Editorial mass resignations: Collective action in the movement to open research

Wednesday 10th January 2024, 12-1pm

Recent times have witnessed a number of high profile mass resignations of journal editorial boards, with editors rejecting the conditions of (in)accessibility and commercial profit underlying their existing publishers.

In this Open Research Conversation, we hear from key participants in this growing mode of collective action. Johan Rooryck, now of Plan S, was editor-in-chief at the hybrid Elsevier journal Lingua before resigning to establish the OA alternative Glossa. Judith Green edited and co-edited Critical Public Health between 2010-2023 before a mass resignation to found a new journal on an open source platform, and Chris Chambers was among the editorial team at NeuroImage who resigned in protest against publisher profiteering in April 2023. From different disciplinary contexts, these scholars share their overlapping experiences of the pursuit of equity, openness and academic freedom in publishing, examining the potential of collective action and open access alternatives to provide a corrective to publishing oligopolies.

Judith Green: The Editorial Board of Critical Public Health, a Taylor & Francis owned journal, resigned en masse in July 2023 to start a new journal on an open source platform. The editorial team had for some decades managed the tensions between curating a home for a community of scholars and contributing to a commercial product, as discussed in an earlier editorial. However, corporate requirements for standardisation of processes, pressures to increase page volume, and an APC model of cost recovery for open access had eroded our ability to maintain the ‘spirit’ of the journal. The fate of the new journal will test whether evoking a ‘community of scholars’ or ‘the spirit of a journal’ is mere nostalgia, in a market where readers access papers not journals.

Judith Green is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures & Environments of Health at the University of Exeter. She was Editor or Co-Editor of Critical Public Health between 2010-2023.

Chris Chambers: When enough is enough – my experience of being part of the collective editorial resignation from NeuroImage, and what happened next.

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Scholars are doing it for themselves: The challenges and opportunities of open access scholar-led publishing

Monday 23 October 2023, 12-1pm

Scholar-led publishing – publishing which is managed and led by academics rather than commercial publishers or other institutions or bodies – provides an opportunity for researchers to determine the conditions under which academic work is circulated. Consequently, it can present a range of opportunities for the open, equitable, diverse and inclusive circulation of knowledge.

In this session, we explore a range of perspectives from researchers operating in and engaged analytically with this space, including Toby Steiner (Flavours of Open), Meredith Warren (co-editor-in-chief of the open access scholar-led Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies) and Emma Cheatle and Luis Hernan of the open access scholar-led architecture journal Field.

Luis Hernan and Emma Cheatle: In this talk we share our experience in editing field:. The journal launched in 2007 as the first open-access publication in the field and, in the following decade, it gained a reputation for its ability to attract rigorous research whilst providing a forum to a diverse set of voices and disciplinary traditions. We took over the journal a few years later, facing the multiple challenges of updating its infrastructure and rethinking its ethos and editorial processes in the face of an evolving landscape of open-access publishing.

Meredith Warren: This talk will focus on the development of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, the flagship journal of the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. This open-access, scholar-run journal published its first issue in 2018. I will discuss the origin story of JIBS, featuring the challenges and benefits of ‘DIY’ open access, including database indexing, DOAJ acceptance, and promoting a small journal in the vast ocean of corporate publishing.

Meredith Warren: This talk will focus on the development of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, the flagship journal of the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. This open-access, scholar-run journal published its first issue in 2018. I will discuss the origin story of JIBS, featuring the challenges and benefits of ‘DIY’ open access, including database indexing, DOAJ acceptance, and promoting a small journal in the vast ocean of corporate publishing.

Toby Steiner Collaboration over competition: On the role of scholar-led publishing and Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences – This presentation will provide a bit of a closer look at the practice of scholar-led publishing within the Humanities and Social Sciences, with a particular focus on Media Studies. Following an introductory framing of what is meant by ‘scholar-led’ in this context, the presentation will take a diachronic approach to showcase early proponents as well as recent open access initiatives that focus on providing scholar- and community-led alternatives to publishing via large commercial entities.

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OpenFest2023

OpenFest

OpenFest is the University of Sheffield’s flagship celebration and exploration of open research, providing an opportunity to explore current issues, share experiences, and consider how open research can be applied in your discipline. 

Register for our OpenFest events using the links below.

