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Scaling up paywalled academic article sharing by legal means

Open Knowledge Finland - August 23, 2018 in Featured, Open Access, Open Science, r4r

“If you read a paper, 100% goes to the publisher. If you just email us to ask for our papers, we are allowed to send them to you for free, and will be genuinely delighted to do so.” This recent tweet by Holly Witteman inspired Iris.ai to launch the R4R initiative  (Research for Researchers) that is intended to facilitate sharing of research articles by legal means. This is implemented as an application that automates article requests and sharing among researchers via email. Sharing an article you authored via email with your peers is generally allowed. While being far from the most efficient way to share knowledge, email still remains the last resort when the alternative is that content is behind an expensive paywall. Technically, R4R is a fairly simple tool, implemented as a browser extension. The Iris.ai blog post explains it in more detail, but here’s the idea in a nutshell:
  1. Imagine you just found an interesting academic paper using search engines. It’s relevant, but behind a paywall.
  2. Having installed the R4R browser extension, a tab on your screen will let you know if sending an email to the author automatically is available. A single click on the tab sends an email requesting the paper to the author.
  3. R4R automatically drafts a response to the person requesting the paper and adds the relevant scholarly article as an attachment.
  4. The author reviews the request and makes the final decision on whether or not to share the paper with the requester.
In the beginning, the browser plug-in will only allow sending emails to the authors who have expressed their willingness to do so. If you are happy to share your publications with peers this way, you can add your name on this list. Or if you would like to be among the first ones to be notified when the software is ready, sign up for the waitlist via this link.  At the time of writing this blog post, the OKF Finland could not confirm yet whether the full source code of the service will be open but we support the general idea of promoting free sharing of articles that the plug-in implements. While the R4R initiative does not make copyrighted and paywalled articles open access, it increases knowledge exchange and thus hopefully also encourages openness on a personal level. This is why we at Open Knowledge Finland fully support this initiative. We hope that R4R will help researchers around the world to share their discoveries with those who need them, while working to advance more comprehensive shifts towards open access in the overall publishing system. Read more on Medium! Engage with us on Twitter: @mariaritola, @antagomir, @okffi The post Scaling up paywalled academic article sharing by legal means appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

New edition of Data Journalism Handbook to explore journalistic interventions in the data society

Jonathan Gray - January 12, 2018 in Data Journalism, data journalism handbook, data literacy, journalism, Open Access

This blog has been reposted from http://jonathangray.org/2017/12/20/new-edition-data-journalism-handbook/ The first edition of The Data Journalism Handbook has been widely used and widely cited by students, practitioners and researchers alike, serving as both textbook and sourcebook for an emerging field. It has been translated into over 12 languages – including Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian – and is used for teaching at many leading universities, as well as teaching and training centres around the world. A huge amount has happened in the field since the first edition in 2012. The Panama Papers project undertook an unprecedented international collaboration around a major database of leaked information about tax havens and offshore financial activity. Projects such as The Migrants Files, The Guardian’s The Counted and ProPublica’s Electionland have shown how journalists are not just using and presenting data, but also creating and assembling it themselves in order to improve data journalistic coverage of issues they are reporting on.

The Migrants’ Files saw journalists in 15 countries work together to create a database of people who died in their attempt to reach or stay in Europe.

Changes in digital technologies have enabled the development of formats for storytelling, interactivity and engagement with the assistance of drones, crowdsourcing tools, satellite data, social media data and bespoke software tools for data collection, analysis, visualisation and exploration. Data journalists are not simply using data as a source, they are also increasingly investigating, interrogating and intervening around the practices, platforms, algorithms and devices through which it is created, circulated and put to work in the world. They are creatively developing techniques and approaches which are adapted to very different kinds of social, cultural, economic, technological and political settings and challenges. Five years after its publication, we are developing a revised second edition, which will be published as an open access book with an innovative academic press. The new edition will be significantly overhauled to reflect these developments. It will complement the first edition with an examination of the current state of data journalism which is at once practical and reflective, profiling emerging practices and projects as well as their broader consequences.

“The Infinite Campaign” by Sam Lavigne (New Inquiry) repurposes ad creation data in order to explore “the bizarre rubrics Twitter uses to render its users legible”.

