Blogs selected for Week Jul 27 to August 2, 2020 -

1. University research should be free to all

Author: Janet Napolitano

Since the novel coronavirus struck, scientific research has been shared, and built upon, at an unprecedented pace. An open and deeply collaborative academic enterprise has emerged, with scientists from around the world sharing data and working together to map the SARS-CoV-2 genome and develop the first vaccines. University of California scholars generate nearly 10 percent of all research in the United States. But the vast majority of this work – more than 80 percent published -- is behind paywalls due to an archaic global publishing model. Under this system, academic publishers can charge universities both to publish and to read scientific findings -- sometimes even in the very same journal. Publicly funded research remains inaccessible to the public, while publishers reap enormous profits.

The full entry can be read: Here.

2. It is time to get serious about research fraud

Author: Dalmeet Singh Chawla

One survey published in June 2020 notes that gift authorship, where researchers who made little or no contributions to a study are included as co-authors, is perceived to be the most common type of research fraud in the US. The opposite practice, ghost authorship, where worthy authors are left off an author list, is also common. A 2019 survey of just under 500 researchers found that nearly half had ghostwritten peer reviews on behalf of senior faculty. In a recent survey of junior researchers in Australia, roughly a third of the more than 600 respondents said questionable research practices of colleagues at their institution had harmed their work.

The full entry can be read: Here.

3. Science publishing has opened up during the coronavirus pandemic. It won’t be easy to keep it that way

Author: Virginia Barbour

Scientific publishing is not known for moving rapidly. In normal times, publishing new research can take months, if not years. Researchers prepare a first version of a paper on new findings and submit it to a journal, where it is often rejected, before being resubmitted to another journal, peer-reviewed, revised and, eventually, hopefully published. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation could not be more different. A highly infectious virus spreading across the globe has made rapid sharing of research vital. In many ways, the publishing rulebook has been thrown out the window. Traditional journals have also changed their practices. Many have made research relating to the pandemic immediately available, although some have specified the content will be locked back up once the pandemic is over.

The full entry can be read: Here.

4. Peer-reviewed podcasts: Amplify podcast network produces podcasts as scholarly communication

Author: Tessa Perkins Deneault

As podcasting continues to grow in popularity, it has become an effective medium for researchers to share complex ideas in an accessible way. Publishing professor Hannah McGregor is showing that podcasts can be a form of academic research in their own right. She has been producing her Secret Feminist Agenda podcast since 2017 and has been working in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University Press to create an editorial methodology for the peer review of podcasts as a unique form of scholarly communication.

The full entry can be read: Here.

5. How to make open science work

Author: Frans Oort

As open science gains momentum, universities must maintain their academic independence by arming themselves against possible takeover of critical infrastructure, research information and data by private parties. If universities simply make their data generally available to everyone without any conditions, commercial entities could collect that data, enrich it and build services around the data, and then make universities pay to use those services.

The full entry can be read: Here.

6. Peer review of scholarly research gets an AI boost

Author: Payal Dhar

In the world of academics, peer review is considered the only credible validation of scholarly work. Although the process has its detractors, evaluation of academic research by a cohort of contemporaries has endured for over 350 years, with relatively minor changes. However, peer review may be set to undergo its biggest revolution ever—the integration of artificial intelligence. Open-access publisher Frontiers has debuted an AI tool called the Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant (AIRA), which purports to eliminate much of the work associated with peer review. Since the beginning of June 2020, every one of the 11,000-plus submissions Frontiers received has been run through AIRA, which is integrated into its collaborative peer-review platform.

The full entry can be read: Here.

7. Copyright perspectives: Three quick takes on current developments in US copyright

Author: Dave Davis

In late June 2020, US Copyright Office has announced an upcoming change in procedures for copyright registration of groups of ‘short literary works’, which US Copyright Office can, in a bit of shorthand, understand as basically referring to collections of blog posts. This procedural change comes after a multi-year study and public comment period. The problem, as urged by bloggers, is that applying for copyright registration for their frequent, short works is infeasible and too costly under the procedures as they stand for more traditional literary works such as books and poems.

The full entry can be read: Here.

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