Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Amy Williams

Featuring the ways publishers can help authors to escape admin work, researchers’ protests against Plan S and a new tool to assist authors to meet open access policy requirements.

I’m an author – get me out of here! via Oxford University Research Archive

Academics today have a lot on their plate: they must battle to secure funding, network and travel to find the best collaborators, while still having to conduct and publish as many research papers as they can. This discussion paper documents the added pressures that academics face on top of these already pressing demands, such as the administrative burden of paper submissions and the complexities of copyright agreements, and how publishers might seek to mitigate some of these problems. In an attempt to help publishers to remove ‘annoying practice’, this paper recommends that authors retain copyright with no restrictions, DOIs are issued upon acceptance, and that there is only one clearly defined open access option, without limitations on how long the paper is freely available for or which groups it can be shared with.

The woman leading the researcher pushback against Plan S via Nature

Earlier this month, an open letter was penned by a group of academics in opposition to the European Comission’s Plan S mandate. This was coordinated by Biochemistry Professor Lynn Kamerlin from Uppsala University, Sweden and has been signed by more than 950 fellow academics. In her interview with Nature, Professor Kamerlin outlines her arguments against the plan, which primarily revolve around the safeguarding of academic freedoms and the protection of the high-quality journals in her field that may struggle to change to an open access funding model successfully. While appreciating the shortcomings of the current ‘publish or perish’ system and its focus on high-impact journals, Kamerlin expresses her concerns that researchers involved in Plan S would be unable to publish in at least 80% of journals because under the plan’s current guidelines. Although Plan S’s creators hope publishers will make their journals compliant, if they don’t European researchers may be left unable to collaborate with researchers from countries not bound by Plan S. This would put them at a disadvantage in the pursuit of their academic careers compared to those not subject to the plan’s requirements.

Meeting funder open access requirements via Jisc

With so many funders implementing their own open access policies, researchers often find themselves at a loss as to how to meet conflicting requirements or what specific guidelines they must meet per research paper if their funding comes from multiple sources. This guide has been designed to help researchers by collating the links to the various databases in which policies are housed, and to provide tools that researchers will be able to use to find the best way to comply with these policies. One such tool is the Publications Router, which gathers information from publishers and feeds it through to the free institutional repositories in which a green open access version of the paper can be posted.

‘Open and Engaged’ at the British Library

Last month, the British Library hosted an event as part of Open Access Week, gathering experts in open access to give their perspectives on the open access landscape and the future of scholarly communication. Topics such as findability, public engagement and open access in the humanities, as well as overarching themes of the need for trust in the publishing system and the research it disseminates, were discussed. This blog post provides an overview of the event and highlights the key takeaways from the day.