Contributors to the first edition include representatives from some of the world’s best-known newsrooms data journalism organisations, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Chicago Tribune, Deutsche Welle, The Guardian, the Financial Times, Helsingin Sanomat, La Nacion, the New York Times, ProPublica, the Washington Post, the Texas Tribune, Verdens Gang, Wales Online, Zeit Online and many others. The new edition will include contributions from both leading practitioners and leading researchers of data journalism, exploring a diverse constellation of projects, methods and techniques in this field from voices and initiatives around the world. We are working hard to ensure a good balance of gender, geography and themes. Our approach in the new edition draws on the notion of “critical technical practice” from Philip Agre, which he formulates as an attempt to have “one foot planted in the craft work of design and the other foot planted in the reflexive work of critique” (1997). Similarly, we wish to provide an introduction to a major new area of journalism practice which is at once critically reflective and practical. The book will offer reflection from leading practitioners on their experiments and experiences, as well as fresh perspectives on the practical considerations of research on the field from leading scholars. The structure of the book reflects different ways of seeing and understanding contemporary data journalism practices and projects. The introduction highlights the renewed relevance of a book on data journalism in the current so-called “post-truth” moment, examining the resurgence of interest in data journalism, fact-checking and strengthening the capacities of “facty” publics in response to fears about “alternative facts” and the speculation about a breakdown of trust in experts and institutions of science, policy, law, media and democracy. As well as reviewing a variety of critical responses to data journalism and associated forms of datafication, it looks at how this field may nevertheless constitute an interesting site of progressive social experimentation, participation and intervention. The first section on “data journalism in context” will review histories, geographies, economics and politics of data journalism – drawing on leading studies in these areas. The second section on “data journalism practices” will look at a variety of practices for assembling data, working with data, making sense with data and organising data journalism from around the world. This includes a wide variety of case studies – including the use of social media data, investigations into algorithms and fake news, the use of networks, open source coding practices and emerging forms of storytelling through news apps and data animations. Other chapters look at infrastructures for collaboration, as well as creative responses to disappearing data and limited connectivity. The third and final section on “what does data journalism do?”, examines the social life of data journalism projects, including everyday encounters with visualisations, organising collaborations across fields, the impacts of data projects in various settings, and how data journalism can constitute a form of “data activism”. As well as providing a rich account of the state of the field, the book is also intended to inspire and inform “experiments in participation” between journalists, researchers, civil society groups and their various publics. This aspiration is partly informed by approaches to participatory design and research from both science and technology studies as well as more recent digital methods research. Through the book we thus aim to explore not only what data journalism initiatives do, but how they might be done differently in order to facilitate vital public debates about both the future of the data society as well as the significant global challenges that we currently face.

Open Knowledge Finland to produce report on the openness of key scientific publishers

Open Knowledge Finland - October 29, 2017 in costs of publishing, creative commons, csc, elsevier, Featured, ministry of education and culture, Open Access, Open Science, publishing costs

The project:

To round off a great Open Access  week, we’d like to announce a new interesting project we’ve started. Continuing our efforts in the field of Open Science, Open Knowledge Finland was commissioned by CSC – IT Center for Science and the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture to implement a Study on the Openness of Scientific Publishers.

The challenge:

The key goal of the project is to look at the practices of open access publishing by major publishers, and “rank” these publishers according to metrics / scorecard developed in the project. The project will particularly look at some of the major scientific publishers, namesly Elsevier,  Springer,  Nature, Wiley-Blackwell, American Chemical Society (ACS), Taylor & Francis, Sage, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), IEEE,  and ACM. Our assumption is that the ranking will be based on
  • Number of open access journals / full journal list
  • Costs of open access publishing
  • Creative Commons licenses
  • Self-archiving
  • Data-mining possibilities
What do you think? Perhaps you’d like to contribute to Leo Lahti’s tweet:  

Expected results:

This report looks at the practices of open access publishing as it is presented in easily accessible online sources. The need of information is linked to a wider framework of investigating the current status of open access practices across the academic field in Finland. Previous reports have scrutinised Universities and research institutions (2015, 2016) and the sources for research funding (2016). This report concentrates on a further piece of research infrastructure: channels of publication.

Who’s doing it?

The leading expert and manager for this project is Leo Lahti, a long-time researcher, expert and activist on open science. OKFI is doing this in collaboration with Oxford Research – with Juho-Matti Paavola and Anna Björk doing much of the data crunching and writing. Assoc. Prof. Mikael Laakso gives guidance and Teemu Ropponen supports with admin and communications. The project kicked off a few weeks ago, early October. Key results will be delivered in November, and the project will finalize in December. So, in short, this is indeed a “rapid action” project!

How can you participate:

  See also: Want to know more? Contact: Leo Lahti, leo.lahti@okf.fi Teemu Ropponen, teemu.ropponen@okf.fi The post Open Knowledge Finland to produce report on the openness of key scientific publishers appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

How Wikimedia helped authors make over 3000 articles green open access via Dissemin

Michele Marchetto - October 26, 2017 in Open Access, Open Access Week, wikimedia

In light of this year’s Open Access week, Michele Marchetto of Wikimedia Italia shares the story of how they helped authors to make their open access articles more widely available. This post has been cross-posted from Wikimedia Italia. Wikipedia is probably the most effective initiative in the world to increase the readership of academic literature: for instance, wikipedia.org is a top 10 source of clicks for doi.org. Wikipedia contributors are among the biggest consumers of scientific publications in the world, because Wikipedia articles are not allowed to be primary sources: the five pillars allow anyone to edit but require copyleft and a neutral point of view based on reliable sources. Readers are advised to trust what they read only insofar it’s confirmed by provided sources. So, does free culture need all sources to be accessible, affordable and freely licensed?

Open access

Scholarly sources, while generally high quality, are problematic for Wikipedia users in that they are often paywalled and ask for hefty payments from readers. Open access wants research output to be accessible online without restrictions, ideally under a free license, given it’s produced by authors, reviewers and editors “for free” (as part of their duties). This includes papers published in journals and conference proceedings, but also book chapters, books, experiment data. A cost-effective open science infrastructure is possible but requires political will and proprietary private platforms grow to fill unmet needs, but authors can make their works green open access autonomously and for free, thanks to open archives and publisher or employer policies. The problem is, how much effort does it take? We tried to find out.

