Open Academic Book Publishing during COVID-19 Pandemic: A View on Romanian University Presses

Authors : Mariana Cernicova-Buca, Katalin Luzan

In the context of the 2020 public health crisis that discourages exchanges of physical objects in society, university-led publishing needed to rethink its operations. Worldwide the opening of quality scholarly content proved to be a solution.

University presses reacted rapidly and offered books according to the open access model. The present research aimed to map the editorial landscape of Romanian university presses, to identify the main features displayed online by the university presses parented by public universities and to highlight the readiness of these players to further open access academic books, especially in the time of the COVID-19 crisis.

The quantitative approach investigated the availability of e-books in the university presses’ portfolios, including the alignment to the open access scholarship movement, the use of social media accounts to promote the presses and the response of the presses to the challenges of the health crisis.

Out of the 46 active university presses, only six had open book titles in their portfolios and only one genuinely responded actively to the challenges posed by the need for electronic formats in 2020. Unless Romanian university presses modernize and restructure their modus operandi, they can prove irrelevant in the post-crisis period.

URL : Open Academic Book Publishing during COVID-19 Pandemic: A View on Romanian University Presses


Citations driven by social connections? A multi-layer representation of coauthorship networks

Authors : Christian Zingg, Vahan Nanumyan, Frank Schweitzer

To what extent is the citation rate of new papers influenced by the past social relations of their authors? To answer this question, we present a data-driven analysis of nine different physics journals.

Our analysis is based on a two-layer network representation constructed from two large-scale data sets, INSPIREHEP and APS. The social layer contains authors as nodes and coauthorship relations as links.

This allows us to quantify the social relations of each author, prior to the publication of a new paper. The publication layer contains papers as nodes and citations between papers as links.

This layer allows us to quantify scientific attention as measured by the change of the citation rate over time. We particularly study how this change correlates with the social relations of their authors, prior to publication.

We find that on average the maximum value of the citation rate is reached sooner for authors who have either published more papers, or who have had more coauthors in previous papers.

We also find that for these authors the decay in the citation rate is faster, meaning that their papers are forgotten sooner.

Creating Institution-Wide Awareness of, and Engagement with, Open Scholarship

Author : Eleanor Colla


Strategies for how, when, and why to communicate on the topics of Open Scholarship (OS) are many and varied. Here, the author reflects on how a small, regional university library went from a low knowledge base of OS to having OS more thoughtfully and thoroughly considered across many aspects of scholarship.


The author discusses how, over a three-year period, the library turned OS from being seen as a topic only the library deals with, to a nuanced conversation present across many levels of a university. This was done in three broad stages: first, upskilling librarians; second, reaching out to others working in this space and creating conversations across campus; and third, broadening conversations to different audiences whilst beginning to embed OS in institutional practices.


Collaborative engagement across various levels has worked well for this university. The library will continue this approach to further embed OS in the culture of the institution while looking to further collaborate across the institution, and working with colleagues and OS advocates in other organizations, groups, and bodies.

URL : Creating Institution-Wide Awareness of, and Engagement with, Open Scholarship


Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier

Authors: Lisa Olsson, Camilla Lindelöw, Lovisa Österlund, Frida Jakobsson

In 2018, the Swedish library consortium, Bibsam, decided to cancel big deal subscriptions with Elsevier. Many researchers (n = 4,221) let their voices be heard in a survey on the consequences of the cancellation.

Almost a third of them (n = 1,241) chose to leave free-text responses to the survey question ‘Is there anything you would like to add?’. A content analysis on these responses resulted in six themes and from these, three main conclusions are drawn.

First, there is no consensus among researchers on whether the cancellation was for good or evil. The most common argument in favour of the cancellation was the principle. The most common argument against cancellation was that it harms researchers and research.

A third of the free-text responses expressed ambivalence towards the cancellation, typically as a conflict between wanting to change the current publishing system and simultaneously suffering from the consequences of the cancellation.

The general support for open access in principle reveals a flawed publishing system, as most feel the pressure to publish in prestigious journals behind paywalls in practice. Second, it was difficult for researchers to take a position for or against cancellation due to their limited knowledge of the ongoing work of higher education institutions and library consortia.

Finally, there are indications that the cancellation made researchers reflect on open access and to some extent alter their publication pattern through their choice of copyright licence and publication channel.

