A round-up of the latest developments, project updates and crucial industry standards.
PLEASE NOTE: This session was a repeat of Parallel Session 3c: Industry Updates.
Laird Barrett, Product Manager, Springer Nature
Abstract: ‘Update on the collaboration between Springer Nature and ResearchGate
In 2019 Springer Nature and ResearchGate embarked on a collaboration to explore ways in which their respective strengths could be combined to benefit researchers, librarians, and both organisations. This presentation will outline the approach, challenges, results, and possible future directions of the collaboration.
Nettie Lagace, Associate Director for Programs, National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
Abstract: ‘NISO Content Platform Migration Working Group: Recommendations to smooth migration woes’
Hundreds of publishers make their data available online via content platforms, now a typical way to provide libraries and their users access to scholarly content. It has become a regular course of business for a publisher to periodically select a new platform provider and migrate content, requiring technical, business, and subscription changes to be communicated to customers. NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, has charted a working group consisting of industry stakeholders to create a recommended practice to inform content platform migrations, and provide a standard process and recommendations to all parties dealing with online content platforms, to improve communication before, during, and after migration. The project’s intent is to support migrations that are well-planned, communicated and coordinated with customers, and well-executed; ultimately, to deliver content on the new platform with no broken links, no loss of functionality, no interruption in access, and no loss of customer information.
Paul Peters, Chief Executive Officer, Hindawi Limited
Abstract: ‘The OA Switchboard: Open infrastructure to support open access publication’
Given the rapid increase in the scale and complexity of open access business models in recent years, it has become increasingly clear that publishers, funders, and institutions are in need of better ways to track the publication and funding of open access outputs. The OA Switchboard aims to become a central hub for exchanging information about open access outputs between the wide range of systems currently in use, and to facilitate the development of new systems that can streamline the invoicing, payment, and reporting of open access publication costs.
Abeni Wickham, CEO/Founder, Scientific Freedom
Abstract: ‘What would scientific dissemination look like if it began today?
Are we, researchers, really serving the public when it’s harder to find facts than opinions? These are the questions that Scientific Freedom fundamentally asks each day. Born out of Stockholm, Scientific Freedom is bringing together tech to reduce the work-load of researchers and provide another way of looking at researchers productivity. We are here to change the way how the world sees scientists and how scientists view themselves.
[00:00:40.09] LAIRD BARRETT: Thanks, Louise. Hello, everybody. So as Louise said, I’m Laird. I work at Springer Nature. Hello, and nice to see you.
[00:00:46.53] I am the product manager for the identity team, so we provide authentication services to our websites like Springer Link or like nature.com. I am also one of the product managers on the Springer Nature side who has been involved with our recent collaboration with ResearchGate. And that’s what I’m going to talk to you about today. I’m going to start by telling you a little bit about who Springer Nature and ResearchGate are. I won’t labor this because you might be familiar with us already.
[00:01:10.83] I’ll tell you a little bit about why we’re working together, and then I’ll tell you a little bit about what we have done and learned so far with ResearchGate. OK, so who are Springer Nature and ResearchGate? Springer Nature, you may know as we are one of the largest academic publishers, imprints like Springer Nature BioMed Central, Scientific American. We have a database of over 7 million articles and 300,000 books. ResearchGate, you may know a little bit about, but I’ll tell you a little bit more about them.
[00:01:37.12] So they’re a scholarly collaboration network, so they are very strictly a network for researchers. So you have to have an institutional email to sign up there, or if you can prove that you are a researcher in another way like taking a photo of your PhD diploma or something along those lines, they will also let you in. But it is pretty strictly researchers. It’s place where researchers can go to connect with other researchers, to collaborate with them, share updates about their work, ask questions, share their publications and data, look for jobs, find out how their articles are being read, that sort of thing.
[00:02:14.31] They’ve been around for 10 years now. They have grown steadily over those 10 years. And they are now a network of 15 million researchers globally. I don’t think you can quite see the map there very well, but it is percentages on countries. OK, let me continue on here. So why are we working together?
[00:02:31.62] I’m going to show you two slides that are quotations from the high level sort of C-level executives about why we’re working together. But after that, I am going to try and sort of interpret and summarize why we’re working together a little bit. So the first one I’ll show you is from Steven Inchcoombe. So Steven’s speaking here tomorrow actually. So he’s the chief publishing officer at Springer Nature, and this is what Stephen said.
[00:02:55.98] Again, after this, I’ll do a little bit of interpretation for you. So “at Springer Nature, we are committed to finding new ways to help researchers advance discovery. Being able to access and collaborate on research is fundamental to this, and it is important for us to enable this to happen on the platforms used by researchers and authors. It is early days, but we are very excited about this first pilot with ResearchGate which will see us explore new ways for researchers to share content to deliver a better experience for the scientific community which ResearchGate and Springer Nature both serve.”
[00:03:25.56] And from the ResearchGate side, Ijad, one of their founders and CEO, had this to say. So “we’re excited to work with Springer Nature on this pilot. The pilot unites Springer Nature’s experience in publishing groundbreaking research with ResearchGate 15 million scientist strong global network and its reach as the most visited website for science. Collaboration is key for science. Scientists need to work together to drive progress, and they need access to each other’s findings to build on them together.” I won’t go through the rest of it.
[00:03:55.44] What does this actually mean? Can I interpret this sort of C-level speak for you? So there is a shared goal between Springer Nature and ResearchGate to serve and provide value to the research community, and there is a shared belief that if we are providing that value, it will benefit both businesses. Researchers on ResearchGate want to share their publications, and ResearchGate wants to facilitate them doing so. And Springer Nature wants to enable the authors we publish to share their research and readers to access that research.
[00:04:32.20] Springer Nature also wants to protect and deliver the version of record for authors and to readers. I think Springer Nature also wants to be where researchers are at, where the community that we serve is congregating, and ResearchGate is one of those places at the moment. There are problems with the way that we serve the research community at the moment. An example of that is the horribly painful authentication and access experience to publishers platforms if you’re outside of your institutional network. So there are problems like that that we might be able to work on together with ResearchGate to solve, and there’s probably a range of other problems.
[00:05:10.71] They have some certain strengths as a social network, and we have some strengths as a publisher. So that’s essentially why we’re working together. So what have we done and learned so far? So we’re taking a pilot approach with ResearchGate, and there have been two phases so far. So the first phase started in March and ran for about three months. And in this phase, what we did is we made 6,000 nature research articles from the 23 nature-branded journals just freely available on ResearchGate saying that they were provided there by Springer Nature.
[00:05:47.46] And we did this for a couple of key reasons. We just wanted to see if and how the research was used if it was there and easily accessible and available to researchers. And we wanted to understand how the research community would respond to us starting a partnership with ResearchGate.
[00:06:03.87] So I’m going to show you some of the sort of activity around those articles. I’m not going to specify the time period for the numbers that I’ll put up. I should also say that the numbers are not representative of activity on ResearchGate generally, but you can see there was a range of activity around those 6,000 publications. So at the bottom there, you can see over half a million impressions on researchers home feeds. You can see there were quite a lot of recommendations.
[00:06:33.17] About half the articles were recommended by ResearchGate users. You can see at the top users were reading the articles. They were commenting on the articles. Authors, who were cited within the articles, got a notification as they were aware of it. There were about 30,000 authors for those 6,000 articles, and there was quite a lot of activity and profile views for those authors, so a lot of activity around these articles with them.
[00:07:03.14] And we also surveyed researchers about what we were doing. This is results from authors on ResearchGate whose articles we shared. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, you asked what is your first reaction to ResearchGate and Springer Nature making your full text available on ResearchGate? We’re making content freely available there, and they were overwhelmingly positive, so a 96% positive first reaction, and that was also reflected on social media. So characteristic of the type of tweets that we saw were great to see ResearchGate and Nature working to offer access to select articles. Very happy that ours is included.
