Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Caitlin Edgell

This week, we learn about several new agreements that have been signed between various universities and publishers. We also look at a new podcast sharing the stories behind open science and explore the disparities in article processing charges. Finally, we celebrate the success of rapid results platform Wellcome Open Research.

New agreement secures open access rights for German universities via SAGE Publishing | 1-minute read

SAGE Publishing has entered into an agreement to secure open access publishing rights for researchers at over 100 German academic institutions. The agreement, which came into effect in January and will last for three years, ensures that article processing charges are covered or discounted for authors publishing in over 1000 hybrid and gold open access journals from SAGE. Hildegard Schäffler (Head of Serials, Licensing and Electronic Publishing at Bayerische Staatsbibliothek), who negotiated the deal, hopes that this transformative agreement will “contribute to the process of transition to full open access”.

MIT authors can publish fee-free in PLOS journals via MIT Libraries | 2-minute read

Two new agreements have also been negotiated between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries and open access publisher PLOS. Under the agreements, MIT researchers will be able to publish in all PLOS journals with no fees for the authors themselves. Under this Community Action Publishing agreement, papers published by MIT authors will also be made available to researchers in countries that are part of Research4Life, an organization that provides institutions in low-and middle-income countries with access to academic content.

BMJ Publishing Group signs read-and-publish agreements in Germany, Sweden and the UK via ALPSP | 2-minute read

Never one to be outdone, the BMJ Publishing Grouphas signed not one, not two, but three new publishing agreements. The new read-and-publish agreements with Bibsam Consortium in Sweden, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Germany and Jisc in the UK will provide researchers at participating institutions with access to BMJ Publishing Group’s portfolio of over 60 journals. The agreements also allow members to publish open access in the group’s collection of hybrid journals.

Podcast series shares the stories behind open science via Anchor | 4-minute listen

A new podcast series aims to share stories about people’s experiences with open science. The show, which is hosted by Heidi Seibold (team leader at the Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Unit) will cover all aspects of open access, from open hardware to open peer review. Listen to the first episode now!

Higher impact means higher fees via BMJ Open | 25-minute read

High-impact researchers may accrue higher article processing charges than general researchers, finds this paper published in BMJ Open. The authors of the paper randomly selected 246 high-impact medical researchers and 241 general medical researchers, then identified all the research and review articles these researchers published in 2019. The authors then calculated the potential article processing charges that may have been paid to publish these articles. The authors suggest that the disparity in fees may be due to high-impact researchers publishing in higher-impact factor journals with higher article processing charges. The study also found that, on average, high-impact researchers publish a larger number of articles, but general researchers publish in fully open access journals more frequently.

Success for rapid results platform Wellcome Open Research via Wellcome Open Research Blog | 6-minute read

Online publisher Wellcome Open Research had a record year in 2020. The platform, which offers rapid and transparent publication of manuscripts written by Wellcome-funded researchers, saw a 40% increase from 2019 to 2020 in the number of articles it published. It also became the most popular venue for Wellcome-funded researchers to share their research, beating open access journals like PLOS One and BMJ Open. Wellcome Open Research was launched in 2016 and encourages researchers to share non-conventional articles, such as protocols and papers reporting negative results, that authors may struggle to publish in more traditional venues.

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