The easy way out

In the past year we saw many developments in the open access landscape. On the reading side, DOAI and then oaDOI plus Unpaywall have made it possible to access some 40 % of the literature in just one click, collecting data from thousands of sources which were formerly rather hard to use. It was also proven that cancelling subscriptions produces little pain. On the authoring side, the SSRN fiasco paved the way to various thematic open archives and general-purpose repositories like Zenodo (offered by OpenAIRE and CERN), that make sure that an open access platform is available for all authors in the world, whatever their outputs. Publishers begin to understand the importance of metadata, although much work needs to be done, and the Open Access button staff helps connect with authors. Finally, the web platform Dissemin put ORCID and all the above initiatives together to identify 36 million works which could benefit from green open access. Authors can deposit them from Dissemin to an open archive in a couple clicks, without to need to enter metadata manually. With the possibility of a “legal Sci-Hub” within our reach, what does it take to get the authors to help?

Frontpage of the Dissem.in platform

Wikimedia Italia takes initiative

Wikimedia projects contributor Federico Leva, frustrated at the number of pay-walled articles linked from the Italian and English Wikipedia, decided to contact their authors directly. Using the available data, almost half a million depositable articles by a million authors were found. An email was sent to each of them where possible: the message thanked them for contributing sources to Wikipedia, presented them with the dilemma of a simple volunteer editor who wants to link an open access copy for all Wikipedia users to see, and asked to check the publication on Dissemin to read more about its legal status and to deposit it. The response has been overwhelmingly positive: over 15 % of the recipients clicked the links to find out more, thousands wrote encouraging replies, over 3000 papers were deposited via Dissemin in two months. Wikimedia Italia, active since 2008 in open access, covered the costs (few hundreds euro on phplist.com) and provided its OTRS instance to handle replies. With AISA’s counsel, hundreds of support requests have been handled (mostly about the usual pains of green OA, such as locating an appropriate manuscript).

Tell me a story

Our reasoning has been driven by examples such as the story of Jack Andraka, which showed how open access can change the world. Jack, as high school student, proposed a cheap method for an early diagnose of pancreatic cancer. Jack’s research, like every invention, is based on previous scientific results. Jack was not affiliated to any research entity and was not able to access paywalled research, but he was able to consult the extensive body of open access research provided by NIH’s PubMed Central, which is often in the public domain or under a free Creative Commons license. Jack’s story was a potent message in mass media on how open access can save lives.

Some reactions and what we learnt

The authors’ responses taught us what makes a difference:
  • make deposit easy and authors will love open archives;
  • focus on their own work and its readership;
  • show the concrete difference they can make, rather than talk abstractly about open access;
  • lead by example: list other colleagues who archived papers from the same journal;
  • some will adopt a free Creative Commons license to facilitate further reuse, if told about it.
More warmth came from Peter Suber’s supportJohn Dove’s proposal for OA journals to accelerate depositing of papers they reference and a lively discussion. Surprisingly many authors simply don’t know about green open access possibilities: they just need to hear about it in a way that rings true to their ears. If you work with a repository, an OA journal or other, you have a goldmine of authors to ask for deposits and stories relevant to them: why not start doing it systematically? If you are a researcher, you can just search your name on Dissemin and see what is left to make open access; when you are done, you can ask your colleagues to do the same. It’s simple and, as with Jack Andraka, you can really change the world around us.

How Wikimedia helped authors make over 3000 articles green open access via Dissemin

Michele Marchetto - October 26, 2017 in Open Access, Open Access Week, wikimedia

In light of this year’s Open Access week, Michele Marchetto of Wikimedia Italia shares the story of how they helped authors to make their open access articles more widely available. This post has been cross-posted from Wikimedia Italia. Wikipedia is probably the most effective initiative in the world to increase the readership of academic literature: for instance, wikipedia.org is a top 10 source of clicks for doi.org. Wikipedia contributors are among the biggest consumers of scientific publications in the world, because Wikipedia articles are not allowed to be primary sources: the five pillars allow anyone to edit but require copyleft and a neutral point of view based on reliable sources. Readers are advised to trust what they read only insofar it’s confirmed by provided sources. So, does free culture need all sources to be accessible, affordable and freely licensed?

Open access

Scholarly sources, while generally high quality, are problematic for Wikipedia users in that they are often paywalled and ask for hefty payments from readers. Open access wants research output to be accessible online without restrictions, ideally under a free license, given it’s produced by authors, reviewers and editors “for free” (as part of their duties). This includes papers published in journals and conference proceedings, but also book chapters, books, experiment data. A cost-effective open science infrastructure is possible but requires political will and proprietary private platforms grow to fill unmet needs, but authors can make their works green open access autonomously and for free, thanks to open archives and publisher or employer policies. The problem is, how much effort does it take? We tried to find out.

The easy way out

In the past year we saw many developments in the open access landscape. On the reading side, DOAI and then oaDOI plus Unpaywall have made it possible to access some 40 % of the literature in just one click, collecting data from thousands of sources which were formerly rather hard to use. It was also proven that cancelling subscriptions produces little pain. On the authoring side, the SSRN fiasco paved the way to various thematic open archives and general-purpose repositories like Zenodo (offered by OpenAIRE and CERN), that make sure that an open access platform is available for all authors in the world, whatever their outputs. Publishers begin to understand the importance of metadata, although much work needs to be done, and the Open Access button staff helps connect with authors. Finally, the web platform Dissemin put ORCID and all the above initiatives together to identify 36 million works which could benefit from green open access. Authors can deposit them from Dissemin to an open archive in a couple clicks, without to need to enter metadata manually. With the possibility of a “legal Sci-Hub” within our reach, what does it take to get the authors to help?

