By: Brian Nosek, Center for Open Science

JournalsIn the Fall of 2011, Sarah Mackenzie, the maid of honor at my wedding, was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. Sarah and her family were motivated to learn as much as they could about the disease to advocate for her care. They weren’t scientists, but they started searching the literature for relevant articles. One evening, Sarah called us, angry. Every time she found an article that might be relevant to understanding her disease, she ran into a paywall requiring $15-$40 to access it. Public money had paid for the research, yet she was barred from making any use of it. Luckily, she had us. Most people in Sarah’s position don’t have the luxury of friends at wealthy academic institutions with subscriptions to the literature.

During this time, I was pursuing an interest in the business models of scholarly communication. I wanted to understand the ways in which these models interfered with the dissemination of knowledge that could improve quality of life. Sarah’s experience illustrated one key part of the problem–the outcomes of research should be public goods, but the business models of publishing make them exclusive goods. Lack of access to published literature limits our ability to apply what we know to improving others’ quality of life. If doctors can’t access the literature, they can’t keep up with the latest innovations for care. If policy makers can’t access the literature, they can’t create evidence based policies. To advance solutions and cures, the outcomes of research must be open.

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ECS AMA: Post Your Questions Now!

ECS’s Ask Me Anything thread is officially live on /r/Science.

Use the link below to visit the thread and post your questions about open science, the Free the Science initiative, and the Society’s forthcoming preprint server, ECSarXiv.

Visit the AMA!

Please note: you will need a Reddit account in order to post questions, comment, or vote in the discussion. If you do not already have one, you can create a free account on Reddit’s website.

Revisit the thread later today, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST. During this time, ECS President Johna Leddy and ECS Transactions Editor Jeffrey Fergus will respond to questions that have been posted, prioritizing the ones that have received the most upvotes.

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Ask ECS Anything!

On Thursday, December 14, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST, ECS President Johna Leddy and ECS Transactions Editor Jeffrey Fergus will answer your questions about open science, the Free the Science initiative, and the Society’s forthcoming preprint server, ECSarXiv, during ECS’s second Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).

The online discussion will take place as part of the /r/Science community’s Science AMA Series. All are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

Any questions related to the topics listed above are fair game. Start preparing yours!

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OpenCon Q&A: Changing Culture

We are podcasting the question and answer section of the live broadcast ECS did of the OpenCon satellite event held at the 232nd ECS Meeting in October of 2017.

ECS OpenCon was a 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.

ECS was the first scholarly society to host an OpenCon satellite event.

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In a recent interview, ReasonsTV sat down with PLOS co-founder Michael Eisen to discuss open access, the academic publishing monopoly, and ways to democratize scientific progress.

PS: ECS’s Free the Science initiative is a move toward a future that embraces open science to further advance research in our field. This is a long-term vision for transformative change in the traditional models of communicating scholarly research.

Other ECS programs that advance the shift to open science include the upcoming launch of ECSarXiv, a preprint server through a partnership with the Center for Open Science, enhanced research dissemination with Research4Life, ECS OpenCon, and expanding our publications to include more research in data sciences.

Open AccessA new open access publication platform for African researchers is set to launch in early 2018. The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) has partnered with open access publisher F1000 to launch AAS Open Research, which will provide a transparent, post-publication peer review system for AAS-funded and affiliated researchers.

By using the F1000 publishing platform, African researchers will be able to immediately publish their work online and gain access to an efficient, transparent peer review. Once the article appears online, F1000 will arrange a peer review that will appear alongside the article. The authors of the work will then have the opportunity to make recommended changes based on the review. Upon passing peer review, the papers will be indexed in abstract databases.

The implementation of this system aims to level the playing field for research in low-income countries, where the perception of the quality of research may be lower than that of higher-income countries. Additionally, it also allows for African researchers to quickly and easily find a home for their work.

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ECS hosted its first ever satellite OpenCon event on October 1, 2017 during the 232nd ECS Meeting in National Harbor, MD. This landmark event marked ECS’s first large community effort 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.

Watch full coverage of the event.

OpenCon is an international event hosted by the Right to Research Coalition, a student organization of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. OpenCon provides a platform the researchers to learn about open access and open science, develop critical skills, and catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information.

This event featured vocal advocates in the open movement, examining the intersection of advances in research infrastructure, the researcher experience, funder mandates and policies, as well as the global shift that is happening in traditional scholarly communications.

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Open Access Week 2017 Survey

ECS celebrated International Open Access Week 2017 by giving the world a preview of what complete open access to peer-reviewed scientific research looks like. ECS took down the paywall October 23-29, 2017 to the entire ECS Digital Library, making over 132,000 scientific articles and abstracts free and accessible to everyone.

Take a few minutes to tell us more about your experience.

This was the third consecutive year ECS took down its paywalls during Open Access Week, an annual event organized by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

Eliminating the paywall during Open Access Week allows ECS to give the world a preview of the potential of its Free the Science initiative.

 

ECS is once again participating in International Open Access Week. It begins on Monday, October 23 and for the week you’ll be able to read and download anything in the ECS Digital Library at no charge. That’s over 132,000 articles and abstracts.

ECS proud to participate in Open Access Week as part of its commitment to Free the Science, an initiative to move toward a future that embraces open science to further advance research in our fields. This is a long-term vision for transformative change in the traditional models of communicating scholarly research. Being open means better collaboration, more impact, and faster progress.

Let your friends and colleagues know what ECS is doing so they too can take advantage of our free research! Discover information in fields like energy technology, communications, transportation, human health and welfare, and the general sustainability of our planet.

PS: If you like what ECS is doing to promote more openness in research communications, please consider supporting Free the Science. Your gift, no matter the size, will help ECS build an example for the world. Donate now!

Open AccessFive German scientists have stepped down from their editorial positions with Elsevier journals in an effort to push for nationwide open access. This is the latest move in the battle between German open access advocates and the for-profit publisher.

Earlier this year, German libraries, universities, and academic leaders came to the table to support an initiative called Projekt DEAL, aimed at changing the landscape of scholarly publishing by foregoing the subscription-based academic publishing model in lieu of a “publish and read” agreement. Essentially, Projekt DEAL pushes for an agreement where German institutions pay a lump sum that covers publication costs for all papers whose first authors are associated with German institutions, those papers are then published as open access, and in return the institutions receive access to all Elsevier-published journals.

Publishing giant Elsevier has been resistant to the deal, stating that they will continue to publish open access papers if authors or instructions pay the processing charge, but that the institutions should not expect that amount to give them full access to all Elsevier journals.

As Elsevier continues to resist, more German institutions are choosing to not renew subscriptions.

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