Characteristics of European Universities that Participate in Library Crowdfunding Initiatives for Open Access Monographs

Author : Mirela Roncevic

The aim of the study was to identify the traits of 100 European universities across 26 countries that did or did not support one particular library crowdfunding initiative for open access (OA) monographs over the past few years.

By relying on the rankings of four sources, including THE, ARWU, QS, and Leiden, the study identifies some of the traits of the universities that have shown strong interest in the model by already taking part in an established library crowdfunding initiative, as well as those that may play a vital role in its sustainability.

The study’s results show that the institutions that are likely to participate in library crowdfunding initiatives for OA monographs may be defined as highly ranked and produce research in quantity, quantity, relevance, and timeliness. The study’s key revelation is the high academic standing of the institutions that rarely participate in one crowdfunding initiative.

These institutions may not be as “international” in their outlooks, but they stand out for their high-quality and significant research output. As such, they may accelerate the model’s adoption with more consistent participation in library crowdfunding.

URL : Characteristics of European Universities that Participate in Library Crowdfunding Initiatives for Open Access Monographs


Creating research ethics and integrity country report cards: Case study from Europe

Authors : Andrijana Perković Paloš, Rea Roje, Vicko Tomić, Ana Marušić

Structures for and practices of research integrity (RI) and research ethics (RE) differ among countries. This study analyzed the processes and structures for RI and RE in Europe, following the framework developed at the World Conferences on Research Integrity.

We present RI and RE Country Report Cards for 16 European countries, which included the information on RI and RE structures, processes and outcomes. While some of the countries are front-runners when it comes to RI and RE, with well-established and continually developing policies and structures, others are just starting their journey in RI and RE.

Although RI and RE contextual divergences must be taken into account, a level of harmonization among the countries is necessary so that researchers working in the European area can similarly handle RI and RE issues and have similar expectations regardless of the organization in which they work. RI and RE Country Report Cards can be a tool to monitor, compare, and strengthen RE and integrity across countries through empowerment and inspiration by examples of good practices and developed systems.

URL : Creating research ethics and integrity country report cards Case study from Europe


FAIR Forever? Accountabilities and Responsibilities in the Preservation of Research Data

Author : Amy Currie, William Kilbride

Digital preservation is a fast-moving and growing community of practice of ubiquitous relevance, but in which capability is unevenly distributed. Within the open science and research data communities, digital preservation has a close alignment to the FAIR principles and is delivered through a complex specialist infrastructure comprising technology, staff and policy.

However, capacity erodes quickly, establishing a need for ongoing examination and review to ensure that skills, technology, and policy remain fit for changing purpose. To address this challenge, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) conducted the FAIR Forever study, commissioned by the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Sustainability Working Group and funded by the EOSC Secretariat Project in 2020, to assess the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the preservation of research data across EOSC, and the feasibility of establishing shared approaches, workflows and services that would benefit EOSC stakeholders.

This paper draws from the FAIR Forever study to document and explore its key findings on the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the preservation of FAIR data in EOSC, and to the preservation of research data more broadly.

It begins with background of the study and an overview of the methodology employed, which involved a desk-based assessment of the emerging EOSC vision, interviews with representatives of EOSC stakeholders, and focus groups with digital preservation specialists and data managers in research organizations.

It summarizes key findings on the need for clarity on digital preservation in the EOSC vision and for elucidation of roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities to mitigate risks of data loss, reputation, and sustainability. It then outlines the recommendations provided in the final report presented to the EOSC Sustainability Working Group.

To better ensure that research data can be FAIRer for longer, the recommendations of the study are presented with discussion on how they can be extended and applied to various research data stakeholders in and outside of EOSC, and suggest ways to bring together research data curation, management, and preservation communities to better ensure FAIRness now and in the long term.

URL : FAIR Forever? Accountabilities and Responsibilities in the Preservation of Research Data


Data Management Plans in Horizon 2020: what beneficiaries think and what we can learn from their experience

Author : Daniel Spichtinger


Data Management Plans (DMPs) are at the heart of many research funder requirements for data management and open data, including the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020. This article provides a summary of the findings of the DMP Use Case study, conducted as part of OpenAIRE Advance.


As part of the study we created a vetted collection of over 800 Horizon 2020 DMPs. Primarily, however, we report the results of qualitative interviews and a quantitative survey on the experience of Horizon 2020 projects with DMPs.

Results & Conclusions

We find that a significant number of projects had to develop a DMP for the first time in the context of Horizon 2020, which points to the importance of funder requirements in spreading good data management practices. In total, 82% of survey respondents found DMPs useful or partially useful, beyond them being “just” an European Commission (EC) requirement.

