Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring the new vigilante fighting predatory publishers, the use of blockchain technology for research, and an open access toolkit for institutions.

The reappearance of Beall’s list via Nature

The shutdown of Beall’s list at the beginning of 2017 came as a shock to many. The controversial list contained thousands of journals that University of Colorado Librarian Jeffrey Beall deemed illegitimate or predatory and was a key resource for many academics. Recently, an anonymous vigilante appears to have started up a second blacklist based upon Beall’s original and is gaining followers. The mysterious site manager is known to be a senior research assistant in the sciences, based in Europe, but beyond these details, little is known about them.

Introducing ARTiFACTS – the first research platform based on blockchain technology via The Business Journal

Blockchain is the latest craze in the world of technology, and it has now come to research. The new ARTiFACTS platform that launched this week is a blockchain ledger like those used by crypto currencies such as bitcoin, in which a permanent, real-time record of all research contributions are made publicly available. Developers have said that the system’s benefits will include enhanced collaboration facilities, easy attribution for research activities and comprehensive indexing of research to be the three main advantages lent by the system to its users.

Reviewer recognition to be rolled out to 250 Taylor & Francis journals via Clarivate Analytics

Following a successful pilot collaboration between the reviewer recognition service Publons and the publisher Taylor & Francis, an extended collaboration between the two organizations was announced this week. Publons documents the vital contributions of reviewers to the process of academic publishing and credits reviewers, who can then use their peer review history to bolster their CVs. The service has been highly popular among its users so far, and seems only set to grow.

New open access toolkit for institutions via Berkeley Library news

University of California, Berkeley Libraries have this week released a toolkit to support institutions on their journey towards open access. The Pathways to Open Access toolkit contains an analysis of the various options available to institutions, as well as summaries of approaches that could be adopted by prospective institutions.

Preprint: large scale analysis of open access in scientific publications via SocRxiv

Complementing Piwowar et al’s recent paper published in PeerJ, which used data from the Unpaywall database, this analysis looks at the data within another major database of scholarly work: Google Scholar. The preprint breaks down the prevalence of open access publications by field and by country and analyses associated trends. Like Piwowar et al, the authors conclude that open access scientific publishing is growing fast, but they call for greater clarity on the different kinds of open access available and a rationalization of the multitude of confusing options and policies currently presented to authors.