[00:07:40.22] ResearchGate also started to share back some aggregate level data about who was reading our content. So just as an example, they were able to provide us a breakdown of who was reading our content by discipline. There are perhaps useful ways to use this data, perhaps not. There are ways to question this data as well, I think. But, for example, many of the people who read the articles from Nature self-identified as being molecular biologists.
[00:08:13.29] OK, so that was phase 1. I’m sorry, so there’s one more thing I should say about phase 1, which is another thing out of phase 1 that we were trying to achieve with just setting up the relationship, right? You’ve never really worked with these people before, and so you’re just trying to figure out how you work together and build some trust together in that early phase. It was generally viewed as successful on both sides though. And so we said we’d go ahead and move into a phase 2, which started on the 11th of July and will run through November of this year.
[00:08:43.93] And in phase 2, we’ve done a couple of different things. So I won’t read through all of Steven’s quote here. So this is Steven Inchcoombe talking about the second phase, and I think the key things to point out in bold there are support the vital role that librarians play within the scholarly communication chain and then at the bottom, providing an enriching experience for the scientific community that we serve through enhanced accessibility and reporting. So the key thing here is we’re not only looking at how we can provide value to researchers, the end users, but how can we do that for librarians possibly as well by collaborating together.
[00:09:20.52] So in this second phase, we have expanded the range of content that’s available, Springer Nature content that’s available from a ResearchGate. So we’ve increased it to, I think, content from research articles from 18 Springer journals, so there’s about 30,000 publications involved now. ResearchGate have also started to provide a different experience of the content for users who are not institutionally entitled, so they’re starting to recognize– or they were before. By recognizing whether a researcher is a active member of an institution, it will then entitle them based on the institutional entitlements. If they are fully entitled, they get to see the whole article online, but they also get to download the article.
[00:10:08.96] And if they’re not entitled, they’ll just see the article online on ResearchGate at the moment. These sit alongside the author uploaded versions currently as well. So if an author has uploaded a version of the article, that’s available as well. And we’ve committed to doing some research together with librarians to talk to them about their reaction to this collaboration and also figure out are there ways that we can provide value to you through the collaboration between Springer Nature and ResearchGate.
[00:10:38.28] And, finally, we’ve been– I talked a little bit about how we’re trying to ease authentication and access for researchers. The product managers have also been tasked with trying to come up with other ways that we can bring our two strengths together as a social network and a publisher to try and benefit researchers. So there is a drive to also come up with other ways that we can provide value. That is all. Thank you very much.
[00:11:02.58] [APPLAUSE] [00:11:06.98] LOUISE RUSSELL: Thanks very much, Laird. Our next speaker is Nettie Lagace. She’s associate director for programs at NISO. She’s providing an update on the– make sure we get the working group’s name right– the Concept Platform Migration Working Group.
[00:11:20.79] NETTIE LAGACE: Yeah. Here we are. Thanks, everyone. My role at NISO is working with the various working groups that create our standards and recommended practices. NISO stands for the National Information Standards Organization.
[00:11:39.53] And our raisin d’etre is to create and maintain standards and recommended practices that benefit the information industry, and that includes libraries, publishers, and other content providers, system providers of all shapes and sizes, and many various consultants and third parties. This project is a relatively new one for NISO, although we have had a number of new projects start up this year. This one began this spring and is continuing, and I’ll be discussing the schedule. But the main problem that this group is trying to address is where content, generally journals but also books, is published by a publisher and hosted on a platform. It may be a platform that’s created by the publisher.
[00:12:28.05] It may be a platform that is hosted by or created by a third party. For different reasons, a contract ends or the publisher wants to initiate some new functionality. When that content moves from provider A or platform A to platform B, it’s a process. It’s quite an involved process, and it can be complicated for the publisher, the provider, and also the library, and end users who are trying to access that content throughout the process.
[00:13:01.65] So this was recognized as a process which has many issues, and a working group was created to try to solve those issues. So at NISO, we have quite formal processes for getting things started and moving things along. And so we ask people who want to have us work on something to create a proposal, and this is the essence of the proposal, which was a little bit longer than this. But the initiators wanted to develop a recommended practice. So this is not a standard.
[00:13:34.73] It’s not too formal, but it is recommendations that help with making sure processes are standardized and make recommendations to all stakeholders, publishers, content providers, and libraries to improve communications really to try to make as transparent as possible all the steps and help the parties communicate with each other so they know what’s going on before, during, and after these content migrations. And the planned deliverables, the outputs, which you will eventually see before not too long I hope is guidelines for the people who are migrating the content– that’s the publishers and their platform vendors– to ensure that the migrations are helping eventually the end users and those libraries who are supporting the end users, making some suggestions and recommendations for those communications, and then also providing checklists for all parties to help with making sure that things are addressed. When this project was announced earlier this year, we had quite a bit of interest in participating in the work.
[00:14:46.95] And we did create a working group that consists of various stakeholders, but there was a lot of interest that we couldn’t fit on the group. So we ran a small survey with those interested parties to make sure that we were taking stock of their needs and their desires for the output, and so we asked them what are the biggest problems you see, and what do we need to be sure to address in this working group? And so we had input from publishers and libraries, and I find it interesting that they are affecting each other. We are intertwined, are interdependent. And this is just one input from one publisher.
[00:15:24.87] So this publisher said as some problems, well, we have internally problems in reaching consensus in what we even need from the provider. So that’s one problem, but then also management of the process can get quite complicated. We’ve got to message to customers what’s going on. There is interdependencies on how things are getting developed. This takes time.
[00:15:46.65] We’ve got to migrate that data from place to place and maintain it with our sales department and the platform provider, make sure that we’re switching over in a timely way and that it’s all agreed upon, and then we’ve got to redirect all these URLs and make sure the people are going to the places where they need to go. And I really could see at least through this example that the publisher is in a little bit of a rock and a hard place because they’re trying to communicate to their content provider and then also communicate at the same time with their customers. And this can really be quite complex.
[00:16:21.96] So, meanwhile, one library reported as problems with the communication– we don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know when it’s going to happen. How can we help our users because this is all happening, and it’s very irritating? We’re being communicated with the wrong place. The entitlements aren’t getting carried over, and we can’t fix our proxy if we use a proxy for authentication.
[00:16:45.43] This gets dropped. People can’t get into things, and our third party tools, our link resolver, our discovery platforms are in the dark until it’s all over with. But those aren’t up to date, and there’s a gap. So you can see that these– we really want to keep these things in sync as much as possible. So there’s all kinds of places for improvement, which is opportunistic.
[00:17:06.57] So we have a working group. It has been working since March, and this is a little bit smaller than I intended to display on the screen. So I’m sorry about that. But the working group consists of librarians from different types of libraries, and publishers, and vendors. We have a calendar.
[00:17:26.43] It started earlier this year, and it will finish a year from now. Right now, we are in the information gathering phase. And they’ve been working on this for some months. It says the information gathering phase will end in September. I think they’re going to go a month over and end in October.
[00:17:45.82] And what does that consist of? Basically, a lot of different places for getting information, reviewing associated standards, investigating from different parties who aren’t on the working group what might be their input. What are example vendor communications? Maybe those could be drawn from and distributed as recommended practices. Of course, product transfer you probably are familiar with is when individual journals move from publisher to publisher.
[00:18:20.91] That kind of input is being taken in for recommendations into this kind of process, which is similar but not exactly the same. And then, of course, making sure that authentication vendors and knowledge based providers have their requirements or their needs met as well. So they’re in the middle of this gathering information. They are writing recommendations and distilling it as they go. So the group feels that they are in good shape for writing their draft document and finishing that up by the end of the year.
