Open Up – the Mission Statement of the Control of Impulsive Action (Ctrl-ImpAct) Lab on Open Science

Authors : Christina B. Reimer, Zhang Chen, Carsten Bundt, Charlotte Eben, Raquel E. London, Sirarpi Vardanian

The present paper is the mission statement of the Control of Impulsive Action (Ctrl-ImpAct) Lab regarding Open Science. As early-career researchers (ECRs) in the lab, we first state our personal motivation to conduct research based on the principles of Open Science.

We then describe how we incorporate four specific Open Science practices (i.e., Open Methodology, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Access) into our scientific workflow. In more detail, we explain how Open Science practices are embedded into the so-called ‘co-pilot’ system in our lab.

The ‘co-pilot’ researcher is involved in all tasks of the ‘pilot’ researcher, that is designing a study, double-checking experimental and data analysis scripts, as well as writing the manuscript.

The lab has set up this co-pilot system to increase transparency, reduce potential errors that could occur during the entire workflow, and to intensify collaborations between lab members.

Finally, we discuss potential solutions for general problems that could arise when practicing Open Science.

URL : Open Up – the Mission Statement of the Control of Impulsive Action (Ctrl-ImpAct) Lab on Open Science


Research data management and the evolutions of scholarship: policy, infrastructure and data literacy at KU Leuven

Authors : Tom Willaert, Jacob Cottyn, Ulrike Kenens, Thomas Vandendriessche, Demmy Verbeke, Roxanne Wyns

This case study critically examines ongoing developments in contemporary scholarship through the lens of research data management support at KU Leuven, and KU Leuven Libraries in particular.

By means of case-based examples, current initiatives for fostering sound scientific work and scholarship are considered in three associated domains: support for policy-making, the development of research infrastructures, and digital literacy training for students, scientists and scholars.

It is outlined how KU Leuven Libraries collaborates with partner services in order to contribute to KU Leuven’s research data management support network. Particular attention is devoted to the innovations that facilitate such collaborations.

These accounts of initial experiences form the basis for a reflection on best practices and pitfalls, and foreground a number of pertinent challenges facing the domain of research data management, including matters of scalability, technology acceptance and adoption, and methods for effectively gauging and communicating the manifold transformations of science and scholarship.

URL : Research data management and the evolutions of scholarship: policy, infrastructure and data literacy at KU Leuven


Technical and social issues influencing the adoption of preprints in the life sciences

Authors : Naomi C Penfold, Jessica K Polka

Preprints are gaining visibility in many fields. Thanks to the explosion of bioRxiv, an online server for preprints in biology, versions of manuscripts prior to the completion of journal-organized peer review are poised to become a standard component of the publishing experience in the life sciences.

Here we provide an overview of current challenges facing preprints, both technical and social, and a vision for their future development, from unbundling the functions of publication to exploring different communication formats.


Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions

Authors : Kevin Gross, Carl T. Bergstrom

Scientific research funding is allocated largely through a system of soliciting and ranking competitive grant proposals. In these competitions, the proposals themselves are not the deliverables that the funder seeks, but instead are used by the funder to screen for the most promising research ideas.

Consequently, some of the funding program’s impact on science is squandered because applying researchers must spend time writing proposals instead of doing science. To what extent does the community’s aggregate investment in proposal preparation negate the scientific impact of the funding program?

Are there alternative mechanisms for awarding funds that advance science more efficiently? We use the economic theory of contests to analyze how efficiently grant proposal competitions advance science, and compare them with recently proposed, partially randomized alternatives such as lotteries.

We find that the effort researchers waste in writing proposals may be comparable to the total scientific value of the research that the funding supports, especially when only a few proposals can be funded.

Moreover, when professional pressures motivate investigators to seek funding for reasons that extend beyond the value of the proposed science (e.g., promotion, prestige), the entire program can actually hamper scientific progress when the number of awards is small.

We suggest that lost efficiency may be restored either by partial lotteries for funding or by funding researchers based on past scientific success instead of proposals for future work.

URL : Contest models highlight inherent inefficiencies of scientific funding competitions


How much research shared on Facebook is hidden from public view? A comparison of public and private online activity around PLOS ONE papers

Authors : Asura Enkhbayar, Stefanie Haustein, Germana Barata, Juan Pablo Alperin

Despite its undisputed position as the biggest social media platform, Facebook has never entered the main stage of altmetrics research. In this study, we argue that the lack of attention by altmetrics researchers is not due to a lack of relevant activity on the platform, but because of the challenges in collecting Facebook data have been limited to activity that takes place in a select group of public pages and groups.

We present a new method of collecting shares, reactions, and comments across the platform-including private timelines-and use it to gather data for all articles published between 2015 to 2017 in the journal PLOS ONE.

We compare the gathered data with altmetrics collected and aggregated by Altmetric. The results show that 58.7% of papers shared on the platform happen outside of public view and that, when collecting all shares, the volume of activity approximates patterns of engagement previously only observed for Twitter.

Both results suggest that the role and impact of Facebook as a medium for science and scholarly communication has been underestimated. Furthermore, they emphasise the importance of openness and transparency around the collection and aggregation of altmetrics.


The Australian Research Data Commons

Authors : Michelle Barker, Ross Wilkinson, Andrew Treloar

A research data commons can provide researchers with the data and resources necessary to conduct world class research. More than this, a research data commons can be transformational in facilitating change in the way research is conducted, in terms of both research culture and the availability of research data and analytical tools.

This paper describes frameworks needed to build a transformational data commons, through examination of the development of the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) ARDC was formed in 2018 as part of a 20-year vision to transform Australia’s research culture by enabling access to the digital data and eResearch platforms that can significantly enhance research capacity.

ARDC is located within both national and international eResearch ecosystems, and its unique positioning must be understood, alongside the achievements of its three predecessor organisations, to understand the niche from which ARDC aims to provide maximum value and impact.

Consideration is given to the challenges inherent in both the current Australian ecosystem and beyond, to articulate ARDC’s focus going forward. The paper concludes with consideration of the international dimension, drawing on discussions around the development of a global data commons.

URL : The Australian Research Data Commons


Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship

Authors : Thomas Franssen, Paul Wouters

The cognitive and social structures, and publication practices, of the humanities have been studied bibliometrically for the past 50 years. This article explores the conceptual frameworks, methods, and data sources used in bibliometrics to study the nature of the humanities, and its differences and similarities in comparison with other scientific domains.

We give a historical overview of bibliometric scholarship between 1965 and 2018 that studies the humanities empirically and distinguishes between two periods in which the configuration of the bibliometric system differs remarkably.

The first period, 1965 to the 1980s, is characterized by bibliometric methods embedded in a sociological theoretical framework, the development and use of the Price Index, and small samples of journal publications from which references are used as data sources.

The second period, the 1980s to the present day, is characterized by a new intellectual hinterland—that of science policy and research evaluation—in which bibliometric methods become embedded.

Here metadata of publications becomes the primary data source with which publication profiles of humanistic scholarly communities are analyzed. We unpack the differences between these two periods and critically discuss the analytical avenues that different approaches offer.

URL : Science and its significant other: Representing the humanities in bibliometric scholarship