Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Steph Macdonald

Featuring the current predictions for publishing trends in 2020, draft guidance on how to implement the DORA principles in research organizations and a new international observatory to tackle predatory publishers.

Predicting the publishing landscape in 2020 via The Scientist and Times Higher Education

The last few years have seen major changes in the scientific publishing ecosystem, with a global push for open access. An article published in The Scientist predicts that 2020 will be no different.

In 2019 cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders, announced plans for all publications resulting from publicly funded research to be open access from 2021. Despite wide uptake in Europe, Plan S has yet to gain traction globally, with many countries choosing to develop their own open access policies. Earlier this week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a new mandate that requires the immediate open access publication of federally funded research. While the mandate itself does not come as a surprise, the administration was expected to provide a notice period of 1–3 years before removing the 12-month embargo period that is currently granted to publications. Unsurprisingly, the mandate has been met with criticism from the Association of American Publishers, who have argued that the new requirement will damage a significant sector of their economy. Lead architect of Plan S, Robert-Jan Smits, has stated that the US mandate will be a “major boost” to the global open access movement.

Other key developments in the publishing world for 2020 include the rise of transformative agreements (contracts between a publisher and a library or group of libraries to move away from subscription-based reading and towards open access publishing), increased efforts to tackle ‘leakage’ of research outputs through the new Get Full Text Research (GetFTR) tool and the growth of academic publishing in China. While the future of academic publishing remains uncertain, it is clear that 2020 will be a pivotal year for the global open access movement.

Draft guidance explores how to implement the DORA principles via The Wellcome Trust

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) calls for improvements in the way that scholarly research is evaluated. As part of their 2021 Open Access Policy, the Wellcome Trust will require all Wellcome-funded research organizations to adhere to DORA principles. Specifically, the Wellcome Trust will require organizations to:

  • display an accessible statement of commitment to the DORA principles on their websites
  • have a plan in place, or be in the process of developing a plan, to implement DORA principles
  • have a process in place, or be developing a process, to monitor principle implementation and report on progress.

In the draft guidance released early this week, the Wellcome Trust encourages organizations to be transparent and proactive in sharing their approaches to implement the DORA principles. Stakeholders are invited to share their comments on the draft guidelines, using a short survey, by 24 February 2020.

Unifying the attack on predatory publishers via Times Higher Education

The closure of Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers in 2017 left a gap in the market, which has since been filled with a number of alternative journal blacklists and whitelists. However, there is a lack of consensus among these resources as to what constitutes a predatory journal or publisher. As suggested by a group of scientists, funders, publishing societies and librarians, a better way to tackle predatory publishers is through the formation of an international observatory. Characterized by sharing false or misleading information and poor editorial and publishing practices, predatory journals or publishers are “entities that prioritise self-interest at the expense of scholarship” as defined by the new observatory. While the observatory has made steps towards unifying the scholarly community’s approach to tackling predatory publishers, they have yet to address issues surrounding poor peer-review practices.

F1000 – the new member of the Taylor & Francis Group via Editor Resources

Today, Taylor & Francis announced their acquisition of open research platform F1000 Research. In their announcement, Taylor & Francis state that this will be a great opportunity to harness F1000 Research’s experience of challenging current publishing practices.