To wrap up this series I spoke to Dr Jon Tennant. Jon is a palaeontologist, independent researcher, and passionate advocate for open scholarship. Jon completed his PhD thesis in January 2017 at Imperial College London (and made it available under a CC-BY license on figshare). Jon has contributed research on peer review and open access; founded a palaeontology pre-print server; founded a MOOC on open science; communicated huge amounts of science as a freelance writer; and much more.
Tom: Self-archiving is basically step 1 for Open Access, but when people talk about self-archiving in open science, are they referring to hosting a copy of the pre-print/post-print/final version on a personal website (allowing for copyright restrictions)? Or are they referring to something else?
Jon: So most research articles are paywalled, meaning each potential reader has to pay the publisher a fee for a copy, usually between $30-50 USD. Self-archiving is a method for researchers to make a copy of their research articles available online to everyone for free. Virtually all journals allow this to some degree, but it can be complicated – licenses, embargoes, location; all of these things tend to vary between publisher, which can be quite off-putting to many researchers.
Tom: Assuming you can’t publish in an OA journal, are there any tips for directing the public or non-institutional researchers to your self-archived copy? For people searching google scholar or databases, how will they know if you have self archived?
Jon: The best tip I can give is to use Unpaywall! This is a tool that helps to locate these self-archived versions of articles around the Web, and help you to ‘jump the paywall’ – all legal, free for researchers, and sustainable. Or Google Scholar. Discovery isn’t an issue really.
Tom: How does open science inspire you or drive your passion, and what do you love the most about the open science movement?
Jon: Open Science defines what I do. Or more, who I am as a person makes Open Science an extension of my life. Open Science is underpinned by principles such as freedom, justice, and equality – all things I believe in just as a human. For me, trying to embed these principles in science is just natural. I think this goes for virtually everyone in the open science community too – we all have a shared passion, and similar beliefs, so finding commonality is quite simple. I love nothing more than hearing someone unleash their passion like this, and open science folk really know how to ignite inner fire.
The time wasted trying to access research articles is a tax on human progress and on the development and dissemination of new scholarly knowledge. https://t.co/2Dnieno2ZG Yes. We need 100% Open Access now. We have wasted enough time already. HT @GdnHigherEd
— Jon Tennant (@Protohedgehog) May 21, 2018
Tom: Why do some researchers resist open scholarship? Are there some common misconceptions you often need to dispel? And how do you present open science in a way that increases the chance your advice will be taken up?
Jon: Ha, well, if we knew the answer to that, then our jobs would be much easier 😉 So there are a few points here. A lot of people do aspects of open science anyway (e.g. data sharing), but just don’t call it that. A lot of people resist it for no other reason than stubbornness and egos, quite irrationally. Others ‘resist’ it because there are barriers in open science too – for example, the high fees that publishers charge for open access. Most of these barriers can be overcome, and every problem has a solution, but being aware of the choices available to you is the big hurdle that has to be overcome. This is one of the motivations for the Open Science MOOC. Common misconceptions:
“I can’t afford Open Access.” (Self archiving is free)
“There isn’t anywhere to self-archive my research.” (Yes there is.)
“If I share my data, someone else might re-use it.” (Yep, that’s the point.)
When engaging with open science, the best thing to do is let the other people speak first. Find out what problems they have, and present a solution. Some times, the best approach is not to even mention ‘open’. Find out what the common values are, and use them as leverage. Not being a dick helps too.
Tom: If I could ask you to scan the horizon: What are some major open scholarship developments underway now that you think will have an impact on the way we do science in the near future (if all goes well)?
Jon: Hmm. Well, I’m writing this email while I’m supposed to be listening to talks at a blockchain for science event in Vienna. I can see that becoming an interesting development in the future. I think the one of the biggest things within the next few years will be from research libraries diverting their funds from being wasted on legacy publishers to being invested into more open scholarly infrastructure and services. Many libraries are already enjoying the benefits of this, so hopefully more will follow. Also, living research ‘articles’, with dynamic data, figures, code, etc. That would be sweet.
A massive thanks to Jon for taking the time to talk to me about open science.