“Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge”: Open Access Week 2019

Re-post from Nick Shockey (SPARC) on behalf of the 2019 Open Access Week Advisory Committee

As the transition to a system for sharing knowledge that is open by default accelerates, the question “open for whom?” is essential—both to consider and to act upon. Whose interests are being prioritized in the actions we take and in the platforms that we support? Whose voices are excluded? Are underrepresented groups included as full partners from the beginning? Are we supporting not only open access but also equitable participation in research communication? These questions will determine the extent to which emerging open systems for research will address inequities in the current system or replicate and reinforce them.

This year’s theme will build on the groundwork laid last year when discussions focused on “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The 2018 theme highlighted the importance of making a central commitment to equity as we transition toward new systems for sharing knowledge, and the past twelve months have only seen the pace of that transition increase. Because of this, the Open Access Week Advisory Committee decided it was important to focus on equity again in 2019—to deepen our conversations about being inclusive by design and to turn those conversations into action.

We find ourselves at a critical moment. The decisions we make now—individually and collectively—will fundamentally shape the future for many years to come. As open becomes the default, all stakeholders must be intentional about designing these new, open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable, and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community. Asking ourselves and our partners “open for whom?” will help ensure that considerations of equity become and remain central in this period of transition.

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 21st through the 27th; however, those celebrating the week are encouraged to schedule local events whenever is most suitable during the year and to utilize themes that are most effective locally.

The global, distributed nature of Open Access Week will again play a particularly important role in this year’s theme. Strategies and structures for opening knowledge must be co-designed in and with the communities they serve—especially those that are often marginalized or excluded from these discussions altogether.

International Open Access Week is an important opportunity to catalyze new conversations, create connections across and between communities that can facilitate this co-design, and advance progress to build more equitable foundations for opening knowledge—discussion and action that must continue throughout the year, year in and year out. Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be prioritized year-round and integrated into the fabric of the open community, from how our infrastructure is built to how we organize community events.

For more information about International Open Access Week, please visit www.openaccessweek.org. The official twitter hashtag for the week is #OAWeek, and we encourage those having discussions around this year’s theme in the lead up to the week to use the hashtag #OpenForWhom.

Graphics for this year’s Open Access Week theme are available at http://www.openaccessweek.org/page/graphics

About SPARC
SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at sparcopen.org.

About International Open Access Week
International Open Access Week is a global, community-driven week of action to open up access to research. The event is celebrated by individuals, institutions and organizations across the world, and its organization is led by a global advisory committee. The official hashtag of Open Access Week is #OAweek.

Global Open Infrastructure Initiative launched

The AOASG welcomes, and is thrilled to be a part of this exciting new global initiative Invest In Open Infrastructure.

We have been vocal in calling for the need for infrastructure for open scholarship including following the Australian Federal Budget and ahead of the recent Australian election and we hope that this new initiative will provide a further global push for open infrastructure. Workshops and webinars on this initiative are listed here – the first on May 28.


Invest In Open Infrastructure (IOI) is a global initiative to increase the availability and sustainability of open knowledge infrastructure.

The needs of today’s diverse scholarly communities are not being met by the existing largely uncoordinated scholarly infrastructure, which is dominated by vendor products that take ownership of the scholarly process and data without appropriate governance and oversight from the communities they serve. We imagine a world in which communities of researchers, scholars, and knowledge workers across the globe are fully enabled to share, discover, and collaborate using tools and platforms that are designed to interoperate and complement one another rather than compete and exclude.

IOI will consist of two functions, one is an assessment and recommendation framework that will regularly survey the landscape of open scholarly infrastructure with respect to its functionality, usage, health and financial needs and make funding recommendations for that infrastructure.

IOI’s second function will coordinate funds to follow the recommendations of the framework. Coordinating financial resources from institutions, agencies and foundations, we will work to increase the overall funding available to emerging and critical infrastructure.

IOI grew out of last year’s Joint Roadmap for Open Scholarly Tools (JROST) and within the context of Plan S, the European Open Science Cloud, the US NAS Open Science by Design effort, SCOSS, AmeliCA, and the UC Declaration of Rights and Principles to Transform Scholarly Communication. It’s clear that while the advances of digital scholarship have resulted in many benefits, that scientists and scholars who generally work in the public interest have a need for more open infrastructure which mirrors their social focus.

As Geoffrey Bilder, Jennifer Lin and Cameron Neylon put it in 2015: “Everything we have gained by opening content and data will be under threat if we allow the enclosure of scholarly infrastructures.”

