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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Q&A series with ECS OpenCon 2017 speakers

Brian Nosek

Brian Nosek, co-founder of the Center for Open Science

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.

Brian Nosek, co-founder of the Center for Open Science, will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming ECS OpenCon.

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

ECS: What was the “aha moment” when you knew the Center for Open Science (COS) was needed?

Brian Nosek: COS began as two laboratory projects with a minimal budget, and a simple idea of testing the reproducibility of current research and building some tools to improve it. From the start, we wanted to help build a future in which the process, content, and outcomes of research are openly accessible by default. All scholarly content would be preserved and connected and transparency would stand as an aspirational good for scholarly work. All stakeholders would be included and respected in the research lifecycle and share the pursuit of truth as the primary incentive and motivation for scholarship.

For the launch of COS, it was less “aha” and more “whoa, we can do this?” Our lab projects received some media attention. One of the outcomes of that was that a number of funders contacted us with interest in the work. In particular, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation offered to support us and provided a very generous donation to elevate our aspirations from small lab effort to nonprofit organization.

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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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Charting the Growth of ECS Plus

Click to enlarge.

Since its launch in 2016, ECS Plus has flourished into a widespread movement. At its forefront are leading, forward-thinking institutions that recognize the value of incentivizing open access publishing on an individual, institutional, and global scale.

ECS Plus offers institutions a competitively priced subscription package that grants access to all of the content in the ECS Digital Library, including our top-ranking, authoritative, peer-reviewed journal content, as well as free and unlimited open access publishing for affiliated authors.

Immediately following its January 2016 launch, ECS Plus acquired the National Science and Technology Library of China—a consortium then consisting of just under 800 institutions—as a subscriber. Over the subsequent months, ECS Plus saw a steady rise in subscriber count, reflecting a desire shared among institutions worldwide to make open access publishing a viable option for authors.

If data trends serve as any indication, this desire holds fast. In recent months, ECS Plus gained two new subscribers: Arizona State University and the University of Michigan. Just last month, the National Science and Technology Library of China increased its ECS Plus subscriber count from 907 to 924. The University of South Carolina recently confirmed an ECS Plus subscription for 2018.

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A recently published article in The Scientist tells a growingly familiar tale in scholarly publishing: predatory publishers taking advantage of, and often times profiting from, researchers across the globe.

The term “predatory publishers” was coined by University of Colorado Denver librarian, Jeffrey Beall, nearly a decade ago. These publishers disseminate plagiarized or poorly reviewed content, taking advantage of a pay-to-publish open access system by charging authors high prices to disseminate their content while all but eliminating the peer review process. In the case of the article published in The Scientist, these predatory journals even trick established researchers to agree to have their names listed on editorial boards, falsley presenting themselves as credible start-up journals. While this may bolster a journal’s credibility at first glance, it often doesn’t go beyond a name listed on a website, with little to no communication from the journal to the editors.

(RELATED: “For-science or For-profit?”)

And if predatory publishers can’t trick honest researchers, that publisher may just recruit a fake editor. A recent investigation, spearheaded by Nature, found that dozens of academic journals have been recruiting fake editors and offering them a place on their editorial board.

According to reports from the Hanken School of Economics, predatory journals increased their publication volume from 53,000 to 420,000 articles per year between 2010 and 2014. Taking article processing charges into account, the report estimates that all-in-all, the predatory publishing market was worth at $74 million in 2014.

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I4OC logoECS is proud to announce its partnership with the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC). By joining forces with I4OC, ECS has opened up citation data, further expanding accessibility to scientific knowledge by releasing into the public domain reference data published in ECS journals.

This partnership aligns directly with ECS’s Free the Science initiative, which seeks to make our peer-reviewed research free to all readers while remaining free for authors to publish.

“We applaud the efforts of I4OC. In addition to our significant amount of open access full-text content, we are excited to be able to provide yet another mechanism for researchers to freely access a very important part of ECS content,” says Mary Yess, chief content officer for ECS. “Opening up our citations will not only allow scientists and engineers easy access; but because the citations are in common, machine-readable formats, this will also allow them to data mine those citations. All of these open access opportunities are a critical to progress in our fields and others.”

Since its establishment in April, I4OC has worked to partner with publishers to provide accessible citation data. Citations are a central component to scholarly information, providing credibility to statements and bolstering overall discovery and dissemination by highlighting research.

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In May 2017, we sat down with ECS Senior Vice President Yue Kuo and ECS’s newly elected 3rd Vice President Stefan DeGendt at the 231st ECS Meeting in New Orleans. The conversation was led by Roque Calvo, ECS’s executive director and chief executive officer.

Kuo joined ECS in 1995. Since then, he has been named ECS fellow and served as an editor for both the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology. His research efforts have made a tremendous mark on the scientific community, earning him the ECS Gordon E. Moore Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Science in 2015.

DeGendt is also an ECS fellow and was recently elected to the Society’s board of directors. Since joining ECS in 2000, DeGendt has participated in the organization of several meeting symposia and currently serves as a technical 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 and Acast.

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ECS OpenCon 2017

By: Delaney Hellman, ECS Development Associate

Open AccessECS is proud to announce that at the upcoming 232nd ECS Meeting, we will be hosting our first OpenCon satellite event! OpenCon is a conference that places a spotlight, produces discussion, and increases collaboration on issues of open access, open science, open data, open source, and open education. Initially hosted by the Right2Research Coalition and SPARC, satellite events can be held by anyone with an interest in the subject matter. As ECS works to advance its Free the Science initiative, we want to be at the forefront of the open discussion in our industry.

The event is completely free to attend on October 1, from 2:00 – 6:00 pm.

Don’t miss speakers from Dryad, The Gates Foundation, SPARC, Center for Open Science, and more.

RSVP as soon as possible: http://www.opencon2017.org/ecs_opencon_2017

By: Delaney Hellman, ECS Development Associate

Sci-Hub launched a few years back when Alexandra Elbakyan of Kazakhstan was struggling to find affordable and relevant research through her institution. Fast forward to 2017 and Sci-Hub serves as one of the most common sites that seeks to circumvent paywalls and provide access to scholarly literature.

While 25 percent of scholarly documents on the web are now open access, thanks to the growing movement, Sci-Hub offers access to around 62 million academic articles. Its unconvincing legality has caught the attention of major proponents of publishing, including Elsevier.

Despite the whirl-wind of controversy surrounding the site’s launch, Sci-Hub data was able to answer some important questions: who needs access to research, what do they need access to, and how much do they lack access to?

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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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