Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Akhil Bansal

This week, we highlight a joint statement and position paper aimed at improving access to e-books and e-textbooks in higher education in the UK. We also consider the role of health literacy training, open grant proposals and greater data agility in furthering equity and inclusion in scientific research. Finally, we evaluate the application and success of cOAlition S’ Rights Retention Strategy.

Increasing access to e-book and e-textbook content via Jisc | 3-minute read

A wide range of bodies and groups from the higher education sector, including Jisc, have endorsed a joint statement and position paper calling for affordable pricing models for e-books and e-textbooks. The authors of the statement argue that e-books and e-textbooks are central to learning and teaching and that they should be made available for students and library users to borrow without having to purchase their own copies. As a result, the authors pledge to work collectively to negotiate better terms, work with teaching staff to signpost affordable alternatives, and influence policy so that students and teachers in UK further and higher education can gain equitable and sustainable access to e-books and e-textbooks.

Health literacy as a vehicle for equity and inclusion in science via InformED | 35-minute listen

An InformED podcast from two health literacy and communication experts, Laurie Myers (Director, Global Health Literacy and Oncology Health Equity at Merck) and Stacy Robison (Founder and Owner of CommunicateHealth), on the interplay between health literacy and equity and diversity in science. Specifically, Laurie and Stacy discuss the essential role of health literacy in achieving greater equity and inclusion in healthcare communications. They also talk about the need for greater intentionality in the work of health communication professionals and the importance of plain language summaries in particular.

The merits of open grant proposals via LSE Blogs | 6-minute read

The author of this blog post argues the case that grant proposals that meet the basic requirements for scientific merit and rigour should be posted online, for example, in a centralized database. This would lead to increased accountability in funding and research activities, more opportunities for collaboration and a wider view into current areas of scientific research.

Data agility and open access science via Data Agility | 2-minute read

Data Agility Day, which focuses on how to shorten the distance between data and decision-making, is on 21 October 2021. The sessions will include talks by speakers from organizations and initiatives involved in open access and collaboration in scientific research. Yossi Synett – Chief Data Scientist at StuffThatWorks, a platform that crowdsources patient treatment experiences – will give a talk about using machine learning and user-driven, open access big data digestion to improve patient inclusion in research and generate healthcare insights. Registration for all the talks is free.

Evaluating the Rights Retention Strategy via cOAlition S | 4-minute read

The author of this blog post evaluates the application and success of the Rights Retention Strategy (RSS). The RRS was developed by cOAlition S to give researchers supported by cOAlition S organizations the freedom to submit manuscripts for publication to their journal of choice, including subscription journals, while remaining fully compliant with Plan S. The author highlights the broad-ranging uptake of the RSS within science, technology, engineering and maths as well as health and social science research.

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