IOI is a collaboration between many, including the Joint Roadmap for Open Scholarly Tools (JROST), SPARC Europe, SPARC, Mapping the Scholarly Communication Infrastructure, Open Research Funders Group (ORFG), OPERAS, and the Open Platforms Group.

IoI’s steering committee includes Ginny Barbour (Australasian Open Access Strategy Group), Arianna Becerril (Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México), Leslie Chan (University of Toronto Scarborough), Raym Crow (SPARC), Peg Fowler (Hypothesis), Heather Joseph (SPARC), Pierre Mounier (OPERAS), Cameron Neylon (Curtin Univ), David Lewis (Mapping the Scholarly Communications Infrastructure), Lucy Ofiesh (Center for Open Science), Vanessa Proudman (SPARC Europe), Kristen Ratan (Coko Foundation), Danielle Robinson (Code for Science and Society), Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Katherine Skinner (Educopia), Ina Smith (Academy of Science of South Africa), Greg Tananbaum (Open Research Funders Group), Evviva Weinraub (Northwestern), Dan Whaley (Hypothesis), and Maurice York (University of Michigan).

This is the beginning of a process for which community feedback, a truly global perspective, and participation by all stakeholders will be critical to its success.

With this announcement, IOI:

As next steps we will be securing funding to support several leadership positions, and will be recruiting in both Europe, the United States and beyond. Prospective candidates or those with recommendations should email info@investinopen.org.

We appreciate the various voices who have shared their perspective about this effort:

Chris Bourg, Director of Libraries, MIT

“With the right infrastructure, created and sustained by and for the scholarly community, we have the potential to fully unleash our cumulative knowledge on solving the world’s greatest challenges and addressing growing information inequality. Global, collective investment in open community owned infrastructure is essential to the future of open science.

Creating a future where ‘enduring, abundant, equitable, and meaningful access to information serves to empower and inspire humanity’ (our vision at MIT Libraries) requires global collaboration and new means of collective investment in infrastructure that reflects and supports the values we hold dear in academia and knowledge-producing communities everywhere.”

Dr. Virginia Barbour, Director Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG)

“The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group recognises the critical need for sustainable, open infrastructure to support open scholarship. The increasing consolidation of scholarly infrastructure in the hands of commercial organisations poses a substantial threat to the future of open scholarship and its transformative potential, and risks mirroring the position we currently see in the ownership of journals. We therefore welcome the formation of the Invest In Open Infrastructure initiative, supports its aims and look forward to collaborating in future.”

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities

“The African Higher Education Institutions and the communities of researchers, scholars, and other global knowledge workers need products, tools and infrastructure to fully enable them to share, discover, and work together. The ownership of the scholarly process and data must remain with the researchers who produce it. The Association of African Universities supports the creation of open infrastructure systems to enable research and knowledge communities to work in more integrated, collaborative and strategic ways.”

David Prosser, Executive Director, RLUK (Research Libraries United Kingdom)

“In the UK we have long recognised the value of open infrastructure for open scholarship — for example, though our long-term funding of resources such as the SHERPA/RoMEO database or Directory of Open Access Journals. However, we also recognise the challenges in building and maintaining these resources in a sustainable manner. As UK funders further refine their open access policies having signed Plan S, open infrastructure becomes ever more important for our authors and institutions. We therefore very much welcome further coordinated efforts to provide the basic underpinnings of a fair and equitable open system of scholarly communications.”

Karina Batthyány, CLACSO’s Executive Secretary, and Dominique Babini, CLACSO’s Open Access Advisor

“The Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) — a network of 680 research institutions in 52 countries — welcomes and congratulates the Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) initiative. In Latin America, where research and scholarly communications are mainly publicly-funded, community-led, free to read and publish, and has active regional open infrastructures, there is a strong need for international coordination to raise our governments awareness of the need of public investment in open science/open access/open evaluation indicators infrastructures. And global collective investment is needed to strengthen the existing regional initiatives in our region to adapt its infrastructure and procedures to comply with growing demands of open science and evaluation review, and to be able to contribute to the advancement of community-controlled open science infrastructure worldwide.”

David W. Lewis, Dean Emeritus of the IUPUI University Library

“Digital technology, if it is open, has the potential to make the results of research and scholarship freely and easily available to everyone anywhere who wishes to use them. To make this possible requires an open infrastructure to support the discovery, access, evaluation, and preservation of research results. Today the available open infrastructure is underfunded and uncoordinated. It is simply not up to the task. It requires more and wiser investment. This is what the IOI initiative seeks to provide. It is a critical step in creating the system of scholarly communication the world, with all the challenges we face, needs.”

