If you are on twitter you might have seen that hashtag. And if you are a tax payer then we need you!
A petition has been lodged at the White House ‘We the People’ asking for all tax-payer generated scientific results to be made freely available.
This is how it works – If we get 25,000 signatures by June 19, then it will go to the Obama Executive Office. So you see, we do need you!
If you think you should have access to what you pay us the scientists to produce, then please go and sign the petition.
Read more about this petition here
I just came back from another amazing kiwi foo. I have talked about it before, so I will not bore you with the details of what kiwi foo is all about. This time, unlike other years, I went with a very focused view of what I wanted to achieve. And it was as stimulating as ever.
Over the past year, I have gone into a rather quiet reflexion of what ‘open science’ is and how to make it work. I have become increasingly frustrated with a model of science that increasingly rewards self-promotion rather than knowledge sharing. And the emerging theme of my reflexion was ‘context’.
If we want a ‘global’ open science, the formula for adoption needs to be able to adapt to local personal, institutional, social, political, economical and legislative contexts. I may be wrong, but I think many of us who support open science struggle at times with how to make it work in the particular contexts in which we need to operate.
As I was struggling with the frustration of the commodification of science over the past two years, I started thinking about the open source community. I can’t blame universities for encouraging scientists to produce revenue at a time when public funding for education are research appear to be in constant decline. So I went to Webstock a year ago to try to learn more about how open source projects generate revenue. After all, their business models are built around giving their ‘product’ away for free, something that is well aligned with the ethos of science. One of my highlights at kiwi foo was a conversation with Don Christie from CatalystIT, a company that produces high quality open source software. I am looking forward to continuing this conversation and exploring how these business models can be adapted to the different demands and constraints for science. I got a lot of insight from him, and am hoping he and people like him can help us move forward.
On the second day (or rather the first long day) there were a few sessions that centered around science. Great things came out of it, and it would be impossible to name everyone that provided insight. Nick Jones, Leonie Hayes, Alex Holcombe , Alison Stringer and I partnered in crime and ran a couple of sessions where we hashed a few issues around. I personally wanted to explore what Open Science meant in the New Zealand / Australia context (I can’t speak for the others’ motivations!). I think that the local context in NZ/OZ is slightly different than in the Northern hemisphere and there are some things that differentiate this region. Perhaps we can/should capitalise on that.
For example, you will never see a ‘Research Works Act’ bill here, because we don’t seem to have Open Access mandates. Instead, we have NZGOAL and AUSGOAL which are frameworks for data licencing. The Australians have ANDS and NZ has eResearch, all focused on the data. Tim O’Reilly mentioned the PantonPrinciples in this context – but the Panton Principles (which I have personally endoresed) cannot be exported ‘as is’ to Australia and New Zealand because neither Creative Commons Aotearoa-New Zealand nor CC-Australiahave CC0, for example. Software hopefully will not be covered by patents
is covered by copyright (not patents) in NZ*, so maybe we can capitalise on that to develop tools for open science. New Zealand has a Treaty of Waitangi, and any local open science needs to respect and work constructively to meet our treaty obligations. Lets add to that, that different research groups are going to be subject to obligations related to the international treaties their countries have signed up to. We all have different copyright restrictions and freedoms, we have different systems that determine how to assign funding, and different mandates and guidelines, and are at different points of our careers with different job securities.
So, how do we make open science work within these diverse contexts? We can all agree on the philosophy, but perhaps we need to also agree that the implementation will take different shapes. I think wee need to continue the global conversation and continue to support each other, but we also need to start working locally in smaller groups to ‘make things happen’. And the battles we choose to fight perhaps should be aligned with local contexts so that we can each capitalise on our strengths. I loved having this dialogue at kiwi foo, getting great insights from a diverse group, and mainly feeling that this is something for which we have support.
The rest of the things that happened at kiwi foo will slowly seep into future posts.
I would really like to thank Jenine, Nat Torkington and Russell Brown for putting kiwi foo together (and inviting me!), my partners in crime Alex, Nick, Alison, and Leonie for their hard work on the sessions, all the attendees for their contributions and especially Tim O’Reilly for providing us with valuable insights. You all have complicated my life, but I look forward to a 2012 of hard work and of ‘making things happen’.
*Edited on 16/2/2012 to reflect the correction made by @kayakr (thanks for that!). I was thinking of this bill: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2008/0235/latest/DLM1419230.html (which is probably the one that @kayakr refers to as pending legislation)
What if scientists were to crowd-source funding for their research?
Yup, you heard right. Many scientists are asking the question: what would people, rather than established funding agencies, put their pennies on…..
From athlete’s foot, climate change, crayfish, cancer and … yes … zombies! you can find an array of projects looking for a donation. So here is an invitation for you to head on to RocketHub and look at what scientists are asking help to fund.
And yes, here is my plug:
So, come on, start clicking!
Only a few days ago the Open Science Summit met in the US. As I was going through the videos I found these two which I think were interesting to highlight during Open Acess Week. (sorry, don’t seem to be able to embed from fora.tv!)
The first one is from last year’s OSS, that provides a great view on the history on the federal research public access act.
Some nice numbers on the talk: PubMed central gets 740K articles downloaded per day. Not bad.
The second is from this year’s OSS.
The talk starts with a description of benefits to open access, as well as the argument of ‘free labour for the journal and the journal makes a fortune’. I learned that, for example, the Faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University passed a resolution that asked promotion committees to consider the added value of Open Access publications. I had not heard of that (I am assuming this is the document) – I have argued several times that I wish the PBRF weighted differently articles published under Open Access.
If you would like to look at which Universities have Open Access Mandates, the ROARMAP has a list. (By the way, check out that healthy plot on mandates!)
Of course, I did a search for New Zealand, and here is what I found.
There are 3 thesis mandates (Universities of Canterbury, Auckland and Waikato).
Canterbury: affects both Masters and Doctoral theses – seems to only say that theses and other OA research material go into their repository – but not sure who can have access to that.
Auckland: Doctoral thesis copyright default choice is Open Access, but students can opt out. (The ‘recommended’ OA licence is CC-BY-NC-SA). For Masters, the default is access to University members only, but under ‘special circumstances’ open access can be opted in.
Waikato: Digital copies of the theses (does not differentiate between PhD or Masters) are deposited in the respository and will be publicly available (no indication of what the copyright licencing is)
Come on New Zealand, we should be able to do better, shouldn’t we?
We are now in the middle of Open Access Week – a good time to reflect on how widely we share that which we publish.
The University of Auckland held an event where we got to hear from Helen Ross, Jean Rockel, Felicity Goodyear-Smith and Chris Paton about their experiences in Open Access publishing.
The highlight for me was to hear from Chris Paton. He described his experience with the Journal of Medical Internet Research and the Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries. I had head of Chris, but had never heard what he was doing in the publishing side. As far as I understood, the articles are not only open access, but authors are not charged for publication. Yes, a labour of love. So I had to take a second look, and this caught my eye…
A new feature on the JMIR website, open peer review articles, allows JMIR users to sign themselves up as peer reviewers for specific articles currently considered by the Journal (in addition to author- and editor-selected reviewers). [From JMIR site]
All I can say is yay! I really like that *anyone* can sign up to review an article. I only wish this was a bit more widespread.
A second OAW yay goes to the Royal Society who just announced that their journal archive will be made free to access. From their site:
From October 2011, our world-famous journal archive - comprising more than 69,000 articles – will be opened up and all articles more than 70 years old will be made permanently free to access.
Why Open Access?
Well, I think the reasons are rather well described in this video: