Joint statement: Researchers call on EU institutions to ensure free circulation of scientific knowledge

Brussels, 17 February 2020. Please reference the joint statement using:
http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3669124

European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and Young Academy of Europe (YAE), who together represent researchers at all career stages across Europe and abroad, call on the European Commission to propose legislation ensuring that publicly funded scientific knowledge can circulate freely without embargoes or restrictions to accelerate discovery, strengthen European research, and to tackle global challenges.

Uniform legislation on a European level would harmonise and clarify rules by removing barriers which today prevent scientific knowledge from circulating freely in all of Europe. This could take the form of a directive establishing the nonwaivable legal right for researchers to share publicly funded peer-reviewed research findings without embargo periods or other restrictions (e.g. on the use of open licenses). Several related examples of national legislation that can act as inspiration already exist across Europe, including in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany

By establishing this legal right, researchers will be able to publish in any journal or outlet and still comply with open access mandates such as ‘Plan S’ by following the ‘repository route’, as this right would supersede any restrictive policies some publishers may have. It thus will ensure that any researcher in Europe who wishes to deposit their author-accepted manuscript in an open access repository without an embargo and using an open license will always have the legal right to do so. We believe that such legislation would greatly benefit researchers, science, and broader society.

Signed by Eva Hnátková (President, Eurodoc)​, Matthew DiFranco (Chair, MCAA), and Mangala Srinivas (Chair, ​Young Academy of Europe (YAE)​ on 17 February 2020. This statement is released under a CC BY license. Contact: chair@yacadeuro.org.

Appendix on European legislative context

  • Article 179 in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union: (1) The Union shall have the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encouraging it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Treaties. [boldface added]
  • May 2016 Council of the EU conclusions calling for the removal of barriers to ensure immediate open access to scientific publications.

YAE statement on ‘Future of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication’

The Board of the Young Academy of Europe wrote a brief and supportive statement in response to a consultation by the European Commission on the future of scholarly publishing. The stakeholder statements have now been published:

In January 2019, the European Commission published the “Future of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication”, a report by the H2020 Commission Expert Group on the Future of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication. The report examines the current system – with its strengths and weaknesses, the actors involved in it and proposes a vision for the future.

A select number of stakeholders mainly participating in the Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP), and a few more organizations that complemented the configuration of OSPP, were invited to participate in the consultation. Additional organizations offered to participate in the consultation themselves (Annex A, list of consulted organizations). The consultation was sent to 32 organizations, 17 of which responded, representing research institutions, academic/learned societies, early career researcher associations, funders, and publishers. The consultation lasted between February and May 2019. 

#EUInvestInKnowledge – Researchers calls on national governments in Europe to protect EU investments in education, research and innovation

As signatories and active supporters of the #EUInvestInKnowledge campaign,​ Eurodoc, the Marie Curie Alumni Association and YAE call on governments, institutions and leaders across Europe to strengthen the investment at European level and urge them to raise the budget of the next EU Programme for R&I (2021-2027), Horizon Europe, to at least €120 billion.

Mangala Srinivas (Chair, Young Academy of Europe), said: “The grand challenges we are facing today, as captured by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, represent an enormous opportunity to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. Europe can and should lead the way on this journey; it is our responsibility to others and to future generations. To achieve this, education, research and innovation are crucial and must be strongly supported. In particular, ‘blue sky’ research, which forms the basis of future innovation, is nearly fully reliant on government funding. Loss of such funding today will mean less innovation tomorrow.

The full statement is available here.

Joint Statement on Implementation Guidance for Plan S

Plan S is an initiative by cOAlition S to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications after 01 January 2020 in Europe. At the heart of the plan are 10 principles currently being developed into a set of implementation guidelines. We, representatives of early-career and senior researchers across Europe, have already commented on Plan S and hereby reaffirm our general support and offer our views on the implementation guidance.

We commend cOAlition S for addressing initial concerns and for the open consultation on the guidance. There are now three clear routes to compliance via either author-accepted manuscripts or versions of record of publications. It is crucial, however, that cOAlition S ensures that these routes are viable through appropriate regulations, funding, and support. We reiterate three key concerns from our first statement on Plan S: disruption for doctoral dissertations should be minimised; venues with no author-facing fees and societies as well
as open infrastructures should be supported; institutions and funders should modernise their researcher evaluation and implement the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA).

