Following on from this week’s webinar entitled PhD students take on openness and academic culture, we asked our speakers to summarise their talks by offering a few key takeaways, which you can find below. This may be useful for those who missed it or wish to share with colleagues. You can also access the full audio recording.
We have also asked speakers to respond to the questions that were posed by attendees via the webinar chat. Those questions and answers will be posted directly under the takeaways in a short while.
OASPA is very grateful to the speakers for all of the work and time they have given to this webinar – in preparation, on the day, and after.
Gareth O’Neill (@gtoneill)
Gareth O’Neill, a doctoral candidate in theoretical linguistics at Leiden University and a consultant on Open Science for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), began by talking about the PhD perspective on academic culture, and Open Access policies such as Plan S.
- Open Science should enable researchers to easily share and benefit from research
- Openness is a spectrum: not all research outputs must be fully or immediately open
- Researchers should be made more aware of the practices/benefits of Open Science
- Researchers need training/support in key practices like Open Access and FAIR Data
- We should open all of the research life-cyle including publications, data, and software
- We are publishing too many articles and should publish less and also publish data sets
- We should move away from impact factors/journal brands to new encompassing metrics
- Reseachers should be rewarded for Open Science practices in funding/career evaluation
- Early-career researchers need leadership from the senior researchers on Open Science
- Open Science practices like reviews should not negatively affect early-career researchers
Noémie Aubert Bonn (@naubertbonn)
- Current research assessments are seriously problematic and may even threaten the integrity of science
- Research assessments overvalue outputs and ignore processes. They also tend to focus on extraordinary and positive findings, to look at individuals rather than teams, and to be based on competition, thereby discouraging scientists from being realistic, collaborative, and open.
- The disruptive practices which benefit success but threaten integrity often become part of the research culture, while important practices which benefit good science and quality without advancing researchers’ careers rarely survive the academic cycle.
- ECRs are especially vulnerable. They face high pressure and high demands while benefiting from low resources and low employment security.
- Rather than questioning what is asked of them, ECRs tend to feel that leaving academia is a personal failure. Knowing that 80-90% of ECRs will have to leave academia, we must tackle these perspectives and change the way we assess scientists.
- How can we change the research culture without increasing the vulnerability of ECR?
Nadia Soliman (@Nadia_Soliman_)
Nadia Soliman (Imperial College London) has returned to academia having served in both the regular and reserve of the British Army for over ten years. She spoke on Leadership in Academia, and how this relates to publishing.
- ECRs are being pressured into publishing against their ethics because of threats relating to job security
- We are not assessed on research merit but on journal title.
- Experiences of leadership development within the British Army enables recognition that the cultural change required requires robust leadership at every level
- The change required is to move from a culture that incentivises individualism to one that is more team-orientated and outward focused.
- Academics should believe and understand that they are “in service of others”. Unlike the Army, academics do not have a values and leadership code to refer to for guidance
- Academic Leadership Code – a document that articulates our values (the guiding principles) and the types of leadership behaviours to uphold those values:-
- Values; academic freedom, scholarly excellence, mutual respect, collaboration, integrity
- Leadership behaviours; lead by example, develop others, build teams and collaborations, strive for team goals, do the right thing
- Three values pertinent to open access publishing and changing research culture:
– Scholarly excellence Improving the quality of research is a reason for open access publishing. It can increase transparency, reproducibility, academic rigour, and shorten the timeframe of publication and dissemination. The “Natural Selection of Bad Science”, Smaldino and McElreath 2016, shows that selecting for high output leads to poorer method conduction and increasingly high false discovery rates. Need to move to a culture that rewards understanding
– Collaboration Collaborative working is an increasing feature of academic research that allows us to tackle the most ambitious problems by sharing knowledge and resources. Information access is key to global development
– Integrity Academics should be honest, fair, transparent and accountable, stand up for what is right and uphold moral and ethical values. This is necessary if doing so may hinder career progression. Maintaining integrity shows that decisions are based upon the greater good and not for personal gain
- Everyone at every level has a responsibility to drive change
- Everyone has agency and can lead by example regardless of their position – it is in our gift!
- Need funders, institutions, publishers and individual researchers to work together
– Funders: incentivise OA publishing
– Publishers: equitable fees for OA
– Institutions: DORA signatories
– Researchers: publish OA, publish and review on preprint servers, submit to and review for journals working towards improving incentive structures
Questions received via webinar chat channel (to be added soon)
Answers will be from Gareth O’Neill (GO); Noémie Aubert Bonn (NAB); Nadia Soliman (NS)