The theme of this year’s international open access week is “Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion” The urgent necessity of the theme is outlined in this blog from SPARC, who coordinate the international event, which concludes: ”Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be consistently prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community discussions to the governance structures we use.” 

There are a number of movements happening now that seek to change academic publishing profoundly, including the use of preprints and the development of open, non-commercial infrastructure to support publishing. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an explosion of public interest in research which has highlighted the importance of good communication. All of these factors highlight the potential for transformation in scholarly communication.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought to the fore many inequalities including in the way that women have been disproportionately affected, socially, financially and professionally. This disadvantage has extended to their underrepresentation in both research being conducted on the pandemic and in whose voices are being heard in public discussions about the pandemic. In Australia and New Zealand we have additional profound challenges, in the proper recognition and inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in research. 

This year, the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) has collaborated with a group of open access practitioners from the AOASG membership: Emma McLean, UNSW, Katya Henry, QUT, Luqman Hayes, AUT, Mary Filsell, Flinders, and Thomas Shafee, La Trobe who have developed a program of ten events across the week. This program brings together open access research practices, (such as preprints and open data) with broader principles (such as infrastructure, interconnectedness, and communication). The presenters, panels and workshops also aim to bring broader representation of voices to look at structural equity and inclusion from perspectives including citizen scientists and Indigenous researchers and specialists. We have also a specially recorded interview with Professor Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate, who discusses scholarly publishing and open access.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that open research is crucial. By centering diversity, equity, and inclusion in open research this  movement has the ability to change academic research and publishing for the better. We hope that the events of this week will provide a starting point to take forward discussions and action to build the foundation for long term change.

Follow us on twitter @openaccess_anz #oaweek #openaccessaustralasia

Talking about OA week with Martin Borchert, AOASG Chair

To set the scene for OA week 2020 on the 19 – 25th October, AOASG Director Ginny Barbour interviewed the Chair of the AOASG Executive Committee, and University Librarian at UNSW, Martin Borchert. Martin spoke about open access and why it is so important, the AOASG’s role and why everyone should engage with the talks and workshops in OA week.

Martin Borchert, AOASG Chair and University Librarian at UNSW

Professor Peter Doherty talks Open Access

In one of our favourite activities for Open Access Week 2020, AOASG Director Ginny Barbour interviewed Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty about his passion for science and research, and how publishing has changed during his career. Here’s a link to the first part of the conversation. The full interview will be available in Open Access week 19-25 October.

Professor Peter Doherty spoke to us from lockdown in Melbourne

Professor Peter Doherty is writing a fascinating weekly column Setting it Straight about science in the pandemic on the Doherty Institute website.

Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion

This year’s International Open Access Week theme has been released and builds on the previous two years’ themes around equity.  The 2020 OA Week Advisory Committee says “Rebuilding research and scholarship to be open by default presents a unique opportunity to construct a foundation that is fundamentally more equitable. Yet today, structural racism, discrimination, and exclusion are present and persistent in places where openness is a core value.”

The Committee aims to highlight how much of the infrastructure and established systems are built on “legacies of historic injustice” making it vital to addressing these inequities.

Planning for Open Access Week across Australia and New Zealand is well and truly underway with a timetable of stimulating guest speakers and workshops each day from Monday 19 to  Friday 23 October (11am -1pm AEST).   Registration for all events will be available soon.

You can download International OA Week graphics and resources here.

 

The state of OA in New Zealand. Report and a new statement on Open Scholarship from CONZUL

Work carried out this year by New Zealand’s Council of New Zealand University Libraries (CONZUL) Open Access Project Group shows a clear citation advantage for repository based OA over closed access articles. This great infographic summarizes their research.

The full report is available here. Furthermore, CONZUL have updated their statement on open scholarship, which is available here. Importantly it notes the acknowledges the rights of Māori to maintain autonomy and control over access to taonga and intellectual property.

Media release: Joint statement by CAUL/AOASG on Plan S

11th February – The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) have made a joint response to the Plan S implementation guidelines welcoming the plan’s aspiration to move toward immediate full open access.

Plan S is an initiative for achieving full and immediate open access to research publications by 2020. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders coordinated by Science Europe.

The response by CAUL and AOASG recommends that if the plan is to be successful the implementation guidelines need to pay particular attention to repository based Green Open Access (OA), the cost of OA infrastructure, incentives for OA and the consultation process going forward.

