Founder of the highly controversial Sci-Hub, Alexandra Elbakyan, has recently pulled access to the research pirate site in Russia. After criticism from Russian scientists, Elbakayan finally pulled the plug on Russia’s access to Sci-Hub after researchers named a new parasitic insect after her.

The so-called “Pirate Bay of science” made its mark in 2011 when Kazakhstan hacked into hundreds of scholarly journals, leaking million documents and illegally allowing the public to freely access scientific papers.

Previously, Elbakyan referred to the internet as a “global brain,” stating that paywalls should not exist in order to provide a free flow of content that can help build society. Now, she has described recent attacks on her as an “extreme injustice,” saying: “If you analyze the situation with scientific publications, the real parasites are scientific publishers, and Sci-Hub, on the contrary, fights for equal access to scientific information.”

This is not the first to Sci-Hub has come under attack. In June 2017, publishing giant Elsevier won a legal judgement against sites like Sci-Hub, awarding the publisher $15 million in damages for copyright infringement. The site is also facing legal action from the American Chemical Society.

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Open Science and ECS

On October 4, during the Society’s 232nd meeting, ECS will be hosting its first ever ECS Data Sciences Hack Day. This event will be ECS’s first foray into building an electrochemical data sciences and open source community from the ground up.

On this episode of the ECS Podcast, we discuss the upcoming ECS Data Sciences Hack Day, the importance of dataset sharing, how open source software can transform the field, and the future of open science.

This episode’s guests include Daniel Schwartz, Boeing-Sutter Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington; David Beck, Director of Research with the eSciences Institute at the University of Washington; and Matthew Murbach, president of the University of Washington ECS Student Chapter.

Schwartz, Beck, and Murbach will be at the 232nd ECS Meeting this fall in National Harbor, Maryland participating in OpenCon and running the ECS Hack Day. There’s still time to register for both of these events.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Podbean, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher and Acast.

Q&A series with ECS OpenCon 2017 speakers

Daniel Schwartz

Dan Schwartz, Boeing-Sutter Professor and director of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington

ECS will be hosting its first ever OpenCon event on October 1 in National Harbor, MD. OpenCon will be ECS’s first, large community event aimed at creating a culture of change in how research is designed, shared, discussed, and disseminated, with the ultimate goal of making scientific progress faster.

During ECS’s Open Con, Dan Schwartz, director of the Clean Energy Institute at the University of Washington, will give a talk on the open science movement and academia. In addition to speaking at OpenCon, Schwartz will also co-organize the ECS Data Sciences Hack Day.

The following conversation is part of a series with speakers from the upcoming ECS OpenCon. Read the rest of the series.

ECS: When we say “data sciences,” what does this encompass?

Dan Schwartz: “Data science” is shorthand for the scientific and engineering principles that underpin efficient creation, visualization, analysis, and sharing of data. I have a conjecture—unevaluated but euphemistically called “Schwartz’s law” around here—that every PhD I graduate produce more data than the sum of all prior PhDs. Basically, each year cameras and detectors have deeper bit depth, equipment and software get more automated, more of the software tools allow data and simulation to be animated, etc. In short, both experimentalists and simulation people are seeing huge growth in data they need to analyze, visualize, and share with collaborators.

ECS: Specifically, what areas of electrochemistry and/or solid state science can most benefit from the various components of data sciences, such as open data, open source software and cloud-based computing tools, etc.?

DS: I believe we can accelerate progress and improve reproducibility of all ECS science and technology through open data, open software, and access to shared computational resources. A critical part of this is building the ECS community that establishes standards for data repositories, creates, peer evaluates, and improves software tools.

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In May 2017, we sat down with ECS journal editors Robert Savinell and Dennis Hess at the 231st ECS Meeting to discuss the future of scholarly publishing, open access, and the Society’s Free the Science initiative. The conversation was led by Rob Gerth, director of marketing and communications at ECS.

In 1978, Savinell became an active member of ECS, serving as an associate editor for the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) in 1984. He was appointed editor of JES in 2013, where he began focusing on continuing the tradition of rigorous review, enhancing timeliness of decision and publication, while transitioning JES to full open access. Savinell has recently been reappointed as editor JES for a three-year period, from May 18, 2017 through May 17, 2020.

Hess became a member of ECS in 1974. He has been active in both the ECS Dielectric Science and Technology and Division and ECS Electronics Division, serving as a divisional editor from 1978 through 1990. Currently, Hess is the editor of the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free through the iTunes Store, SoundCloud, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher.

