Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Tim Koder

Featuring controversial new EU online copyright legislation, an opinion piece on gold open access and Plan S published in the NEJM, a partnership between Kudos and DataCite and Open Pharma educational materials on open access

The European Parliament passes new legislation on online copyright via MIT Technology Review

This week, members of the European Parliament voted to pass Article 11 and Article 13, paving the way for a significant shift in online copyright law. The new legislation requires search engines to pay publishers for reproduced extracts of their content and increases the legal responsibility of online platforms such as YouTube for content that violates copyright. The passing of this new copyright law has been controversial among academics and technologists and followed an online petition against it that reached five million signatures. In this opinion piece, the author discusses some of the criticisms of the new legislation. Critics note that a few established publishers will receive the bulk of the revenue from search engines, and that the engines may decide to allow access to less information to avoid paying the publishers. Furthermore, automated filters that search for content that violates copyright will probably also filter out compliant content. If this is the case, the new legislation will not be beneficial to any of the involved parties (search engines, small publishers or users).

NEJM publishes opinion piece on gold open access publishing and Plan S via NEJM

In this opinion piece the author addresses the question of whether the gold open access model has accelerated research and advanced science, increased citations and driven down publishing costs. She deconstructs the model by arguing that gold open access publishing has increased costs, that articles published in subscription journals receive more citations than those published in open access journals, and that most scientists still prefer to submit their work to subscription journals. The author concludes that, given these summations, this is not the right time to insist that scientific content should be freely available online, as advocated by Plan S. It is not surprising that the article has been met with criticism. For example, the author of a blog post on protocols.io rebutted the claims raised in the NEJM article by arguing that costs have not come down with gold open access because many journals ‘double-dip’ for subscription and open access fees, that open access can accelerate science in ways beyond just increasing citations, and that scientists would agree to their articles being made open access when given the opportunity.

Kudos announces partnership with DataCite to help researchers communicate and track their work via Kudos

Kudos, a service that accelerates research impact through strategic communications management, announced this week a partnership with DataCite, an organization that provides Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for research data. Through this partnership, Kudos will provide researchers with DOIs for their research projects and programmes, allowing these outputs to be referenced and tracked more easily than before. To date, DOIs have primarily been attached to individual outputs such as articles and data sets. It is believed that the Kudos–DataCite partnership will allow project DOIs to be offered on a large scale for the first time.

Leading US universities are still not reporting clinical trial results on time via Nature

A report published this week by the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and TranspariMED showed that 63% of the universities that fund the largest proportion of trials in the USA failed to post study findings on ClinicalTrials.gov within 12 months of completion, as required by US law. Results of 31% of the trials funded by these universities that were due for reporting could not be found on the public trial registry. However, the findings of the study suggest that US universities have recently improved their trial reporting, with a previous analysis showing that 90% of all trials funded by US institutions between 2008 and 2015 were not reported on time.

Open Pharma releases educational materials on open access via Open Pharma

Although there has been an increasing trend towards open access publishing in recent years, the definition of open access and of the different types of open access options available is confusing and often poorly understood. There is also a lack of guidance on open access publishing, particularly for commercial research funders. To address these issues, Open Pharma has developed a set of educational slides on open access in collaboration with its members and supporters, which is available to download here.

Introducing the ScienceOpen collection of key articles on open science via ScienceOpen

This week, open science advocate Jon Tennant announced on Twitter that he has put together a collection of key peer-reviewed articles and preprints on open science, research and scholarship on the ScienceOpen publishing network. In his tweet, Tennant invites interested parties to suggest additional content that should be included in the collection.