Weekly Digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring whether or not funder open access platforms are a good idea, the positive impact of Unpaywall, and explaining preprints to those new to open science.  

Are funder open access platforms a good idea? via LSE Blogs

Since the launch of the Wellcome Trust’s open access platform Wellcome Open Research (WOR) in November 2016, many major funders of scientific research, including the European Union, have either launched their own platform or pledged to follow suit. In the year following its launch, WOR was the fifth most popular publishing destination for Wellcome-funded researchers. But what are the pros and cons of these platforms? There are certainly many benefits. They can help funders to achieve open access targets faster and make open access publishing cheaper. For researchers, they can lower the administrative burden associated with submissions to academic journals. There are potential shortcomings, however: some fear potential conflicts of interest arising if funders start becoming the gatekeepers of quality for their own research, an accusation that industry funders considering such platforms may find intimidating. Funder-based platforms may also be difficult or inappropriate for smaller funders to develop, and could increase the risk of over-reliance on a provider that cannot easily be changed. To circumvent these problems, the article recommends funders to listen to researchers and other stakeholders, and to make their platforms as transparent and interoperable as possible.

All you need to know about preprints in 2 minutes via Mind Hacks

The latest in a series of open science explainers from Mind Hacks, this 2-minute read has been developed as a primer on preprints, to give readers a concise summary of the fundamentals of this topic. Already know all about preprints? Share it with someone who doesn’t! Other pieces in the series focus on trial pre-registration, the Open Science Framework, and study reproducibility.

The astonishing success of Unpaywall via Nature

Unpaywall, the product of an all-night hackathon in 2011, has made research easier to access for millions of researchers and has enabled detailed research into open access trends, particularly now that the Unpaywall database has been integrated with Scopus and Web of Science. This article explores just how profound an effect Unpaywall has had in the publishing world, quantifying the expansion in access brought about by this nifty browser extension.

Kudos and using the REST API to track impact via Crossref blogs

This piece aims the spotlight at Kudos, a platform that uses Crossref’s information structure to plan, manage and measure the dissemination of scholarly outputs so that visibility and impact can be maximized. Kudos has used Crossref’s API for years to track metadata of its affiliates’ publications, but only recently has it been able to retrieve citation counts for a given DOI (a unique and unchangeable identifier associated with a research output) to add to its ‘basket of metrics’. This new offering has been made possible thanks to the use of the REST API, which houses assorted metadata deposited by Crossref’s member organizations.