Article: What’s peer review? 5 things you should know before covering research

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Research

What’s peer review? 5 things you should know before covering research

As scholars and other experts rush to release new research aimed at better understanding the coronavirus pandemic, newsrooms must be more careful than ever in vetting the biomedical studies they choose to cover. One of the first steps journalists should take to gauge the quality of all types of research is answering this important question: Has the paper undergone peer review?

Peer review is a formal process through which researchers evaluate and provide feedback on one another’s work, ideally filtering out flawed and low-quality studies while strengthening others. Academic journals generally do not publish papers that have not survived the process.

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Article: Why Open Access Is a Game Changer

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Research

Why Open Access Is a Game Changer

When research is free for everyone, as it’s been during the pandemic, scientific experts of all kinds can shine light on the many facets of a health crisis. The lightning-fast COVID-19 vaccination effort has been a major source of hope and relief during a harrowing time. And it was made possible by a revolutionary way of doing science.

During the health crisis, information has ping-ponged around the globe, quickly giving rise to important developments such as diagnostic testing and RNA-based vaccines. Underlying this massive wave of information sharing is open access: the simple but powerful idea that knowledge should be free for everyone, always.

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Article: PSU Open-Source textbook Program earns Karen Hunter Memorial Award

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support

PSU Open-Source textbook Program earns Karen Hunter Memorial Award

In 2019, Portland State University partnered with OpenStax to provide students with free, peer-reviewed online textbooks. At the time, PSU was one of 10 schools nationwide selected to participate in the OpenStax Institution Partnership Program designed to increase the use of open-licensed online textbooks.

Now, that work — and the resulting program PDXOpen — has garnered global recognition. Elsevier, a Netherlands-based organization focused in research publishing and information analytics, named PSU the winner of the 3rd Annual Karen Hunter Memorial Award. The Karen Hunter award recognizes collaborations that advance information dissemination using technology. The award comes with $5,000 and support to attend the 2021 Association of College & Research Libraries Virtual Conference, where the award will be formally recognized.

Article: Swarthmore Ought to Commit to Open Access Research

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Open Source, Research

Swarthmore Ought to Commit to Open Access Research

Search Cell or The Lancet, two globally renowned biology and medical science journals, respectively, on Tripod, and they immediately appear under the search results. “Available online,” the search results read. At Swarthmore, institutional affiliation grants students, faculty, and alums free access to countless prominent academic journals.

Students often take for granted institutional access to the breadth of information and scholarship available to us with a few clicks. What we often don’t see is the shady, greedy underbelly of academic publishing and access policies. In the United States, tax-payers spend up to $140 billion each year to fund research, the results of which they cannot access for free.

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Article: A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing

Access, Document, Open Decision-Support, Research

A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing

In 2018, an influential group of research funders announced a bold pledge: the scientists they fund should publish their peer-reviewed papers outside journal paywalls. The initiative, called Plan S, caused an instant uproar over its aim of ending journal subscription models — the means by which many scholarly publications have financed their existence. Its intended start date in 2020 was delayed, and its details were tweaked. But after much sparring over policy, the project formally began in 2021, with 25 funding agencies rolling out similar open-access (OA) mandates.

As the first papers under these mandates are published, Plan S supporters say it’s the start of a journey towards open science. But most research funders haven’t signed up yet, and negotiations over the plan have produced a complex landscape of options to avoid paywalls.

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Article: Court demands that search engines and internet service providers block Sci-Hub

Open Governance, Open Source, Politics, Standards

Court demands that search engines and internet service providers block Sci-Hub

The American Chemical Society (ACS) has won a lawsuit it filed in June against Sci-Hub, a website providing illicit free access to millions of paywalled scientific papers. ACS had alleged copyright infringement, trademark counterfeiting and trademark infringement;  a district court in Virginia ruled on 3 November that Sci-Hub should pay the ACS $4.8 million in damages after Sci-Hub representatives failed to attend court.

The new ruling also states that internet search engines, web hosting sites, internet service providers (ISPs), domain name registrars and domain name registries cease facilitating “any or all domain names and websites through which Defendant Sci-Hub engages in unlawful access to, use, reproduction, and distribution of the ACS Marks or ACS’s Copyrighted Works.”