Emerging roles and responsibilities of libraries in support of reproducible research

Authors : Birgit Schmidt, Andrea Chiarelli, Lucia Loffreda, Jeroen Sondervan

Ensuring the reproducibility of research is a multi-stakeholder effort that comes with challenges and opportunities for individual researchers and research communities, librarians, publishers, funders and service providers. These emerge at various steps of the research process, and, in particular, at the publication stage.

Previous work by Knowledge Exchange highlighted that, while there is growing awareness among researchers, reproducible publication practices have been slow to change. Importantly, research reproducibility has not yet reached institutional agendas: this work seeks to highlight the rationale for libraries to initiate and/or step up their engagement with this topic, which we argue is well aligned with their core values and strategic priorities.

We draw on secondary analysis of data gathered by Knowledge Exchange, focusing on the literature identified as well as interviews held with librarians. We extend this through further investigation of the literature and by integrating the findings of discussions held at the 2022 LIBER conference, to provide an updated picture of how libraries engage with research reproducibility.

Libraries have a significant role in promoting responsible research practices, including transparency and reproducibility, by leveraging their connections to academic communities and collaborating with stakeholders like research funders and publishers. Our recommendations for libraries include: i) partnering with researchers to promote a research culture that values transparency and reproducibility, ii) enhancing existing research infrastructure and support; and iii) investing in raising awareness and developing skills and capacities related to these principles.

URL : Emerging roles and responsibilities of libraries in support of reproducible research

DOI : https://doi.org/10.53377/lq.14947

Open Access Uptake in Germany 2010-18: Adoption in a diverse research landscape

Authors : Anne Hobert, Najko Jahn, Philipp Mayr, Birgit Schmidt, Niels Taubert

This study investigates the development of open access (OA) to journal articles from authors affiliated with German universities and non-university research institutions in the period 2010-2018.

Beyond determining the overall share of openly available articles, a systematic classification of distinct categories of OA publishing allows to identify different patterns of adoption to OA.

Taking into account the particularities of the German research landscape, variations in terms of productivity, OA uptake and approaches to OA are examined at the meso-level and possible explanations are discussed.

The development of the OA uptake is analysed for the different research sectors in Germany (universities, non-university research institutes of the Helmholtz Association, Fraunhofer Society, Max Planck Society, Leibniz Association, and government research agencies).

Combining several data sources (incl. Web of Science, Unpaywall, an authority file of standardised German affiliation information, the ISSN-Gold-OA 3.0 list, and OpenDOAR), the study confirms the growth of the OA share mirroring the international trend reported in related studies.

We found that 45% of all considered articles in the observed period were openly available at the time of analysis. Our findings show that subject-specific repositories are the most prevalent OA type. However, the percentages for publication in fully OA journals and OA via institutional repositories show similarly steep increases.

Enabling data-driven decision-making regarding OA implementation in Germany at the institutional level, the results of this study furthermore can serve as a baseline to assess the impact recent transformative agreements with major publishers will likely have on scholarly communication.

URL : Open Access Uptake in Germany 2010-18: Adoption in a diverse research landscape

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3892950

Ten considerations for open peer review

Authors : Birgit Schmidt, Tony Ross-Hellauer, Xenia van Edig, Elizabeth C Moylan

Open peer review (OPR), as with other elements of open science and open research, is on the rise. It aims to bring greater transparency and participation to formal and informal peer review processes.

But what is meant by `open peer review’, and what advantages and disadvantages does it have over standard forms of review? How do authors or reviewers approach OPR? And what pitfalls and opportunities should you look out for?

Here, we propose ten considerations for OPR, drawing on discussions with authors, reviewers, editors, publishers and librarians, and provide a pragmatic, hands-on introduction to these issues.

We cover basic principles and summarise best practices, indicating how to use OPR to achieve best value and mutual benefits for all stakeholders and the wider research community.

URL : Ten considerations for open peer review

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.15334.1

Open Science Support as a Portfolio of Services and Projects: From Awareness to Engagement

Authors : Birgit Schmidt, Andrea Bertino, Daniel Beucke, Helene Brinken, Najko Jahn, Lisa Matthias, Julika Mimkes , Katharina Müller, Astrid Orth, Margo Bargheer

Together with many other universities worldwide, the University of Göttingen has aimed to unlock the full potential of networked digital scientific communication by strengthening open access as early as the late 1990s.

Open science policies at the institutional level consequently followed and have been with us for over a decade. However, for several reasons, their adoption often is still far from complete when it comes to the practices of researchers or research groups.

To improve this situation at our university, there is dedicated support at the infrastructural level: the university library collaborates with several campus units in developing and running services, activities and projects in support of open access and open science.