(1) We agree that copyright on publications should stay with the original copyright holder
and not be transferred to publishers. The copyright holder is typically the author and/or institution, which can depend on legal requirements, but is often not explicitly stated. We encourage cOAlition S to recommend the author as copyright holder where legally possible.

(2) We agree that the licence on publications should by default be Creative Commons (CC) Attribution (BY), to maximise benefits of research for society via the right to reuse, modify, and redistribute. We also agree that Non-Commercial (NC) licences are not justifiable for publicly funded works. While Non-Derivative (ND) licences can restrict text-and-data mining (TDM) and Open Education, we disagree that they should not be allowed, because of concerns over misrepresentation and translations in the Humanities and Social Sciences. We encourage cOAlition S to allow researchers to opt out of CC BY for a CC BY-ND licence.

(3) We agree that publications should be identifiable via persistent identifiers (PIDs) and archived via long-term digital preservation programmes. Publications should use PIDs such as Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that enable versioning, and link to underlying data and code and author PIDs such as Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID). Archiving programmes should use multiple data pools and bitstream preservation such as Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (CLOCKSS). We note that there are other valid options and encourage cOAlition S to specify the requirements for PIDs and for archiving programmes.

(4) We agree that publications should have high-quality metadata that is available under a Public Domain (CC0) licence. This includes information on the publication such as the PID, version, author, copyright holder, licence, open status, and funding as well as information on all citations in the publication. Guidelines by OpenAIRE for publication metadata and by the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) for citation metadata are ideal but there are other valid standards. We encourage cOAlition S to specify the required standards for metadata.

(5) We agree that the metadata and full text of publications should be machine-readable in
an interoperable format allowing TDM. Extensible Markup Language (XML) Journal Article Tag Suite (JATS) is an ideal format but is technically challenging, and other valid formats exist such as HyperText Markup Language (HTML) or minimally Word, OpenDocument, and LaTeX. We encourage cOAlition S to specify other acceptable publication formats for TDM.

(6) We agree that publishing venues should offer high-quality peer review and register their self-archiving policy in SHERPA/RoMEO , as well as be registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and be transparent in their publishing costs and pricing. Peer review should follow standards set by disciplines and the Committee on Publicat ion Ethics (COPE) . We are concerned that DOAJ acting as a sole external gatekeeper could result in a single point of failure (SPOF) for identifying compliant venues. We encourage cOAlition S to
create and maintain a ‘seal of compliance’ for venues in close collaboration with DOAJ.

(7) We agree that article processing charges (APCs) should be paid or supported by cOAlition S where applicable and that there should be equitable waiver/discount policies. The ability to publish should never be constrained by the ability to pay. There should not only be clear regulations for waivers/discounts for authors in low/middle-income countries but also for authors with limited financial means. The planned independent study on publishing costs and pricing will help to determine a reasonable range and cap for APCs. We encourage cOAlition S to develop clear regulations for APCs and for waivers/discounts for authors.

(8) We agree that repositories should use an open application programming interface (API) and be registered in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR), as well as be continuously available and offer user support. ResourceSync is an ideal API although other valid APIs exist such as Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (PMH) and Object Exchange and Reuse (ORE). We disagree that repositories should have a help desk as long as they offer adequate user support. We also disagree that repositories should have automated ingest but should be free to choose how to ingest. We are concerned that OpenDOAR acting as a sole external gatekeeper could result in a SPOF for identifying compliant repositories. We encourage cOAlition S to specify acceptable APIs and to create and maintain a ‘seal of compliance’ for repositories in close collaboration with OpenDOAR.

(9) We agree with allowing transformative agreements with publishers to read and publish
publications during a time-specified transition period. This gives hybrid venues more time and researchers more options during the transition. All agreements should be transparent and be registered with the Efficiency and Standards for Article Charges (ESAC) as well as specify how the venue will transition once the agreement expires. It is currently unclear what sanctions will be imposed if a venue does not transition as agreed and whether older paywalled publications will be opened. We encourage cOAlition S to specify the sanc tions to be imposed on venues that do not transition and to address older paywalled publications.