Workshop on GitHub for academic collaboration

Monday 4th September, 10.00-12.00, in person

Led by Robert Smith (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield)

This workshop for researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will provide a straightforward look at how GitHub can enhance academic collaboration, and a practical introduction to using GitHub and other tools in academic settings. The workshop will cover:

  • The benefits of GitHub for academic collaboration
  • Setting up RStudio with Git and GitHub
  • How to collaborate with colleagues on projects in script-based programming languages (e.g. R)
  • Where to find more information – online resources and courses

Note: Delegates will require R and RStudio (https://posit.co/download/rstudio-desktop/) and Git (https://git-scm.com/downloads) to be installed on their laptops before the session if they want to follow the examples in real time.

Refreshments will be provided.

Register for the event (in-person attendance) here.


OpenFest Sheffield Showcase

Wednesday 6th September, 09.30-17.00, in person with hybrid capability

Featuring keynote speakers and talks from both of the Sheffield universities, this event for researchers and colleagues in research-related roles at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will provide a valuable opportunity to discuss and explore open research practice at the two institutions.

We will examine current initiatives which are building momentum around openness and explore the application of open practices in varying methodological contexts. The event will culminate in a drinks reception and launch of the Open Scholarship Community Sheffield, an inclusive, supportive, and active community for researchers to interact, share knowledge, and encourage good practice around open research.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

View the full programme and register for the event here.


Online symposium ‘New Perspectives on Open Research’

Thursday 7th September, 09.00-17.00

Featuring keynote talks from Martin Eve (Crossref / Birkbeck, University of London) and Malvika Sharan (The Turing Way), this event creates space for researchers across the UK and internationally to explore emerging perspectives and practices within the field of open research. 

We’ll explore how projects and institutions are reshaping open research infrastructures and reimagining platforms and tools. Panel discussions will address emerging and ongoing issues with the potential to shape our future practice and discourse around open research.

Keynote talks:

Against Austerity

Prof. Martin Paul Eve (Crossref / Birkbeck, University of London)

Arguments for open access are usually split along two axes: the educational and the financial. On the former, it is easy to see that the progress of science and scholarship is advanced by easy, free access to research. A more equitable system of educational access benefits everyone. However, on the second front, it is also argued that open access should be less expensive for libraries, signalling the end of the serials crisis. In this talk, using data from 7 million article records, I examine the publishing practices of scholarly publishers at different levels of revenue, clearly showing that professional publishers, with high levels of revenue, consistently perform better at tasks such as digital preservation. While remaining committed to not-for-profit and mission-driven solutions, I argue that there are more important challenges for open access publishing than merely reducing costs.

Open science for enabling reproducible, ethical and collaborative research: Insights from The Turing Way

Dr Malvika Sharan (The Turing Way, The Alan Turing Institute)

In this talk, I will discuss open science as a framework to ensure that all our research components can be easily accessed, openly examined and built upon by others. I will introduce The Turing Way – an open source, open collaboration and community-driven guide to reproducible, ethical and inclusive data science and research. Drawing insights from the project, I will share best practices that researchers should integrate to ensure the highest reproducible and ethical standards from the start of their projects so that their research work is easy to reuse and reproduce at all stages of the development. All attendees will leave the talk understanding the many dimensions of openness and how they can participate in an inclusive, kind and inspiring open source ecosystem as they collaboratively seek to improve research culture. All questions and contributions are welcome at the GitHub repository: https://github.com/alan-turing-institute/the-turing-way.

View the full programme and register for the event here.


Workshop on Re/defining open research values

Friday 8th September, 10.00-12.00, in person

What are the values that inform our open research practice? Are there different and potentially more productive ways to define these, with implications for the way we conduct and communicate research? This workshop for researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will bring together researchers and research-adjacent colleagues from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to enable a cross-disciplinary conversation about open research values.

Introductory talks from a range of speakers, including those from qualitative methodological backgrounds, will be followed by activities to identify and finesse a set of alternative concepts through which we might reframe the values of an open research culture, e.g. vulnerability, generosity, radicalism, anti-hierarchy, notions of the gift. This will be followed by collaborative exploration of ways to enact these values at a practical level, focusing on those within the powers of ourselves and our institutions. 

Refreshments will be provided.

Register for the event (in-person attendance) here.

FAIR Faculty Workshops

The University of Sheffield Library will be holding a series of Faculty specific seminars looking at the FAIR principles which aim to make data (and other outputs) Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

These seminars will introduce the benefits of applying these principles (i.e. enhanced impact, increased collaboration, greater credit for all research outputs, speedier progress) and will showcase our new FAIR guidance resource, created to help researchers embed the principles in their projects.

These faculty specific seminars are open to all interested colleagues at all career stages, join us to find out how you can contribute to a FAIR future for research!

Registration is required. Please select the workshop for your home faculty or whichever best suits your discipline/availability.