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      Is Open Access

      AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research

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          Abstract

          AccessLabs are workshops with two simultaneous motivations, achieved through direct citizen-scientist pairings: (1) to decentralise research skills so that a broader range of people are able to access/use scientific research, and (2) to expose science researchers to the difficulties of using their research as an outsider, creating new open access advocates. Five trial AccessLabs have taken place for policy makers, media/journalists, marine sector participants, community groups, and artists. The act of pairing science academics with local community members helps build understanding and trust between groups at a time when this relationship appears to be under increasing threat from different political and economic currents in society. Here, we outline the workshop motivations, format, and evaluation, with the aim that others can build on the methods developed.

          Abstract

          This Community Page article describes AccessLabs: workshops involving direct citizen-scientist pairings, with the aims of decentralising research skills to a broader range of people and exposing science researchers to the difficulties of using their research as an outsider, creating new open access advocates.

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          Deep impact: unintended consequences of journal rank

          Most researchers acknowledge an intrinsic hierarchy in the scholarly journals (“journal rank”) that they submit their work to, and adjust not only their submission but also their reading strategies accordingly. On the other hand, much has been written about the negative effects of institutionalizing journal rank as an impact measure. So far, contributions to the debate concerning the limitations of journal rank as a scientific impact assessment tool have either lacked data, or relied on only a few studies. In this review, we present the most recent and pertinent data on the consequences of our current scholarly communication system with respect to various measures of scientific quality (such as utility/citations, methodological soundness, expert ratings or retractions). These data corroborate previous hypotheses: using journal rank as an assessment tool is bad scientific practice. Moreover, the data lead us to argue that any journal rank (not only the currently-favored Impact Factor) would have this negative impact. Therefore, we suggest that abandoning journals altogether, in favor of a library-based scholarly communication system, will ultimately be necessary. This new system will use modern information technology to vastly improve the filter, sort and discovery functions of the current journal system.
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            The academic, economic and societal impacts of Open Access: an evidence-based review

            Ongoing debates surrounding Open Access to the scholarly literature are multifaceted and complicated by disparate and often polarised viewpoints from engaged stakeholders. At the current stage, Open Access has become such a global issue that it is critical for all involved in scholarly publishing, including policymakers, publishers, research funders, governments, learned societies, librarians, and academic communities, to be well-informed on the history, benefits, and pitfalls of Open Access. In spite of this, there is a general lack of consensus regarding the advantages or disadvantages of Open Access at multiple levels. This review aims to to be a resource for current knowledge on the impacts of Open Access by synthesizing important research in three major areas of impact: academic, economic and societal. While there is clearly much scope for additional research, several key trends are identified, including a broad citation advantage for researchers who publish openly, as well as additional benefits to the non-academic dissemination of their work. The economic case for Open Access is less well-understood, although it is clear that access to the research literature is key for innovative enterprises, and a range of governmental and non-governmental services. Furthermore, Open Access has the potential to save publishers and research funders considerable amounts of financial resources. The social case for Open Access is strong, in particular for advancing citizen science initiatives, and leveling the playing field for researchers in developing countries. Open Access supersedes all potential alternative modes of access to the scholarly literature through enabling unrestricted re-use, and long-term stability independent of financial constraints of traditional publishers that impede knowledge sharing. Open Access remains only one of the multiple challenges that the scholarly publishing system is currently facing. Yet, it provides one foundation for increasing engagement with researchers regarding ethical standards of publishing. We recommend that Open Access supporters focus their efforts on working to establish viable new models and systems of scholarly communication, rather than trying to undermine the existing ones as part of the natural evolution of the scholarly ecosystem. Based on this, future research should investigate the wider impacts of an ecosystem-wide transformation to a system of Open Research.
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              Prestigious Science Journals Struggle to Reach Even Average Reliability

              In which journal a scientist publishes is considered one of the most crucial factors determining their career. The underlying common assumption is that only the best scientists manage to publish in a highly selective tier of the most prestigious journals. However, data from several lines of evidence suggest that the methodological quality of scientific experiments does not increase with increasing rank of the journal. On the contrary, an accumulating body of evidence suggests the inverse: methodological quality and, consequently, reliability of published research works in several fields may be decreasing with increasing journal rank. The data supporting these conclusions circumvent confounding factors such as increased readership and scrutiny for these journals, focusing instead on quantifiable indicators of methodological soundness in the published literature, relying on, in part, semi-automated data extraction from often thousands of publications at a time. With the accumulating evidence over the last decade grew the realization that the very existence of scholarly journals, due to their inherent hierarchy, constitutes one of the major threats to publicly funded science: hiring, promoting and funding scientists who publish unreliable science eventually erodes public trust in science.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PLoS Biol
                PLoS Biol
                plos
                plosbiol
                PLoS Biology
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1544-9173
                1545-7885
                28 May 2019
                May 2019
                28 May 2019
                : 17
                : 5
                : e3000258
                Affiliations
                [1 ] FoAM Kernow, Cornwall, United Kingdom
                [2 ] British Science Association, London, United Kingdom
                [3 ] College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, United Kingdom
                [4 ] Centre for Water Systems, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
                [5 ] Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7455-6795
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1285-2174
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5518-2994
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5203-2256
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5080-3149
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8549-7647
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8567-3743
                Article
                PBIOLOGY-D-19-00466
                10.1371/journal.pbio.3000258
                6538137
                31136566
                1b679a5b-8b93-456f-9da3-3b4ccc336197
                © 2019 Griffiths et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 0, Pages: 12
                Funding
                This work was funded by a FEAST Cornwall ( https://feastcornwall.org/) grant to AGFG. This funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The work was also funded by a British Science Association ( https://www.britishscienceassociation.org/) grant to AGFG. This funder joined the project as a partner and had input into the design and preparation of the manuscript. The work was also funded by a Natural Environment Research Council ( https://nerc.ukri.org/) grant to the British Science Association and FoAM. This funder had a minor role in the workshop design but no further role in data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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