Frontpage of the Dissem.in platform

Wikimedia Italia takes initiative

Wikimedia projects contributor Federico Leva, frustrated at the number of pay-walled articles linked from the Italian and English Wikipedia, decided to contact their authors directly. Using the available data, almost half a million depositable articles by a million authors were found. An email was sent to each of them where possible: the message thanked them for contributing sources to Wikipedia, presented them with the dilemma of a simple volunteer editor who wants to link an open access copy for all Wikipedia users to see, and asked to check the publication on Dissemin to read more about its legal status and to deposit it. The response has been overwhelmingly positive: over 15 % of the recipients clicked the links to find out more, thousands wrote encouraging replies, over 3000 papers were deposited via Dissemin in two months. Wikimedia Italia, active since 2008 in open access, covered the costs (few hundreds euro on phplist.com) and provided its OTRS instance to handle replies. With AISA’s counsel, hundreds of support requests have been handled (mostly about the usual pains of green OA, such as locating an appropriate manuscript).

Tell me a story

Our reasoning has been driven by examples such as the story of Jack Andraka, which showed how open access can change the world. Jack, as high school student, proposed a cheap method for an early diagnose of pancreatic cancer. Jack’s research, like every invention, is based on previous scientific results. Jack was not affiliated to any research entity and was not able to access paywalled research, but he was able to consult the extensive body of open access research provided by NIH’s PubMed Central, which is often in the public domain or under a free Creative Commons license. Jack’s story was a potent message in mass media on how open access can save lives.

Some reactions and what we learnt

The authors’ responses taught us what makes a difference:
  • make deposit easy and authors will love open archives;
  • focus on their own work and its readership;
  • show the concrete difference they can make, rather than talk abstractly about open access;
  • lead by example: list other colleagues who archived papers from the same journal;
  • some will adopt a free Creative Commons license to facilitate further reuse, if told about it.
More warmth came from Peter Suber’s supportJohn Dove’s proposal for OA journals to accelerate depositing of papers they reference and a lively discussion. Surprisingly many authors simply don’t know about green open access possibilities: they just need to hear about it in a way that rings true to their ears. If you work with a repository, an OA journal or other, you have a goldmine of authors to ask for deposits and stories relevant to them: why not start doing it systematically? If you are a researcher, you can just search your name on Dissemin and see what is left to make open access; when you are done, you can ask your colleagues to do the same. It’s simple and, as with Jack Andraka, you can really change the world around us.

Understanding the costs of scholarly publishing – Why we need a public data infrastructure of publishing costs

Danny Lämmerhirt - October 24, 2017 in Open Access

Scholarly communication has undergone a seismic shift away from closed publishing towards an ever-growing support for open access. With closed publishing models, academic libraries faced a so-called  “serials crisis” and were not able to afford the materials they needed for their researchers and students. Partly in response to this problem, open access advocates have argued for increased access, whilst also changing the cost structure of scholarly publishing. In many countries this has led to experiments with ‘author pays’ models, where the prices of large commercial publishers have remained high, but the costs have shifted from readers to researchers. Public data about the costs of these changing publishing models remains scarce. There is an increasing concern that they may perpetuate oligopolistic and dysfunctional structures that do not serve the interests of researchers or their students, readers and audiences. Some studies suggest that prices of open access publishing might unfairly discriminate against some institutions and point out the sometimes stark pricing differences across institutions. Funding organisations and institutions worry that hybrid journals might levy ‘Article Processing Charges’ (a common way of funding open access publishing) while not providing a proportionate decrease in subscription costs – thereby charging researchers twice (so-called “double dipping”). Yet, evidence is fragmented and displays incomplete information. Members of Open Knowledge International’s network have been following this issue for several years.  Jenny Molloy wrote a blogpost on this issue for Open Access week three years ago. We have supported research in this area undertaken by Stuart Lawson, Jonathan Gray and Michele Mauri, and we published an associated white paper as part of the PASTEUR4OA project. To date public data about scholarly publishing finances remains fragmentary, partial and scattered.   The lack of publicly accessible financial information is problematic for at least three reasons:
  1. It hinders the evaluation of existing publishing policies and financing models. For example, incomplete and conflicting data prevents funders from making the best decisions where to allocate resources to.
  2. Financial opacity also prevents us from getting a detailed view how much money is paid in a country, per funder, academic sector, universities, libraries, and individual researchers.
  3. Ultimately, a lack of knowledge about payments weakens the negotiation power of universities and libraries around market-coordinated forms of scholarly publishing.
  As we celebrate International Open Access Week, Open Knowledge International strongly pushes for public data infrastructures of scholarly finances. Such infrastructures would enable the tracking, documentation, publication, and discussion of different costs associated with scholarly publishing. Thereby public data infrastructures would provide the evidence base for a well-informed discussion about alternative ways of organising and financing scholarly publication in a world where open access to academic outputs becomes increasingly the norm.  Below you see a model of the financial flows that could be captured by such a data infrastructure, focussing on the United Kingdom.     

