Blogs selected for Week Jul 20 to July 26, 2020 -



1. Is public accountability possible in algorithmic policymaking? The case for a public watchdog

Author: Daan Kolkman

Despite algorithms becoming an increasingly important tool for policymakers, little is known about how they are used in practice and how they work, even amongst the experts tasked with using them. Drawing on research into the use of algorithmic models in the UK and Dutch governments, Daan Kolkman argues that the inherent complexity of algorithms renders attempts to make them transparent difficult and that to achieve public accountability for the role they play in society a dedicated watchdog is required.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. The pandemic pushed publishing into the digital realm. So what's next?

Author: Steve Sieck

The future has not changed—it is just been accelerated. That is a common take on the pandemic’s likely long-term impact, and it rings true. The extent to which white collar workers will return to their offices, students to their classrooms, and those to the comfortable privacy of video-less calls remains to be seen. But the forced acceleration of long-evolving trends toward more remote digital access to work, play, and learning activities—via Zoom, Teams, Houseparty, massive online open courses (MOOCs), etc.—seems likely to leave behind a changed societal and business landscape. After all, technology adoption is largely paced by the extent of behavioral change required. And once that change has occurred, there usually is no going back.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Publishing in an open access journal: How do you maximise reach?

Author: Donald Samulack

One of the principal reasons for researchers to publish in an Open Access journal is to ensure the maximum possible societal impact of their research findings, by making them widely available to peers, adjacent peers, the public, and to policymakers. However, publishing in an OA journal is only the beginning of one’s responsibility to disseminate and communicate the societal impact of research findings to the widest possible audience.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Good vs. evil? Finding the right mix of for-profit and not-for-profit services

Author: Joseph Esposito and Roger C. Schonfeld

A not-for-profit (NFP) and a for-profit firm have certain commonalities. At the most basic level, both have to operate in the marketplace, creating products and seeking customers, and trying to align their cost structure such that it is less than revenue. Having to operate in the marketplace provides certain advantages to the for-profit firm. One is, the for-profit firm has much greater access to capital. Another factor is likely to be governance, as for-profits have governing boards whose aim is to further the success of the business, whereas in the NFP area, the board will necessarily have multiple, often competing, priorities. In the NFP sector there is also the sad spectacle of governing boards who simply look at certain business lines – for example, publishing – as a source to fund other activities, resulting in insufficient investment in operations and new initiatives. Where the societies typically perform well against for-profit entities is when a membership can be mobilised to support services.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. Scholarly Publishing has bigger fish to fry than access

Author: Björn Brembs

Around the globe, there are initiatives and organisations devoted to bring ‘Open Access’ to the world, i.e., the public availability of scholarly research works, free of charge. However, the current debate seems to largely miss the point that human readers are already enjoying such public access for the huge majority of scholarly works since about 2013, due to several technical developments providing temporary workarounds for publisher paywalls.

The full entry can be read: Here.

6. Pharmaceutical companies should publish more research open access

Author: Richard Smith

Many organisations are working towards making scientific publications more transparent, discoverable, accessible, and accountable, but would it not be better if all the organisations could work together? In June 2020, Open Pharma, a programme to encourage pharmaceutical companies to adopt open access and other innovations in science publishing, brought together pharmaceutical companies, publishers, editors, academics, patients, and others to discuss how they could hasten the modernisation of science publishing. Pharmaceutical companies fund around half of all biomedical research, but, in contrast to many public funders of research, only two companies (Takeda and Ipsen) mandate that all the research they fund must be published open access. Nevertheless, other pharmaceutical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, are able to publish up to three quarters of the research they fund open access without a mandate. This is not bad when less than 50 percent of research overall is published open access.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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