Stepping into the world of YouTube was never a calculated career move for me. It was more of a serendipitous stumble into…
This week is the International Open Access Week with the theme “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.”
This year’s theme highlights the individual and collective action required to ensure that equity is foundational. Pursuing structural equity requires global conversations and collaboration to understand the different needs that different communities have in knowledge-sharing systems and design for these important differences.
Open Access is therefore a key issue to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, since these rely on improved access to information and knowledge, therefore creating a clear link between Open Access, access to information, and sustainable development.
Trust in science
Trust in published research has maybe never been so important with pressing global challenges such as the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and also when it comes to climate change with the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 starting tomorrow in Glasgow, Scotland.
The global fight against COVID-19 both highlighted and accentuated the need for universal access to science as well as the potential of cooperation with the most obvious example in the rapid development and production of effective vaccines.
For that reason the heads of three UN agencies joined forces to appeal for a global push towards “open science”, citing the value of cooperation in the response to COVID-19 and the dangers of treating evidence-based knowledge as an exclusive asset, or simple matter of opinion.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Michelle Bachelet, UN human rights chief (OHCHR), said it was time to ensure the benefits of science could be shared by all.
In concert with Open Access Week, PLOS recently announced an agreement with the research libraries NorthEast Research Libraries (NERL) and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) providing them with unlimited publishing privileges in PLOS journals without incurring fees and lead to make research even more open.
PLOS introduced their Data Availability policy already in 2013, requiring all authors to make their data accessible upon acceptance, but also implemented tools to allow researchers to share additional elements of their research such as protocols and code.
One way to make research data open and accessible is to use a public data repository to share your data. When your data is in a repository—instead of an old hard drive, say, or even a supporting information file—its impact and its relevance are magnified. Lindsay Morton offers in The Official PLOS Blog how six ways of depositing data can maximize the impact of your science.
As Lindsay mentions, a 2020 study of more than 500,000 published research articles found articles that link to data in a public repository have a 25% higher citation rate on average than articles where data is available on request or as Supporting Information. PLOS offers an excellent guide on how to store and manage data and also recommends specific repositories.
We have on the ECR blog previously reported on Plan S and open science where a group of national research funding organizations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council (ERC) in 2018 announced the launch of cOAlition S, an initiative to make full and immediate Open Access to research publications a reality. It is built around Plan S and went into effect this year, meaning that “all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.”
Towards Open Science
All these actions have made a further important push towards open science, but also increased the problem with so-called predatory publishers accentuating the need for more regulatory measures (I will get back to this in my next post), so the quest for open science and open access is still an ongoing project. Luckily we are moving in the right direction.