Cameron Neylon, Co-author of the Principles for Open Scholarly Infrastructures

“Infrastructure can be the great leveller. This was our core motivation in writing the Principles, that infrastructure built by the community, for the community, and with broader communities has the potential to solve existing problems, enable new classes of solution, and most importantly create value that is harnessed by the community and stays within it. The IOI initiative is a step towards reshaping what we are capable of in scholarly communications, by enabling the maintenance and building of platforms that enhance our collective capacity to build knowledge.”

 

There will be a webinar on

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

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

Tuwhera whakaahua: can indigenous perspectives help to transform scholarly communication?

Luqman Hayes, Scholarly Communications Team Leader, Auckland University of Technology

Luqman-Hayes-webinar#5
Luqman Hayes

The scholarly communication/open access discourse is not short on voices, which makes writing anything on the topic a somewhat fraught exercise.

It seems at times as though no amount of strong argument, lobbying and initiative is able to shift the discussion to a more transformative position offering viable, sustainable alternatives in the face of the status quo.

So why add another voice? Especially if it is to tell the story of setting up an open access journal publishing service at a university. This is not new, right? But what if the process of doing so revealed another way of considering the concept of open access?

Horopaki (context)

In October 2016 Auckland University of Technology (AUT) launched its journal hosting service with two peer-reviewed titles edited by AUT academics. The decision to do so had been in response to calls from academics within the University to provide such a hosting. Those calls led to a feasibility study by the Library in 2014, some University funds and a project which set out with fairly modest objectives and a narrow focus (You can read the full story here.)

Tuwhera (opening up)

Perhaps it was the thinking around the naming of the platform which enabled the aperture of those aims to broaden. Tuwhera is a te reo Māori word which can be translated as a stative verb (be open) or the modified noun forms (open, opening up). In choosing a Māori word for our service we wanted to acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi as well as to consider that the work we do and the way in which we do it can have a bicultural aspect to it.

Mindful of tokenism, we consulted with Māori members of academic staff at AUT around the naming of the service and when we launched, we did so with significant Māori elements or tikanga, as part of the ceremony, such as waiata (song) and karakia (blessing or prayer) to celebrate and bless Tuwhera.

The launch was held around the time of Open Access Week in 2016 when events and conversations taking place catalysed some of those wider possibilities: using Tuwhera for lay summaries of new and ongoing research or for launching entirely new publications to expose scholarship unique to the Pacific region not being disseminated elsewhere.

The definition of what we understood Tuwhera to be evolved. Our criteria for selecting journals was fast becoming outdated and we were presented with the opportunity of reconfiguring the platform so as to incubate new publications and offer new and non-traditional publishing opportunities to emerging and early career researchers alongside their more established peers. Tuwhera was taking on a kind of whānau (family) role, being a support and a guide and providing a home. An open home, if you will.

Akoranga (learnings)

It seemed as though there were lessons here from the Māori concepts underpinning our work, an insight which was echoed elsewhere, such as by Mal Booth in a blog post on ‘Revolutionising Scholarly Publishing’ in which he made similar observations about learning from indigenous approaches to sharing knowledge.

Such concepts in the context of Aotearoa might include Mātauranga Maori (Māori knowledge) – a complex and “open” system of knowing the world passed on through the layering of stories, wisdom and narratives and expressed via elements such as whakapapa (genealogy), kōrero (discussion), waiata (song) and whakatauki (proverbs).

Further evidence of how looking to indigenous worldviews might influence the scholarly communication environment can be found in Chris Cormack’s 2015 talk at Open Source Open Society on the application of Marae-based consensus building in developing free software as part of creating a commons-based future. Cormack cites several of the underlying principles of the marae (or Māori meeting house) and refers to a range of whakatauki which may usefully guide us away from the perspective of knowledge as residing with the individual.

Whakaahua (transformation)

As a team we have sought to bring shared values into the way in which we work, such as the African term Ubuntu (a person is a person through other people) which has similarities to the Maori concept of mana tangata- to be a person is not to stand alone but to be one with one’s people.

Might such a philosophical reassessment of the largely meritocratic, individualistic values and motivations which currently drive academic output help to shape a sustainable, culturally relevant, holistic and communitarian scholarly communication landscape?

The answer may be all of ours to discover, as the whakatauki states:

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive

You can hear more about Tuwhera and the influence of te Ao Maori (Maori worldview) on our work by listening to my webinar presentation from 15th August 2017.