[00:18:52.11] Of course, December is always sort of up in the air as people get drawn off for holidays and other year end task finishing up. But, currently, the schedule is that we will have a draft ready for comment, public comment in January, and this will be a month period where we will circulate the draft. All of you will be able to download it and provide your input and your opinions for what it might be doing well and what it might also be missing, and we hope that you’ll be able to send that to us so that the working group can then improve the final document, which will be planned to be published later in the spring of next year. And that’s the summary of this work, so thank you.
[00:19:36.18] [APPLAUSE] [00:19:40.79] LOUISE RUSSELL: Thanks very much, Nettie. Our next speaker is Paul Peters, CEO of Hindawi. He’s providing an update on the OA Switchboard.
[00:19:49.74] PAUL PETERS: All right, thank you. So, yeah, apart from working at Hindawi– Sorry, I’m a bit congested– I’m also the president of the Open Access Publishers Association and the chair of the Crossref board, and so I spent a lot of time at the intersection of open-access stuff and sort of shared publishing infrastructure stuff. And that’s really what the OA Switchboard came out of. This is a new industry association that’s being put together or an industry initiative that’s being put together to solve a bunch of problems around OA.
[00:20:19.55] So here we go. Context– open access is growing pretty quickly right now. Funders are and the institutions are increasingly paying for OA centrally or at least desire to pay for open access centrally. The models in which that’s happening are getting just far more complex. They’re involving sort of a real diversity of stakeholders and models, and it’s kind of all over the place.
[00:20:44.92] And on top of that, funders and institutions are putting more policies in place for how the researcher should be publishing, both in terms of open access policies, but also around data sharing, and reporting guidelines, and sort of use of identifiers and things like that. So within this context, lots of new kinds of problems are emerging. So for authors, they’re now having to ask, you know, does this journal that I want to submit to meet the requirements of my funder of my institution? Am I allowed to publish here? If I do publish in this journal and do so on an open access basis, is my institution or my funder going to pay for that, or is that something I need to sort out payment separately?
[00:21:30.93] For funders and institutions, there is actually far more problems coming up right now. So if they put together some sort of central OA fund, they’re starting to realize that administering it is a complete disaster, and a lot of that is because every publisher has their own systems, their own process for invoicing and things like that, and there’s really no way of tying all of this together. Moreover, there’s really no way that an institution, or funder, or a group of consortia could do deals with every single publisher. There’s just far too many of us, and what you’re starting to see announced over the past year or so have really been with a handful of very, very large publishers. But that only really gets you the sort of largest organizations.
[00:22:14.92] And even when they do sign these transformative agreements, being able to sort of monitor and report on these things, particularly across different publishers, is essentially impossible. I’m not even sure if they’re able to get live reporting directly from any single publisher, but certainly across different publishers, there’s just no way this is happening right now. And then publishers are facing all sorts of new challenges they haven’t had to worry about before like if you’ve got an author submitting a paper, trying to figure out is there an institution or funder that’s going to pay for this APC on behalf of the authors or not? And if we get asked this, which we do regularly, takes a lot of work to figure this out.
[00:22:53.20] I mean, there’s no simple way of answering that question. And particularly for mixed model publishers who have these sort of hybrid journals, offsetting agreements, I think they’re all grappling with this question of how do we update all of the systems that we use, many of which we don’t control ourselves– they’re third party systems– in order to handle these workflows, so making sure we don’t accidentally invoice an author from an institution that we’ve got an agreement with, to make sure the things that are supposed to be counted against some agreement are actually counted against some agreement? So all the problems– and, fortunately, there is a solution to every one of these problems. But, first, a little pop quiz. Make sure you’re awake.
