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Regulations, guidelines and other institutional frameworks

Committee on Publication Ethics announces changes to its Code of Conduct and new policy on expulsions
- 30 Nov 2017

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recently announced changes to its Code of Conduct as well as a new policy on sanctions against member journal editors and publishers that do not follow their 'principles.'

Until recently, members of COPE agreed to adhere to their Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (and Publishers). Members also agree to follow the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Both of these documents provide very helpful advice on how to organise and run a professional journal. The Code of Conduct includes 'must do' items for members as well as 'aspirational' suggested best practices. Two weeks ago, the Code of Conduct was replaced with the new 'Core Practices.'

In announcing the Core Practices, COPE explained that the Code of Conduct carried a legal connotation, which was not intended. Also, COPE recognised that some items were extremely specific (e.g., "Editors should follow the procedure set out in the COPE flowchart on complaints") while others were very open to interpretation (e.g., "Editors should strive to ensure that peer review at their journal is fair, unbiased and timely"). There are also elements of the code that are not relevant at all journals (e.g. "Editors should have a written contract(s) setting out their relationship with the journal's owner and/or publisher").

The new Core Practices contain 10 categories from the Code. There is a brief paragraph describing each and a link to further resources. The resources include case studies, blog posts and articles, guidelines if available, and COPE's famous flowcharts that provide step-by-step suggestions on how an editor or journal could handle ethics issues.

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Wiley launches new data sharing and citation policies to improve transparency in research
- 15 Sep 2017

Publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc. has announced the launch of new data sharing and citation policies that will be implemented across all participating Wiley journals. Sharing data enables researchers to reuse experimental results and supports the creation of new work built on previous findings. These new policies will improve the efficiencies of the research process supporting the critical goals of transparency and reproducibility.

The majority of Wiley's journals will now adopt one of three standardized data sharing policies, which will encourage, expect, or mandate data sharing from authors publishing with Wiley. Researchers will be able to review the data sharing policy on their selected journal's author guidelines or via the Wiley Author Compliance Tool. Research data includes but is not limited to: raw data, processed data, software, algorithms, protocols, methods, and materials.

Further, Wiley has endorsed the FORCE11 Data Citation Principles and is implementing a mandatory data citation policy. Wiley journals will require that authors refer to the data at the relevant place in their manuscript and provide a formal citation in their reference list in the same way as article, book, and web citations. Wiley recommends the format proposed by the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles (JDDCP).

Wiley is committed to improving the openness, transparency, and reproducibility of research and scholarly work. In addition to these data sharing and citation policies, Wiley believes that in communities where non-commercial preprint servers exist, journals should allow for the submission of manuscripts which have already been made available on such a server.

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Elsevier becomes signatory to Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines
- 06 Sep 2017

The Center for Open Science has announced that Elsevier, an information analytics business specialising in science and health, is furthering its support for improving the quality of research by becoming a signatory to the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines.

The TOP Guidelines are a community-driven effort to align research behaviours with scientific ideals. Transparency, open sharing, and reproducibility are core values of science, but not always part of daily practice. Journals, funders, and institutions can increase reproducibility and integrity of research by aligning their author or grantee guidelines with the TOP Guidelines.

Elsevier is actively rolling out many of the TOP Guidelines in a way that goes beyond simply reviewing and signing a commitment to implementing them in the future. Importantly, Elsevier has developed new journal data guidelines that align with the TOP Data Standards, and has implemented these across approximately 1,800 journals. These data guidelines are already integrated into Evise, Elsevier's author submission system, to ensure authors can easily share and/or link to their data. Elsevier also updated its Guides for Authors clearly explaining which actions authors are expected to take.

In addition to the data guidelines, Elsevier is already a long-term supporter of other TOP initiatives. For example, in 2013 Elsevier was one of the early adopters of Registered Reports and in 2016 Cell Press, a division of Elsevier, introduced STAR Methods (for Structured, Transparent, Accessible Reporting of methods and resources), a new approach to presenting scientific methods in research articles designed to improve transparency and reproducibility.

Elsevier joins other major publishing stakeholders in the scientific community such as AAAS, Springer Nature, Wiley, and the Royal Society by supporting TOP.

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Emerald signs up to Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines
- 18 Aug 2017

Academic publisher Emerald Publishing has become a signatory to Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines, a framework supported by the Center for Open Science (COS) that increases the reproducibility of research through the adoption of transparent research practices.

All Emerald journals will encourage adoption of TOP transparency standards, in particular working with the COS to improve the openness of data and research methods and design. As a starting point, as part of their author guidelines, all Emerald journals now encourage authors to cite data as they would an article, which gives data creators more credit for sharing data in repositories.

Becoming a TOP signatory forms part of Emerald's engagement and support for an open research workflow, and position that 'Open' means more than just Open Access.

The Center for Open Science is also encouraging researchers to take on its $1 Million Pre-registration Challenge.

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FASTR legislation to ensure permanency of public access to scientific research
- 27 Jul 2017

SPARC, an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication, has applauded the introduction of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act, which would ensure that public access to research articles becomes the law of the land.

FASTR calls for federal agencies with extramural research budgets in excess of $100 million to establish consistent, permanent public access policies for articles reporting on their funded research. This means that articles reporting on the results of taxpayer-funded research would be made available to the general public to freely access and fully use. FASTR would codify the February 22, 2013 White House Directive to provide greater public access to taxpayer-funded research.

FASTR was introduced in the House of Representatives by Kevin Yoder (R-KS-3), Mike Doyle (D-PA-14), and Zoe Lofgren (D- CA-19). The bill represents the next step forward in the competitiveness agenda, spurring both innovation and job creation in broad sectors of the economy, from agriculture and energy to publishing; improves transparency and accountability in government spending; and expands access to taxpayer-funded information while protecting classified research, royalty generating works, and preliminary data.

Calls for free online public access to final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after publication in peer-reviewed journals in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.

Every year, the federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in basic and applied research. Most of this funding is concentrated within 11 departments/agencies (e.g. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy) and the research results in a significant number of articles being published each year - approximately 100,000 papers are published annually as a result of NIH funding alone. Because U.S. taxpayers directly fund this research, they have a right to expect that its distribution and use will be maximized, and that they themselves will have access to it.

The government funds research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries resulting from that research will advance science, stimulate innovation, grow the economy, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans. The Internet makes it possible to advance these goals by providing public online access to federally funded research, and has revolutionized information sharing by enabling prompt sharing of the latest advances with every scientist, physician, educator, entrepreneur and citizen.

Now more than ever, a critical challenge faced by industry today is gaining quick access to research for commercial application, to spur investment in development of new innovative products. Businesses - small and large - need faster access to this information to be competitive in the global marketplace.

In February 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a Directive, that requires the results of taxpayer-funded research - both articles and data - be made freely available to the general public with the goal of accelerating scientific discovery and fueling innovation. While to date, most agencies and departments covered by the Directive have released initial plans (including the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and NASA) as is always the case, a Directive is not permanent law, and can be changed. In addition, without the power of law, federal agencies and departments can ignore an executive order - or move so slowly on implementation as to render it essentially useless.

FASTR was first introduced in the 113th Congress. In July 215, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously passed S. 779 by voice vote. You can learn more by visiting SPARC's FASTR homepage.

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