Specifically:

  1. Support for repository based Green OA as a viable route to Plan S compliance is essential if countries such as Australia and New Zealand that rely on repositories for OA are to reach a position where Plan S could be adopted by their funding agencies.
  2. There needs to be a fuller, more nuanced discussion and broader recognition of the global cost of the infrastructure required for a diverse OA publishing landscape, especially in developing countries.
  3. There needs to be careful consideration of the effects of Plan S on early career researchers and support for incentives that support open research.
  4. Now that Plan S is being adopted, continued global consultation on its implementation through a formal mechanism will be essential to ensure that the move toward immediate full open access under Plan S is transparent and inclusive.

‘The AOASG and CAUL are pleased to support Plan S,’ said Martin Borchert, Chair of the AOASG. ‘International developments in open access will drive greater adoption in Australia and New Zealand, where OA is predominantly facilitated by our network of institutional repositories.’

Jill Benn, Deputy President of CAUL, said: ‘Improving access to research publications and data is one of the most significant changes in the global scholarly communications landscape. Wider access to research across the world enables us to solve the world’s greatest challenges.’

Australia has been a world leader in the development and use of institutional repositories, but progress has slipped over the past few years.

‘Through our strong experience in creating open research infrastructure, Australian university libraries are well positioned to help advance the important role that repositories play in achieving Green Open Access, but this will require dedicated attention from institutions and funders,’ said Jill Benn.

CAUL and the AOASG look forward to collaborating internationally on the next steps of Plan S.

CAUL AOASG PLAN S Response

End

For comment:

Jill Benn, Deputy President of CAUL, caul@caul.edu.au, (02) 6125 2990 &

Virginia Barbour, Director AOASG, eo@aoasg.org.au 07 3138 0623

About CAUL

CAUL is the peak leadership organisation for university libraries in Australia. CAUL members are the University Librarians or equivalent of the 39 institutions that have representation on Universities Australia. CAUL makes a significant contribution to higher education strategy, policy and outcomes through a commitment to a shared purpose: To transform how people experience knowledge – how it can be discovered, used and shared.

About AOASG

The AOASG is a coalition supported by seventeen universities in Australia and eight in New Zealand; Creative Commons Australia and Tohatoha, New Zealand are affiliate members. AOASG works to make Australasian research Open and FAIR and to promote innovation in all areas of scholarly communications.

Joint AOASG and CAUL statement on the Importance of Open Scholarship

CAUL and the AOASG have released a joint statement about the importance of Open Scholarship. The statement responds to recommendations in the Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research report released by the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training in November 2018.

Though this inquiry was primarily on funding, both AOASG and CAUL discussed OA in their submissions to the inquiry: AOASG put in two submissions and Virginia Barbour, AOASG Director, gave evidence at a hearing.

The committee noted the information given by CAUL and AOASG  on scholarly publishing and supported the AOASG recommendation for a national approach to open scholarship, putting it as Recommendation 12:

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment.

They noted the following in the body of the report:

5.17 While there are moves internationally and locally within Australia to shift to open scholarship, Australia lacks a national coordinated approach. In its submission, the AOASG sets out a proposal to establish a national coordinating body, funded for five years, to oversee the development of a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia. It suggests that such a body could either be situated within an existing government agency or be constituted separately. The Committee supports these recommendations.

A joint press release from CAUL and AOASG is below.

caul aoasg

Joint statement on the Importance of Open Scholarship

29th November – The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) and the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) are delighted to see that the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training committee’s report into Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research recognises the importance of open scholarship and the need for a strategic approach to it.

Importantly, the report makes a specific recommendation (Recommendation 12) that the Australian Government develops a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment. CAUL and the AOASG welcome this initiative and are ready to work with the Australian Government to achieve a coherent approach for open scholarship in Australia.

Both the CAUL and AOASG submissions to the committee highlighted the significant costs, inefficiencies and lack of transparency associated with research publication in subscription journals.

CAUL reported that Australian university libraries spent approximately $282 million on access to subscription journals in 2017 alone, and that to make their work available to those who do not have access to those subscriptions, researchers often must pay Article Processing Charges (APCs) which can range from $1500 – $8,000 per article.

The AOASG asserted that Australia lacks a national coordinated approach to open scholarship and set out a proposal to establish a national coordinating body, funded for five years, to oversee the development of a strategic approach to open scholarship in Australia. This recommendation was supported by the committee.

‘CAUL applauds the recommendation to develop a more strategic approach to Australia’s open scholarship environment. Government-led initiatives across other jurisdictions have provided the impetus and imperative to develop open scholarship policy, practice and infrastructure for the economic and social benefit of their nations. This review, and the subsequent recommendations, positions Australian scholarship and research outputs as strategic assets; assets that should be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable, and importantly open to all who have an interest and stake in leveraging the nation’s publicly funded research’ said Margie Jantti, President of CAUL.

