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OSFair2017 | Barriers to Open Science for junior researchers


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Jon Tennant talks about barriers to open science for junior researchers

Plenary: Open for all? Diversity & disparity in Open Science.

Presentation Abstract:
What are the barriers to Open Science, and how do they impact upon different demographics? Open Science is supposed to be about inclusivity, equality, and rigour. But is the way it is implemented meeting these ideals, or simply creating a new set of barriers to scholarship? Younger researchers are basically trying to survive within a hyper-competitive academic system. They are beset on all sides by systemic control and inertia, power dynamics, and fear. What they want to do for science is not always what is best for their career. This creates a system of social barriers that cannot be overcome by mandates and policies that do little to address these structural biases.

Paywalls inflict a huge level of disparity on younger researchers. They may feel they cannot afford the exorbitant fees charged by some publishers for Open Access, even if their research funders provide support for it. The way OA is currently implemented has switched the barrier from the reader side to the author side, due in part to political broadsiding from commercial publishers. Unfunded or self-funded grad students, as well as those from emerging economies, are basically doomed when it comes to such high author-facing charges.



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OSFair2017 | Barriers to Open Science for junior researchers

  1. 1. Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the science Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  2. 2. We spend 1/3 of the total global research budget (~£59/175bn) on publishing & communicating results that 99% of people cannot access. JonTennant-@protohedgehog
  3. 3. What is open science? Open Science is about using science to help address the major challenges to society. or... Open Science is about democratisation of research processes and outputs. Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  4. 4. Thanks to commercial publishers for all their help in progressing Open Science. Where would we be without you. Jon Tennant @protohedgehog Credit: Mike Eisen
  5. 5. Science speak: Bullshitasaurus Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  6. 6. The current state of scholarly communication? Slowly but surely adapting to the Web of 1995
  7. 7. Open Science principles Socio-cultural • Inclusivity • Equality • Accountability • Freedom • Fairness Jon Tennant @protohedgehog Technical • Rigour • Transparency • Reproducibility • FAIR • TOP
  8. 8. What do we mean by ‘barriers?’ Any obstacle or circumstance that prevents access and inclusion. Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  10. 10. Welcome to the jungle FEAR POWERCOMPETITION INERTIA Jon Tennant • Socio-cultural • Technological • Political • Organisational • Economic • Legal
  11. 11. Are policies and mandates really the best thing to overcome this? Jon Tennant @protohedgehog • What are the major issues? • Systemic control and inertia • Abuse of power dynamics • Fear • Marginalisation of certain demographics • These are structural biases and barriers • Mandates and policies do little to combat them
  12. 12. Your career Open Science SOCIAL BARRIERS Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  13. 13.
  14. 14. Values in open science Drivers • Reduce publication bias • Increase replicability • Increase reliability of scientific record • Make publicly funded research publicly accessible • Make research more efficient Barriers • Fear of scooping or ideas being stolen • Fear of not being credited for ideas • Fear of errors and public humiliation • Fear of risk to reputation • Fear of reduced scientific quality • Fear of information overload Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  15. 15. Social and environmental factors Drivers • Dissatisfaction with traditional models • Interest in experimentation • Objection to assessment criteria • Demand for public accountability • Desire to influence global challenges • Career benefits through visibility • Digital-savvy emergent workforce Barriers • Lack of awareness an training • Cultural inertia and misinformation • Challenging the establishment • Follow the status quo to succeed • Perceived lack of reward • Perceived subversion of science • Short-sighted funding decisions Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  16. 16. The consequences? Those who want to create, explore, and innovate are stifled and chase out the system. The status quo lives on in perpetuity. Science suffers.
  17. 17. In my country there is problem.. “Researchers under 35 as well as PhD candidates, master’s students and research assistants had the least experience with open-access publishing.”
  18. 18. Is the cost too damn high? Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  19. 19. • Almost all journals allow some form of it • Easily discoverable via e.g., Unpaywall • High costs are due to political broadsiding and sabotage by commercial publishers. FUD. For_free_and_legally_/5285512
  20. 20. “Open Access is too expensive.”
  21. 21. An OA education crisis • There is ALWAYS an OA option. • But what if there isn’t? • There is. • So stop arguing about it. policies/
  22. 22. Attitudes vs practice “60.8% of researchers do not self-archive their work even when it is free and in keeping with journal policy.” - Smith et al., (2017) “In a field where OA seems of practical and ethical importance for the sharing of knowledge promoting health equity, it is surprising that researchers do not make their papers available when they are legally able to do so without any cost.” - Smith et al., (2017)
  23. 23. Jon Tennant @protohedgehog No choice in publishing venue Forced to play the game Reinforcement of power imbalances Cultural inertia and innovation stifling Commercial interests govern
  24. 24. Publish or perish? • We have an academic system where researchers are forced to enter into a publication-based economy dictated by commercial values. • The mantra ‘publish or perish’ is dead, replaced by ‘publish and perish’ due to under-funding and competitiveness in climbing the academic career ladder. • When you’re at the bottom of that ladder, it makes perfect sense to prioritise the perception of impact over the openness. Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  25. 25. The impact factor
  26. 26. status/900989041923018752 40655853662208 Conform > Innovate
  27. 27. The Impact Factor is a bullshit statistic Skew is imposed by a very small number of highly cited papers
  28. 28. It all comes down to this Guidance Lack of clarity over assessment of outputs and activities. Incentives Lack of professional incentives for sharing or being open. Rewards Hiring, promotion, tenure decisions all fail to account for open science activities.
  29. 29. How to talk to your colleagues
  30. 30. Let’s be more positive for a bit
  31. 31. Being unconventional can help you succeed
  32. 32. Open Science enhances your career Data from The Open Access Citation Advantage Service, SPARC Europe, accessed March 2016.
  33. 33.
  34. 34. JonTennant-@protohedgehog Open Data: get citations part-2-the-convergence-of-data-repositories-and-library-publishers/
  35. 35. • Rapid communication • Greater exposure • More citations
  36. 36. No more excuses. It’s your work. Publish where you want. But don’t lock it up.
  37. 37. “Open Access wins all of the arguments, all of the time.” - OpenCon 2014
  38. 38. “It’s about having your Open Access cake and eating it.” • Jon Tennant (just now)
  39. 39. Which side of history do you want to be on? We should be in a position where we are able to influence our academic system, not be stifled by the current actors in it.
  40. 40. Homework
  41. 41. What do we need to change the culture? • Education and training for our students • Learn skills for new ways of doing research • Empowerment and leadership for the next generation • Shifting power dynamics to reduce bias and abuse • Building a global community based on sharing and collaboration • Massive-scale engagement to re-align Open Science with current incentive structures Jon Tennant @protohedgehog
  42. 42. Stuff students/ECRs can do right now • Get on social media. • Build or join an open community! • Learn about the problems. Help to find the solutions. • Stand up for what you believe in. • Be passionate about your science! • Wear open on your sleeve.
  43. 43. At the end of the, it’s our system to inherit. So shouldn’t we get a say in it?