Education is the Key to SuccessChildren struggle to learn when they don’t have science labs and libraries. Learning becomes difficult in classrooms that are falling apart, or where children are expected to sit on the floor because they have neither desks nor chairs.

A lack of infrastructure is just one contributor to South Africa’s entrenched and ongoing educational inequality. There is another, less frequently discussed issue that is deepening this inequality: access to quality peer-reviewed information.

Such information should be available to all South Africans whether they are school children, university students, researchers or citizen scientists. This will encourage lifelong self-learning. It will spur continued research and innovation. Access to information can bolster education, training, empowerment and human development.

International Open Access Week offers a good opportunity to explore how South Africa can improve its citizens’ access to information.

Opening up access

It has been more than 21 years since apartheid ended, but a distinction remains between South Africa’s “rich” and “poor” universities. One of the reasons for this distinction is the richer institutions’ ability to invest in research resources. They can afford expensive subscriptions to databases which contain a wealth of research – ironically funded by taxpayers’ money.

The historically disadvantaged and predominantly black universities can’t afford such subscriptions. Their academics also can’t contribute to such resources, because authors are expected to pay a fee for the “privilege” of being published.

As university budgets are slashed, even wealthier institutions are beginning to struggle with subscription and publication fee costs.

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Reminder: Submit Your OA Story Today!

Essay ContestThere’s only one week left to enter ECS’s Open Access Week Competition! Don’t forget to submit your brief 200-400 word essay for a chance to win one of two cash prizes and additional funding for your ECS Student Chapter.


Prizes:

1st prize: $250 to the individual, $500 to the affiliated ECS Student Chapter*

2nd prize: $100 to the individual, $250 to the affiliated ECS Student Chapter*

*In the event that there is no affiliated ECS Student Chapter, this prize money will be donated to the ECS Free the Science Fund. If a report is written by more than one individual, any prize money will be shared equally between those individuals.

Submissions Open: August 8, 2016

Submissions Close: September 15, 2016 (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)

Download our poster promoting the competition to distribute on your campus.

Not interested in participating, but want to get involved? Check out the Open Access Week website for information or inspiration: http://www.openaccessweek.org/


RULES AND MORE INFORMATION 

SUBMIT NOW!

Open AccessNASA recently announced that all research funded by the space agency will be accessible to anyone looking to access the data at absolutely no cost.

The new public web portal, called PubSpace, was established in response to NASA’s new policy, which requires that all research funded by NASA and published in peer-reviewed journals must be open to the public within one year of its initial publication.

“At NASA, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio and scientific and technical publications,” NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman said in a press release. “Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air, and space.”

However, the entire body of NASA-funded research will not be accessible in PubSpace. Materials and patents governed by personal privacy, proprietary, or security laws will not be housed in the new database.

NASA’s new policy and PubSpace is a direct response to a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for federal funding agencies to make papers and data more easily accessible to other researchers and the public.

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Open AccessA large-scale study on the impact of open access has recently been released, finding that OA papers have a 50 percent greater citation advantage than papers published in subscription-based journals.

The analysis of more than three million papers determined that a journal’s move toward open access publishing is necessary to retain relevance in the field. Additionally, further results point to the face that traditional subscription-based journals will lose their relevance for researchers and governments if they continue to block access to research via paywalls.

(READ: “For-science of For-profit?“)

This from Digital Journal:

The new research also shows that the widely held belief that open access papers have a greater impact due to them being available earlier than their commercially published versions is not consistent with the large-scale data collected by 1science. In fact, based on a tie series comprising more than 17.4 million papers published between 2000 and 2015, it is clear that open access still suffers from the effect of embargoes enforced by traditional publishers who maintain that they require that delay to keep the subscription model alive.

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OAlogoHere at ECS we are already preparing for Open Access Week 2016 (October 24-30). This year’s theme is “Open in Action”.