[00:23:33.70] What is the solution to almost every problem in scholarly publishing? If you guessed metadata, you are correct. It’s all about getting metadata. So that’s where the OA Switchboard comes in. I’m going to quickly walk through the workflow a little bit, but it’s really important to understand this is a hub for metadata.
[00:23:50.50] Money does not pass through the OA Switchboard. This is not a replacement for, like, [INAUDIBLE] for OA or any of these other providers out there. This is just all about metadata. So how does it work? Well, if you’re funder and institution, you become a member of the OA Switchboard, and then you set up an account, relatively simple process.
[00:24:09.14] You basically need to just select the relevant funder ID or institution ID for your institution or funder. And then if you want to, you can set some parameters where the system is going to automatically filter things for you. So if you want to only even consider payment request if it’s going to be published under CC-BY license, you can do that. If you want to put a cap, so I’m not willing to pay anything more than 2,000 euros for a published article. If you either want to allow hybrid articles or not allow hybrid articles, if you want to limit this so that it’s only the corresponding authors from your institute not any co-authors, these are all things that would be configurable when you first set up the account.
[00:24:48.86] Then if you’re a publisher, what you need to do is either at the point of submission or at some point prior to when you would be sending an invoice typically in your workflow, you need to collect the funder ID, if a funder has been acknowledged in the paper, the institution IDs of the authors or at least the corresponding author, and get the ORCIDs of the authors, which you should be doing anyways. Then once you’ve got this metadata, you would just automatically pang a little metadata package over to the OA Switchboard. It would have a bunch of data like some journal identifiers, the corresponding author’s ORCIDs, funder IDs, information like that.
[00:25:25.33] You can have a URL for a downloadable invoice or put some sort of other code there so that the institution or funder would know either how to pay or how to account for this if it’s being covered by a pre-existing deal. Once you sent this payment across to the OA Switchboard, it receives it, it checks the funder IDs and the institution ID in the metadata, and it looks to see do these match any of the OA Switchboard members. If they do, it just forwards that payment request onto the institution or funder. If it doesn’t, it just writes back to the publisher immediately to say, no, none of these are sort of OA Switchboard members. Essentially, you’re not going to get paid via this route.
[00:26:07.98] If the funder and institution that has received a request, they can either get it through an API if they want to put into another system of theirs through a web interface. If they just want to have it displayed like a spreadsheet, you can just get email notifications, sort of a bunch of different options for how they can interact with the system. And then they would check over the metadata that’s been sent across, and this could be a manual process. They can have someone sitting in a library or sort of an administrative office that’s looking at each individual request and saying, yes, we’ll pay for this and, no, we won’t. Or using the configuration stuff at the beginning, they could just set this all up automatically.
[00:26:43.22] So you could say if it’s Hindawi Journal and the APC is under this and it’s a CC-BY license, we’re happy to pay. Don’t even need to look at it. Once they’d made the decision, they would either then send an invoice approval notification or an invoice denial notification back to the Switchboard. It then goes back to the publisher, and depending on whether that was a manual process of making the decision or not, it could be instantaneous that the publisher is hearing back, or it might be 24 hours later or so that they’re getting a response.
[00:27:14.79] If they’ve agreed to pay the invoice and it actually needs to be paid, just download from the link that you’ve got and pay as usual, however you’d normally do that. In a lot of cases, particularly with hybrid or offsetting deals now, no payment would actually get made. All that would happen is you’d be accounting for this and saying, yep, we’ve got one more article from Wiley Journal. Just make sure that that’s been accounted for under the pre-existing deal. That’s not everything it can do, lots more problems it can solve here.
[00:27:43.26] So additional functionalities– authors can now have widgets either on their funder website, on a journal website, or on the OA Switchboard website where they can figure out if they’re allowed to publish in a particular journal or just show them the list of journals they can publish in. All they need to do is put in their institution IDs and their funder IDs, and it would know sort of the policies as long as their institution and funders are participating. You can automatically harvest the OA articles that are being published and put them into an institutional repository or in sort of any other repository.
[00:28:15.43] That can be one of the metadata fields that comes through in the payment request is that upon publication, the XML will be available at this URL. And then you can just set up a little bot that would go and deposit this in your repository. Funders and institutions could then generate reports across sort of all publishers, all journals about how their OA funds are being used. So if you’re the Wellcome Trust, you’d be able to see that your money is going via these institutions, being used by these particular researchers, being published in these particular journals, so there’s all sorts of facets who’d be able to do reporting. And this is live reporting.
[00:28:50.93] This is not at the end of the year we get a bunch of Excel spreadsheets and try to mash them all together. This would all be live. And a problem that actually was sort of the impetus for this idea when OASPA first started discussing was smaller publishers, particularly pure open access publishers that would like to have collective agreements or central funding agreements in the way that large publishers are signing now, this would be a mechanism for them to actually carry out some collective publication agreement. Say Max Planck wants to sign an agreement with all of the pure OA publishers that are OASPA members. They’d be able to do that, and this would be the underlying mechanism that’s figuring out what’s getting published and who needs to get paid what.
[00:29:37.59] So I’m sure you’re all thinking that’s amazing, where can I sign up? And I hate to disappoint you, but none of this actually exists. It’s still a little bit early for that. So next steps– we need to form working groups in order to dig a little bit more into detail on the product requirements and, more importantly, I think the metadata fields that would be mandatory and optional.
[00:29:59.56] Once we start talking more with institutions and funders, we’ll figure out exactly what metadata they need to make these decisions. We need to sort of create an organization, have a long-term governance model. It’s almost certainly going to be a nonprofit organization that has balanced representation from the funders, institutions, and publishers. This really can’t be a publisher thing or a funder thing. It needs to be sort of a joint community effort and figure out the long-term sustainability model.
[00:30:28.88] We also need to build the system to be helpful and then pilot it with a some publishers, funders, and institutions. But before any of that can happen, we need money. So that’s why I’m here. I don’t actually have a hat, but the idea is we are now in the phase of reaching out to interested stakeholders. We’ve already talked to about 10 or so that are willing to put a little bit of upfront funding in.
[00:30:51.49] The amount we’re looking at is probably around $10,000 per organization should be able to get us enough funding to take this project to the next level. What that would involve is that OASPA would hire a full-time project manager for say the next year, and then some of the funds would be to organize these stakeholder meetings to do the scoping on the technical product development, figure out how much the actual building of the system is going to cost, and then setting up all the legal entities, and all that other kind of fun stuff that needs to happen. So we have at OASPA provided some initial resources to carry it as far as it’s gotten today, but OASPA’s a very small organization with like two employees, and so there’s no way we can keep going just on our own. We need other stakeholders to get involved.
[00:31:35.84] So if you’re interested, do come and talk to me. If you’re interested and your organization has money, come talk to me, and I’ll be really happy to talk to you. But I’m also happy to talk even if you don’t have money to offer. That’s who you should get in touch with. And if you want more detail, that blog post kind of explains in a little bit more detail the whole system. Thank you.
[00:31:54.24] [APPLAUSE] [00:31:59.04] LOUISE RUSSELL: Thanks very much, Paul. Our last speaker is Abeni Wickham who’s CEO and founder of Scientific Freedom, a startup that launched just a few weeks ago. I should also say that Abeni is not feeling too good, is losing her voice, so we really appreciate her battling through. So let’s hope her voice holds out for this second presentation.
[00:32:19.04] ABENI WICKHAM: I’m still here. Thank you guys for having me. The name of our company is SciFree AB. We’re in Stockholm. When I started this company, I’m a researcher, molecular physics at the start, but I left science because there were too many perverse incentives and too many questions with all the changing with open access and things like that. It was just making us a little bit to say the least unhappy, a lot of mental health issues in the post-doc and even PhD process, and things like that.