Caption: “Model of Financial Flows in Scholarly Publishing for the UK, 2014”, from Lawson, S., Gray, J., & Mauri, M. (2016). Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing. Open Library of Humanities, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.16995/olh.72

  Rising momentum for a public data infrastructure of scholarly finances There is rising momentum within the larger research community – including funders, institutions and institutional libraries – to address the current lack of financial data around publishing. Earlier this year, Knowledge Exchange published a report underlining the importance to understand the total cost of publishing and the role of standard documentation formats and information systems to capture those. Funding bodies in different countries insert reporting clauses in their funding policies to gain a better picture how funds are spent. The UK’s higher education infrastructure body Jisc has worked with Research Councils UK to create a template for UK higher education institutions to report open access expenditures in a standardised way and release it openly. This effort should support negotiations with journal publishers around the total costs of publishing. In different European countries, funders and institutional associations start to create databases collecting the amount of money paid through APCs to single journals. The Wellcome Trust UK published information on how much it spent on open access publishing each year from 2010 to 2014. In a similar vein the German Open APC initiative, part of the initiative Transparent Infrastructure for Article Charges, crowdsources data on GitHub to publicly disclose money spent by different European institutions on open access publishing. And Open Knowledge International hosts a wiki for payment documents requested via FOI.   More financial transparency enables to rethink how scholarly publishing is organised These examples are important signposts towards public data infrastructures of scholarly publishing costs. Yet, more concerted efforts and collaborations are needed to bring a deeper shift in how scholarly publishing is organised. Full transparency would require knowing how much each institution pays to each publisher for each journal, ideally allowing to relate these payments to public funds. To gain these insights, it is necessary to understand the ways scholarly publishing is organised and to address diverse obstacles to transparency, including:
  • Multiple income sources and financial management in institutions preventing from a disaggregated view on how much public funding is spent on open access
  • Payment models such as bundles, ‘big deals’, or annual lump sums preventing a clear image of open access costs
  • Policies mandating the reporting of payments differently and only covering certain disciplines
  • Non-disclosure agreements preventing transparent cost evaluations
  • Inaccurate or diverging price information such as price lists that do not necessarily display real payments.
  What can be done to start contributing to a public database? To lay the ground for collaboration Open Knowledge International wants to spark a dialogue across open access advocates, funders, universities, libraries, individual researchers, and publishers. In what follows we outline next steps that can be taken together towards a public data infrastructure: Funders should insert reporting and disclosure clauses in funding policies, addressing both subscription payments and APC charges at a micropayment level (costs per article). Legal measures to prevent non-disclosure agreements can include to restrict or stop funds to publishers refraining from non-disclosure agreements. Funding organisations, institutions and individual researchers should increase (inter)national research activities on the topic 1) to understand the magnitude of different cost types, 2) to identify new cost factors, necessary data representing them, and factors rendering them opaque, 3) and to analyse the benefits of alternative payment models for specific disciplines and institutions. Research should reflect rising administration costs and offer recommendations how to mitigate them. Institutions, funding organisations and individual researchers can deliver evidence by disclosing their payments in databases accessible by everyone. If other institutions follow their model this allows for public comparisons of actual payments, to detect unreasonable pricing discrimination and to publishers not complying with open access funding policies.   How to support a move towards more transparent scholarly publishing  
  • Get in touch with our team at Open Knowledge International. We are exploring actions to move the debate forward. Please email Danny Lämmerhirt (Research Coordinator) and Sander van der Waal (Head of Network and Partnerships) at research@okfn.org.
  • Let us know your ideas, thoughts, and comments on our forum.
  • Support the collection, maintenance, and use of public data as outlined in our recommendations.
  • Share this blogpost in your networks and get in touch with your institution, library, or funding organisation.
  I’d like to thank Stuart Lawson and Jonathan for their thoughtful comments and advice while writing this blogpost. This post draws from their paper “Opening the Black Box of Scholarly Communication Funding: A Public Data Infrastructure for Financial Flows in Academic Publishing.” Open Library of Humanities, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.16995/olh.72

Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal

Nikesh Balami - March 13, 2017 in Events, nepal, ODD17, Open Access, Open Data, Open Map Data, Open Research, Open Science, opendataday

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event. In Nepal, the event aims to served as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies. There were 4 different major activities of the event: Presentation Session, Open Street Mapathon, Open Research Data Hackathon and Treasure Hunt.

The check in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly joining the venue and with some informal discussion having around and was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) by giving brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for the country like Nepal. After him, Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal gave an event orientation. He shared how Open Data Day was started and history of Open Data Day celebration at Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs was the first presenter of the event. He gave the presentation about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary City) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and asked participants to join them for contribution and collaboration. He also shares about the app “Prepare Pokhara”, an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques, by using that app user can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After the presentation of Gaurav Thapa, Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal participated in presentation session, where he presented about Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started from the basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and others different bodies of Nepal government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talks a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research article frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a small break after the completion of Presentation Session and the rooms for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon was divided after that break. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room.

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the team of Open Knowledge Nepal. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm different kinds of ideas for the entire day. A group pitched a project twice, in the first pitch, they share the brainstormed idea and in the second pitch, they share about how they are doing that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 team was entirely different from each other, some work in Election Data and some work in using Machine learning to extract research data from users search queries. Some team worked in the use of data disaster prediction and some in Blood data.

