Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring the purchase of paywall-vaulting start-up Kopernio by Clarivate Analytics, the addition of patent data to Altmetric, and a new decree on data-sharing from the Chinese government.

Start-up that finds free versions of paywalled articles acquired by Clarivate Analytics via Nature

Kopernio is a free Internet browser extension that offers its users legal, ‘one-click’ access to free versions of paywalled articles. As well as linking to free versions of articles available across the web, Kopernio can interface with institutional login systems, thereby making it easier for affiliates to take advantage of their institution’s subscription. Clarivate Analytics announced this week that it has acquired the London-based start-up and plans to integrate the browser plug-in with its popular scholarly search engine, Web of Science.

Access to Springer journals yet to be revoked for French universities who ended their subscriptions via Times Higher Education

As the standoff between French universities and the publisher Springer continues, representatives of the Couperin consortium of French universities have said that, as with German universities and Elsevier, the institutions seem to have called Springer’s bluff. Although subscriptions to about half of Springer’s journals were cancelled by 100 Couperin members at the beginning of the year following protracted and ultimately unsuccessful negotiations, access has not yet been revoked, a spokesperson said. The standoff reflects a shift in power between universities and publishers. While academics have an increasing spectrum of options for accessing scientific papers for free without an institutional subscription, publishers are still dependent both on subscriptions from universities and citations by their researchers.

Altmetric to begin using citations from patents via Altmetric

Altmetric has recently added a new data source to the collection of metrics it uses to determine Altmetric scores: patent citations. These data have been taken from a number of patent offices, located in many European countries, the USA and Australia. The aim of adding patent data is to facilitate the tracking of the commercialization and potential economic impact of individual research papers.

Should we move away from the idea of research ‘outputs’? via LSE blogs

This piece looks at the increasing prevalence of the term ‘outputs’ when describing material documenting the outcomes of research and suggests it may not be such a helpful term. ‘Output’ is defined as a raw measure of how much of something is produced by a given person, machine or industry. In these terms, the author argues, all research ‘outputs’ become treated and used as equivalent, when in all likelihood they are not. This language, it is argued, only compounds the ‘publish or perish’ mantra facing today’s researchers, and is something that should be avoided when possible.

It’s not just journals – congresses can be predatory too via Think. Check. Attend

Think Check Submit is an organization dedicated to helping researchers to avoid predatory publishers – but journals are not the only organizations that prey on unsuspecting researchers; many predatory congresses also exist. The Think. Check. Attend initiative has been developed to help researchers to evaluate the congresses to which they are considering submitting their work, including a free tool consisting of 12 ‘Yes/No’ questions that can be used to assess the legitimacy and academic credentials of a conference.

New decree requires Chinese research data to be added to national repositories ahead of journal submission via Science

China’s research output has been booming in recent years. In January of this year, China officially overtook the USA as the country publishing the largest number of scientific papers. Accompanying this recent push, the Chinese government has introduced new regulations calling for all research data to be submitted to government repositories before they can appear in publications and endorsing certain open access and data-sharing practices. Some types of research will be exempted from the calls for open access and open data, such as research deemed to involve state or business secrets, personal information or national security matters, and research for which open access would not be in the so-called ‘public interest’.