As well as the recording above, please scroll down in this post for responses to some of the unanswered questions from attendees.
Date: June 29, 2021
Time: 3 – 4.15 pm UK (2 – 3.15 pm UTC)
Other timezones: 7.00 am Pacific Time, 9.00 am Central Time, 10.00 am Eastern Time, 11.00 am Brasilia Time, 4.00 pm Central European Time, 3.00 pm West Africa Time, 4.00 pm South Africa Standard Time, 7.30 pm India Standard Time, 10 pm Central Indonesia Time (Time converter tool)
OASPA is pleased to announce the first in a series of webinars focused on the needs of the researcher. This webinar brings together a cross-disciplinary panel of researchers to discuss what unites them in terms of their motivations and values around open research and open access, and how and if this is enabled in practice. Panellists will also consider if their perceptions change depending on their role (author, reviewer, evaluator, educator, reader) and discuss the choices they currently make when disseminating their work and if and how they would like these to change in the future.
The webinar will be chaired by Curtis Brundy and we welcome our panellists Michelle Arkin, Melodee Beals, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou and Zulidyana D. Rusnalasari.
The panellists will each speak for approximately 10 minutes each, and then we will open it up to questions from the audience and for panel discussion.
Questions received via the webinar Q&A channel (unanswered during the webinar)
Answers from Melodee Beals (MHB), Michelle Arkin (MRA) and Zulidyana D. Rusnalasari (ZRB)
Q. In reference to Melodee’s comment about long explanations for methods and background, I edit an online journal and have thought about soliciting Methodological Recaps which would allow more extended explanations of process and assumptions. What do you think?
MHB: I think that having a dedicated space within an existing journal is a good place to start! This is what the JVC has done with their “Digital Forum” which has been a good place for methodological discussions thus far. It would be ideal, I think, if these were linked to specific articles though, rather than independent pieces, so people could connect method with output directly
Q. Melodee – interesting that you found having to use a repository as a disadvantage to the readers, as many publishers are moving towards preference to put data in repositories, whereas Supplementary information can be a bit of a dumping ground of different materials and not the ideal place for data. In this case would a better integration with the repository and the article page be the solution?
MHB: I think my main difficulty has been the use of very old practices (the traditional footnote) to indicate a data store elsewhere. These, I think, get lost in the sea of other citations. Perhaps even a more upfront preface as to the location, availability and use of the data when reading the article might be more useful, or a side-by-side reader that can pull that data next to the article.
Q. In the UK, we are increasingly required to sign up to publisher deals but may not be able to sign up to all due to funding limitations. This will limit the OA journals available to our researchers to publish in. How do you as researchers feel about these limitations?
MHB: Because of green OA avenues, I tend not to worry if we don’t have a publishing deal, though I think they are a boon when we do have them; I am skeptical of some that are excessively restrictive or expensive.
Q. If APCs are the problem, why do researchers not publish in the more than 17,000 diamond open access journals? What would hinder you or other researchers from publishing in these journals?
ZDR: in my case, as a junior researcher, sometimes the choices are not only decided by the researchers. Funders, supervisors, government’s roles or senior lecturers have the higher position to decide, “what kind of journal to be the place to be published”.
MRA: In thinking about where to publish, I start by thinking about the audience I am trying to reach. I must admit I have not come across journals with no APCs – perhaps they are not yet on my radar. Green OA is helpful, but there are often embargos.
Q. Do you think that opening up research will make a way for the language research is published in to be more wide-ranging and for English to be less dominant, or will it still be the prevailing ‘lingua franca’?
MHB: I think there is value in a lingua franca, as English is a second language at least to billions of people; however, I think the point Thomas made confirms the idea that dual-publication in the author’s language or more reasonably in “impact” language of the particular piece should absolutely be the norm.
Q. How far does open access publishing go to actually meet the needs of you as a researcher? And what are the biggest shortcomings for you?
MHB: The main problem I have had with open access publishing so far is the “pay if you can model”. Its not always straightforward and the system of waivers and exceptions and deals seems to complicate things needlessly. In some ways I prefer immediate green publication but then what do I need the “official publication for”? This seems largely to be for a) peer review and b) formatting and copyediting. My experience as an editor (and who is willing and able to review a given article) and a peer reviewer (and what revisions are accepted or fudged by author/journal makes me increasingly skeptical of these and copyediting seems a service that could be done by universities or funding bodies for far more economical rates than APCs.
MRA: As a researcher who accesses publications, OA is fantastic! When I come across a paper that isn’t free/immediately available, this creates a barrier (and since my university makes most journals accessible, I can usually find similar information elsewhere). This is a huge disservice to the authors of the work.
Q. @Melodee: How could humanities ensure reproducibility?
MHB: I think this very question is why so many humanities scholars have difficulties with the idea of open research (rather than just open access). Fields like history and to some extent literature are largely observational rather than experimental sciences, if I can use that term broadly, so it would have to be more akin to reproduceable methods of observation and interpretation (like Astronomy) rather than reproducible results from inputs and operations. Nonetheless, I think this is a rich field of inquiry that we should pursue. Open methods (for replication) and data (for observation and interpretation) would be my suggestions, just as they would be for other fields.
Q. You clearly all consider Open Access when making decisions about where to publish. How common do you think the OA element is now among your peers? Do they think about OA right from the start?
MRA: Many colleagues place OA front-and-center. I often think about it secondarily, after audience and ‘impact.’ But then I am shocked at APCs and wish I had included this criterion sooner.