It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days.

Mapathon

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team of Kathmandu Living Labs. In Mapathon participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap, where participants got an opportunity to play with Open Map Data and OpenStreetMap. The team of KLL also led Treasure Hunt in-between to make Mapathon interesting and interactive, where participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, Mapathon was interactive where participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.

 

The whole event was closed at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. The promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representation of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. This year International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places of Nepal. Two inside Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point.

Group photo and selfie 🙂

Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io

More photos from our Facebook page here.

QA with Open Access Activist of Nepal

Nikesh Balami - October 29, 2016 in EIFL, Events, NeLIC, OAWeek, Open Access, Open Knowledge, Open Research, Open Science, Working Group

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

It’s one of our favorite global event, We the team of Open Knowledge Nepal always love celebrating and organizing it because we believe Open Access and Open Research field need more advocacy and awareness in Nepal. We joined this momentum in 2014 with the help of Open Access Nepal and lead that momentum in 2015. This year to mark this global celebration, We did QA with some Open Access Activist of Nepal. The aim of doing this QA was to generate resources regarding Open Access and Open Research so, that newcomer entering this field can find and know about the momentum running in Nepal easily.

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We ask three Open Access Activist regarding their work, organization, and vision. Thanks to all three of them for giving us their valuable time and replying our question.

 

 

nepal-countryMr. Jagadish Aryal

Country Coordinator | EIFL and Secretary | NeLIC

1) Brief about Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC)?

The Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) was established by a group of institutions with the idea of facilitating access to electronic resources to Nepali educational institutions. Its core area of activities is Open Access, Free and Open Source Software, Intellectual Property Rights, & Sharing of the available e-resources. More information can be found at www.nelic.org.

2) How is NeLIC using and promoting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)?

NeLIC is promoting the use of ICT in libraries for better service and modernizing the library according to global trends. For that we recommend FOSS. Presently Koha, PMB, DSpace, GSDL, etc. are the FOSS being used in Nepalese library.

3) Brief about NeLIC Open Access Repository?

Central OA Repository is a web archive run by Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) for the collection, preservation, and dissemination of intellectual outputs of an institution or an individual. Outputs may be journaled articles, research reports, and conference papers in a digital form. Researchers and students will have access to these materials through a single-point open access system.

4) How can libraries be used by businesses to provide professional development opportunities?

Libraries can be used by any professionals to enrich their professional knowledge and sharpen them by getting exhaustive and up to date information in the particular field.

5) How many institutes are currently the member of NeLIC and is the number increasing?

Currently, there are 56 members in NeLIC. The number of members is open to all Nepalese institutions which have a library and /or which are involved in learning, teaching and research activities. So it is growing continuously.

 

 

9ugrps-rMr. Kshitiz Khanal

Open Science & Research Team Lead | Open Knowledge Nepal

1) Brief about Open Knowledge Nepal?

A working group of Open Knowledge in Nepal. An open network of mostly young people working towards increasing openness in data, education, science, and other and increasing opportunities for many people.

2) Brief about Open Science & Open Research working group and their interconnection?

Science is advanced by research. Research is a methodology with which all science progresses. These two are always interconnected.

3) When does a researcher satisfy the requirement for Open Access?

Most important thing, at first, is a commitment by researcher themselves. But that can only the cause of open access so far. The researcher can study more about types of open access, find open access journals in their domain, talk about open access with their colleagues.

4) How do you see the current open science practice of Nepal?

At least all journals in Nepal are Open access. However, there is no culture of sharing research data among Nepali researchers. Practice is influenced by culture, and culture by practice. We need to sensitize researchers and academics about open access and open science in Nepal. If all government funded research in Nepal mandates publication as open access and sharing of raw data in an open license, it will increase open science practice. Movements take time and we have only just begun. There’s a lot to do.

5) What are the expected challenges?

  • Researchers want to publish data in the most reputed journal that they can publish, and most such journals are not open by default.
  • Publishing in Nepali open access journals is frowned upon. The quality of paper matters more than the ranking of journals.
  • We should push for raising the standard of Nepali journals. More rigorous peer review.
  • Very few researchers of Nepal publish papers and conduct academic research. The potential of students and academics is wasted in Nepal.

 

 

dr_karnDr. Roshan Kumar Karn

Director | Open Access Nepal

1) Brief about Open Access Nepal?

Open Access Nepal is a non-profit and non-governmental organization and was established in March 2014. OANepal is the affiliate chapter of U.S. based organization “Right to Research Coalition (R2RC)”. The main objective of Open Access Nepal is to advocate and promote the policies and principles of Open Access, Open Education, Open Data and Open Repository in Nepal. It aims to nurture potential researchers with unrestricted access to scholarly articles. The activities of OANepal are supported by EIFL, INASP, R2RC and OCSD NET.

2) Brief about Open Access Button and Open Access Journals?

Open Access Button: OA Button is a browser bookmarklet which registers when people hit a paywall to a scholarly article and supports these researchers in 3 ways:

  • Finding available research: OA Button searches thousands of sources with millions of articles to find legal access to research articles for the researchers.
  • Requesting Research: OA Button was designed as a transparent and effective request system to help make more research accessible. If you are unable to get access,     you can quickly create a request with the OA Button.
  • Making Research available: Request for articles are sent to the author and other Button users can support your request. Together we strive for more accessibility to research.

