Weekly digest: transformative open access, young researchers and legal battles

Akhil Bansal

This week, we explore what open access means for young researchers and focus on the discussions regarding registered reports and transformative agreements. We also share a webinar on open access publishing platforms and a newly designed 14-module curriculum on open research principles.

To read:

What does open access mean for young researchers? via Horizons | 8-minute read

The author of this blog post discusses how the ideals of open access affect young researchers by opening up the horizons of what counts as a scientific achievement beyond traditional research publications to include open data sets, article visibility and social media activity. Although the author believes this has more benefits than drawbacks, it may be associated with a greater workload and burden on young researchers.

Sci-Hub faces new legal action via Nature | 9-minute read

Sci-Hub, the popular but controversial website that offers access to millions of pirated research papers and books, faces a copyright law case in India. Presented in Delhi’s highest court, the American Chemical Society, Elsevier and Wiley say that the website infringes their copyright and ask the court to instruct Internet service providers in India to block access to it. Sci-Hub’s founder Alexandra Elbakyan argues that, in India, copyright is “not applicable in cases such as Sci-Hub, when [material] is required for science and education”. Although the case’s next hearing is scheduled for the 16th of December 2021, legal experts warn that it could carry on for years.

Transformative open access agreements via Typeset | 8-minute read

The author of this post discusses transformative open access agreements, which are agreements negotiated between research institutions and publishers in which former subscription expenditures are repurposed to support open access publishing for the institutions’ authors. This article describes the different types of transformative agreements, how they work, and their benefits and challenges.

An update on registered reports via The Publication Plan | 5-minute read

Registered reports (RRs), a publication format offering peer review and in-principle acceptance of a manuscript before a piece of research is conducted, are gaining popularity. A recent study has shown that RRs improve research quality compared with traditional papers, without impacting innovation.

To watch:

Open access publishing platforms webinar via Youtube | 80-minute watch

This webinar from SPARC Europe brought together voices from Croatia, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain to share their perspectives on building and running open access publishing platforms and how these have evolved over time. The panellists touched upon challenges they had encountered and shared the lessons they had learned by collaborating. They also talked about their future plans to increase collaboration, both locally and internationally.

To engage with:

Learn about open research principles via Framework for Open and Reproducible Research Training

Christopher Eaker, Data Curation Librarian at University of Tennessee Libraries, has developed the Open Research Toolkit, a series of training modules on various topics within open research. The 14 modules cover a broad range of topics, including the open research ecosystem, principles and practices of open research, citizen science, open peer review, open licencing, and open data and software. All resources can be found here, and accompanying videos are publicly accessible on YouTube.

Have you read our recommendations for plain language summaries of peer-reviewed medical journal publications? Find out more here and join the discussion on social media using the hashtag #PlainLanguageSummaries!