‘There is a global ecosystem emerging of open scholarship which will undoubtedly lead to improvements in how research is done and communicated. Taking a strategic approach now to the development of open scholarship will position Australia well to support regional initiatives as well as to coordinate with and respond to relevant global initiatives, such as the European Plan S, and will accelerate the development of the infrastructure needed to support open scholarship in Australia’s research system’ said Virginia Barbour, Director of the AOASG.

See: Commonwealth, Australian Government Funding Arrangements for non-NHMRC Research: Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, (2018).

Download a PDF of the joint statement

End

For comment:

Margie Jantti, CAUL President caul@caul.edu.au, (02) 6125 2990 &
Virginia Barbour, Director AOASG eo@aoasg.org.au

About CAUL
CAUL is the peak leadership organisation for university libraries in Australia. CAUL members are the University Librarians or equivalent of the 39 institutions that have representation on Universities Australia. CAUL makes a significant contribution to higher education strategy, policy and outcomes through a commitment to a shared purpose: To transform how people experience knowledge – how it can be discovered, used and shared.

About AOASG
The AOASG is supported by fifteen universities in Australia and eight in New Zealand; Creative Commons Australia and Tohatoha, New Zealand are affiliate members. AOASG works to make Australasian research Open and FAIR and to promote innovation in all areas of scholarly communications.

 

 

 

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/

What was missing in Australia’s $1.9 billion infrastructure announcement

This article by Ginny Barbour was originally published on The Conversation

When we think about infrastructure it’s most often about bridges or roads – or, as in this week’s federal government AU$1.9 billion National Research Infrastructure announcement, big science projects. These are large assets that can be seen and applied in a tangible way.

It’s not hard to get excited over money that will support imaging of the Earth, or the Atlas of Living Australia.

But important as these projects are, there’s a whole set of infrastructure that rarely gets mentioned or noticed: “soft” infrastructure. These are the services, policies or practices that keep academic research working and, now, open.

Soft infrastructure was not featured in this week’s announcement linked to budget 2018.




Read more:
Budget 2018: when scientists make their case effectively, politicians listen


Ignored infrastructure

An absence of attention paid to soft infrastructure isn’t just the case in Australia, it’s true globally. This is despite the fact that such infrastructure is core to running the hard infrastructure projects.

For example, the Open SSL software library – which is key to the security of most websites – has just a handful of paid individuals who work on it. It’s supported by fragile finances. That’s a pretty frightening thought. (There’s another issue in that researchers doing this work get no academic credit for their efforts, but that’s a topic for another time.)

There are other high profile, globally used, open science infrastructures that also exist hand to mouth. The Directory of Open Access journals which began at Lund University relies entirely on voluntary donations from supporting members and on occasional sponsorship.

Similarly, Sherpa Romeo – the open database of publishers’ policies on copyright and self-archiving – came out of projects at Nottingham and Loughborough Universities in the UK.

In some ways these projects’ high visibility is part of their problem. It’s assumed that they are already funded, so no-one takes responsibility for funding them themselves – the dilemma of collective action.




Read more:
Not just available, but also useful: we must keep pushing to improve open access to research


Supporting open science

Other even more nebulous types of soft infrastructure include the development and oversight of standards that support open science. One example of this is the need to ensure that the metadata (the essential descriptors that tell you for example where a sample that’s collected for research came from and when, or how it relates to a wider research project or publication) are consistent. Without consistency of metadata, searching for research, making it openly available or linking it together is much less efficient, if not impossible.

Of course there are practices in place at individual institutions as well as national organisations. The soon-to-be-combined organisations -Australian National Data Service, the National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources project and Research Data Services (ANDS-Nectar-RDS) – are supported by national infrastructure funding. These provide support for data-heavy research (including for example the adoption of FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable standards for data).

But without coherent national funding and coordination, specifically for open science initiatives, we won’t get full value from the physical infrastructure just funded.




Read more:
How the insights of the Large Hadron Collider are being made open to everyone


What we need

What’s needed now? First, a specific recognition of the need for cash to support this open, soft infrastructure. There are a couple of models for this.

In an article last year it was suggested that libraries (but this could equally be funders – public or philanthropic) should be committing around 2.5% of their budget to support open initiatives. There are some international initiatives that are developing specific funding models – SCOSS for Open Science Services and NumFocus for software.

But funding on its own is not enough: we need a coordinated national approach to open scholarship – making research available for all to access through structures and tools that are themselves open and not proprietary.

Though there are groups that are actively pushing forward initiatives on open scholarship in Australia – such as the Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, the Council of Australian University Librarians, and the Learned Academies as well as the ARC and NHMRC who have open access policies – there is no one organisation with the responsibility to drive change across the sector. The end result is inadequate key infrastructure – for example, for interoperability between research output repositories.