Large Hadron Collider exhibit comes to town: an Open Access success story

By Sandra Fry

The world’s greatest scientific collaboration comes to Brisbane, Australia today with the opening of the Hadron Collider exhibit at the Queensland Museum.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the largest, most powerful particle accelerator ever built, consisting of a 27-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets which sits in a tunnel 100 metres underground at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

The project was dubbed the biggest science experiment of all time, and has involved thousands of scientists funded by hundreds of universities and governments around the world.

One of the most significant outcomes of the collaboration has been the very deliberate focus on ensuring the findings are available freely and openly.  The sciences have been leading the movement towards Open Access (OA) and an increasing number of Australian research organisations including universities, the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council policies have OA policies.  The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOASG) advocates on behalf of its member universities who are based in Australia and New Zealand and its affiliates to promote OA through collaboration and raising awareness.

One of the biggest discoveries to come from the LHC was in 2012 with the discovery of Higgs boson elementary particle – it was last remaining particle from the Standard Model of particle physics to be observed.  Australian Professor Geoffrey Taylor  (pictured below) is a director and chief investigator at the Centre of excellence in Particle Physics (CoEEP) at the University of Melbourne.  He was heavily involved in the Higgs boson discovery along with many other Australian scientists and said it came after decades of inquiry around across the globe.

geoff-taylor-1

“It was a very fundamental discovery, and it was a component of the Standard Model which was missing, but through this building of the Large Hadron Collider scope, its higher energies, higher intensities, we were capable of discovering the Hicks and we did.

“So that was a massive step forward for understanding the fundamental basis of the universe, and what particles are made of and what their basic interactions are.”

Professor Taylor said this LHC exhibition presents science on industrial scale, and that has benefits in the community.

“First of all it drives this collaboration for ventures in science and engineering, but on the other side of the coin, it involves major industrialisation and commercial involvement, and knowledge transfer.”

He said there is a large amount of technology which comes out of this research which is all publicly funded.

“Something like two or three times the turnover of what it would cost…. which I think it’s important for the public to know, it’s not just a drain … it generates growth.”

Much of the research being extracted from experiments using the LHC is made available around the globe via Open Access initiatives.

According to Dr Salvatore Mele, from CERN (pictured below), research in the field of physics has always been openly available.

salvatore-mele

“For more than half a century, researchers mailed each other hard copies of preprints, preliminary articles they had submitted for publication”  Dr Mele said, and now there are repositories like arXiv.org, all around the work hosting millions of  Open Access articles and preprints.

“Thanks to our Open Access initiative SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics), most of the articles in the field are also Open Access in their final peer-reviewed published version.

Dr Mele said that by aligning the mission of researchers, libraries, funding agencies and publishers it is possible to remove access barriers.

“Just imagine if all medical research was available to any single medical worker anywhere in the world,” he said.

Dr Mele said the impact of these scientific discoveries being available freely and openly has enormous impact on the research community.

“We have a way to measure how often these ‘preprints’, preliminary articles in our field, cite each other. This means that by being openly and freely available,ideas can spread before being formally published: we see that these citations happen up to one year before the day in which articles are published.

“Open Access accelerates science!” he said.

“Another way to measure impact is how often scientific articles are downloaded. While you cannot be sure this means someone has read them and got an idea – that of course cannot happen if you do not read the articles. We have been amazed to see that journals that SCOAP3 has made openly accessible on publisher web sites are downloaded twice as much as before.”  Five Australian universities are part of the consortium that supports SCOAP3, including two in Queensland, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Griffith University, as well as ANU, The University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia.

Dr Mele said the research community should not only share their work with peers in other disciplines, they should engage with libraries and funding agencies to support Open Access as part of the investment in research.

There is increasing pressure by funding agencies at national and international levels to embrace Open Access, Dr Mele said.

“Large charities, such as the Wellcome Trust and now the Gates Foundation, have been instrumental in moving this agenda and raise awareness in important areas in the life sciences and medical research, among others.

“In Europe, governments have agreed in the importance of Open Access in particular and Open Science in general: in May this year ministers of the European Union Member states concluded that Open Access should become the default for scientific publishing.

He said there are no negatives in making research open to everyone for free.

“In some fields there is hesitation about using them [open access journals], their reputation, and how to pay for them. In our field we see that research published in Open Access journals is downloaded twice as much as before, and by virtue of the fact that authors do not need to pay for this service, there are neither barriers nor hesitations,” Dr Mele said.

The Hadron Collider: Step Inside the World’s Greatest Experiment opens at the Queensland Museum & Sciencentre on December 9.

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 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].