URL : Swedish researchers’ responses to the cancellation of the big deal with Elsevier


Open Science for private Interests? How the Logic of Open Science Contributes to the Commercialization of Research

Author : Manuela Fernández Pinto

Financial conflicts of interest, several cases of scientific fraud, and research limitations from strong intellectual property laws have all led to questioning the epistemic and social justice appropriateness of industry-funded research.

At first sight, the ideal of Open Science, which promotes transparency, sharing, collaboration, and accountability, seems to target precisely the type of limitations uncovered in commercially-driven research.

The Open Science movement, however, has primarily focused on publicly funded research, has actively encouraged liaisons with the private sector, and has also created new strategies for commercializing science.

As a consequence, I argue that Open Science ends up contributing to the commercialization of science, instead of overcoming its limitations. I use the examples of research publications and citizen science to illustrate this point.

Accordingly, the asymmetry between private and public science, present in the current plea to open science, ends up compromising the values of transparency, democracy, and accountability.

URL : Open Science for private Interests? How the Logic of Open Science Contributes to the Commercialization of Research


Metascience as a scientific social movement

Authors : David Peterson, Aaron Panofsky

Emerging out of the “reproducibility crisis” in science, metascientists have become central players in debates about research integrity, scholarly communication, and science policy. The goal of this article is to introduce metascience to STS scholars, detail the scientific ideology that is apparent in its articles, strategy statements, and research projects, and discuss its institutional and intellectual future.

Put simply, metascience is a scientific social movement that seeks to use the tools of science- especially, quantification and experimentation- to diagnose problems in research practice and improve efficiency.

It draws together data scientists, experimental and statistical methodologists, and open science activists into a project with both intellectual and policy dimensions. Metascientists have been remarkably successful at winning grants, motivating news coverage, and changing policies at science agencies, journals, and universities.

Moreover, metascience represents the apotheosis of several trends in research practice, scientific communication, and science governance including increased attention to methodological and statistical criticism of scientific practice, the promotion of “open science” by science funders and journals, the growing importance of both preprint and data repositories for scientific communication, and the new prominence of data scientists as research makes a turn toward Big Science.

URL : Metascience as a scientific social movement


Préservation des données de recherche : proposer des services de soutien aux chercheurs du site Uni Arve de l’université de Genève

Auteur/Author : Manuela Bezzi

Ce travail porte sur les pratiques des chercheurs du site Uni Arve (faculté des sciences) de l’université de Genève concernant la préservation et la réutilisation des données de recherche, et son objectif est d’évaluer les besoins des chercheurs afin de leur proposer des services de soutien appropriés.

La préservation des données de recherche s’inscrit dans le mouvement de l’Open Data dont l’objectif est de rendre les données de recherche publiquement accessibles, intelligibles et réutilisables, en particulier lorsque ces données ont été produites grâce à des recherches financées par des fonds publics.

Pour ce faire, le FNS demande aux chercheurs de déposer leurs données dans des archives publiques répondant aux principes FAIR. Or, depuis juin 2019, l’université de Genève met à disposition de ses chercheurs une archive institutionnelle, Yareta, répondant aux critères du FNS.

Afin de répondre aux mieux aux besoins des chercheurs, une approche en deux temps a été adoptée : (1) une analyse des jeux de données déposés sur Yareta a permis d’identifier les problématiques faisant obstacle à la réutilisation des données. (2) Puis, des entretiens menés avec des chercheurs ont permis d’analyser leurs pratiques de préservation et leurs besoins.

Les informations récoltées par ces deux approches ont permis de faire les propositions suivantes: un guide d’archivage portant sur quatre activités permettant de garantir une bonne préservation : format, contexte, métadonnées, licence, la mise en place de ressources additionnelles (page web ou formation) couvrant des notions peu comprises par les chercheurs, la modification de pages web existantes pour des raisons de cohérence, l’ajout d’information dans l’outil Yareta.

Ces propositions sont des solutions concrètes, basées sur les ressources existantes de l’université de Genève afin de pouvoir être complémentaires aux services de soutien et aux ressources déjà proposés par l’université de Genève.

De plus, ces propositions pourront bénéficier à toute la communauté de l’université de Genève et pas uniquement aux chercheurs du site Uni Arve.