(10) We agree with direct deposition of publications in author-designated or centralised repositories for scientific publications. We note that a compliant repository for researchers should always be available and that there is no centralised repository in Europe apart from Europe PubMed Central . We encourage cOAlition S to designate and support Zenodo as a fall-back compliant or even as a centralised European repository for publications in Plan S.

Signed by Gareth O’Neill [President European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc) ], Matthew DiFranco [Chair Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)], and Mangala Srinivas [Chair Young Academy of Europe (YAE) ] on 28 January 2019.

Contact details: Gareth O’Neill | @gtoneill | +31651003175 | gareth.oneill@eurodoc.net

Joint Statement on Implementation Guidance for Plan S (pdf)

Joint Statement on Open Access for researchers via Plan S

Three organisations representing early-career and senior researchers across Europe have today released a Joint Statement on Open Access for Researchers via Plan S. The statement has been issued by the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and Young Academy of Europe (YAE) in response to proposals from a coalition of national research funding organisations in Europe to achieve full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications by 01 January 2020.

 

The proposals have been termed Plan S and consist of 10 principles which will be enacted by the 11 national funders currently forming cOAlition S and supported by the European Commission and European Research Council. The joint statement offers both support to Plan S and critical recommendations on implementing the principles to ensure a smooth transition to full and immediate Open Access for researchers in Europe. As President Gareth O’Neill of Eurodoc notes: “Plan S is a bold and ambitious move for researchers to take back control of access to scientific publications. The retention of publication copyrights by authors, the funding boycott on hybrid publishing, and the funding cap on publication fees will be particularly contentious. It is crucial that early-career and senior researchers are now heard to further develop and implement the 10 principles and make Plan S a success.”

The three organisations agree generally with the principles but note a lack of details on some key aspects of the plan such as the specific amount and duration of the funding cap on publication fees as well as the importance of self-archiving and publishing models with no author-facing fees. MCAA Chair Matthew DiFranco notes, “Plan S is a bold step in the right direction for reigning in the exploitation of publicly funded research for private profits. However, the plan should not complicate efforts by researchers to publish their work and advance in their careers. Wider adoption of Plan S will be necessary to ensure that individual researchers ultimately benefit from the proposals.”

One crucial point is that the plan should not be implemented in isolation but should also occur simultaneously with the educating and training of researchers in Open Science and the revision of the research reward system whereby research and career evaluations move away from journal-based indicators and incorporate Open Science practices. Chair Marcel Swart of YAE: “Plan S is only the first step to move away from evaluation practices based on journal impact factors and number crunching; especially for early-career researchers who are in a turbulent moment in their lives, a FAIR evaluation is needed where research and scientific advances should play a central role. The implementation of Plan S without jeopardizing young careers in an international competitive playfield is therefore crucial for European research.”

Plan S has attracted much attention since it was published on Sep. 4, among others by chemists (YAE Fomer Chair Kamerlin et al.) where the majority of journals are published by academic societies and only ca. 2% of the chemistry journals are currently compliant with the Plan S rules. Article Processing Charges (APCs) are widely debated (including what would be an appropriate value for the cap on them), and Academic Freedom as well, but according to the Cambridge blog we should relax, because Plan S is just the beginning of the discussion.

24th September 2018. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org

Position of Young Academies on Open Access and Open Data

In preparation for the upcoming Open Science conference in Amsterdam, the YAE has joined forces with other Young Academies in Europe as well as the Global Young Academy, to prepare statements on both Open Science and Open Data. These statements will be officially presented to the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas, at the conference on 4th April 2016. The statements can be found here and here.

1st April 2016. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org

 

YAE statement on Open Science

Science is currently in transition with changing models of authorship and publication. While overall a positive trend, how these changes are implemented can have a massive impact (both positive and negative) on young scientists. The YAE Open Data task force outlines here some key points that need to be taken account into when planning the implementation of Open Science in an optimal way. See the full statement for more information.

6th January 2015. For further information please contact info@yacadeuro.org