DMPs are most prominently developed within a project’s Management Work Package. Templates were considered important, with 40% of respondents using the EC/European Research Council template. However, some argue for a more tailor-made approach.

The most frequent source for support with DMPs were other project partners, but many beneficiaries did not receive any support at all. A number of survey respondents and interviewees therefore ask for a dedicated contact point at the EC, which could take the form of an EC Data Management Helpdesk, akin to the IP helpdesk.

If DMPs are published, they are most often made available on the project website, which, however, is often taken offline after the project ends. There is therefore a need to further raise awareness on the importance of using repositories to ensure preservation and curation of DMPs.

The study identifies IP and licensing arrangements for DMPs as promising areas for further research.

URL : Data Management Plans in Horizon 2020: what beneficiaries think and what we can learn from their experience


Copyright in the Scientific Community. The Limitations and Exceptions in the European Union and Spanish Legal Frameworks

Author : Itziar Sobrino-García

The increase of visibility and transfer of scholar knowledge through digital environments have been followed by the author’s rights abuses such as plagiarism and fraud. For this reason, copyright is increasingly a topic of major importance since it provides authors with a set of rights to enable them to utilize their work and to be recognized as the creators.

The new research methods linked to technological advances (such as data mining) and the emergence of systems such as Open Access (OA) are currently under debate.

These issues have generated legislative changes at the level of the European Union (EU) and its Member States. For this reason, it is relevant that the researchers know how to protect their work and the proper use of another’s work.

Consequently, this research aims to identify the limitations of copyright in the EU and as a specific case in Spain, within the framework of scientific research. For this, the changes in the European and Spanish copyright regulations are analyzed.

The results confirm new exceptions and limitations for researchers related to technological evolution, such as data mining. Additionally, the article incorporates several guidelines and implications for the scientific community.

URL : Copyright in the Scientific Community. The Limitations and Exceptions in the European Union and Spanish Legal Frameworks


Thought Experiment on the Impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and Japan

Author : Miho Funamori

In September 2018, a consortium of eleven European research funding agencies known as cOAlition S announced “Plan S,” which requires full and immediate Open Access to all research publications stemming from projects funded by the agencies.

The goal of making research output openly available to all has been generally welcomed; however, the strict requirements of Plan S, which take effect on January 1, 2020, have drawn criticisms from various stakeholders. Researchers from affected countries considered it a violation of their academic freedom, as they will be forced to publish only in conforming journals.

Publishers, especially those publishing high profile journals, claim that it will be impossible to sustain their business if forced to convert to Open Access journals and to rely solely on article processing charges. Institutions operating their own Open Access platforms or Open Access repositories view the requirements as well-intended but difficult to meet.

Despite the turmoil, little has been heard from non-Plan S countries, especially from non-English speaking countries outside Europe. There have been scarcely any comments or analyses relating to the impact of Plan S on these non-Plan S countries.

This paper aims to fill the gap with a thought experiment on the impact of Plan S requirements on various stakeholders in these non-Plan S countries. The analysis concludes that non-Plan S countries are indirectly affected by Plan S by being forced to adapt to the world standard that Plan S sets forth.

As many non-Plan S countries lack support for this transition from their respective funding agencies, they will be seriously disadvantaged to adapt to the new standards. The article processing charge for publishing in Open Access journals and the strict requirements for Open Access platforms could suppress research output from non-Plan S countries and reduce their research competitiveness.

Local publishers, whose financial position in many cases is already precarious, may be forced to shut down or merge with larger commercial publishers. As scholarly communication is globally interconnected, the author argues the need to consider the impact of Plan S on non-Plan S countries and explore alternative ways for realizing full and immediate OA by learning from local practices.

This analysis uses Japan as an exemplar of non-Plan S countries. Its distinctiveness is specified where applicable.


Might Europe one day again be a global scientific powerhouse? Analysis of ERC publications suggests it will not be possible without changes in research policy

Authors : Alonso Rodríguez-Navarro, Ricardo Brito

Numerous EU documents praise the excellence of EU research without empirical evidence and against academic studies. We investigated research performance in two fields of high socioeconomic importance, advanced technology and basic medical research, in two sets of European countries, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain (GFIS), and the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland (UKNCH). Despite historical and geographical proximity, research performance in GFIS is much lower than in UKNCH, and well below the world average.

Funding from the European Research Council (ERC) greatly improves performance both in GFIS and UKNCH, but ERC-GFIS publications are less cited than ERC-UKNCH publications.

We conclude that research performance in GFIS and in other EU countries is intrinsically low even when it is generously funded. The technological and economic future of the EU depends on improving research, which requires structural changes in research policy within the EU, and in most EU countries.