Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring the abandonment of negotiations between German universities and Elsevier; a letter supporting open citations and the Indian government’s struggle against predatory journals.

Hundreds of German universities set to lose access to Elsevier journals via Nature

Despite long-term negotiations between Elsevier and approximately 200 German universities on journal subscription prices and the availability of immediate open access, no agreement has been reached between the two sides. German universities will therefore lose access to Elsevier journals by the new year. Open-access advocates believe that Germany’s firm stance could herald profound changes to the publishing model. Similar negotiations are ongoing between Germany and Springer Nature, but a 1-year extension of existing subscription contracts has been agreed in the meantime.

Should peer reviewers examine data sets and code? via ASAPbio

One of the primary aims of many scientific papers is to present and discuss data. It may therefore seem odd that the data that underpin research are not accessible by referees at the time of peer review, even if made available after publication. In this article, a long-time advocate of allowing reviewers access to data as part of their reviews presents the pros and cons of doing so, and promotes the idea of including more data specialists in reviews.

An open letter in support of open citations via ISSI

This open letter, addressed to scholarly publishers, was written as part of the initiative for open citations. The letter urges publishers who have not yet made their citation data openly available, specifically the American Chemical Society, Elsevier, IEEE and Wolters Kluwer Health who are named in the article, to do so in order to support research in the increasingly important field of scientometrics.

The Indian government overshoots in attempts to stop predatory publishers via Nature Index

This article looks at the unfortunate fallout of the policy by India’s University Grants Commission to disregard any research published in ‘paid journals’ when evaluating their academics in an attempt to crack down on predatory publishers. Unfortunately, the restriction was not exclusive to predatory journals and also includes many legitimate paid journals, causing a major problem for many Indian academics.

The discussion about preprints in medicine is one worth having via JAMA

This article, although not necessarily in favour of preprints, expresses the opinion that they must not be dismissed out of hand. This is a promising sentiment, considering that the article was published by JAMA, a journal with a policy of ‘discouraging’ authors from submitting preprinted articles. The author suggests that discussions on the use of preprints can be condensed into a simple, important question: is the benefit of fast publication outweighed by the risk of disseminating misinformation?

Image courtesy of Max Pixel