The motto of OA Button is: Push Button. Get Research. Make Progress.

Open Access Journals: Open Access journals are the scholarly journals and publications that are available to the readers online without any financial, legal or technical barriers. OA journals are freely accessible to the readers. It essentially removes the price (licensing fees, subscription) and permission (copyright issues) barriers to a scholarly publication. Some OA journals are subsidized and are financed by an academic institution, foundation, or government itself while others are operated by the article processing charges (APC’s) obtained from submitting authors which are usually provided by their respective institutes.

3) What are the main factors that have led to the steady growth of OA publishing  in Nepal?

Nikesh, I think rather than taking about the steady growth of OA publishing which is not true anymore. If you see the recent entries in DOAJ, there has been a dramatic increase in open publications in the last couple of years. Therefore, here I have discussed why OA publishing is important to different groups. But I have also answered your exact question at the end.

Open publishing seeks to return scholarly publishing to its original and core purpose viz to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to resonate and be built upon. There are several factors in play that has led to the growth of OA publication in the past few years.

For Students:

  • Open Publications provides a complete education to students by providing them access to the latest research.
  • With science advancing at an ever increasing pace it is crucial that professors have access to cutting edge research so students’ education is not outdated     before they even finish a course. OA publishing has given the professors access to these cutting-edge researches and advancements.
  • It provides research for your papers.
  • OA gives the opportunity to the students to be innovative and conduct researches beyond their degree.

For Researchers:

  • Better visibility and higher impact for the scholarship.
  • No researcher wants to waste time and money conducting a study that has already been done. Open publication helps researchers to avoid duplication.

For Doctors:

  • Opening access to research     will allow doctors access to all relevant information, enabling them to make better decisions – decisions based on the most up-to-date     medical knowledge, leading to more effective treatment and better outcomes.

For Patients:

  • Open publishing provides patients and their advocates the access to the corpus of medical research.

For Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses:

  • Access to the latest research speeds innovation.

For the public:

  • Return on public’s investment as most research are funded by the taxpayers’ money.
  • Exercising the right to research: as taxpayers who pay for much of the research published in journals, the public has a collective right to access the information resulting from their investment.

For Publishers:

  • Demonstrated benefits: numerous     publishers, both non-profit and for-profit, voluntarily make their articles openly available at the time of publication or within 6-12 months.  Many have switched from a closed, subscription model     to an open one as a strategic business decision to increase their journal’s exposure and impact, and have done so with great success

The reasons for steady growth in OA publishing could be:

  • Lack of awareness, advocacy, knowledge and benefits of OA publishing amongst the researchers.
  • Issues related to impact factor of the open journals.
  • The reluctance of PI to opt in for the open model of publishing.
  • The poor government policy of making public funded researchers available publicly.
  • Lack of repositories.
  • Lack of funding.
  • Inadequate development of the R&D sector of Nepal.
  • Overindulgence and extremely powerful lobbyists for the traditional model of publishing.
  • Lack of adequate investment from the government in the development of research and laboratory facilities.
  • Researchers are not yet totally convinced that open publication will be advantageous for their careers the same as subscription journals.
  • Fear of loss of credibility among the peers.

4) How do you think this trend will develop over the next decade, and explain why?

The gradual trend of OA publishing has been increasing over the years now and I am confident that we will witness a significant rise in OA publication over the next decade for the reasons mentioned above (People will eventually understand the benefits of Open publishing and how OA will help each group of people like students, researchers, entrepreneurs, doctors, patients and public).

However, the recent statistics also reveal a dramatic growth of Open Access. Globally the collections of open access archives are now collectively an order of magnitude larger than the 10 million articles and this is just from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). DOAJ showed an amazing 11% growth in the past in articles searchable at the article level – about half a million more articles today than a year ago. This past quarter DOAJ showed a healthy growth rate of 135 titles or added 1.5 titles per day. The internet archive now has more than 3 million open audio recordings. The Directory of Open Access Books added over 2 thousand titles in the past year for a current total of over 5,000 titles (60% annual growth rate) from 161 publishers (41% annual growth rate in publishers).

The number of journals actively contributing to PubMed Central continues to show strong growth in every measure: there are 212 more journal active participants in PMC today than a year ago, a 10% growth rate; 170 more journals provide immediate free access, an 11% growth rate; 113 more journals provide all articles as open access, a 9% growth rate; and the number of journals with some articles open access increased by 123, a 31% growth rate.

These statistics reveal that researchers and the general public are gradually being aware of the impossible subscription fees and the nobility Open Access brings into the lives of individual, family, society and a nation. People gradually understand that the fundamental aspect of education is sharing and locking knowledge and education will only harm. Researchers now realize that their work will be more recognized only if they prefer OA journals, they now realize that catastrophes like Ebola and Zika could be prevented with open access to research. The steep growth in the statistics is just the beginning and I am sure that we will see some serious hikes in a decade from now.

5) What will happen if a researcher does not make his work immediately Open Access accessible?

