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Announcing OpenCon 2015

- April 8, 2015 in Events

Details of OpenCon 2015 have just been announced!

OpenCon2015: Empowering the Next Generation to Advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data will take place in on November 14-16 in Brussels, Belgium and bring together students and early career academic professionals from across the world to learn about the issues, develop critical skills, and return home ready to catalyze action toward a more open system for sharing the world’s information — from scholarly and scientific research, to educational materials, to digital data.

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Hosted by the Right to Research Coalition and SPARC, OpenCon 2015 builds on the success of the first-ever OpenCon meeting last year which convened 115 students and early career academic professionals from 39 countries in Washington, DC.  More than 80% of these participants received full travel scholarships, provided by sponsorships from leading organizations, including the Max Planck Society, eLife, PLOS, and more than 20 universities.

OpenCon 2015 will expand on a proven formula of bringing together the brightest young leaders across the Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data movements and connecting them with established leaders in each community,” said Nick Shockey, founding Director of the Right to Research Coalition. “OpenCon is equal parts conference and community.  The meeting in Brussels will serve as the centerpiece of a much larger network to foster initiatives and collaboration among the next generation across OpenCon’s three issue areas.

OpenCon 2015’s three day program will begin with two days of conference-style keynotes, panels, and interactive workshops, drawing both on the expertise of leaders in the Open Access, Open Education and Open Data movements and the experience of participants who have already led successful projects.

The third day will take advantage of the location in Brussels by providing a half-day of advocacy training followed by the opportunity for in-person meetings with relevant policy makers, ranging from the European Parliament, European Commission, embassies, and key NGOs. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of the conference’s three issue areas, stronger skills in organizing local and national projects, and connections with policymakers and prominent leaders across the three issue areas.

Speakers at OpenCon 2014 included the Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Legislative Affairs, the Chief Commons Officer of Sage Bionetworks, the Associate Director for Data Science for the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and more than 15 students and early career academic professionals leading successful initiatives. OpenCon 2015 will again feature leading experts.  Patrick Brown and Michael Eisen, two of the co-founders of PLOS, are confirmed for a joint keynote at the 2015 meeting.

For the ‘open’ movements to succeed, we must invest in capacity building for the next generation of librarians, researchers, scholars, and educators,said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). “OpenCon is dedicated to creating and empowering a global network of young leaders across these issues, and we are eager to partner with others in the community to support and catalyze these efforts.”

OpenCon seeks to convene the most effective student and early career academic professional advocates—regardless of their ability to pay for travel costs. The majority of participants will receive full travel scholarships. Because of this, attendance is by application only, though limited sponsorship opportunities are available to guarantee a fully funded place at the conference.  Applications will open on June 1, 2015.

In 2014, more than 1,700 individuals from 125 countries applied to attend the inaugural OpenCon. This year, an expanded emphasis will be placed on building the community around OpenCon and on satellite events. OpenCon satellite events are independently hosted meetings that mix content from the main conference with live presenters to localize the discussion and bring the energy of an in-person OpenCon event to a larger audience.  In 2014, OpenCon satellite events reached hundreds of students and early career academic professionals in nine countries across five continents.  A call for partners to host satellite events has now opened and is available at

OpenCon 2015 is organized by the Right to Research Coalition, SPARC, and a committee of student and early career researcher organizations from around the world.

Applications for OpenCon 2015 will open on June 1st. For more information about the conference and to sign up for updates, visit  You can follow OpenCon on Twitter at @Open_Con or using the hashtag #opencon.

PASTEUR4OA: Working Together to Promote Open Access Policy Alignment in Europe

- December 4, 2014 in Events, PASTEUR4OA

German composer Felix Mendelssohn once said that “the essence of the beautiful is unity in variety“, and so there lies the challenge of the PASTEUR4OA Project.


PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategies for European Union Research) aims to support the European Commission’s Recommendation to Member States of July 2012 that they develop and implement policies to ensure Open Access to all outputs from publicly-funded research. However the state of readiness of national policymaking on Open Access across Europe is as varied as there are number of countries! PASTEUR4OA, funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7), will help develop and/or reinforce Open Access strategies and policies at the national level and facilitate their coordination among all Member States. It will build a network of centres of expertise in Member States that will develop a coordinated and collaborative programme of activities in support of policymaking at the national level under the direction of project partners.

Open Knowledge is one of fifteen partners involved in PASTEUR4OA, the others being: the Greek National Documentation Centre (EKT/NHRF), Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS), University of Minho in Portugal, CRIStin based at the University of Oslo, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), EuroCRIS, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Polιtecnico di Torino, SPARC Europe, LIBER, Jisc, Hacettepe University, Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) and the Research Council of Lithuania.

Earlier this week (2-3 December 2014) saw the first official PASTEUR4OA workshop held at Birkbeck College, London, bringing together over 50 Open Access experts representing the majority of Europe member states.

Lorraine Estelle opens the PASTEUR4OA Workshop

Lorraine Estelle opens the PASTEUR4OA Workshop

The Opening from Lorraine Estelle, Executive director digital resources and divisional CEO of Jisc Collections, highlighted the current complex situation in the Open Access space. Neil Jacobs, head of Scholarly communications at Jisc, then explained how PASTEUR4OA is “the start of something important for Open Access”, and also for collaboration across Europe. Jisc has been part of the Knowledge Exchange along with CSC – IT Center for Science in Finland, Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEFF) in Denmark, German Research Foundation (DFG) in Germany and SURF in the Netherlands for several years now and has benefited hugely from a shared approach, however PASTEUR4OA will take this communal advance to a new level.

Evidence that Europe is Leading Open Access Implementation

While those participating in the workshop are well-aware of the varying states of readiness regarding Open Access in different countries, and the need to recognise gaps in expertise, speaker Alma Swan from Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) reminded us that Europe is still leading the way when it comes to Open Access. It is important to recognise that as part of EU Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020) we have a continent-wide Open Access policy. In H2020 there is a move from an Open Access pilot (in FP7) to an Open Access mandate – an obligation to provide Open Access papers in all research areas (green Open Access). There is also a pilot for open research data. Alma and her team have been analysing over 650 current Open Access policies across Europe and noted a number of trends. So, for example, policies work better when researchers are required to deposit any publication, regardless of the journal (subscription based or Open Access) into an Open Access repository. Timing is key here and encouraging researchers to deposit straight after acceptance of publication works best. They can deposit the paper and only expose the metadata possibly embargoing the full text until the publication date when it can be automatically opened up. Analysis also indicated that the effectiveness of policies rises when they are linked to research assessment of some sort. A form of ‘best practice’ policy is beginning to emerge that can be built on by member states. Alma talked about how there are currently there are very few policies that require Gold Open Access but some funders push are starting to push, they include RCUK, Swedish Research Council and NWO (Netherlands).

Alma Swan helping us understand what makes a good Open Access policy

Alma Swan helping us understand what makes a good Open Access policy

Following on PASTEUR4OA project co-ordinator Victoria Tsoukala from the National Documentation Center in Greece explained how the current landscape frames the PASTEUR4OA project. One of the main aims of PASTEUR4OA is encouraging consistency between the H20202 policy and those of the Member by utisilising already existing excellent infrastructure (such as OPENAire), standards (such as CERIF Common European Research Information Format) and training support (for example through the Faciliate Open Science Training for European Research Project). However there is still much work to be done especially related to the lack of awareness and understanding, and therefore engagement, by policy-holders and in engaging with publishers.