This article outlines our main activity areas and aligns them with the overall rationale to reach higher uptake and acceptance of open science practice at the university. The mentioned examples of our activities highlight how we seek to advance open science along the needs and perspectives of diverse audiences and by running it as a multi-stakeholder endeavor.

Therefore, our activities involve library colleagues with diverse backgrounds, faculty and early career researchers, research managers, as well as project and infrastructure staff. We conclude with a summary of achievements and challenges to be faced.

URL : Open Science Support as a Portfolio of Services and Projects: From Awareness to Engagement

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications6020027

Are funder Open Access platforms a good idea?

Authors : Tony Ross-Hellauer​, Birgit Schmidt, Bianca Kramer

As open access to publications continues to gather momentum we should continuously question whether it is moving in the right direction. A novel intervention in this space is the creation of open access publishing platforms commissioned by funding organisations. Examples include those of the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, as well as recently announced initiatives from public funders like the European Commission and the Irish Health Research Board.

As the number of such platforms increases, it becomes urgently necessary to assess in which ways, for better or worse, this emergent phenomenon complements or disrupts the scholarly communications landscape.

This article examines ethical, organisational and economic strengths and weaknesses of such platforms, as well as usage and uptake to date, to scope the opportunities and threats presented by funder open access platforms in the ongoing transition to open access.

The article is broadly supportive of the aims and current implementations of such platforms, finding them a novel intervention which stand to help increase OA uptake, control costs of OA, lower administrative burden on researchers, and demonstrate funders’ commitment to fostering open practices.

However, the article identifies key areas of concern about the potential for unintended consequences, including the appearance of conflicts of interest, difficulties of scale, potential lock-in and issues of the branding of research.

The article ends with key recommendations for future consideration which include a focus on open scholarly infrastructure.

URL : Are funder Open Access platforms a good idea?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.26954v1

Survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers

Authors : Tony Ross-Hellauer, Arvid Deppe, Birgit Schmidt

Open peer review (OPR) is a cornerstone of the emergent Open Science agenda. Yet to date no large-scale survey of attitudes towards OPR amongst academic editors, authors, reviewers and publishers has been undertaken.

This paper presents the findings of an online survey, conducted for the OpenAIRE2020 project during September and October 2016, that sought to bridge this information gap in order to aid the development of appropriate OPR approaches by providing evidence about attitudes towards and levels of experience with OPR.

The results of this cross-disciplinary survey, which received 3,062 full responses, show the majority (60.3%) of respondents to be believe that OPR as a general concept should be mainstream scholarly practice (although attitudes to individual traits varied, and open identities peer review was not generally favoured). Respondents were also in favour of other areas of Open Science, like Open Access (88.2%) and Open Data (80.3%).

Among respondents we observed high levels of experience with OPR, with three out of four (76.2%) reporting having taken part in an OPR process as author, reviewer or editor.

There were also high levels of support for most of the traits of OPR, particularly open interaction, open reports and final-version commenting. Respondents were against opening reviewer identities to authors, however, with more than half believing it would make peer review worse.

Overall satisfaction with the peer review system used by scholarly journals seems to strongly vary across disciplines. Taken together, these findings are very encouraging for OPR’s prospects for moving mainstream but indicate that due care must be taken to avoid a “one-size fits all” solution and to tailor such systems to differing (especially disciplinary) contexts.

OPR is an evolving phenomenon and hence future studies are to be encouraged, especially to further explore differences between disciplines and monitor the evolution of attitudes.

URL : Survey on open peer review: Attitudes and experience amongst editors, authors and reviewers

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189311

Research Data Services in European Academic Research Libraries

Authors : Carol Tenopir, Sanna Talja, Wolfram Horstmann, Elina Late, Dane Hughes, Danielle Pollock, Birgit Schmidt, Lynn Baird, Robert J. Sandusky, Suzie Allard

Research data is an essential part of the scholarly record, and management of research data is increasingly seen as an important role for academic libraries.

This article presents the results of a survey of directors of the Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) academic member libraries to discover what types of research data services (RDS) are being offered by European academic research libraries and what services are planned for the future.

Overall, the survey found that library directors strongly agree on the importance of RDS. As was found in earlier studies of academic libraries in North America, more European libraries are currently offering or are planning to offer consultative or reference RDS than technical or hands-on RDS.

The majority of libraries provide support for training in skills related to RDS for their staff members. Almost all libraries collaborate with other organizations inside their institutions or with outside institutions in order to offer or develop policy related to RDS.

We discuss the implications of the current state of RDS in European academic research libraries, and offer directions for future research.

URL : Research Data Services in European Academic Research Libraries

DOI : http://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10180