We are taking action with our Free the Science initiative – and we hope you will take action too by sharing your Open Access story with us! We want to know how Open Access is affecting you – what has OA helped you to accomplish? How is OA making a difference to you personally?

Submit your brief essay (200-400 words) for a chance to win a cash prize, and (if applicable) additional funding for your student chapter. These funds could be used to send chapter members to an ECS meeting, other conferences, invite speakers to campus, or to host any number of extra events for your chapter. Any funds not spent this year will be rolled over to the next. (more…)

Test Your Open Access Knowledge

We talk about open access a lot here at ECS, but how much do you really know about OA?

Test your knowledge by taking the Cognet OA quiz below!

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is making his voice heard in the quest for open access of vital scientific research.

After losing his son to cancer in May of 2015, Biden has been on a mission to accelerate cancer research in search of a cure. In order to make those leaps and bounds in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, Biden is now pushing for an open access database to gain better understanding of the disease and advance innovation.

According to The Washington Post, Biden stated that the path toward breakthroughs relies upon increasing the number of researchers who can access data.

While the scope of ECS’s science may be different, our mission to accelerate innovation and open access to our research is the same.

ECS’s Free the Science initiative aims to make all of the research in our Digital Library free to publish and free to read – freeing the science for everyone.

Instead of putting money into the publishing industry, Free the Science is investing in research – allowing scientists to share their work with readers around the world and attracting more minds to think about how to solve some of our planet’s most pressing problems.

Learn more about Free the Science.

Open Access LogoWhen eLife emerged in 2012, the biomedical journal aimed to be on-par with such competitors as Nature and Cell as far as content goes, but publish those papers at no cost to the author or reader.

After 1,800 papers four years of a complete open access model, eLife will get another boost from its funders to allow the journal to continue down its path of high standards and openness.

eLife’s status in the field is rising quite quickly,” eLife editor Sjors Scheres told Nature News. “I liked the idea behind it — to make a high-impact journal completely driven by scientists, and open.”

ECS’s Free the Science initiative draws many parallels to eLife’s publication model. Much like eLife, ECS looks to maintain our rigorous peer-review process as we move toward making the ECS Digital Library completely open access.

Free the Science is an initiative that seeks to remove all fees associate with publishing and accessing our scientific content so scientists can share their research with readers around the world, allowing more minds to think about and solve problems.

Learn more about Free the Science and watch our video explaining why it has never been more important to advance our technical domain.

ECS Open Access Raffle

SanDiegoRaffle_b

New for the 229th ECS Meeting: Stop by the ECS Publication Booth for a chance to win 1 of 4 Open Access Credits! These credits may be used to publish your paper as OA in either JES or JSS.

Please stop by the ECS Publications Booth, located on the Sapphire Level (Fourth Floor) of the Hilton Bayfront any time during Registration Hours and drop off your business card to enter the raffle. ECS will be raffling off 4 Open Access credits during the 229th ECS meeting (each credit is worth $800)!

Questions? Please email oa@electrochem.org and we’ll see you in San Diego!

Open Access: Cost vs. Value

openaccessroundWhether you’re looking at the transformation of scholarly publications or the overall conversation across the globe, it’s clear to see that open access is picking up steam nearly everywhere. In a recent article from Thomson Reuters, the firm takes a deeper look at the move toward open access and its implications.

Cost of open access

Like any publishing model, open access is not without its costs and values. In a traditional open access model, the burden of the cost falls back, in part, on the researcher. Because publishers are not earning subscription fees and individuals no longer have to purchase articles, the author takes on some of the cost of publishing and copy editing.

However, Reuters points out that it is pretty common for publications that are truly dedicated to open access to make affordable those costs to people who may typically not be able to afford it (i.e. waiving fess or article processing credits).

Academic and societal value

In contrast to the cost, the value of open access publications is felt on both an academic and societal level.

For researchers, open access allows scientists to get their findings published faster. By getting the data disseminated faster, researchers can get more citations and begin to connect the dots between the science and our everyday lives.

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