Bringing clarity where there is diversity is a significant undertaking and PASTEUR4OA hope to achieve this through the creation of Knowledge Net: a network of national centres of expertise in Member States that can monitor and champion an aligned Open Access policy environment across the EU and in neighbouring countries. Eloy Rodrigues from the University of Minho in Portugal gave an introduction to the concept of the Knowledge Net, while the practical and legal aspects of are still being discussed it is clear to say that it will build on already existing networks (e.g. OpenAIRE NOADs, EC National Points of Reference, MedOANet Task Forces). Key nodes have already been identified and invited, and 33 organisations across Europe have now accepted to act as PASTEUR4OA Key Nodes. Their role will be to identify national policy makers, create or take advantage of Open Access working groups, develop programme of activities to engage the policy makers and generally support the project. Five regions have also been identified: the Nordic region (to be co-ordinated by Cristin), North West Europe (to be co-ordinated by EOS), East Europe (to be co-ordinated by EIFL), South East Europe (to be co-ordinated by EKT) and South West Europe (to be co-ordinated by University of Minho.

Comparing Countries

In the afternoon we were given a taste of the state of play in different countries through three inspiring case study presentations:
Niahm Brennan from Trinity College Dublin introduced the situation in Ireland, a place she described as a small country on periphery of Europe that continually “borrows best practice from other countries“. Niamh pointed out that some of the key moments in the run up to their current situation include the European Research Advisory Board Scientific Publication Policy on Open Access published in 2006 which “spoke to everyone accept researchers”, the HEA Landscape document of 2012 and the European Open Access Pilot. The events, along with the Irish financial situation which called for a need to show value for money, culminated in the Irish National Open Access Policy supported by 21 institutions. The policy doesn’t mention author-side charges – the author remains free to choose their publisher and there are no changes to publishing practices. However it recommends immediate deposit of ‘Post-print’, release as soon as possible and practical support for authors at institutional level. The policy is supported by all Irish funders and uses existing infrastructure (which is harvestable, interoperable, sustainable) including used by 18+ institutions. It is also means that it is easy to aggregate and discover research outputs at institutional, national and funder levels. In 2013 they were able to announce that 50% of Irish publications had been deposited in Open Access repositories! Niamh gave a nod to those from whom the Irish have borrowed including the Dutch (experts in network of repositories) and to Eurocris. She concluded by saying that that they find themselves now in a situation where they are more aware of job they have to do. They don’t currently have funds to pay gold Open Access but there is a need to keep track of Open Access activities so funders can see what they are funding. They are working towards fully comprehensive reporting, evaluation and impact analysis.

Case study two came from Nina Karlstrøm of Norway. The combination of a multitude of national infrastructure challenges (such as a railway that only reaches half-way up the country!) and a reasonably small, well educated population has resulted in a long tradition of sharing work. Norway contains a small number of large institutions alongside a large number of small institutions but remains very centralised. They have both a national CRIS and national harvester of repositories NORA. Norway is also unusual in that there is only one research funder –the National Research Council – they require that all research funded by them must be published Open Access (2009) by 6-12 months – but give no immediate deposit date. However the funder have a stick to see if articles are Open Access – they use data from CRIS to see if their policy is being followed and if not will with hold funds. In a white paper from 2012-2013 the Norwegian government states that all publicly funded research must be published Open Access and/or deposited in a repository. So while their National policy is already in alignment with the Euroopean Commission their mani challenges are in aligning Institutional policies at universities where the principle of academic freedom is strongly felt.

The third and final case study was presented by Bernard Rentier from Université de Liège, Belgium. Belgium have 3 major universities each with a repository that prevents entry of papers that are full text unless pre 2002. This was in part response to an official statement, which mandated that all publications must be full text for the publications taken into account in research assessment. Some work had to be done to avoid uploading of empty PDFs but an advocacy approach and one-to-one dialogue with researchers has proved successful. The University has been reluctant to put papers in the repositories and researchers are encouraged to always do it, the thinking behind this was that publishers were unlikely to sue researchers. Upon a suggestion by the Rector, the Université de Liège’s Administrative Board decided on May 23rd 2007 to create an open repository and bibliography for the University of Liège. The system ORBi (Open Repository and Bibliography) has been very successful despite some minor glitches when Google changed their algorythms. 1 million. In November ORBi declated 1 million downloads of the integral texts of University of Liège authors’ publications from the institutional repository since January 1, 2014. ORBi Luxembourg is now in development. Bernard concluded by saying that the in Belgium the Open Access war had to some extent been one, but that the second war of Open Access is the gold one

Note that there are already Open Access country case studies (Portugal, UK, Norway, Hungary) available on the PASTEUR4OA website. Denmark, Belgium, EuroCRIS and Ireland (being written by Open Knowledge) are likely to be published early next year.

Delegates at the evening meal

Delegates at the evening meal

Regional Group Activities

Over the course of the two days we spent time in our regional groupings identifying challenges and beginning to piece together a road map for the project. One activity involved thinking about why Open Access approaches worked in particular countries or in particular cases. Another activity involved identifying and discussing potential paths for further European collaboration in aligning, developing and implementing Open Access policies and the role of the Knowledge Net.

Open Access Challenges

Open Access Challenges

Post-it notes aplenty when we identified the main challenges member states face in developing, implementing and aligning effective Open Access policies. The aim of the activity was to see if which of the challenges were suitable for the Knowledge Net to help with.

The main challenges fall under the following areas:

  • Policy:

    Lack of awareness among policy makers; Open Access to scientific information seen as low priority for policymakers; different level of progress in different member states towards policies; difficulties maintaining regular communication between stakeholders (RPOs, funders, researchers) at European level.

  • Compliance:

    Lack of information on policy effectiveness (in countries with policies); no appropriate systems for evaluation, monitoring, metrics and compliance testing; ensuring no country gets left behind.

  • Publishers:

    Lack of engagement with publishers; the need for publishers to make as money in our new Open Access system – business models.

  • Infrastructure:

    Availability of trusted repositories, competing with publishers on a global level; connections with open research data; connections with existing infratructure.

Effective activities were identified as:
Using the economy and monetisation as an argument; focusing on savings (e.g through using the Houghton study); involving industry; avoiding mentioning Open Access and talking about ‘visibility’ or ‘open publishing’; real-life case studies e.g. UK’s Minister for Universities and Science David Willets’ personal scholarship experiences; research rankings; connections with research assessment; advocating the dangers of not doing this; preventative menthods e.g. in the US American government employees cannot sign away copyright – a tick box in publisher forms prevents them.


The PASTEUR4OA 2-day event was an excellent introduction to the project and what it hopes to achieve – thanks to the Jisc team who organised the event! I was impressed by variety of nodes who had attended and the number of countries represented. It was also incredibly interesting and at times a little daunting to hear about the diversity across Europe when it comes to Open Access policies – each country has its own agenda and own culture, which will affect work in this area.

However the H2020 Open Access mandate has been delivered from above and it feels very much that now is a moment ripe for change in this area. The Key nodes across Europe are eager to receive support from PASTEUR4OA but also keen to represent their own countries identity and individuality. Developing and/or reinforce Open Access strategies and policies at the national level and facilitate their coordination among all Member States is a tall order, but PASTEUR4OA is well-equipped and ready to go!

Open Access Days in Egypt

- May 6, 2014 in Events

The American University in Cairo (AUC) organized a two-day event between April 27 and 28, under the name Open Access Days. The organizers highlighted that their aim is to promote open access to researchers in Egypt and the Middle East, and to plant a seed for future initiatives. Thus the sessions varied between those raising awareness about the topic, panel discussions and other technical sessions introducing the audience to softwares like Open Journal System (OJS) and the university’s Digital Archive and Research Repository (DAR Repository), which is open to host the university’s theses, faculty publications, student projects, and departmental records and publications.

