Institutionalizing Open Science in Africa: Limitations and Prospects

Authors : Izuchukwu Azuka Okafor, Smart Ikechukwu Mbagwu, Terkuma Chia, Zuwati Hasim, Echezona Ejike Udokanma, Karthik Chandran

The advancement of scientific research and raising the next-generation scientists in Africa depend largely on science access. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused discussions around open science (OS) to reemerge globally, especially in resource-poor settings like Africa, where the practice of OS is low.

The authors highlighted the elements, benefits, and existing initiatives of OS in Africa. More importantly, the article critically appraised the challenges, opportunities, and future considerations of OS in Africa. Addressing challenges of funding and leadership at different levels of educational, research, and government parastatals may be pivotal in charting a new course for OS in Africa.

This review serves as an advocacy strategy and an informative guide to policymaking and institutionalization of OS in Africa.

URL : Institutionalizing Open Science in Africa: Limitations and Prospects


Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities

Authors : Kristijan Armeni, Loek Brinkman, Rickard Carlsson, Anita Eerland, Rianne Fijten, Robin Fondberg, Vera E Heininga, Stephan Heunis, Wei Qi Koh, Maurits Masselink, Niall Moran, Andrew Ó Baoill, Alexandra Sarafoglou, Antonio Schettino, Hardy Schwamm, Zsuzsika Sjoerds, Marta Teperek, Olmo R van den Akker, Anna van’t Veer, Raul Zurita-Milla

Despite the increasing availability of Open Science (OS) infrastructure and the rise in policies to change behaviour, OS practices are not yet the norm. While pioneering researchers are developing OS practices, the majority sticks to status quo. To transition to common practice, we must engage a critical proportion of the academic community.

In this transition, OS Communities (OSCs) play a key role. OSCs are bottom-up learning groups of scholars that discuss OS within and across disciplines. They make OS knowledge more accessible and facilitate communication among scholars and policymakers.

Over the past two years, eleven OSCs were founded at several Dutch university cities. In other countries, similar OSCs are starting up. In this article, we discuss the pivotal role OSCs play in the large-scale transition to OS.

We emphasize that, despite the grassroot character of OSCs, support from universities is critical for OSCs to be viable, effective, and sustainable.

URL : Towards wide-scale adoption of open science practices: The role of open science communities


Toward More Inclusive Metrics and Open Science to Measure Research Assessment in Earth and Natural Sciences

Authors : Olivier Pourret, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Najmeh Shaghaei, Elenora M. van Rijsingen, Lonni Besançon

The conventional assessment of scientists relies on a set of metrics which are mostly based on the production of scientific articles and their citations. These metrics are primarily established at the journal level (e.g., the Journal Impact Factor), the article-level (e.g., times cited), and the author level (e.g., h-index; Figure 1).

These metrics form the basis of criteria that have been widely used to measure institutional reputation, as well as that of authors and research groups. By relying mostly on citations (Langfeldt et al., 2021), however, they are inherently flawed in that they provide only a limited picture of scholarly production. Indeed, citations only count document use within scholarly works and thus provide a very limited view of the use and impact of an article.

Those reveal only the superficial dimensions of a research’s impact on society. Even within academia, citations are limited since the link they express does not hold any value (Tennant et al., 2019). As an example, one could be cited for the robustness of the presented work while the other could be cited for its main limitation (Aksnes et al., 2019).

As such, two articles could be cited the same number of times for very different reasons, and relying on citations to evaluate scientific work therefore displays obvious limitations (Tahamtan et al., 2016). Beyond this issue, however, the conventional assessment of scientists is clearly beneficial to some scientists more than others and does not reflect or encourage the dissemination of knowledge back to the public that is ultimately paying scientists.

This is visible in the Earth and natural sciences which has been organized to solve local community problems in dealing with the Earth system like groundwater hazards (Irawan et al., 2021; Dwivedi et al., 2022).

URL: Toward More Inclusive Metrics and Open Science to Measure Research Assessment in Earth and Natural Sciences


Assessing Open Science Practices in Phytolith Research

Author : Emma Karoune

Open science is an integral part of all scientific research, but the extent of open science practices in phytolith research is unknown. Phytolith analysis examines silica bodies that are initially formed within and between plant cells during the life of the plant but become deposited in sediments once the plant dies.

The use of phytoliths in archaeobotanical and palaeoecological studies has been increasing in recent years resulting in an upsurge in publications. The aims of this article are to assess open science practices in phytolith research by reviewing data and metadata sharing, and open access, in a sample of journal articles containing primary phytolith data from 16 prominent archaeological and palaeoecological journals (341 articles).

This study builds on similar studies conducted for zooarchaeology (Kansa et al. 2020) and macro-botanical remains (Lodwick 2019). This study shows that 53% of papers shared data in any format but only 4% of papers contained reusable data, 74% included some pictures of phytolith morphotypes for identification purposes, 69% had a fully described method, 47% used the International code for phytolith nomenclature (ICPN 1.0) and only 13% of articles were open access.

Steps forward are then proposed, including planning for open projects, making more articles openly accessible and implementing the FAIR data principles, to use as a starting point for discussions in the wider phytolith and archaeological communities to develop guidelines for greater integration of open science practices.

URL : Assessing Open Science Practices in Phytolith Research


La Science Ouverte à l’Université de Lorraine : bilan des actions entreprises et enjeux pour l’avenir

Auteurs.trices/Authors : Laetitia Bracco, Julien Brancher, Nicolas Fressengeas, Lylette Lacôte-Gabrysiak, Andreas Gutsfeld, Rudy Hahusseau, Thomas Jouneau, Celia Lentretien, Jean-François Lutz, Frédéric Villiéras

Le présent document se propose de retracer succinctement les actions entreprises par l’Université de Lorraine dans le cadre de sa politique Science Ouverte, elle-même dans les pas du premier Plan National pour la Science Ouverte de 2018 (PNSO1), puis d’esquisser les grands enjeux en la matière pour l’établissement, s’inspirant pour ce faire du deuxième Plan National pour le Science Ouverte, publié en 2021 (PNSO2), des initiatives de la Commission Européenne et de la récente recommandation de l’Unesco.

La première partie présentera donc le bilan des réalisations, en le structurant via les grands axes du PNSO1 ; tout comme la deuxième partie, qui s’efforcera d’anticiper les grands enjeux pour les années à venir, aidée en cela par le PNSO2 dont elle adopte la structuration.


Identify scientific publications country-wide and measure their open access: The case of the French Open Science Barometer (BSO)

Authors : Lauranne Chaignon, Daniel Egret

We use several sources to collect and evaluate academic scientific publication on a country scale, and we apply it to the case of France for the years 2015–2020, while presenting a more detailed analysis focused on the reference year 2019.

These sources are diverse: databases available by subscription (Scopus, Web of Science) or open to the scientific community (Microsoft Academic Graph), the national open archive HAL, and databases serving thematic communities (ADS and PUBMED).

We show the contribution of the different sources to the final corpus. These results are then compared to those obtained with another approach, that of the French Open Science Barometer (Jeangirard, 2019) for monitoring open access at the national level.

We show that both approaches provide a convergent estimate of the open access rate. We also present and discuss the definitions of the concepts used, and list the main difficulties encountered in processing the data.

The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of the respective contributions of the main databases and their complementarity in the broad framework of a country-wide corpus.

They also shed light on the calculation of open access rates and thus contribute to a better understanding of current developments in the field of open science.

URL : Identify scientific publications country-wide and measure their open access: The case of the French Open Science Barometer (BSO)


Contribution of the Open Access modality to the impact of hybrid journals controlling by field and time effects

Authors : Pablo Dorta-González, María Isabel Dorta-González


Researchers are more likely to read and cite papers to which they have access than those that they cannot obtain. Thus, the objective of this work is to analyze the contribution of the Open Access (OA) modality to the impact of hybrid journals.

Design / methodology /approach

The “research articles” in the year 2017 from 200 hybrid journals in four subject areas, and the citations received by such articles in the period 2017-2020 in the Scopus database, were analyzed. The hybrid OA papers were compared with the paywalled ones.

The journals were randomly selected from those with share of OA papers higher than some minimal value. More than 60 thousand research articles were analyzed in the sample, of which 24% under the OA modality.


We obtain at journal level that cites per article in both hybrid modalities (OA and paywalled) strongly correlate. However, there is no correlation between the OA prevalence and cites per article.

There is OA citation advantage in 80% of hybrid journals. Moreover, the OA citation advantage is consistent across fields and held in time. We obtain an OA citation advantage of 50% in average, and higher than 37% in half of the hybrid journals. Finally, the OA citation advantage is higher in Humanities than in Science and Social Science.

Research limitations

Some of the citation advantage is likely due to more access allows more people to read and hence cite articles they otherwise would not. However, causation is difficult to establish and there are many possible bias.

Several factors can affect the observed differences in citation rates. Funder mandates can be one of them. Funders are likely to have OA requirement, and well-funded studies are more likely to receive more citations than poorly funded studies.

Another discussed factor is the selection bias postulate, which suggests that authors choose only their most impactful studies to be open access.

Practical implications

For hybrid journals, the open access modality is positive, in the sense that it provides a  greater number of potential readers. This in turn translates into a greater number of citations and an improvement in the position of the journal in the rankings by impact factor.

For researchers it is also positive because it increases the potential number of readers and citationsreceived.

Originality /value

Our study refines previous results by comparing documents more similar to each other. Although it does not examine the cause of the observed citation advantage, we find that it exists in a very large sample.