Free the Science: One Scholarly Society’s bold vision for open access and why it matters now more than ever

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By Ellen Finnie, original post from IO: In the Open

The Electrochemical Society, a small nonprofit scholarly society founded in 1902, has an important message for all of us who are concerned about access to science.   Mary Yess, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Content Officer and Publisher, could not be clearer about the increased urgency of ECS’ path:  “We have got to move towards an open science environment. It has never been more important – especially in light of the recently announced ‘gag orders’ on several US government agencies– to actively promote the principles of open science.”    What they committed to in 2013 as an important open access initiative has become, against the current political backdrop, truly a quest to “free the science.”

ECS’s “Free the Science” program is designed to accelerate the ability of the research ECS publishes — for example, in sustainable clean energy, clean water, climate science, food safety, and medical care — to generate solutions to our planet’s biggest problems.  It is a simple and yet powerful proposition, as ECS frames it:

“We believe that if this research were openly available to anyone who wished to read it, anywhere it the world, it would contribute to faster problem solving and technology development, accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, encourage innovation, enrich education, and even stimulate the economy.”

How this small society — which currently publishes just 2 journals — came to this conclusion, and how they plan to move to an entirely open access future, is, I believe, broadly instructive at a time when our political environment has only one solid state: uncertainty. Continue reading

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ECS Partners with ReadCube to Enhance Discoverability of its Collection.

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y2dr1wnkFrom Readcube:

We are thrilled to announce that ECS (The Electrochemical Society), the leader in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology, has partnered with ReadCube to both index and enhance its collection of over 60k articles. The ECS Digital Library, hosted on Highwire platform, is home to 5 journals including the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the flagship journal of ECS.

In addition to enhanced discoverability, when readers view any ECS article within ReadCube’s free web, desktop, and mobile applications, they will enjoy interactive features including hyperlinked in-line citations, annotations, clickable author names, instant access to supplemental content and figures, social sharing, and altmetrics.

We look forward continuing to work with publishers like ECS to continue to improve and streamline the way researchers discover and interact with scholarly literature on a global scale.

You can learn more about the ECS Digital Library here: http://ecsdl.org/

About ECS

Leading the world in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology for more than 110 years, ECS (The Electrochemical Society) was founded in 1902 as an international nonprofit, educational organization. ECS now has more than 9,000 individual and institutional members in more than 75 countries. Home of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field, the ECS Digital Library provides searchable online access to the collection of ECS technical journals and other publications.

The Fox Guarding the Henhouse? Or, Why We Don’t Need Another Citation-Based Journal Quality Index

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By: Ellen Finnie

Scholarly researchNature announced on December 8 that Elsevier has launched a new journal quality index, called CiteScore, which will be based on Elsevier’s Scopus citation database and will compete with the longstanding and influential Journal Impact Factor (IF).

Conflict of Interest

One can hardly fault Elsevier for producing this metric, which is well positioned to compete with the Impact Factor. But for researchers and librarians, there are serious concerns about CiteScore. Having a for-profit entity that is also a journal publisher in charge of a journal publication metric creates a conflict of interest, and is inherently problematic. The eigenfactor team Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West have done some early analysis of how Elsevier journals tend to rank via CiteScore versus the Impact Factor, and conclude that “Elsevier journals are getting just over a 25% boost relative to what we would expect given their Impact Factor scores.” Looking at journals other than Nature journals – which take quite a hit under the CiteScore because of what Phil Davis refers to as Citescore’s “overt biases against journals that publish a lot of front-matter” — Elsevier journals still get a boost (15%) in comparison with Impact Factor.

Perpetuating problems of journal prestige in promotion and tenure

But more broadly, the appearance of another measure of journal impact reinforces existing problems with the scholarly publishing market, where journal brand as a proxy for research quality drives promotion and tenure decisions. This tying of professional advancement, including grant awards, to publication in a small number of high prestige publications contributes to monopoly power and resulting hyperinflation in the scholarly publishing market. Indeed, I was recently informed by a large commercial journal publisher that a journal’s Impact Factor is a key consideration in setting the price increase for that title—and was the first reason mentioned to justify increases. Continue reading

Ask Us Anything!

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r/scienceECS Technical Editor Dr. Gerald Frankel, accompanied by ECS’s Executive Director Roque Calvo, hosted our first ever “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit’s r/science. The event gathered over 2,000 upvotes and more than 100 comments. We did this in honor of Open Access Week 2016 (Oct. 24-30), as a means of having an open dialogue regarding Free the Science, ECS’s effort to keep money in scientific research rather than in the publishing industry.

For about an hour Frankel and Calvo fielded questions on topics ranging from Open Access and the staggering cost of APCs, to failed Youtube experiments and electric car batteries.

You can read the whole thing on Reddit, or check out an archived version on The Winnower.

And don’t forget, the 132,000 articles and abstracts in the ECS Digital Library are available free of charge Oct. 24-30.

Have a question that wasn’t answered? Feel free to reach out to us at OA@electrochem.org.

Open Access Week Competition Winners 2016

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ECS is pleased to share the results of our first ever Open Access Week competition! We received many thoughtful entries, and ultimately decided that it was necessary to draw a tie. Our two 1st place winners, Ms. Caitlin Dillard and Mr. Manan Pathak, will each be receiving a $250 prize, as well as an additional $500 in funding to their respective ECS Student Chapters.

Here’s a bit about our winners:

Manan PathakManan is currently pursuing his PhD with Prof. Venkat Subramanian at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is a Clean Energy Institute Fellow. He is actively involved with the recently formed University of Washington ECS Student Chapter, and serves as the vice-chair for education and outreach. Manan completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay in India. He is also one of the co-founders of a start-up called Battery Informatics where they are trying to commercialize their research on electrochemical and thermal physics model based Battery Management Systems (BMS). More details about the same can be found on www.batteryinformatics.com.

“I was fortunate to get admitted to an institute like IIT, in a developing country like India, which has only about 74% literacy rate, and has the highest population of illiterates in the world…Education was a luxury for many of them at such a young age, where schools would shut down during monsoon season… Their hard-work, passion and innate curiosity to study science and engineering inspired me to pursue research…OA is a way to reach out to such people, and bring them closer to the world scientific community. People are no longer bounded by their means but only by their curiosity and passion. The pursuit of knowledge and its free access will ultimately lead to the pursuit of happiness.”

Continue reading

What Are You Doing to Put Open in Action?

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Open Access Week is fast upon us, and this year’s theme is “Open in Action.” ECS’s participation in Open Access Week is a preview of our vision to Free the Science, a future where authors can publish with us for free and readers can access our Digital Library without paywalls (find out more about what we’re doing to celebrate).

In the spirit of this year’s theme, ECS has created a list  of “action items” to help you make the most of the week: Continue reading

Celebrating Open Access Week

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8-5x11oaweek2016_revisedThe last week of October is International Open Access Week. As ECS did last year, we are celebrating by giving the world a preview of what complete open access will look like when we have completed our Free the Science campaign. From October 24th through October 30th we are taking down the paywall to the ECS Digital Library. Over 132,000 articles will be freely available to anyone who wants to read them.

We had great success with this last year. During Open Access Week the Journal of The Electrochemical Society saw a 51% increase in usage.

Please spread the word. From October 24th through the 30th anyone will be able to read any of the content in our digital library for free.  We hope to make this the “norm” in the future through our Free the Science initiative.