[00:32:49.42] So one of the fundamental questions we started the company with is what would scientific dissemination look like if it began today? And the reason why we started the company with our question is because what we know is that you’re most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. It’s great to be here at a publishing conference, but least we forget that the people’s content that you take are researchers. And if we’re not so happy in producing that content. It’s not a lifetime stable model to go forward with.
[00:33:19.27] So what we’re trying to figure out is how do we get researchers to feel empowered to do good research, to not publish or feel like they have to perish if they don’t, and then in the same time creating a tech platform to help them answer the questions that they see fit, for example, time to peer review. So if you can take out your phones at the moment, this one of the first questions we asked the researchers, and I want to see if your answers will be the same as the researcher. So if you go to www.menti.com now and type in this code, and please answer for us what do you think academics hate or love about scientific publishing?
[00:33:55.25] And I’d be curious to know if your answers are also the same as the researchers, and the researchers we’ve pulled are, yeah, from 100 researchers from all continents and so on. So if it works, no? No? Sorry.
[00:34:33.45] This is a good one. The pressure is a question is to researchers where does pressure come from outside or inside? Well, we have our course. Yeah. Yeah, sorry. Yes.
[00:34:44.44] [LAUGHTER] [00:34:46.52] OK, just to go to the answer that the researchers gave, the first thing they love, of course, it was me, and, of course, it’s a senior professor that said that, the first to discover. Sharing results, of course, but advancement of self causes pitfalls. Satisfaction versus anxiety– this came up a lot about the anxiousness in this publisher perish paradigm. Of course, formatting– they hate that. Every time they get a rejection and they have to reformat, it’s not fun, especially if you think of the number of hours it takes for a researcher to do that when they should be in the lab also doing innovative stuff.
[00:35:24.04] Time for peer review– there’s a website, SciRev, that has over 5,000 researchers talking about each journal, how long it takes to peer review. And this is not trivial. If, for example, you’re a postdoc, and if you don’t get your paper out by the end of the year, you can’t get funding and you can’t live for lack of better words because then you have to go somewhere else and whatever. And, of course, a university librarian– high cost, no value. You take it as it may.
[00:35:51.05] So what we started to do first– instead of just building the tech to supply the researchers with a high throughput in peer review, we said let’s take a step back and deal with the mindset change that they need to have. So we have these courses, and what we do is we create a safe space for the researchers. We use different techniques to help them to feel empowered in being more high innovative and high integrity researchers. And, of course, they love questions, and we try to make it fun for them. So one of the things that we show is IKIGAI, and I also show this as SSP but in relation to publishers.
[00:36:28.63] Oh, we asked researchers to think about is what do they love, what does the world need, what can they get paid for, or what are they really good at, and this is not trivial. It’s not only for researchers but a lot of other people in the world are always asking themselves this question. But in allowing us to ask the researchers this and giving them time to answer this, it helps them to re-shift their focus into, oh, I just want this ego trip of publishing towards I really want to do something the world needs, and I want to get more skillful. And I should be able to get paid for it. And it doesn’t necessarily mean in academia.
[00:37:06.43] So in talking about open access changing to publishing and then changing the researchers ways of publishing, one thought is should we have one vision? So what would scientific dissemination look like if it began today, or do we need several mandates to push this? And that’s a hard question to answer because top down versus bottom up is the age of fundamental science question. That’s a joke for scientists.
[00:37:30.19] [LAUGHTER] [00:37:32.98] So, yeah, so that’s our company. We launched the courses in August, and our tech platform will come out soon after. And these are lovely funders, Vinnova Innovation, Trygghets Stiftelsen out of Stockholm, and I’m really grateful to them for allowing us to do this. And, of course, I mean, connect with us, and let’s do this adventure together because you’re in the business of publishing content that researchers produce, and it’s kind of like a circular economy. And we should really work together for this. So thank you.
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