The first biological and biomedical “data” journal GigaScience recently celebrated its 10th year of being at the forefront of open scientific publishing. GigaScience was launched on July 12, 2012, at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology (ISMB) conference in Long Beach, CA. With the recent release of UNESCO's guidelines for open science, GigaScience uses its 10th anniversary as a chance to reflect on what the journal has accomplished in relation to these recommendations and where it must focus its future efforts. As part of the celebration of their first decade, an Editorial details their achievements in promoting open science and goals for the future. The editorial is part of a special series of commentaries that cover changes in a variety of scientific areas over the last decade, these include changes in open data, standards, conservation, imaging, women-in-science, and more.
The year 2012 was labeled by some as the start of an ‘academic spring’, where organizations took huge steps to shake up centuries-old traditions of scientific communication. Scientific publishing, both in process and presentation, had been effectively locked in an ivory tower, with non-transparent publication decisions and access to information held behind financial firewalls that limited its availability to a select group of international researchers. The ‘academic spring’ had been heralded by the advent of open-access publishers, specifically BioMed Central (BMC) in 1999, followed by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) in 2003. In 2012, that start gained momentum in promoting open science via boycotts of closed-access publishers, influential policy papers signaling government moves towards open access, and the launch of a new generation of journals that were moving beyond that first important step of making published research open access to embrace wider open science principles.
These efforts have culminated in the biggest breakthrough of access-for-all with the ratification in November 2021 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Open Science Recommendations. This set of recommendations specifically addresses UNESCO’s aim for “fostering a culture of open science and aligning incentives for open science.” Their recommendations cover not just scientific publishing, but also making scientific data, tools, infrastructure, etc. available to everyone, as well as adding outreach and inclusion of groups, such as indigenous people, that have typically been ignored in the decision processes and use of scientific information.
GigaScience, after spending a decade on the front lines of open science, looks to the UNESCO recommendations as a map to see what milestones have been achieved and what areas need to be added to its future scientific publishing and communication processes.Click here to read the original press release.