Weekly digest: what’s happening in open science?

Sarah Hewitt

This week, we look at the open access publishing of articles from Horizon 2020-funded projects and hear about a recent statement from cOAlition S on the dissemination of academic books. In addition, we learn about several open access tools to help researchers to keep up to date with the academic literature and how researchers can best document their protocols and methods to increase reproducibility. Finally, we discover that millions of new articles will be uploaded to the shadow library Sci-Hub and hear about the issues surrounding the reporting of suspected fraud in the literature.

More than 80% of Horizon 2020 articles published open access via Science|Business | 3-minute read

According to a new report by the European Commission, 86% of publications derived from Horizon 2020-funded projects were published in open access journals. The report also found that the average cost of publishing an open access article funded by Horizon 2020 was around €2200. However, many researchers interviewed for the report said that paying article processing charges was often a difficult and lengthy process. Additionally, some researchers were unaware that they were eligible for reimbursement of the charges from the Horizon 2020 budget.

cOAlition S publishes statement on academic books via cOAlition S | 3-minute read

cOAlition S has issued a statement outlining five recommendations for open access to academic books. The recommendations, which follow Plan S principles but let cOAlition S organizations adopt their own interpretations, include making books based on original cOAlition S-funded research immediately open access, publishing books under a Creative Commons licence and ensuring authors retain intellectual property rights over academic books.

Open tools help researchers to keep up with the literature via Nature | 8-minute read

Current methods of keeping abreast of relevant literature via email alerts are leaving researchers with ‘feed fatigue’. The overwhelming volume of new, sometimes irrelevant, literature is often seen as impossible to keep up with. This article looks at several innovative open access tools that could help researchers to avoid information overload. Among these tools are Connected Papers, which creates maps of research related to single ‘origin’ papers, and Open Knowledge Maps, which creates maps based on keywords. Meanwhile, Feedly uses upvotes and downvotes to find relevant academic research, and ResearchRabbit uses a ‘Spotify’-style system of suggesting relevant articles related to an initial user-generated list.

How to make your protocols reproducible via Nature | 8-minute read

Accurate reporting of methodology is essential for the reproducibility of research. Poor documentation of methods may be due to a lack of incentives or training, or because of the false assumption that every lab works the same way, resulting in the omission of crucial details. This article provides some recommendations on how to make protocols more reproducible, including making use of electronic notebooks, depositing reagents in repositories and documenting procedures as soon as possible.

Millions of new articles uploaded to mark 10 years of Sci-Hub via TorrentFreak | 4-minute read

As Sci-Hub turns 10 years old, founder Alexandra Elbakyan has announced that she has uploaded more than 2.3 million new articles to the shadow library. Alexandra began Sci-Hub as a student in Kazakhstan when she could not access the research she needed because it was published behind paywalls. Since then, Sci-Hub has grown to accommodate almost 90 million research papers, but has changed domains several times owing to copyright infringements and legal action against the site.

The complexities of calling out fraud in the literature via The Scientist | 15-minute read

This article looks at several investigations that have aimed to weed out fabricated papers in the literature. Some of these suspect articles relate to serious and prominent public health concerns, such as COVID-19. Journals are highly variable in their responses to such suspect articles, with some having their own dedicated research-integrity teams that remove offending papers and others taking no action at all. In addition, the authors of papers accused of fabrication or fraud may not agree with the nature of the offence and may even threaten legal action.

We at Open Pharma would like to continue to encourage all our readers to look after themselves and their community and to continue to follow advice from their country’s government and health organizations.

Coronavirus mental health and well-being resources:

Mind UK

Mental Health Foundation UK

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention