Archive for February, 2014

Open Access: More than just academics and articles

When Open Access is debated it is usually from the standpoint of talking purely about academics, publishers and articles. However there are a lot more potential stakeholders and a lot more potential types of output that can be made open access apart from just the articles themselves. Two recent news pieces have highlighted the scope and depth that the Open Access debate encompasses.

Science wins as PLoS goes hard on Open Access

The academic journal the Public Library of Science will have a new policy from 2nd March 2014 which will mean that any author who submits an article to a PLOS journal will have to provide a “data availability statement”.

This statement will show where and how other academics can access datasets that underlie the research shown in the article. This could mean software code, original measurements and even image files and will be the original data collected before analysis.

The hope is that the raw research can be used reanalysed or re-used to further the scope of potential scientific findings from each piece of research. There are however technical issues (as some research data can be terabytes rather than gigabytes large) as well as potential ethical dilemmas.

Read more at: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-02/25/plos-open-access-data-policy-change

Small firms lack resources to make most of open access

A debate has broken out between David Mullen Elsevier’s regional sales director of corporate markets in Europe, the Middle east and Asia and David Willetts the Universities and Science minister.

Following the launch of the Access to Research scheme that gives free access to articles from over 8000 journals to public libraries, Mr Willetts commented that the scheme would “connect people, including students and small businesses, to a wealth of global knowledge – maximising its impact and value”.

Mr Mullen disagrees with this analysis stating “A very small company [is unlikely to] toddle along to their local public library and spend half a day looking at a few articles,” he said. “They are busy people; they need to find the stuff they need and be able to get it instantly, just like they might reach out for a beaker or an instrument.”

The impact open access can have on business is sometimes overlooked in academic debates. This is a very important element of the open access debate and one that clearly needs to be re-examined by all parties involved. 

Read more at: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/small-firms-lack-resources-to-make-most-of-open-access/2011632.article


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Horizon 2020 launched with €15 billion over first two years

With the launch of Horizon 2020 imminent, the University of Surrey is keen to support staff to engage with European colleagues to develop strong funding applications to this scheme.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). The funding is intended to help boost Europe’s knowledge-driven economy, and tackle issues that will make a difference in people’s lives.

Seen as a means to drive economic growth and create jobs, Horizon 2020 has the political backing of Europe’s leaders and the Members of the European Parliament. They agreed that research is an investment in our future and so put it at the heart of the EU’s blueprint for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs.

All EU funded projects in Horizon 2020 research are to be made open access. This is now mandatory. Articles will be made accessible in an open access repository. Projects must also aim to supply research data needed for validation of the results presented in the deposited scientific publications, known as ‘underlying data’.

See http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en   for more information.

UNESCO publications now freely available through a new Open Access Repository


UNESCO has launched its Open Access Repository (OAR) making more than 300 on-line books, reports, and articles freely available. The OAR will operate under a new open licensing system developed by the Creative Commons organization specifically for intergovernmental agencies. http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Intergovernmental_Organizations#Why_Intergovernmental_Organizations_Benefit_from_Using_CC

The new licensing tool, developed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the UN family, makes a wealth of knowledge available worldwide; knowledge that can be used and reused. 

The launch follows UNESCO’s recent decision to become the first United Nations agency to adopt an Open Access policy for its publications. For UNESCO, adopting an Open Access Policy means to make thousands of its publications freely available to the public. Furthermore, Open Access is also a way to provide the public with an insight into the work of the Organization so that everyone is able to discover and share what UNESCO is doing. http://en.unesco.org/open-access/search_unesdoc  Currently, the Repository contains works in some 12 languages, including major UNESCO reports and key research publications.

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