The neglect of equity and inclusion in open science policies of Europe and the Americas

Authors : Natascha Chtena, Juan Pablo Alperin, Esteban Morales, Alice Fleerackers, Isabelle Dorsch, Stephen Pinfield, Marc-André Simard

National, international, and organizational Open Science (OS) policies are being formulated to improve and accelerate research through increased transparency, collaboration, and better access to scientific knowledge.

Yet, there is mounting concern that OS policies—which are predicated on narrow understandings of openness, accessibility, and objectivity—do not effectively capture the ethos of OS and particularly its goal of making science more collaborative, inclusive, and socially engaged.

This study explores how OS is conceptualized in emerging OS policies and to what extent notions of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and public participation are reflected in policy guidelines and recommendations. We use a qualitative document research approach to critically analyze 52 OS policy documents published between January 2020 and December 2022 in Europe and the Americas.

Our results show that OS policies overwhelmingly focus on making research outputs publicly accessible, neglecting to advance the two aspects of OS that hold the key to achieving an inclusive and inclusive scientific culture—namely, EDI and public participation. While these concepts are often mentioned and even embraced in OS policy documents, concrete guidance on how they can be promoted in practice is overwhelmingly lacking.

Rather than advancing the openness of scientific findings first and promoting EDI and public participation efforts second, we argue that incentives and guidelines must be provided and implemented concurrently to advance the OS movement’s stated goal of making science open to all.

URL : The neglect of equity and inclusion in open science policies of Europe and the Americas


From academic to media capital: To what extent does the scientific reputation of universities translate into Wikipedia attention?

Authors : Wenceslao Arroyo-MachadoAdrián A. Díaz-FaesEnrique Herrera-ViedmaRodrigo Costas

Universities face increasing demands to improve their visibility, public outreach, and online presence. There is a broad consensus that scientific reputation significantly increases the attention universities receive.

However, in most cases estimates of scientific reputation are based on composite or weighted indicators and absolute positions in university rankings. In this study, we adopt a more granular approach to assessment of universities’ scientific performance using a multidimensional set of indicators from the Leiden Ranking and testing their individual effects on university Wikipedia page views.

We distinguish between international and local attention and find a positive association between research performance and Wikipedia attention which holds for regions and linguistic areas. Additional analysis shows that productivity, scientific impact, and international collaboration have a curvilinear effect on universities’ Wikipedia attention.

This finding suggests that there may be other factors than scientific reputation driving the general public’s interest in universities. Our study adds to a growing stream of work which views altmetrics as tools to deepen science–society interactions rather than direct measures of impact and recognition of scientific outputs.

URL : From academic to media capital: To what extent does the scientific reputation of universities translate into Wikipedia attention?


Communication Scholarship and the Quest for Open Access

Authors : Preston Carmack, Michael R. Kearney, Abbey N. McCann

The advent of black, green, and gold open access publication models poses unique questions for scholars of communication. Plato’s (1956) classic critique of writing in the legend of Theuth and Thamus warned that the printed word “rolls about all over the place, falling into the hands of those who have no concern with it” (pp. 69–70).

More than two 2 millennia later, scholars and administrators at all levels of the discipline face just such a phenomenon. As scholars of cyberspace debate whether “information wants to be free” (Levy, 2014), a communication perspective involves consideration of the importance of authorship and attribution amid an ever-shifting array of digital publishing options and subversions.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the ongoing transformation of academic publishing by examining black, green, and gold open access models, the responses of the communication discipline, and ongoing questions surrounding the nature and extent of accessibility.

As access options for research and publication continue to evolve, this study hopes to provide coordinates for administrators seeking to navigate questions concerning the what, how, and why of communication scholarship in a digital age.

URL : Communication Scholarship and the Quest for Open Access

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Open access movement in the scholarly world: Pathways for libraries in developing countries

Authors : Arslan Sheikh, Joanna Richardson

Open access is a scholarly publishing model that has emerged as an alternative to traditional subscription-based journal publishing. This study explores the adoption of the open access movement worldwide and the role that libraries can play in addressing those factors which are slowing its progress within developing countries.

The study has drawn upon both qualitative data from a focused literature review and quantitative data from major open access platforms. The results indicate that while the open access movement is steadily gaining acceptance worldwide, the progress in developing countries within geographical areas such as Africa, Asia and Oceania is quite a bit slower.

Two significant factors are the cost of publishing fees and the lack of institutional open access mandates and policies to encourage uptake. The study provides suggested strategies for academic libraries to help overcome current challenges.


Peer-based research funding as a model for journalism funding

Authors : Maria Latos, Frank Lobigs, Holger Wormer

Financing high-quality journalistic reporting is becoming increasingly difficult worldwide and economic pressure has intensified in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While numerous alternative funding possibilities are discussed, ranging from membership models to government funding, they should not compromise the highest possible independence of journalism – a premise that also applies to scientific research.

Here, the state is involved in funding, but peer review models reduce funding bias. However, systematic approaches as to how established funding models in research could be transferred to journalism are lacking. We attempt such a systematic transfer using the example of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).

The transfer, based on an analysis of the complex DFG funding structures, was validated in 10 interviews with experts from science, journalism and foundations. Building on this, we developed a concept for a German Journalism Foundation (Deutsche Journalismus-gemeinschaft, DJG), which awards funding to journalists and cooperative projects based on a peer review process.

The funding priorities of the proposed organization range from infrastructure support to grants for investigative skills. Thus, unlike other models, it does not focus on funding specific topics in media coverage, but on areas such as innovation support, technology implementation and training. Although the model was designed for Germany, such a systematic transfer could also be tested for other countries.

URL : Peer-based research funding as a model for journalism funding


The value of public science events: insights from three years of communicating climate change research

Authors :

Public science events are valued primarily as sites of individual learning. We explored the individual and collective value of university-based science events discussing climate change and motivations to attend.

While events were most commonly valued as opportunities for learning, their social context created collective value associated with the physical gathering of like-minded people. Participants despairing at inaction on climate change were given agency through learning, participation, interpersonal discussions and normalising new behaviours.

Post-event interpersonal discussions increase the reach of events beyond “the choir”. These discussions increase the diversity of messengers, creating opportunities for new framings and understandings of climate change.

URL : The value of public science events: insights from three years of communicating climate change research


The strain on scientific publishing

Authors : Mark A. Hanson, Pablo Gómez Barreiro, Paolo Crosetto, Dan Brockington

Scientists are increasingly overwhelmed by the volume of articles being published. Total articles indexed in Scopus and Web of Science have grown exponentially in recent years; in 2022 the article total was 47% higher than in 2016, which has outpaced the limited growth, if any, in the number of practising scientists.

Thus, publication workload per scientist (writing, reviewing, editing) has increased dramatically. We define this problem as the strain on scientific publishing. To analyse this strain, we present five data-driven metrics showing publisher growth, processing times, and citation behaviours.

We draw these data from web scrapes, requests for data from publishers, and material that is freely available through publisher websites. Our findings are based on millions of papers produced by leading academic publishers.

We find specific groups have disproportionately grown in their articles published per year, contributing to this strain. Some publishers enabled this growth by adopting a strategy of hosting special issues, which publish articles with reduced turnaround times. Given pressures on researchers to publish or perish to be competitive for funding applications, this strain was likely amplified by these offers to publish more articles.

We also observed widespread year-over-year inflation of journal impact factors coinciding with this strain, which risks confusing quality signals. Such exponential growth cannot be sustained. The metrics we define here should enable this evolving conversation to reach actionable solutions to address the strain on scientific publishing.

URL : The strain on scientific publishing

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