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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Sharing the Science

Free the Science Week

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In April 2017, ECS celebrated its first annual Free the Science Week, giving the world a preview of what complete open access to peer-reviewed scientific research will look like.

Free the Science Week is part of ECS’s long-term Free the Science initiative, which will provide free access to the peer-reviewed research in the entire ECS Digital Library, not just for a week, but permanently.

Here are just a few insights from the week:

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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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ECS celebrates 115 years of academic publishing

Free the Sciecne logoECS is celebrating its 115th anniversary this year by giving the world a preview of what complete open access to peer-reviewed scientific research will look like. ECS will launch the first Free the Science Week, April 3-9, and take down the paywall to the entire ECS Digital Library, making over 132,000 scientific articles and abstracts free and accessible to everyone.

In April of 1902, a group of innovative young scientists sought a new forum to discuss, publish, and disseminate developments in the growing field of electrochemistry. They formed the American Electrochemical Society in Philadelphia, the home of independence and the first free public library in the United States; a history befitting an organization that aims to Free the Science around the globe.

More than 100 years later and operating now as ECS, scientists and engineers worldwide are still engaged in our thriving community. Now, as electrochemistry and sold state science & technology become ever more relevant to the future of our planet, holding the keys to innovation in renewable energy, biomedical, water, sanitation, communications, transportation, and infrastructure sectors, ECS is continuing to find ways to lead and influence our scientific field.

Free the Science Week is part of ECS’s long-term Free the Science initiative, which will provide free access to the peer-reviewed research in the entire ECS Digital Library, not just this week, but permanently.

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All ECS content will be accessible to over 8,200 institutions

Research4LifeECS is partnering with Research4Life to provide accessibility to over 132,000 articles and abstracts published in the ECS Digital Library. All papers published by ECS will be free to access for more than 8,200 institutions in an effort to reduce the scientific knowledge gap between high-income and low- and middle-income countries by providing free or affordable access to critical scientific research.

The ECS Digital Library is home to the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the flagship journal of ECS, published continuously since 1902, and to the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, ECS Electrochemistry Letters, ECS Solid State Letters, Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, ECS Transactions, ECS Meeting Abstracts, ECS Proceedings Volumes and the ECS quarterly membership magazine, Interface.

The research published in ECS journals directly addresses the sustainability of our planet, with topics ranging from renewable energy storage and conversation to clean water and sanitation.

“Open access, especially in electrochemistry and solid state science, is an important goal for scientific and technological development and, quite simply, creating a better world.” says Roque Calvo, executive director of ECS. “ECS’s partnership with Research4Life is a step toward ensuring that everyone working on these issues, wherever they are in the world, has access to the latest 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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ECS Celebrates Open Data Day

On March 4, 2017, ECS will be celebrating Open Data Day! For 2017, this global initiative focuses on four key areas that open data can contribute to: open research data, tracking public money flows, open data for the environment, and open data for human rights.

What is open data? Open data is the revolutionary concept that some data should be available for public use without legal or fiscal restrictions. ECS’s Free the Science initiative aligns categorically with open research data and open data for the environment. This ECS initiative is fighting to bring science and technology into the information sharing era; as technology makes information rapidly more available, the way in which data is accessible and presented becomes evidently more important for scientific advancement. In light of this, ECS is actively seeking ways to make our research open to expedite innovation and find solutions for environmental issues and other technically relevant areas. In addition to this, we are seeking to change the way that scholarly communication among scientists is exchanged and socialized. In the coming months, keep your eye out for big announcements in these areas which are expected to help us accomplish those goals!

Do you want to participate in Open Data Day but don’t know how? On Thursday, March 2 through Saturday, March 4, ECS will be circulating a survey to determine our field’s specific needs in the realm of accessibility to data and research. The best way to contribute to open data is by sharing your knowledge and helping us to understand the accessibility needs of our researchers.

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By: Ellen Finnie, In the Open

Free the ScienceThe Electrochemical Society, a small nonprofit scholarly society founded in 1902, has an important message for all of us who are concerned about access to science. Mary Yess, deputy executive director and chief content officer and publisher, could not be clearer about the increased urgency of ECS’ path: “We have got to move towards an open science environment. It has never been more important – especially in light of the recently announced ‘gag orders’ on several U.S. government agencies– to actively promote the principles of open science.” What they committed to in 2013 as an important open access initiative has become, against the current political backdrop, truly a quest to “free the science.”

ECS’s Free the Science program is designed to accelerate the ability of the research ECS publishes — for example, in sustainable clean energy, clean water, climate science, food safety, and medical care — to generate solutions to our planet’s biggest problems. It is a simple and yet powerful proposition, as ECS frames it:

“We believe that if this research were openly available to anyone who wished to read it, anywhere it the world, it would contribute to faster problem solving and technology development, accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and even stimulate the economy.”

How this small society — which currently publishes just two journals — came to this conclusion, and how they plan to move to an entirely open access future, is, I believe, broadly instructive at a time when our political environment has only one solid state: uncertainty.

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