ZDR: I prefer to say that OA is one of (very) good alternative to blooming researchers choices, not only choices to publish, but also choices to start research itself. But, I have to admit that, this is not common yet for my peers, but as we always campaign to make our colleagues aware of OA and the benefits, I am sure the awareness will make a better research environment.
Q. Can you speak to your experience with other open science practices, for example data sharing, preprints, or preregistration? Have you engaged in any of these initiatives and if so (or if not), why?
MRA: We use preprint servers (BioRxiv, MedRxiv, ChemRxiv) all the time. Most journals in our research space require publication of data, which we do via supplementary information in the paper, links to our databases, and github.
ZDR: in my country, we have a preprint server named RINarxiv, the goverment support this server because they have particular support for communities, that need the server available. So, as a community Open Science Indonesia, started with a webinar in 2019 that attended by more than 50 institutions, then we maintain the community, and with this community we apply for Gov Support to provide an adequate server for preprint server.
Q. On this subject, to what extent are the DORA principles being adopted in your region/discipline? https://sfdora.org/
MRA: DORA was initiated in my discipline, and by many colleagues/organizations in my physical and scientific space. Several of the sustaining organizations, including Public Library of Science (PLoS) have been groundbreakers in open access publishing.
Q. Does publishing Green OA by depositing the accepted version of an article in the institutional repository meet the needs of researchers, especially if there is no embargo period?
MHB: For me as a researcher, absolutely, though I do feel the pressure (which may be imaginary) of needing to cite the authoritative version. As for preprints (or non-peer reviewed) I engage with them as I do with any other piece of work and attempt to judge them on their data (if available) and the persuasiveness of their interpretation. Peer review is a helpful filter, in some ways, to prevent me reading a lot of things that aren’t worth my time, but I have those skills as a peer reviewer anyway.
MRA: I think PubMed Central is Green OA – it is very commonly used, and is the accepted version. I do reference the journal version, though!
Q. Do you consider accessibility, in the context of document formatting that enables people with disabilities to engage with research works, when publishing? This is a topic that embodies the ethos of open access but, in my experience, is relying on a shift in culture due to traditional publishing practices already touched on by the panel.
MRA: I appreciate the consciousness-raising about formatting to make the work more accessible to people with disabilities. We consider print figures in black-and-white to see if they are still readable and have started considering color-blindness in color choice. Reading on the computer allows zooming, which helps the visually impaired, but I’m sure more can/should be done!
Resources shared in the chat channel
From Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou:
Epistemic Alienation in African Scholarly Communications: Open Access as a Pharmakon
Michelle Arkin (@MichelleArkin)
Michelle is Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF. Michelle’s lab develops innovative approaches to discover chemical tools and drug leads for protein-protein interactions and other challenging targets in cancer, neurodegeneration, and inflammation. Michelle is co-Director of the Small Molecule Discovery Center, a collaborative research lab (smdc.ucsf.edu) and president of the Academic Drug Discovery Consortium. She is engaged in several open-science efforts, including the ATOM Consortium, which is focused on development of AI-driven drug discovery.
Melodee Beals (@mhbeals)
Dr Melodee Beals is a Senior Lecturer in Digital History in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University, UK. Her research explores the ways in which the movement of peoples and ideas intersect and the practical traces of imagined communities within the Anglophone World. Her most recent project, The Atlas of Digitised Newspapers, is an open access online report and dataset on the development and potential uses of digitised newspaper databases around the world. As an advocate of the Digital Humanities and Open Research, she works to develop and promote computer-aided methodologies through her roles as history editor for the Open Library of Humanities and Fellow of the Software Sustainability Institute.
Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou (@mboathomas)
Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou is a Cameroonian social scientist, and holds a PhD in public communication from the Université Laval in Quebec City. With a focus on the African continent, Thomas’ research interests are in the digital humanities, open science, the maker movement, social innovation and scholarly communication, with a strong theoretical focus on decolonial studies and critical approaches to development.
Thomas Mboa is currently Lecturer at the Advanced School of Mass Communication (Digital Humanities Section), University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon. In addition, through the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarship Program, he is a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society, University of Ottawa ; as well as, New Emerging Researcher at Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Network, University of Ottawa.
Zulidyana D. Rusnalasari (@zulidyana)
Zulidyana D Rusnalasari is a researcher and scientific journal editor. Teaching is not only her primary career but also her hobby. Zulidyana is a strong advocate of Open Science and believes that information, particularly related to public knowledge and science, should be available openly and reliably. As a lecturer and trainer, she campaigns for Open Science to her students and trainees. Her interest in this area began in 2010 when she researched the Open Source Community as part of her postgraduate studies in Cultural Studies at the University of Indonesia. Although Zulidyana is a junior lecturer, she works to improve her colleagues’ knowledge regarding scientific publication literacy and its relation to Open Science Movements. Currently, she is finalizing her dissertation to complete her doctoral degree in Literature and Cultural Education. Zulidyana believes that education is the key to improving human quality of life.
Chair: Curtis Brundy (@curtisbrundy)
Curtis Brundy is the Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Communications and Collections at Iowa State University. He oversees collections and is active in efforts to transform scholarly communications.
His work focuses on advancing open access, controlling prices, and increasing transparency. He currently chairs the OA2020 US Working Group and is involved with several other groups working to transform scholarly communications, including the Subscribe to Open Community of Practice.