  • Decreased visibility, usage and impact of their work.
  • Open access increases the impact of research in which public money is invested and therefore publishing in a closed model is a bad return on taxpayers’ investment.
  • Society as a whole will be barred from the benefits of their research as open research is more efficient and more effective, delivering better and faster outcomes.
  • Obstruction in the nation’s’ technological advancement and economic growth.
  • Students and researchers from a developing country like Nepal will never be able to read and use world class literature because of the high subscription fees if researchers don’t make it openly available.

6) Where will the funding for OA publishing come from?

Obtaining research grants from funding agencies is crucial for researchers to continue their work, supervise students and career advancement. Obtaining grants is directly linked to the researcher’s performance, mainly publications. Besides public funding, institutional and private foundations, opportunities dedicated specifically to fund – and reward – open research, open data and open software have emerged, especially in recent years. They are traditional funders, such as Wellcome Trust, NIH, and SPARC, which are allocating funds to open research, or new initiatives especially created with this view, as the Shuttleworth Foundation (established in 2007) and Mozilla Science Lab (2013), among others.

The notion that research funded with public resources should be made openly available to society has been consolidating in recent years and, consequently, public funding agencies are not only preferring but mandating the results to be published in open access. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have pioneered in 2008 to implement the open access policy, followed by Harvard University in the same year, the National Academy of Sciences of China (2009), and the National Science Foundation (2011). Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Defense Department and the space agency NASA, implemented in 2015 open access mandates. That same year, France launched the bill “For a Digital Republic”, and submitted it to public consultation. Funding agencies such as Wellcome Trust, CERN, UNESCO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others have established similar mandates. Many of them still determine that the contents published in OA shall be governed by the Creative Commons attribution license CC-BY, the least restrictive of all. Despite these international agencies, the Nepal government should also play a pro-active role in the open movement, invest more in R&D, nurture young researchers, develop a culture of research among the students and provide funding to new ideas and researches leading to new innovations.

Open Access: Why do scholarly communication platforms matter and what is the true cost of gold OA?

Danny Lämmerhirt - July 15, 2016 in Featured, Open Access, Open Research, Open Science, openmaccess, Our Work, PASTEUR4OA, Policy

During the past 2,5 years Open Knowledge has been a partner in PASTEUR4OA, a project focused on aligning open access policies for European Union research. As part of the work, a series of advocacy resources was produced that can be used by stakeholders to promote the development and reinforcement of such open access policies. The final two briefing papers, written by Open Knowledge, have been published this week and deal with two pressing issues around open access today:  the financial opacity of open access publishing and its potential harmful effects for the research community, and the expansion of open and free scholarly communication platforms in the academic world – explaining the new dependencies that may arise from those platforms and why this matters for the open access movement. 

Revealing the true cost of gold OA

financing“Reducing the costs of readership while increasing access to research outputs” has been a rallying cry for open access publishing, or Gold OA. Yet, the Gold OA market is largely opaque and makes it hard for us to evaluate how the costs of readership actually develop. Data on both the costs of subscriptions (for hybrid OA journals) and of APCs are hard to gather. If they can be obtained, they only offer partial but very different insights into the market. This is a problem for efficient open access publishing. Funders, institutions, and individual researchers are therefore increasingly concerned that a transition to Gold OA could leave research community open for exploitative financial practices and prevent effective market coordination. Which factors contribute to the current opacity in the market? Which approaches are taken to foster financial transparency of Gold OA? And what are recommendations to funders, institutions, researchers and publishers to increase transparency? The paper Revealing the true costs of Gold OA – Towards a public data infrastructure of scholarly publishing costs, written by researchers of Open Knowledge International, King’s College London and the University of London, presents the current state of financial opacity in scholarly journal publishing. It describes what information is needed in order to obtain a bigger, more systemic picture of financial flows, and to understand how much money is going into the system, where this money comes from, and how these financial flows might be adjusted to support alternative kinds of publishing models.
 

 Why do scholarly communication platforms matter for open access?

Over the past two decades, open access advocates have made significant gains in securing public access to infrastructuresthe formal outputs of scholarly communication (e.g. peer reviewed journal articles). The same period has seen the rise of platforms from commercial publishers and technology companies that enable users to interact and share their work, as well as providing analytics and services around scholarly communication.
How should researchers and policymakers respond to the rise of these platforms? Do commercial platforms necessarily work the interests of the scholarly community? How and to what extent do these proprietary platforms pose a threat to open scholarly communication? What might public alternatives look like?
The paper Infrastructures for Open Scholarly Communication provides a brief overview of the rise of scholarly platforms – describing some of their main characteristics as well as debates and controversies surrounding them. It argues that in order to prevent new forms of enclosure, it is essential that public policymakers should be concerned with the provision of public infrastructures for scholarly communication as well as public access to the outputs of research. It concludes with a review of some of the core elements of such infrastructures, as well as recommendations for further work in this area.

Introducing W4P, a crowdsourcing for open, social and local projects.

pjpauwels - June 24, 2016 in Events, Open Access, Open Access Nepal, Open Research, research, Research Opportunities, Tools and Resources

After 10 months of figuring what we need to build, building it and then testing it in real life situation we can now say: W4P is alive! Or at least in a solid bèta. You can find our presentation in English here: Interested in hearing this talk again and do you have a location and or crowd? Or are you ready to start up a W4P crowdsourcing platform? Contact us!