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By: Kevin Smith, In the Open

Open AccessRecently there has been a spate of comment expressing frustration about the allegedly slow progress of open access, and especially Green open access. It is hard to disagree with some of this sentiment, but it is important that frustration not lead us into trying to solve a problem with a worse solution. The key, I believe, to making real advances in open access is to walk away from the commercial publishers who have dominated the market for scholarship. Only if we do that can libraries free up money from our collection budgets to do truly new things. A new business model with the same old players, even if it were possible, would be a mistake.

The most articulate call for an open access future for scholarship – the Budapest Open Access Initiative — was issued fifteen years ago, in February 2002. There is no one better qualified to speak about the meaning of that declaration today than Professor Jean-Claude Guédon, who signed the original Budapest statement and last month published a brilliant and compelling article about where we are and where we need to go next in the movement toward open access scholarship.

Guédon covers a lot of ground in his article “Open Access: Toward the Internet of the Mind.” I want to focus on two points, one I think of as a warning and the other a signpost.

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By: Elizabeth Gilbert, The Medical University of South Carolina and Katie Corker, Grand Valley State University

ResearchWhat is “open science”?

Open science is a set of practices designed to make scientific processes and results more transparent and accessible to people outside the research team. It includes making complete research materials, data and lab procedures freely available online to anyone. Many scientists are also proponents of open access, a parallel movement involving making research articles available to read without a subscription or access fee.

Why are researchers interested in open science? What problems does it aim to address?

Recent research finds that many published scientific findings might not be reliable. For example, researchers have reported being able to replicate only 40 percent or less of cancer biology results, and a large-scale attempt to replicate 100 recent psychology studies successfully reproduced fewer than half of the original results.

This has come to be called a “reproducibility crisis.” It’s pushed many scientists to look for ways to improve their research practices and increase study reliability. Practicing open science is one way to do so. When scientists share their underlying materials and data, other scientists can more easily evaluate and attempt to replicate them.

Also, open science can help speed scientific discovery. When scientists share their materials and data, others can use and analyze them in new ways, potentially leading to new discoveries. Some journals are specifically dedicated to publishing data sets for reuse (Scientific Data; Journal of Open Psychology Data). A paper in the latter has already been cited 17 times in under three years – nearly all these citations represent new discoveries, sometimes on topics unrelated to the original research.

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By: Mary Yess, ECS Deputy Executive Director & Chief Content Officer

Open AccessRichard Poynder (@RickyPo) is well-known and well-respected in the open access community, especially for his “Open and Shut?” blog. Poynder has written an excellent post, which is part interview with Philip Cohen, founder of the SocArXiv preprint server, and part synopsis of the resurgent preprint server movement. The precursor of them all is arXiv, which was founded way back in 1991. Poynder asks, can preprint servers “gain sufficient traction, impetus, and focus to push the revolution the open access movement began in a more desirable direction?”

The post also talks a good bit about the preprint server framework created by the Center for Open Science (COS). ECS, who is working with COS on launching our own preprint server, gets several mentions in the article as well. In this age of 8-second attention spans, it’s a long article, but it’s well worth the read.

Free the ScienceECS is committed to open access through Free the Science, an initiative to completely open our research library and implement open science tools to further scientific advancement in our fields of research.

Our efforts are part of a much larger movement happening across the world. The Open Research Funders Group was announced late last year with foundational support from big names like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation, to name a few. Recently, the James S. McDonnell Foundation joined the group that is committed to increasing access to research outputs. Using their positions as major funding institutions, the group believes that openness accelerates discovery, reduces information-sharing gaps, encourages innovations, and promotes reproducibility. See a complete list of members of the Open Research Funders Group here.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced in a speech to the American Association for Cancer Research that open access, open data, and new research incentives are the best way to contribute to the fight against cancer. In line with his Cancer Moonshot initiative, Biden laid out a series of policy priorities to incentivize open sharing of research data and open access to research articles. Learn more about the Cancer Moonshot initiative here.

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Open AccessECS isn’t the only one celebrating an anniversary this year. As we celebrate 115 years of excellence as a publisher, meeting convener, and multi-faceted scientific society, this year also marks an important 15-year milestone in the open access movement. In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative was hosted by the Open Society Foundations and to this day serves as a landmark meeting in communicating the importance and urgency of open access necessities.

The participants in the conference served as the founding researchers of open access, drafting a widely circulated declaration to articulate the goals of the open access (OA) movement. This declaration was signed by over 5,000 organizations and individuals, including ECS.

The declaration reads in part:

Removing access barriers to this literature will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.

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Editors' Choice

An Editors’ Choice article is a special designation applied by the Journals’ Editorial Board to any article type. Editors’ Choice articles are transformative and represent a substantial advance or discovery, either experimental or theoretical. The work must show a new direction, a new concept, a new way of doing something, a new interpretation, or a new field, and not merely preliminary data.

Two Editors’ Choice articles were published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) in December 2016.

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