Transparency: the emerging third dimension of Open Science and Open Data

This paper presents an exploration of the concept of research transparency. The policy context is described and situated within the broader arena of open science. This is followed by commentary on transparency within the research process, which includes a brief overview of the related concept of reproducibility and the associated elements of research integrity, fraud and retractions.

A two-dimensional model or continuum of open science is considered and the paper builds on this foundation by presenting a three-dimensional model, which includes the additional axis of ‘transparency’. The concept is further unpacked and preliminary definitions of key terms are introduced: transparency, transparency action, transparency agent and transparency tool.

An important linkage is made to the research lifecycle as a setting for potential transparency interventions by libraries. Four areas are highlighted as foci for enhanced engagement with transparency goals: Leadership and Policy, Advocacy and Training, Research Infrastructures and Workforce Development.


Open Access, Open Science, Open Society

Open Access’ main goal is not the subversion of publishers’ role as driving actors in an oligopolistic market characterised by reduced competition and higher prices. OA’s main function is to be found somewhere else, namely in the ability to subvert the power to control science’s governance and its future directions (Open Science), a power that is more often found within the academic institutions rather than outside.

By decentralising and opening-up not just the way in which scholarship is published but also the way in which it is assessed, OA removes the barriers that helped turn science into an intellectual oligopoly even before an economic one. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that Open Access is a key enabler of Open Science, which in turn will lead to a more Open Society.

Furthermore, the paper argues that while legislative interventions play an important role in the top-down regulation of Open Access, legislators currently lack an informed and systematic vision on the role of Open Access in science and society. In this historical phase, other complementary forms of intervention (bottom-up) appear much more “informed” and effective.

This paper, which intends to set the stage for future research, identifies a few pieces of the puzzle: the relationship between formal and informal norms in the field of Open Science and how these impact on intellectual property rights, the protection of personal data, the assessment of science and the technology employed for the communication of science.


Data Policy Recommendations for Biodiversity Data. EU BON Project Report

There is a strong need for a comprehensive, coherent, and consistent data policy in Europe to increase interoperability of data and to make its reuse both easy and legal. Available single recommendations/guidelines on different topics need to be processed, structured, and unified. Within the context of the EU BON project, a team from the EU BON partners from Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Plazi, and Pensoft has prepared this report to be used as a part of the Data Publishing Guidelines and Recommendations in the EU BON Biodiversity Portal.

The document deals with the issues: (i) Mobilizing biodiversity data, (ii) Removing legal obstacles, (iii) Changing attitudes, (iv) Data policy recommendations and is addressed to legislators, researchers, research institutions, data aggregators, funders, and publishers.

URL : Data Policy Recommendations for Biodiversity Data. EU BON Project Report


Les imaginaires de la « science 2.0 » : De l’idéal de la science ouverte au « marketing de soi »

Le présent article porte sur les imaginaires entourant la « science 2.0 » appréhendée en tant qu’ensemble de discours et de pratiques cristallisant un certain nombre d’évolutions de l’activité scientifique dans le contexte du Web contemporain. L’auteure présente les premiers constats d’une recherche exploratoire visant à mettre en question les fondements des imaginaires portés par les discours autour de dispositifs de réseaux sociaux pour chercheurs et à analyser leur articulation avec la formation de nouveaux usages.

Différents enjeux soulevés par ces questions relatives aux changements associés au numérique dans le monde scientifique sont discutés.


The Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative: incentivizing open research practices through peer review

Openness is one of the central values of science. Open scientific practices such as sharing data, materials and analysis scripts alongside published articles have many benefits, including easier replication and extension studies, increased availability of data for theory-building and meta-analysis, and increased possibility of review and collaboration even after a paper has been published. Although modern information technology makes sharing easier than ever before, uptake of open practices had been slow. We suggest this might be in part due to a social dilemma arising from misaligned incentives and propose a specific, concrete mechanism—reviewers withholding comprehensive review—to achieve the goal of creating the expectation of open practices as a matter of scientific principle.

URL : The Peer Reviewers’ Openness Initiative: incentivizing open research practices through peer review

DOI: 10.1098/rsos.150547

Reproducible Research Practices and Transparency across the Biomedical Literature

There is a growing movement to encourage reproducibility and transparency practices in the scientific community, including public access to raw data and protocols, the conduct of replication studies, systematic integration of evidence in systematic reviews, and the documentation of funding and potential conflicts of interest.

In this survey, we assessed the current status of reproducibility and transparency addressing these indicators in a random sample of 441 biomedical journal articles published in 2000–2014. Only one study provided a full protocol and none made all raw data directly available. Replication studies were rare (n = 4), and only 16 studies had their data included in a subsequent systematic review or meta-analysis. The majority of studies did not mention anything about funding or conflicts of interest.

The percentage of articles with no statement of conflict decreased substantially between 2000 and 2014 (94.4% in 2000 to 34.6% in 2014); the percentage of articles reporting statements of conflicts (0% in 2000, 15.4% in 2014) or no conflicts (5.6% in 2000, 50.0% in 2014) increased.

Articles published in journals in the clinical medicine category versus other fields were almost twice as likely to not include any information on funding and to have private funding. This study provides baseline data to compare future progress in improving these indicators in the scientific literature.

URL : Reproducible Research Practices and Transparency across the Biomedical Literature

DOI : 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002333

Enabling Open Science: Wikidata for Research

Wiki4R will create an innovative virtual research environment (VRE) for Open Science at scale, engaging both professional researchers and citizen data scientists in new and potentially transformative forms of collaboration. It is based on the realizations that (1) the structured parts of the Web itself can be regarded as a VRE, (2) such environments depend on communities, (3) closed environments are limited in their capacity to nurture thriving communities.

Wiki4R will therefore integrate Wikidata, the multilingual semantic backbone behind Wikipedia, into existing research processes to enable transdisciplinary research and reduce fragmentation of research in and outside Europe. By establishing a central shared information node, research data can be linked and annotated into knowledge. Despite occasional uses of Wikipedia or Wikidata in research, significant barriers to broader adoption in the sciences or digital humanities exist, including lack of integration into existing research processes and inadequate handling of provenances.

The proposed actions include providing best practices and tools for semantic mapping, adoption of citation and author identifiers, interoperability layers for integration with existing research environments, and the development of policies for information quality and interchange. The effectiveness of the actions will be tested in pilot use cases.

Unforeseen barriers will be investigated and documented. We will promote the adoption of Wiki4R by making it easy to use and integrate, demonstrate the applicability in selected research domains, and provide diverse training opportunities.

Wiki4R leverages the expertise gained in Europe through the Wikidata and DBpedia projects to further strengthen the established virtual community of 14000 people. As a result of increased interaction between professional science and citizens, it will provide an improved basis for Responsible Research and Innovation and Open Science in the European Research Area.

URL : Enabling Open Science: Wikidata for Research

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