“Open access publications are easy to access and theoretically accessible to anyone with an Internet connection”, Mark Muehlhaeusler

On the event’s homepage, the term Open Access is highlighted as it refers to “literature and research that is digital, online, free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions”. Nevertheless, Meggan Houlihan and Mark Muehlhaeusler felt the need to start by explaining the term in more details in the first session of the event.


In the next session, Nicholas Cop from SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online), gave an introduction their bibliographic database of open access journals. SciELO initially started in Brazil, 15 years ago, yet it now have presence in 12 countries most of them are in Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. Mr. Cop also shed the light about the status of Open Access in that region by showing some statistics. For example, in Chile, 88% of the journals are Open Access ones. Similarly, in Brazil, 63% of the articles there are OA. On SciELO’s blog there is also a study about academic journal publication models in Brazil and Spain. SciELO is meant to make it easier for anyone to search in all the member OA journals from one place. They also noticed that the language barrier for researches done in Spanish or Portuguese are limiting the access to the papers published in the OA journals there, thus they translate the papers’ abstracts. Mr. Cop also spoke about a new project they are working on to promote OA books and to allow ways for easier citations between papers and e-books.

Later on, Iryna Kuchma of Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), spoke about 4 more projects and case studies. She started with EIFL, a not-for-profit organisation that works with libraries to enable access to digital information in developing and transition countries. Their Open Access program focuses on building capacity to launch open access repositories and to ensure their long-term sustainability, and empowering librarians and library professionals, scholars, educators and students to become open access advocates. She then introduced three other projects, OASPA, COAR and NDLTD.


The next session was a panel discussion that focused on the state of Open Access in the Arab world. The panel was moderated by Nadine Weheba and Ramy Aziz, and there were 5 panelists, Seif Abou Zeid from Tahrir Academy, Hala Essalmawi from Creative Commons Egypt, Ahmed Hussein from Open Egypt, Mandy Taha, an open access consultant, and yours truly from Open Knowledge Egypt. Seif spoke about their aim in Tahrir Academy to make university courses as well as other educational and skill sharing videos available to everyone for free. He emphasised on the importance of adopting an open license, such as Creative Commons, as opposed to many of the existing MOOC websites. Hala Essalmawi then moved to the legal aspects of OA, and how they worked in Creative Commons Egypt, not only to translate the license, but also to adapt it to the Egyptian laws. She also highlighted the positive and negative aspects of the Egyptian IP laws, and their relations to the OA goals. Since Open Egypt advocate for the use of Free and Open Source Software in Egypt, Ahmed Hussein went on to make analogies between Open Access and Open Source, how the culture of sharing and openness has helped the latter to develop in the recent years. He then called for building directories for OA journals in the region. Then, during my talk, I prefered to draw a picture about the status of OA in the region through some numbers. Then I highlighted the importance of OA, not only to make the access to research results costless, but also to make it more accessible. I used the language barrier as an example to show how the lack of free license may prevent people from translating existing researches published in foreign languages. I then had my share of analogies, by comparing OA to Open Data, and how openness here doesn’t stop at the legal aspects, but it also has to provide technical openness so that not only humans can read the published researches, but also machines for data analyses and search engines. There were discussions among the panelists and with the audience about the concepts discussed, and the case studies shown from the region. One of the discussions was taken home by Maha Bali after the session, where she continued the discussion on her blog.

Right before the final session of the day, Ramy Aziz of PLoS, showed how he encourages his students in Cairo University to blog about what they study. He also highlighted how Open Access and scientific blogging can fight pseudoscience and help researchers follow new studies in their fields. Then in the final session of the day, Ryder Kouba presented the AUC’s Digital Archive and Research (DAR).

I wasn’t able to attend the second day, but from the feedback on twitter, it was clear that the panel about copyright was interesting. Later in the day, Maha Bali had a session about Open Education Resources, and the session was followed by a workshop by Mark Muehlhaeusler on Open Journal System (OJS).

Pasteur4OA – Kick off meeting

- February 27, 2014 in Events, PASTEUR4OA, Projects

I’ve just got back from Guimarães, Portugal where I attended the kick off meeting for PASTEUR4OA (Open Access Policy Alignment Strategy for European Union Research). It was a great meeting, and a great opportunity to meet (and remeet) many people from across the EU interested in Open Acccess, including representatives of SPARC Europe, Jisc and the Open University.

This multi-partner European project aims to help EU Member States develop and implement policies to ensure Open Access to all outputs from publicly funded research, helping to develop (or reinforce) open access strategies and policies at national level. Part of this work will involve mapping existing policies at national and institutional levels, and part of this will be directly engaging policy makers, and helping to develop national centres of expertise.

The Open Knowledge Foundation will be involved in a number areas of work in this project, and we’ll be looking to strengthen the existing Open Access community at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and help increase engagement between our community and policy makers across the EU.

We will also be pushing hard to ensure that when people talk about ‘open access’ as part of this project, they are using the term as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative and in agreement with the Open Definition, considering the right to reuse and not just the right to view.

The project is still in its really early stages right now, but we will be sure to provide updates as the project develops!

Recap of the Berlin 11 conference: the call for a change in scientific culture becomes stronger

- January 22, 2014 in Events

The Berlin11 meeting which took place in Nov 2013 was a very energetic, motivating and inspiring event, and it can only be hoped that especially the newly introduced satellite meeting for young scientists will take place again next year. The presentations of this conference will soon be online (

I would like to use this blog to highlight some of the presentations and events of Berlin11 in relation to the developments of 2013. First of all the Berlin11 conference was the first ever that hosted a satellite conference aimed at young scientists. This reflects the increasing support for open access with the young generation of scientists. One of the highlights here was the presentation of Jack Andraka, a 16 year old scholar who told his story on the role of open access for him and his development of a innovative test for pancreatic cancer.

Another highlight of the Satellite Conference was the launch of the OpenAccess Button which collects instances where people cannot access information because of toll barriers AND even suggests ways on how to find the information elsewhere in e.g. open access repositories (link here).

At the main conference Mike Taylor, a scientist and open access advocate from the UK, gave a compelling talk on why the open access movement needs idealists and why the (also economic) benefits of open access far outweigh the cost (slideshare via this link). Bernard Rentier, Rector of the University of Liege, told of his solution for getting scientists to submit their articles to the university repository: only those articles deposited count for tenure and promotion. Robert Darnton, professor at Harvard University, had a fascinating presentation on the building of the Digital Public Library of America which gives access to over 5,5 million items from libraries, archives and museums.

DPLA Berlin11 slide small

Slide of Robert Darnton’s presentation at Berlin11.


Marin Dacos from OpenEdition, France introduced OpenEdition the major European portal for digital publications, including books, in human and social sciences. Glyn Moody, science journalist from the UK, gave a captivating talk called ‘Half a Revolution’  on the history of the internet, open source software and open access publications. He made a very strong plea for open access without embargo calling it zero embargo now: ZEN. The slides of his talk are available here. David Willetts, Minister from the UK, explained the UK government’s policy for Open Access and as a side-line announced the imminent launch of an Science WIKI platform.

Ulrich Pöschl of the university of Mainz, Germany, elaborated on the need for other systems of peer-review and public discussions on published articles. The standard peer-review system has become so flawed that we urgently need to find ways to replace this scientific quality measure with new methods of quality assessment. He gave a talk at Berlin11 very similar to the one he gave at the ALPSP seminar on the future of peer-review in London 1 week earlier. He puts his ideas on interactive open access publishing to practice in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. According to Pöschl a new multi-stage peer-review system in combination with Open Access will lead to improved scientific quality assurance. The process of interactive open access publishing  has 2-stages: rapid publication of a discussion paper, public peer review and interactive discussion,  2) review completion and publication of the Final Paper.  The use of a discussion paper guarantees rapid publication, open access enables public peer-review and discussion with a large number of participants, and the number of individual reviews possible in this system is a build-in quality assurance for the final paper. Interestingly, quality assessment using this scheme can also incorporate altmetrics and other measures of impact assessment.