We also need coherent policy. The government recognised a need for national and states policies on open access in its response to the 2016 Productivity Commission Inquiry on Intellectual Property, but as yet no policy has appeared.




Read more:
Universities spend millions on accessing results of publicly funded research


It’s reasonable to ask whether in the absence of a national body that’s responsible for developing and implementing an overall approach, what the success of a policy on its own would be. Again, there are international models that could be used.

Sweden has a Government Directive on Open Access, and a National Body for Coordinating Open Access chaired by the Vice-chancellor of Stockholm University.

The Netherlands has a National Plan for Open Science with wide engagement, supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. In that country, the Secretary of State, Sander Dekker, has been a key champion.

The EU has had a long commitment to open science, underscored recently by the appointment of a high-level envoy with specific responsibility for open science, Robert-Jan Smits.

Private interests might take over

Here’s the bottom line: national coordinated support for the soft infrastructure that supports open science (and thus the big tangible infrastructure projects announced) is not just a “nice to have”.

One way or another, this soft infrastructure will get built and adopted. If it’s not done in the national interest, for-profit companies will step into the vacuum.

We risk replicating the same issues we have now in academic publishing – which is in the hands of multi-billion dollar companies that report to their shareholders, not the public. It’s clear how well that is turning out – publishers and universities globally are in stand offs over the cost of publishing services, which continue to rise inexorably, year on year.


The Conversation


Read more:
Publisher pushback puts open access in peril


Virginia Barbour, Director, Australasian Open Access Strategy Group, Queensland University of Technology

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

All the flavours of FAIR, fair & F.A.I.R

The word fair can mean many different things to many different people, but it’s generally a description of activities or processes which are just, equitable and reasonable. Within scholarship it’s been used as an acronym FAIR (Freedom of Access to Information and Resources) for the ongoing campaign for an open democratic society where everyone can access information. In 2015, fairness was found in another acronym in the F.A.I.R. Data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). Created to support knowledge discovery and innovation and to promote sharing and reuse of data, these principles informed the development of the F.A.I.R. Access policy statement in 2016 for all Australian publicly funded research outputs.

 

The concept of fairness has implications for how journals should be run. “Fair Open Access” has been a rallying cry for researchers seeking to achieve fair, low-cost journal open access. In 2017 a group of researchers and librarians formalized Fair Open Access principles for journals and the Fair Open Access Alliance. The basic principles are:

1. The journal has a transparent ownership structure, and is controlled by and responsive to the scholarly community.
2. Authors of articles in the journal retain copyright.
3. All articles are published open access and an explicit open access licence is used.
4. Submission and publication is not conditional in any way on the payment of a fee from the author or its employing institution, or on membership of an institution or society.
5. Any fees paid on behalf of the journal to publishers are low, transparent, and in proportion to the work carried out.

The Fair Open Access Alliance is currently working on disciplinary organizations aimed at helping journals flip from a subscription model to Fair OA, and have so far started LingOA, MathOA and PsyOA. The Alliance includes independent journals already practising Fair OA principles, flipped journals, and other institutional members with a strong belief in FairOA. The idea is to share resources and harmonize journal practices. In working towards spreading Fair journal practices, it’s hoped the debate about Green vs Gold OA is forgotten and the movement yields a way forward towards a goal of the conversion of the entire body of scholarly literature to Fair Open Access.

Drafted in 2015, the FAIR Data Principles are a framework for thinking about sharing data in a way that will enable maximum use and reuse.  The principles have been recognised by organisations including FORCE11, NIH and the European Commission.  The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) says they are useful because they:

  • support knowledge discovery and innovation
  • support data and knowledge integration
  • promote sharing and reuse of data
  • are discipline independent and allow for differences in disciplines
  • move beyond high level guidance, containing detailed advice on activities that can be undertaken to make data more FAIR
  • help data and metadata to be ‘machine readable’, supporting new discoveries through the harvest and analysis of multiple datasets.

ANDS says not only will researchers benefit professionally by making their data FAIR, the entire research community will be better off.  Benefits include:

  • gaining maximum potential from data assets
  • increasing the visibility and citations of research
  • improving the reproducibility and reliability of research
  • staying aligned with international standards and approaches
  • attracting new partnerships with researchers, business, policy and broader communities
  • enabling new research questions to be answered
  • using new innovative research approaches and tools
  • achieving maximum impact from research.

The example below shows what it looks like when the components of F.A.I.R. for research outputs are applied to an Australian research project comprising a thesis, paper and data set – on penguin poo in the Antarctic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the first webinar of our 2018 series we discussed the future of all types of FAIR in scholarly publishing. Joining the AOASG’s Ginny Barbour were Keith Russell, Partnerships Program Manager from the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and Alex Holcombe, Associate Editor of Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science.