Berlin11 Ploeschl slide small

Slide of Ulrich Pöschl ‘s presentation at Berlin11

Two main topics during the conference were the call for immediate unrestricted access,  Zero Embargo Now (Glyn Moody) and the call for a new scientific quality assessment system (many speakers). The current quality assessment systen focuses on where you publish (rewarding publication in high impact journals) and on the number of publications (the ‘publish or perish’ ). A general feeling on what such a new assessment should look like is summarized in a key message from the presentation that Cameron Neylon gave : “it should not be that important where and how much you publish but rather what and what quality you publish”.

I would add to this that in a sense in DOES matter where you publish, namely as far as you publish your work open access allowing for unrestricted re-use. One of the main problems here is how to create the right incentives for scientists to publish open access. We have seen one possible solution in the idea given by Bernard Rentier (see above). In addition a completely refurbished assessment system could provide the right incentives when this system takes into account access, re-use, (social) impact and quality of publications. The current scientific culture with its emphasis on quantity and status is slowly but surely undermining the quality of science, because quantity is fundamentally different from quality. In their need to publish as much as possible as quickly as possible, scientists often duplicate results and/or publish results prematurely. Extreme cases of fabricated  results are also seen and it is especially when these cases are found out that the reputation of science suffers. The conventional peer-review system used for quality assessment has proven to be insufficiently robust to prevent this, and new forms of peer-review and other methods are being developed to replace it (see for instance  F1000).

The prioritization of publishing and doing research has had  a very negative impact on education and the quality of research.  It was for this reason that Science in Transition was founded in October 2013 in Amsterdam. The initiators felt that “science does not work as it should” and that something ought to be done about it. The central message again is that the pressure to publish is detrimental to education, and that the quality of science and its reputation is compromised by the current systems and judging scientific output by the number of publications. The full text of the position paper can be read here.

In a TV interview on Dec 30, 2013 Robbert Dijkgraaf, president of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study put it this way:

“we have to judge science more by its value than by the number [of scientific output]”.

That there is growing awareness of the need for change in the area of scientific quality assessment is also illustrated by these citations taken from the New Year’s speech of the rector of the University of Amsterdam, prof. van den Boom: “More publications is not always better”,  and “we have to think hard on alternatives for the evaluation of research”. ( full speech can be seen here). In the two months that have passed since Berlin11, Open Access and the Quality of Science have received considerable public media attention. The German magazine “Die Zeit’’ for example has published a set of articles in its first issue of 2014 on ‘how to save science’.  A new case of (self) plagiarism has led to heated discussions in Dutch newspapers on the uncertain quality of science and the possibilities of fraud.  The president of the organization of Dutch universities, Karl Dittrich has announced that starting Jan 2015 more emphasis will be put on quality, away from quantity of scientific publications in the evaluation of scientists and universities.

The Dutch state secretary for research and education Sander Dekker previously already had stated that scientific results should be published in open access journals as of 2016, even by law if scientists will not abide out of free will. Also on the issue of Open Access, the US congress in Jan 2014 approved the so-called 2014 omnibus appropriations legislation. This policy shall require public, free access to each paper based on researches even partially funded by a federal agency, submitted to any peer-review journal, no later than 12 months after the publication. Although this move towards open access is great news, the drawback here is that the bill only deals with free access, the issue of re=use and copyright is left in the open. Also, the 12 month embargo period is not in line with open access in the sense of the Berlin declaration. So it is a step forward but there still is a long way to go, as Mike Taylor says it in his latest blog post.

Let me conclude this blog by a small prediction: that 2014 will be the year that scientific output will be judged less and less by how much and where one has published, and more and more by what and in what (accessible and re-usable) form one publishes his/ hers results.